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rd.

The DWMiniwad Club Plays: lots of things

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mMf0X4b.png (edited, with meaningful differences italicized)

 

Spoiler

What is the DWMiniwad Club? 

 

It's like the DWMegawad Club, but we'll focus on single maps and smaller mapsets. "Smaller" refers to the amount of content, not necessarily the map count. The DWMegawad Club fills most of its days, but this club won't, so that you can maintain other Doom obligations.

 

Thread cycles are now roughly a month and a half. The next thread will begin around March 1.  

 

How will maps be selected? 

 

Through user suggestions and my own picks. My goal is to maintain some diversity along vectors like difficulty and art style, so selections won't always default to whatever got the most votes. 
 

How do I participate? 

 

Play along and post write-ups and share videos. Whatever you prefer. You can play any or all of the month's wads, in any order and at any time. When a set has more than one map, you can do a single write-up for the whole thing or one for each map.

 

Didn't you use that picture already? Why should I "like" the OP this time? I feel ripped off and want a new picture.

 

[due to space limitations, the FAQ must end now] 

 

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Wad 1Barbie Girl (one limit-removing map by Capellan)

 

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Wad 2: Running Late (five Boom-format maps by A2Rob)

 

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Wad 3: Kuchitsu (six limit-removing maps by Memfis)

 

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Wad 4: Fruit Salad (six Boom-format maps by Grain of Salt)

 

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Wad 5: Thunderpeak (two ZDoom maps by Vader)

 

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Wad 6: Skepland (three limit-removing maps for Plutonia by Skepticist)

 

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Wad 7+: on 2/10, from suggestions

 

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Hoover Dam (one vanilla map by Michael Reed)

Reliving the End (one Boom-format map by Alter)

Kingpin's Lair (one vanilla map by Mike Slama)

 

Notes: Running Late, Kuchitsu, and especially Fruit Salad are brief despite having the highest map counts. Skepland has long and difficult maps.

 

 

Previous Threads

 

 

Edited by rd.

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Fruit Salad
The "gimmick" of this set is that the palette changes with every map, which keeps things interesting visually. It comes with FS_PinkPalette.wad, which can be loaded along with the main wad to modify the palette differently. But most importantly, the gameplay is really fun.

 

Map01: UV-Max in 0:58
A somewhat claustrophobic map with multiple routing options. Some weapons are more dangerous to grab than others, and the BFG can be grabbed right away with some luck. There's more space to move if you're upstairs, but then you're more exposed to arachnotron fire.

 

Map02: UV-Max in 1:05
Also claustrophobic, but this time it's just an arena, and your movement is limited more by the demons themselves than by walls. You can do this cautiously by not firing a shot and letting the cyberdemon infight the initial enemies, but it's more fun to wake everything up first and do whatever you can to survive the resulting chaos.

 

Map03: UV-Max in 2:11
Another one where you can be more cautious and avoid waking things up, but that isn't what I did here. The fight for the rocket launcher takes place in a really tight space with multiple hell knights and revenants, and usually goes surprisingly well for me. It's one of the most enjoyable parts of the map.

 

Map04: UV-Max in 0:49
Possibly the shortest and easiest map in the set. I'm told the jump to the exit can be done with SR40, but I'm not sure how, so I just used SR50.

 

Map05: UV-Max in 1:55

Similar to map01 in that the weapons are all out in the open and available immediately if you can get past the monsters, but that's easier said than done. Getting the big guns quickly requires some luck with the mancubi's positions, but I'm sure you could clear the way with the SSG otherwise.

 

Map06: UV-Max in 2:38
This BFG spamfest has more monsters than the previous 5 maps combined. It's a satisfying opportunity to never let go of the trigger, and if you know where the megaspheres are, you can charge face-first into a horde of tough monsters and get away with it.

 

Overall, great wad.

 

 

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Playing barbie girl........ not sure the intended way of doing test area 2, guess i'm gonna "brute force" it by

Spoiler

just waiting for the demon to wander over to the X?

 

edit: nevermind i think i got it

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I completed barbie girl :D


 

Spoiler

 

Nice idea, mostly nice gameplay, i was really low on ammo and health near the end, my demon also somehow got stuck on the edge of the second white door/pillar (the one that releases the vile) and I "had to" noclip into the test area and help it out by letting it start to bite me :(

 

I like how the revs n' cacos trap is threatening wherever you are, even though it's a complicated area.

