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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Doom the Way id Did (& Ultimate DTWID!)

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E4M7: Hand of the Heathens. DSDA v0.24, UV-PS, 100% kills and secrets. Comp. time 16:31.

 

Another tough level, where health seems to be at premium, and I don't think I got single suit of armor, just some armor bonuses. At first the level seemed overwhelming, it would just pour cacos and barons at me and withhold rocket launcher. When pressed the first button in the river of lava I thought it had just spawned local beast army around me, which I escaped further down the river to an area, where I was whittled down by cacos and hitscan and after a panic teleport, was finished off by the aforementioned army. On the second try I realized the first switch lowered a lift that lead to the rocket launcher, after which the level was merely tough. After that, I had no qualms with the level, it felt mostly fine, it's perhaps the second best level of the episode so far after E4M4 (or the third, after E4M6), and we have only one more ordeal to go.

 

The lowest point of the level for me was the surprise cyberdemon guarding the YK. It's not fun to deal with, it's not hard either once you realize you can't just grab the key, but have to run away first, perhaps use the cybie to deal with demon cattle, then wiggle your way back and perhaps get the invuln sphere I totally missed and found only after defeating the cyber with the secret BFG.

 

After dealing with all the enemies, I was left confused in the room with the invisible bridge. I had found the skull switch near the invuln sphere earlier and had already pressed to no effect, and it took me some time to realize I need to press it again. I was almost convinced the level had glitched out on me there.


*


E4M8: An End to Darkness. DSDA v0.24, UV-PS, 100% kills and secrets. Completion time 50:50 (!)

 

Well! When the level first starts and you (probably) see the kill count, you get the hunch this ain't gon' be easy. Monster count's not that much by modern standards, but I think it's the most we've got this month. What is absolutely certain, this is the longest level of the month. It took me 50 minutes to complete it (and that's not counting retries), although major part of that was spent on looking for the final secret (the automap one I had somehow missed) and on figuring out the puzzle concerning red glowing bars. I'm still not sure if the final switch was supposed to be reached by rocket jumping, but that's what I had to do.

 

I can't help but admire the design. Okay, it's not Going Down's Insanity, but I still like when the level transforms into a large arena when the final battle begins.

If I had to complain about something, it's that at first the map feels overwhelming. I was lost at first, and some of the directions I tried heading into seemed like I would have needed much more ammo and weaponry to even hope for survival. Another complaint would be the teleporting cyberdemon half way into the level. I wasted a lot of ammo on it, I don't know if that was a waste after all. In the final battle I was low on cells, and it was mostly because I wanted to deal with the midlevel cyber.

 

But anyway... I don't think End to Darkness is my favourite level of the episode, but it's up there. Then again, E4 has been consistently quite good, even my least favourite levels been solid. Like in the original Thy Flesh Consumed, the final level is not a simple arena with a final boss and a handful of lackeys, but a full-fledged level -- and in this case, it's epic. Despite its length, I didn't get the feeling it overstayed its welcome. I guess it came close to, and I certainly thought of playing it in two sessions, but ultimately didn't.


*

 

It's been a good month, even if not all the maps were winners. In hindsight though, even the worst maps were okay, and in case you came across a map you didn't like, at least it wasn't obnoxious and certainly they were mostly short (unless you hated E4M8). Episode 4 was my favourite, but I think it has the unfair advantage over the first three, since I think I caught someone saying E4 was made deliberately according to more modern standards than the first three that strived for more 1993s design. From the first three, I think my favourite was E3, but I guess I could pick any of them on any other day.

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E4M3 - "Earth, Blood and Fire" by purist

The main theme is those sniping Barons that you telegrag later, so ammo is really tight to prevent you from simply shooting them. Not really my cup of tea gameplay wise and it's not exactly a looker with all the grey bricks and strict adherence to right angles.

 

E4M4 - "Unclean Spirits" by Marcaek

I assume this map is fun when done in a specific order, but it's rather obnoxious playing without foreknowledge. My attempt resulted in a lot of Baron grinding with the Shotgun as I didn't encounter many rockets or plasma until later. I actually bumped the Plasma Rifle after returning to the central area, before lowering the platform properly with the secret. But yeah, this is more in line with a later NEIS map when it comes to difficulty and encounter style than anything id-like. Seems out of place in this project compared to the other more moderate entries.

 

E4M5 - "Doctrines of Devils" by Gifty

While I'm not a fan of mandatory pain sectors and lack of Radsuits, there is a lot of creativity on display in the various side areas. My favourite is the red key surrounded by 4 moving floors. The BFG room seems like a death trap without either grabbing the Invul beforehand or hitting the escape switch ASAP. The circular platforming area is also fun.

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E4M7 – Hand of the Heathen by @Alfonzo

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

 

The last chapter before the endgame was entrusted to Alfonzo, who left a strong mark on Doom the way id did with the eclectic Foundry, then contributed four important slots to the Doom II sequel. He should be impersonating John Anderson, but I cannot find any parallels with And Hell Followed, which had the traits of a breather map. Hand of the Heathen was a more hectic experience, showing a hostile attitude and having vicious tricks in store, capable of killing most players encountering them for the first time.

 

The basic weapons were just left from the start, but both were guarded. Making noise alerted the enemies in the courtyard, mostly elevated Shotgun guys that made for a lovely attrition experience with -fast. Cacodemons and Spectres joined the fight at their own pace. Pistol starters have just enough ammo to kill them and a chainsaw in case they run out. Some medikits were available in an inconvenient position and going there was mandatory to raise a bridge to the blue door. There was also an extremely simple Soul Sphere secret, prompting wrong assumptions about a merciful nature of the last level of Episode 4.

Spoiler

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The real trouble began as soon as I dived into the lava. The tunnel brought me to a broader basin where two Barons tried to catch me between two fires, but I got up a lift to a rocket launcher, then destroyed them and the teleporting Cacodemons from the ledge. The Radiation Suit ran out in the meantime, but others were available if I accepted to run over scorching floor. I found a hidden yellow door and the Computer Area Map in the recesses of the basin, then I got stuck for a while. I do not understand why the author put three bars to block the way forward, when approaching the bars was enough for them to raise. This was a counter-intuitive and irritating choice, aggravated by the lack of purpose.

Spoiler

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The welcome at the bottom of the fall was brutal. The caged Sergeants showed no mercy and forced me to charge towards the Imps, while the Cacodemon disappeared and came back when least expected. Going down the hallway alerted more enemies and warping Cacos, for a confusing arrangement that almost did me in. The Lost Souls in a cage vanished when shot and were ready to swarm me when I returned to the lava basin and to the BSK.

 

The most memorable moment of Hand of the Heathen was picking up the YSK, laying just beyond the blue door: the Cyberdemon squashed me instantly in place. Too bad my sixth sense did not trigger at all. It was impossible to contend with the boss in that short corridor, so I retreated to the courtyard where other enemies were ready to get in the way. I escaped on the ledge to the left, which was a suitable place to bring down the Cyberdemon with the shotgun in total safety. In the meantime, he blowed up the gathered hellspawn for me.

 

The exit was behind the oddly unmarked yellow door to the east; why did Alfonzo place a SUPPORT3 to the sides, instead of a coloured strip, is beyond my understanding. The secret BFG required backtracking to the small yellow door; I bet pistol starters would not like the idea unless there was no alternative for destroying the Cyberdemon, due to the lack of ammunition. The Invulnerability might suggest different solutions, but I used it to facilitate the last ambush on an invisible bridge. An appropriate challenge for the slot, as opposed to Dr.Sleep’s CHIRON.WAD, this level was not so enjoyable on the first blind run. The traps were lethal for the unwary player and the progression was not obvious on multiple occasions, but it will surely improve on repeated attempts.

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E4M8 – An End to Darkness by @Xaser

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

 

The final confrontation of Ultimate Doom the way id did was an arguably ambitious creation by Xaser; a huge demonic outpost surrounded by water, packing a considerable opposition, and embroidered with deadly traps. I am not familiar with the source of inspiration, loosely based upon textures from And Hell Followed and possibly referencing other Dr. Sleep’s maps from the Master Levels, which I have never played. This was not going to be a short boss fight; quite the opposite, it was a rather complex adventure that I found engaging, even though I firmly think this was a contemporary product that no mapper could have designed in 1995.

 

One of the best traits of An End to Darkness was the atmosphere, so thick and tense that I could almost touch it. The emptiness of the outlying areas of the evil fortress conveyed a strong sense of peril and fear, a remarkable achievement by the author. From the starting room, three paths could be chosen, leading to essential though heavily guarded resources. I limited myself to the armaments available to a pistol starter, realising that the balance was very tight and that taking the wrong turn could easily result in hardship and premature death. By following the optimal encounter sequence, the player might gain an early plasma rifle and a decent ammo stash, but the number of Barons of Hell he must face in return was likely to deplete everything.

Spoiler

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There were two paths to move forward: one was a 4-switch puzzle that I ended up missing completely; the other was a dangerous ambush in a spooky hallway with a combat armour and a faint trail as the only reference points. The first time I sprinted forward and fell miserably into the nukage pool, shortly finding myself trapped on a staircase with monsters above my head. I replayed the encounter and managed the low-tier crowd with a spray of plasma; the Cacodemon closet contained the rocket launcher to handle the heavyweights, but the situation was quite hectic with -fast monsters. After another bridge over water and more Shotgunner pranks, I got the first glimpse of my destination, the courtyard at the centre of the level.

Spoiler

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The next section was overly painful with -fast enemies, as it was a large water basin patrolled by Imps and Sergeants, shooting as if there was no tomorrow. Moreover, a teleporting Cyberdemon drew ominously near and was very difficult to handle with all the other distractions. I died several times before killing him from the dead end with the teleporters. The towers, connected with bridges and featuring orthogonal stairs inside, were a mapping feature easily associated with John Anderson. The Baron of Hell shooting from behind a fake wall, on top of a steep staircase, was infuriating, and so was the crowd of enemies behind the secret door leading to the Computer Area Map.

 

The progression allowed me to spoil the presence of two Spider Masterminds at the centre of the map, then it handed me the RSK in the starting room. Pistol starters should retrace their steps to the red door, another oddly unmarked one that eventually granted the BFG. The big gun was useful to max out the level but was not mandatory for completion. I immediately entered the Spiderdemon temple and was sealed inside with them, though I was ready to make them infight. Their death triggered sector tag 666 and the centre of the map underwent a huge transformation, releasing an up-to-date large horde of hellspawn.

