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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Doom Zero

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Posted (edited)

MAP 31 – Meat

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

 

‘Meat’ is displayed with melting red letters! Christopher Golden must be fully committed to the visceral theme he has chosen for Doom Zero’s MAP31. Every structure in this map is enveloped with flesh, skin, spines, intestines, and gore. This would be unacceptable for a standard map; on the other hand, it is a good expedient to characterise a secret level. There is even more: beyond all that hideous meat, there are layouts and locations every id Software fan should know very well.

 

My fleshy romp began in Escape from Wolfenstein dungeon, with a bunch of Barons, Cacos and Demons guarding the prison branch. A pistol starter must move around quickly to get the nearby weapons and ammo; as for me, I had enough rockets for a relaxed extermination. The other ‘cells’ were all but empty, and the RSK was guarded by the Mancubi .

Spoiler

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Beyond the locked door, we have another tribute to E1M1: Hangar, with almost every area that has not yet been replicated in MAP08. Every Doomer should find the secrets here, while monster teleport lines make up for some frantic combat with Cacodemons and Arachnotrons. Something looked wrong in the courtyard outside, where black shapes blemished the skies.

Spoiler

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The next area was a twisted and corrupted version of MAP01: Entryway, populated by hitscanners and Revenants, then a teleporter brought me to a small section based upon Quake’s first level, The Slipgate Complex. Again, the gameplay is spiced up thanks to teleport lines, turning a simple corner camping into an effective pincer trap.

Spoiler

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The last section was stuffed with the biggest monster groups, with Barons, Revenants, Cacodemons and Arachnotrons coming forward in numbers. By that point I was sure some of them would teleport right behind me on the fiery pentacle, so I was ready to clear the flight route first before advancing. In the bloody sewers a party of Arch-Viles assailed me but got to know my BFG instead. When I saw that wheel in the ceiling, I suddenly realised that the déjà vu I got in the nearby areas was from Quake 2’s first level, Outer Base.

Spoiler

 

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So ended this chronological trip into flesh-covered nostalgia. Where was the super-secret exit? I am so unhappy it was so difficult to find. I saw the trigger point, I humped at that wall, but why shoot at it? A switch with no evident purpose in that position would have been cryptic enough. I cheated to climb up to the ledge I knew was hiding something more than a chainsaw.

Spoiler

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MAP 32 – Dark Roof

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

 

It seems I am back on MAP01 as I left it, except that now it is dusk, and the location looks darker and deserted. I appreciated the placement of corpses to simulate previous happenings, as if I was really revisiting ‘High-Rise Roof’. Secrets had been replenished and I noticed that the reward by the exit was a BFG9000s. The ‘choose your destiny’ key gimmick was back with skulls and hellish textures.

Spoiler

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The silent courtyard was not totally empty and before the exit there was time for a short and funny MAP20: Gotcha! tribute. I could see the difference between the three key choices, but at this point of the WAD I knew which one to choose. I also noticed that pistol starters have no weapon other than the BFG and must rely on infighting to distract the enemies and reach the exit. They may then either finish off the survivor or bid him farewell.

Spoiler

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A nice idea, but not so striking for a super-secret level that was so hard to find! However, I must credit the author for his choices. Final Doom, especially Plutonia, had a strong influence on the super-secret map concept: it had to be the “most difficult map” of the WAD. Most id secret levels, in Doom but also in other games, usually showcased something special, that was not to see in standard levels. I second this approach over the “you’re dead” design for secret levels, even on hard PWADs.

Edited by Book Lord

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dei_eldren said:

 

Could be we're playing a different version, as i tried through the lava now several times but think it really is impossible - the wait for the lift to get up[ from the lava just takes too long?  Whereas it's actually quite easy now, as i understood what you said earlier, first to bring lift down to open the walls to shoot the the door open, and then bring the lift down a second time to open the walls/pillars, and run. 

 

I am playing version 2.2. I did not mean to "run through the lava", but that crossing lava was necessary to get out and keep the Baron door open. I drew 2 sketches illustrating the 2 possible solutions I have found. BFG requires the fastest run, the other lifts are easier to reach.

Sketch.jpg

Edited by Book Lord

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3 minutes ago, Book Lord said:

I am playing version 2.2. I did not mean to run "through the lava", but that crossing lava was necessary to get out and keep the Baron door open. I drew 2 sketches illustrating the 2 possible solutions I have found. BFG requires the fastest run, the other lifts are easier to reach.

 

Now we're on the same page :D  Thanks for clarifying it.  Yeah, i see how doing it that way too the speed isn't an issue.. i just insisted on shooting at the face to open the door after getting the lift down and then running.  i would've been happy with that lava-route of yours, though!

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MAP14 – Crust

This was a good one, lots of meat to get through though. Especially arachnotrons. I don’t exactly know how the progression worked, but I did leave eventually, and found a couple secrets along the way. The opening of the level was tense, with a rising/lowering wall of hitscan to go with your fist, until you can claw your way to a shotgun and chaingun higher up. After some barons at the top it’s time to choose your adventure again, between a blue key and lion switch. I went for the key since I didn’t even notice the switch until I read this thread later on. Getting the blue key eventually gave to the yellow key and a cavern fight, complete with two arch-viles. Eventually I found my way out, Not really sure about how much I did or didn’t do in this level, but it was still pretty damn fun.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2021 at 9:35 PM, Biodegradable said:

MAP12: Underland

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

DZ's decided to turn the heat up a bit... literally! Hehe with that lava around you're in for a hot one. This is the WAD's heaviest use of combat yet with lots big clusters of mid and high-tier demons and more fighting in tight situations teetering at the edge of pools of lava and tight corridors. The mapper was very generous with health and ammo pickups, perhaps a bit too much in some respect, but I appreciated it all the same. I enjoyed how the map decided to get really playful at the end with the two bigger rooms you needed to conquer to open the exit: One full of Barons, the other full of Archies. I managed to get through the Baron one in one go and only died once in the Archie room, which I consider a personal best. It's a good map for sure and a nice change of pace given how breezy the combat has felt up until this point in the WAD. Bring it on, DZ. Bring it the fuck on! >:^)

 

 

 

Killed by a soul sphere... not often that happens. :) (Well technically you got killed in the lava trying to jump to a soul sphere, but I feel I've made my point.) Nice run, avoided the worst that this level threw at you. Good call predicting the archie area! :)

 

On topic, I really liked this map. Great use of overlapping, ascending lift platforms. Combat was a little tedious, and I got seriously stuck on what to di in the big marble baron room. But otherwise good map.

 

I really enjoyed map 13. Intriguing use of paths layered over one another, and some clever secrets. Easy map mostly if you are careful, but that is true of most of the maps in this wad.

Edited by bLOCKbOYgAMES

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Doom Zero - MAP16: Natural Supply (HMP: K 100%, S 100%, D 4)

 

The map begins with a surprisingly long journey into the main complex, from some sort of underground tech-hub through a cave-system to a river of toxic waste flowing into a lake of the same, from the shore of which another cave-system takes us to the heavily-guarded main facility.  On this route the worst enemies are Arachnotrons and Chaingunners, and they are aided in this task by all the lower ranked demons.    It's a good idea, and this journey is actually my favourite part of the map - the combat is dangerous and varied, and the Arachnotrons (as before) cause me quite a scare when i try to focus on the lesser enemies.

