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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Three is a Crowd

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map22

Whee! A treasure hunt! You start on the rooftop of one of a handful of buildings on this city map. There are a few oddities on this map to discover. In the central building for example there are 4 computer area maps and 4 light amplification visors to be collected. In the same room there's a sign that reads "Press tab to turn on. Press G to toggle grid". In the enclosed courtyard outside you will find some graffiti that reads "4 west 7 south from palm". Make what you will of these mysterious clues. There are also 2 yellow keys to be found. It sure is a treasure hunt!

The secrets make this map a lot easier, with an invulnerability, soulsphere and berserk found in one secret and the megaarmor in another. The encounters, even those with archviles are no match for these powerups. It's a fun and more laid back level.

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MAP22: Treasure Hunt

Pretty interesting map, this one! The urban area is pretty low detail, highlight a weakness of vanilla format Doom II, but it looks passable enough, and the interior areas are more interesting, which makes up for it. I only worked out how to get one yellow key (the one hinted at from the palm tree), whilst I saw a clue to do with "4 lamps" by the other key, but decided to just leave, as I already had both secrets and 100% kills. An enjoyable map full of plasma blasting action, exploration and some light puzzling, all under that sky I'm so fond of! However, I did bump into something weird. By the yellow key switch to open the exit, a lift lowers, revealing a red CRACKLE rectangular hole that seems like it should do something, but going down there just gets you stuck and no amount of wall humping or crossing lines down there got me back out again. Fortunately I saved the game before going down and checking it out, but that could've required some cheating or a level restart, which wouldn't have been great.

 

I never made use of the Invulnerability, and was a bit concerned about running across the palm tress, fearing I might be breaking progression with ZDoom... Then I realised they were textures and this was intentional.

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MAP21: Flushed Away - 100% kills 50% secrets

Another fast-paced, breezy level with plentiful resources and modest opposition.

 

Flushed Away, while more non-linear than the previous map, is similarly entertaining and attractive. Texturing is on point and the lighting is more subtle than previous entries, though the strongest visual aspect is definitely the beautiful new skybox, giving me the impression of a warm, summer sunset over sub-tropical suburbia.

 

Spoiler

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Ah, reminds me of home.

 

The smooth geometry also compliments the grey textures, giving the map an ironically clean appearance.

 

Spoiler

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The plasma rifle once again dominates, which pleases me no end since I do not normally get to use the weapon as much as I'd like. Combat is for the most part easy and stress-free, since the player is given plenty of ammo and space, along with a powerful main weapon. This combined with an absolute banger of a midi makes for a very enjoyable experience.

 

Layout and progression are both non-linear this time around. I found the map very easy to navigate and satisfying to unravel.

 

Overall, a fun and easy map with strong visuals. A nice way to begin the last third of the wad.

 

MAP22: Treasure Hunt - 100% kills 50% secrets

This is an interesting one. A relatively open mini city level with sparse opposition, many doomcute details and a simple but entertaining mandatory puzzle.

 

Realism and Doom have an interesting relationship. The game does not lend itself well to any sort of genuine realism, but a faux-real aesthetic can be quite effective. Treasure Hunt is the next step below faux-realism, giving a semi-ironic impression of an imaginary town center. There are many instances of this:

 

Spoiler

Love this little shop

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Going TV shopping, when that was still a thing

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Those trees are actually textures, so you can run along the top in any source port

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Off map staircase

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Hallway with a pot plant for good measure

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The puzzle palm

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There is also a lot of clever vanilla trickery going on to create the illusion of floor-over-floor architecture, most notably in the starting room and that odd structure in the bottom-left of the map.

 

Spoiler

These two areas are the same sector

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There is normally a Hell Knight on top

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The progression of this map does feel a bit like a treasure hunt, which I assume was the intention. The little puzzle at the end is also very cute and fun to figure out, though I can't say I appreciate that inescapable non-death trap just before the exit.

 

The combat is probably the least interesting aspect of this map. It is certainly entertaining, but made very easy by the sheer quantity of cells and open layout.

 

Overall, a fun little map with lots of doomcute details and an unusual progression.

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map23

A city divided into 4 quarters, connected through a central circular room that can only be accessed once steps have been raised. The other 3 quarters can be visited in any order once you can reach the central circular room. In each new quarter, you need to raise the steps to the central circular room in order to get back out. I describe the quarters in the order I did them but you can do them in any order you like.