 

The first bit of test area 3 was pretty frustrating, the demon can so easily just run into the reset teleporter.

 

 

Btw did you know there's a Memfis map where you guide a demon through a maze to freedom? It's in some map compilation I can't remember the name of....

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I will jump around and play various things. Today I was in the mood for Running Late. Notes and stuff:

 

01 - "Green Shift"

 

Solid opener. A drip feed of imps and sergeants builds into a big brawl in a slimy rectangular courtyard. Since I knew what was coming, I quickly dispatched the chaingunners guarding the switch that lowers the red key, and released the next wave of monsters. That results in some infights and a fun dose of extra pressure. 

 

The design style is very "near retro': I'd associate it with the late '00s era of design, a lot of blocky shapes and bright colors.  It's cute and comfy. 

 

Funny thing is that with community output steeped in the vanilla resurgence ushered in by works like DTWID, that late '00s period now feels even *more* definitively "classic" to me than the period that predated it. Doom is a mobius strip. 

 

02 - "Crate Temple" 

 

Hello Vanguard map04. The cave-building exterior facade, the Hangmen, the slow cinematic plunge into, I guess, a temple of crates... (Wait that's what it is actually called.) A lot of this is unapologetically skillsaw, even down to the secret ultra-stacked armor helmet. The author is definitely still doing their own thing too; one-off bits of detailing like this are from a different style entirely. 

 

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The flat room-door-room floorplan hampers the action at times, and the resulting doorways make the two major "backtrack" fights perfunctory, but it's still fun on average. The big imp mob down in the water pit is very intense, a lot more intense than I expected. My favorite fight was the pinky-rev sandwich (you are the meat) in the spooky marble halls. 

 

03 - "Clocking Out"

 

....hello Vanguard map07. 

 

Wasn't feeling it this time. It's kinda dry. The intial parts of the revenant wave were fun, but once cyb and co open up, everything bunches up statically in the center and even the pain elementals don't offer much. The main thing Vanguard's Dead Simple map had was fodder flanking from the center and tighter spaces leading to more pressure from a similar monster count.

 

Right before the exit we get a cinematic, vaguely Mr. X-ish introduction of Running Late's take on the plasma zombie. This is probably my favorite "beefy" plasma zombie implementation. It has been greatly nerfed from Scythe 2's version in both HP and speed, but it is still fast and packs a punch, making it exciting to fight in that role and plenty scary when it's blitzing at you.  

 

04 - "Full Lot" 

 

I don't mind how homagey these maps are when they actually work, and this one was definitely fun. The big (Free) Parking area fight practically begs you to run about and synthesize some chaos. The plasma marines shine because you really have to watch out for them even when everything else is occupied with infighting.

 

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This is a neat case of where the BFG is functionally "weaker" than a plasma rifle, until later on. A plasma rifle would have made short work of the barred-in teleportation pincer, and two BFG shots aren't really needed against the parking lot horde. The author is aware of that, inverting the cell weapon progression and giving you the plasma rifle later. 

 

A lot of the setpieces do rely on the same general blueprint: symmetrical space, stuff invading your space, with not a lot of nuance. But the monster composition varies enough to mix the needed tactics up, and they are fun, which is what matters. 

 

There is yet another stacked armor bonus secret. I thought the method of concealment was clever. It is not quite as obvious as a differently colored torch! 

 

05 - "The Big Promotion" 

 

This is another one that is fun to rip through, not killing much at first, just unleashing lots of different spawns and watching the resulting ruckus. The palette swap really makes all the material colors sing here. I was fond of this pipe detailing implement in the distance for some reason. Enough to take a screenshot of it. 

 

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On the red key wing, one of the zombiemen in the big zombieman fight (yes there is one of those) inevitably takes the teleporter that is smartly not monster-blocked off, so you telefrag him upon return.  The blue key wing was my favorite. BFGing viles is fun. I had just enough cells to deal with the archvile trio before it got really messy and they resurrected a wall of skellies. 

