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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: SKULLTIVERSE

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UV, pistol-start

 

Map 10 - Terminal Decay.

 

This music kind of gives this map a 'Sign of Evil' feeling. I've see some people say that something more menacing would be appropriate, but idk, this is really good. On the other hand, you would expect a darkened base with limited lighting to be idk, more oppressive.

 

The layout and organization can be compared to Eternal Doom to some degree, but this is far easier to navigate, not to mention much smaller than the average ED map. Plus, decent knowledge of sector machinery and goodie locations are really all you need to progress, not to mention finding all the secrets. Speaking of which, the obvious Toxin Refinery homage is quite a nice touch.

 

Now, there really is not much to speak of at first. Some occasional nonthreatening hitscanners are all you encounter until around the time you get the skull key, near the Super Shotgun chamber. And when it starts, it starts. The Super Shotgun chamber opens up, along with an enemy accompainment that's not exactly a pushover. Unfortunately, a Spectre ran up from behind here, and ended up contributing to my first death.

 

And this is what you have to look forward to for the rest of the map; traipsing for keys than dealing with close-quarters nastiness determined to destroy you. The red key trap is easily the worst. While you should probably fire a rocket or two in the direction of the Revenant, it may not help too much and shooting the Arch-vile might be wiser. Unfortunately, it's very hard to hide from the AV in this small, small room whilst besotted by several other enemies, and I ended up getting killed no less than 8 times before finally prevailing.

 

The more overwhelming trap might be the hoarde of Pain Ekementals/Revenants, though I found you'll have much higher chance of success if you hold off on rockets until you're a certain distance away from the pinkies. Thankfully, there aren't so many of the latter that it's impossible to move and I only died once. The chaingunners that harry you in this and other areas are certainly annoying, though not impossible to hide from.

 

Excellently-comtrolled progression with  are combined with Lord Entr0py's tendency to make sprawling environments and combat clearly  designed with the expectation of pistol start as well as the desire to annhilate unaware players into the next dimension to make possibly the finest map so far. Other than i somehow found all of the secrets, which I haven't done in basically all of these maps, this plays exactly how I'd expect an Entr0py map to. I'm probably dreading El Inferno's map more though.

 

 

Map 11 - Cold Blood

 

So what we have here is a largely outside techbase with ice eveywhere, though I do like the use of orange bars. Pistol-starters should expect to be assaulted by Imps everywhere. I wandered through here a few minutes before realizing the way to progress was in the southeast, inside a warehouse area where I was killed by an Arch-vile when I attempted backing out of their line of fire and realizing there was no way back to safety.

 

At some point, I ended up reaching the YK room, with a computer bank contaning a switch that either opens a nearby door or melts the ice you see covering doors in spots. Either way, you'll be dealing with ambush of pinkies, than a Revenant, as well as hitscanners from the next room. You don't have much room to move around though, so you might want to camp.

 

The yellow key switch ends up triggering what proves to be the largest ambush of the map. You have plenty of room to move around, though on the other hand, you do have to deal with some infinite height Cacos if you're playing something Boom-based, which is just stupid. At least there are no Arch-viles. Thanks to the large structures in the middle you can maneuver around, I didn't die. Rocket boxes were annoyingly scattered though.

 

Strong end to the episode, but now we must move on to.....

 

Map 12 - Ruins

 

The title of the new episode is called "Everything's Ruined", the title of what's easily Faith No More's best song, and possibly also a statement of your chances. I had another reference I was going to make here, but this map....kind of went by in a daze. I think I died something like 14 times, and while this is an EXTREMELY hot open in more ways than one, my reactions decided to take a nap and basically had little relation to any lack of common sense and skill that usually tends to do me in mostly.

 

So you start in something that I'm just going to call an Imperfect Hatred reject because I have zero frame of reference for anything other than the classic wads as it turns out. Anyways, I died twice to Revenanrs here here as I discovered you couldn't just press the switch like normal, which really sets the tone for the rest of the map. When the switch lowers, you're greeted with a tan stucture hanging in the center of what proves to be non-toxic sludge. As it turns out though, there's DAMN good reason that it isn't. Because as soon as you step into the slime, a strangely substantial amount of Imps starts to teleport in and you'll quickly realize that that your non-meager shell supply is quickly draining, though you should probably spend half a minute or so attempting to thin out their seemingly endless hoarde. Anyways, turn around when you reach the other end of the room and climb the tan structure, dispatch the Manicubus and pick up the rocket launcher to use on the Hell Knight pair on the opposite ledge.

 

This was one of the largest fifficulties. I spend so many rockets at all the large groups of enemies that I felt constantly starved for ammo. I'm not sure that's quite acceptable for an episode opener to be honest. I was playing like crap much of the time admittedly, but nevermind that. You have two paths you can take. One will take you to the red skull key while another will take you to the door it opens, along with a useless computer map. I liked the snugness of the cave on this path and you might actually want to head here first for reasons that will soon become clear.

 

The yellow skull path has enough hell knight and manicubi that your rockets will.....let's just say I sort of think infighting might be expected here with the obvious issue being you have no room to really dodge enemy projectiles. Get to the end, pick the plasma rifle up and hit the switch and immediately run back and shoot the Arch-vile.

 

Sorry if I have no good idea of key progression but the truth is it's all a lot of ridiculousness. Every time you pick up a key, an Arch-vile teleports to some inconvenient spot it's impossible to know of beforehand. Pain Elementals also end up appearing, just serving to make things worst. Finally, there's at least one Revenants hoarde that appears at some point. Did I mention the blue skull key is teleported away for no reason at all when you hit the nearby switch, and that the lower stairs leading to the central tan strcuture it's teleported to are somehow sunken into the shallow, shallow slime?

 

These kinds of maps are always hard to get into. A little hard to rush through if you don't know what you're doing. I can still say more rockets and Arch-viles telepoting not a million miles away would have improved this a lot.