After some time i arrive at the ledge, watching down upon the lake, upon which roams more of these guardians - they are quite accurate from a long distance, as i fail to kill one of them.  By this time also my health is already surprisingly low from the incessant sniping, and as i dive down, trying my best to clear the area, my health simply runs out.  Another try, i barely make it, but it's still counts as a success.  It seems on this WAD i am killed by Arachnotrons more than anything else.  After clearing, this is actually a very nice area ready to reveal her secrets to the curious - i think three of the eight secrets of the map are located here.  Again there's also some light 'speedrunning' but it seemed significantly easier now on second run than on the first, as well as some gimmicks, but such as perfectly are in the spirit of this place.  The cave-system leading to the complex is also best tackled through a secret-route, as one gets an edge over a heavy ambush from higher ground.

 

To be honest (again), the gimmickry at the entrance to the complex is a bit unnecessary, i fail to see a real justification for it.  Basically there are three doors that one must go through in stages.  The first one has an ambush (and couple of gimmicks...) that i died on blind run a couple of times, but this time i was prepared, but still had i not been in good health, could've lost a life in.  Maybe i took it casually relying too much on the BFG, certainly i didn't device a surefire strategy for it, just running to the farther edge, but the Lost Souls and the Mancubi firing from the monster closet are still a nasty combination.  i absolutely fail to see any sense in the puzzle of raising stairs to the platform in the next room.  Is it there just to make the player feel smart for figuring it out pressing the buttons the second time?

 

i failed quite miserably with the Detonation Boulevard (a corridor of barrels), detonating myself twice in the process.  i guess the mechanism protects you for a moment in one state and not in the other, but trouble is i couldn't work out if it's on timer or some linedef, nor was i visually acute enough to really tell what was going on.  i don't really mind these deaths very much. 

 

The last door has an Archvile behind it, and here i was a bit lucky not to get hit, unsure how i missed it.  But with plasma he was soon enough dispatched.  i enjoyed the surprise of Revenants afterwards, totally unprepared i managed to survive their shrieks and shotgun them to death.  Then it's just an everyday winding road towards the Exit and next level..

 

i liked the secrets on this level (they are the sort that require quite a bit of environmental observation, while the map helps, too), and the beginning part.  The gimmicks i felt were disconnected from the gameplay, and i can't honestly work out why there'd be a section without monsters but just barrels (afterwards it has a couple of Cacos in a tunnel of sludge, and they were welcome, because i felt lonely in that whole section.)  The next level i remember being really chock full of puzzles, but i have a very positive impression of it. :)  Hope it prevails!

Edited by dei_eldren

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MAP15 - Peak Facility

PrBoom+, UV (96% Kills, 28% Secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

 

Interesting shift to a tech base lodged in the side of a mountain. It was fine, kind of heavy on Barons for a pistol start, but I suppose that's what the berserk was for. The Archvile trap in the rocket launcher room almost got me, I ran to the wrong side of the room and got lucky that the second one wasn't also targeting me. The labyrinth part is really neatly put together. I don't have much else to say, it's just a really competent level.

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Map 11: 100% kills and secrets

 

     A city map with a large helping of Doomcute.  The goal is a portal in a building I dubbed City Hall but reaching it entails traversing the entire map.  It's a startling start with a pain elemental alerted at once and some backup waiting to be alerted.  Not hard if you're ready for it but it does have the potential to fill the alleyway with flaming skulls, especially on -fast.  As one proceeds through the map, they're likely to notice this is not a heavily guarded district.  Some zombies are stuck behind desks doing clerical work when not battling (notice their starting positions with -freeze or -notarget or in an editor).  There very little out in the streets besides some rabble overlooking the office locked with the blue key, of which only the cacodemons are able to pursue.  Instead, most of the resistance is concentrated in a few points.

    Even though this is more about the setting than the gameplay, it's not entirely toothless.  There is an inconveniently placed archvile in the warehouse who might even get alerted early with rocket splash damage as well as a pain elemental to harass anyone who charges into the very open warehouse layout.  Fighting from outside gives much more control and the pain elemental is highly likely to get wedged in a corner near the door if one alerts it and runs back out.  So it's easy enough to pick off everything from outside before entering to deal with it and the archvile.  Inside the office building, it's rather easy to get swarmed due to a 30 second door and hellknights and imps in confined space though this can be cheesed by waiting out the 30 second lock.  Further in at the workstations, hitting the fire button will disturb a rather large number of revenants and lost souls.  Again, this ambush can be defanged by luring smaller numbers out of the work area at a time.  (This is another instance where the monster placement is thematic though it will take cheats or an editor to note their placement.  Also the monster choice, overworked former personel?)

    One cyberdemon guarding the exit portal.  And a secret invulnerability to deal with it because it's very much in the spirit of the IWADs and 90s to do.  I'm fine with this given the intention of the mapset.  And filling the streets with teleporting monsters would be so predictable and cliche'

 

  Overall a breezy map for casual saveless play.  Continuous with saves, I ended up not taking any damage.  It's not too hard to do saveless as the only hitscanners are concentrated in one place and can be alerted individually with careful movement.  And the danger spots all have exploits.  I found the optional red key though it took staring at the automap to work out where to use it.  Easter egg I didn't get though the water texture above the fish is a nice artistic detail.  The Doomcute present is to my liking though I'm not surprised some won't care for it.

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MAP15: Peak Facility 

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 7/7 secrets

 

We're back to a techbase theme for this one, this time a techbase nestled into a mountainous terrain. I've got some mixed feelings about this map. I don't like the first stretch with all the barons very much, you don't really have the arsenal or ammunition to deal with them from a pistol start, so you either have to berserk punch them to death once you grab that or take care of them with assistance from the secret BFG or plasma rifle. I guess I respect the design of it a bit, using the bulky barons as sort of an obstacle as you try to find some way of dealing with them, but it just isn't for me I suppose. Speaking of secrets though, I did go out of my way to find them in this map since it's a MAP15 and I just like finding the secret exit when I play these, and I thought the secrets in this map were pretty fun to figure out.

 

After the initial stretch once you solve the small puzzle with the red and blue platforms, the level does get a bit better. You find yourself in another techbase with lots of fodder enemies around. The room with the rocket launcher also has a pretty nasty archvile and arachnotron ambush that can catch you off-guard, probably my favourite combat moment in the level. And the room with the 3 different paths taking you around different height levels in the same room is some really cool level design. I do think it lacks some combat highlights though, there aren't many big threats to find here and when the level does throw some bigger monsters at you, they are made kind of trivial by the secret BFG and the cells you get after the rocket launcher archvile encounter.

 

Overall, it's a level that possesses the inventive design in its secrets and layout that I've come to enjoy from this wad, but I think it could have used some better combat in places.

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MAP15 – Peak Facility

This one was pretty fun. Lots of hitscanners, but they were fun to kill nonetheless. The visuals in this level once again suggest an Earthlike setting, this time on the top of a mountain. The opening shot was really cool. Then there was a choice of barons or platforming with less barons, which wasn’t my favorite, but as long as you get out of the rear exit quickly you can avoid getting pinned by a baron. Then there’s a fun colored bridge puzzle, followed by more techbase shooting. In the rocket launcher room there was a double-vile ambush, and there was another later in the map as well, IIRC. The highlight of the map is the key maze at the end, really interesting and well-constructed area. I saw someone mention before that they also had a hard time figuring out where to go first here, and then saying that “blue is usually best” in this WAD, so I’ll remember that for the future. Sadly I didn’t find the secret exit or either secret weapon I’ve seen mentioned here. Onto map 16 then.

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MAP 16 – Natural Supply

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

 

It seems the demons from Hell have found a natural supply of toxic slime here. Doomguy’s mission is to find a way through nukage rivers, lakes, basins, pools, and every kind of artificial reservoir. Nothing has been left out for the player to cross and to take damage from.