Spoiler

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The worst problem with the finale was that the direction and the objective were not clear. The south-western water quadrant hid a staircase to a teleporter, which sent the player to a partially invisible causeway to the exit. There was enough space to evade the monsters and run away, but it took me a while to realise where to head, and that I could walk on air. An End to Darkness was a great climax for the megaWAD and an intimidating map, showcasing some great E4 visuals and clever set pieces. There were several annoying choices that made the layout unnecessarily confusing, preventing me from saying this was a perfect map. Too elaborate and far-reaching to classify as anything id did, it surely was top-notch material and a worthy conclusion to the megaWAD.

Spoiler

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Summa Summarum - Ultimate / Doom the Way Id Did

 

One of the top five sets i've played (for context, the rest are: Si666il, Moonblood, Sign of Torment, & Hell Revealed).  Enough said!

 

But to elaborate.  i approached this WAD with what could be said to be extreme prejudice, not only because of my earlier brief encounter with it that left me dismayed early in the first episode, but also simply because of the apparent goal of re-making the OG, which turned out to be a wrong expectation altogether.  So i was not possibly quite fair to the first few maps, due to them not being according to my initial expectations.  But the quality of the maps - from aesthetics and design to gameplay - wore down my reservations and nit-picking about maps being 'sprawling' and not keeping to the limitations of what Idness properly would set.  Fact is, all the differences aside, apart from a couple of exceptions and frankly syntax errors, the whole set invokes similar atmosphere with the OG.  My scores jumped from solid 8's to above around the map E1M5 Engineering Bay which marked the turning point in my expectations.  Yet, the first episode is not as good as the next two, and without replaying it's difficult to say is it simply because (uncorrupted) techbases in general are not my favourite environment thematically nor visually, or because of the maps themselves.

 

Shores of Hell is practically a perfect episode - E2M5 Deimos Command was and remains a transgressor because of its unexpected trickery which would have been fine in a different context, but in a set like this blocking the player from the secret exit should not have been allowed.  (MAP15 in KINDa had a similar shenanigan installed and TheMightyWhoosh was kind enough to warn the club beforehand about it, even when there really were no expectations how his maps should play.)  E2M8 Vault i did not care for, because frankly in pure boss-maps the first half of the map is wasted, and ultimately the exploration required feels like a waste of time, just like the central pillar was a cool idea and impressive visually, but ultimately a waste of time in the context.  The star of the episode was of course E2M6 Foundry with its atmosphere and exceptional design that is at least equal to anything in Si666il (it doesn't have many flaws, but its maps tend to be on the shorter side, and Romero could have fleshed many of them out more than he did.)

 

Similarly, Inferno is near-flawless, and not a single map received a score below 9, or B-, from me.  i don't know if the opener Abyssal Stronghold is the finest, but it made a strong impression on me with its updated and expanded take on Hell Keep.  Still, i'd lower the score from 10+ to 10 now, because of the earlier access to the shotgun, and not having a good opportunity to weaken the Cacodemons and kill the Imps by making them infight, which is an essential part of the original (i think someone mentiond about this in their review.)  So in that particular sense only is it weaker than the original, otherwise, it is better.  The thing about my rankings in this episode is that there properly considered is no worse map, i can't even fault any of the design choices in a single map, and shockingly i actually enjoyed E3M8 Core!  Traditional in its ethos, it wasted no time in pro forma preliminaries, and was striking to look at, fun to play, and had some non-malicious meanness to its design.

 

And then,  Thy Flesh Consumed.  i'm only superficially familiar with the OG, apart from the opener, and watched BMD's playthroughs of the original levels sometimes before sometimes after to playing the equivalent map here.  The visuals and designs are pretty easy to categorize and recognise, and the episode here was very consistent with them.  Same is true of the gameplay, except of course certain maps here deliberately going out of bounds.  And i hope i'm not just an inflexible old geezer (probably am), but i don't see the point of agreeing to make levels in a certain style and then giong out of your way to not adhere to the concept you agreed to.  This is akin to false marketing, only more futile.  The thing is, E4M4 (which i came to terms with after counselling and therapy - and now i'm not sure if it should be included in this group) and in particular E4M7, and to somewhat lesser extent, E4M8, are the kind of maps that have nothing to do with TFC except on most superficial level, and frankly i wouldn't play them outside of this WAD - which should not have maps like them, if it sincerely followed its own stated objectives.  Anyway, that's not meant too seriously :)  At the end of the day, those are just maps i didn't enjoy, for stated reasons - nothing bigger than that.  

Fact is UDTWID remains a flawed yet ultimately a stellar episode.  The maps were very faithful and consistent, and were executed pretty much to perfection.  Other than stated above, i enjoyed it as much as i did Inferno, including the opener which gave me so much more trouble than i would have expected.  But that was fair.

 

Yeah, for myself, despite the length, i feel no UD fatigue, and kind of wish we could go on directly to play D2TWID and then DTWIDTLE!  But perhaps the latter will be picked up at some later date, so i won't go on to play it for a while on my own.  And in the meanwhile, maybe someone could curate UDTWIDTWUDTWIDD ;)  So, that's how i feel about this set.

 

i still enjoy the immersive experience the Club offers, really enhancing on the experience of mere playthroughs.  Thanks to everyone for their reviews, demos and videos (i think i read everything and watched most, still have some demos to watch - apart from DSDA demos which i don't have setup unfortunately, should get that done - in fact i don't even know about it much), and thanks for reading/watching mine.  As an aside, this by the way marks the end of my first year of participation here - having missed only two months in that time (Heretic, and Interception II.)  See you in March, at least if the dreaded CC wins!  (PS: By the way, does not the Club play too few UD episodes/wads?  Only one was played last year, Base Ganymede... making it two this year wouldn't be overkill!  Apart from UDTWIDTLE there has been a few interesting suggestions already...)

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E4M7: Hand of the Heathen

Lava is likely going to be your main adversary in this one, even with all the Cacos and Barons about and a Cyberdemon towards the end. There are four radsuits available which is just enough to get everything done if you know where you're going and have a plan, and you're definitely going to want that BFG secret for the Cyberdemon. If you're brave enough you can try to snatch the yellow key from right under his nose but I took the safe option and lured him out before going back to get it.

e4m7.zip

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E4M4: "Unclean Spirits" by Marcaek

UV with Corruption Cards, no saves

100% kills, 2/4 secrets

 

Card: Monster starting positions are shuffled

 

Yikes, not a good card to receive for the purposes of trying to evaluate these maps, but I suppose I'll have to do my best. This is a fittingly E4-esque wooden hell map filled with hellslime, and with a rather chaotic layout. This thing confused the hell out of me in my playthrough, which gets made frustrating when there is damaging floor everywhere to slowly kill me. To further cause difficulties for the blind experience, it's easy to get really choked on ammo unless you know where to find some pickups when you'll need them, like the plasma with its large amount of cells.

 

I'll try and judge the combat accurately despite the card received (I will have the actual map open to compare as well), but in any case it almost felt too mean for id standards. It's downright hitscanner hell here, with shotgunners appearing around every corner and hardly ever giving you a moment of peace. Barons are pretty common here too, and are always eager to eat up any spare ammo you have. To add to that, there's also a spiderdemon, who was not moved by the mod. I'm guessing it'd be awkward to move a mastermind since they're so damned large, so probably a good idea to leave them alone.

 

I feel like I might appreciate this one more if I went in with prior knowledge. As a blind playthrough this one felt a bit unpleasant to play.

Edited by DisgruntledPorcupine : Spelling

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E4M7 - Hand of the Heathen by Alfonzo:
Not sure what to think about this map to be honest, partially because John Anderson is the mapper that I am the least familiar with, from the available TFC choices. The main things I remember about the original E4M7 is that it's key doors aren't marked - and they're not marked here either so I guess it nails the impression! I think this map looks very nice, obvious effort was put into the lighting and texturing here - it's definitely a step above the other maps (and I think that's accurate to Dr Sleep's work).

 

I don't have too much to say gameplay wise, there's a lot of lava and fairly mean ambushes here, but none of them are that difficult (I did die a few times here, but I wasn't playing well at all) and there's enough rad-suits so I only had to jump in once without one. I do think the cyberdemon and final areas would be incredibly painful were it not for the secret BFG, though it's not that hard to find. Nothing offensive here, just nothing that stands out either.

 

E4M8 - An End to Darkness by Xaser:
I feel conflicted here, on one hand, the first ~20 minutes of my 25 minute playthrough were tedious, confusing and not very fun, but the other 5 minutes were excellent. I started off the map by picking the direction that led into a very dark death trap and immediately died, so I decided to go the other way. The other way is much more manageable, giving out a plasma gun, rocket launcher and chaingun. There were lots of moments in this first section that felt like it contributed nothing to actually progressing to complete the map, and I thought the small hallways were quite annoying to get through. Eventually, and after tussling with a very mean close-quarters cyberdemon, I found the spiderdemon arena, which was incredibly easy as getting them to infight with each other was no issue for me.

 

The large fight that follows this was very cool, and I think it ended the set on a pretty good note. I think the map looks great, and manages to get quite a lot of atmosphere out of the Doom 1 textures and "Demons on the Prey". That being said, I feel like I won't be the only person to say that this fight feels very out of place and not like anything that I would expect from a mapset trying to be like Thy Flesh Consumed, and that makes this map feel like it doesn't belong in this set. If this was being marketed as a standard episode 4 replacement, then this wouldn't be an issue, but it's not! Overall, an interesting finale, and one that was better than I was expecting.

 

Thoughts on Ultimate Doom the Way id Did:

I was surprised by this episode, as I went into it assuming that it'd be a set on a similar scale to the other three episodes of Doom the way id Did, but slightly more refined with a greater focus on emulating the original mappers. This is not what this episode is. E4M1, E4M2, E4M9 and E4M3 do a pretty good job of at least evoking the original episode's scale and design, but after this the episode goes in a completely different direction. This left the episode feeling, to me, like a modern episode 4 replacement that didn't really live up to my expectations, as I don't think that Doom 1 is suited to fun, challenging maps - they tend to be either tedious, or just frustrating for me. Unfortunately, I'd have to say that this is my least favourite of the 4 episodes we've played this month.

