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The DWmegawad Club plays: Doom Zero

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Doom Zero

Chocolate-doom v.3.0.0 (Ubuntu), Bring on the Pain, continuous, saves when needed, blind run. 

 

Map 07: Claustrophobia 

 

My mouse and my W key glitched out, and I almost died, but fortunately I didn't. I kinda like the map, looks like a little base. The switch puzzle was rather interesting. There were some parts that I didn't enjoy that much, more specifically the poison maze and the ledge part. Other than that, I like the map, IMO it has good gameplay. I'd chosen E1M4's music, but E1M6's is good too.

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MAP07 – Claustrophobia

This level lived up to its name, especially in the room near the start with tons of hell knights, as well as the room full of spectres (And there’s a cacoswarm in the map too, always a pleasure). The whole thing was fun though. The AVs near the end were a bit of trouble, I fell down and had to do the elevator switch hop again while they were resurrecting all the could. The raising/lowering platform in the center of the level is neat.

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Doom Zero - MAP08: Module Base (HMP: K 96%, S 100%, D 0)

 

Apart from the obvious beginning, this map surprisingly has little in common with the legendary Doom 2 MAP08: Tricks And Traps, but the reasons for that will be self-evident as one goes through it...

 

There's no set route or strict order one has to follow, so this is one of the least linear levels so far, and my second run ended up being very different from the first.  By far the most challenging encounter on HMP is the one down at the basement computer lab - quite a few Hell Knights (or maybe Barons?) and Chaingunners are ready to ambush the first-timer from closets, but this time i was prepared and did it with care - in fact, this would be the correct place to use the hidden Invulnerability.  There's also a nice secret in this area, which i imagine is pretty necessary for pistol starters.  On my first run, this is the area i went into first, but this time i first entered the little maze-section with hidden Archvile and Chaingunners.  i got rid of them with plasma, but i'm starting to feel a bit cheap always resorting to heaviest weaponry just because i can...it's not good for my skills that still need a lot of improvement to begin with.

 

The one part i kind of disliked is the fake Exit that has a switch to open up the door to get YK in the computer lab - it was just meh!  Not my favourite use of a faux-Exit, ever, let's just say.  Also i again note that the face-switch is just so out of place in that space as it ever could be.  (Note to myself as a mapper: a large room with white walls decorated with too many face-switches of which one or two will do something.)

 

Regarding my deficient kill-count... behind the YK door, in the BK section there are supposed to be some enemies who teleport in after getting the BK, but they did not appear.  i now realize i might have somehow missed the linedef when getting the BK :/  i somehow fell from the alcove on it weirdly and that's probably the reason.

 

A fantastic level with the homages to some of the original maps - also done very organically, like they really were part of this place.  The gameplay is really good, with the difficulty starting to be on the right level.  Which reminds me, playing again MAP09 is a daunting idea, i know i'll die there, probably more than once, and will be using saves.  It's true on MAP07 my death was stupidity, but on next map, on first run i was just happy to get through, but this time i'll make sure to learn the ropes enough not to need to die there ever again.  It will definitely be the hardest this WAD has so far offered on HMP.  Why is it that libraries are always such bloody lethal places in Doom WADs?  Must be a tradition of some sort... or maybe the demons always read Sun Tzu's Art of War.

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Map 07

And interesting level with a winding path. Progression and design were both interesting. The map was fun and well balanced.

 

All in all, a good one.

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Posted (edited)

MAP07: Claustrophobia

Crispy Doom 5.10.0 (Debian), UV, continuous, saves used

DOOM0032.png.c74eb8d2be81483bc0ac9cbf9f61b0f4.png

Name checks out. There are lots of heavy monsters roaming about, which can be taken down with the rocket launcher, but attempts to do so are likely to result in plenty of face-rockets because of how cramped this level is. Thing is, in many instances there seemed no alternative to using the rocket launcher, so I ended up taking those face-rockets. I wasn't a big fan of this level, but at least I can tell that some design effort was put into it, as is the case for all of the levels in this megaWAD.

Edited by northivanastan

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MAP07 - Claustrophobia

PrBoom+, UV (100% Kills, 50% secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

 

It's claustrophobia in the sense that it puts you knee deep in a bunch of 3-shot monsters types (and also some hitscanners just to make sure you take damage everywhere no matter what you do) and says "deal with it." I didn't like it really, but I actually did like the double Archvile fight that directly segues into the Archvile exit duel, they were basic fights, at least the way mine played out, but it was an injection of a cool moment at the end of a level that I was feeling become a drag.