 

We had a Dead Simple map in slot 3, so would it be surprising if I told you there was an Icon of Sin in slot 5. The answer to that is probably still yes. It's a simple task -- rush through with BFG spam and hit switches on either half. It is not exactly insistent on you staying, with no convoluted mechanisms, which is of course what I'd expect given the easygoing ethos of much of this. Overall, good stuff.

 

06 - "The Crusher"


Wow this is a lot different. I quit when I saw the mastermind. Seems impossible. 

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9 hours ago, Grain of Salt said:

I completed barbie girl :D

 

Btw did you know there's a Memfis map where you guide a demon through a maze to freedom? It's in some map compilation I can't remember the name of....

 

Not aware of the memfis map.  Glad you mostly had fun with BG.  It's definitely something out of the ordinary for me!

 

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Jumping to Fruit Salad today. Next up, another day, will likely be Barbie Girl.

 

01 - "Ice World 1" 

 

Not quite a combat puzzle as much as it an "itinerary puzzle." To start, I picked up the rocket launcher, and took out a high ledge spider and the two low ledge spiders. By that time the goats had marched over, so I ran to the east and funnelled rockets into the platoon of revenants, dashed in and took out the chaingunners with the goats on my heels, and grabbed the BFG. Other approaches are present. The map is arranged for you to plan *something* of that nature, whatever you are comfortable with. 

 

I composed the MIDI, so I will chat about it for a bit. Thank you for using it GoS. It is somber and sparkly, the direct antithesis of something like "Shawn's Got the Shotgun." In my mind it conjures images of magical realms. It is also a bit of a love tune. My favorite BGMs in Doom are often really chill -- Ribbiks is in my pantheon of my favorite composers. 

 

02 - "Mountain World 1" 

 

Moshpit microslaughter. An onslaught of pinkies and hell knights rages at the top of a triangular arena, an overmatched cyberdemon tries to stem their tide, and revenants spectate critically with their heads in the clouds (seriously, look at their heads lol). It is Fruit Salad's simplest map, and one of the most directly satisfying to play. You can rush the BFG before waking everything up, which gives you an out if you get trapped by the horde, but I find it most fun to ban myself from grabbing it until later. 

 

Due to some colormap shenanigans and fake floors, the palette has changed quite significantly from Ice World, which is a device that is one of Fruit Salad's core design choices. Monster projectiles are now green, rather than Ice World's blue, and your BFG shoots blue goo instead of hot pink, with the bonus octahedra mirroring that change! That technique is really cool tbh. 

 

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03 - "Christmas World 1" 

 

One of the more technical maps to max, as it requires navigating two conventional setpieces that wouldn't be out of place in the earlier parts of something like Sunlust, and then finessing some infights out of the ledge hordes in the second half. 

 

Another palette change gives us a reddish pink and bright green as the dynamic colors of note, which is kind of what you'd expect from the name! 

 

04 - "Ice World 2" 

 

The structure of this mapset is basically a 2-ALL, to use a shmup term, looping twice through IW -> MW -> CW and their associated palettes. The second pass through Ice World takes the nimbleness required to grab the first's rocket launcher and expands it into the map's notable mini-challenge -- exiting requires dashing somewhat precisely to the imp platform.

 

The intensely saturated highlight colors are very pretty.

 

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05 - "Mountain World 2" 

 

Moshpit redux, this time a multiplanar environment with single-species blocks that commingle violently with others -- or in the case of the zombies, with themselves. Understanding where the rocket launcher is and grabbing it before the mancubi rolls expand to swallow it up is the important thing for beating this efficiently. 

 

Blood looks syrupy in this palette. I haven't checked if the color changes meaningfully or if the contrast with the others that do produces that impression.

 

06 - "Christmas World 2" 

 

At this point I'll mention that I like the status bar.

 

Christmas World is a familiar Doom conceit: plow through hundreds of imps and revenants and hellknights and arachnotrons and all sorts of other miscreants in order to find the secret at the heart of the corrupted world, which, in this case is a tree -- the leader tree that commands all the trees in the skybox. Okay more seriously (?!) it's a Christmas tree that you have obtained as a quest reward, as the intertext informs us. 