 

My favourite maps in the episode were E4M6 and E4M3, with E4M6 standing out pretty well above the rest.

 

Overall Rankings (including Doom the Way id Did):

Spoiler

Really Liked - E1M6, E2M9, E3M2, E3M6, E3M9, E4M6
Liked - E1M3, E1M9, E1M7, E2M3, E2M4, E2M5, E3M1, E3M3, E4M3, E4M5, E4M8
The Boring Zone - E1M1, E1M2, E1M4, E2M1, E2M6, E2M8, E3M4, E3M7, E4M1, E4M7
Didn't Like - E1M5, E1M8
Really Didn't Like - E2M2, E2M7, E3M5, E3M8, E4M2, E4M4

 

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E3M6: Molten Gods

 

Here's a map I actually quite liked the first time I played it. Tarnsman does an excellent job at imitating another's style (John Romero in this case), utilizing verticality and ubiqiquous pools of lava in a manner that's probably more similar to John's Doom II maps, but that's ok. The monster placement feels very much on point, with perhaps an extra amount of modern bite. Because lava is everywhere, you can safely assume that it's the best way to access secrets and you would be right. I'm pretty sure you're meant to trigger some infighting in the red key area with Baron and Caco pair but it honestly didn't seem worth the effort to me.

 

Eventually, you come through a red-brick building above the cyberdemon, meet a mob of shotgunners on a series of ledges that are meant to bait your attention, and come to a nearby wall, with one being openable and leading to a darkened and bland sort of E1 room with some Spectres and Imps. Soon as you pick up the BFG, a Baron each appears slightly in front and behind you. Nasty trap it may be, but you may well need it.

 

See, just past the shotgunner ledge, you run into a sort of demonic tech structure with a crimson-red floor containing the blue key that slowly lowers until 3 Barons become visible in the corners and immdiately attempt to roast you into a painful and burning crisp. Keyboard-only, this is absolute hell. With mouse, it's not too bad if you have a BFG though. Right after this, you find yourself on a ledge to the left of the Romero-esque Cyberdemon (though I'm told this also has the 666 tag applied) and you can proceed to slowly cook his ass with plasma. Though you might want to jump down because you have next to zero reaction time to evade the rockets from your position. Not to mention I fell into the lava twice, including one time at the end where the rocket I used to slay the Cyberdemon probably knocked me back,

 

Once he's dead, you can enter the blue door and engage in the not-particularly difficult but still cinematic fight in the central tower against a Baron and Cacodemon which you should have enough rockets. with Imps and Lost Souls hanging in the belfry. The map was thus finished in 9:46 with 60 percent of the secrets.

 

This is the kind of map I'd normally despise (and I might've had some trouble navigating it the first time). Tarnsman has yet to deliver one mediocre map outside of the Suitcase of Gor Redux that are his earliest mapping efforts. Monster placement is on-point, and so is the Romero sense of interconnectedness.

 

Grade: A-

Difficulty: B-

 

E4M7: Hand of the Heathen

 

Alfonzo returns with this somewhat stately, if oftentime unpleasant map, set in some sort of odd E4 city, complete with alleyways and flooded drains, featuring yet more green-vined marble brick seemingly everywhere, along with a large enough proportion of lava that you should probably ration your radsuits more effectively than I did. Might also help if I realized the switch raising the bridge to the BK door was just to the left of the entrance. The chainsaw randomly placed in the streets feels so random. The one fight in the lava with Barons and Cacos on the way to the blue key gave me some trouble. And because I'm such a fool, I didn't realize that the ledge you're teleported to will lead to the blue key. Which meant I ended up running out of radsuits at a somewhat critical time. Avoiding the yellow key ambush was not too difficult. If you want much higher chance of succeeding, go to the randomly-marked yellow wall below the above-mentioned series of ledges to pick up a BFG. Somewhat unnnecessary if you're playing continous, especially since a room with Spectres will have opened up with an Invulnerbility and a nearby switch opening a small room behind the invisible bridge that leads to the exit.

 

This map feels next to nothing like a dr. sleep map beyond a vague atmohsperic similarity and actually seems a little boring and mean if you're not up to the challenge. But though nothing stands out here, the encounters tend to have a certain bite that makes them go down quite nice all the same. And Lippeth's E$M7 midi goes great here.

 

Grade:B

Difficulty: C+

Edited by LadyMistDragon

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Final Thoughts

 

Doom the way id did was my first DWMC playthrough of a classic community megaWAD, and one of the last remaining opportunities, considering the Club has covered almost every historically significant creation in its 10-year record. Playing it, along with its long-overdue sequel Ultimate Doom the way id did, was instructive and offered an overview of the mapping evolution in the last decade.

 

The experiment, aimed at emulating the style of id levels, was welcomed warmly by the community and gathered an impressive number of submissions, to the point there was material to compile not one, but three Doom megaWADs. This treasure trove of levels did not go to waste; it hatched three more projects, all worthy in their own ways and deserving various types of recognition, from the Unity port exposure to the Mordeth award. To express a sound judgement, a player should have checked both the official release and the scrapped levels; I am not in such condition, so I will only comment on the maps that made it through, as they were deemed the best in quality terms, and at the same time the most fitting to the given guidelines.

 

In the info text file, the project founder Hellbent summarised the rationale behind Doom the way id did: it was neither an explicit remake, nor a nostalgia-filled tribute. The authors were required to study how John Romero, Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen created their maps, then they were asked to submit a putative 10th map from any episode, supposedly cut from the final product. Xaser and esselfortium recently confirmed that direct homages were discouraged, and only M1 and M8 were created with their specific slot in mind. This implies that any comparison with the same OG map slot is generally inappropriate, even though Xaser informed that the maps were ordered to fit the classic soundtrack, hence the perception of certain parallelisms. An OST was developed and reworked by Mr. Freeze shortly before the planned release, with its final exclusion causing much dispute. I heard that soundtrack in Base Ganymede, though I admit it fits this project better because the tracks were inspired by the original Doom midis.

 

Playing the megaWAD exactly 10 years after its 2012 update, which introduced the cute intermission maps by Kracov, showed how fleeting, abstruse and ultimately unreachable the stipulations were. Some unmistakable tributes made it through the quality control, to the point that the maps with the most authentic id feel were the ones with the highest grade of plagiarism: Reactor Complex, Rec Facility, Ore Processing, Chapel of Scorn, and Lake of Fire come to mind. Other authors followed the guidelines more strictly and came up with rather original creations, often enjoyable and worthy on their own merit, though less believable as id works from 1993. I would mention Filtration Compound, Mental Ward, Foundry, Malebolge, and Depths as the most fitting instances in this second category.

Spoiler

634339489_E2intermission.jpg.d02f3253cda105c963d04f3cb6e9c30c.jpg

Intermission screen changes throughout Episode 2

Was it truly impossible to hit the mark with Doom the way id did? The first episode was where the aspirations and the outcome came better together, with Fuel Synthesis, Treatment Plant and Logic Core serving as the best examples. Those levels were not exempt from flaws or inconsistencies (e.g.: Hellbent’s level had some glaring misaligned textures, and a star teleporter that was copied and pasted from E1M5, despite the “no homages” proviso), but they faithfully replicated design tropes from id games into a fan product with a lot of personality. This sweet balance was easy to lose along the way, as the second and the third episode brought up more variety in textures and themes, resulting in the authors taking opposite approaches. While most Doom fans do agree upon what characterises E1, there is no real consensus on E2 and E3. The conflicting interpretations of their visual and gameplay content are noticeable when playing the corresponding parts of this megaWAD.

 

The history of E4 was longer and apparently troubled. The development started shortly after the popular Doom II the way id did, with the leader Alfonzo inviting a group of trusted mappers that cooperated in the previous instalments. The abandon of a single member caused the project to be on hiatus for many years, until Gifty revived the thread in 2017 and came up with the missing E4M5, supported by forum feedback. The guidelines were less stringent than Hellbent’s agenda and gave free rein to the mappers, to ensure a mostly authentic experience that is a little more consistent in its difficulty than the original, but no less varied and surprising. The only explicit requirement, which I second, was to pick the level names from King James Bible, following suit the idea by Kevin Cloud.

Spoiler

Ultimate Doom the way id did – Episode 4 level names in King James Bible Version:

E4M1 Genesis 37:35

(a rather generic sentence if compared to others, but the search engine gave only one exact result)

“And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.”

 

E4M2 Romans 1:26

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”

 

E4M3 Joel 2:30

“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”

 

E4M4 Revelation 16:13

(the name “unclean spirits” is often used in Gospel verses to define the evil demons possessing people, so there are multiple possible sources)

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

 

E4M5 1 Timothy 4:1

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”

 

E4M6 Exodus 34:17

“Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.”

 

E4M7 Psalms 106:41

“And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.”

 

E4M8 Job 28:3

“He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.”

Considering that the visual flair and exploration were kept on the back burner in Thy Flesh Consumed, Ultimate Doom the way id did presented itself in a similar way, choosing simpler but effective texture schemes and pivoting on traps and harsh combat setups, often betraying the intention to address latter-day Doomers. Due to the restricted team, public discussion was kept to a minimum and the outcome was more coherent than the 2012 Cacoward winner, though Unclean Spirits slipped through and stands out as a divergent map, quoting id to some extent but ultimately going all-in with contemporary design priorities.

 

The difficulty of Doom the way id did was kept very close to the OG, while the 2019 Ultimate Doom sequel tended towards harder gameplay. I played continuous on Ultra-Violence, with -fast parameter, and savegames mid-level (not during encounters to cheat the RNG or to facilitate anything). The first three episodes were great, as the -fast monsters really spice up the basic Doom bestiary, with minimal deaths and reloads. I experienced more hardship in Episode 4, when difficulty ramped up with liberal use of Shotgunners and hazardous environment, paired with limited healing and ammunition.

 

Secret areas received the highest consideration, as expected since they were an important feature of OG Doom. The authors sticked to the “chain of secrets” concept, typical of E1, and exported it everywhere. 9-10 hidden sectors per map were commonplace in Doom the way id did, and they were both fascinating and rewarding to uncover. The secret levels suffered from not being created for that slot; they were normal levels, possibly tweaked with more resources to find, but no gimmicks reminiscent of the secret maps from id games.

