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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: SKULLTIVERSE

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MAP18: "Symmetry Bad" by Nimiauredhel

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 1/1 secrets

 

Nimiauredhel provides another map with a bespoke track to go with it which helps set the tone for the off-kilter feel the map imposes. The feel is further enhanced by a rather ominous-looking animated texture behind you at the start, which hides the level's only secret. The level makes use of silent teleporters as well to skip you between the symmetrical halves of the map, and dangle the yellow skull key ever so slightly out of your reach. The yellow skull key in question being on a small yellow pedestal which you teleport past whenever you approach it, before you realize that it is actually made to represent a similar pedestal in the previous arena, which lowers as you lower this one later on. Neat little visual quirk.

 

The combat I admit I didn't really feel so much. The second room with the yellow skull key at the center is kind of annoying at the start, as the encounter just feels spongey and unpleasant to deal with using your arsenal at the time. I imagine the feeling could be lessened by leaving some enemies and returning when you have the SSG in your possession, but I'm personally not a fan of having to do that to limit my annoyance. Otherwise most of the combat is a little normal for the craziness of the layout and general vibe the rest of the map holds. The closing cyberdemon fight was pretty fun though.

 

Overall a so-so map. I enjoy the layout quirks, but combat could use some tuning up.

 

MAP19: "The Crucible" by LordEntr0py

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills*, 1/2 secrets

 

This one sets the expectations high right from the get-go, showcasing impressive architecture and playing one of my all-time favourite Doom midis, Jimmy's Sunset Over Babylon. Despite being more of an architectural marvel than the atmospheric marvel that is LordEntr0py's previous map in this set, the combat seems to follow a similar philosophy of taking it slowly to start before catching you offguard with the more flashy encounters. With that said, while MAP10's initial encounters were trivial, the ones in this map aren't quite so, mostly being exercises in carving out a space for yourself in relatively cramped areas among meaty groups of barons and other foes while you only have the rocket launcher and chaingun to rely upon. The level is also covered in streams of hellslime that do deal damage, so care in where you are standing is always needed.

 

The two last encounters are where the level truly shows its claws though. The former encounter sends in large groups of imps, some mancubi, and an arachnotron and pain elemental to stop you. Once done with that, you eventually come across a wealth of ammo and a megasphere, signaling what's to come. This fight results in all of the gates in the level opening and over a hundred monsters breaking loose, including a spider mastermind near where you are and a cyberdemon by the entrance. I love the way that this final encounter gives you pretty much free reign of the entire level when it happens, allowing you to move to another area whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. The biggest dangers in this fight that I found are getting boxed in by the caco-cloud that spawns, and the spiderdemon, who can be surprisingly hard to get cover from whenever you venture into her sights.

 

Very fun level, and visually superb. The final fight is one of my favourite encounters in the wad so far, potentially my favourite. Also, asterisk on the kills as I had to cheat to clear out 6 stuck imps, which cannonball mentioned earlier.

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19 - Map10: Terminal Decay was without question a fine looking map with a realized concept and a unique feeling of Claustrophobia, but @LordEntr0py absolutely banged it straight out of the park here. Incidentally or not - this map is the opposite of Map10 in so many ways: the former was all indoors while this is all outdoors; the former was quite dark while this is quite bright; the former was claustrophobic while this one becomes increasingly wide open; the former had most of its visual strength from 'little' details while here the scenery is grand and epic from the get go; and the former used next to nothing outside the playing area while this one uses the background to create epic scenery and make it look a lot bigger. And it works. Almost perfectly. Spicy tough yet not too overly tough gameplay, with a clear sense of escalation and raising stakes, and the place gets only more beautiful the more it opens up. The music is not only a great tune, it also fits perfectly. I join the Map19 > Map10 apparent majority. Absolute smash job of a level and unquestionably among the top three of maps I can comment on within Skulltiverse. As a big fan of The Hate Flow, this effort did not let me down in the least. Gotta look at RAMP one of these days!

Edited by FrancisT218

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Map 19: The Crucible (UV, pistol-start)

 

Lord Entropy's second map takes a remarkably different tack from his first. While that one was located in some base, complete with Duke3D access door buttons, this is one is set in some sort of strange infernal fortress. "Sunset Over Babylon" is something I've heard before, and it fits this map just as well as any track. There's such a strong poetry to how the different visual elements link together that  can't be overlooked, and I'm so here for ir!

 

Nothing really to puzzle out. You're provided plenty of ammunition, but no Super shotgun, so be prepared. When you've pressed the second to last switch, the only real advice I can give is to plasma whats nearest to you, rocket enemies in the general direction of where you want to go and KEEP MOVING. This doesn't feel as sadistic as Lord Ent4opy's previous map, but it's quite a deal harder on the other hand. The proliferation of Barons makes this feel like "The Crucible: Revealed" or something(John Hathorne was right all along). After a while, it was hard for me not to say "Hey, who hurt you? What's your problem?" It was really only the occasional Chaingunner that got to me though. The Cacocloud that emerges after the last final ambush involving a pinkie right next to you was quite difficult for me, though. I was never killed by infinite height monsters, but there were definite times a stray Revenant rocket would hit me, then I'd fall into the lava, be struck by Imps, and fail to get out in time. I did find both of the secrets though, which are a huge help to surviving everything. Honestly, the Cyberdemon and Mastermind felt somewhat pointless when all was said and done. I mean, the spider wouldn't even infight with the nearby barons properly!