 

In functional terms, it's BFG spam where you can lean on your firing button and plow through everything, usually with a generous megasphere in the vicinity. It bears mentioning that arachnotrons are, like in most of Fruit Salad, notable presences. Spiders are the mid-tier that goes overlooked most easily in the genre, owing to their big hitboxes. Not here. Fruit Salad has been touted as a comfortable intro point to slaughter, and I would agree with that notion.

 

Overall grade: Good and gay. 

 

07 - The "thanks for playing" map. 

 

Not a Dead Simple map, +100 bonus points. 

Edited by rd.

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3 hours ago, rd. said:

Next up, another day, will likely be Barbie Girl.

 

*moves the sun* 

 

Barbie Girl

 

I like gimmick maps of this sort: the aesthetics, the core gameplay idea, and hell, even the music, are all intertwined. The main idea, which I think one could discover even without reading, is luring a pinky demon codenamed Barbie, cordoned off in inaccessible parts of the map, to pressure plates that operate machinery required to make progress. Some of these are finnicky at times, but the required moves aren't super elaborate you know the idea. For my part, the midtex grid texture chosen makes it harder to track what is going on the other side, which doesn't impede the solution but made it less satisfying to observe. 

 

Supporting the puzzle aspect is mid-density combat revolving around heavy hitters, posing attritive threats to health and ammo -- unless you discover the ample secrets. Half of the secrets in Capellan's megawad Doom 404 show a really exaggerated restraint -- we're talking "have a few shells and a couple of stimpacks" -- but Barbie Girl's caches, in direct contrast, are always more standard no-holds-barred freebies. They include an SSG, rocket launcher, and plasma rifle, but none of this is overpowered. They work more as convenient ways of doing what you can do anyway, like SSG-ing early cacos instead of chaingunning them. That duality of "looks strong but doesn't disrupt the standard balance" requires being attuned to what a map asks of the player, so as to not step on it. It helps that the core challenge in "Barbie Girl" remains getting the stubborn Barbie to free you regardless of how much easier the combat becomes.  

 

The aesthetics are solid. A lot of staples of the stock-textured semi-realistic techbase are present, such as hoisting setups around crates (which there are a lot of), and computers on desks with monitors and keyboards. FIREBLU is the exotic experimental substance, and lava-worn rocky caverns situate this research facility probably underground or in a mountain somewhere. There is a lot of texture variety and little one-off detailing implements. Loved the signs written in exit textures. Always thought it was cool that one can do that. 

 

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Grade: plastic fantastic. 

 

02 - "Underhalls"

Edited by rd.

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A question about Thunderpeak: are players meant to crouch to progress? If so, @rd. could you add that to the OP? It's not specified in the text file. I know jumping is mandatory in some parts, since you'd be stuck otherwise or not get a secret or two I believe.

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For the curious, crouching in Thunderpeak isn't obligatory per se, although there is one only half-closed door in the first map you could pass under it to get in a room with goodies without breaking anything, since that same door will be fully opened later. Jumping is necessary. 

 

I also finnished Skepland yesterday. That completes the whole current list for me! 

 

 

Barbie Girl

 

My dumb brain didn't connect the "BARBIE" sign with the pinky demon when it's so obvious. I thought it was a reference for the uncultured who never heard the song before, although thinking of it, who in the universe wouldn't know such iconic masterpiece...

 

A very fun map to play casually. The only struggle when recording was at the second test area, the guinea pinky would get lost in the clouds and not trigger the lift in time before the door closed, which sometimes added quite many extra seconds of nothing happening and so I preferred to restart. It's minor and not a downside to the gameplay, in fact a thing I love the most is how the gimmick takes advantage of the few lines monsters can also trigger -- the "lower wait raise" lift, repeatable door" -- in a sort of "behind the scenes" way, while you do need to supervise what the experiment is doing. Those actions came in real handy when I wanted to "script" timed releases in vanilla format, so I consider them special. 

 

Capellan has always shown good taste in classic techbase detailing. The highlight for me (in combat), that being when cacodemons and revenants storm the cargo room, was also where the cutest visual thing is located: yes, that rope holding a crate. I was immediately brought to that floating box in the first map of "Suspended in Dusk", just fine and lovely doomcute in all its glory!!

 

Another quite appreciated thing was the scattered buttons that were revealed after I was done with a test area, a neat way to reaffirm you succeeded in the experiments.