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Map 07

I didn't care for a lot of the traps, but nothing shockingly difficult here. It was a bit boring and I don't have much to say about it. I plasma rifled up the joint and it was quick.

 

Map 08

This one was a great homage map, even if I don't care for the original Tricks N Traps. Fun times.

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MAP07:  Claustrophobia

Official Port UV-SAVES. Continuous with losing weapons if dead.

 

I'm like hot starts,  so the little base and platforms was fun to fight (what with the little scenarios in this wad so far). I can't say how at least for me, I reuse the same spawn room to figth the teleporting enemies. Going up make so switches so i can progress.

The best part for me it's the toxic areas, where you go in a arena again with cacos demons and chaingunners, feels like it's the combo of this .wad, but now with so limited space. Go forward and destroy the archievilles, and you can go to the exit, or kill the 2 archies that's spawn in the exit (If the corridor was longer, i'm sure i got hit at least for one archie running away)

Quick map, really enjoyable, but it's not the best of the .wad
 


Also map 05 and 06 videos got corrupted so GG to thoses.

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MAP08: Module Base

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 2/6 secrets

 

Nostalgia fans rejoice. We got some obvious references to Doom I and II in this one, with the map having a similar layout, exit, and the same music as Doom II's own MAP08. There are also rooms modeled after the SSG secret from Doom II's MAP02 and the opening room of E1M1 from Doom I. The references are pretty cool, and overall the layout and visuals of the map are well done. You may find yourself fumbling a bit at the start trying to find the best order to tackle the doors, but I'm kind of a fan of that sort of thing when done well, and I think it is done well here. Luckily the opening room has a handy compass on the floor as well to help you remember which door is which a little easier. 

 

I do think this map overuses barons of hell a bit. This might be a bit of a personal gripe because barons are my least favourite monster in the Doom bestiary, and this map kinda shows why as it has some baron encounters that feel like they exist to waste time and ammo more than threaten the player's life. I had to chaingun a few barons at points which is never a fun thing to do, so hopefully that's not a theme going forward. My favourite moment in the level is definitely the mazelike room with the two archviles. It gives you that "oh shit" moment and has you frantically searching for cover like any good archvile introduction, and they often may corner you and require you to think fast and get to a new area of cover before being blown up. Just a quintessential good archvile encounter, which I always appreciate a ton.

 

Overall, really liked this one. I think if the areas with lots of barons were replaced with something more fun for me it would be my favourite map so far, but even as is I thought it was quite a solid map.

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MAP08 – Module Base

Doomsday Engine, UV-Fast, Continuous, blind run w/saves


A.k.a. the base built out of “modules” taken from IWADs. Most areas look like familiar places seen in Doom and Doom 2, if they are not copy-pasted outright: the starting octagonal area and the southern final pool are inspired by “Tricks and Traps”, which shares both map slot and music with this one; the northern room is the “Hangar” from E1M1; the western part is the final section of “E1M7 - Computer Station” (thus the fake exit door); the eastern computer terminal is SSG room from “Underhalls”. The compass on the floor and the distinctive looks of the doors allow for an easy navigation, which is required, since the level is all interconnected and not 75% optional like Doom 2 Map08.

Spoiler

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Some more creativity has been put into the NW, SW, SE, and NE sections, along with secret ways to connect them to the rest of the map. The gameplay is delivered via bite-sized combat and ambushes, with hitscanners performing better than tougher foes. I especially enjoyed the attack in the YK room, as it was chaotic and longer than usual, though still easy.

Spoiler

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The red door section looks bare and empty; it helps building a sense of discomfort, waiting for the guaranteed ambush by Arch-Viles. The contrasting BROWN144 panels look like a texture misplacement to me. Here I felt in some real danger because my ultra-cautious approach allowed the Viles to surround me, so I had to take a blast to get away from the gargoyle switch ledge. This situation rewards boldness over cowardice, as opposed to the rest of the map set so far. I expected a lot more enemies, so the trap hit the spot.

Spoiler

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Barons of Hell appear for the first time and in strong numbers on UV, considering they are not involved in gimmicks with Cyberdemons. Just like the Hell Knights, they squeak like wimps when hurt. They also stay silent when roaming and this is very strange; I am afraid this will be used for some nasty traps later on.

Spoiler

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The best part of Module Base is unveiling the secrets, which requires knowledge of inspirational maps, platforming skills, a keen eye and in one case a “leap of faith”. The only secret I missed was the one in plain sight by the blue key platforms, because I convinced myself it required some strafejumping I was not in the mood for. It didn’t.