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8 - Very basic and simple, but also short and not annoying. Kind if a breather with other much to remark about. Except nice SIGIL plug of course in a non SIGIL style map.

 

9 - Hot streak time! This first map in the wad from myolden, who has become one of my favorite newcomers of the past year, has it all - looks great, good challenge, good music, nice 'Electric Red' zone too to justify the name. There isn't that much to highlight but it is top grade all the way.

 

10 - So, this is apparently one dark and deserted base right? You barely have to fight anything at all and there's your skull? Not so fast! This one is all about the task of actually getting out, rather than finding the key necessary to do so. And it's no easy journey. Use every rocket you have wisely. LordEntropy is another candidate among the very best new authors 2021 has brought us. Good, thorough detail everywhere.

 

11 - Another good outing from the project lead, time to visit a frozen land! And the whole ice melting thing is very cool too.

 

12 - Do I smell a bit of a Toxic Touch? :P Anyways Juza has cooked us up a fine intro to the ruins unit, with repeated and tougher battles within the map's center as you work around the sides for the normal important stuff.

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Map12 FDA (1 death):

stv12FDA.zip

A tough one to play blind. I was reduced to 3% health at one point during the second attempt, which I was lucky to survive. Very enjoyable layout to move around and fight in, especially when the archviles appeared. They were challenging to kill due to the scarcity of rockets and the presence of other threats at all times, from pretty much every direction, making it impossible to camp somewhere safe and dispatch the viles in comfort. It was satisfying to win.

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On 9/10/2021 at 2:18 PM, Omniarch said:

Also, minor petty note, but using Specters in an already excessively dark map is a recipe for gamerage. Come on, Lord Entr0py. You are better than that ;)

 

Still, my issues with the combat are but a minor blemish on what is, in every other way, a very strong entry, easily the best in the first third of the set, and one of the best overall. In short, Terminal Decay is a damn fine map, a testament to the skill of its creator. Speaking of, I shall write about Lord Entr0py at greater length in a later write-up. Suffice to say that I hold him in extremely high regard, and consider him to be the most promising mapper of the 2019-2021 generation by a country mile.

 

*In this case, I am referring to the traditional Doom 2 episode (1-11), rather than the wad's own internal classification.

Excellently said and I completely agree. I think Hell's Farthest Shore is probably the best statement of what Lord Entr0py's mapping tendencies are. Next to Dunn and Dunn and Snxalotl, he's among the best newcomers of this year. Stay tuned for his upcoming contributions to Eternal Doom V: Doom is Eternal!

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MAP12 - “Ruins” by Juza

 

Died a lot more than I thought I should here, in fact most were towards the end and seemed to be due to terrible damage rolls or a monster moving in an unusual manner. Oh well....

This one looks nice and is relatively easy to navigate. A lot of mid-tier monsters on show, which makes the map quite dangerous, especially were the freebie blue armour is used up. There isn't much to complain about really, the central area gets repopulated a couple of times so there will be a constant source of sniping. Archvile usage is decent, except for the one where the blue key is originally placed. That room in general could have been used for more than what it was.

It is however a good map overall. 

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MAP13 - Necropolis (HNTR, continuous w/ saves): K 100% (177/177), I 100% (4/4), S 50% (2/4), D 777, T 42:33

 

Spoiler

Oh fuck...this feels like somebody pulled one over on me and switched the difficulty to UV.  Myolden's second entry is pretty much a spiritual successor to his first, even if this time it is a city-map and texturing is different, the style is entirely the same - the kind of level i'd love to watch decino play being happy not to be forced to myself.  This is just harder, much harder, than the MAP09 Electric Red ever pretended to be - and that's saying something, that!  The difficulty is even raised from ViolentBeetle's MAP07 Constant Companion on HMP! 

 

To make long story short, the most unfortunate mise-en-scene, amid many unfortunate mise-en-scenes, was a small room with about a dozen (who could count them?) emerging Revenants, into which i entered first with 19% of health.  i tried a lot of times, first to collect health and plasma as fast as i fucking could, and then start blasting them, but it turned out to be impossible.  So, i track back driven forth by a vague memory of perhaps having left some health in the early part of the map, which turns out to be true, and return to try again.  After few more attempts the scummy bones lie demobilized at my feet.  Satisfying in a sense, but this is the first time i was within hair's breadth of using iddqd, indeed i would have been forced to if i had not found the health, and if it didn't occur to me to start finding secrets in order to proceed, and i think the bar for doing that has been now lowered.  i won't do this shit again.  Some masochistic part of me admittedly enjoyed it, but not enough.

 

What other encounter could i give as an example of more humane form of torture?  By the body of water, after the BK, there's an incident with a horde of Imps, some Revenants, and Pain Elementals.  i managed them ok, but unfortunately, they were only the hors d'oeuvres, as after flicking the switch comes an unwelcome flashback to MAP09, as a cascade of Hell Knights is teleported in, while above more Revenants are running amok.  Nah, to be honest, this is actually one of the most fun fights in the map, as there's now a bit more room to maneuver, and i succeed on second try.

 

At long last, i stumble to the end, and start looking for secrets.  Two i'm forced to leave behind, such as the one near the skullgate-room, i just couldn't figure out how to open it.  But i found what i'd consider most important ones, a Soul Sphere, and a Megasphere!

 

This is again the style of map that doesn't appeal to me, not in combat and not in aesthetics, but i have to acknowledge the skill and effort it takes to create this, so none of the above is meant to reflect negatively on anyone.  Just not my type of thing, but i didn't mind playing the map in this context, there's always room in megawads for maps that are not to everyone's liking.  Something good?  The ammo and health were generous enough at least on continuous, there certainly was no shortage, and subsequent playthrough would be made easier by knowing about the secrets i found (should i ever play this wad again i'm sure i wouldn't skip this map.) 