 

 

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A little point of clarification, since this has probably confused at least one person: my posts in these threads aren't "reviews" like newstuff or the few I did for Not Jabba's NTC thread. They are just forum posts. I'm not really a reviewer.

 

Thunderpeak

 

First thought: only 203 monsters?! It kinda goes to show how big Megamaps have gotten in recent years that my expectations were double or triple that. That is a good thing, since I don't want to sit through an overly length behemoth atm. (Obviously it's ZDoom so the count will get higher, but it is still a relevant bellwether.) 

 

Second: that weather effect is fucking cool, thunder and lightning shattering the air around the shadowy mountains on the horizon. Combined with that sleekly detailed base facade, a strong first impression is inevitable. 

 

Inside, the impression continues, with a lot of neat effects like the sliding doors that shriek open and this electricity filament running floor to ceiling along this panel with a buzzing noise. It suggest a sprawling base at early stages of humanless dilapidation. 

 

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Also depicted: the chaingunner that took off half my health while I was trying to get a shot of this.

 

The gameplay is generally designed to accentuate the cinema of the experience, and outside of some barons tossed around like seasoning, it is generally light enough not to impede on the proceedings and force to you grind through stuff. There are some fleeting moments where combat dynamics come to the forefront, notably around key and around certain chrome-plated custom monsters I will not spoil. When I play adventure-centric maps, I do prefer when authors are willing to risk the appearance of triviality across larger stretches --, instead of heavy-handedly stuffing extensive combat everywhere when their heart isn't into that and it shows. 

 

The first sliding door right off the bat made me think of esselfortium's Vaporware, so I wasn't surprised at all to see the same fox monster that drops an exploding bomb upon death. It shows we're stepping in the same general pool of inspiration -- KDIZD. 

 

Grab the yellow key on the left side of the base, take it to the center, ride down a claustrophobic high-tech elevator and disable forcefields and inspect your status on computer screens, with remote monitor surveillance just in view. There are a lot of neat effects here, like revolving turbines and more of those humming energy coils.

 

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For my taste, though the later third does pick up with more interesting uses of the new cast, it does feel like a denouement in that we've seen most of what the power facility has to offer in its aesthetic toolkit of effects and architecture. 

 

Luckily there is more! Our journey has come to, a vast crumbling bridge suspended in the abyssal mountain range we saw from the initial vista of part one, with a few revenants raving under colored spotlights, pincer traps to make your prove your worth, and a sense of foreboding lurking in all the quiet moments.

 

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After a really neat descent to the bottom, you end up in the circular core of the place. Take out the two [spoilers] in the circular core and the [spoilernator] finally deigns you with its presence. It has a whole host of powerful attacks, most of which I didn't want to stick around and get hit by even for science. I did confirm, by way of unintended impact, that the red orb attack is nasty. It is a slow-footed monster, so keep moving and you will be fine. 

 

ca10DQ1.png

 

Btw in spirit, this is one map, divided at a logical joint in the progression. The Doomworld 100 Most Memorable Maps lists it as one entry, I just pointed out there were two maps so that no one actually missed the boss showdown phase of it lol. 

Edited by rd.

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I might be wrong, but I'm guessing the idea behind the Running Late palette was to swap the saturation of the blue and green colour ranges, so blue becomes fairly desaturated and green becomes very bold. I think the blue looks very nice, particularly in the sky (just a beautiful sky in general, nice stars and nice clouds) and the blue skull key on map02, but I'm not a huge fan of the green. I think there's better hues for strong saturated greens, making this shade of green more saturated has a kind of "washing up liquid" result imo. The combination of green & blue still looks quite nice in the map01 outdoor area though.

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knock knock, I would like to bump this to the front page thanks

 

 

Skepland

 

Occasionally I like to binge watch doom demos that were uploaded on Youtube, and skepland would appear in my recommended every time. Those two available pleasant videos sold it very well: music tracks from Plutonia 2, mm yes please, visuals in plutonia flavor, irresistible to me [- Jessica Simpson], modest enemy count yet seemingly tied to some very harassing environments, all while ill-equipped and running like a mad chicken looking for a safe spot so you remember to adjust your back posture, stuff is going straight to my list then!

