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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Ad Mortem & Wormwood 1/EU/3

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Playing catch up again! Also, I don't recall the monster count of these maps so my apologies, and I've switched back to dsda-doom from map08 onwards.

Map32-  Tricks n' Treats by NepNep 

This is a largely unremarkable map I feel, nothing really stands out here, it's a straightforward ride from start to end, the visuals here didn't standout much but looked fine, I particularly liked the valley. The combat is pretty simple which doesn't really engage you too much. The final encounter takes place in a boxy room that, despite the enemy variety, can be largely circlestrafed while the roster kills each other, but has a bit of a difficulty spike when the archviles jump in. Also, there were the strange invisible blocks but they're supposed to be rectified in a later update so can't complain too much. Otherwise, this is a pretty mediocre map. 

Map16- Uncle Reggie's Candy Factory by African Equus-Sapien

This map seemed more deliberate for a secret slot due to its relatively strange nature. It's shorter than its peers, and is also a bit tightly designed. Each monster is used very effectively and deliberately, and there's a lot of doomcute to see here. I particularly liked the "candy factory" area in particular, looked neat. Fun little map.

Map08- The Torture Garden by Velcrosasquatch

This is another pretty mediocre map, however, this does have weird progression that I still don't entirely get what parts of the map were optional and what were necessary to access the exit. The visuals were neat and I liked the contraption using the pinkies but otherwise, this is another unfortunately unremarkable map.

Map09- Norwitch Lane by LunchLunch 

Now this is quite a turnaround, LunchLunch delivers a solid slam dunk into this map with this atmospheric map. The MIDI used is very atmospheric, in a sense that I wasn't sure if I hadn't lowered the volume but it fit really well in letting the atmosphere seep in as you traverse to the ominous manor. The journey itself is pretty cool, helped by the ambient noises. However, the map coalesces at the manor where it packs most of its enemy count. I'll admit once you get through the awe of the huge crowds, the combat itself isn't necessarily too complex, but it sure is a whole lot of fun. What I think I love the most about the manor however are the high ceilings you often can't even see, they help improve the sense of scale. Just an all around great map that brings the wad back on track.

Map10- King Boner's House of Fisting by punch you in the face man

That is a level title alright. This map is a hybrid of a very charming horror attraction and a strange color coded dimension. The horror attraction bit is honestly my favorite in the entire level, full of personality from the large fleshy sections, the fun library room, the strange cyberdemon bridge area, the gift store and finally the little backstage area. The level does a twist behind the red door hiding the yellow key with "stay out" ominously smeared nearby, hurling you into a purple-green dimension where combat becomes less "fisting" and more traditional RL aligned. It's still fun don't get me wrong, but I do feel disappointed the charm basically faded away. My favorite fight would probably be the skeleton bash, just a lot of straight fun, the king boners are used pretty decently as turrets too I'd say. However, the ending of this map was very cool with the fleshy rendition of the ending area and buildings. Fun map overall.

Map11- The Other Dario by Washing Machine Enthusiasts

Ehh, don't have a whole lot to say about this one truth be told, I didn't really have too much of a memorable time with it, just a bunch of ledge walking with all of its threats decimated by careful play until you get to my favorite part of this map, the purple key fight. With the way the cabinets open to release enemies gradually as you hunt for the archviles on the prowl, it's a lot of fun to do. Truth be told, I also do like the design of the map with the verticality, lava vats and ledges but I'm not exactly sure what but this felt lacking ultimately in something, a bit undercooked I'd say.

Map12- Checkmate by LunchLunch

I had an enjoyable time with this one, it wraps up pretty quickly and its first half has a bunch of good ideas. The first fight is a great setup, I'm generally biased towards setups like this which allow me to selectively force infighting, it's a lot of fun. The remaining encounters are pretty cool but I wouldn't say end up matching it, barring perhaps the baron-cyber throwdown indoors which I found fun to juggle the invulnerability timer to take out priority targets to make cleaning up easier. The visuals here were topnotch, the chessboard floors looked beautiful and the pale colors used brought it altogether giving the map a unique identity. The very cool skybox texture helped as well, this map was a visual treat overall, even the indoor sections had somewhat of a snow palace kind of vibe. Good map definitely, but could've been refined better especially in comparison to LunchLunch's map09.