 

 

Spoiler

MAP12

MAP06

MAP01

MAP08

MAP04

MAP11

MAP02

MAP03

MAP10

MAP09

MAP05

MAP13

MAP07

 

Edited by dei_eldren

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2 hours ago, LadyMistDragon said:

Did I mention the blue skull key is teleported away for no reason at all when you hit the nearby switch, and that the lower stairs leading to the central tan strcuture it's teleported to are somehow sunken into the shallow, shallow slime?

These events happen to prevent players (speedrunners) to grab the blue skull and just jump to the starting ledge from the eastern portion of the map. 

 

The skull goes to the middle to force one last passage there and the sunken stairs make teaching the central island trickier. I agree that if you don't notice that and just jump down in the slime, it is a nasty surprise. I usually clean up as much as I can before moving around. 

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MAP 13 – Necropolis by Myolden

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

 

@myolden is back at the helm for another Skulltiverse chapter. His previous work Electric Red was before me the whole time, and there are a lot of gameplay analogies with MAP13. Playing on regular UV offered a more balanced blind experience; I had a good time escaping the numerous ambushes and exterminating hordes of Imps. The monster count was higher than MAP09 and so were the total hit points, but plenty of resources was provided.

Spoiler

1777757507_SkulltiverseMap13_01.jpg.928ed4464fae6005c27823939851b84e.jpg

The level itself was bigger and comprised four areas or “action theatres”, appearing one after the other in almost linear succession. The graphic theme was consistent within all sections, resembling more an ancient aqueduct than the titular Necropolis. Maybe it was inspired by the massive use of Revenants, or it was a subtle declaration of intent (i.e., to put Doomguy to rest for eternity), still I felt like I was fighting in an abandoned water supply network, mingling austere stone architecture with metal structures and grates. The only element in common with a burial site was the abundance of torches and other luminous objects. Even though I preferred the hellish techbase from MAP09, the relaxing grey tones and flickering lights were a nice contour for the huge demon swarms in use here.

Spoiler

1868118529_SkulltiverseMap13_02.jpg.d814ca0075c002db2170c99a5737a1bb.jpg

As I learned from this author's previous opus, every progress element or valuable pickup was garnished with a sweet trap, trying to ensnare me like a rat in some niche, pit, or greyish water hallway. There was an interesting use of height differences, and the broader areas offered opportunities for multiple waves of attackers to appear. I liked the Cacoswarms more than anything else, as they arrived slowly from outside the playing area while I was occupied with other foes. Pure goodness. The plasma gun surely helped getting out of the most cramped and crowded set pieces, like the water pit with Revenants on the ledge and Hell Knights on your level (akin to MAP09 BSK battle, but with four times the enemies and better evading options). I found relatively few secrets and nothing seemed to be missing at the end of the journey; I was wrong, since there was a hidden switch on top of invisible stairs that did something unknown. A mystery left to solve for the next attempt, and another solid contribution from @myolden.

 

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On 9/10/2021 at 2:18 PM, Omniarch said:

Terminal Decay - Lord Entr0py -snip

 

 

As someone who played through Hell's Farthest Shore and found precisely one of the hidden keys without no clipping everywhere, I fully agree. Next to Snaxalotl and Dunn and Dunn, he's one of the best new mappers of the past year and not just because of their intricate progression either. I'm sure he'd be one of the principle mappers of an Eternal Doom V if it was ever announced.

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41 minutes ago, Book Lord said:

I found relatively few secrets and nothing seemed to be missing at the end of the journey; I was wrong, since there was a hidden switch on top of invisible stairs that did something unknown.

If I'm not mistaken, the mystery switch teleports berserk pack to the floor below.

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MAP12: "Ruins" by Juza

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 1/1 secrets

 

The wad's second episode is off to a pretty difficult start. Nearly the entirety of this map takes place in the large central room, as you hunt for keys to activate switches that eventually get you to the blue skull key, with the main area being repopulated with more and more baddies as you progress. The level has a Toxic Touch-esque sort of aesthetic which I'm a fan of, and is a trait shared with another Juza map I've played, being MAP13 of Akeldama (although both of the maps play very differently from each other).

 

As stated earlier, this one has a decent level of challenge. One of the big reasons for this are sniping monsters from the ledges above, especially mancubi. It's easy to take your eye off of the overlooking monsters for just a little bit too long and catch a fireball from them. The revenant and imp waves in the slime pit can also be dangerous to deal with, as it can be easy to run into a monster and catch a homing missile because of it. Finally, ammo is very tight in this level, so every shot counts. I was scared I was going to have to try and punch the last couple remaining hell knights to death in my run, but luckily I was able to find one more box of shells tucked away in a corner of the map, which was just barely enough to finish off the remaining monsters. 

 

Another very good level and a solid challenge. Excited to see what more the episode brings.

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MAP13 - Necropolis

UV | Continuous | GZDoom and Vanilla+

 

Myolden, I take back every nice thing I said about MAP09. Fuck you! Just kidding :^P

 

Christ almighty, fam, you've cranked the cruelty up to 11 with this one. What the fuck is it with sadistic Doom mappers with cartoon penguin avatars? You're not related to @Alfredo by any chance? Sheesh! Anyways, this is a beautifully-made atmospheric Lovecraftian affair that's really bloody nasty with the kind of traps that caused me to start scum-saving after virtually every combat encounter because I'm terrified of what'd comes next that was guaranteed to piss me off lmao. It's another solid map with an interesting layout, straightforward progression and combat that will make you develop an irrational hatred for cartoon penguins once you've finished. Well done, Myolden, you utter cunt. ;^) 

 

 

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Cold Blood - ViolentBeetle

An enjoyable winter-themed finale to the first episode, with a strong core concept and delightful midi. The main draw of this rather short entry is, of course, the multi-stage outdoor encounter, centered around a gradually-thawing pool of sanguine icemelt. While hardly a cerebral affair (very much in the circle-strafe = win category), the core conceit is sufficiently compelling to render this a non-issue.