 

Two years later, thanks to this wholesome free space, I finally grabbed the damn thing and played with it (the wad!!). As expected, it kicked my ass unashamed and unpunished, as every corner is filled with danger, but perseverance was key to victory -- of course, not without a little bit of salty sweating and blaspheming included, but the reward of silencing the last standing douchebag was much bigger. 

 

The maps aren't too difficult to unravel on a second thought: they work like puzzles with specific combinations, in which the higher the skill setting the more limited that initial exploration is. It's getting a foothold the roughest part, no doubt, between skipping past the bulk of mancubi and dodging hitscan crossfire, not to forget the tons of other multiple hitters and meat shields in the way, so that past the first checkpoint you get to breathe and think "we good, now just don't fuck it up".

 

The demand softens a little once you're fully armed (loved the resources stores idea in map 03), becoming more muscle-memory/straightforward battling incidental stragglers, removing snipers and defusing traps in advance, though still maintaining the heavy hitter abundance, thus the risk of getting pwned stays there if you're not paying attention -- speaking of monsters, zombiemen and pinkies are absent, which is understandable. Of all the rest of the roster, spectres surprised me the most in how effective they were in spite of their super cliche role as pit patrols: sometimes one of them would sneak up from below and ruin my timed run to a secret. 

 

Skepland has some of the most awe-inspiring Plutonia aesthetics and architecture I've seen in a while, no detail point looks overdone and each area is distinguishable from the rest. If I had to pick a favourite theme it would be the brown-centric layout of map 02 combined with blood and marble cubes outdoors, a limited range of colours that blend perfectly with each other. I also liked those drawings on the floors and ceiling here and there, even though I've no idea what they represent, some kind of logos I guess?... whatever, they're attractive.  

 

I quite enjoyed the maps more than enough to give recording a solid try, not before checking a few official speedruns for guidance -- for example, it seemed more fruitful to take the painful endeavor of an early pacifist SSG grab in exchange of regular shotgun grinding meat shields later on, if mostly for safeness. Likewise, there's a bit of potential disaster involved in those slow lifts below the cyberdemon's crotch in map 01, so dealing with that asap was wiser, at the prize of a juicy BFG too (kept this demo for the cyb part with 4 health, wasn't a fan of how the rest went). 

 

There's a lot more to talk in depth about each map but I don't have the time to do it... in conclusion, Skepland is good.

 

 

btw, it's suggestions day, so:

 

+++ Hoover Dam

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Added a few standalone maps to the OP: Hoover Dam, Reliving the End, and Kingpin's Lair, which are vanilla, Boom, and vanilla again. 

 

Hoover Dam

 

Had not played this one before, though I had heard of it and its status as a classic. So much feels ahead of its time, like the clever interconnectedness of the layout, the compactness with which areas are situated relative to one another, and the clear exposition of goals like key doors before they are meant to be interacted with. Progression repeatedly wends through important nodes, two or three in each key-color zone, and each time you double back over one, you learn that groups of monsters have been infused into the flow of combat. I was reminded of the modern trope of the "backtracking fight," but these occurrences are first-class citizens in the map's overall flow, rather than throwaway encounters that exist more to keep you active. Less modern is the sheer frequency of grid-like rock shafts exactly 64 map units in width, but honestly, it was satisfying to plow through these regions, big weapons in hand, Doomguy maniacally grinning, [rest of sentence drowned out by plasma rifle noise]  

 

The adventure is choreographed expertly. Combined with striking scale and use of naturalistic features by 1995 standards, it's easy to see why this became well known.

 

QrMfL9T.png

that imp: "hi Mom I'm on TV" 

 

Edited by rd.

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Reliving the End

 

This is Doom 2 map29 reincarnated, in many senses as its tonal inverse. The playfully swashbuckling background MIDI, Atomic.mid by Jimmy, points our ears in that direction right away. From there, the gameplay is all free-wheeling guns-blazing dopamine-rushing chaingun cha-cha stuff, rather than the slow build of its structural inspiration. Rocket boxes and, later, cell packs, are handed out like (suspicious) candy, which is a big shift from the original's clamped-down pistol start that requires secret-hunting for a smooth ride. The architectural scale is blown up immensely -- two whole Living Ends[1] would fit in Alter's mammoth cavern -- so you have a lot of space to move while spamming away all that ammo. This type of reconfiguration is cool. Thematic and conceptual subversions are far from unheard of, but it's rare to see such a deliberate commitment to a particular brand of gamefeel subversion. 

