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The DWmegawad Club plays: Cydonia & Arrival

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MAP01 - “Quetzalcoatl” by AD_79

 

     For MAP01, AD crafts an opener that perfectly captures Plutonia's essence. That feeling of scrambling around an open layout looking for weapons, stumbling upon keys before you're ready for the encounter, accidentally triggering traps along the way. Its beautiful. This sort of map could easily be the opener to Final Doom: the Way Id Did. One detail that really adds to this map's authenticity is the use of circular rooms, this is an aspect that Plutonia's many pseudo-sequels seem to miss. As far as I'm concerned, the emulation of Plutonia in just this map is stronger than most any wad I've played bearing its name.

     That being said, I have two small gripes with the map. First off, I wish there was a faster way to loop back up to the blue door, this map could have really done with having multiple ways to get up into that area, perhaps an out door staircase ascending to the blue key door could have raised later in the map or something. Multiple times while I was playing, I had to run back to the beginning of the map to get to the second height level. One other issue I found is the balcony that opens after grabbing the SSG, if the platyer does not do this and strafe runs onto the balcony from the other side, they are seemingly softlocked.

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Alright, it's been a few months since I've done one of these. I'm not even sure if I'll be able to keep up this month as I'll be out of town next weekend, and may not be able to play. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue since I'm bringing my laptop with me, and could play these on that, but this is the first time I'll be doing the Megawad club on my brand new PC! And since I play through WADs continuous the first time, I may have to wait to continue Cydonia when I come home. 

 

Cydonia is a WAD I've always meant to play, but never got around to, so this is a perfect time to do it. Plus, Arrival was one of my top 3 WADs of last year, so that will be fun to revisit. For Cydonia, I'll be playing UV continuous on GZDoom, blind with saves. Arrival I may pistol start instead since I've already played it.

 

GZDoom/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 01: Quetzalcoatl - AD_79

100% kills and secrets

Time: 7:40

 

Since this is a Plutonia WAD, it only makes sense to emulate that IWAD's first map for this. There's a lot of visual cues taken straight from Congo here, such as a similar opening room, tunnels with similar metal bars, and general feel. However, this first map is a little more challenging than Congo if you go the wrong way. Like me. I went up the left passage first, and got lit up by a chaingunner to <30 health. I only have a pistol here, so I ran away to look for a better weapon. Darn green chaingunner. Oh yeah, they're green now. I don't think there's anything else different. The upper path to the right also had a chaingunner that I bravely pistoled to death. But there's also a SSG up here, which does sic 2 revs on you. There's more revs, mancs, and (probably) chaingunners in this map than Congo, so that's a difficulty spike. Once you grab that SSG (or the other one in the center path), this map becomes beatable. There's 2 secret rocket launchers that will help with the 3 mancs toward the end, though the RL in the crate secret also contains an archie (I was waiting for one of those to show up). Hitting the switch to open up the blue key will also reveal a manc and 2 chaingunners, and if you go into either of the 2 chaingunners' cubbies, 2 revs lower to stop you from grabbing the ammo. Kinda mean, but nothing the SSG won't help with. Take out the teleporting in rev on the way to the exit, and you're done. Overall, this is a pretty tough map for a map 01, though not too bad once you get your footing. There's enough health here to offset any initial scrapes, and multiples of SSGs and RLs to allow for different paths to take. Pretty solid!

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Nice choice. While i had a lot of fun last time i dont think i will be able to join this month.

 

I will be away from home several days during this period which may make it difficult to play consistently. Will have fun reading the comments though.

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Playing again UV, pistol-start and probably a demo for every map since these are short.

 

Map 01: Quetzalcotl

by AD_79

 

My jaw absolutely dropped at what seemed to be the sheer, unapolegetic plagiarism from Congo. After the amount of other wads that did the same thing, I was about ready to moan with disgust. However, right when I got to the point where you would otherwise spot the chaingunners at the far end in Congo, there were sergeants instead. In any case, this map soon earns its stripes and proves to be a fairly tense and engaging challenge, though certainly not up the sadism of the original. And scrambling for weapons was actually quite cool, don't be mistaken. Although the Arch-vile near the secret rocket launcher in obligatory crate room was quite a nasty surprise. Near the blue key, you can trigger three utterly obligatory Revenants by stepping in the wrong space. While you get enough rockets for basically everything, I was nearly cornered, fell off a ledge, ran blindly to the exit and was confronted bt the Revenant I'd left alive. He then proceeded to make me eat it. Tragic.:( But good start.

lmd_cydonia01.zip

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I've played Maps 1 and 6 of Cydonia before, but I'm going in blind for everything else. Recording UV demos for all.