 

Visually, this map is very straightforward, in a clean, humble sort of way, emphasizing simple-but-effective geometry and utilitarian texturing. Like much of the author's output (Hell Frontier comes to mind), the visual element here is developed enough to get the point across, but is otherwise largely devoid of bells-and-whistles (e.g high-contrast or gradient lighting, inset detailing, strong colour-coordination etc).

 

This is not a criticism, mind, merely an observation. Personally, I like it. There is a certain... timelessness to this style, to the point that I would not be able to place the year or even decade the maps originated from in the absence of contextual information. ViolentBeetle's maps often feel very... grounded, for lack of a better term, often manifesting a strong sense of place, and I can't help but feel the matter-of-fact presentation helps with this.

 

Spoiler

Before...

ag567Mr.png

 

After...

bFpdkj9.png

 

Unfortunately, the peripheral action, which takes place in various structures surrounding the main area, is rather sub-par and tends to derail the pacing of the map somewhat. "Foreplay" (for lack of a more appropriate term) is certainly a valid method of psyching the player for the "main event", as it were, but in this instance, the final encounter lacks the necessary oomph to justify any sort of build-up. On the plus side, the peripheral structures do showcase a variety of Skulltiverse's textures, similar to MAP03.

 

Despite this minor gripe, Cold Blood works well as an episode finale. It is good, clean fun, and leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth as one continues onward to the wad's second, and in my opinion, best episode.

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MAP13 - Necropolis - dsda-doom - skill 4 pistol start many rewinds

 

The intensity continues. Those secret rockets came in handy despite me thinking at the time it was a lame secret reward (and fearing i'd be missing a secret rocket launcher later)

 

Spoiler

 

 

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MAP12 - "Ruins" - Juza (100%K/I/S):

Here is our first non-techbase map, some old temple ruins that resemble Speed of Doom's first episode a lot, I think this is Juza's style summarized, as we have seen maps with similar look in Akeldama from him. I really dig the looks of this map, and how it reuses the same space more and more again. 
After a death exit, Juza resupplies us quickly so we don't have to worry finding our arsenal yet again. Right from the start, a mancubus will be sniping you, and a revenant will be waiting for you to come out of the portal. Progression here is simple, but still, I got confused a lot, specially because of some "SW2" texture instances that appear at this level, or at the very end, when suddenly two steps of the stair to the middle island dissapear, so I have to parkour from the other stairs to get to the middle and grab the blue key. 
Sweet experience, nice reuse of the main area, and of course, nice fights, although, not having a chaingun nor a regular shotgun to snipe enemies, was something I did not enjoy. 

Deaths: 40 (HMP - PrBoom+)

Order of preference:

Spoiler

 

MAP10
MAP09
MAP11

MAP05
MAP12

MAP03

MAP01
MAP04
MAP07
MAP08
MAP02
MAP06

 

 

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Map 13 - Necropolis (UV, pistol-start)

 

I've got to say, I only knew Myolden for their rather unimpressive contributions to the Time Trilogy. Since then, they've nearly, nearly, honed their skills at monster placement to a knife point. The spot I'm referring to is near the end. It's also a map that might cause me to go continuous if this manner of starting-BS continues. That's some nice gloomy music though

 

I think I played better than yesterday for the most part but my reactions in the first few minutes still felt a little more sluggish than normal. So you pick up a shotgun with some shells at the beginning and immediately exit into a hallway. On one side is the red key door and a pair of pop-up Hell Knights. On the other side are increasing Imps. I sort of hope this doesn't become a trend. But head in this direction since it'll take time for the Imps to block the hallway up. I think this is one of many spots you encourage infighting between the Hell Knights and other enemies that are usually Manicubi and Revenants. You also learn fairly quickly not to wander too far outside of the current combat area, lest you run into more foes that'll halt you in your tracks. I died probably around 5 times in this area. The formula remains essentially the same though, as you pick up a Super Shotgun, rocket launcher, and plasma rifle. The linedefs that trigger the traps aren't always where you'd expect either. I found only one secret, a pack of cells behind a bloody wall that I somehow picked up without opening it after dying another time.

 

Sorry I don't have too much else to say, but this map was profoundly repetitive in a way that compares to the average Zone 400 map. The last trap near the blue skull key was pretty nice though, since you have just enough room to to thin out the Revenant trap with rockets. The last Caco ambush was kind of stupid though, since it seemed like you were meant to get them to infight with the nearby Hell Knights, but that's just not how HK attacks work for the most part, and while you can get Revenants to infight quite frequently (especially with Manicubi), that gets a little hard when there's enough of them to murder you regardless. I guess I could have been more aggressive in spots, but there's not enough room for that tactic to be effective necessarily, certainly not in the rooms when bits are sticking out of the walls seemingly for purposes of annoyance.

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Ruins - Juza

To be honest, I'm a tad conflicted regarding this entry. On the one hand, the map is very attractive on the visual front, bold in its verticality, and undeniably well-designed from a combat perspective. On the other, though, it is continually undermined by a lack of consideration for the effects of infinitely-tall actors, a great oversight, considering Skulltiverse's target port.

 

Additionally, while the main arena (which comprises ~90% of the experience) is well-crafted, I feel that it somewhat overstays it's welcome. As a mapper, my tendency is towards reuse of existing areas, which I believe to be a good habit in general for a variety of reasons, but even I must admit such an approach can be taken too far.

 

As a result of the above factors, Ruins can be rather unpleasant to play at times, especially for saveless runs. There is a sense in which the combat is just on the cusp of becoming truly good, but is ever so slightly held back by a couple of small mistakes, along with a general lack of refinement.