Map13- Devil Garden By Anon

I was a bit intimidated that this map would be rather expansive however, it turned not to be so as most of the map is pretty well contained. First off, I really like the pvz track used here, felt a bit nostalgic and fit with the map's vibe. The huge revenant tower spewing hellfire on you keeps you moving until you can get the cyber to infight as you clear the initial area. Pressing the yellow key switch brings you on the ledges into a fight with a fuckton of enemies which seems more intimidating than it is since you can also pick the monsters on the ledges from the pit where you start in, just a lot of fun. This leads into my favorite fight in the map, there's a bunch of king boners down the stairs and hell nobles up the staircase and you have to use the nobles to get rid of the rockets. The fight with the bfg and the cyber arena were clean bfg fun and getting the infight going in the final area was also another fun encounter, particularly like the change in scenario into a more sinister gothic castle with blood soaked floor. Really fun map overall!

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Map 07: Shadow Over Silverspring

by Bartekemil

 

Reportedly, some of the design was inspired by that of Heretic 2's opening map, a game that I was going to play before Doom started taking up lots of my time, but I'm sure that it was heavily-modified. And we've got the second AD_79 track in a row, this one coming from the Raven Midi Pack and being one of the better ones from that particular one!

 

There has been some statements on the ammo starvation of the early section but I think it's just well-balanced. You could even shotgun the Arch-vile if you really wanted to. But you might be better using the Berserk Pack just slapped in the middle of the hallway. The little skeleton attack near the beginning was vaguely tense, as well as the gargoyle ambush when you flip the switch at the other end of the room.

 

Otherwise, the combat's kind of besides the point. It's just lots of linear corridors, some better-looking sections like some of the outdoor areas, but otherwise little to comment on. I could only find the hidden blue card in addition to the not-so-well hidden map at the end. And I certainly tried, pressing and shooting at every remotely suspicious section, but to no avail. And it's not like there's exactly many places for outdoor shootable switches either. The shotgunner ambush in the blue room was kind of cool.

 

But the BSK ambush was the highlight so far. After killing a healthy collection of enemies including gargoyles and skeletons in some cruddy copypasted hallway, two Arch-viles will then appear to ruin all your hard work, soon as you reveal the key! From this point, you become very strangely inudated with ammo.

 

There isn't too much else too say, other than not being provide with any rockets for the Revenant court spam fest, and that the final battle is pure power fantasy, but it doesn't preclude the possibility of the cyber-liches taking a potshot at you that can prove deadly. And one Pain Elemental, oddly.

 

I might say a little bit more, but I'm extremely annoyed I couldn't discover the secret exit. It probably is the best map so far conceptually speaking though. Small corridors do annoy me more than some maps here however.

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MAP11: The Other Dario

By Washing Machines Enthusiasts

Kills: 100%

Items: 57%

Secrets: 0%

Time: 12:25

 

I feel like I should like this map more than I actually do. The Other Dario has a number of setpieces that do work on paper but mainly falls into some execution problems along the way. The biggest issue with the map is probably right at the start, although it's pretty damn fun the first time, you'll probably have to run up this huge winding path multiple times which can get annoying pretty fast. The fight with the lowering platform summoning Silver Revenants is... Okay? I don't know, the Cyberdemons are kind of irrelevant and the fight deflates pretty quickly. The Arch-Vile fight in the dungeon is alright but my other big example is the ending. Again this works on paper but the fight is a little too fast and loose for it to really stick the landing for me honestly. The Mastermind was barely a threat. Overall I do still appreciate this map for the beginning moment and after the last handful of larger maps, something more bitesized and setpiece driven is what this wad needed.