The first quarter objectives are to raise the steps to the central room and culminates in a spider mastermind showdown and collecting the yellow key.

The second quarter has some revenants on pillars and imps on the back wall. When you enter the area, 2 archviles are triggered as well as a bunch of revenants guarding the blue key.

The third quarter has a spider mastermind stomping around in the middle with a cybie hiding nearby. There are buildings with enemies and goodies inside. You will see a super shotgun sitting on top of palm tree in the middle, you know where you will normally find one! The exit area is nearby and you only need the blue and yellow keys, so you don't even have to enter the 4th quarter to exit the map. But really, you just got to visit the 4th quarter!

The 4th quarter is a large building complex with several ways in. The 4 doors entrance takes you to two places. The first way leads to the rocket launcher. The second path leads into a room where the lighting fades to pitch black and back to bright, causing you to plan your attacks and pushes into new territory carefully. Beyond that you will find the switch to raise the stairs back to the central circular room. There are 2 other ways into the building. One is the blue-yellow door that is an ammo stash. The other way in leads to a secret and a backpack.

Edited by tmorrow

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Map22: Brillaint map. Very high concept, using the automap as an actual gameplay element. Highlights include: dropping into the mall, finding out the automap has a grid function, some very helpful graffiti.

 

Map23: A story in four parts. Each quadrant features its own mini layout. Almost like this is 4 tiny speedmaps stuck together. I like the idea, its a really linear map with some unique structures, but with its focus being mainly on the combat, I found this one dull to play.

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MAP23: Quatered - 100% kills 50% secrets

I don't have much to say about this one, really.

 

Quatered is basically a sub-divided city map. While this does certainly make navigation easier, it also downplays the main strengths of the city level, that being non-linear progression. Sure, you can tackle the three non-starting quarters in whatever order, but each is linear and there is little interaction between sections. Visually, the map is as ugly as one would expect, and the exploration factor is almost non-existant. All this would be fine if the combat was good, but sadly this is not the case. It is grindy and not very challenging.

 

There is some good here, though, like the south-eastern arch-structure, which is quite interesting. Reminds me of the Grand Arch in Paris, actually. The best part of the map is the north-western building, which is actually a good self-contained level, complete with an interesting enough progression and a secret, along with a couple of gimmicks.

 

Overall, a fairly bland map with grindy combat and uninteresting visuals. Not bad per se, just a bit mediocre.

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MAP23: Quartered

I managed to miss both secrets! Go me!

 

Anyway, ineptitude aside, I had a very good time with this one. You can be really liberal with the plasma, there's a lot of threat from stuff like Arch-Viles, Revenants, Spider Masterminds and the Cyberdemon, but plenty of space and cover to let you be as daring as you like. There's a very welcome SSG (you really start to miss it when you don't have it and the enemies are beefy) and I like the visuals of the quarter with it in. The one with the big arch (and Arch-Viles - I see what you did there...) is also pretty nice, whilst the other two are more typical Vanilla Doom II city spaces. The optional quarter with the big grey building in is pretty fun, with an area with a slow light glowing effect that really plunges you into the dark and disoriented me, even with GZDoom's brightmaps and dynamic lights!

 

I think the basic concept of the map isn't very strong, but each quarter plays pretty nicely and the overall map is pretty good too - even with a big ugly FIREBLU line-of-sight blocker to get the visplanes and visible lines down. Ultimately, it's just fun to be able to blast through a level primarily with the plasma rifle, particularly when you've got rockets and the SSG to fall back on when cleanup is needed. I took the big grey building as my first optional quarter, then the SSG/exit quarter and finally the blue skull/arch quarter, before exiting without trying too hard for the secrets, as I didn't really need much of a boost. I'm basically just short of the BFG and roughly a third of a megasphere, at this point!

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MAP21 : We reached our destination. Good to know the subway still works, I guess? Grabbed me a chaingun and down the drain I go, in the the sewers! Tunnels of nukage and enemies await fro the sweet release of chaingun bullets to the face. I do their bidding, a god of death walking among them, littering the floor of bullet casings, blood and viscera. I am, however, not made of bullets so a moment arrives when I must switch from the chaingun to the shotgun : the death dealer changes his mode but not his motive. A yellow key stands there in the nukage but as I reach for it, death comes to the death dealer : he who lives by the shotgun dies by the cyberdemon rocket. 