 

On the plus side, Juza demonstrates a very strong grasp of the fundamentals, especially in the composition of the main area. Light and texture come together to create an easily-readable and highly attractive space, while the geometry manages to mostly walk the fine line between utility and appearance, though it does skew towards the latter in some places, notably the central island.

 

Spoiler

I mean, just look at the lighting and semi-naturalistic geometry. A-Grade stuff, especially for a speedmap.

uhJAFXA.png

 

The texture-scheme is also solid, emphasizing consistency over contrast.

tSq0DYN.png

 

Thematically, Ruins is somewhat reminiscent of the author's Akeldama submissions, especially MAP13, at least in terms of texture palette and general mood. I can't help but see a bit of Alien Vendetta's legendary MAP10 in here as well. Perhaps Kim Andre Malde is one of Juza's inspirations? There certainly are comparisons to be made, at least in terms of texture-choice and general theme (both demonstrate a proclivity for subterranean ruins, for example).

 

Overall, despite my misgivings, this map is an undeniably strong opening to the second episode. It is well-crafted and possessed of a certain sense of place, despite its limited scope. I would certainly like to see more from the author in the future, personally.

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MAP14 - Sanctuary of Horae (HNTR, blind, continuous w/ saves): K 100% (144/144), I 100%, (58/58),  S 100% (2/2), D ~10, T 26:07

 

Spoiler

As good-looking as many maps in this set have been, by far this one is my aesthetic favourite.  The temple is simply gorgeous, full of tasteful decorations and details.  At first the courtyard looks to me like a slaughter-arena, and though i keep calling this a slaughter-map on the video, of course that's not true at least on HNTR, and instead it's just a map of very tough open combat, even if very little combat actually happens on the courtyard, but mostly in the areas of the temple that surround it.

 

i first go up the stairs, and meet a few ominous zombies lumbering around aimlessly in the hall, collecting some goodies to repair the modest damage their potshots did.  i'm not sure if there was another way to start the map, perhaps not?, but i end up in the western rooms, and start the proceedings with the press of a switch.  Innumerable Imps, Demons, Cacodemons, and Barons start pouring in, rather like in a vintage Italian zombie-movie, gradually attempting to overwhelm me by their numbers. i manage to fend them off, but eventually spot the fucking Arch-Vile outside, and i suspect he's also recycling some of my enemies.  As hard as the combat has been, killing him is a bitch, and i die a few times attempting it (i call them fucking (not in a good way) Arch-Viles for a reason.)  After he's dead, i take care of the rest of this wave of enemies, and it's time to move on.

 

Everything is quite still at this point, there's only a few demons on the way to the eastern wing of the temple, and only the Arachnotron guarding the courtyard makes a racket.  Eventually i find a beautiful room of gray marble, with a Mega Armor and other assorted goodies, as well as a switch to launch the next attack wave.  First come a few Hell Knights, and a veritable tsunami of Imps, and soon Revenants join in, as well as Pain Elementals, while the Mancubi remain on the courtyard.  Here i make a lot of stupid decisions and react poorly, and though obviously this attack is somehwat harder than the first, i can't say my deaths aren't mostly self-induced.  i think it's quite possible to deal with the fight in that room with dignity, but it would have also been possible to run into a safer place from which to start unravelling everything.  Had i known what i know now, i would've happily gotten the secret Invulnerability sphere - which was quite possible to find along the way here, in fact.

After this, there are still some enemies on the courtyard, from Imps to Mancubi, so i venture out with my 2% health.  Sometimes playing near death forces better gameplay, but after some while i succumb before getting more health.  There's fortunately some around, so nothing's quite lost, and eventually i become victorious.

 

The secret Soul Sphere took me a long time to find, but i was determined not to leave it behind, and at long last find the switch.  It seemed to me to be wholly unmarked, and unremarkable, and in this case i don't mind it, as some secrets are allowed to be legitimately hard to find, and the victory for the persistent then tastes all the more sweeter.

 

Not in the least 'my type' of map, but that was really enjoyable.  Think the beautiful architecture and surroundings set me in the right mood from the start, and the combat itself was nicely structured.  Yes, it was near-overwhelming at points, but not too much so, as it was always possible to handle without depending on luck, nor was it sadistic or unfair, not on HNTR at least!  A great combination of adventure and tough as nails combat, in a beautiful setting. 

 

i also beat the map from pistol start, but never having quite enough ammo in one place to resolve the situation before having to go scrounge for it from somewhere else made it quite a different experience, roughly doubling the difficulty!

 

 

Pistol start run:

Spoiler

 

Rankings, slightly tweaked, somehow a couple of maps had fallen way too low:

Spoiler

MAP12

MAP06

MAP01

MAP08

MAP03

MAP04

MAP02

MAP14

MAP11

MAP10

MAP09

MAP05

MAP13

MAP07

 

Edited by dei_eldren : pistol start run

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I didn't feel like playing yesterday since I drove 4 hours home and I was tired.

 

GZDoom/Blind/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 12 - Ruins - Juza

100% kills and secrets

Time: 18:19

Deaths: 8

 

I was not expecting this to be as hard as it was. I was constantly in low health for most of this map, mostly due to the revs and mancubi that kept repopulating the area every time I did something important. Even immediately you're boned as you have to pistol-start the level due to it being the first level of the ep, and you have to shoot the switch in front of you to leave, waking everything up. The SSG is right there, and a quick drop to the secret soul sphere, but you'll be conserving ammo as much as possible as there's not a lot to go around. There's no bullets, but I definitely pistoled a few weak enemies to conserve shells and rockets. There's lots of waves in this one, not to mention there's a decent amount of archies ready to revive all you just killed. One of which will teleport in once you lower the yellow skull and teleport to the pit, but you can weaken it with plasma before it teleports away. This fight was where I got most of my deaths, as I was at about 40% health, and kept getting reamed by lost souls spit by the 2 pain elementals that also teleport in. Got kinda annoying. It's not the friendliest blind-play map, but I can see this being more fun the more I play it, now that I know what's going on. It's tough, but there's enough supplies to scratch by on. 