 

Grade: B+

Difficulty: B

 

 

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MAP13 - “Devil Garden” by Anon

 

This map is really, really great! Most likely, it will end as my favorite map of the set!

It feels tricky to describe, why exactly I liked the map so much, but I'll try.

1) The central area of the map is both visually impressive and pretty conductive to non-cliche combat situations. The central structure often catches roaming monsters, which leads to some unsusually erratic monster movents.

2) Both secrets are very creative. They are pretty hiddenl, and they both invoke a profiund "A-ha!" moment when you finally connect the dots.

3) Crowds of satyrs are used extremely effectively. Satyrs are quick, erratic, and realtively beefy. This leads to quite an unpleaqsant sitiutions, best described as "In Ad Mortem, Goats herd YOU!". The "reverse goat-herding" is really felt in both the initial chingunner-satyr brawl and in the final battle.

4) The Skeleton-Aracnotron shootout across the valley looks spectacular, and gets provoked very easily.

5) The map did not shy from using a crowd of CyberLiches. They can be either fought directly, or herded to infight the hell nobles. Both approaches are fun, and the whole encounter feels pretty fresh, due to CiberLiches' semi-unique attack properties.

6) The cyberdemon-fiesta is a pretty starightforward power-fantasy encounter, but it is greatly elevated by its foreshadowing. The columns with waiting cyberdemons are reavealed pretty early in the map playtime, and create pretty ominous feeling. I was expecting them to teleport into some nasty fight one-by one. The simplicity of cyber-fiesta was a great relief! Thus, the whole fight was pretty climactic, despite its starightforward design.

7) Finally, careful texture choice, combined with Ad Mortem tweaked pallete gives the map a strong visual character.

 

The map has some minor flaws here and there, but they do not detract from the experience. Its design priorities and visuals felt very refined, and the map as the whole reminded me of the simpler, more cozy times, times when I was exploring the final episode of Eviternity.

 

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MAP13 - “Devil Garden” by Anon

 

This is a map where I loved significant portions of it, but absolutely hated other sections.....

This map really takes the MBF compatibility by the horns and as such plays by its own set of rules, several fights end when certain monsters meet their end, which is more modern in feel (I believe Quake does this and of course games following). The start plays sweetly, needing you to really think of all the pieces and as such who to shoot and who to leave to fight among themselves. The fight beyond the yellow key on the upper ledge is also fun with the skeleton/spider crossfire and getting the cyberdemon to help you out is key to getting some breathing space.

However inside the northernmost building is where the worst section of the map lies in my opinion. The first fight played like a horrible nightmare, it is all well and good trying to bait infighting here, but every one of my failures in this fight came about from being check-mated on the stairs by either the liches or the nobles. This felt way too luck based, made worse because of the splash damage potential from the rockets where you take heavy damage even if the rocket isn't even for you. The following fight is the reverse, the spacing of the pillars/gaps means you can effectively cheese the fight as everything just wandered through the same gap and with quick enough reactions you can get enough space to avoid taking too much splash damage from you own rockets. 

However beyond this the map regains its foothold, the purple key fight is fun, the more cinematic rehash of the cyberpalooza from AV Map16 is a great exercise on being quick and accurate with the BFG where you need to kill most of the siege cows before the invulnerability runs out. Again the key fight feels similar but still satisfying. 

The final fight was also great, I wasn't sure how this would turn out, but I beat it on my first attempt (Despite squandering my remaining cells early on). 

Overall I cannot rank this higher than Map06 or Map09, however this is a real experience, bursting at the seems with creativity that only falls down during the central section of the map. The visuals are striking in a way that we haven't seen so far and the midi was a great throw back to a decade or so ago. As such I think I can forgive its flaws and would probably offer a better second experience (Especially if I can find the secrets).

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Well...on to the secret maps I guess....

