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garudave

New Guy's Thoughts on Alien Vendetta

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I've been fond of Doom for a long time but never really delved into custom content.  I was inspired by MtPain27's videos to start delving into custom Doom.  I decided to start with Alien Vendetta, thought I would just drop some thoughts and see what kinda conversation comes up.  I just finished it on UV.

 

I averaged my rating for all the maps and rounded it to a 7/10.  I think the wad starts off fine, gets pretty great in the middle, and kinda slumps at the end.  I'll definitely be revisiting all the Malde maps, something about the mix of visuals and combat in those maps really appealed to me (except maybe Blood Sacrifice).

 

I really loved Demonic Hordes and Dark Dome but found the last few maps to be overly frustrating and trial-and-error heavy.  I cheated to complete the last map because the strafe run to the elevator at the bottom really wasn't working out for me lol.

 

My favorite map was probably Toxic Touch.  Something about dispatching those squads of hit-scanners in room after room was really satisfying to me, kind of Wolf3D esque.  My least favorite map was Nukefall, the cyberdemon in the small room at the start really soured the rest of the map for me and I ended up skipping 100% kills because I was really not having fun.

 

Next up I'll be playing through Sigil and then venturing into Final Doom, all of which is gonna be new to me.  Sorry if this topic is extraneous, really just wanted to dip into this community because it seems like a friendly one :) Plus now I can stop pestering my friends with updates about my Doom pilgrimage lol

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Posted (edited)

Welcome!

 

Nice job beating Alien Vendetta on UV, I hear that's supposed to be pretty difficult (though I haven't played it yet myself). The amount of custom Doom content out there is endless, so there's certainly a lot for you to enjoy.

 

IMHO, Sigil and Final Doom are good, but TNT Evilution is more historically significant than it is good, as it has a lot of high points and a lot of low points. Still enjoyable and worth playing, but greatly surpassed by modern megawads.

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8 minutes ago, northivanastan said:

Welcome!

 

Nice job beating Alien Vendetta on UV, I hear that's supposed to be pretty difficult (though I haven't played it yet myself). The amount of custom Doom content out there is endless, so there's certainly a lot for you to enjoy.

 

IMHO, Sigil and Final Doom are good, but TNT Evilution is more historically significant than it is good, as it has a lot of high points and a lot of low points. Still enjoyable and worth playing, but greatly surpassed by modern megawads.

 

It was pretty tough, but I ended up save scumming to get by the more brutal spots since I'm still improving.  Seems like a lot of the more appreciated mapsets rank high on difficulty, so I figured I should try to git gud before I really go crazy.

 

I am curious how I would do on a second play since I'm familiar with some of the dickishness in the maps.  The difficulty rarely got in the way of my fun, I probably died 30 plus times on Dark Dome but it was one of my favorite maps.

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Welcome to Doomworld! I have mixed feelings about AV. The lack of actual theme continuity really bothers me. None of the maps actually feel like they belong in the same wad, as if they were single map releases put into a megawad( I'm aware that there were multiple authors, though why they didn't have some set themes for map slots is beyond me). The final few maps broke me due to the constant slaughter arenas and I ended up not finishing it. Too many slaughter maps tend to make my brain feel smooth. Map 20: Mishri Halek, however, is one of my favourite maps in any megawad , period. The music, the texturework and the atmosphere and everything in between is just incredible.

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14 hours ago, garudave said:

I cheated to complete the last map because the strafe run to the elevator at the bottom really wasn't working out for me lol.

 

The mandatory wallrun section from 20 years ago claims another soul

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2 hours ago, Silhou3tte said:

Welcome to Doomworld! I have mixed feelings about AV. The lack of actual theme continuity really bothers me. None of the maps actually feel like they belong in the same wad, as if they were single map releases put into a megawad( I'm aware that there were multiple authors, though why they didn't have some set themes for map slots is beyond me). The final few maps broke me due to the constant slaughter arenas and I ended up not finishing it. Too many slaughter maps tend to make my brain feel smooth. Map 20: Mishri Halek, however, is one of my favourite maps in any megawad , period. The music, the texturework and the atmosphere and everything in between is just incredible.

 

I don't mind the lack of continuity because most of the maps are visually appealing.  I can understand the desire to have more of a narrative feel to playing through the megawad, it might have helped with the last stretch feeling too exhausting.

 

The map 25-27 stretch is fairly grueling, I was definitely over the slaughter by map 27, even though I liked the preceding 2 maps.  Map 27 is pretty stingy with pickups as well, so that map is one of my least favorites.

 

I LOVE Misri Halek.  Definitely my runner up behind Toxic Touch.  Both maps are dripping with bleak atmosphere, that's definitely my vibe.  I love the cliffside area in the second half of Misri Halek, gunning down enemies with plasma and trying not to strafe into lava.