 Second run. My descend into the sewers is faster : I now know the way and armed with the plasma gun I get rid of the cow first of all. With the big menace down I resume my wandering and killing. Blue key and yellow key found, I move along the nukage drains. And eventual archie is quickly melted with plasma, and after a while, I am lost.. And I found a place I hadn't been to before. Delivering death to zombiemen and a manc I found the path to the red key, and from there, the way is clear : open the red door, press a switch, a wall will open. But before I can reach it, mancubi and a archie try to kill me, they failed. And a wall did not open, but a cylinder of nukage did rise, delivering me to the way forward. With all the enemies dead I do a quick tun for supplies and rush to the exit.

100% K/S/I, 1 death, 20m28s

 

MAP22 : Treasures! First we walk around and get rid of all the annoying stuff. Then we enter a room with goodies, including way too many automaps. Then we walk on top of palm trees! And then, with the blue key in hand we go back because the automap shows us a missed secret. The blue key opens a room of more goodies and a pinkie guarded switch which releases the mancubi. We dose them, and the baron, with plasma. Courtyard cleared we find a message, cryptic and useless, it would appear. The yellow key is there for grabs if you press the correct column, so we can leave the level now but so many secrets to go! Actually only one, but. A bit of walking around takes me there, to the final secret, and I finish the level invincible! 

100% K/S/I, 14m56s, 0 deaths.

 

MAP 23 : Round 1 : all was going good until the tag-team archies killed me. Round 2 : let's pick another door first, which finally gives me a backpack and a weird two keyed door, that you can open with either the blue or the yellow skull key. The fireblu quarter gives us a very circlestrafeable cow, HKs and a bluesphere! Unable or unwilling to postpone anymore I face the archies and get rid of them. Grabbing the blue skull releases another SMM, dealt it from afar. Last secret found, off we go!

1 death, 23 minutes 16 seconds, 100% K/S/I.

 

Total : 6 deaths, 7 hours 12 minutes and 45 seconds so far.

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MAP22: Treasure Hunt
Include a key whose location is very hard to find by chance... but for which there are multiple clues indicating where the player should look, scattered around the map.

 

It's hard to decide, but I think this may be the least favorite of my challenge gimmick maps. MAP13's and MAP14's challenge gimmicks have been less pronounced than this one, but those maps were also nicely flowing, with engaging gameplay. MAP22 has a lot of cool bits, but they're just kinda floating in a puddle of uninspiredness. Gimmicks aside, I think the best designed bit is the corridor leading to the blue key - you drop in from the ceiling and get attacked from two sides, then at the end there's another two-sided ambush with a revenant that may give you trouble if you let it enter the corridor. I really like the semi-realistic look of it, too.

 

There's also a couple of annoying bugs - one with a weirdly designed teleport closet that can fail to alert all of the enemies, and the trap at the yellow key switch. Since the nature of the map makes it completable in a few seconds if you know what to do, I wanted to make a cheeky speedrunner trap that would trigger if you get the yellow key and try pressing the key switch within 30 seconds. I came up with some kind of weird implementation involving a lost soul, and it might not work well at all.

 

The gimmicks are definitely this map's strength. It actually makes the player use the automap grid! There's also the alternate clue, which requires you to enter the warehouse with a light amplification visor. And if you enter the warehouse with both the red and blue key, the yellow will also show up, before hiding behind a wall that looks just like the pillar the real key is hidden inside. But I guess the third clue might have just ended up confusing people further.

 

I'm a big fan of the 3d building that has you start on the rooftop, and then lets you go inside. The inside also has some extra wall detail, the hellish star in the center that looks like it spawned the red skull key, and a bunch of enemies very efficiently crammed inside various crevices to make it feel like the inside of the building was filled with monsters. And it was, but only kind of.

 

There's that silo-looking building that can be opened with either key. I always liked the idea of a room being openable with more than one key.