 

Map 31: Pumpkinnation

by @ViolentBeetle

 

Spooky little Jimmy thing that's still-action-filled. Certainly better than "Fire Hive" at the very least (you would not believe how often I seem to hear that). So this small and compact little number siccs pumpkin-headed Evil Marines 'atcha, like a whole host of John Andres seeking mortal vengeance upon Ichabod Crane. Give these bratty spies some plasma rifles and nothing can stop them! Or you know, that would be the case if you refused to seek shelter at the first one and shot through the door, hoping that you would survive. The secret exit is broken, of course, but the less of these morons, the better. Cool little bit with the bloody axes and corpse near the RK though.

 

Map 32: Tricks 'n Treats

by @LunaticRedEyes1 (NepNep)

 

This actually isn't quite as bad as some comments might lead you to believe. Maybe it's a little lacking in the details, and the combat in the canyon gives off massive amateur vibes, but wouldn't you take this over any ugly STARTAN/puke-green marble/wooden ass, lazily-detailed little thing? Yeah, that's what I thought, and that ambush of skeletons near the one key was quite expansive. Take your time with the final area and don't unlock everything at once. It'll be hard enough as it is taking out the 4 Arch-viles with a rather limited amount of rockets, assuming they were saved. At least the exit worked. Touhou midi was also fun, though part of that Megaman descender genre of VGM that's just ok.

 

Map16: Uncle Reggie's Candy Factory

by African Equus-Sapien

 

Well, here's another newcomer's map, though this one proves to be more in the /vr/ spirit. This is one of those wads where the rooms for the most part are much too small, mandating certain amounts of luck to get through many of the obstacles. For instance, the collection of Imps and hitscanners at the beginning. Sooo stupid. I really like these offices though, and the chaingunner sitting in the cage with the PSX background. So after finding a key, we enter into a narrow hallway with a Super Shotgun at the end, where walls immediately open up and we're greeted by a Revenant, Hell Knight and Cacodemon on the left and Imps on the right! I guess shoot the Imps and try not to be cornered because the door behind you has locked.

 

Coming out of here, we enter into a production section, a pair of Mancubi on the far left, some Hell Knights a little ways to your left, an Arachnotron to the right of them, and finally...hitscanners and Imps. Ammo is in premium so prioritizing is an absolute must.

 

Past that is what General Roasterock cites as a deceasingly successful attempt to maintain the map's identity. Another shitty trap that throws skeletons and Lost Souls at you in close range with a Revenant each firing rockets at you from the background while their hapless zombieman allies mill around does not recommend Berserk Pack usage in any way, despite the fact that it's what maintained the trap in the first place.

 

I can actually understand why there might be so many rad suits with how many probably worked at this factory. I'm sure AES didn't think it would take that much time to complete despite the danger of Revenants and sergeants/commandos making life a bit of hell, but even I was rather startled by the numbers shown here.

 

But whatever, the final battle underequips you for the courtyard to follow,a Mancubi at one end blocking the switch opening the exit inside the tower, an Arch-vile somewhere in the center and a chaingunner and some Revenants as well. It wasn't too bad, but it felt oddly cramped all the same.

 

But is this better than Map 32 at least? Sure, but let's compare this to something like Map 02 which was unremarkable but had some nice secrets, and this one which certainly had some ideas, but not so many the length could be fully justified.

 

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MAP13 - Devil Garden by Anon:

13:15/8 Deaths
Fantastic map, I enjoyed pretty much every second of it. The visuals are superb, a lot of effort has gone into the large scale of the architecture and against the deep purple sky it's very imposing. I also love the Plants vs. Zombies MIDI, even if it's a bit of a shame that this version doesn't include the Horde variant of the song. The map uses a lot of triggers linked to monster's deaths, which threw me off at first (I kept waiting for the walls to lower so I didn't have to berserk punch the Satyrs to death!) but they're used well and not more than necessary.