 

Map 13 - Necropolis - Myolden

100% kills and 50% secrets

Time: 20:24

Deaths: 4

 

Myolden returns with another great map. The Final Fantasy MIDI paired with the earthy, marble temple setting really reminds me of Sunlust, especially its map 03 and middle episode. And like Sunlust, we get some finely-tuned fights to go with it. Nowhere near as tough as that WAD, but still pretty tough. The fights unfold in that type of way, where you can see the arena, take out whatever's already in it, smack a switch, and watch as more enemies appear in different locations and combinations. My favorite example of this is just behind the red door, where you grab the rocket launcher. There's some imps and mancubi in there already, plus a rev and a few hell knights if you take the detour to the backpack. Lower the rocket launcher to lower a wall with some revs and a party-bus load of teleporting imps that just scream "pls rocket me". Hit the switch where the revs were to reveal chaingunner on the ledge just above you, and cacos swarming from the holes where the original imps were. Nice unfolding. This happens all through the level and works pretty much every time. Myolden takes his blue skull fight from map 09 and doubles it toward the end. You're stuck down below with hell knights while revs shoot you from up top. There's no switch here putting everyone on even playing field, so you have to take enough hell knights out (or get them to infight) to get to the switch allowing you to exit. That switch gives you access to the blue skull, so my comparison to map 09. I found 2 secrets and had to IDDT for the final 2. Both I managed to find cause the map gave it away. Clever use of the candle to find a lever on the back of a small beam, and I was surprised I was able to climb up to the soul sphere switch. I don't know what the clue was for the bulk cell, and the megasphere is similar to the one I talked about in map 09 with the clever use of a different column texture. I don't think I would have figured that one out. Myolden has definitely become a mapper to watch for me with these 2 maps. Incredibly fun, challenging, well designed, and nicely detailed. 

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MAP13 - Necropolis

hmp/continuous

 

 

Another hot start with this one. Just like myolden’s previous map, Necropolis seems to be focused around setpiece-type encounters, which is a structure I really like to see in Doom maps, but this time it’s a bit overdone, even for me. Because every single switch and every single trigger seems to activate some sort of trap, the map feels like it’s progressing slowly. And even though all encounters are well made and fun to play, they do get really repetitive after a while. Many of them are pretty similar and there’s not enough original ideas or gimmicks in my opinion.

 

This whole level strongly reminds me of Crumpets by Ribbiks, but easier and longer. I was able to compare both of myolden’s maps to other projects, so I wonder if those were direct inspirations, or just coincidences. It’s fine either way.

 

Despite the repetitiveness, the map is still enjoyable. Well detailed rooms and challenging, but fair encounters are usually all you need.

 

MAP14 - Sanctuary of Horae

 

I’m not sure about this map. Visually speaking it’s decent looking, with a fine amount of detail, but I feel like there’s a bit too much texture variety. There’s a lot of colors that clash with one another in negative ways.

 

Combat-wise this level contrasts the previous one quite a bit, as Necropolis was a long series of small fights, while Sanctuary of Horae is a short series of big fights. And they’re not exactly that creative this time either, it’s mostly just monster hordes, and not much else.

 

I think this level has a lot of similarities with JPCP. Maps by Burabojunior specifically, when it comes to combat design. Visually it’s a bit more chaotic, maybe kinda like Tooooasty’s maps?

 

This map isn’t bad, but I find it kinda boring. I feel like it’s lacking some elements that would make it stand out, like maybe a more interesting layout.

 

Order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP09

MAP11

MAP07

MAP10
MAP04
MAP05

MAP13

MAP12
MAP01

MAP14
MAP03
MAP02
MAP08
MAP06

 

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MAP13 - “Necropolis” by Myolden

 

This never felt as compelling as Myolden's previous effort. The gameplay is very restricted to a very linear set of set piece battles, some of these are replicated several times (HK/Rev sandwiches being the biggest one here).

Given the theme, you kind of expect something a little more organic to exist here, but structurally this is very similar to Map09, most of the fights are fine, the one with the barons/spiders was a poor decision as you can kill the spiders and easily handle the barons. The best section was around the blue keycard, the biggest mix of monsters in a couple of waves. 

In the end the map is lovingly built, but I didn't enjoy this as much as others.

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11 hours ago, Biodegradable said:

MAP13 - Necropolis

UV | Continuous | GZDoom and Vanilla+

 

Myolden, I take back every nice thing I said about MAP09. Fuck you! Just kidding :^P

 

Christ almighty, fam, you've cranked the cruelty up to 11 with this one. What the fuck is it with sadistic Doom mappers with cartoon penguin avatars? You're not related to @Alfredo by any chance? Sheesh! Anyways, this is a beautifully-made atmospheric Lovecraftian affair that's really bloody nasty with the kind of traps that caused me to start scum-saving after virtually every combat encounter because I'm terrified of what'd comes next that was guaranteed to piss me off lmao. It's another solid map with an interesting layout, straightforward progression and combat that will make you develop an irrational hatred for cartoon penguins once you've finished. Well done, Myolden, you utter cunt. ;^) 

 

 

Spoiler

image.png.8d0098f298ccbbc0c18c1d7e13d62174.png 

 

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MAP 14 – Sanctuary of Horae by Shawny

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

 

Time as come for @Shawny to deliver his second contribution to this MegaWAD and I was amazed by the total detachment from Skullgate Central. The author handled a medieval fantasy theme with the same confidence as his techbase opener, delivering another memorable level whose main strength was the epic atmosphere, supported by a majestic soundtrack. The annoying hitscanners at the start were not so menacing unless ignored, and they did not disrupt my contemplation of the beauty carved into this place.