 

 

Edited by Book Lord

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MAP08: Module Base

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

A fun and loving tribute to good ol' Tricks & Traps plus little nods to some classic maps from Knee-Deep in the Dead  and early Doom 2 maps that's all very cute and endearing. I like how it's a fun bent on the formula of MAP08, but instead utilising key hunting plus the secrets are all pretty great or at least the ones I found because this map's chock-full of 'em. It's another gimmick map, but it has a stronger foundation than MAP07 did and is more memorable for sure. I concur with Book Lord that prior knowledge regarding the IWAD maps plays a fun role in regards to solving some of the puzzles and finding the secrets. It's just overall a lovely little homage.

 

 

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MAP08 - Module Base

PrBoom+, UV (100% Kills, 50% secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

 

Great homage aesthetically and structurally, it chose a lot of really good sections to pay tribute to. Gameplay-wise..... suffers, mainly from what some people have said, Barons are in plentiful supply here and they mostly function as time wasters and ammo sponges. The maze + double Archvile encounter is probably the best Archvile usage in the wad so far, it's not as flashy of a setpiece as the one in the lava pit since it happens in a maze with pretty bare walls and some chaingunners that serve no real threat, but I genuinely didn't expect it, maybe because I've been trained by the wad so far to expect a bunch of hitscanners or mid-high level ammo sponge enemies more often than Archviles. Definitely one of the best maps so far.

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Map 08

I enjoyed this one very much. I love how he takes parts from all around the doom oficial levels, and uses them in a new way.

 

Also, I think this is as good a time as any to say I really like the skybox.

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MAP08 – Module Base

This was a Tricks and Traps takeoff, but a damn good one. Pretty tricky and trappy, while still feeling like its own thing, even with some direct references. It took me a while to figure out a good order for the doors. Or even which doors would lead to progression. Luckily the small size of the map meant that these excursions weren’t annoyingly time-consuming, and the level was still a fun little blast. There were a few parts with more barons than I’d like. If I hadn’t found the secret plasma rifle (great lighting in that secret btw!), then the E1M1 room would have been a massive chore to clear out. The yellow key/RL room on the other hand was quite fun, especially once I figured out that the Barons can’t hit me when I’m in the RL’s chamber. The other keys were pretty easy to get, with a few platforming puzzles and another ambush with too much noble meat. Fun level, but not one of my favorites.

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Doom Zero

Chocolate-doom v.3.0.0 (Ubuntu), Bring on the Pain, continuous, saves when needed, blind run. 

 

Map 08: Module base

 

My favorite so far, it's a awesome map 08, I absolutely loved the references to Doom and Doom II, like the iconic Hangar's first room, and the SSG room from Underhalls. Again, I feel that FreeDoom's music fits the map better. The only thing I didn't care for was the platforming to the keys, again you have to be fast with the ledges. So far I'm enjoying the mapset, the dehacked weapons and my glitchy pistol give the wad a certain charm.

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MAP09 – Ancient Archive

Doomsday Engine, UV-Fast, Continuous, blind run w/saves


This level had a soft start, with Barons and Cacos ready for the (in)fight by a sludge pool, then some light platforming and nukage crossing in the side areas. I fumbled with the water level triggers and I fell like a stone in the pool, into the slimy embrace of Hell Knights and Demons. I am appalled at the damage I took there, as it was not a proper ambush, but thanks to successful secret hunting I was back in shape.

Spoiler

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In the second part of the map, for the first time in Doom Zero, I sensed traps and monster placement were really designed to kill. I am unsatisfied by the usage of Pain Elementals, but the other enemies are positioned really well. I expected the floor to drop by the rocket launcher, and I gave the demons hell with rockets. Nevertheless, I sustained heavy injuries, as there was no safe place to be conquered without foreknowledge.

Spoiler

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My nickname suggests I have a soft spot for bookshelves and dark libraries in Doom. I anticipated one to show up in Ancient Archive and I found it beautifully designed. The game progression crosses the library multiple times and gives plenty of opportunity to uncover the clever secrets around. Thanks to the computer map, I missed only the invulnerability sphere and I regret it, as it could have prevented the damage I suffered from the (expected) great Cacoswarm attacking me while caged.

Spoiler

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The next area reminded me of a Roman bath with nukage, excellent for demon skin care, and was another devious combination of deaf monster placement and sound blocking lines. On the right, there are Hell Knights and Revenants, another foe that is likely to shoot you in the back at his WAD debut. In front of me, the lurking Demons were soon to be joined by an Arch-Vile, who suddenly heard me shooting. I died on the right, reloaded savegame, then died in the front corridor as well. Very nice.