 

There's also this bit where you have to run across treetops. I made those palm trees, and I gave them solid trunks made from tiny untextured raised floors. I placed monsters on top of some of them, I placed a super shotgun on top of one on MAP23, and then I finished 3IAC. But then I played through the whole thing and thought, "why do you never get the opportunity to run across a row of palm trees, even though it would've been easy to implement?! This is a travesty!". And so I removed some crates from MAP22, and added a row of palm trees in their place. Best decision ever.

 

 

 

MAP23: Quartered

I think this one was the last city map I made. It started some time ago, as just two things: the big gray arch... and the 3d tunnel between two buildings. I really like how that one worked out, too. It's just an untextured lowered ceiling, one unit apart from the walls to prevent HOMs, and the hole in the ground is obscured from above with a fence on one side and crates on the other. I used the same trick for the MAP20's megaarmor secret, except that one uses less sectors and just has the ceiling one unit above the surrounding floors, which makes it look a little imperfect.

 

The whole thing has a nice semi-hellish vibe, especially with the weird funnel-shaped middle point, and I really like the gameplay and non-linear progression in this map. I end up tackling the areas in a different order almost every time I play.

 

Screenshot_Doom_20180825_225755.png

 

Also, these fake elevator doors are pretty sweet too. I unlocked some hidden potential of DOORSTOP there.

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map24

A map starts in an outdoor hub area. Off of the hub are the red, blue and yellow key areas as well as a weapon cache room. Each of the key areas requires one of the other keys to complete the area and pickup a secret so you'll have to return to each zone if you are trying to obtain maximum kills and secrets. There are some tricky puzzles to solve on this map.

The weapon cache room has red, yellow and blue switches to open up access to the chainsaw, rocket launcher and the chaingun. There is also a green switch that can be pressed after collecting the other keys. It can be pressed 4 times to open the archvile cubicle with a switch that allows access to exit area. I did not find a way to open the bfg cubicle, I think it might be another Scypek2 troll.

The red key area needs the blue key to complete. The encounters aren't all that dangerous. There is a small puzzle to solve to reach the blue door. There is a secret backpack and berserk pack to locate.

The yellow key area needs the red key to complete and has a nasty demon/spectre trap, so watch out. There is a secret soulsphere to find.

The blue key area needs the yellow key to complete. The worst encounter is after teleporting to a room with several imps. Finding the secret in this area involves solving the trickiest puzzle in the wad so far. It took me a while to solve it. The secret contains a megaarmor and 4 boxes of rockets.

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MAP24: Dirty Dealings - 78% kills 33% secrets

This one is odd.

 

Dirty Dealings, much like the last map, is rather disjointed, containing three largely unrelated key routes. Again, the plasma dominates, and again the combat is a tad grindy, though significantly more engaging than the last two maps due to a high difficulty level and less ammo-abundance.

 

If I'm quite honest, I played through this one in a daze, not due to any real fault on the map's part, but more due to inevitable last-third megawad fatigue. I didn't even bother going for 100% kills nor did I even try solving the southernmost puzzle (I'll get that one on a later replay). I feel a bit bad about not giving each map the attention it deserves, especially given the high bar I set for myself early on. There are so many small touches that I end up overlooking, so much effort on Scypek2's part that I don't even notice. Ach, well, I suppose learning to pace myself and emphasize the important details is part of the process of improvement.

 

On a more positive note, having played ahead a bit, I can safely say that there are at least two maps still in store that I think I'll do big writeups for, though I'll just summarize my thoughts on the rest.

 

So, in conclusion, a good enough though slightly disjointed map that I will almost certainly come to appreciate more in my future replays of 3IAC.

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MAP 24 : a hub like map, there's 5 buildings, 3 of them have keys, one has a series of weapons, but you'll need a key for each weapon and then the starting point. The map allows you to pick whichever key you'd like first, as they have a visible skull of the appropriate color outside. I start by the blue key, the only one that has the skull a bit hidden (you can see it from the windows). You fall into water and the key is just there, barely out of reach. Climb some stairs, run to grab the key and get 'ported to another room where you will have to fight for your right to grab the key. There's a visible but unreachable exit door and a switch. Opening the switch lowers the walls, releases some cacos on the room we were before and gives us a path to their destruction. All enemies dead we leave for the next key. The blue weapon is the chaingun I already have , still I open it to grab more ammo. (note that I was able to kill the archville from inside the blue "box", not sure how, only realized because I'm using target spy and it show name+health of any enemy that I can shoot at).