 

The first area of the map was the hardest part of the whole map, as you only have a rocket launcher and the large amount of enemies make face-rockets inevitable, the revenants in the tower will rain homing missiles on you for this entire section. The hardest fight in the map takes place after the yellow key teleporter and starts off with a horde of insta-pop skeletons (which definitely didn't scare the shit out of me), but there's very little you can do but jump down a level and try to thin the horde - this was my least favourite bit of the map since you kind of have to play it in a rather lame way in order to survive, at least you do if you're as bad as me!

 

The ambush with the armoured skeletons and hell knights in the castle to the north is great, while it's tempting to get a large infight going - the missiles home in on you far too well for that and it's much safer to just kill the armoured skeletons quickly, using the blood pool + stairs to circle-strafe around them. The fights that follow this are rather easy, and going through the purple key teleporter brings you to a BFG spam fight against a few cyberdemons which is a piece of cake because of the invulnerability you're fed at the start. The finale is a timed fight on damaging floor, and it's a good test of knowing when to engage as going too early will mean getting overwhelmed and waiting too long will mean death by damaging floor. It seems there's some secret fights in the level, but I wasn't able to find them so if they're the best parts of the map then so be it! In any case, it's a shame we don't know who made this map because it's great and I'd like to play more stuff by them!

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13 hours ago, LadyMistDragon said:

I might say a little bit more, but I'm extremely annoyed I couldn't discover the secret exit. 

The computer map in one secret gives some hints on the automap on how to solve it.

Spoiler

Palace window

Yes, as Brick has noticed before opening docks, town buildings and the palace are heavily inspired by Heretic 2

Secret areas are inspired by Shadow of The Comet and Prisoner of Ice (hence the nazis and technology)

Edited by bartekmil

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MAP14: Autumn Mausoleum. Played on DSDA v0.24, 484/485 K, 7/7 S, 139/140 I. Completion time 1:02:52 (sigh).

 

A solid map, that wouldn't take an hour to complete if you weren't insisting on finding everything. At first Autumn Mausoleum feels a bit confusing, grey brick corridors look alike, but before long you get the hang of it.

 

The combat is solid, too, I just fudged up the big fight and resorted to savescummery (saved in a real tight spot, reloaded ten times to get out of it, saved again and only then finished the fight) after running out of rockets and cells in a small closet. Rocketing hordes of skellingtons remains a fun pastime.

 

The map does feel a bit long for my tastes, although that indeed is partly due to trying to find the secrets, which weren't that easy. At least this time a ledge isn't virtually invisible, just very easily missed in the dark.

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Map14:
Honestly, I didn't enjoy this one for the most part. I was constantly lost and I didn't care for most the combat either, just seemed kinda boring. When it wasn't, it was something like that underground fight where pinkies block your movement while the rockets-on-legs finish you off. Eventually, I noticed that most of the enemies in that fight couldn't hear me if I waited in a particular sector, allowing me to "solve" the fight. Not sure if that's the intended method or if there was a secret plasma gun I was supposed to have. The big underground slaughter is a major exception though, plenty of fun to be had there. Hard to articulate my feelings about the map in general... maybe I just wasn't in the mood for Doom at the time.

 

 

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MAP14 - “Autumn Mausolemn” by Anon

 

A large slow burner of a map that finally unloads half of the monsters on you at once. You do see this coming. 

I was expecting a worse experience compared to what I actually got, this summarised nicely by the fact that the map didn't actually take to long to beat (Though I only found 1 secret). This is another one that tries to bring a sort of "Eternal" style to the table, plenty of dungeon crawling mixed with some meatier fights. On the whole I actually thought this was a solid effort and I never really got lost despite the labyrinth style of the central section.

There are better maps in this set, but this feels like a solid penultimate map, which tones down the heat a touch before the final map.