 

The river was a wide-open area painted all in green, with charging melee monsters backed by Arachnotron’s suppression fire. The gameplay was built upon radiation suit management and rapid dispatching of enemies, going on in a similar fashion in the nearby slime lake. The monsters were not in strong numbers but were quite far away. Shooting from the top of the waterfall was possible only until the suit ran out. Once I took control of the area, I figured out that I must operate a Lion platform to access a network of caves.

Spoiler

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I was lucky since I found a secret that gave me not only cells and rockets, but also an edge over a troop of former humans and a group of Mancubi lurking in the darkness. The caves opened out onto another poisonous basin, that required pressing a Gargoyle switch in the caves to cross and reach the treatment facility on the other side.

Spoiler

 

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I liked how the linear progression path unfolded itself around this pool, with many hidden caves and narrow ledges to spot. I died by the first big ambush, but it was bad luck. I was handling Mancubi & their bathing mates from the far side of the room, when a fireball hit a barrel at my side, blowing me up. Never leave unexploded barrels around!

Spoiler

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Other map gimmicks included raising easy and pointless stairs, a Barrels o’Fun exploding chain that I did not spend time to figure out (I blew them up and survived, so I moved on) and some light jumping and walking on narrow paths over nukage, probably a reference to MAP24: The Chasm, along with “In the Dark” soundtrack.

Spoiler

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There was a last attempt to bottleneck me by the exit. I liked the Arch-Vile and Arachnotron combo, which required a bit of thinking and moving around to single-out the Vile, since killing the spider was pointless with the healer so close by. I found every major power-up, but I totalised only 50% secrets. It seems I missed many of them by the lake. This was an average map by Doom Zero standards.

Edited by Book Lord

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MAP15: Peak Facility

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

Interestingly, we've suddenly gone back to another techbase map, not that I'm complaining since they're my favourite kind of map hehe. Despite it feeling more like this map should've been much earlier in the WAD when taking visual aesthetics into account, the combat encounters are ramped up and the puzzles are a touch more cryptic. While I wasn't able to find the majority of secrets in this map, the one I did find was awesome just with the way it's structured. The also has some excellent traps/monster closets that constantly surprised me in a way I found genuinely fun. It feels a bit out of place given the general progression of how the maps have been progressing visually, but otherwise it's just a terrific techbase with good secrets, swift layouts, nice designs and delicious combat to tear through. Definitely left an impression on me on the fun factor alone.

 

 

MAP16: Natural Supply

 

Looks like we've broken outside the techbase and are now wallowing through the base's toxic waste dump and isolated waste facility at the end, or something like that I don't know lol. There are some more odd puzzles to this one. The specific one with the barrels left me for a loop for a bit, but I got through it eventually. The map is nice and varied at least in what you traverse through and what the combat is like, but it doesn't leave much for me to talk about as it's rather dull compared to the techbase we just left. It's another map that's just okay in my book. Not dreadful by any means, but doesn't do a hell of a lot to leave a lasting impression beyond a couple of its puzzles.

 

 

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UV with saves, pistol start, glbloom+ (complevel 2)

 

Map 01 High-Rise Roof

Fun happy starting map. This one introduces doom 1-style secrets and also teaches the player about gargoyle-marked doors and switches. Both those things will be featured in the later map of Doom Zero. The choice of 3 keys is a notable feature, even if this choice does not matter that much in the end.

 

Map 02 Toxic Tower

Map 02 is like Map 01, but tougher, faster and stronger. This one is full of shotgun guys and ambushes, and can be pretty deadly on a pistol start. There is a small nifty platforming tower in the middle of a toxic pool, but no evil platforming challenges yet. This map also introduces the chaingun. The Doom Zero chaingun shoots one bullet per fire button press. It is just as good as the normal chaingun, but requires some time to re-learn. Chaingunners are also introduced. Those guys use the same non-threatening chaingun sound as the player. They may sound rather harmless, yet they are the same deadly Plutonia mascots, so watch out!
I am a big fan of this map, but I cannot pinpoint why.
Also, for some reason this map reminds me of map09: Spectre Strikes from Struggle. Again, I cannot pinpoint why.

 

Map 03 Marble zone

We have only reached map03, and already we are presented with a hot start!
This is a pretty fun map with rather tight rersource balance. I also liked looking for secrets on this map (the blue armor secret is my favourite). SSG fight was surprisingly non-trivial due to ability of cacos to fly over some walls. My favourite part of Marble zone is the complex self-reconstructing setup in the final room. It is very impressive!

 

Map 04 Triple Town

This map introduces monster teleporter markers. Those things help with anticipating monster ambushes on blind and/or casual playthroughs. Pretty nifty anti-frustration feature. And anti-frustration features are welcome, because Triple Town sure loves its hitscanners. Among the first 15 monsters there are 10 hitscanners and 7 of those are chaingunners! This map also has some cool secrets and an interesting layout.

Triple Town also introduces the first megasphere and the first plasma cannon of the megawad. Both items were tweaked by @DASI-I a little bit. Megaspheres in Doom Zero have a cool reddish-orange color. And plasma rifle has its after-fire delay removed and firing sound replaced. Personally, Doom Zero has the best-sounding plasma rifle of all doom PWADs and IWADs which I played.

 

Map 05 The Pits

Pretty evil start, with cacos lurking outside the windows and hell knights occupying the narrow corridor. Ammo and health are pretty tight near the start too... This is the first "no rest for the player" map of Doom Zero. This is the biggest map so far. It also has a sizeable number of monsters positioned in evil ways (chaingunner ambushes and hitscanner snipers are present). Also, this map introduces the archviles, and timed platforming over the lava pools. Pretty ruthless map overall. The only consolation is the ability to sequence break the rocket launcher secret at the start of the map.
This was fun!

 

Map 06 Echo Halls

Map 05 ended with a E1M8 damaging floor exit and a big pile of plasma cells in the very last room. So map 06 is clearly designed with a continuous start in mind. During continuous playthrough the choice of 3 keys truly shines.

With player at single digit HP, every key offers a relief and an interesting solution to the problem of monster hordes:
- Yellow key provides 3 invulnerabilities and ample rockets.
- Blue key offers some plasma, some rockets, and crushes most of the monsters.
- Red key gives lots of plasma and 3 supercharges.
I think that the yellow key approach is the coolest one for the continuous play, and I suspect that the yellow key is the most obvious key offered for a reason.
Echo Halls is a very cool, if relatively easy map, which concludes the first episode of Doom Zero. I especially liked the fact that this map is designed with a continuous blind pistol-restart playthrough in mind. This is not my prefered style of play, but still, it is neat that @DASI-I designed the map for this style.

 

Map 07 Claustrophobia

The reference to Nu-Doom in the intermission text is a nice touch.
Map 07 uses complex layouts and cramped spaces to a very cool effect. Overall, this map is a very good illustration of Doom Zero design philosophy employed by @DASI-I. In the txt @DASI-I writes that "The maps [of Doom Zero] follow a philosophy of level design that was practiced by the original authors of Doom".

Design- and Layout-wise, map 07 is a mix between Doom1 and Doom2. It is more abstract than most doom 1 maps, yet not as abstract as most doom 2 maps.
Visually, it would not be too out of place in episode 2 of doom 1. But, compared to the typical doom 1 map, this map uses a considerable amount of verticality, and an elaborate amount of lift contraptions.
Gameplay-wise, Claustrophobia is very reminiscent of ID software IWADs. Yet, at the same time, gameplay of Claustrophobia feels very modern in its small details and overall polish. @DASI-I shows an impressive ability to highlight monster strengths while shoring up their weaknesses. A notable example of this is the use of hell knights and pinkies in the beginning area. Both monster types are used to great effect due to claustrophobic (Ba-Dum-Tss!) layout of the battlefield. The map has a number of such well-calibrated fights. And in between those keystone fights there is a very Doom 1-2 task of exploring how to reach the next area of interest in this interconnected map. Yes, Claustrophobia is a linear map, but so is the m04 Focus of Doom 2. The joy of exploring maps such as these lies in seeking the cool and surprising tricks used to tie the map together. And Claustrophobia has a lot of such tricks. Very fun, if a bit unforgiving, map.