Spoiler

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At that point, I was not sure where to go. I saw the Red door ahead, but I had YK and I completely forgot where I picked it up. I did some backtracking to the RK, only to fall in a totally unexpected Revenant ambush, complete with an Arch-Vile in the right spot to revive a lot of fallen HPs. I survived only because I was maxed out by the megasphere, then I realised I did things in the wrong order. The level was almost over by then, and it was great fun.

Spoiler

1081187992_DoomZeroMap09_07.jpg.08cd9a2c2e8bc0f5ba83486158021b57.jpg

 

Edited by Book Lord

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map 7: 100% kills and secrets

 

     First death here.  That section with the nukage and chaingunners and cacodemons can go badly.  If the chaingunners refuse to agitate the cacodemons or if the player chooses to attack the cacodemons and the chaingunners shred the player while that is going on, there's no surefire way to handle that setup.

 

    Here, the set starts to show how effective it can be with small numbers of monsters.  See, it was just holding back until now.  An archvile pair ends up a frantic encounter if one doesn't locate the invulnerability secret.  I had a full carryover plasma rifle to panic with but the secrets become more important when starting from scratch.  It took reloading a save a time or three to work out how to fully explore the secret sludge tunnels but felt accomplishment on finding the way through.

 

    After that archvile encounter, it wasn't clear at first where to go next.  The map is compact enough that it didn't take too long to find while guessing randomly.  It could be a sign of times to come, that the maps will expect more effort to navigate to the exit.

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On 5/8/2021 at 12:18 PM, D4NUK1 said:

MAP07:  Claustrophobia

Official Port UV-SAVES. Continuous with losing weapons if dead.

 

I'm like hot starts,  so the little base and platforms was fun to fight (what with the little scenarios in this wad so far). I can't say how at least for me, I reuse the same spawn room to figth the teleporting enemies. Going up make so switches so i can progress.

The best part for me it's the toxic areas, where you go in a arena again with cacos demons and chaingunners, feels like it's the combo of this .wad, but now with so limited space. Go forward and destroy the archievilles, and you can go to the exit, or kill the 2 archies that's spawn in the exit (If the corridor was longer, i'm sure i got hit at least for one archie running away)

Quick map, really enjoyable, but it's not the best of the .wad
 


Also map 05 and 06 videos got corrupted so GG to thoses.

Map 07

 

"Good try pinkies. I guess." lol. Good run, and you found a couple of secrets that I didn't. (That invul secret I never even saw in my playthrough)

 

iirc, this map was my first death in my original playthrough. I didn't like the texturing in this map much. It felt very undetailed and bland. Very 90's with lots of areas plastered with the one texture. That said, interesting progression and that central idea of the main elevator that goes to the different levels was great. Just not great texturing.

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MAP09: Ancient Archives

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 4/7 secrets

 

While I wouldn't call this one hard, it's likely the most difficult map so far, having a couple nasty ambushes. There are a couple more ammo spongey barons early on in the level, but it's not nearly as egregious as in MAP08. To avoid having to chaingun these guys to death, it's helpful to locate the berserk secret which can help save your shells among the decent few pinkies you encounter early on. The latter half of this level when you find your way out of the muddy metallic area at the beginning is when the level starts showing some teeth. Right away picking up the rocket launcher leaves you in a claustrophobic brush with some cacos, hell knights, and chaingunners. The second half of the level also re-uses the lift gimmick from MAP07, no complaints from me there.

 

My favourite section of the level, both for gameplay and visuals, is likely the library section which holds the red key. I've always kind of had a fondness for libraries in Doom, both because of their appearance and also that the layout of a library lends itself to some neat monster placements. The wooden back room of the library also houses what is likely the scariest ambush of the wad so far, pitting you against an archvile with his hell knight and revenant pals, again in a pretty tight quarter area. This one is definitely liable to take quite a chunk of your health if you make a wrong turn. Returning to the lift area also greets you with another archvile and more revenants, not as threatening as the previous archvile encounter but a fun one nonetheless.

 

I wasn't sure about this one in its first half, but towards the latter half I started having a lot of fun. Great level, and possibly my favourite so far.

 

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Doom Zero - MAP09: Ancient Archives (HMP: K 100%, S 100%, D 4)

 

This map begins pleasantly enough as a small challenge that's nevertheless harmless, lulling the player into belief in his own competence.  It's a great start.  In the first section the player must open the door to access the Archives by pressing two switches, reaching both of which requires some puzzle-solving as well as more demanding platforming.  The encounters have the teeth to bite, but since Barons are the toughest enemies in this section, and there's no shortage of space nor firepower, it's just a bit of excitement - the two ambushes are still likely to give some damage to anyone, however.  The mini-puzzle raising/lowering of the slime-pit is for some time a refreshingly good use of such mechanics, and also on this level the switches are used exceptionally well, there's nothing gimmicky about any of it.  There's a couple of Pain Elementals here, too, quite harmless, but i mention them because ever since i learned to kill them proper, getting in their face and blasting them with the chaingun, they've sort of become likeable to me.