 Yellow now, go down the elevator, get rid of the imps, careful not to step on the fake teleporters that are damaging floor, and at the end there's a red exit door. Turn around, go open the central structure, where a caco guards the key. Going back out, there's a secret at the blue building that you can now reach with the yellow key. It's deviously hard to reach though. I've found that the best way is try to get stuck in one of the alcoves, press the wall, run to the other and press that other wall and then run to the entering. Worst part : it's either useless or I missed something else. Go grab a RL and be done with it.

 Red now. Down the steps, a caco and a couple shotgunners to deal with and then switches. One opens the wall, the other can be pressed 3 times to raise 3 platforms. Now, I have no idea how to actually climb them legally... Oooooh! Ok, clever. It's all about the speed, alright but not run speed. Press speed! Walking around the central room gives us our biggest threat so far, a baron! After dealing with him we can enter the blue door, press a switch and make it all disappear! Also, opening up the way behind the bookcase. Done.

 Back to the blue zone, after a few more tries I was finally able to raise the switch and yet... The actual secret still eludes me. I'll guess this one will remain unfound. To the other secret I go, and on to the ending where a few more pinkies and a pair of zombimen expect us.

100% kills, 66% secrets, 33 minutes 0 seconds, 0 deaths! 

 

Total : 6 deaths, 7 hours 45 minutes and 45 seconds so far.

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MAP24: Dirty Dealings

I'm assuming that pressing the skull key switches in the order shown above the pickup for the BFG9000 opens the glass for you, but as you only get one chance and I didn't fancy doing the map again, I'll just live without it. The backpack and soulsphere were valuable enough assets for me.

 

This map mixes non-linearity with the whole map apparently being mandatory, as you need all three keys and also need to go to all three key areas to unlock the exit (I think). Combat tended to come in big chunks, with multiple surprise traps coming as a response to definitive actions on your part, but most of the exploration being reasonably safe, with more incidental fare. The puzzles seem to be the meat of the thing, with a very clever stair building thing that I spent some time on trying to get the timing near-perfect to build an even set of stairs as my favourite. The one where you need to play with two switches to activate two lifts was more fiddly and less enjoyable as a result. I actually died to the big wave of Demons and Spectres late in the map, as I had the SSG out and was too slow to change to something better for pushing back the tide. I had a save from not long before, though, so it wasn't a big deal! Rest of the map never got too hard, but I was dealt a lot of damage and probably could've played better.

 

I like the map, but am still really enamoured with the sunset city theme.

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6 hours ago, Phobus said:

I'm assuming that pressing the skull key switches in the order shown above the pickup for the BFG9000 opens the glass for you, but as you only get one chance and I didn't fancy doing the map again, I'll just live without it.

 

Would that even be possible in vanilla? Maybe with some more monster-triggered lift dark magic. I'll have to keep that in mind!

 

MAP24: Dirty Dealings

You must approximate the feel of a store with a storekeeper from which you can buy things... but maybe the store turns out to be EVIL?!

 

Fresh after completing the MAP26 challenge (you'll see...), I honestly considered putting together some kind of crazy contraption made of conditionally lowering floors and monster-triggered lifts that would have implemented a system of spendable currency into a Doom level. But eventually, I settled for something more down to earth, and had the player exchange keys for weapons from a very friendly Archvile, who runs a cute little shop with their face on the front.

I think I was initially planning to make all three exits real, requiring you to only take two of the three paths to finish. That would've been pretty unique, but for some reason I decided to make all of them fake exits instead. Maybe I just really wanted the player to fall for the BFG trap, which requires all three of the keys and satisfies the second part of this map's challenge.

 

Here's some other interesting things about this map:

  1. The tiny central building you start in has a subtle 3d effect going on. There's a small tunnel underneath it containing some armor, and it has a fully solid ceiling, but there's also a room visible right above it. It works pretty much exactly the same way as the MAP23 tunnel, except the upper area is always above you so I didn't have to obscure the view with anything. I just had to make sure you can't see the tunnel's ceiling and the upper area at the same time, which is made easier thanks to Doomguy's stiff neck.
  2. This level is the first one to prominently feature bulletproof glass. It already exists on MAP23, but only in one small decorative area you wouldn't want to shoot at anyway. Still, I made sure to make it all properly impenetrable! Now I wish I used it some more. I'm sure it could've had some good uses in the techbase.
  3. The spooky gargoyle jumpscare from MAP10 finally makes a comeback! And this time, it actually unleashes a horde of demons.
  4. Each of the fake exits is fake in a different way. The eastern one is just a door that leads to nowhere, the western one springs a trap when you press a switch (I really like the weird little texture I applied to the newly exposed door edge after the walls disappear), and the southern one doesn't let you press the switch cause it teleports from one wall to the other when you try to approach it. You can guess which concept is my favorite.
  5. I've been looking for an excuse to implement that western room puzzle for a while. So Doom has those "raise to next higher floor" actions and such, sure. And sometimes what counts as "higher" or "lower" can change over time! That's really interesting too. But the real interesting thing is, that height also gradually changes over time as the floor is in motion! I feel like there's a lot of puzzle potential within this, and my little make-your-own-staircase design is just a tip of the iceberg.
7 hours ago, Phobus said:

I like the map, but am still really enamoured with the sunset city theme.

 

I couldn't agree more. All of the 3IAC skies are beautiful in their own way, but in my opinion @valkiriforce's city sky takes the cake. It seems to transcend the Doom palette in its colorfulness. I made sure to implement plenty of low sky ceilings in my levels, to make all the skies easy to appreciate in their full glory.

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map25

Our second red carpeted mansion with chandeliers that is well stocked with lots of enemies. There is a blue and yellow key path to follow and you get to choose which by selecting your favorite key first, locking in your path through the level. I chose the blue key path first.

The blue door area is easier at first but results in a rambunctious cybie being released back in the red carpeted room. Monster teleport lines have been added to make sure cybie stays in this area and teleports when he tries to leave. You can use this behavior to your advantage to take him out fairly easily.

The yellow door area is the more interesting room. It contains some archviles, imps and mancubi spread around the room and up on window sills. Also, there are 3 mostly transparent glass cubicles that block shots and archvile blasts. You need to use these to your advantage against the enemies. You'll have to do some line of sight mental calculations to ensure your shots aren't blocked.

Scypek2 has hidden several weapons behind secrets. The berserk, chainsaw, super shotgun and chaingun can be found as well as a backpack and some health.

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Map24: A simple hub spoke map with a neat idea, in that each key grants you access to a different weapon near the hub, but two rather annoying puzzles. Really, I don't think I solved the yellow key door puzzle, I just kept hitting the buttons until I got my way. When it comes to the one before the red key door, I didn't even solve it. I understood this one, but it was so incredibly tedious and wasn't working for me.

 

Map25: A fun map with a unique aesthetic. I wonder if this last episode takes place in miami... Anywho, the choice you have to make between the yellow and blue key is really cool, as it effects the order of progression, though both keys are required to exit.

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MAP25: Perterubator

For all intents and purposes, this is a "normal" map. Yes, it's plasma heavy, and yes, depending on which key you grab first, you get different progression, but the actual playing experience wouldn't be out of place in any of the more notable community megaWADs from the last 25 years or so. The great theming, with a dark, almost nightclub-esque interior with points of bright light and decorative installations around the edges set against the sunset sky both I and Scypek2 are so fond of and the colourful bricks outside. There's a hint of a bar on the way to the exit, with an ambush dancefloor, and some other areas with a communal/public space feel (such as the miniature courtyard with the MODWALL pillars on the way to the Cyberdemon) and even a hint of a museum, with the bullet-proof (and monster-sight-proof) glass cases (the effect around the one with the Evil Eye was bleeding a bit for me from some angles in GZDoom, but vanilla rendering effects often don't transition to the port that well). I think tmorrow's description of the map as a mansion is near the mark, but it's more like a particularly quirky bar or something for me. Definitely something a rich person with odd taste would build and allow visitors in.

 

Anyway, a fun map that is probably one of the highest points of the megaWAD (so far) for me.