 

Map01:

I'm pretty sure there are at least two rocket launchers and SSGs on this map, which is convenient. I already had a rough idea of where things were, so this turned out to be a breeze, aside from one asshole chaingunner who mysteriously wasn't hit by my SSG shot and brought my health down to 30-something.

 

cy01-801.zip

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Woohoo 10th month in a row

 

- PLAY INFO -

 

Spoiler

- GZDoom 4.8.2 source port
- Doom (strict) compatibility 
- Ultra-Violence difficulty
- Pistol start every map
- Saves are allowed
- I've played 01 through 09 of Cydonia once before, and 01 through 05, 09 and 32 of Arrival anywhere from once to 4 times
- I try to get 100% kills sometimes
- Using mods Autoautosave and IDCLEVer (Improves GZ autosaves and auto-forces pistol starts) and a few other mods that don't change gameplay (Doom II Minor Sprite Fixing Project, widescreen huds, DSDA-Doom hud in GZDoom)

 

- Cydonia -

 

MAP01: Quetzalcoatl

By AD_79

Kills: 98%

Items: 100%

Secrets: 33%

Time: 6:31

 

Pretty good start to the wad. Quetzalcoatl isn't the most original thing ever, mostly a Congo reference to be honest, down to the tunnels, crates, and Mancubi in the exit room. Thankfully though I'd say this one stands on it's own and successfully surpasses the original. Just like the original Plutonia, this map uses a limited monster count to surprisingly difficult effect. Not a single demon feels wasted here. I mean, I wouldn't describe it as all too hard overall, but for this map in particular it's a cut above typical openers. I enjoy the layout here, being quite a bit more complex than what it's referencing but not to the point of being confusing. Also the visuals are pretty good here, partly because I just really like how Plutonia looks but I enjoy the heavier usage of bricks in this map and I think the fiery orange sky was a wise decision to separate it from just another Plutonia wad. As a whole this map is a really nice start to the wad, really hitting on all fronts right away.

 

Grade: B+

Difficulty: D+

 

 

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UV, DSDA Doom 24.3.

Map 01: Quetzalcoatl by AD_79

100% in all three categories.

Really fun map that feels perfectly like a Dario or Milo Casali map, from the texture usage to the over-abundance of revs and chaingunners! Nothing too hard YET, and this promises to be a fun wad.

 

 

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Time for participation, even though I have to admit I already played Cydonia when the club just wouldn't pick it :P Arrival will be completely new to me.

 

MAP01: Quetzalcoatl, played on DSDA v0.24. UV, pistol start (:P). 49/49 kills, 3/3 secrets & 8/8 items. Completion time 9:08 (1st playthrough on 23.1.2022: 10:19).

 

I like this map. It does take a lot of elements from Congo to be sure, but I don't mind; Congo is a good map, too. My only complaint this time was, like someone already mentioned as well, that to reach the BSK closet, you need to run around a level quite a bit, and in my playthrough, I had to do just that several times.

 

The map isn't difficult as such, which is why I managed to do a UV-MAX demo of it. I even rendered it thru viddump, which took my laptop a little over 2 hours, but I don't think I'll release it. In any case I know that single segment attempts to spice up this 2nd playthrough will come to an abrupt stop sooner rather than later.

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Hi, same as RHhe82, I played Cydonia and wrote down my comments between end of July and the 1st week of August. I guess this gives me more time to play Arrival, whose maps appear to be three times as long than anything found in Cydonia.

 

MAP 01 – Quetzalcoatl by Brayden Hart @AD_79

DSDA-Doom v0.24.3, UV, Pistol Start, blind run w/saves

 

Since the very first glimpse there was no doubt that Cydonia was a faithful spin-off of The Plutonia Experiment. Quetzalcoatl could be wrongly understood as a reference to Aztec, but the visuals and overall arrangement followed the outline of Congo: round corridors and staircases, circular hub courtyards, tunnels with modular wood beams, the starting area with the “castle shape”, a ledge with Mancubi close to the exit, a crate warehouse hiding a surprise Arch-Vile, this time guarding a secret rocket launcher. Only the Chaingunners were dressed with a green uniform, improving their camouflage for combat in the wilderness.