 

The core construction is on the spartan end, so the visual appeal is grounded more in the presentational verve. It's in arachnotrons and mancubi that lob attacks from miles away. (When they infight, the ones located near you can send streams of projectiles miles into the distance, which is fun to watch. I always rooted for the arachnotrons.) It's in the expected assortment of slowly rising catwalks. It's in big setpieces with lots and lots of revenants or archviles, and the almost gratuitous number of fights featuring siege cows. And it's hard to miss, or forget, the spectacle of the raging inferno in the skybox, towering above everything. 

 

I want to revisit this sometime. Was quite fun. 

 

 

[1] Sounds vaguely like a butt pun that I don't intend.

Edited by rd.

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I'd just like to say those two newer additions -besides Hoover Dam- were good fun, thank you for picking them. I'll make time for each before the end of the month, possibly have to skip Running Late and Fruit Salad this time (sorry GoS!!) though I can confirm they're good quality stuff -- on the other side, some Kuchitsu level-by-level commentary would be a nice read before bed time, just saying, no pressure (:

 

(I could make them if you don't want to)

 

 

I played Hoover Dam on december last year and gave my thoughts in the reviews section of it. There's something really charming about visiting maps of all eras. This ol' grandpa of a map keeps in great shape despite its partially anachronistic design, as it's been said before, it's clear the mapper knew what they were doing and accomplished a sweet adventure with moments of adrenaline and literally feeling like you're saving a natural place from evil justimp beavers... (ban me please).

 

It's only a pity the map doesn't include a proper midi or a different sky... good thing you can change that :D

 

Have I mentioned how satisfying is to ninja saw a chaingunner? Even more, multiple chaingunners? That's one gift Hoover Dam gave me through foreknowledge. 

 

I also can't not point out how unusually accurate the shotgun was during the first few gunshots, by far the best shotgun in years!

 

 

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Reliving the End

(GLB+, HMP-UV)

 

I dig a good "The Living End" reinterpretation and this was no exception. From the huge openness to the breath-taking scale of the layout, to the ominous black clouds and fiery gases reigning over our heads. My mouth dropped a bit when I saw the sky moved. It's awesome. Dynamic skies appear to be criminally underused or else I'm not playing enough boom maps lately - the only other examples I can think of are Adonis map 32 (which once seen it's stuck in your mind forever) or fireblu in a Pinchy joke map iirc. 

 

The mapper suggests "HMP for first timers", and my mind went straight to Hellscape's map 29 hitscan welcoming feast, so I obeyed, just in case. Fortunately the ones that greeted me at the bottom were all friendly arachnotrons, who I turned into my soldiers, which meant a good spectacle started. No chaingunners in sight apparently, at least not far away, no sergeants hiding behind corners either, a sign that this might play smoother than its source of inspiration on this first time... which was indeed like that for the rest of the journey, thanks to the generally unrestrained space dotted with goodies and recovery. A replay on UV showed me very few subtle differences -- one that even vanished to a spider mastermind that was already there before -- yet no extra hitscan punishment, so suffice to say, it's pretty accessible as well without the fear of getting pwned too much, if that's a concern.

 

I got a similar vibe to when I (re)played Hoover Dam, in continuation to the club's list, in that the fighting was part of a bigger picture. The bits of choreography and tactical thinking, the infight product of merely exploring further, the transitions to more confined battles in between, the feeling that the deeper I go the closer I am to the source of an evil plan, while always remembering to stand in awe of the infernal view above, that makes Reliving the End an adventure with its own spice that I enjoyed a lot, one that leaves me wondering what else has Alter in store. 

 

A couple minuses: some pillar imps will be inevitably knocked off alive either by crossfire or your own ammo. They seem to have their radar up to date as they were usually close to my position anywhere on the last section. The other, I'm not a fan of the secret BFG being an official one-time secret and that late into the map. I do like the required double vile-jump and that it's hinted in the automap, but the cybs or whatever add nothing but annoying distraction. I don't think these stuff matters that much on casual though...