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4 minutes ago, Grain of Salt said:

 

The mandatory wallrun section from 20 years ago claims another soul

 

Yeah, I'm going to have to return and beat that map legit one day to restore my honor.  I was definitely feeling fatigued by the mapset at that point hehe

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 I definitely agree. A lot of the maps have aged very well visually. The problem I have with the lack of them continuity, is that you start to feel what I call "visual whiplash", a feeling of everything feeling out of place, every time you begin a map. What I'm saying sounds pretentious, but I felt it a lot when I played the map. In any other wad where there is theme continuity, or at least recurring themes once or twice after each other, taking in a environment visually takes a few seconds and doesn't lead to discomfort.

8 minutes ago, garudave said:

I LOVE Misri Halek.  Definitely my runner up behind Toxic Touch.  Both maps are dripping with bleak atmosphere, that's definitely my vibe.  I love the cliffside area in the second half of Misri Halek, gunning down enemies with plasma and trying not to strafe into lava.

I just had a look and it was ranked the first most memorable rank in Doomworlds top 100 most memorable maps. Definitely deserves it.

https://doomwiki.org/wiki/MAP20:_Misri_Halek_(Alien_Vendetta)

 

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Posted (edited)

As someone who has played many mapsets, but just recently beat AV about a month ago, I have to say that while there are some rough edges like having some dumb enemy placements (the worst being Map17's Cyberdemon) or odd level placements (Map24 being a tech base map in middle of a hell episode), I liked the overall experience of playing the wad. I do agree that the last 1/3 is overall less enjoyable that what is before it. The middle levels are my favorite.

 

Oddly enough though, I am not a huge fan of Misri Halek. It has nice atmosphere, but it can definitely get a bit tiresome for me. My favorite AV maps are probably map 6, 8, 13, 14 and 18.

 

@garudave Since you are watching Mt.Pain27's review, you might have come across wads like Eviternity, Valiant, Ancient Aliens, TNT: Revilution etc that got A+ reviews. I highly recommend to give those wads a try once you are done with Final Doom and Sigil.

Edited by ReaperAA

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Alien Vendetta was one of the very first custom mapsets I played through, also beat it coop with a friend (+ some strangers that joined in in the second playthrough) twice. Started to replay it quite recently but I am way too rusty, having not played Doom seriously for 8 years definitely took its toll. Had to restart with Plutonia and even that is destroying me on UV.

 

I will alway hold AV in very special regard, so fond memories of the overwhelming difficulty after having barely scraped through Plutonia the first time.

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Not a bad start beating AV on UV. You'll probably have a pretty easy time with FD/Sigil. I'd definitely recommend giving similar WADs like Scythe 2, Speed of Doom or Valiant a go at some point.

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I dropped at map 25 or 26.

 

Unfortunately not my style at all, I also hated the pyramid level with endless waves of HK lol

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I have nothing but praise for Alien Vendetta. No doubt rose-tinted and informed by nostalgia, but the fact is that it holds up. Toxic Touch(!!!!), Suicidal Tendencies, Misri Halek, Lake Poison, Killer Colours, it goes on. I never found it to have any real discontinuity myself. Its been a long time since I actually played it start to finish, if I did I could probably be a little more critical. 

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Yeah I think that after Dark Dome (which was great) the wad ends on a slump. My least favourite map by far was stench of evil (Map27 I think) which was just very unfun to play. Overall though the project still holds up very well 20 (?!) years or so later

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15 hours ago, Foodles said:

Yeah I think that after Dark Dome (which was great) the wad ends on a slump.

 

Agreed. Dark Dome could have been the perfect finale for AV. The levels after it are not as good. Map27 is a slog. Maps 28 and 29 are okay maps, but they don't really feel like finale material. Map30 is just another boring IoS map.

Edited by ReaperAA

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Gotta agree about shifting the map order, having three maps with 800+ enemies in sequence is a bit too much in a wad where that's not the standard.

 

21 hours ago, ReaperAA said:

@garudave Since you are watching Mt.Pain27's review, you might have come across wads like Eviternity, Valiant, Ancient Aliens, TNT: Revilution etc that got A+ reviews. I highly recommend to give those wads a try once you are done with Final Doom and Sigil.

 

Oh yeah, I'm very excited to get into those wads.  I'm trying to get a solid foundation of vanilla content before I play the more hacked up wads, just so I don't get spoiled.  I saw that Skillsaw just dropped a new release so I want to try that too.

 

18 hours ago, VisionThing said:

I have nothing but praise for Alien Vendetta. No doubt rose-tinted and informed by nostalgia, but the fact is that it holds up. Toxic Touch(!!!!), Suicidal Tendencies, Misri Halek, Lake Poison, Killer Colours, it goes on. I never found it to have any real discontinuity myself. Its been a long time since I actually played it start to finish, if I did I could probably be a little more critical. 