 

This megaWAD can be considered a classic, a Doomworld project that involved a lot of people with the best of intentions, producing a valuable offspring, if a bit controversial. The 120 page-long development thread stands as the proof that Hellbent’s concept tried to be as inclusive as possible. However, at some point decisions must be taken to prevent a huge effort from entering in a state of limbo. Funnily enough, this happened to Ultimate Doom the way id did, until a deus ex machina came to provide the missing slot. The genesis of this megaWAD was as complex and multi-faceted as the experience of the first Doom, which does not appeal to everyone to the same degree and for the same reasons, unlike the gameplay-oriented Doom II.

 

Notwithstanding that id authenticity claims were a bit hit or miss, Doom the way id did left an important legacy that affected the way community projects were handled. It was also an entertaining product, offering a moderate challenge and the same combination of atmosphere and exploration found in the OG. The long-awaited Episode 4 ramped-up the difficulty to contemporary levels, reproducing the shock brought about in 1995 by Thy Flesh Consumed. Even though I could not enjoy myself as freely as in the previous three episodes, it was worth playing and some levels were hidden gems with creative content. All these factors are enough for me to consider the whole project a success.

 

Best maps:

E1M4 – Treatment Plant by Hellbent

E1M7 – Logic Core by iori

E2M6 – Foundry by Alfonzo

E2M7 – Ore Processing by Megalyth

E3M5 – Chapel of Scorn by pcorf

E4M5 – Doctrines of Devils by Gifty

E4M6 – Molten Gods by Tarnsman

 

Other standout maps:

E1M3 – Fuel Synthesis by esselfortium

E2M4 – Mental Ward by ellmo

E2M9 – Nebulous Origins by iori

E3M6 – Depths by Phobus

E3M9 – Lake of Fire by Lutz

E4M1 – Into the Grave by Pavera

E4M8 – An End to Darkness by Xaser

Edited by Book Lord

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E4M7: Hand Of The Heathen

By Alfonzo

(100th map for the DWMC!)

 

Kills: 84%

Items: 65%

Secrets: 50%

Time: 8:30

 

Hooooo boy... This is probably the most divisive map this month for me, Hand Of The Heathen absolutely scorched me my first time through, you can probably hear it in the recording, and I was initially going to complain about it but I think this one was screwed over by the other maps more than anything, Hand Of The Heathen is much slower paced and a lot less Romero-centric than any of the other maps, resembling American McGee more than anything so far, it's tight on health and very rich on damaging floors, but maybe give it a second chance if you found your first encounter with it frustrating, also be SURE to sniff out the Computer Area Map, as it'll land you with a Supercharge which can be a godsend, one thing I never really got around with in this map the most arbitrary Cyberdemon ever, but you get an invuln so I found it more funny than frustrating, anyway

 

Grade: B

Difficulty: A-

 

 

E4M8: An End To Darkness

By Xaser

 

Kills: ?

Items: ?

Secrets: ?

Time: ?

 

A pretty solid ending this one is, to be frank I have no idea where I'm going in the first half, I kinda just ran around until monsters appeared in the first room and then activated the final fight, but the action is pretty cool, I like the early dark room on the left wing near the start and the roaming, teleporting Cyberdemon as you walk around, but there is a really weird set of bars you're kinda just supposed to know are openable? I got lucky and realised it pretty quickly but I'm not sure how you're supposed to know these are openable, anyway, get inside, press some switches, plasma some enemies, run back to the main room through another corridor, survive an ambush and it's time for a dual duel of Masterminds, they're a joke, just spray and duck, the real treat comes with the lowering basin to reveal a heroic crescendo consisting of Barons, Cacos, Cybers and shotgunners, well... As heroic as UDoom gets but whatever, it's still cool, you'll get an invulnerability here so simply infight, spray, and don't stop to have a lunch break and you'll be free to leave Ultimate Doom The Way Id Did

 

Grade: B+

Difficulty: B

 

 

- FINAL THOUGHTS -

 

Honestly... I... *like* Doom The Way Id Did but this month was especially a test of my language skills, this definitely isn't a megawad I would have played on my own, many maps, very much so in the first 3 episodes, were very difficult to talk about, there is only so many times I can say "And THIS is another Doom I map!" but in the end, we made it through them all, treating these two as separate wads here due to the 7 year time difference, my final grade for Doom The Way Id Did is a C+ and in difficulty, it'll get a D-! Doom The Way Id Did's biggest strength is how successfully it emulates the official maps without too much of the excess meat, Doom with an extra layer of polish, if you will, and as for Ultimate Doom The Way Id Did? Well, what can I say? What a great episode! It's clear to me UDTWID very much models its gameplay after E4M2, M1, and M6, M2 especially, call this Thy Flesh With No Extra Fat Consumed, what a great episode, my final grade is an A-, and difficulty will be a B-!

 

Whole playthrough

 

Now for the grand ranking!

 

Doom The Way Id Did:

Spoiler

14: Treatment Plant :)
26: Foundry
15: Engineering Bay
23: Rec Facility
38: Core
17: Logic Core
37: Inner Sanctum
13: Fuel Synthesis
29: Nebulous Origins
24: Mental Ward
12: Military Bunker
36: Depths
31: Abyssal Stronghold
16: Reactor Complex
34: Torture Chambers
25: Deimos Command
39: Lake Of Fire
11: Communications Bridge
18: Transportation Facility
21: Recieving Station
35: Chapel Of Scorn
19: Excavation Site
33: Malebolge
28: Vault
22: Filtration Compound
32: City Of Corpses
27: Ore Processing

 

Ultimate Doom The Way Id Did:

Spoiler

44: Unclean Spirits :)
46: Molten Gods
41: Into The Grave
43: Earth, Blood And Fire
48: An End To Darkness
49: Terror
45: Doctrines Of Devils
42: Vile Affections
47: Hand Of The Heathen

 

Total month ranking:

Spoiler

44: Unclean Spirits :)
46: Molten Gods
14: Treatment Plant
41: Into The Grave
43: Earth, Blood And Fire
26: Foundry
48: An End To Darkness
49: Terror
15: Engineering Bay
45: Doctrines Of Devils
23: Rec Facility
38: Core
17: Logic Core
37: Inner Sanctum
42: Vile Affections
13: Fuel Synthesis
47: Hand Of The Heathen
29: Nebulous Origins
24: Mental Ward
12: Military Bunker
36: Depths
31: Abyssal Stronghold
16: Reactor Complex
34: Torture Chambers
25: Deimos Command
39: Lake Of Fire
11: Communications Bridge
18: Transportation Facility
21: Recieving Station
35: Chapel Of Scorn
19: Excavation Site
33: Malebolge
28: Vault
22: Filtration Compound
32: City Of Corpses
27: Ore Processing

 

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E4M7 - Hand of the Heathen - Alfonzo *John Anderson* (100%K/I/S):


A really nice map trying to mimic what Dr. Sleep could have done, not in the original E4M7 as much, but trying to mimic his work in the Master Levels, which, were the best in said mapset. John Anderson was quite unique at map making, and his style went really well with Thy Flesh Consumed visuals. Still, it feels quite like a late John Anderson work here, as it is pretty well detailed for it to be a 1995 map. The usage of insta-lowering walls was something used in the original Ultimate Doom, so there are no problems there, but still, this level feels well detailed enough for me to doubt if Dr. Sleep could really manage to make a map like this back in the day...
It is a really nice level, with some Romero traits, like swimming in lava pools with radsuits. It's a long and harder level than the original And Hell Followed, and for sure, it will make you waste all your resources. 
Yes, this feels more like a Master Level, in fact, it has some annoying little catwalks that were kinda mandatory in the Master Levels. Fun enough though, also, don't forget to backtrack if you grab the yellow key, so you get the BFG...

IDness ratio: 4/5

 

E4M8 - An End to Darkness - Xaser *John Anderson* (66%K/57%I/75%S):


Two Dr. Sleep levels in a row, I don't know about this one, it feels like some kind of Magnum Opus map, pretty out of context for an ID level, again, it has some of the traits from Dr. Sleep's style of mapping, but, this is enough even for Ultimate Doom, the monster count, the layout, the size of this monstruous level. Something that the only thing it has from E4 is the visuals, that are pretty spot-on, but again, this is something you would have only seen lost in a community megawad for Ultimate Doom, rather than the original game itself, even though mappers in E4 are guests. Looks aside, this level is an epic finisher to an episode that feels quite painfull to play, even more than the original Ultimate Doom, and a deserved finisher. Nice fights and long journeys to make some progress, like the dark room, the long corridors, and everything interconnected in some way. The final fight was a big chaos, and I did not have so much resources to fight until the end, so I decided rushing to the exit.
Quite a magnum opus from a parallel universe, I don't feel like this would have been accepted into Thy Flesh Consumed though.

IDness ratio: 2/5


(UV Playthrough - Crispy Doom)

Order of Preference:
 

Spoiler

 

E4M6 (Great)

E3M3
E3M7
E3M6
E4M7
E3M9

E2M6

E1M4 
E4M1
E3M5 (Good)
E2M7
E1M7
E3M4
E2M1
E3M2
E4M5 
E2M9
E2M2 (Ok)
E1M5
E1M6
E3M1

E1M3
E4M8
E2M4 

E1M2
E1M8
E4M3 (Average)
E4M4
E3M8
E1M1 
E1M9 
E4M2 (Meh)
E2M8
E4M9 (Bad)
E2M5
E2M3

 


E4 Thoughts:

 

Thy Flesh Consumed had some artistic choises different from the ones seen here at times, the levels here felt more painful than the original, and the visuals a little bit more on the "meh" side. Mappers were well emulated at times, but the "spirit" of the original was not, except for Romero maps, most of the others did not have that feel you would like from the fourth episode. Maps felt more like taken from the Master Levels at times, and the levels itself felt like a journey every single time. A better work could have been done for sure, considering development for this took so many years. Still not a bad experience at all, but not a memorable one, thankfully, there are some gems inside the episode, which you could enjoy, like M1, M6 and M7. This needed more wood and marble, in my opinion.