 

 

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Kingpin's Lair

(UV, Crispy)

 

This is cute 90s-mapping trademark. It has a brief plot with a mission for doomguy, not at all obligatory as it doesn't spoil much of the map, but leaves a lot to the imagination, which is even better imo. The story says you've been drugged with some kind of hallucinogen on your way to the lair's entrance, so that could hint at how progression throughout the map can feel extra convoluted at first. It's configured such as you need to explore and experiment a bit with the environment to find the next piece, lest you fall in a loop of dead ends. A classic thing from 90s maps is to find non-obvious switches or cross an undefined line trigger, and both are present here. It's actually requiring to walk on a trampoline in order to raise a necessary step somewhere else what makes it amusing for me. Add that texturing is very clean for the era and I'm instantly reminded of Memento Mori/Requiem -- hence why a different midi would suit better over d_runnin, like one from Mark Klem for example. I'd even go as far as to say this map reaches cute levels of Memfis mapping...

 

The story also calls monsters "resistance". Nice, because I can't resist to assign them roles!... Nearly all of the roster present is og doom except for two arachnotrons. I like to think the one at the parking garage is the dog guardian of the house, while the other, more easily missed, could be a neighbor hanging out with its cacodemon pals, until they start a street fight. The landlord baron in the northernmost courtyard is teaching his imp nephews and zombies how to swim, while his cousins sleep inside. He unfortunately could only purchase a lower cost pool, those DeepWater branded weren't in the market yet. If I'm honest, I think that pool still looks fancy with the trampoline, plus it's more spacious than the pond where the BK is located. Oh, don't miss the poor soul behind the start, after all, it's lost and lonely.

 

There's a wealthy number of secrets too, including an early RL plus an invul orb perfectly matched together. You can take that RL alone and make quick sauce of multiple imp and shotgunner gangs along the way, or slay a baron if inclined to. From my part, I saved the invul for the zombiemen awaiting for me on the other side (though sure those earlier gibs would have been fun, had I thought about it before). There's another hidden path -secret-in-secret included-  which adds an alternative access to the pool. It feels more natural using it to cut backtrack than for the content inside per se, though it's also fun to shock those imps too. A couple blue artifacts nearing the end appear to be inaccessible, maybe an illusion cause of the drug? who knows...

 

Overall, cool stuff (2)

 

 

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Today is zeedewm. Last will be Kuchitsu...

 

 

Thunderpeak

(UV, ZDoom)

 

I think I've been vocal in the past about my very limited experience (or interest) in zdoom, reasons that are besides the point right now, but that's changing. Mercury Rain was a step back into the territory, Hanging Gardens, another step further, Thunderpeak showed me what many other attractions I was missing. 

 

There's quite so many highlights in this adventure, most which have been expressed already --the weather effect is awesome indeed, that would have been mind-blowing to me if I've played this when it was still a newborn, and the action-to-adventure balance seemed well judged to me--, so I'll bring up the videos directly instead of text (slept like shit so lazy mode on).

 

Ah, figured out how to avoid the inevitable in-game pause when zdoom looses focus. Assuming windowed mode, since that's more convenient. The key is in clicking the record button -in OBS- immediately after the startup, then quickly click on the window's title bar so it starts capturing from the melt effect, and bibbidi bobbidi boob no annoying pause menu!. It can take a few attempts to get the hang of it... 

 

 

 

As far as suggestions, though I'm not sure about the future of the club, but if it's still going on, here is some variety:

 

+++ A Hidden Mountain Factory, a 1996 vanilla map with some difficulty, darkness, claustrophobia and lots of secrets.

+++ No Quarter, an expansive 2002 limit-removing e1m3 replacement, huge zombiemen spam and techbase/building cute details. 

+++ Big Woodchip, a medium-sized 2014 limit-removing map, all wooden and corruption (might need boom because of broken monster tele setups)

+++ Misanthropolis, a large 2020 boom castle-themed map with tons of stuff to do, bit on the modern challenging side of gameplay.

+++ Decimate, a 1999 limit-removing map, pretty short and old-school, runs perfectly fine in crispy/cl2 in spite of being tested in zdoom

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