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MAP12 - “Checkmate” by LunchLunch
I'm a huge fan of Saint-Saens, so I was already biased towards the map a mere couple of seconds in. This is a very gimmicky map, so your enjoyment is bound to depend on what you think of the gimmicks. It seems the map was a bit polarizing but personally I had a ton fun figuring out the puzzles. Visually it's quite a treat, I loved the checkerboard flats, especially since there are many variations in the shadings and it creates a very nice contrast over large distances, further enhanced by the use of a lot of small elevation differences and spaces that open up and loop around each other. The animated sky with the fog and all the floating pumpkin decorations are an absolute delight. Combat is bite-sized and not too hard on HNTR. The trickiest fight is the blue key, where you have to contend with a Cyberdemon, lots of hell nobles, and a handful of archviles on UV, though LunchLunch is kind enough to give you an invulnerability to ease the pressure. It's a short-playing map, I did 100% KIS in under 10 minutes but I enjoyed every one of them. It's in many ways the polar opposite of MAP09, but it's just as beautifully crafted.

 

MAP13 - “Devil Garden” by Anon
This is unfortunately the first map that I disliked. I even went god mode for the first part, I'm sure there are strategies to deal with the first minutes while over a dozen revenants shoot you from far up but I do not have the patience for these kinds of scenarios. The rest of the map is more manageable but still has annoying moments, such as having to deal with the cacos and arachnos with almost no cover, or the Cyberdemon arena that is more tedious than difficult. The map drowns you in ammo so you use the RL until you get the BFG, after which there's no point using anything else. The author is at least merciful enough to provide plenty of Megaspheres on HNTR. Combat lovers will most probably like this more than I did. The secrets are quite clever, the BFG one in particular takes good observation but is eminently fair, the Plasma Rifle one I don't think I would've found on my own, though it does sort of make sense after the fact, and the hidden cemetary it leads to looks really cool. Speaking of, visually the map is beautiful, with great contrast between the colours (especially the Halloween orange hues).

 

MAP14 - “Autumn Mausolemn” by Anon
This is an almost great map. The layout is complex, the progression involves many steps, not all of them always clear, but I enjoyed cracking it and figuring out what to do, there's a very strong sense of exploration, with a couple of combat scenarios to spice things up a bit. There are quite a few secrets, some easier than others. The two most elaborate are the ones for the BFG and the Megasphere that you can see near the start, that second one in particular makes fantastic use of Boom and MBF21 features to create some very unsettling atmospheric moments. The map uses silent teleports quite well, I kept wondering what would be around the next corner. There's some very nice detailing in the mausoleum part itself but nothing too over the top. Unfortunately, while some of the sector machinery is very impressive, it is not always carefully constructed and can break as a result. I encountered several frustrating moments where I couldn't progress because the game expected me to pick up an item I didn't want or step into a specific spot, and at least one W1 in front of an S1 which I managed to not trigger when I pressed the switch, resulting in a lot of running around until I looked in an editor. Despite the annoyances I really liked the map, I ended up spending a good 40 minutes in it to get all the secrets and hunting them was a lot of fun.

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MAP15: Monster Mash. Played on DSDA v0.24, 107/165 K, 0/1 S, 4/13 I. Completion time 5:25.

 

Well, what do you know, an Icon of Sin map. When I first heard the famous instructions on winning the game, I decided I wouldn't go for 100% kills and secrets. IoS maps at best (unless they are actual levels with Icon only at the end) function as a time trial, and as I don't particularly enjoy time trials, I find it mentally most sound to concentrate on reaching the exit. That I did, and I actually died before the final rocket hit the iconic forehead. Level would finish even then, which was a slight surprise to me, even though I'm sure this is very common Doom knowledge.

 

Monster Mash looks visually very interesting. The first room reminds me greatly of Valiant's Cyberwar secret map, but the actual the Icon arena is more unique with all the colormap rotations.

So, as far as IoS maps go, this is one the better ones. It looks good, there's more thought to it than, say, the original, and while I did get a bit lucky at the end, I guess a better player could arrange the situation such that they and their rockets are not distracted on the final platform. I didn't do much cleaning with the BFG, just killed the emerging cyber and some of the riffraff, but nothing more.