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Doom Zero - MAP17: the Testing Labs (HMP: K 100%, S 88%, D 1)

 

i like the direct continuity from the last map, arriving at the outside of the labs, guarded outside by a few Arachnotrons,  Immediately after that, there's a couple of puzzles to figure out the progression, and this time they feel like they contribute to the level.  Outside in the pivotal role is the lift which is raised in stages to access a couple of sections (and a secret...)  After raising it to the first level, the task is to get the YK, for which some platforming is needed - nothing serious, just timing has to be right.  Oh, and there's also an Arch-Vile to be killed, but once again he's an easy target, at least for continuous playing.  First through the Yellow door, some Cacowheezers are guarding a switch to open a side-door to get deeper inside the building.

 

A couple of Revenants later, there's a room at first guarded by roaming Barons of Hell, and some sniping Chaingunners, and there's a chance of being ambushed here by either or both.  The first major puzzle is here, and some platforming will also be required.  One must find a route to where the Chaingunners were by manipulating lifts and jumping from one platform to the next, plus a couple of secrets.  It's not very complex, but it's not entirely incidental, either - i remember not noticing something immediately on my first run.  And, i totally missed one of the secrets on my blind run, even if a similar one was already earlier in the WAD.  But after all of this, the outside lift will have been raised to go one level higher.  This puzzle-platforming room i also thought was really well-designed and nice to play.

 

The next area has a lot of Cacos, and there was some Chaingunners also, and another puzzle, to get the RK and BK to access the whole of the final section.  The combat so far is good, nothing special but still offering enough opposition not to be trivial, and so it is here also - here there's a real chance of being surprised by a Cacodemon from unexpected direction as they have a nasty habit of floating around corners.

 

The last section is the most difficult combat-wise.  i took the open door first, which takes to the lower level of the same area as the Blue one.  This large area has a lot of Chaingunners, Imps, Pinkies, Lost Souls, and hitscanners, both on the higher edges and on ground level, and is quite dangerous, and sometimes it's hard to tell where the fire comes from.  After it was all cleared, i pressed the face-switch, which released a veritable infestation of Lost Souls.  My health was already low from the fighting, and as i watched it go lower and lower, at less than 10%, desperately shooting plasma all around me, i realized i am going to die here, after all.  Was not in my plan to be dead by LS again!

Well, in second try i managed it.  And then it's back to the Blue door, and to the upper levels of the section.  It's a nice one with a lot of goodies and secrets - and also this is a good time to take a look and marvel at the great layout of this section.  i liked it a lot.  But here is also the one secret i couldn't figure out, the backpack.  i've no idea how to get it, and i even hoped it'd be a repeat of the Blue Armor secret of MAP02, but no.  It must be some devilish mechanism for which i found nor heard any clue.

 

The Exit room is also a good one - though it took me longer than i care to admit that the lift is lowered by pressing the button which i imagined to be the Exit.  But the secret here is worth it - and if there's one change from the original in this WAD that i like, it's the Orange Megasphere.

 

For me, this is a really well designed level, dominated by puzzles, but ones that are baked into it, and not just add-ons (or worse, level designed around them.)  The next level has a serious platforming section involving a timed door that drove me nuts (or near tears) the first time, and i know it will do the same again.  It's also one of the more difficult and complex techbase-maps, but i guess at this point there'd be something wrong if the difficulty didn't get a raise by now.

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On 5/4/2021 at 5:14 AM, northivanastan said:

Also, what the hell is with those custom Cacodemon sounds?

 

 

i can't read the whole thread right now, but they remind of xenomorphs. not bad, tbh. the knight though sound like a bad case of hiccup.

 

i'm playing this, although i didn't get to comment much on it yet, together with the french community wad and other stuff i missed during the last months. 

 

now i see there's a new version of what i've played already.

Edited by Pirx

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UV, pistol starts, saveless

 

I'm still here! Writing large(ish) posts for each level was starting to feel like work so I took a bit of a break. I think from here on I'm only going to post if a level really grabs me in order to keep this a "for fun" thing for me. That said, I'll spoiler some brief descriptions for maps10-15 in this one so I can be caught up.

 

MAP10 - Leap Gates

Spoiler

The secrets felt mandatory in this one. My first playthrough ended in a death to the double mancubus/hitscan trap in the middle path due to low health from the slime room and not a whole lot of ammo. Finding the BFG and the cells behind the titular gates were a huge boon, especially for the final arena. A decent map overall but this is the first time where I felt disadvantaged because I'm not a super keen secret hunter when they involve more than basic switch hunting.

 

 

MAP11 - Too Close To Home

Spoiler

Lots of doomcute in this one. Easily the best city level I've ever played even if the combat was fairly blasé throughout. The mega armor secret here is more my style. The revenant/hell knight fight in the office was definitely the highlight of the level and the only area that had me sit up straight. I think the ending would have been much better if it was a double cyberdemon encounter given how much space you have but maybe we're still too early in the wad for that.

 

MAP12 - Underland
 

Spoiler

Inferno! Our first venture into Hell is fairly sedated outside of two encounters. The opening area looks a lot more intimidating than it is. I did enjoy the first monster closet fight in the eastern portion of the room, and I enjoyed the scrubsphere and plasma rifle secrets as well. The archvile psuedo-maze was a bit of a barn burner but I made it out alive with a sliver of HP. It might be the most intense fight of the wad so far. The baron room was the epitome of the "doors-with-health" moniker. They had the positioning advantage but I was so flush with rockets that it was more of a shooting gallery than an actual fight. Good level because it's in Hell, not so much for the gameplay.

 

MAP13 - Tease

Spoiler

This level was...not for me. Way too heavy on the puzzles and the only fight that got my heart rate up was the revenant/hell knight get-together (I'm sensing a pattern here) through the yellow door. I spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for one of the exit switches since I didn't think to drop into the pit. The shotgunner traps were nice, as was color coding with torches instead of textures.

 

MAP14 - The Crust

Spoiler

Easily my new favorite level! The opening room is memorable, the combat is the fiercest yet, and every secret is worthwhile. I chose the blue key route again for consistency's sake. The first fight in the hub area is frenetic as all get out and once it's over I found myself practically ricocheting from area to area for the entire rest of the level. The double archie in the western portion of the level can cause some real problems since most of the nearby corpses are mid-tier enemies (of which a few are mancubi rocket sinks). Continuing on to the mega armor and rad suit lead to a valuable CAM secret, an item that this wad is making me appreciate more and more with every level. The final hallway is rife with hellspawn and looks great too. DASI-I keeps you well stocked with ammo which eases the pressure a little bit but this is still one of the harder fights in the wad up to this point. It's a fantastic one no doubt, just don't let its intensity catch you off guard (and if it does, keep your ears open for the megasphere secret). I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a call back to the cave section at the end of MAP04 but that's how I interpreted it and it inspires a sense of progression both in the levels themselves as well as the player's skill level. A phenomenal map!

 

MAP15 - Peak Facility

Spoiler

I don't like the first bit too much. There's too many barons to be having to punch them all and the outside area feels weird, for lack of a better term. Once you get into the facility though things pick up in both intensity and quality. The RL trap managed to kill me the first time and would have the second if I didn't hit the line def trigger and sprint back to the still-open blue door and cheese my way through it. Making it through that fight all but guarantees your win however since the rest of the level is a very well done tech warren with mostly drip-fed combat. Grabbing the yellow key allows you to take the nearby exit but it may be wise to do a little backtracking...