Edited by DJVCardMaster

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GZDoom/UV/Continuous/Saves

E4M7: Hand Of The Heathen - Alfonzo

100% kills and secrets

Time: 11:34

Deaths: 5 (2 from CC turrets)

Card: Baron can carry monsters

 

Alfonzo's emulation of Dr. Sleep works pretty well here, despite being pretty different from his E4 contribution. Lots more lava traversal, and way less wood textures. Also, a very mean sudden cyb behind the blue door. It didn't get me the first time, but I did die after taking it out and didn't save, so I had to try it again, and it cornered me in the yellow key cubby. This entire fight is tricky, as when you backpedal into the previous room, spectres and lost souls rush in. The BFG is the best bet here, along with the invul that's now open to grab. If you don't have a BFG, you can pickpocket the yellow skull, run back into the lava (with a rad suit), head as far north as possible, and open the out of the way yellow skull door. Kill the baron, jump across, and grab the BFG and goodies. Though, doing all of this before killing the cyb may be not advisable. Don't have much else to say. Pretty solid map all around.

 

I don't think I have time to do the last map if it's pretty big. Will have to do it tomorrow.

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E4M5: Doctrines of Devils

 

I'm not sure quite what to make of this one.  The overall structure is a bit disjointed, with progression breaking down into neatly defined, self-contained challenges like the individual obstacles along an assault course; no single subzone of the map really flows into or interacts with the adjacent areas, and with the central yard turning into damaging blood as soon as the player goes grabbing at the health and ammunition in the middle, the player is further disincentivised from freely exploring rather than identifying the next challenge ahead of them and tackling that and only that.  On Ultraviolence the only radiation suits that would make backtracking across the map's damaging floors a less painful experience are tucked away in a secret-flagged area that opens up at the same time, using the same triggering line, as the exit room; they're clearly there just to make going back in search of missed secrets and supplies less of a painful hassle, and I appreciate their inclusion in that context, but the general lack of other ways to mitigate the "health tax" you're compelled to pay to one degree or another as you dash to the next objective as briskly as possible is just one more indicator that this is a map that wants to be overcome rather than explored.  That's not a value judgment, it's a difference in kind rather than a case of good gameplay structure vs. bad, but I'm not sure this level is done any favours by following on from E4M4 which also wants you to move at a lively hustle across the damaging floors that make up a significant chunk of its footprint - although at least your objectives and progression are more clearly communicated here.

 

Aesthetically what I'm most reminded of here is City of Corpses from earlier this month; it's got that same sense of different areas being the work of different mappers, with the central spine of the map and maybe half of the challenge areas feeling a bit underworked next to the more lavish and dramatic eastern and western wings.  That's mirrored somewhat in the pacing and atmosphere, with fiendish traps and dangerous combat encounters alternating with stretches that don't feel deliberately low-tempo so much as undercooked.  There's a good, engaging map here, but it feels like it's been padded out to meet some arbitrary requirement of size, running time, or monster count, and the result is less than the sum of its part, the slow stretches detracting from rather than contrasting with and enhancing the more fleshed-out and carefully tuned parts of the level.

 

E4M6: Molten Gods

 

Now this one is much more my jam, playing out like a mash-up of Perfect Hatred and some of Romero's Doom II maps.  Despite the lopsided asymmetry, the constant ascent and descent between platforms and walkways and mezzanines, the disorienting shifts from wide-open areas to cramped tunnels that twist back on themselves, there's a clear logic to progression here, with well-communicated objectives and good lines of sight throughout this modestly-sized tangle of wood, metal, and green masonry all perched atop a sinkhole of scorching magma; the impression I get is of a path of progression visualised clearly and plotted simply, before being twisted and torn up to add a generous dash of fiendish complexity to the proceedings.  Those clear lines of sight are put to good use by the Cyberdemon that represents your last serious obstacle before the exit, dominating the map from on high and driving you to find not just the keys that are necessary for progression but also adequate firepower for the task of demolishing this meaty roadblock.  I like the fact that, rather than a simple blue door barring the exit, there is instead a blue switch recessed into a little cubby by the door, to make the task of dancing around the Cyberdemon and rushing for the exit that much trickier; of course, even if you manage that, there's a further gate that won't open until the Cyberdemon is dead.  It seems the map author here thought of everything!

 

One thing I especially like about the layout is the way the lava tunnel loops around the south end of the map in a fairly continuous fashion, connecting areas that are physically quite separate and offering an early rocket launcher to players who are willing to burn a radiation suit and some ammunition on exploring a path that isn't obviously a necessary part of the map's progression.  Plentiful openings make the tunnel's presence apparent, but they're tucked away unobtrusively in dark corners to de-emphasise them and to avoid an errant suggestion that exploring the tunnel is mandatory.  Romero's maps in the original IWADs tend to be among those with the strongest sense of being structures as well as levels, and that's a feeling that has been well emulated here, from the atrium to the lava tunnel that connects the southern half of the map together to the separate tower containing the blue key, outside the walls of this demonic fortress or infernal cathedral and suggestive of a larger environment beyond the bounds of this particular structure.

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E4M7: Hand of the Heathen
DOOM Retro, UV, Continuous w/saves
 

What a heartfelt tribute to the work of Dr. Sleep (RIP). It has all the hallmarks I'd expect from his maps (specifically And Hell Followed); locked keycard doors with unmarked colors, disappearing walls, and lots of 45 degree and 90 degree angles. I love the courtyard at the beginning of the map. The Indiana Jones bridge at the end of the level was neat too.
 

E4M8: An End to Darkness
 

And so comes the final level of UDtWiD. And all I can say is this doesn't feel like an id Software map at all. Sure, the aesthetics are on point, but the layout itself is larger and more complex than any id map I've seen in UD. It feels less like id and completely like Xaser; large, complex, beautiful, and brutal. I hate to say that I'm not a huge fan of this map, despite all of the praise I have towards this map's design and the encounters at every turn. These kinds of larger maps frustrate me a bit simply because I got lost too easily.

Much like the original E4, I can't say I'm a fan of this E4. Much like the original E4, some maps had bizarre architecture that led to some frustration.
But as a whole, I'd call UDtWiD a success. It did a good job at reminding me of the things I enjoyed (and loathed) about classic DOOM.

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E4M7: Hand of the Heathen by Gus Knezevich (Alfonzo)

 

A map full of small puzzles and evilnesses, I may have cursed the mapper here more than in E4M4. It has some neat ideas, although the "idness" factor is pretty low - Alfonzo seems to be the author with the loosest interpretation of the "the way id did" concept, see DTWID's E2M6. The monster population is small, but the environment plays against the player - again, mainly damaging floors (there's even a "The Chasm" homage) and small rooms where monsters tend to concentrate, and not much armor. There are a few radiation suits, but you have to use them smartly or you risk running out of them at crucial parts of the progression, and also in other areas (around the guardian of the yellow key, for example) foreknowledge makes the map much easier, it's definitively not a "blind-playing" friendly map. Another "evilness" is a fight where infinite height (cacos flying ~50 metres above you in a cramped area) is used to boost difficulty. A computer map plays an important role to find one of the secrets which otherwise seems to be unmarked.

 

7/10

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Posted (edited)

E4M8: An End to Darkness (in Darth Vader voice)

 

The epic closer everyone always wants, but never gets, Xaser Acheron (probably just an alias but perhaps it says something about his favorite map of all time. OF ALL TIME) constructed this wooden fortress which happens to dwarf every other map released in the main Doom: the Way Id Did series. It is a vast, somewhat confusing, but certainly intricate series of skull-walled corridors with a little homage to And Hell Followed hanging right in front of you. This isn't required, but it's an absolute must on pistol start and acquiring said key's fairly tricky. Mygharok's "The Eternal Emptiness" makes for a far more listenable experience than "Demons on the Prey," which, I'm sorry, is overused and is even weaker if anything than other stock shit like "Shawn's Got the Shotgun."

 

If you're on pistol start, you'll have to go to the corridors on the right unless you want to get blown to bits by the Megaarmour ambush in the dark, if very tech-y room, located inside a marble mountain at the other end of a skull hallway with water on both sides of the outdoor area. Unfortunately, there's also a Baron behind a fake wall at one point, who takes potshots at you. There's also a rather curious door at the end of a hallway right above where there happens to be a drainage system which you can't access (yet). I was playing continous though, so I skipped it intitially this time.

 

Then you should have enough rockets to handle the moderately tough, if somewhat roomy Megaarmour ambush. After crossing a bridge with shotgunners on either side of you, you take a teleport, which takes you to an area with tons of caged pathways crossing between towers. The shotgunner, Imp, and Lost Soul attacks are bad enough, but worst is the constantly teleporting Cyberdemon. It's quite hard to hit someone who seems to want to teleport away whenever he wishes. No matter, though, just head back through the teleporter, wait a few seconds and then head back, and he should have teleported back to his default position.

 

After traveling through some very similar environments, you'll return to the start and find the bars behind you lowered. Entering the courtayrd here,  you come across an arena of epic scale, along with two Spider Masterminds that teleport in. I guess you could let them kill each other, but I only know to hide behind pillars to redirect their fire, and honestly, they always manage to claw at me a little. Basically, I wasted the Supercharge, but no matter. The ground you're on suddenly plunges, and it's now the final battle! Two Cyberdemons emerge along with a massive swarming host of other enemies, along with some sniper sergeants hiding in a window and Cacodemons and Lost Souls placed such that they'll make your life a living hell. No matter though, run to the other end of the valley, encounter another Cyberdemon pick up some more cells, and prepare to go hog wild with the BFG! And watch out for the gang of Barons and Imps in the canyon to your left.

 

Or you could just run up the stairs to the bridge, find yourself on an invisible bridge, then just run to the exit without killing anything. It's entirely possible.

 

This is honestly my favorite map in Ultimate Doom: The Way Id Did. As a closer, the length  is as it should be. As a map, it's masterfully constructed. And as an experience, it might just be the hardest (though perhaps Unclean Spirits deserves that marek just as much). Still, I don't have any problem whatsoever with the following grade

 

A

Difficulty B

 

one more thing

 

Quote

But to elaborate.  i approached this WAD with what could be said to be extreme prejudice,

I see what you did there. :)

Edited by LadyMistDragon

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(hate double-posting, but it looks like Community Chest has won, so let's just get this out. I was almost gonna not because I tend to not like this, but here we go)

 

Final Thoughts.