Spoiler

829198858_CydoniaMAP01.jpg.6a7453f94b6171ffa0edf0e41f420b22.jpg

An experienced player should easily overcome the challenges in store, helped by the generous weapon pickups scattered around the map and sometimes in the secrets, spoiled by a look at the automap. The progression required some platforming, which pointed up the map’s only flaw: the tedious backtracking required whenever the player fell from a ledge. For example, jumping to the BSK terrace released a Pain Elemental; I instinctively fell back and got out of his sight, then I realised I had some distance to cover to get back on track. A teleport shortcut was provided, but it did not cut down the lap time significantly. The single Revenant appearing before the exit was a telegraphed bugaboo, but it made me fall from the ledge again and caused extra backtracking. Except for these minor hindrances, I liked the visual faithfulness of Quetzalcoatl and the relaxed introduction to the megaWAD, much more forgiving than the 1996 opener by Milo Casali.

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8 hours ago, NiGHTS108 said:

Woohoo 10th month in a row

 

I'm curious. To what does this refer?

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1 hour ago, tmorrow said:

 

I'm curious. To what does this refer?

He refers to his participation to the DWMC, I suppose.

 

I also did more than 12 months in a row, but in June and August 2022 I had to take a break. Happy to be finally back posting to the Club!

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MAP02: Amazon. Played on DSDA v0.24, UV, pistol start. 46/46 kills, 1/1 secrets and 8/8 items. Completion time 7:36 (on 2.2.2022: 9:08).

 

Another good level that sort of has some of the Well of Souls motifs here. Replaying the Cydonia maps reminds me yet again how much I like it when maps are relatively short. I recently played maps like Eviternity map19 and the final levels of Alien Vendetta, and while they are good or great levels, they can feel so exhausting. That's one important reason I like Plutonia and Plutonia-like maps so much. Even when they are less than stellar, at least they are over relatively fast. (By "Plutonia and Plutonia-like" I don't mean some of the later Plutonia levels that are longer and start to resemble Evilution. At least I feel that all Plutonia fan projects disregard Bunkers and Impossible Missions).

 

Amazon is slight harder than Quetzalcoatl. I was able to UV-MAX it saveless, but I wasn't able to save that demo; rather my second attempt out of three was saved. I guess the hardest part was the very beginning. Later on the pain elemental proved to be pesky, drained me of ammo. Luckily Scotty provided with just enough. I had good luck with the couple of appearing archviles, I was able to quickly dispose of them with rockets.

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I'm not familiar with this wad, I only know that it's a tribute to the casali brothers work.

First stage: Quetzalcoatl

This stage is heavily influenced by its source material to the point that It shares room designs and landmarks, just obviously rearranged. I'm not a big fan of wads that do this as i feel levels fail to form an actaual identity.

Moving on to the levels unique qualities, the level progression despite what I said about the heavy degree to which it does take its lead from its source material does feel unique. It's more difficult than Congo and some of the fights play out in their own unique fashion.

Final thoughts, it's definitely good enough to have an enjoyable time but I hope the following levels have a little more uniqueness in there approach. The experience is kind of like seeing a tribute band play a concert, it's fun but a little bit off.

2nd stage: Amazon

First off, I really like the design of the opening room, it's interesting with all kinds of hight variations, crags and cranies. I don't instantly recognise what level it's using as a muse so that's a step in the right direction in my book.

Next I have to point out how clever the enemy placement is. The second room has you in some kind of half pipe with a Revenant that you cannot quite reach but who can at times hit you with his rockets, so you hug the wall to prevent yourself getting hit, from this position you have a hell noble walking along the rim in front of you also taking shots while a group of imps hang around the super exposed centre of the room. You need to get around to the right but there's a small army of commandos ready to fill you with lead, a caco has been deliberatly placed to block your path all the while a mancubus(that I did not even see at first) has slowly taken up position behind you.

This arms race between the player and the demons for attaining the best position to fight it out is something that I'm really digging.

This is a really good level and if the rest of the wad continues like this then I'm going to be having a real good time.