 

After all of the above is achieved, there's a little hallway with a few straggling hitscanners and Lost Souls, and it is somewhat ominous.  One would have expected some more intense fighting to ensue immediately, but no, so perhaps something worse is reserved for later... And then one is ambushed by Cacodemons, Knights of Hell, and Revenants!  Yeah, one skill i severely lack is quick switching of weapons - i even use the original numeric-keys for them, knowing that's no good.  Excuses aside, First Blood, and unfortunately earlier than i expected, but this really is the second worst ambush on this level - i tried to run to safety to gain some time to decide on strategy but found more Hell Knights behind the corner.  On second try i just took care of them with plasma. 

Here one must raise a platform in stages to access ultimately the ramp to Exit - and this is going to be achieved by pressing various switches.  i must say it's a meticulously designed mechanic, one of the most complex i've ever come across, with the last switche accessible only through a door from the dreaded Archives themselves.

 

The archives is roaming with hitscanners, Chaingunners and Imps, both on the floor and upon the shelves - classic!  It's no small danger to be killed by them, as it's also quite dark and difficult to see what's going on.  After getting to higher ground, there's soon a little trap.  One is timer-locked into a hallway with bars on one side, and it's an impressive sight as a swarm of Cacodemons starts approaching from a monster-closet all the way from the other side of the large Archives-room above the shelves.  i choose plasma, but their numbers and speed still take me by surprise, and results in.... Death #2.  Why didn't i just use the BFG immediately, as i did on my first run?  i like this trap.  Next, however, is the room i really don't know how to take care of, with Pinkies, Barons, Revenants, and an Archvile.  First of course it's best to take out the Pinkies, from close to the door without waking up the rest.  But next i fight the Baron, which wakes up the Boneboys in the next alcove, and then the Archvile behind the corner wakes up, so running around i get overwhelmed.  Death #3.  And death #4 comes in quick succession.  i finally realize to leave the slow Barons alone first, so i run to kill the Revenants right after the Pinkies, then focus on the Barons, and at some point here the Archvile behind a corner wakes up on the other side of the room, and take care of him last.  Yeah, combination of Archvile and Revenants is a tough one, and this rather complex room, even with a lot of space, which one is locked into, doesn't help.  For me, this is the first actually difficult encounter in the whole WAD, and i look forward to reading and seeing how the veterans here dealt with it on their first try :P  (Subsequently i also realized this fight would be the optimal use of the secret Invulnerability, as after the encounter with the Caco-swarm the door opens to let the player backtrack to fetch it, before one must go forward to this room.)

 

Upon return from the Archives, there's still one ambush, but at least that one i survived, feeling a little better.  After that, it's smooth sailing, just completing the progression (it's not trivial, however, this is very cleverly designed level from tip to tail, entailing quite a bit of running, but in the best possible way, and not in irritating desperation as to what to do next!), and finding the generous secrets.  The last one gave me most trouble, the switch being hidden literally in the last place i'd look.

 

A long and challenging level by the standards of this set so far, but my absolute favourite until now.  Everything works well here, and the big difficulty spike was welcome.  On HMP there'll not be many instances where this level of challenge is exceeded.  After the somewhat uneven maps earlier, i remember a string of rather good levels coming on, and the next one is probably my favourite in the whole WAD (albeit it less demanding than this)!

Edited by dei_eldren : fixed couple mistakes in enemies

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It's funny that both @dei_eldren and @DisgruntledPorcupine did exactly as I did. When you pick up the YK on a ledge in the exit room, you are supposed to jump down (into the Revenant+Arch-Vile ambush), go to the yellow door you should have seen while climbing up, and finally take the RK before heading towards the Archive. 

 

For a really seamless progression, the door to the library should open only after taking the RK. This would minimise backtracking to red door later on, but doing things in the wrong order eventually resulted in an unexpected trap, so it was still great, if not greater.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Book Lord said:

For a really seamless progression, the door to the library should open only after taking the RK. This would minimise backtracking to red door later on, but doing things in the wrong order eventually resulted in an unexpected trap, so it was still great, if not greater.

 

Yeah, i have a bad habit of pressing switches only after a place is otherwise cleared, so i missed the opportunity to grab the RK before forgetting about its existence and moving on :D  Little harm in this case, though, because the library is a place worth going through with a fine tooth comb, so if one wants to find all the secrets, the running around is necessary anyway.  Even so, i'd prefer if the mechanism you suggest was in place.