 

 

1 -Origins and the End Result

Doom Way Id Did was birthed from a simple idea: make maps that could fit as theoretical cut additions to the original episodes. As such, there was an expectation that the styles of the originals should attempt to be emulated rather than imitated which I'll admit I was entirely unaware of before Book Lord mentioned it. This ends up seeming slightly ridiculous in retrospect since it's blatantly obvious homages would end up stuffed into maps regardless of what project leads might want. All the same, reworking of existing maps a la something like Wonderful Doom was carefully avoided, and the result ended up being a mapset that helped reawaken some interest in Doom I and more importantly, led the way for a revival in classic-style mapping that still sees some reverberations to this day, if declined somewhat these past few years.

 

It would be all too easy to detail the historical context of DtwId's release, but safe to say that the amount of influential wads between 2009 and 2012 was much smaller than you might think when the Cacoward winners in those years are taken in their totality. So if nothing else, you could say that this played a heavy role in the the revitalization of Doom mapping whose results would not be truly witnessed until 2014 (I'm writing about another 2012 Cacoward winner for the Wadazine after next, so I just wanted to throw that out since I won't be able to really discuss it there).

 

And now, I'm off track, wow

 

II - DtwId, As A Whole

 

a) E1

The first episode is arguably where the prohibition against blatant homages really caused the maps to suffer. The main problem with the early maps especially is that they were lacking in the detail that made E1 so memorable, so that while no map was less than technically competent, they also managed to seem incredibly dull in comparison to the originals. By the middle of the first episode, things really start to pick up (I'm telling you, "Happy Destruction" from the Ultimate MIDI Pack is really good:)) with a map that shows project founder Hellbent seeing zero issue with homages, despite creating quite the interesting structure in and in itself. No map was profoundly boring  again in that episode (or indeed, the entire wad) though I can't pretend they're especially good either.

 

b) E2

By Episode 2 though, the goal was more to imitate Sandy Petersen, which was thankfully a more general task when the main thing you can say about his style was that it was 'freewheeling' which is a broadly accurate term if nothing else. Probably that was part of the reason why the maps start to show a serious bump in inspiration, even in the more routine creations like "Rec Facility." You even had some maps like Foundry or Mental Ward where mappers felt far more confident in their own designs. The results are somewhat mixed, perhaps because the Deimos textures tend not to be the best to draw inspiration from, but the next episode would most clearly realize the potential of the project

 

c) E3

 

An episode known for its large outdoor areas as much as it's stark and evil indoor settings, this was definitely the episode needing the most improvement in Doom. And oh my god, do the mappers almost uniformly deliver! Even something ungainly like Core looks nice and clearly had lots of work put into it, though thank god someone thought to change the original coloring. Having MARBL1 in Dis was ok, but it would've been utterly inexcusable in a 2012 project. But this isn't about why Core is an irredeemably shitty map no one should try to copy whatsoever. It's about the incredible competence and enthralling nature of the scenarios presented in a way rising above the original episode. I will say that this is where the Ultimate Midi Pack really starts to boost the maps, in case you weren't sure before. Like, who is this @Icytux person and where could they've possibly run off to? Malebolge should go down as one of the great classic hell-themed maps, but because difficulty, no one cares or so some little gargoyle who escaped from Heretic told me. I hope you and @The Ultimate DooMer are safe, wherever you are.

 

Anyway, all the maps were incredibly solid, but Torture Chambers and Lake of Fire stand head and shoulders above the rest for the case of loving homages mixed with a strong sense of place and combat in the former, with an epic sense of scale and scope where homaging plays a much smaller role in the latter.

 

At this point, it would be all too easy to say that this is a beloved collection of maps that will be remembered to some degree for all time. But wait. There's more!

 

III - Ultimate Doom; The Way Id Did

 

This was actually in the pipeline since shortly after the first release of DtwId, but due to other commitments and another mapper departing under mysterious circumstances, this remained in (the Gate to ) limbo for a year and a half at least before a somewhat-infrequent Abyssal Speedmapping participant Gifty released an older version of the map that ended up in E4M5 and asked if there was a slot still open. Thankfully @Marcaek said there was. While it was probably around 3 years before it was finally released (i can't be bothered to look at the exact chronology again). So now, we have a set that's arguably better than any of the 3 original episodes of DtwID and certainly better than the original Thy Flesh Consumed!

 

Opening with an incredibly tense somewhat Hell Beneath and vertical tribute of Pavera, this then moves on to maps which take an original approach to E4 themes while carefully in some cases at least maintaining the original feel with a more modernist sheen. Yes, Marscakes went overboard in Unclean Spirits, but who cares? Even stuff like the maps by Rottking and Gifty are probably better than almost anything in E3 (maybe scratch Vile Affections from that list, eh?) And "An End to Darkness" is a surprisingly hopeful title but also an appropriate conclusion to the hardest episode.

 

Honestly, I feel like people weren't sure what to expect when they finally heard UDwId was finally on its way. But probably because this was around the same time Eviternity was released, this ended up completely overshadowed. No matter, this is an excellent entry that largely brings extra legtimacy to the DtwId project.

 

Best maps in first 3 episodes

 

Treatment Plant: E1m4

Reactor Complex: E1M6

Filtration Plant: E2M2

Nebulous Origins: E2M9

Foundry: E2M6

Malbolge: E3M3

Torture Chamber: E3M4

Lake of Fire: E3M9

Into the Grave: E4M1

Unclean Spirits: E4M4

An End to Darkness: E4M8

Molten Gods: E4M6

 

Too long a list? Probably but I don't care, I'm done and I ain't coming back. Wooooo!

 

 

 

 

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Sorry for the tardiness, but I finally gathered my thoughts on Episode 3.

 

(Crispy Doom, HMP-Continuous)

 

E3M1

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As with the other episode-openers, this map serves as a more direct remake of the original concept. And I like the level of polish & iteration applied here, such as, y'know, actually providing a red stone fortress instead of a paper cutout of one. XD

 

It's not just the aesthetics, the gameplay is an actively smoother experience too. The original version had a pretty mean trap where hesitation might result in losing access to the level's shotgun, and even players who snagged that upgrade might hesitate to actually use it for fear of wasting ammunition, potentially misusing their limited resources. Here, not only is the shotgun unmissable, you can always find more ammo for it.

 

All the rough edges have been sanded down. This map uses the same completely zombie-less approach of having the demonic enemies' higher HP totals turn everything into a battle of attrition, making the player feel disempowered. But the brief mood-setting intro sequence with pistol combat against some Imps and a Pinky is over quickly, and then you're on to business as usual.

 

I suppose I could make the argument of how the parts that made Hell Keep unpleasant were key to its character, as a tangible barrier to entry into enemy territory in the final chapter. But I have to admit that I found managing the Lost Souls in the outdoor canyon here way more exciting than it was clearing Pinky roadblocks in a claustrophobic single-file tunnel back in the original.

 

While I might gently chide this episode for not being able to help itself and modernizing things a fair bit, I will wholeheartedly praise the new world map for fitting seamlessly in like it belongs. Seriously, all the new art drawn for this project is fantastic (including the near-perfect recreation of the original credits screen), matching the style & tone of the in-game visuals while having its own distinct TWID identity.

 

E3M2

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I'm conditioned not to take obvious bait like weapons, so I was stuck for a bit at the beginning since the level doesn't begin progressing until you take the prominently-displayed shotgun. I already had one & had 48 shells (so I saw no reason to risk a possible trap when I'd get nothing of real value out of it), and only after I had exhaustively checked everywhere else did I finally step into that dead-end and trigger the next stage of progression.

 

That little bit of awkwardness aside, I was really impressed by this level - it did just as good a job as the previous map at introducing the look & style of this episode, and increased the sense of scale far beyond anything seen before, taking the novelty of Mt. Erebus and expanding it into the defining feature of this reimagined version of Inferno.

 

Now, I could be getting this wrong, but my understanding is that: in addition to making levels before the engine was totally finished, id's level-designers were also pretty much just adding new textures in a haphazard fashion, just in the order that the artists happened to finish them. This project has the benefit of being able to look at the game's whole texture-set at once in order to divvy all of them up between the three episodes so that they all get their own consistent style & theme, and I applaud the art design. I just wish that the red range of Doom's palette wasn't as limited as it is. It's never at its best in the dingy, dismal range of light values that best show off the software renderer.

 

I liked the "trapped in burning cells" sniper monsters in the indoor sections, particularly how that one Caco-cage early on was set up to really interfere with one's efforts to cross the footpath across the lava cave & get through the door. Once you get out into the level proper, the sprawling outdoor setting is sparsely-populated by low-tier monsters so that it's a gentle gradual process of pushing forward and conquering the space. The subsequent blue key cave has a similar relaxed structure, but adds a little more pressure due to the a RadSuit timer and a surprise wave of Lost Souls released behind you once you take the plunge. The Lost Souls lurking in the initial outdoor canyon are well-used too, capable of silently sneaking up on you while you're exploring.

 

I like the placement of the Chaingun: it's a joyous thing to leap down from above & claim that prize. And when the bridge across the lava river has finally been conjured, it's cool how instead of a big final battle you're instead presented with treasure rooms inside those structures on the far shore, returning the player to the complete E2 arsenal they were familiar with and setting them up for:

 

E3M3

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The Cacodemon waiting for you right on the other side of the door makes for quite a surprise, and the reveal of the Baron just around the corner adds another layer. Already this level seems very unfriendly. And then you have to take a blind run down an ooze canal into the unknown and drop into a vast outdoor space, with danger everywhere.

 

The warmup round is clearly over, and this is the first big battle where the gloves are off and everything is in play. The shock & awe of the escalation is very strong, and it's a genuinely interesting setup to replay because of the sheer amount of things to find in those twisting cave passages and the many possible routes one might take in those first few seconds of panic.

 

While it felt great to start off surrounded by unknown danger & then have momentum swing my way when I was able to use the powerups' duration to go on the offensive and conquer the space, it's almost a shame how useful the Light Amp Visor is to the process of getting your bearings & getting underway - the moody, hostile low-light conditions are well-crafted and are done a disservice when everything's set to fullbright.

 

There's some decent use of Barons - they impede the player enough that it feels worth it to just spend the more valuable ammo and have it done with immediately. They complement how the environment itself feels hostile with its damaging floors, vision-impeding vines, & dark underground sections. There are castles & catacombs present in the maps, but to me this episode is defined by its "natural" environments like the lava river in the previous level and the poison swamp in this level.