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megawad: Cydonia & Arrival
game mode: gzdoom4.8.0, uvmax, pistol starts. If a map is too hard, I'll revert to using saves and note it on that map review.
stats: Seeking 100% k/i/s

 

---

 

Cydonia map01

 

This level captures plutonia's map01 congo look (a blatant steal) and vibe quite well. The traps though are new, unexpected, effective and scary, even for a well seasoned doomguy. A great opener for Cydonia.

 

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MAP 02 – Amazon by Alex Scott @Scotty

DSDA-Doom v0.24.3, UV, Continuous, blind run w/saves

 

In the same vein as MAP01, Amazon reused tropes from Well of Souls, for example the texture scheme combining blue waterfalls and mossy stone, while changing the layout and the gameplay quite a bit. One can immediately tell it was a creation by Scotty, offering peppered and funny encounters without being too harsh, at least for now. The SSG pit was a premium example of a Plutonia-inspired ambush (enemies that pop out of nothing) that forwent the infamous Casali tricks, such as opening a Chaingunner closet behind the player.

Spoiler

376239557_CydoniaMAP02.jpg.a52a8fa6c05a848c10870c610d3c038f.jpg

There was no major obstacle for progression, as every weapon was provided when needed and the RSK was collected quickly in the northern area. The eastern pool section featured a nice monster assortment with an Arachnotron turret, a Pain Elemental, and numerous snipers. I am not sure if the last Arch-Vile was supposed to revive the Arachnotron when killed, since it was placed in a hidden closet behind it. The resurrection did not take place, and the healer manifested himself only to wave a last goodbye. I liked that the secret sector was placed in a way that the Soul Sphere trigger was found only with a look at the automap. No invisible bridge à la Indiana Jones this time, just trademark Plutonia combat that kept me constantly engaged without testing my endurance as well.

Edited by Book Lord

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Cydonia map02

 

A cleverly designed map. Plenty of height variation with sneaky enemy placements to really "hand down the smack on doomguy". Only 46 enemies on the map but you have to worry about each and every one of them. Doomguy groaned when the dead arachnotron came back to life, reminiscent of plutonia's map27 Antichrist. Fortunately in this case, shortly after, the offending archvile is triggered to come out of his hidden bunker and doomguy is able to extract his revenge. Doomguy is insistent that dead enemies should STAY dead!

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MAP02: Amazon

Kills: 86%

Items: 87%

Secrets: 0%

Time: 4:41

 

Despite being a fair bit simpler and more straight-forward than MAP01, Scotty's hot-headed introduction definitely makes sure to pack a punch. I'm a big fan of the red key room in particular, every monster is used cleverly to keep you on your toes, and yet there's not an Arch-Vile to be seen here. (That is, until you leave.) The visuals are also strong, naturally, and the Well Of Souls references are pretty minimal, mostly being restricted to the visuals of the opening room. Honestly not much to say here, just a refreshing Casali styled jungle that never slows things down.

 

Grade: A-

Difficulty: C

 

 

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Surprisingly enough, I found Cydonia in my zips folder, but not in wads folder. So apparently I was planning to play it but never did, so might as well.

 

As usual, DSDA-Doom, generally UV-max, pistol start, no mid-combat saves/rewinds. Been a while since I've touched complevel 4.

 

Map 01: Quetzalcoatl

 

Well... it's map01 of Plutonia but less ugly, I guess? A pretty straightforward experience to set the mood with a somewhat brooding midi unceremoniously interrupted by the classic Plutonic sounds of Rev screeching and chainguns going wild.

... I really got nothing on this one.

 

 

Map 02: Amazon

 

Ah yes, dead to hitscanners in 10 seconds flat. Sweet.

Other than the mean start and the SSG fight, the map is predominantly centered around dealing with sniping enemies in areas with big height variations and a couple classic traps.

SSG fight was accidentally cheesed, as I hit the trigger linedef at the top and backed away from falling into the pit - I was only trying to take an honest peek. From there luring everything (well, all 4 enemies) to 1 corner and jumping down = infight party and a free blue armor to casually stroll through the rest of the level.

A quite unorthodox choice of what to make the secret sector for that particular type.

 

So far, both maps do a good job of evoking Plutonia - there is an option to scramble and stumble if you want to be aggressive, but slow and steady is sure to let you win the race if not.