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MAP09: Ancient Archive

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

This was a fun one that really expanded on the elevator-style puzzles from MAP07 and honestly improved it in a lot of ways and took advantage of constantly surprising the player with different area reveals, monster closest and even some secrets! Really good fun, honestly. It even had an awesome library section, which is a bonus in my book hehe. So the Archives themselves was a fun area to run around and fight in. There was also a larger emphasis on platforming in this one that I think might be an omen for what's to come as the mappers push to Think With Platforming to give us an idea of what waits for us up ahead in later maps. Oddly enough, the beginning area gave me MAP06 vibes from Doom 2 with the metal textures and compact layout. This map was also a lot longer than its predecessors, which makes me think if Doom Zero plans on shaking things up a bit and letting go of the bite-sized maps we'd been used to so far and is deciding to shift to some more medium and large-scale maps for us to traverse as we press on into the second episode.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@Biodegradable I enjoy your vids. That laugh you do whenever anything interesting or funny happens is kind of infectious. It is oddly cool to watch someone enjoying themselves playing Doom.

 

Map 09 is a great level in terms of design and full of interesting things, but again, I don't love the texturing. IT is very reminiscent of classic Doom2, which is probably what the author was going for, but it does sometimes make levels appear bland and uninteresting, in spite of how wonderful the layouts and progressions through the levels are.

Edited by bLOCKbOYgAMES : lol I meant to say 'infectious' not 'infections'

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MAP09 - Ancient Archives

PrBoom+, UV (100% Kills, 71% Secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

 

The quality in these levels is starting to go on an upward trend for me. This one was definitely structured around the use of the switch puzzles, and it shows. They feel a lot more baked into the design, not meticulously but very thoughtfully placed in comparison to some of the earlier maps. It's still hanging onto some of its Claustrophobia moments, though they're not nearly as silly as the ones from the actual map. It also has platforming.... in Doom..... but it's forgivable since only one point of it is a little irritating. That's probably just me nitpicking though, I'm not a very big fan of platforming in Doom apart from simple stuff and use in secrets, but maybe that just means I need to get better at it.

I'm probably going to be benchmarking the use of the switch puzzles and stuff against this map going forward. These aren't perfect by any means but the room that the lift is centered around is the best use of switch gimmicks in this wad so far, and the little floor raising/lowering puzzle in the beginning was very neat to me. Very good design.

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Catching up...

 

MAP04: Triple Town

99% kills, 1/6

 

This was an okay map... didn't like that you can do the areas in the 'wrong' order, such as going into the pinkie area before grabbing the berserk pack. If you do that you can basically kiss your ammo goodbye. The middle portion was good as the red room is a good fight, but the end with the caverns was pretty anticlimatic.

 

MAP05: The Pits

100% kills, 6/7 secrets

 

Roughly a map of thirds, with the first indoor area, the second outdoor area, and then the last hallway with the hell knights. Architecturally the first part is somewhat interesting but gameplay-wise it's pretty boring. It isn't really a puzzle, just clearing everything out in order, and that clearing gets boring fast with so much caco and hell noble meat. And if you're on a pistol start you'll probably end up using the chaingun for 90% of it because there's plentiful bullets and not much shotgun ammo. The RL and PG unlock at some point but I backtrack to grab them until the end. The second (outdoor) portion is much more interesting, with a decent fight (especially since the cacos can float over that wall!) and decent puzzle with the rising platform. Unfortunately the meat corridor at the end is lame, especially if you're stuck with the chaingun.

 

MAP06: Echo Halls

100% kills, 1/2 secrets

 

First things first, last map has a crusher exit but it really should have a death exit - makes a lot more sense to come into this map with no weapons than 9% health and a plentiful arsenal. That said, this is a cute little gimmick map that doesn't outstay its welcome. Another choice of keys here, and unlike MAP01, it greatly changes how you'll handle the main part of the map. Even the AV fight at the end is a bit interesting since the "wall" behind you turns out to open up into a door and the cover isn't where you thought it was.

 

MAP07: Claustrophobia

100% kills, 5/6 secrets

 

Map is aptly named as you'll be squeezed into some tiny spots on this one, often with enemies teleporting behind you. I really like the way things move around here, making the level feel like it's a bunch of moving parts instead of largely static entity. The dark sludge maze is fun too. The exit is not obvious. Other people seem to dislike this one, but I liked it a lot.