 

I've mostly enjoyed the first half of this wad. It's definitely too puzzle heavy for my taste at points and the combat took a while to ramp up but the fights are intensifying and the map layouts are getting more elaborate without causing much confusion. The back half will be a personal challenge for me as MAP10-14 is where I tend to drop the wad I've been playing for a different one. I'll be putting in my best effort to stick to the schedule. 

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Going to knock off both secret maps for today:

 

MAP31: Meat

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 9/10 secrets

 

This level was pretty great. It makes use of the flesh textures and starts you off in a fleshy reconstruction of Doom 2's MAP31, followed by one for Doom's E1M1, and this one morphs into one for Doom 2's MAP01. According to Book Lord's earlier writeup there are Quake references as well, but I haven't played Quake since I was a kid so I don't recall unfortunately. I got a good chuckle out of the homages when I noticed what they were doing, funny stuff. Knowledge of the source material will help you find a decent few of the secrets in this one as well. The layout of this one is generally a little bit simple and straightforward as far as this wad goes, but in a secret map a departure from the established norm is welcome.

 

The combat does suffer from Too Many Barons syndrome on occasion, but apart from that I enjoyed myself. There are quite a lot of hitscanners around that you'll need to be wary of, and you'll run into some nasty ambushes with revenants and archviles at various points. The archvile ambush near the end of the level when you get the blue key is probably the most evil in the wad so far, the archviles absolutely fried me my first encounter with this one. The second time around I instead brute-forced my way into the cubby-hole that they teleport out of with the plasma and had more success with this method. This wad in general does seem to like having monsters in front of you teleport behind you, and it's used pretty heavily in this level. It's not a peeve of mine though so I don't mind, and the fact it tends to telegraph some ambushes with the pentagrams on the ground is a neat idea.

 

Great secret map, fun to play and an amusing concept. Also one more brief note: the path leading you to the secret exit looks really cool, with the skybox overlapping the path like that. Trippy effect.

 

MAP32: Dark Roof

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 2/3 secrets

 

And you're back in the first map, except this time it's dark. I thought it had a really cool atmosphere to it, what with the darkness, the ground littered with the corpses that you left in your last adventure here, and Opening to Hell playing. Unfortunately though, not a lot happens here. There are two monsters, a cyberdemon and spider mastermind, and all you really have to do is get them to infight each other, grab the BFG at the end of the level, watch them fight until one perishes, and dispatch the other in likely a single BFG blast. Not a lot to say. I kind of wish the level took a more daring approach and took advantage of its dark atmosphere to provide something more climactic, but at least this is tucked away in the super-secret slot I suppose.

Edited by DisgruntledPorcupine

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MAP08: Module Base

100% kills, 6/6 secrets

 

Very obviously a Tricks and Traps homage, with quite a few IWAD areas (and some that aren't - not sure if they're from other WADs or wholly original). So, not a lot to say about most of it. One thing that stuck out was the blue key secret - could've just hidden the blue armor in the nook, but instead there's a switch that lowers the key to reveal the hidden area. This sort of design philosophy - putting in some extra work with a cool piece of moving map geography, instead of just an easy door or whatever - is something I've seen a lot in this WAD and appreciate.

 

MAP09: Ancient Archives

99% kills, 4/7 secrets

 

Given the name, I expected a library... there is one later, but there's a metal sewer to begin with. Guess we're taking the back route in. As I said for MAP08, this one has another interesting design bit at the start, with the two buttons to raise/lower the sludge and allow you to reach the two wings needed to open up the main door. A lot of authors would've just placed two hallways or two doors. The constantly rising floor to the exit is a nice signpost too. The actual combat was relatively ho-hum. It's possible to jump to the red key without needing to open up the gargoyle wall.

 

Why the hell would someone make Revenants have the AV pain sound?

 

MAP10: Leap Gates

94% kills, 4/8 secrets

 

Lots of diagonal jumping here, so a bit of leaping in addition to the actual gates. The opening area is some pretty rote chaingunning in hallways, though you'll need to be careful with that AV to avoid running out of ammo if you get it too close to the corpses. The most interesting area is the horde of lost souls in darkness while you try to stay on the safe brown sludge, though truth be told I just ran through this as quickly as possible, heh. The final area was a bit of a downer, not much room to manuever and all the monsters are turrets, so it's just a lot dodging left and right and hope that infighting helps you out. I did really like the secret two-sided switch here though, interesting bit of logic needed to keep the teleport open and the columns up together.

 

MAP11: Too Close to Home

100% kills, 4/5 secrets

 

Ye olde downtown level. The buildings actually look pretty nice, nice details used architecturally to give the buildings some depth - for example, the building that holds the exit feels like the entrance to a courthouse with the stairs and columns. Aside from that, not much to say, progression is pretty obvious and the fights are nothing special.

 

MAP12: Underland

100% kills, 2/6 secrets

 

Seeing all the switches, I was worried this one might be complex, but it's nothing hard - just criss cross, slowly making your way higher and higher. What is kind of a pain is dealing with the monsters that come in, as the bridges are not very easy to dodge on without falling into that painful 20% lava. So the real trick is just figuring out the best way to get back to a side area where you can take on the monsters. I tried to sneak past the barons at first, but couldn't figure out the switch right away, so had to fall back on Mr. Rocket Launcher. The AV area was a ton of fun, probably could've used one or two more of them to really put me on edge, but the circular design with lots of openings worked well.

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MAP17: The Testing Labs

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

This must be the place where they test the puzzles because we've got a bunch of them here. They even included a bit where you've got to use an Archie Jump, which I thought was curious because, up until this point, the WAD hadn't really delved into some of the more advanced tricks the community has devised over the years so that was a neat surprise. I'd say the most challenging part of this map was the nasty combo of the Baron trio in the tight squared off area with chaingunners plinking you from up high. That was rather nasty and would give me my second, possibly third death of the run. I nearly died again in the very last room that's packed to the gills zombies, which made for a fun shoot-out but whittled my health down considerably, and then got utterly swarmed by Lost Souls but I'll be damned if I'm going to allow myself to be killed by one of those blighters! Honestly, I couldn't be bothered looking for the secret blue key because I feel like I'm a little overpowered at this point anyways considering all the previous secret backpacks I've been able to find and still have ammo pouring out of my ears lol.

 

 

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MAP 17 – The Testing Labs

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

 

Apparently, the purpose of these Labs is testing human Marines' switch finding and platform hopping capabilities. This is the most puzzle-driven level up to this point, but this does not allow players to let their guard down. The ones who did, including myself, may have kicked the bucket a couple of times. After a warm-up with Arachnotrons and a wannabe-sniped Arch-Vile, the outer clearing hosts the first puzzle to pick up the YK.

Spoiler

1422410918_DoomZeroMap17_01.jpg.cfec3473049ec4dfce562a30cc5a4eb6.jpg

Inside the first indoor area, a Berserk pack foreshadowed a herd of Pinkies, but they were Revenants instead. Never mind, I do not use fists on -fast if not forced by ammo starvation, which fortunately was not the case in continuous play. The first death toll was soon to come, as I was cornered and ripped apart by the Barons in the next puzzle room. I was distracted by invisible Chaingunner snipers, then I opened fire and was caught in the snare. The elevator workout was a little tedious here, but these anti-climactic moments are required for the player to relax and be successfully ambushed later.

Spoiler

1376118575_DoomZeroMap17_02.jpg.e73afa230bc4d26d7189371024959a55.jpg

Next stop was the octagonal yard where the Arch-Vile was standing. The hardest task here was to locate the groaning enemies before they shot me in the back. The colour-coded switches were self-explanatory and RK was easily netted, but I liked the idea that the BK was optional instead. The Arch-Vile closet was a ‘prize’ that I liked less.