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Ayyyyyy it's Cydonia - a wad I was so excited to get to last month, I played the first six maps before I realised that Ray Mohawk had won the vote :P

 

I will be playing with dsdadoom v0.24.3, from a pistol start on UV. I'll try for 100% kills, but my patience for secret hunting is very limited.

 

MAP01 - Quetzalcoatl by AD_79:

4:47/0 Deaths
Cydonia starts off with an homage to Plutonia's Congo - while the overall structure of the level is very different (and there's no resurrecting chaingunners on platforms yet!), there's definitely cues that have been taken from it. The wooden supports of the tunnels in front of you at the start, the little crate maze with a hidden weapon and the final room with 3 mancubi perched on a 3 shaped platform are the obvious comparisons. Plutonia is very fond of these homages, and the map definitely feels different to play than Congo - since your main damage dealing weapon will be the SSG, not the rocket launcher - so I don't think this is a bad thing.

 

There's not too much to say combat wise, it's solidly fun and if you find either of the two secret rocket launchers, nothing should really trouble you. You're given plenty of room to leave troublesome fights as the map is very open and once an area's been cleared out, it's cleared for good. I did find the map a bit confusing to navigate - the whole map looks very similar and I kept getting confused with which staircase I should take to the raised platforms but the small scale of the map means this didn't frustrate me. I like that there's doubles of the SSG and rocket launcher, which means you shouldn't be undergunned no matter what route you take through the level. Much like it's inspiration, it's a solid opener to the set.

 

MAP02 - Amazon by Scotty:

3:24/0 Deaths
Even easier than MAP01, Amazon sets up the grander scale that Cydonia's architecture will take on when compared to Plutonia which is definitely one of the largest differences between Cydonia and it's inspiration. The hardest part of the map is the start, as you're surrounded by hitscanners, and jumping off the waterfalls to safety and the SSG will add two revenants and mancubi to your issues. Thankfully, there's a blue armour down here, and it makes the rest of the map a pretty chilled out experience as none of the ambushes can pose much of a threat when you've got this much health to work with. 

 

I like the red key room, you're under fire from every angle and have to hug walls for shelter in order to make progress - the arachnotron and three chaingunner turrets do a great job at this. Overall, Amazon's a fun map to make your way through, but I don't find it particularly memorable as the meat of a Plutonia inspired set is when it starts throwing cruel death traps at you every so often, and we've not quite gotten to that stage yet here.

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Cydonia map03

 

This map introduces some pain sectors. The green slime is mostly incidental to progression but you need to work out how to get out of the brown sludge. There are several traps sprung on doomguy, so he needs to be ready. The 3 secrets are tricky to find but well worth it, netting a plasma rifle, soulsphere and a megaarmor.

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MAP01 - “Quetzalcoatl” by AD_79

An interesting map, no issues with equipment and health as you get a couple of SSGs and a couple of secret rocket launchers that aren't too difficult to find. Despite the compact layout, new players will likely have a few navigational issues at first. Overall this is fairly easy going for Plutonia standards, there aren't many ambushes that will catch you out, except maybe the blue key area, but the worst only happens if don't stay in the central part of the trap.

Overall a decent start.

 

MAP02 - “Amazon” by Scotty

Another fairly easy going map for Plutonia standards. The blue armour, if you get it will neuter the rest of the map substantially. This map is smaller than map01 and easy to navigate. No real issues regarding this map, it is a perfectly fine and fun map to play.

 

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Alright; new month, new wad(s). Same as before, pistol starts on UV aiming for around 100% kills. I haven't played Cydonia or Arrival prior to this and I would like to confess that I haven't played the original Plutonia either so pardon me if I miss any references within the levels.

Map01- Quetzalcoatl by AD_79
100% kills

Quetzalcoatl is a pretty simple opener but is enjoyable nonetheless. Despite the low monster count, they're all effectively utilized. I was able to find both of rocket launchers and so the primary ambushes here didn't pose too much of a threat but I wouldn't say the map lets you sleepwalk through it. As others mentioned, I would've preferred a more convenient route to access the blue door but it's not too much of a time sink. Just a solid opener.

Map02- Amazon by Scotty
100% kills

Amazon is another simple yet effective map benefitting with an ominous Plu2nia track . I was able to cheese the supershotgun trap by triggering the supershotgun pillar to lower without actually falling into the pit so that was pretty easily defanged :P. The petite enemy count is again used pretty fiendishly with the respawning arachnotron and chaingunners backing the meatball in the red key room being a neat encounter. I like the skybox in the levels so far, it contrasts well with the brown architecture similar to the original pale sky of Plutonia but the orange tint makes it distinct enough. 