 

Going back over my Latin classes I recalled that the word hora, horae meant not only “hour”, but was also used in plural form for the seasons. I did not remember though that the Horae were worshipped Latin deities of seasons, daughters of Jupiter and Temis, so there was also an interesting background behind Sanctuary of Horae and its wonderful weather change gimmicks. Not much happened until I activated one of the two switches; sadly, this place had been defiled by hellspawn and no benevolent goddess was about to manifest herself.

Spoiler

1298262803_SkulltiverseMap14_01.jpg.511d53748f7561ea96f0f450dbc9552d.jpg

The player had the choice: either face the cold grip of winter or unleash a wave of summer heat. I chose winter first and probably this would be the best option even for pistol starters, since it provided plasma gun and plenty of cells. The number of monsters teleporting in was considerable, featuring Revenants, Pain Elementals, Hell Knights, and lots of Imps. The main danger was the timed sequence of events, since not all monsters teleport in immediately, but follow a complex schedule devised outside the playing zone. Several Mancubi and Arachnotrons appeared in the eastern and western parts of the level as well. The sanctuary was also covered under ice and snow, in a scenic effect I admired when the mayhem was over.

Spoiler

314063183_SkulltiverseMap14_02.jpg.4f98a9aeb3d06aaea7ede20a4b22ee63.jpg

The southern temple had a sun glyph on the floor and flicking the switch caused the ice to melt and another army of demons to appear. This time I panicked a bit because I heard Arch-Viles but had to prioritise the nearby Baron of Hell and Imps. Once out, I got blasted by the healers, which were not less than 3, and experienced my first death since playing normal UV. They must be killed as soon as possible, but it was not easy because they were surrounded by countless Demons and Imps, with Hell Knights and Cacodemons in for the kill. I fired rockets with no mercy and luckily the Archies were more aggressive on the second try, following me in the western cave and encountering a swift death by the threshold. I mopped out the remaining enemies for the final cleansing of this ancient shrine.

Spoiler

96198251_SkulltiverseMap14_03.jpg.450c76a90f0ec19c2387b6c77399fe9e.jpg

Looking at the map in Doom Builder, I gazed in awe at the ingenious time sequence behind the surprising and lively events of Sanctuary of Horae. Even though I could only partially understand the technical aspects, it gave me a new perspective on the huge potential of the Boom engine. As for @Shawny's work, I sincerely enjoyed this map and if I have to move a slight critique, I found the long chain of events a bit confusing, since most of it happened without the player being able to see. Most of the difficulty was related to enemies appearing somewhere in the map and catching me unawares. I did not find a single secret here, neither the author’s signature chamber, nor the Invulnerability, which could have been a lifesaver with the Arch-Viles. The Soul Sphere stayed atop of the central pillar, and I still have no idea how to get it. No doubt I will replay this fascinating level and unveil the last mysteries in the future.

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Map 13: Necropolis by myolden

 

I do agree this map feels more like a neglected aqueduct than a palace to the dead, but the map is well crafted all the same. Colors here are all a bit muted, using several shades of black, brown, and green with the main source of contrast being the several bright red torches and hellish rock lamps that festoon the walls. Visually everything feels uniform and naturally placed, from the very blockish brick and metalwork to the natural exterior cave that holds the baddies, combat was about a 6 or 7 for standard maps I feel, witha brunt of the combat being imp pools, sniping mancubi, small caco swarms, and lots of HK + Rev combo traps. The types of combat tend to repeat a bit but its mostly enjoyable. I think this maps main faults lie in a combo of a muted color palette + MIDI, and the fact that due to map size and design, majority of the section feel very same-y. There are four areas i'd consider "major specific areas", and three of four major sections all feel very similar. They are sludge baths with brick walls around them and a cave window around that, with combat alternating from fighting in the sludge, to fighting on the walls with some snipers in the caves. This combined with the muted palette and a somber but whimsical MIDI makes a map that kinda feels like a blur, one that is well designed and still fun to play, but nothing really stood out in my mind as really cool or memorable here. All the fights felt well executed, but lacked a bit of variety. A quality map in most main regards, but slightly forgettable for me. At least in comparison to the mapper's other contribution Electric Red, Which had the same quality of fights, but a much more interesting palette and much more defined and interesting areas. That was a very memorable and fun map.

Map 14: Sanctuary of Horae by Shawny

 

This is a map i had to replay a couple times, once because i got softlocked into an inescapable death loop, and another by choice since there was some wicked cool stuff going on in this map I had to recheck.

This is a really cool map, something of a european/demonic arboretum, with plenty of vegetation and ponds on display. The main design of this map is one big courtyard with one super nifty gimmick; each of the two sides are required to visit to end the level, and each side offers a different weapon and baddies to fight, but also change the appearance of the map. Each side has a cartoonish looking sigil on the ceiling and a themed temple/room. One, lush with vegetation and light, has a sun glyph. The other, a stark and sterile black/white marble mausoleum, with a snowflake glyph. Each switch sets off a sequence that remodels the map to demonstrate these seasons, with the winter one being much more noticeable. For winter, the ground gets a thin cover of snowfall and the lakes freeze over, as well as the fountains stop pumping water. Because of the map's original palette this change is very noticeable. The winter scene comprises of a plasma gun, blue armor, and a focus on revenants and pain elementals. The summer side will change the ground to be covered in a layer of moss, and the sand changes from grey to yellow. The summer section grants the player a RL, a bersrerk, and throws imps, barons, and arch viles at the player. Both sections also have a smattering of other monsters but there are some specific enemy differences between the two. 