 

I didn't really like this as much as Lord Ent4opy's previous map. I guess it's ok for an end fight, but the limited space may have kept it's full potential from being realized. On the other hand, you're shooting rockets everywhere, so I was never bored.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, FrancisT218 said:

19 - Map10: Terminal Decay was without question a fine looking map with a realized concept and a unique feeling of Claustrophobia, but @LordEntr0py absolutely banged it straight out of the park here. Incidentally or not - this map is the opposite of Map10 in so many ways: the former was all indoors while this is all outdoors; the former was quite dark while this is quite bright; the former was claustrophobic while this one becomes increasingly wide open; the former had most of its visual strength from 'little' details while here the scenery is grand and epic from the get go; and the former used next to nothing outside the playing area while this one uses the background to create epic scenery and make it look a lot bigger. And it works. Almost perfectly. Spicy tough yet not too overly tough gameplay, with a clear sense of escalation and raising stakes, and the place gets only more beautiful the more it opens up. The music is not only a great tune, it also fits perfectly. I join the Map19 > Map10 apparent majority. Absolute smash job of a level and unquestionably among the top three of maps I can comment on within Skulltiverse. As a big fan of The Hate Flow, this effort did not let me down in the least. Gotta look at RAMP one of these days!

It was no accident. I'd spent a week obsessing over a dark, claustrophobic labyrinth with Terminal Decay. The Crucible was my recovery map. I needed something wide open.

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Map20:


I spent probably 95% of the time circlestrafing, lol. It's the most effective strategy here at almost all times, maybe excluding the brief archvile encounter (but even they tend to eventually get hit by something and stop targeting you). Much of the time, you don't even need to do anything else as enemies kill each other pretty effectively, but the third wave is a slight exception, as the radiation suits are practically necessary and will eventually run out if you wait long enough for the enemies do your work for you, and there's a pain elemental or two to add a little extra pressure. Even then, there's so much leeway that not much direct killing turns out to actually be necessary. An entertaining little romp, but it lacks depth.

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MAP 20 – Cybertemple of Cyberdoom by ViolentBeetle

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, UV, Continuous, blind run w/saves

 

Skulltiverse had already offered plenty of hordes to slaughter and broad battle arenas, but nothing so far was presented with enough emphasis to be called a boss fight. The map title did not play around and openly spoiled the presence of one or more Cyberdemons. Bosses have not been prominent enemies in the MegaWAD and started appearing regularly only since MAP17, so I was looking forward to seeing what the project leader had in store.

 

The temple was bare and unadorned, except for weapons and ammo suggesting a rather ominous scenario. The BSK was on display above the usual pillar, and a switch invited me to unleash the mayhem at will. As expected, the wooden walls opened and released the first host of hellspawn, consisting of Pinkies, Revenants, Imps and Mancubi. The Cyberdemon appeared exactly where everybody would guess, on the central altar dominating the temple, and started dispensing rockets around.

Spoiler

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Dealing with this ambush was quite easy, since all that was required was running around in circles, trying not to get blocked by roaming monsters, while directing rockets to the elevated Mancubi, which were less likely to be hit by the careless horned titan. This wave was the first of three, each one featuring a fresh Cyberdemon in the middle acting as the master of ceremonies, as explained in retrospect by the intermission screen. Killing each boss triggered new events and layout transformations, in another display of ability by @ViolentBeetle. What this level lacked in the visuals, it surely made up in technical prowess and combat harshness.

 

The second wave implemented Arch-Viles, Cacodemons, Revenant snipers and a thick herd of Hell Nobles. Provided the AVs are immediately localised and neutralised, as was my case because I was next to their closet, this fight should not upset a seasoned player more than the first. The real trouble came with the third and final setup, where the author decided to go all in: walls opened into a surrounding lava basin full of enemies, the temple floor crumbled and melted to scorching lava, and 100 monsters were deployed at once in a wild and confusing pattern. I died a lot of times without even understanding who hit me, then I realised that it was a combination of damaging floor, which required picking up a Radiation Suit as soon as possible, and countless shots from former humans, which materialised all around the place and simultaneously placed their cross hairs on me. Escaping their barrage was the main challenge of the map, since it required nimble feet and proper use of cover, all while keeping an eye on Revenants, Pain Elementals and Arachnotrons.

Spoiler

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The glass cannons did not last long after stirring up an infight with the tougher demons, so I was able to move around more freely and eliminate those wicked Revenant snipers and the relatively few survivors. The Cyberdemons were less threatening than I anticipated; quite the opposite, they helped by thinning out the opposition distracting hellspawn that would have chased me otherwise. This was a nice, bloody epilogue to the marble hell section of Skulltiverse, and to the second episode in OG Doom II terms. See you on MAP30, @ViolentBeetle (at least I hope so…)

 

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MAP20 - Cybertemple of Cyberdoom

UV | Continuous | GZDoom and Vanilla+

 

That rather violent insect is back, which had me worried. Funny enough though, I didn't die nearly as much as I thought I might. The interesting thing about this map is the Mancs, Lost Souls and lava at round 3 caused me far more grief than the Cybers ever did. The is definitely running around like a maniac and clearing out all the sniper enemies while infighting takes care of most of the others, then finishing off the Cyber at the end of each wave. No doubt this'd be a painful pistol-start, so big respect to the maniacs who enjoy that play-style hehe. The central gimmick to the level progression was pretty neat and easy enough to get a handle of. Wasn't sure how to get the Soulsphere secret, but it didn't matter anyways since this is the end of E2 and you're greeted with a death exit lol. It's a simple, effective map that keeps you on your toes and is about as relentless as VB's other maps, just in a different flavour. :^P

 

 

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