Spoiler

142711474_DoomZeroMap17_03.jpg.66c9791fa818301fa9d232e3a9fae51f.jpg

The triple interlocked Red door was missing a 3D catwalk to make sense, nevertheless it granted access to the laboratory proper. Interesting machinery mock-ups and lighting effects have been implemented to characterise the area. It was full of hitscanners, ready to pull the trigger for some cheap attrition damage. The BK path offered an elevated position to clear the lab and was the primary means of access to a lot of secrets.

Spoiler

1674286014_DoomZeroMap17_04.jpg.4df408328a27d84e00d850f60a3ae509.jpg

The last gimmick of 'The Testing Labs' killed me in seconds. Nevertheless, it was an excellent one. I totally support the use of Lost Souls, Doom monsters far too neglected since Pain Elementals destined them to be irrelevant for the end-of-level tally. A swarm of 40 flaming skulls suddenly materialised in the whole lab area, surrounding and biting me wildly. I was patrolling the flaming pentacle by the switch, as DASI-I accustomed me to, so no chance for me without prior knowledge. Even the second attempt left me barely standing, but a benevolent megasphere was placed in an easy secret before the exit. Good map.

Spoiler

1891038525_DoomZeroMap17_05.jpg.2cc519f43425f6f023fad7699e77b104.jpg

 

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7 hours ago, Biodegradable said:

They even included a bit where you've got to use an Archie Jump, which I thought was curious because, up until this point, the WAD hadn't really delved into some of the more advanced tricks the community has devised over the years so that was a neat surprise.

 

Maybe this was the reason why Archie is facing in the opposite direction at the start... but it requires taking a blast while running into the enemies. Still, there is a way to lower the lift to the blue switch.

 

16 hours ago, dei_eldren said:

But here is also the one secret i couldn't figure out, the backpack.  i've no idea how to get it, and i even hoped it'd be a repeat of the Blue Armor secret of MAP02, but no.  It must be some devilish mechanism for which i found nor heard any clue.

 

You have to press the wall just opposite the Lion switch. Totally unmarked. I did it instinctively, as driven by some supernatural force.

 

But no 100% secrets, I missed the blue armour+ammo in the metal lifts puzzle room... :( I completely forgot that ledge.

 

Compmap is not very helpful for these 2.

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14 minutes ago, Book Lord said:

Maybe this was the reason why Archie is facing in the opposite direction at the start

 

Yeah, as you can tell from my footage, the thought didn't occur to me until after I killed him and restarted the map. :^P

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MAP 18 – Atom Transporter

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

 

A Commando hallway lacking any cover was not the best calling card. However, my mood soon changed after the funny teleport shenanigans by Hell Knights and Cacodemons from the STARBR2 hallway, with resulting infights. Down there, I found more teleporting pincer traps and ultimately a dead end.

Spoiler

19228217_DoomZeroMap18_01.jpg.a7746c429752b9a9319d4950a744a0b1.jpg

I tried the STARG2 wing, where a movement puzzle gave me a hard time. Not only it required quick running and precise side-stepping, but after I barely made it through the door there were Lost Souls, a Pain Elemental, Revenants and many others as a welcome committee. I must be getting better at Doom because I handled the situation well. The appalling perspective to retry that acrobatic number again fuelled my determination to survive.

Spoiler

502927072_DoomZeroMap18_02.jpg.719b85f11b9870940fb4373798c37862.jpg

I returned with the BK and entered the titular ‘Atom Transporter’ room, where Demons and Hell Knights tried to surround me, but I retreated outside to handle the -fast pigs more comfortably. The dizziness-inducing beam was not accessible yet, but a switch allowed progressing into the brown wing and across a bridge over nukage.

Spoiler

217494650_DoomZeroMap18_03.jpg.e2a9bdd743e257d04547a719533a123e.jpg

Firstly, I reached a poisonous basin where red lights traced a path on the ceiling. I hoped a bridge would create as I followed it, but it was not that kind of gimmick. The switch that raised platforms to reach the teleporter was in the nearby computer room, an area reminiscent of E1M2: Nuclear Plant.

Spoiler

1295545033_DoomZeroMap18_04.jpg.8e193feb3f5769d8f58f4ab629a8e919.jpg

After more backtracking and monster closets, I jumped into the teleport leading to the ‘Atom Transporter’. Everybody there was alerted beforehand, and Revenants were shooting rockets like there was no tomorrow. My confidence wavered a bit when the Arch-Vile duo repeatedly resurrected the Mancubi, staying out of shooting range, but eventually my splash damage got them. In such a pitiful condition, I could not leave the map without replenishing a bit. The first thing that I found was a secret invulnerability that would have trivialised the nasty finale.

Spoiler

429421822_DoomZeroMap18_05.jpg.eec3cd4bdf0a437eef66643a2c5f7aa5.jpg

I got all the secrets on this level, except the plasma gun that I gave up in BK area, because I thought it required strafe running. There was another way to save time, which I figured out and performed after exiting the map. The RK sub-quest was fascinating and felt like a flashback into KDitD endless chains of secrets. I even died at my first attempt in the nukage gauntlet, then switched to plasma gun and gained a well-deserved megasphere. The Spider Mastermind by the BFG secret was overkill, but impressive anyway. This was a standout level in the second episode of Doom Zero.

 

 

Edited by Book Lord

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MAP16: Natural Supply

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 1/8 secrets

 

Only found one secret in this one, and it contained rockets for a rocket launcher I never managed to find. Bad luck there. Anyway, this is a level I can definitely see not being everyone's cup of tea, it wasn't totally mine. It's pretty heavy on the nukage which isn't always a bad thing, but it can make for an annoying experience at times. The most devious encounter in the map in my opinion comes near the beginning, when you reach the end of the river of nukage and fall into a pit of more nukage in front of the caves you will be exploring shortly after. When you reach this pit, our rad suit is probably on its last legs, and there are some pretty tricky monster placements here, with arachnotrons roaming the nukage, the platforms nearby having a couple hitscanners, imps dotted all over, lost souls flying around the place, and a mancubus situated on the farthest platform spraying his fireballs at you from a distance. With all these hostiles and having to avoid the nukage it's a somewhat aggravating encounter, but not too bad.

 

After you enter the caves and deal with herds of mancubi, hitscanners, and pinkies, you will find yourself on a forked bridge/lift over more nukage on front of the structure that you'll be spending the rest of the map navigating. The first room, accessed by standing on a pressure plate and running to the lift it lowers before it raises, puts you through is a room with a small river of nukage (that you must run through), some hitscanners, and a nasty ambush which mancubi and a pain elemental. It ends with an intimidating mob of hitscanners near a bunch of conveniently placed barrels, which is always a fun time.

 

The second door, revealed by a portion at the front of the building lowering, contains a Barrels o' Fun-esque section where you have to blow up the barrel in front of you and sprint away from the trail of explosions to reach the lift at the end. The lift is cramped and has a couple cacos, but the super shotgun makes quick enough work of them. It ends with you doing a platforming section over nukage with several pain elementals dotted around to ruin your day, which you'll definitely want to eliminate before trying to progress.

 

The third and final door is revealed by another portion of the building lowering, at the top of the lift you used to access the first room. If you were wondering where the archviles were in this map considering this wad's love of a token archvile encounter (which I don't mind), this room has you covered. It throws two archviles in your face from the very start. After getting rid of these guys and going up the lift, your next encounter is with an archvile and an arachnotron. The level then throws two more revenants at you afterward on your way out.