The map lets the player pick either side, but the map balance and experience I felt was much better if the winter side was done first. The plasma gun being technically more favorable than the RL in this kind of arena and the monster selection being much more manageable, as well as the snow section providing better escape routes by having more access to the walled inner area. This combined with the fact that the change from snow to summer is a lot more noticeable and interesting than the regular arena to summer. I had to recheck specifically to see if there was a difference between the regular arena and the summer one, which there is. Having the plasma gun and the RL also makes it easier to deal with the arch-viles, who are killer on an open map filled with monsters. most of the time i was having issue even being able to fire on them. I felt the blue armor was maybe more useful for the harder hitting summer side than the berserk. This also may be biased since i had a bad run going summer first, being low on health and ammo, and getting trapped in a corner from all the monsters.


Really cool map with some excellent detailing and effects. idk why but the "heart of the sanctuary" sealed in the glass case in the back was a memorable but small piece of scenery, its a aesthetical piece that I found rather pleasing, for some reason. I do think that, while open-ended, this map has a more preferable sequence than the other. Fighting can be a bit packed at times , but the experience was a lot of fun and a super memorable map, another Boom treat.

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Map13:

stv13FDA.zip

Well fuck, I guess it's time to start using saves. I died maybe 6 times in the FDA (not included in the video) before quitting and deciding to use saves. Ironically, once I started that playthrough-with-saves and reached the rocket launcher fight (the main reason I quit FDAing the map), I instantly figured out a viable strategy for it, which turned out to be fairly simple: just manipulate the homing missiles into the wall behind you. Good tactics are important in many of these fights, even in something as seemingly simple as that hell knight quartet guarding the blue keycard, which was tough to do with just the SSG like I tried at 9:43 in the video, since they close in on you very quickly relative to the rate at which the SSG kills them. The second time I tried that fight, I pulled out the rocket launcher preemptively to quickly take out one side so I could comfortably deal with the rest. On a different note, I've definitely heard this midi in some Ribbiks map before, which isn't surprising since myolden's maps so far feel stylistically similar to Ribbiks, but easier.

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MAP14 - Sanctuary of Horae

UV | Continuous | GZDoom and Vanilla+

 

Oh no, a big arena map with 300 enemies thrown at you in waves... not my forte hehe. Cracked the shits with this one pretty quickly because I'm a hot-head with a short temper, I admit. Still, I've got to hand it to Shawny for he was very generous by keeping me amply supplied to deal with the demonic horde. Honestly, my biggest annoyance turned out to be the Archies, not necessarily because they themselves were the issue, but the frustration of almost never being able to have a clear shot at 'em without some fucking idiot wandering in front of my bloody rocket launcher barrel causing me to blow my face off. ACK! I remain hot wet garbage of these kind of maps and had to resort to some save-scumming here and there, but besides carrying on like a pork chop at times, it's a good map and a good challenge that will hopefully have pushed me to improve just a little at this kind of map though I reckon I've still got a looooooooong way to go. :^P

 

 

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MAP14 - Sanctuary of Horae - dsda-doom - skill 4 pistol start many rewinds

 

Visually this looked like a big arena out of the latter half of Scythe 2 or something.

It looked great, but it does suffer from “i cant figure out what is a switch and what isn't”-itis

That said, the area had a good shape and size to let the encounters flow naturally

 

Spoiler

 

 

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MAP13 - "Necropolis" - Myolden (100%K/50%I/0%S):

A really nice temple-like map, nothing much to say, there are many imp slaughters here, feels like a temple version of MAP09, in fact, feels like made by the same person at times... this is what I thought, before checking the name, and yes, Myolden was behind all of this, so my guessings were entirely true. Yes indeed layouts feel similar at times. 
Personal preference but I prefer MAP09 over this by a really little margin, but both maps are so similar that they are difficult to differenciate them apart from their styles.

MAP14 - "Sanctuary of Horae" - Shawny (100%K/94%I/0%S):

Ye olde Invasion arena, straight from ancient aliens or similar, I don't like this kind of map, not bad but, I feel like I've just have to wait for anything to happen, kill some enemies, search for difficult to find switches, and keep waiting. I did not know how to progress, suddenly I've found a switch at the end. Give me the key and let me exit.

Deaths: 59 (HMP - PrBoom+)

Order of preference:

Spoiler

 

MAP10
MAP09
MAP13
MAP11

MAP05
MAP12

MAP03

MAP01
MAP14
MAP04
MAP07
MAP08
MAP02
MAP06

 

 

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Map 14 - Sanctuary of Horae

 

This...is really cool. Textures are thrown together in such a way as to convey the impression of an area both futuristic and ancient, with vines, standard techbase, and temple-like stuff thrown together. Which says nothing about the room organization because that's all quite orderly. Comparing this to Toooasty is probably too much of a stretch, though it is interesting how the techbase part seems not to have aged whatsoever. It's like one of those movies where an artifact is remoed or a great power is defeated and the place suddenly decays into what it should be at the current point in time. But there are no mysterious artifacts here. Hmmmm.

 

Weapons are fairly accessible from pistol-start, thankfully, apart from the plasma rifle, and you can still discover that early potentially, but you probably won't if you don't know how to look for it. The increasing hordes can be aggravating until you realize there are a few locations that will spawn ammo at least one time after you pick up the original caches. I didn't realize this until rather late, which might have had some connection to my last deaths. Yeah, I died 4 times to one of the Arch-viles that spawns in front of that cavern room at the far end of the map from the start because I was probably in a rush. And I died only 3 times in the last ambush (when I got the plasma rifle), mostly because of another Arch-vile that teleported in near the end. Pain Elementals served their job admirably as a distraction and annoyance, trickling in slowly from the corners when I though they were handled. I failed to find any of the secrets though.

 

I think this is one of my favorites thus far, however. Lmited mobility maps tend to make me miserable, idk, and this is definitely not. A mini Going Down Necropolis in some ways.

 

Edit: I don't get into specfic combat encounters because it's all kind of dodging Revenants and Manicubi. All of it largely blends together and I'm not even being lazy for once.

Edited by LadyMistDragon

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