 

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Map 02: Amazon

by Scotty (recorded complevel 9

 

Thankfully, this map has no copypasting textures, thank god, although I did find the square area reminiscent of something of Congo, along with rock textures from Well of Souls. From the beginning, hitscanners make us uncomfortable and it doesn't really get any better where well-placed enemies are determined to kill us. Go behind and get a Super Shotgun. Some tricky navigation eventually gets us to the red key, along with an ambush that might be intimidating if we're not on the lookout. But this is Plutonia, if more laid back.

 

Behind the red key door are hitscanners mostly to your right along with some Revenants and hell Knights on the ledges surrounding the pool on the far end here. There were just enough rockets to take care of the heavies, but that proved of little consequence when Revenants and an Arch-vile appeared in a nearby tower that seemed iaccessible, at least until a door behind the dead hitscanners was discovered, wearing a switch that opened the tower. Everything dead, we set to secret hunting. But there were no obvious hints and it wasn't until we were back at the switch that allowed us to exit that another switch behind this one was spotted, which counted as a secret, thusly making the Supercharge a little pointless.

 

But kudos to Scotty for actually bothering to make a secret for such a small map, and thusly not irritating people who think the vanilla secret counter lacks, badly.

lmd_cydonia02.zip

Edited by LadyMistDragon

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MAP02 - “Amazon” by Scotty

 

     Really enjoying these sub 50 monster maps. This map's size and scale specifically remind me of a plutonic Scythe map. Amazon starts with a barrage of bullets from onlooking chaingunners while you're harassed by former sergeants on the ground level, making the player pick their poison. I chose to take out the shotgunners first, costing me half my health early on. Luckily, there's a blue armor and an SSG nearby if you jump into a particularly deadly pit made up of just 4 monsters. If there's one thing that I would characterize Plutonia for, its economic monster use (and maybe the color green). If the first two maps are anything to go by, AD and Scotty agree with me. You can see this mantra in use in the red key area, with the mancubus and spider-demon pairing making for a surprisingly deadly combo if the player decides not to retreat. After grabbing the red key you head out to a particularly plutonic courtyard. The bare, wooden spiral staircase bringing Omen to mind. Amazon is capped off with a double revenant and archie combo, which is easily dispatched with your RL. Another great map.

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Blogging about some Cydonia maps from a speedrun perspective, might do maxes for Arrival and hope they don't desync whenever it gets a finalized/idgames version.

 

Map02: Amazon by Scotty - demos

Defined by SSG work and smart rocket usage. 46 monsters in varying configurations that will test whether you can identify whether to defuse them with well-aimed SSG blasts or properly hit rocket splash on one of the few spaces with monsters grouped together. The pit with the revenant and mancubi pair is a moderate pain that's good to have at the start of the run, rather than at the very end, because you want to get at least one of them to infight with the pair of revs. Easily defuses the situation.

The pain elemental in the outdoor section is such a silly little guy, he kind of just doesn't do anything dangerous at all, apart from spitting his triple skull death brigade at you. The exit platform party is a funny one, there's a lot of different infighting configurations that can happen, along with the vile just decided to run back into that corner where you can somewhat shoot at, through the grate.

Great map with extremely efficient monster usage.

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I've been meaning to give an actual Plutonia set a chance, as well as just train a bit of my improv writing without having multiple days to preprae a thesis for each map. I have no prior opinion of Cydonia outside of the fact that it's Plutonia (not a good introduction to me), but Arrival I understand being a very high quality commercial outing. I have relatively high expectations for this pair.

 

Map 01: Quetzalcoatl

 

This map is so well engrained in the design philosophy of Congo that it borders on losing its identity. Having played through the map, my entire reflection relies on points where "it's a lot like Congo here" such that I can draw a conclusion. I do think the verticality was handled better, and actually being able to escape the teleport closets puts it above the inspiration, but so many key points end up being blended together with the Plutonia map that it's almost difficult to differentiate. I did like the take on the crate section, how it's more incorporated into the progression than in Congo, but otherwise I feel that's it's mostly cut too deeply into its inspiration.