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MAP25 : We are in the city! We enter into a building, walls will lower, monsters will fight. Armed with a plasma gun everything is easy to kill. In the central room a pair of revs and a air of chaingunners distract us from the secret opening, but not enough. To one side, a blue door, to the other a yellow.. We move forward, up the stairs and both keys are there. This being 3IAC, I doubt I can just grab both, so a choice must be made... Blue. As expected, picking the blue key sends the yellow one to another level. The blue door has a revenant and a switch behind a counter and some goodies on tables, I'm guessing this is the bar. The switch lowers a couple of dancing spiders and reveals another switch! That opnes up the path to the balcony, all the way to the blusphere, and then back we go. Going back we find a secret chainsaw and berserker. After a few seconds of wandering around I find the way : the courtyard, an elevator, a cyber teleporting to god knows where, a door, a manc, the yellow key. Picking it up, a pair of revs show up "no! that's ours!", ah! they wish. Now, the cow is in the center room so carefully we stride there, ready to unleash as many plasma as possible to his face. The first attempt is unsuccessful, the plasma gun has an extra danger while fighting the cows : it can hide the missiles until they are too close to dodge. Second try goes fine. Before progressing any further I went back to arm myself with more plasma and a green armour and now, on to the yellow door and finding a secret by mere chance! And what a secret! After failing to catch the SSG on top of a palm tree a few levels back, I finally have it on my arsenal. The YK room has a series of bullet proof glass walls, a pair of mancs and a archie. And damn, did that archie do a number on me. Down to 6% health I'll go back to grab some medikits. Back to full life I have to ponder on how deadly a manc giving cover to an archville is, the fat boy makes it impossible to hit the flame boy until he goes down, but the flameboy has a perfect line of vision to you... Up the stairs there's a weird symbol on the floor and a HK that thinks himself a cat, prancing left and right in a window ledge. We reach the other balcony with the blue armour on top of a pedestal. It lowers and far away (on the other side), the exit opens. A few pinkies escaped into the central room, giving me a chance to play a bit with the newfound SSG. Suprise caco on the exit actually surprises me, but not enough to leave a mark. So, 100% K/S/I, 1 death and 15m04s

 

 

totals : 7 deaths, 8 hours and 50 seconds.

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That reminds me!

 

+++ DBP23: Evil Egypt (played from 1st to 12th)

+++ DBP19: A Doomer Boards Christmas Carol (played from the 13th to the 24th)

 

Then we can have the last week off. With the first WAD, there is a 13th map, but it's just a showstopper with a bit of a credits thing to it. I've just picked this because it's a good length to fit in the month before the Christmas pack. The second WAD technically has 25 maps, but in practice every odd map is a hub map that takes a minute or so between the main maps (of which there are 12!) The one exception is the final instance of the hub map (MAP25) which is a showstopper, but has an amusing challenge built into it. Feels like a good time to do it, as the /idgames version of DBP19 is on its way into the archive now.

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MAP25: Perturbator - 100% kills 100% secrets

This map is a joy. Fast-paced combat, strong visuals and groovy beats come together to create one hell of a ride!

 

Perturbator epitomizes everything I like about this episode. Yet again, the plasma dominates, but this time the whole arsenal (sans the BFG) will get a hefty workout. There are many inconvenient hitscanners just begging for a shotgun blast to the face or a burst of bullets from the chaingun, many mid-tiers on which to satisfy one's primal need to pump something hostile full of lead with the SSG, and ample opportunity for rocket-induced gibbitude! Resources are plentiful, though not to the point of excess, and there is generally ample room to maneuver.

 

Aesthetically, the map is very distinct, resembling a bizarre hybrid between a hotel, a nightclub and a mansion. Red carpets, chandeliers and potted plants imply wealth and prestige, while the midi makes one want to party like there's no tomorrow. Simple bold texturing and fantastic lighting round out the visuals, making for a clean, original appearance.

 

One thing I'd like to note here is the general look and feel of @Scypek2's interpretation of earth. The texture choice, along with the sky and midis, creates a very strong and unique feeling, which I really appreciate. I normally have mixed feelings about Earth maps, mostly for aesthetic reasons. There is a strong tendency towards grunge in such maps, which I feel is hard to get right. I personally think maps 2-6 of Doom 2 do this style the best, even all these years later. Scypek2, though, opts for a completely different approach. Instead of channeling an almost dystopian industrial feeling, 3IAC's urban levels feel like a rough and tumble sea-side city, ugly in many ways, but with a pervasive feeling of warmth and energy, imbued by the music, scenery and glorious sunset skybox. I've never been to California (or the US for that matter), but it feels like what I imagine that part of the world to feel like. Naturally, this atmosphere synergizes well with the fast-paced combat.