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MAP07: Claustrophobia

Crispy Doom; UV Continuous

 

i'm happy to report that this map isn't a generic dead simple clone :)

 

instead, it's just another map. it's not amazing or anything, it's just....okay, i guess? the most memorable part as well as the most difficult was the hell knight room at the beginning - it really caught me off guard and led to my first death. the only other part that i can really say was cool was the arch-vile at the end, where it teleports behind you so it can resurrect stuff. but other than that, there's not a whole lot. the map introduces the pain elemental, but it's used in a way that's not even remotely threatening, and the rest is just stuff that feels kinda blase compared to something like map05. not the biggest fan of this one, but i don't hate it or anything - it just doesn't really stick out to me

 

MAP08: Module Base

Crispy Doom; UV Continuous

 

yeah no, this one is just lazy. all it is is a bunch of copy-pasted rooms from the iwads put into a tricks and traps style map with more hitscanners and a bunch of barons plopped in. thank god i'm playing on continuous, otherwise i would've had to use the shotgun to kill them. not only that, but the platforming felt more annoying than anything. i appreciate the idea of a tribute, but...this ain't how you do it lol. i'm sorry, but i just couldn't get myself to like this one.

 

i will admit that the secrets were pretty cool, however.

 

MAP09: Ancient Archives

Crispy Doom; UV Continuous

 

i liked this one quite a bit more than the last two maps. i'll admit that i had my doubts at the start, but i soon started to see that it was actually pretty good. both the switch and lift puzzles were fun, most of the platforming wasn't too bad, and most importantly (to me anyways), the combat felt so, so much better than the previous two maps. it didn't start out super well, but it slowly picks up before becoming something great once you get to the library section. imps and hitscanners shooting at you from above, a cacoswarm, a fun and challenging encounter with pinkies, hell knights, revenants, and an arch-vile. it even has my favorite type of secret - bookcase secrets! :)

 

outisde of that, the ambush before the red key was pretty fun and difficult, and would've killed me if it weren't for a secret megasphere that i had picked up. i was feeling a bit wary about the rest of the megawad because of the last two maps, but this level has wiped all those doubts away. i had a great time playing this. the only real complaint i have is that i wish i was given rockets for the cacoswarm, but that's personal preference more than anything :p

Edited by roadworx

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Doom Zero

Chocolate-doom v.3.0.0 (Ubuntu), Bring on the Pain, continuous, saves when needed, blind run. 

 

Map 09: Ancient archives

 

I like the esthetics of the map, the combat is fine most of the time, and the map gives lots of bullets, so the chaingun is a good option for this map. The platforming isn't that great, but it's not that bad. The library might me the best part of the map, I really like it. The ending was... surprising, a zombie at the exit? You don't see that every day.

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Doom Zero - MAP10: Leap Gates (HMP: K 100%, S 100%, D 2)

 

My favourite level, and the start ends up being a nightmare - first killed by the lone Archvile because i missed him with the BFG (my favourite way of getting rid of them, a close-up BFG blast), and second death about 40 seconds later, as i forgot to kill the Pain Elemental after the Pinkies, and the engendered Lost Souls stopped me from dodging the AV blast.  Ok, third attempt, for real this time!  (i only mention these deaths pro forma, they don't really exist in reality...)

 

First of, i love this homage to the Heretic (at least, i see it as such), aesthetically beautiful without the use of Heretic-textures, and design-wise it's perfect - would make a great level for Heretic, too.  The first attraction is the timed bridge that one has to run through not to get crushed by the blocks that begin to lower as one steps onto it.  This bridge also harbors a couple of rewarding secrets, the other being especially helpful for pistol starters.  As usual in these maps, they are fairly hinted at.  The progression forward is again by the face-switches, but here, too, the puzzles are well done.  And the switches fit the aesthetics of the fortification.  (Obviously, the one silly Archvile was dispatched without problems, and none of the other enemies on this area are threatening at all...they could just as well be ignored!  Ehh.)  No, for me the beginning is a good reminder that i shouldn't try anything on auto-pilot, the threats are low if one plays well, but one must keep some level of focus.  That's good design.  As again is the usage of crossing paths as in Triple Town.

 

After the switch has been found and the gate is opened, the next area is a small intermission, between the titular Leap Gates and the final stage.  Some Chaingunners await on the other side in ambush, and after them the first of its kind here, a lone Mancubus, guarding a switch to get forward.

The Gates, guarded by another Mancubus in a hidden room, are basically three teleports that you must go through to find three switches that then allow access to the final glorious section of the level.  There's a cave system, a classic dark subterranean toxic-pit, and some sort of elevator-complex.  The last one is dangerous as hell, as one has to to fight Cacos and Barons, at close range in tight spaces, and one room reveals a Chaingunner and a Revenant ambush which is really lethal if one isn't expecting it and doesn't notice one of them (to make up for the beginning, i did that encounter, as well as the elevator-Cacos, with the SSG only...yeah, that is how horrible i still feel.)  The most difficult fights of the level are here, in my opinion. 