 

Lake Poison and Suicidal Tendencies are two more of my favorites from AV.  I love any map where you can rig up some ridiculous horde infighting.

 

Thanks for the replies!  It's pretty awesome that a 20 year old set of custom maps for Doom still has a following.

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21 hours ago, ReaperAA said:

or odd level placements (Map24 being a tech base map in middle of a hell episode)

Yeah, in the first release all the levels in the hell episode had a similar aesthetic, but Johnsen binned one of those levels because he thought it wasn't up to the standard set by the rest of AV. Afterwards level order was tweaked a bit and MAP24 was added, which is certainly a solid level but out of place like you say. I'd swap MAP08 and MAP24 if it were up to me, I think it'd solve the problem.

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9 minutes ago, Andromeda said:

Afterwards level order was tweaked a bit and MAP24 was added, which is certainly a solid level but out of place like you say. I'd swap MAP08 and MAP24 if it were up to me, I think it'd solve the problem.

 

Yeah Map24 is definitely a solid and must keep level. But like you suggested, it should have been placed somewhere in E1. I would have placed it near Map6 (since both Hillside Siege and Clandestine Complex have similar aesthetics). I would have swapped Map07 and Map24 (and then altered Map07 to be more suitable for an E3 level.)

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6 hours ago, ReaperAA said:

 

Map27 is a slog. 

 

Yeah it's a mashup of like 3 maps, which during testing I thought were great individually, but I agree as a 1-map-mashup it's too much. This wasn't really done for gameplay reasons though, but to make room for other mappers like myself or madani or szymanski. In hindsight I wish some of my maps were cut and the Johnsen map27 be restored to multiple maps

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1 hour ago, Vorpal said:

Yeah it's a mashup of like 3 maps

 

That explains it.

 

1 hour ago, Vorpal said:

In hindsight I wish some of my maps were cut

 

But I really liked your maps, especially I love the duo of Maps 13 and 14. Map 16 is also a great map with the memorable invulnerable + Cyberdemons fight. Map 22 probably was your least impressive map in AV, but even that map was a decent map in its own right and far from the weakest map in AV.

 

I personally think Maps 11, 17 and Map21 were probably the weakest maps in AV.

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1 hour ago, Vorpal said:

 

Yeah it's a mashup of like 3 maps, which during testing I thought were great individually, but I agree as a 1-map-mashup it's too much. This wasn't really done for gameplay reasons though, but to make room for other mappers like myself or madani or szymanski. In hindsight I wish some of my maps were cut and the Johnsen map27 be restored to multiple maps

As most players who play AV, your almost solo run of maps in the middle are just amazing, pal!

And even after that, you give us Alien Vendetta: Black Label

So no, please, not cutting out yourself, you took tech-base to new heights.

3 hours ago, Andromeda said:

Yeah, in the first release all the levels in the hell episode had a similar aesthetic, but Johnsen binned one of those levels because he thought it wasn't up to the standard set by the rest of AV. Afterwards level order was tweaked a bit and MAP24 was added, which is certainly a solid level but out of place like you say. I'd swap MAP08 and MAP24 if it were up to me, I think it'd solve the problem.

Oh, never thought about it, gonna do that for my next run and add Valley of Echos to it :D

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1 hour ago, ReaperAA said:

I personally think Maps 11, 17 and Map21 were probably the weakest maps in AV.

 

Heh yeah it seems obvious to me which ones should've been cut, but then those represent favorites of the next person (e.g. I love 11 and 17, and I was a fan of the officially cut Valley of Echoes, where Anders himself loathed it). So you almost can't win, as a project lead making decisions haha

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My feelings about AV is pretty much the same as yours. Very good up till last few maps where it became kind of grindy in a non-fun way. I mean, cyberdemons in a very tight places isn't my thing & a baron spam I remember in one of the later maps, was just outright meh.

 

I'd give it a solid 8 out of 10.

Map 24/25 were slaughter but strangely they were fun to play, which is unusual for me. lol

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On 3/7/2021 at 9:41 AM, Vorpal said:

In hindsight I wish some of my maps were cut

 

That would be a shame, I thought all of your maps were solid!  Overwhelming Odds was a little frustrating but very memorable.  Suicidal Tendencies is a classic imo, it's on my top 5 from Alien Vendetta for sure.

 

I think it's fascinating that the maps you like are more or less my least favorites from the megawad.  Really says a lot about the diverse experiences one can have in the game.

 

Anyway, thanks for your contributions, definitely cool to have dialogue with someone whose art I experienced.

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