 

This is a tough map to judge for me. I found it equal parts fun and a little bit annoying. It probably features the most annoying usages of lost souls in the wad so far, and has some annoying nukage. But it does have some fun moments as well, like the first room in the main building.

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Nap 12: 100% kills, 5/6 secrets

 

  This is a map.  I don't have much to say about the setting though the gimmick of raising the crisscrossing bridges to reach a high ledge stands out.  Again, Doom Zero demonstrates its ability to use small numbers of monsters effectively.  The pain elemental mixed in with cacodemons stuck out in my memory.  It's tricky to be able to focus on the skull spitter in such an open area.  Also an especially painful time to fall off the bridges into laval, enduring floor damage as well as flying monsters while waiting the second or two it takes for the bridge to lower.  And you're very exposed while waiting the seconds it takes for the bridge to rise.  Sucks if you get knocked off by all the flying monsters.  The gazebo made for a tense setting wondering when something will leap out.  The room with lots of barons at least gave a chance to cut loose with heavy weapons which the map does supply the ammo for.  Missing one secret but had full resources without it so gave up on searching.

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MAP 18: Atom Transporter

UV | Continuous Play with Saves | GZDoom

 

Well fuck me, DZ's taken a mean turn here. As we enter another techbase, the WAD really starts to bear its teeth with some rather sly and even downright vicious encounters: The opening hallway is chock-full of chaingunners, an awkwardly-placed Pain Elemental that spells utter destruction for you thanks to his Caco and Rev buddies, a flock of Pinkies and their Hell Knight shepherds muck around with teleporting shenanigans in a tight area and an absolute bastard of a stand-off at the exit in floor underneath the HK/Pinkie Room with two Mancs, two Revs and two Archies with barely any room to dodge rockets and fire attacks. I think this is the first map of the WAD to really push my buttons and show me that DZ's done wearing kiddy gloves and wants to fight dirty now hehe. I'm spewing that I found that Godsphere secret AFTER finally breaking through that fight. Such is my life lol. I'm starting to notice the pattern of DZ pushing big encounters on you with little wiggle room to really test your resolve and knowledge of demon attack patterns. Oh and the little reference to E1M2 close to the end was a nice little touch. I thought that was cute. I imagine this map will leave its impression on people more for its combat than anything else as not much else really stands out, at least for me anyways.

 

 

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MAP12: Underland (HMP/continuous/saves)

15:23 | 100% Everything

A kind of miniature intro to the hellish-themed maps, this level has a pretty small footprint that you crisscross back and forth a few times by means of raising a pair of bridges. As a result it felt rather inconsequential. Lots and lots of switches, which is pretty much the WADs M.O., at this point, I feel.

 

MAP13: Tease

25:53 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 87% Secrets

This map does indeed tease you with 3 keys, but almost immediately lets you grab them after only some small effort. The penultimate marble room with the three levels is packed with switches and lifts that I didn't see the reason for, until I realized that all of that machinery was meant to facilitate people who grabbed just one key. But why would anyone do that, when you can just go back and nab all three keys? Feels like another case of the WAD trying to be a little too clever for its own good. (I still don't know what that already-on switch at the top of the stairs is for.) I did quite enjoy all of the secrets packed into the golden floors of the key room; it was fun tracking all of those down, and I still somehow managed to miss one...

 

MAP14: Crust

20:42 | 100% Kills | 99% Items | 100% Secrets

Ugh, that stadium-seating set of lifts at the beginning was obnoxious. Why does anyone still make rooms like that these days? Blech. Beyond that, this is pretty good adventure map that feels a lot bigger than it really is. Early on you have to choose between the blue key and a switch, and I played 90% of the level feeling pretty salty that I was going to miss out on the red key stuff--and then I discovered the secret that allows you to access both key and switch. Very nice.

 

MAP15: Peak Facility

21:18 | 100% Kills | 99% Items | 100% Secrets

Love the opening view here, and I was thrilled when the secret exit let me revisit the area. Quite a fun mountainside base, with the standout area easily being the three-way interwoven key maze. The bits with the red/blue lifts and the platforming over the lava seemed kind of out of place, but the rest was great. I liked the multiple secrets tied up with the lift and walls that lower together; I felt quite clever figuring all of those out.

 

MAP31: MEAT

15:15 | 100% Kills | 97% Items | 90% Secrets

I didn't get the Wolfenstein reference, but I instantly recognized the meatified versions of E1M1, MAP01, and Quake. At first I was wary of the gimmick, but the longer the level was drawn out, the more I enjoyed it, especially the back half where the combat became more interesting. Very creepy to look at, and a lot of fun to play.

 

MAP32: Dark Roof

5:53 | 100% Everything

We're back in MAP01, and things are as I left them, with the baddies' corpses strewn about. This time I know about the key trick, so I make sure to peak out the windows and verify which key I need, and lo! what do I see but a Mastermind! I wake her up with a few bullets, and then (hooray for continuous play) lure her to a window to blast her with a couple of BFG shots. Then it's outside to grab all of the secrets this time, and I turn the corner to find...a Cyberdemon! I make short work of him as well--not always an easy thing for me, but this time goes smoothly. I track down the other secrets and stock up on my cells before exiting. Not a great super-secret map, but it works. The atmosphere is fantastic, though, especially with that background music.

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I'm also bailing on posting about every map unless I feel like I have something substantial to say.

 

MAP17 - The Testing Labs

PrBoom+, UV (100% Kills, 22% Secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

This one sucks and kind of rules at the same time.

The good bits: the puzzles, which are cute and feel built around instead of randomly shoved in.

The bad: the combat, which has been a recurring issue I've taken with this wad. I don't think it's being nitpick-y anymore though, especially when the beginning of this map on pistol start asks you to tediously use the regular shotgun to kill like 6 arachnotrons just because uh..... that's fun I guess? It's not fun, though, it's tedious and unless I missed a secret at the very beginning with a bfg or a rocket launcher or something, I can't imagine someone playtested this and said "OK yes..... this is the start this level needs."

This is probably the single best level I can point to for what I like and what I dislike, which is neat, I guess.

 

MAP18 - Atom Transporter

PrBoom+, UV (89% Kills, 37% Secrets), Pistol Start, No Saves, Blind

Incredible map, tech base punctuated with satisfying combat and the Atom Transporter itself is beautiful. That's it, it's just extremely good combat, which was a real surprise for me at this point of the wad.

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Quick Update, my pc was broken so i could play. It's repaired now so i'll just come back in mini reviews until the day of the map, but awesome reviews and screenshots I see here.

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UV with saves, pistol start, glbloom+ (complevel 2)

 

Map 08 Module Base

Lots of references to Doom 1 and Doom 2. Tricks and traps, first SSG in Underhalls, even E1M1 (remembering the layout of E1M1 can net you a soulsphere, an invulnerability and a BFG). Gameplay-wise, this map continues with themes of map 07, bringing in more claustrophobic fights against hell knights, hit-scanners and archviles. This map also adds barons into the mix. And some baron fights are surprisingly fierce! The most intense encounter is the 4 barons with chaingunner support in the yellow key room. There is not much space, and thus barons become impossible to ignore. But the chaingunners also cannot be ignored! This combination results in a deaddly encounter. The archvile ambush behind the red door and hell noble brawl around the blue key can also be tough, especially if one does come unprepared.
This map also has a lot of cool secrets. The secret hunt alone makes Module Base worth playing.

 

Map 09 Anchient Archives

The levels keep getting harder! Map 09 has noticeable Final Doom vibes. It is quite fitting that Anchient Archives adds Revenants to the Doom Zero monster roster, and also employs quite a bit of ambushes. Anchient Archives incorporates some cool floor rising tricks like the ones we have seen in map 07, and they fit the environment very well. My favourite rising floor part is the mud pool at the start.