 

I found it fitting that the exit door matches the entrance door by putting a Cacodemon right in your face, this time blocking the way entirely. I'm glad I found the BFG hidden in the Barons' courtyard; it meant I got to punch through the final barriers with no trouble. I remembered seeing a Blue Armor hidden somewhere out in the poison swamp, but I still had most of the Soulsphere left so I decided not to risk it and just moved on.

 

E3M4

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It's not as dire as the previous level, but the start still feels pretty dang hostile what with how you have to step under a lethal crusher just to enter the map. The shrieks of Imps to the left & right propelled me forward to the small building at the edge of a lava pit, and managing the roaming monsters + the Imps sniping from within the building made for quite a lively opening battle. It was fun gaining a foothold, but I couldn't help but notice that Pinky demons were running around helplessly, unable to climb either staircase that lead to the central hub I was defending.

 

Excellent use of RadSuit management as a mechanic: that lava maze is the standout moment but nearly every damaging zone in the level contains treasures within it if you want to risk one of your precious suits & go exploring. I was fortunate enough to already have the blue key in hand when I tried the leap of faith down the chute hidden in the maze, and got to have fun taking the surprise Invulnerability beyond the corresponding door and rocket-punching everything between me and the yellow key.

 

Between the rocket-launcher across a lake of fire, the similarly-flooded claustrophobic maze, and the dark section which concealed shotgunners & barrels around its blind corners, that whole completely-optional southern side of the map had a real hostility to it.

 

After collecting Blue & Yellow, a final lava pit is displayed, along with the RadSuit you'll need to wade in and find the objective that progresses the map. I tried to just hit the switch and get out immediately, and I was certain that the Cacodemons were going to escape that zone and eventually catch up with me. I'm not that big a fan of Doom 1's bullet-sponge combat, but this map managed to do interesting things with the time-management aspect.

 

As an aside, many of the original E2 & E3 maps deliberately hid the exit, and while there's been some big & complex levels along the way, nothing in this WAD outside of E2M7 has ever seemed as obstructive as the original maps could be. (The original map in this particular slot infamously has the touchplate puzzle right before the switch-pillar puzzle.) So I appreciate how you have to hunt down the result of that switch you've just pulled in the lava chamber. Of course, this level is also small enough to be intuitive to navigate when double-checking, and those Lost Souls behind the door you've opened are fullbright and draw attention even before they come screaming in to attack, so the hunt is really no trouble.

 

This map and the last map both do a similar thing with their exit rooms in that the demon who lurks within the room is paired with the deployment of additional kinds of demons behind you, forcing a reaction to keep from being surrounded. It's interesting how the setups actively push you back, away from the objective, and of course on replays it's gonna be fun to save a BFG shot and punch right through.

 

E3M5

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The opening view with the red rock & sky visible out the windows was pretty cool. It seems a little odd that so many of the monsters out there are already awake and clumped up at the front door when you finally open it, but I suppose one benefit of that approach is that the subsequent rock maze is light on threats and fun to scour for goodies. The natural environments and buildings remain my favorite thing about this episode - the fiery pits and torture chambers are very well done, but the previous episodes had dark, claustrophobic, or flooded tunnels of their own, and what sets this episode apart is its use of vast areas under open sky.

 

I'm digging how the whole episode hangs together as a cohesive whole, but I do have to nitpick and say that the consistent vision for how the hell episode should look & play actually hurts it a bit when it comes to recreating the vibe of the original game. Ironically, the high level of polish kind of works against it when it comes to the whole "doppelganger" gimmick, since the real Inferno is a wildly disjointed experience where all the levels are doing drastically different things with their visuals.

 

I like how, when you go for the switch in the dead-end lava cave, Lost Souls chase you back out. But I especially appreciate the way they're suddenly deployed all around you when you're halfway through a crusher sequence - very mean, and very funny. This map is very good at using monsters to block your movement, but I did find it a little annoying the way the blood-pool room past the yellow door had a tiny switch alcove and crammed two Pinky demons in there just to take up extra time.

 

-

 

One thing that separates the original levels from the state-of-the-art today is the use of boxes of monsters stored in inaccessible areas, remotely woken up and held there outside of the playable area until the time comes for them to be dropped into the middle of the map. I find it a little ironic that this practice is one of the major pillars of modern mapping schools (to the degree where it's common for three-quarters of a map's monster count to be placed outside the level!), but it was treated as a one-off gimmick by the game's makers. In Doom 1, this mechanic appears only twice: once in Episode One, in an optional secret area that is itself in the secret level, and once in Episode Three in a secret area that's just past the exit door and might never be explored.

 

I like the mechanic's promotion to the critical path here, used as the central gimmick of this level. Just as in previous levels, the introductory sequence here is a layered sequence of threats, and this time the final attack comes from a swarm of Imps from nowhere. It's quite a nasty surprise.

 

And the payoff at the end - when the chorus of offscreen teleports is heard after stealing the blue key - is earned because the concept has already been demonstrated on a smaller scale. Desperately trying to zip through before the escape route became completely clogged, I forgot all about the crushers directly afterward. That's a great setup.

 

Even getting clear didn't mean getting to safety: the roar of two Barons in the next room announced that it was indeed time to leave, so into the exit I ran.

 

E3M6

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This level does cool things with the more nonsensical "dimensional mishmash" themes of Inferno. It's (mostly) all manmade materials, but it's all twisted and wrong. The chaotic, organic shapes of the stairwells, the frequent demand to make a blind drop into the unknown in order to explore down a path... And, of course, the toxic waste barrels conspicuously arranged around the player spawn.

 

I must admit that the sight of a line of barrels down the starting hall didn't ring any alarm bells. When they inexplicably exploded on their own after I'd taken my first steps forward, that was quite a shock. A painful one, too: I was on the hunt for Medkits and not trusting any of the paths that led out of the surreal upside-down starting area. I was so flustered that I didn't even remember to stop and take a few screenshots as I wandered - I had to come back and snap some photos later.

 

I appreciate how even a hypothetical person playing Doom for the first time can make it across the gap to the RadSuit secret, they just need to give themselves a bigger runway to take off from. I decided to use the suit and see what was in that poison tunnel full of lethal crushers, but it just kept going, and going, and getting more and more dangerous, and I was hesitating and thinking of turning back, but the two-stage crusher passage would be even trickier if done in reverse, and my RadSuit timer was burning away while I agonized over whether this was worth it. That setup is truly evil and I applaud it. (I never even figured out what the optional Blue Key prize even did...)

 

Really, the whole level had a sinister vibe to it. I trusted none of it but I had to push into the unknown regardless. On that note, I liked how the dark areas frequently had treasures hidden in their niches & recesses if you look closely.

 

As before, hearing the roars of newly-unleashed Barons while backtracking with my new key convinced me that it was time to save some grief & ammo and just get the heck out of here. After booking it to the exit and clearing its last-ditch guardian, I found that the level ends where it all began, back in that opening hallway I dived out of originally. And I got a kick out of seeing how the marble baron statue was still chortling with glee, having a good laugh out of how badly I'd been gotten by that gag.

 

E3M7

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An outdoor level without a sky - brilliant idea, and skillfully done.

 

You start in a surreal magical temple, and the sudden reveal of the cave environment took me by surprise. Many monsters are used as snipers, confined to their respective offshore islands or inland caves by monster-blocking lines. But there are also a fair amount of fliers to harass you, & I found it fun to track down where the shouts of zombies were coming from & find a way into their stronghold, gaining a choke point with which to thin out the pursuing demons.

 

From that initial foothold, I quite enjoyed how this level accommodated my style of play, managing sightlines & territory and gradually trying to increase my zone of control, even though it lets you run around like a madman waking everything up at once if that's more your style.

 

I only saw one RadSuit in the whole level, and while I got some exploring done offshore out in the darkness, I know I didn't get everything. Really, the lighting & structure of the outer ring is quite impressive. A lava sea disappearing out into the void is a great look for the border of a map.

 

The way that the level releases a wave of Pinkys partway through to flood through the space and surprise you reminded me of Halls of the Damned - I liked the setup there, and I like it here.

 

I had some shotgunner corpses drop in front of the sign and I didn't realize at first that the blue-door building was the exit, but honestly I'm glad I spent a bit more time exploring. Dopefish Lives!

 

E3M8

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Just like in the previous episode, you know that you've reached the boss fight when the level just hands you a high-powered arsenal right off the bat. I appreciate the flashing lights & morbid decoration on that initial "abandon hope, all ye who enter here" drop into the unknown.

 

I saw a Blue Armor down in one of the pits - the first one I'd had a chance to pick up all episode! - and I greedily leapt down to claim that buff. I wasted part of it taking a hit from the crusher while trying to figure out how to get back up, and the fact that the lift is also damaging is very mean and a nice touch.

 

The slow game of peekaboo with the boss isn't the most exciting thing, but I really dig the frenzy of activity as the background crushers cycle & the automatic platforms churn. It actually did seem like the core of an infernal machine with the Mastermind beast itself serving as the processor chip for the whole operation.

 

-

 

Overall, Episode 3 deviated the most from the source material. That's not a bad thing - I welcome its interpretation of the hell episode - but it is interesting to contrast against the first two episodes and the comparatively easier time they had blending in to the original bases. The bottom line is that I had fun, and would recommend DTWID to anyone who enjoys Doom 1's particular rhythms of combat.

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E4M5: "Doctrines of Devils" by Gifty 

UV with Corruption Cards, no saves

100% kills, 0/3 secrets

 

Card: All imps in the level are increased by one

 

Another map that features a fair bit of slumming through damaging liquid, and this one doesn't have any radsuits! Well it does actually, there are two tucked away in a secret, but as you can see from the above stats my swims in the damaging blood were without protection. Visually I think this one does a good job emulating a Sandy-esque hell map, lots of different textures at play here.

 

Despite the damage from the floor, this one didn't feel quite as tricky as last map. The monster population is much lower, and there are several points of the map where the level stocks you up pretty heavily. I did have a run where I happened to miss a lot of the goodies and it made things tricky for myself, but it wasn't too hard to put myself on the right track in future runs. Shoutout to the encounter in the dark in the closing stretch, quite a hair-riser that one. Getting this card now does concern me going forward, hopefully no more tight ammo squeezes show up, double imps oughta make things a tad more uncomfortable.