 

Back to the subject of Perturbator, I don't really have anything else to add, expect maybe to say that the room with all the archviles and mancubi kind of kills the pacing a bit towards the end, but its not that important. @Phobus summed up the map very well in his post. A highpoint indeed.

 

Overall, fast, pretty, groovy and an all around good time.

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+++Plutonia

 

Shockingly, I have never played more than the first two maps of this seminal classic. Playing it through to the end for the first time with the club would be fun indeed.

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map26

A map with red brick, lots of doors, most of them non functional and where you meet an unlikely ally. The unlikely ally is an imp, stuck in a tiny cage and you've got to help him out. But before all that, you've got to find the yellow key.

The yellow key is hiding in a hedge maze and you've got to find your way there, fighting all opposition along the way. There are 3 secrets to find as well that will boost your health and armor, a soulsphere, megaarmor and a chainsaw.

Now return to the yellow door and doomguys best friend on the map. You need to enter the yellow door area, drop down and survive and you can't do it alone, fortunately you can count on your unlikely ally to help out.

Your unlikely ally is not through yet, he will help you out twice more. He seems to know more about what's going on in this map than you do, which is not that surprising since he's been here a lot longer than doomguy. Once you collect the blue key, your ally has done all he can to help you and you are on your own again.

The final showdown is a vicious revenant, mancubus and archvile trap in a muddy room. You can either escape the fight and return later or you can face the music and slog it out right there and then.

You might wonder whatever happened to our unlikely ally. Well, sadly, in the last big fight when you trigger the mancubus-archvile wall to lower, the poor little beggar gets crushed in an offmap closet. There is hope though, a solitary baron steps up to help doomguy out just when hope is almost lost.

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MAP25: Perturbator

 

There are many maps in 3iac I'm proud of, but this one is my favorite in terms of aesthetics. It feels unique, and everything works together really well. Even the blinking light in the main room syncs up with the beat of the music. I'm less confident about the gameplay (the bold choice of immediately giving the player a plasma gun with 300 cells on MAP19 made all the subsequent maps tricky to balance...), but it seems I managed to work it out well enough.

 

The map was primarily inspired by Club Doom (I even added the Williams Entertainment logo in homage), but ended up only mildly similar. I also listened to Hotline Miami OST while designing this level, and named it after one of its composers.

 

As different as it is from everything else there, the starting area is actually my favorite bit of the map. It's just a tiny cramped pathway between a building way and a fence, but I made sure to cram a lot of detail everywhere the player can see from their point of view, and now it feels like a huge thriving city all around you. Just don't noclip to check.

 

The exit has another instance of unusually seamless transition: instead of a switch in an empty room, the exit area is more of an airlock type thing, and the textures correspond to the beginning of MAP26.

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Gotta turn out for mah dbp homies

+++ DBP23: Evil Egypt

 +++ DBP19: A Doomer Boards Christmas Carol

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MAP26: Unlikely Ally

Early on this is simply another map. You note the caged Imp, but can't interact with him and the switch next to him does nothing obvious. Continuing on through the now familiar red bricks, sunset city sky and foliage (plus various brown textures) is a pretty enjoyable experience, with even the little hedge maze not being too bad. I found the double secret here, but never did find the third secret. Hopefully I won't miss it, this close to the end!

 

Once you've got the yellow key and wasted a load of ammo on the invisible sky ceiling edge (that the PE and one of the Cacodemons got stuck on for me), the gimmick for the map comes into play. I died the first time, watching the barrels advancing towards me, unsure of how the switch would save me. As I'd saved before jumping in, I could retry quickly and get it right with the Imp coming to my rescue just in time. The map is pretty clever after this, using tricks normally reserved for something like Cyberdreams to move the Imp around and have him visually interact with the world, flicking switches and even collecting a key for you before teleporting over to give it to you. Story wise, he ends up killed by a Baron of Hell (that I didn't go after in revenge, as I don't think I could get to the room it's in), so our hero carries on towards the end of the map through what's basically an unmarked secret, using the BRICK variants I commented on frequently in Demonfear. Of course, in practice I know the Imp gets crushed and that's a decorative body, but it all looks good and I'm pretty impressed with the mechanics of it all. A fun level that works nicely.

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