Combat-wise, this is the hardest map so far. The starting sewer area is not that hard, but still presents some challenges. And the rest of the map is full of nasty surprises. The first nasty surprise is the lock-in fight right after the rocket launcher. The hell knights and cacodemons attack from 3 different sides and threaten to box in the player. The ammo can be scarce at this stage of the map, and side rooms contain more hell knights and some chaingunners. All those factors result in an intense encounter, based around mostly big slow monsters and zero revenants or archviles. The library section also has some interesting fights. First of all, the main library hall is full of hitscan, and should be approached with caution. Next, there is a cage lock-in encounter against a cacoswarm on the upper gallery. Finally, there is a big fight involving hell knights, revenants and an archvile in the last part of the library area. And don't forget about revenant ambushes in the lift hub room...

Anchient Archives is my favourite map in Doom Zero so far. It has it all: challenging gameplay, interesting use of stock monsters, inventive layout and progression, layout inspired by the original IWAD design, and lots of fun-to-find secrets. Also, this map has a very compelling setting. So far, this is the best Doom Zero map in terms of map plot. Only map 06 can compete in that regard.

 

Map 10 Leap Gates

Some cool parts, some not-so-cool parts here. The layout is again very well designed, and the map has some pretty inventive rooms.
But this map has problems with the flow of combat. Often times, encounters become grindy. Also, on a pistol start this map feels too reliant on a BFG secret. The problem is amplified by a very grindy starting section. Fighting a pinky horde, a bunch of lost souls and an archvile with only a chaingun takes so long... (The pain elemental is also here, but it can be lured into a secret where it gets stuck on a torch.)
The Leap Gates in the name of this map are the three portals, each leading to its own section. The dark slime void area is cool visually, but it is pretty boring from a gameplay perspective. The cave area presents some intense close quarters encounters, but it is easy with a BFG. And without BFG those fights suffer from monster RNG problems: depending on monster behaviour, it can be either pretty easy, or very hard. The metal lift area, on the other hand, I quite liked. The main lift reminds me of the alien vendetta map 15 lift section. But here the area is smaller and the lift goes up instead of down. Those two things put a nice twist on the whole "cacodemons in an elevator" idea. The metal lift area also has the coolest secrets.

On continuous playthrough Leap Gates could be more fast-paced, depending on the items in the player's arsenal. But I feel that even on continuous some places would be rather grindy.

 

Map 11 Too Close To Home

A cool city map, which, like map 09 before, has a very compelling setting. It also has an intricate visual design. There are a lot of small details, which all make this place seem more real. For example, there are a lot of purely decorative door textures used to imply that buildings have multiple floors. There are also cool barricades, which serve as map boundaries, and a small green space (it holds the rocket launcher for some reason). Overall visual design of Too Close To Home somewhat reminded me of Going Down maps. The map is very fun to explore! My favourite exploration part was the dustbin platforming, neccesary to get a berserk and a soulsphere. Combat feels not that hard compared to previous few maps, but it is still engaging. I especially liked the cacoswarm in the streets, the chaotic fight in the warehouse and the cheeky cyberdemon introduction.

Too Close To Home is one of my favourite maps in Doom Zero, for sure.

 

Oh, I alsmost forgot: Dopefish lives! (But it is a bit dizzy after a BFG accident)

 

Map 12 Underland

That archvile circle was EVIL (if not objectively that hard).
Welcome to lava caves. There are a lot of demons here! Demons love lava caves. The first part of the map is all about rising bridges above the lava lake. In the process the player will need to deal with a number of monsters, mostly midtiers. There are a lot of fights in the main hub above the lake, and quite a few distinct encounter types too. After the lava lake Underland has two significant fights: the baron room and the archvile room. And while the baron room is rather straightforward, the archvile room can be quite nasty. The room is designed in quite an isidious way: it is cramped enough to hide four archviles, but not cramped enough to make avoding them easy.

Pretty decent map overall, if not very exiting. The most memorable parts are the archvile room and the introduction of hellish cave theme.  

 

Map 13 Tease

Tease? More like bait and switch!
Aracnotrons are introduced, and they have new smooth walking sounds. The whole doom 2 roster is finally present. After dispatching the first spider, the player is teased by three keys. But with each key comes a hidden teleporter! Each of the teleporters lead to one of the three routes through the big key hall. Archvile in key hall is a small combat puzzle. Hiding from the vile is hard, but it is rather easy to provoke a spider into attacking the archie. By the way, the key area has a number of cool secrets.

Each of the keys lead to the big puzzle room. With a big arachnotron ambush. Puzzle room gets an A for puzzles, B+ for spiders, but only a C for navigation. The room is rather annoying to navigate, and failed platforming costs a lot of time. Completing the puzzle room unlocks both the exit and the remaining keys in the starting area. Pain elemental cloud in the exit room seems rather tame, but the encounter can go south easily. The lost souls and their potato masters eat through plasma very quickly...

 

Map 14 Crust

Very strong modern interpretation of Doom1/Doom2 non-linear hellish levels. Think House of pain, Mount Erebus, Spirit world and the like.
This map has a non-linear layout and a lot of opportunities for exploration. And also it has a lot of opportunities for monster to roam from a side cave into the central hub of the map. Crust offers many different weapons and powerups, and enables many different ways to play. The opposition has a lot of dangerous midtires, including some roaming archviles. There is also a number of interesting secrets on the map.
In conclusion, this is a very nice non-linear hellish map, reminiscent of Doom 1 and Doom 2. I had a blast playing it to completion.

 

Map 15 Peak Facility

From hellish caves right into the mountain techbases we go!
Fresh mountain air is nice. Chaingunerrs, barons and revenants are not. Peak Facility starts with a cramped area, with quite a strong opposition ready to attack the player. The ammo is also a bit scarce, so the start can be rather rough. There is quite an interesting contraption that connects the starting hallway, the courtyard and the lava chasm. Apart from connecting the three areas, this contraption is a key to 3 different secrets, which provide plasma rifle, BFG, and combat armor. I think this is one of the best elevator-door mechanisms, which are a signature element of Doom Zero.
The later half of the map can be rather easy, or can go very wrong. It all depends on the readiness to fight ambushes. There are quite a few nasty ambushes in that part of the map. Archviles included! Oh, and don't forget about backstabbing mancubi in the lower tech area...

Peak Facility is a Pretty cool map, which for some reason reminds me of map15 of Plutonia Experiment. (Maybe the abundant secrets are to blame?)

Spoiler

If you want to reach the secret exit,  watch the north part of the minimap carefully.


Map 31 Meat

The first levels of Doom 1, Doom 2, Quake 1 and Quake 2 are here in the flesh! I mean, in beautiful fleshy textures.
Parts of those different levels are all connected together into one big map. And the dangerous mid-tier demons roam here. The map plays very well, and can have quite a lot of intense moments. The diverse team of tough monsters works very effectively in the narrow spaces of small beginning levels. Add to that the treacherous teleporters which throw the monsters right behind the player's back, and you get a recipe for some memorable fights. The secret hunt is also rather interesting on Meat, because each of the original levels comes with their secret areas. Hint:

Spoiler

To reach the chainsaw secret of doom 2 on Meat, you must find the exit switch of Doom2 m01.

Visually, Meat is great . Despite the theme being "flesh textures only", each room is pretty distinct. This is a testament to a smart texture usage, employed by @DASI-I. The fleshy makeover not only looks good on its own, but also provides a smooth transition between parts taken from different games. The result is rather impressive. And, speaking about visuals, we cannot forget the road to the super secret exit. The twisting corridor build of "sky-walls" is a sight to behold.

This secret map is simple in its basic concept, but painstakingly spotless in its execution. A very good fit for a slot 31.

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