 

Pretty good map overall. The radsuits being walled off in a secret wasn't so pleasant for me, but otherwise I think this one was well pulled off. Will have to finish future maps during next month though, argh.

 

Edited by DisgruntledPorcupine : Spelling

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E4M8: An End to Darkness by Xaser

 

An enormous map, which at the beginning seems to be a network of narrow corridors, but then gradually opens up to become a big arena full of monsters and with several bosses, the main role this time dedicated to cyberdemons, although two masterminds are present in a prelude to this fight. The map is quite nonlinear, it's possible to reach the arena via two different paths. I took, of course, the one which probably was conceived as the "alternative" one, via the dark area with one of the rocket launchers. The other path involved a puzzle with four red bars which I interpreted to be the one to obtain the red key, but it opened a door to the main arena which I had already opened from the other side (I even opened an editor to see if I had a complevel issue or something similar because the red key didn't want to lower). Maybe it would have been better to choose another color, either for the key or the bars, or was the ambiguity intentional? I also misinterpreted the other bar puzzle, thinking I had to trap the first cyberdemon between the two sets of bars, but I could skip it in another way, and only when the final fight was already over I realized this puzzle allowed to access three of the switches to lower the red bars, with some small fights. The red key finally appeared at the very end of my playthrough, it was made accessible with a switch which I missed in one of the teleporter rooms (the red floor gives an indication here) and yeah, at least I had one BFG shoot left to kill some of these lost souls that appeared ...

 

Overall it was an enjoyable map, although it took a lot of time. The "idness" however is again low, although I read then that the map was meant as a tribute to Dr. Sleep, one of the UDTWiD authors; in fact the only map in the original E4 from this author (E4M7) has some common traits with this boss map.

8,5/10

 

Small addition to E4M8, maybe useful: I may have spotted a (sorta) bug in this map. If you go into the crusher area in the northeast with two of the red switches after having already opened the big arena, the western switch will be floating in the air and not be accessible "traditionally" anymore. You can activate it from below in the arena, but I don't know if this was intended. It's not really important as all this switch-puzzle does is to open a door you can also open from the other side, but may confuse some players.


UDTWiD overall: (see this post for my opinion about the original DTWiD, i.e. E1 to E3)

 

I generally think this "DTWID extension" is a success, with one exception (E4M9) which I wasn't so fond of (not a bad map but a little bit underwhelming); I also missed something in the mood of E4M3 or E4M5 a bit. E4M2 and E4M6 and even E4M1 seem to the most popular maps from "Thy Flesh Consumed" among the mappers (and probably the whole Doom community), so the influence of these three maps was present in the majority of the levels of UDTWiD. Fortunately the reinterpretations of the author's styles again are not too strict, like in DTWIDs E2 and E3. The maps are evil and hard in comparison to E1 to E3, like the original was; in general I think the difficulty level was similar, with the one exception being E4M4 which was slightly harder. Also, I somewhat like it that "blind-play-friendliness", which in modern mapsets is often one of the goals, wasn't so strictly followed here; the habit of confusing the player and trap and kill him in evil ways and making him reload saves were definitively things present in the old originals, so it gives it an extra nostalgia factor that this was preserved - at the end there are thousands of "modern" maps to play :-) Visuals were mostly fine, although I didn't care that much about that aspect.

 

Overall rating: 8/10

 

Now to my favourites:

 

DTWiD: E3M4, E3M8, E2M7, E3M7, E1M4
UDTWiD: E4M6, E4M3, E4M4
Least favourites: E1M8 (due to the mentioned flaw which makes it too easy, otherwise it would be ok), E4M9
The rest, as you can see with my ratings, was generally good to very good.

 

Although I would like to play Community Chest (I played only part 2 of the series) I don't think I'll have time for a DWMegawad Club participation in March, so I'll probably at most will play some individual maps.

Edited by erzboesewicht

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E4M8: An End to Darkness

They really went balls out on this one, compared to the original E4M8 which was kind of just a map with a Spider Mastermind at the end. over 250 monsters in this map, probably closer to 300 if you count the lost souls. I'm not so sure you'd see a map this ambitious in the original Doom, I mean the finale has 2 Spider Masterminds followed by 3 Cybers and a horde of other enemies to go with them, still definitely a great map regardless. I was down to only a few cells in the demo, but i still managed to walk away with a complete 100%.

e4m8.zip

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Glad E4M8 seems to be mostly jiving with folks -- it's definitely a weird one. :P

 

Some backstory: as mentioned, it certainly doesn't look like an id creation, but that's because it's meant to emulate the wild side of John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson -- it may make a bit more sense to those who have played his Master Levels submissions and standalone releases (Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron... oh shit that me), especially Geryon. More on that in a bit.

 

The basic concept of the map was to try and "recreate" his final, never-released final canto of Inferno, "Waters of Lethe" --  when I was researching Sleep's maps for the project, it struck me that his mapping style is extremely formulaic, using certain textures and architectural patterns (crossed lights, anyone?) a lot... and then there's Geryon. It's a wild departure from everything else he's made, and it made me go "ok, what other types of crazy stuff might he attempt for the final canto?" The starting room is directly based on a screenshot he posted aeons ago, but for everything else I kinda went wild and erred on the side of making a larger, grander map as a big finale sort of thing.

 

So yeah, if E4M8 feels like "too much", blame Geryon :P -- in the end it works out, since Fonz's E4M7 is a much more "safe" Dr. Sleep tribute so both sides of the coin are covered.

 

Final fun fact: the map name "An End to Darkness" was chosen by someone else (Alfonzo, I think? I forget who picked the map names); they specifically picked one with the word "end" in it because of my affinity for a certain wad. :P

 

Also, anyone found the tribute secret yet? I snuck that in at the 11th hour and can't even remember how to access it... It might be co-op only, I forget. :P

 

Thanks for playing, y'all!

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5 minutes ago, Xaser said:

Also, anyone found the tribute secret yet?

 

I found it by watching @NiGHTS108's footage of him playing the level, and all of a sudden he idclips to show the audience something :P (Here I'm just assuming you mean that by tribute secret :P).

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3 minutes ago, RHhe82 said:

and all of a sudden he idclips to show the audience something

(Sorry if there's an official way to get to it Xaser, I didn't know!)

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1 hour ago, Xaser said:

Also, anyone found the tribute secret yet? I snuck that in at the 11th hour and can't even remember how to access it... It might be co-op only, I forget. :P

 

Interesting. Those signs seem not to be accessible unless you resort to IDCLIP. There are no teleport destinations and no gaps between lines to fall on that side of the causeway. There seem to be non-impassable lines, but still you cannot cross to that side of the bridge (you won't find a way back up, anyway).

 

Nice tribute, though, I did not know that he unfortunately passed away in the same year of the Udtwid release. R.I.P., Dr. Sleep.

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Doom The Way Id Did & Ultimate Doom The Way Id Did - Various Authors:

A community project that aims to represent the original Doom and Ultimate Doom in all its faithfulness. This project, in comparison to its sequel, aiming to represent Doom II, did not have most of the technical aspects of every original Id mapper to copy or mimic, leaving some results that, may feel like a map for that episode, but it does not feel like made by, for example, Sandy, or Romero. For this case, we used a 1-out-of-5 rating system to measure how faithful maps are to the original idea of Doom. Having a bad Idness score is not a synonym of being a bad map, it's just a different ranking system to see which map is completely accurate to the original works. Several maps alongside DTWID & UDTWID achieved 5 stars, those being the following:
 

Spoiler

E1M5
E1M6
E1M7
E1M8
E3M1
E3M7
E3M8
E3M9
E4M1
E4M6


As you may see, this star rating system is quite picky, as it not only tries to see if "the map looks like made for the original", but also evaluates what traits of each mapper are present here, being Romero the easiest to replicate. This does not serve as a test to see if DTWID is good. Again, this is just to see if mappers did their homework well, just as an interesting feature of our analysis. 
Maps that usually scored a 5, were not great, at the same time, maps that scored a 1, may have been fun anyways, and yes, DTWID has a lot of those maps, that felt quite out of place, or took many artistic licenses, but felt joyful to play. There are for sure better megawads for the original UDoom out there, but this one is a really nice one for you to recommend to a friend that is new at Dooming and wants to experience a new set of levels from this great game, as, for normal people, this would represent just an increase of nostalgia and a throwback to a better era. I think this is not about the technical aspect of turning ourselves into Romero bots, and making maps that feel like Romero could do it, but at the same time, feels like an advanced IA or OBLIGE that makes Romero maps (E1 maps suffer from this). This is about, for the most part, giving a similar feeling of playing Doom for the first time, and I think it succeeds, as this mapset's difficulty and looks, are quite faithful to the original nonetheless. Recommended novice wad to iniciate people into the world of custom mapsets of the Doom community. Looking forward to replay D2TWID solo, as sadly, the club already played it back in the day (missed it, dang!). 

Best maps:
E4M6 - Beautiful level by tarnsman, combining Romero looks from both E1 and E4, Idness at its best, but not only that, you will feel like playing the original back again, lovely map, its looks, layout and fights will keep you engaged for sure.

E3M3 - A banger of a layout that gets interconnected with everything, secrets are great to try and find, the views here are also good, and the secret finding will keep you around this level for quite some time.

E3M7 - This map is here mostly because of the setup, being inside a cave that feels infinite, because of how dark it is at its surroundings. Also, it feels quite open, and you got to love open maps like this, it bought me quite easily. Great job.

Worst maps:
E4M9 - Tim Willits' layouts are like this, love them or hate them, in this case, I could not stand both the looks or how this map plays, just, not worthy to find the already convoluted secret exit in E4M2.
E2M5 - A great idea implemented poorly, the decision to make one of the secrets unreachable if you do something wrong, the layout that often feels like some random map from '95s megawads, the uninteresting fights, and the annoying exit hallway, makes it a quite offensive map for me.
E2M3 - Tasteless, quite homagey to the map in the same slot in the original Doom, nothing new to the table, I don't have any more bad things to say, I think it just did not work for me. Not that I liked the original E2M3 though.

Totally replayable experience, aswell, I did it 2 and a half times, quite a lot for Doom mapsets, as I would usually replay them once.

Score: 75/100 (Good)

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25 minutes ago, Use said:

So who's up for a sequel 

More Use levels is always a good thing to me!

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