 

After all that is done, the showpiece stage of the level, guarded from every corner by just about every kind of demon we have so far met, is revealed.  i really wish it'd be simple for me to attach images like some do (but it's a bit troublesome to transfer them from that computer to this one), this would be among them for sure.  At the center is a circular pool that has standing stones as pathways. So far, this along with the lava-pit of the Pits is the best setpiece in these levels (and most of the levels do have some nice setpiece, no mistake about that.)  By no means is this a difficult area to clear and survive, one can kill everything from relative safety of the entrance-ledge, but at least there's some good action.  And a good amount of stuff to collect afterwards.  And probably the trickiest secret of the level right next to the Exit (ok, the secrets of this level aren't that difficult if one pays attention, and neither is this, but it is one with a minor puzzle, that uses a certain mechanic.)

 

A standout level, and again a longer one.  i'm interested to see if for me this will be topped, because there will be some valid contenders.  i haven't mentioned the aesthetics much, in general, they have for me varied from passable to really good (apart from the switches when ill-placed), while the setpieces generally have been fantastic.  But let's say that if i didn't like them well enough i'd complain :P  Also, i personally don't think everything should look fantastic, there's good reasons for making also drab-looking areas, as long as it's intentional and not laziness - what's fitting all depends on the place, and some WADs have way too much eyecandy for my taste.  Anyway, the next level should be pretty nice, even if it doesn't reach these heights.  It also has one of my favourite little elements in the whole set.

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UV, pistol starts, no saves

 

MAP07: Claustrophobia 

 

I don't have much to say about this one unfortunately. My second playthrough was more engaging than my first as I hunted for all secrets but the combat didn't do anything for me either time. It's cramped sure, and the caco + hitscan trap can be dangerous if you're careless with positioning, but outside of that one encounter the map kind of just happens. If there's a highlight it's definitely the toxic maze secret.

 

MAP08: Module Base

 

Nothing to elaborate on here either. It's Tricks and Traps with a couple of references to other iconic DooM levels. I'm not a big fan of the original and this is too similar for me to form a separate opinion. I will say that this level of platforming/switch timing is about perfect for me. Enough to be captivating while steering clear of irritation if I mess up. Also the Baron swarm in the yellow key area was fun (and compact!).

 

MAP09: Ancient Archives

 

Oooooo, a difficulty spike! Now this is a level I can talk about.

 

The opening room makes sure you're paying attention even if the combat isn't all that threatening. I baited one caco into infighting with a baron just for fun; the beginning of the level has you flush with ammunition. After a mini-puzzle and some platforming (plus an automap behind a fake wall) you walk right into a light trap, and surviving rewards you with a precarious hallway inundated with green goop. Having to traverse a hurt floor just to hit a switch seems a bit extra when you can raise the tiles permanently for your way back. A quick aside, I don't like that when you find the fake wall secret you can't get back to the top section of platforms (or if you can the jump is very specific). It's a minor nitpick but being punished, however lightly, for finding a secret is rude design.

 

The psuedo-hub room is next and after a deceptively intimate hell knight and caco encounter we enter the main attraction: the library. I echo @bLOCKbOYgAMES opinion about this WAD's texturing but areas like the library more than make up for it with their lighting. Contesting with the perched imps and hitscanners above and below can be slow going if you're scared of the dark. Reach the end of an interior aisle and lower the bookshelf to snag yourself an extremely helpful plasma rifle (and a megasphere if you notice a jump). There's a backpack nearby as well if you can make another jump, and I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to use the secret invuln against the upcoming caco swarm (especially if you don't have any rockets). Personally I like to save it for the archie + hell knights + revenants in the next room as I can spam rockets point blank which is always a riot. What I don't like are the revenant pain sounds being replaced with the archviles??? I'm bewildered that DASI-I thought this was a good idea. He even mixes them in fights together in this level which compounds my confusion. Regardless, the map ends on a cute note with a zombieman guarding the exit switch. He seems to have gotten his orders mixed up however because he seems to be guarding you from the switch instead of the other way around. Failure to follow a direct command is asking for punishment, and I'm more than happy to gib him one with a closed fist.

 

MAP09 is neck and neck with MAP04 for my favorite so far. It's combat is the best yet and DASI-I is sticking to his mapping philosophies well as the levels grow in size. I've played the next couple maps too and all I'll say is that we're finally having to earn our keep.

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