 

Map 02: Amazon

 

  In the case of Amazon, I feel that the idea of Plutonia is better represented without simply being deeply based in a previously existing map. I'm not a fan of the key door being unmarked, nor the secret switch being the secret sector instead of the soulsphere, but both of those choices feel like something that the original IWAD would chose to do, it's within theme. The Revenants felt within reason, none of the groups of hitscanners were placed with the fervor that the Casalis would normally use them with, and the progression all felt well put together. Verticality is once again a key player here, separating the SSG fight from the rest of the map in a natural way. It has a solid interpretation of the philosophy without delving too deep into the exact sections that people remember Plutonia for. 

 

Power Rankings:

Spoiler
  1. Amazon
  2. Quetzalcoatl

 

Edited by General Roasterock

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Map 03: Ritual

 

  Relatively easily softlocked myself by jumping from the Blue Door fight to the secret soulsphere, and then from there to the altar that is meant to raise the Revenant and Shotgunners. It's a relatively obvious and intuitive route for people looking to navigate this map in a creative way.

  I legitimately don't know how to judge difficulty in this setting. My whole idea of "Plutonia hard" is pretty much the same definition of a jumpscare: after the first time it rocks you, there's essentially no issue with experiencing it afterwards. Any teleporting Chaingunner, or quickly revealed Arachnotron, or sniper Revenant is essentially harmless after suffering them a single time. The consistently hardest section of this map is figuring out which of the metal textures lets you out of the sludge hole, since the one on the Soulsphere column doesn't work despite being the same texture. All the secrets are pretty much obvious for anyone actively looking for them, and this is probably the first time I didn't fully use a Plasma Rifle I was handed for free. I guess it's Aztec, a level I remember for being dolloped with Chaingunners and primarily badly laid out, but I feel Ritual handles both those factors a little better.


Power Rankings:

Spoiler
  1. Amazon

  2. Quetzalcoatl

  3. Ritual

 

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GZDoom/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 02: Amazon - Scotty

100% kills and secrets

Time: 7:51

 

Going from the blatant homages of the last map, we have something that feels a little more original, though I do get Well Of Souls feel from the opening area into the SSG spot. This map isn't as dangerous as the previous, but that may be cause I'm carrying over my stuff from map 01. The opposition is about the same in terms of enemy types and placements, making this feel a little similar to the previous map. I thought initially the red door was unmarked, but there are red banners near it, so I guess that was the visual signage? I liked how the SSG was its own separate battle in the well. Other than that, pretty standard Plutonia fare.

 

Map 03: Ritual - AD_79

100% kills and secrets

Time: 7:40

 

I recognize that Stewboy MIDI. Good first impression there. This one is a little more closed in than the previous 2, requring you to go through some narrow passages to find the 2 keys. Somehow, I managed to get a rev rocket following me through the narrow curved passage at the beginning, but it didn't hit me. I didn't really think there was much challenge in this one, as the fights were either clearly telegraphed, or easy to backtrack to safety. I'm not sure how the soul sphere was a secret, cause I found the intended way to get it naturally. Maybe I opened it by trying to open a wall in the room with the backpack? I just thought it opened naturally in that room. Also in that room, the manc in it clipped the chaingunner in the corner I wasn't aware of, I turned to see it shooting the manc, and then saw a wave a fireballs hit it like 2 feet from me. Kinda funny. The only trap that kind of surprised me was the cacos when returning to the beginning with the red key. You can see one closet open with a caco, and as you get closer, you can see another one to your right, so you assume it's just another caco in that. There is one, but there's a pain elemental in it too, and that made me change tactics a little. All in all, another solid map, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Liking the green tho.

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MAP03: Ritual. Played on DSDA v0.24, UV, pistol start. 50/50 K, 3/3 S & 3/3 I. Completion time 10:15 (on 9.2.2022 'twas 10:41).

 

Another decent map that slightly resembles some OG Plutonia map, but I'm no longer sure which. Aztec, I guess? A decent map, perhaps a bit easier and emptier than the previous two? It's definitely easier than Amazon. Somehow I remembered this being harder, but I guess that's much because roughly knowing where to go and what to do, you don't needlessly spend time in the hurting slime floor. Moreover, the pop-up ambushes don't surprise you anymore.

 

That said, I still didn't get when the BSK platform lowered, had to wander around a bit for that, hence only a marginal time save compared to my first run.

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