*

 

In total Ad Mortem was a fine mapset, like a DBP set that had maps of varying quality and gameplay style, all with a halloweeny visual theme. That's mostly a blessing; even when I was not enjoying some of the maps, at least each map was most likely always going to be something else than the ones that came before. Still, with the overall theme being constant, I felt a bit of megawad exhaustion even though there were only 18 maps. For instance Cydonia did not have the same effect even as it was made by two mappers with a sort of underlying concept being constant.

 

There were some maps I feel I was a bit harsh on, and then it turned out it was really an aspiring mapper at work there. Had I known, I would have been more forgiving those times... because all of the maps, despite their possible warts (which are subjective anyway), were crafted with enough care so I can respect the mappers. No babbies' first maps here. I like it that communal projects mix more experienced mappers with new ones. I guess I wish the more experienced mappers would have helped the less experienced more. Not necessarily to cater for my tastes, but at least some concerning some things that would have made the maps more enjoyable. Then again, I understood the mapset is still being worked on, perhaps some of the grievances are fixed.
 

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Map15:
I generally like maps where the player has to go fast, and this was no exception. Three keys are needed, one of each color, but duplicate keys exist, so it is possible to pick up three keys and still not be able to open the exit; I'm pretty sure there were at least three yellow keys, for example. Each key has some popup enemies that go along with it, so it's best to figure out the most convenient key for each color and use a route that only collects those (unless you want UV-Max, which I didn't feel like getting this time). I'm not sure what the optimal route is, or even if there are duplicate red or purple keys, but the route I worked out is good enough for now.

 

 

I thought it would be fun to do this map on Nightmare difficulty, so here it is, 13 attempts later:
 

am15n212.zip

 

 

Overall, Ad Mortem is a decent wad. I can see myself replaying a few maps (not just the ones I'm about to specify).

Favorites in no particular order:
Map06
Map09

Map10
Map13
Map15

Edited by Pseudonaut

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Map 08: Torture Garden

by Velcrosasquatch

 

Ah, here's the Ad Mortum we all know and love! Detailing up the wazoo, well-staged encounters, and fairly stringent with the ammo early on, it can't be quite called in the top map's ranks but it at least falls somewhere in the middle. The secrets are all really cool, the Satyrs are about as unwelcome a threat as always, and there's still plenty of opportunity to get killed out of carelessness. Such as the secret revealed by pushing the switch behind the shrine where you'll find your first (red skull?) key. The trap here will probably kill you if your health's as low as mine was. You need maybe 3 keys to exit, but the option exists to search for many more, such as in the titular garden, where screams and moans permeate our eardrums pretty much everywhere, although there's no one actually around. For contrast, an indoor and unholy area is covered over with bright red. The bedroom with the YK on it actually has a little window you can open and get rid of a chaingunner prematurely. Good map.

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Map 13: Devil Garden

 

  I had to play this one twice to make sure that my comically exaggerated amount of anger for the balancing was not misplaced. The second run was easier, but I still don’t see any justification for having so many different sources of damage at once in several of these fights. The whole opening has you pelted with two platoons of Revenants while set upon by hordes of Chaingunners and Satyrs, and I do mean hordes in this context. There are so many hitscanners in that wave that pretty much that entire half of the map is inaccessible for the time they’re alive. Nearly every fight has one element like this, such as the comparatively massive group of King Boners that is pretty much unmanageable without the secret BFG. I never beat that fight, I only managed to escape because the door to the aqueduct opened for no reason and I was able to simply leap out. I don’t think I can count how many face rockets or Boner rockets I’ve eaten thanks to that obstructing singular box in the lower half of that arena, it’s legitimately a randomly placed object that does nothing but harm how that fight feels.

  I liked the secrets, despite how cryptic they both were. They really got me to pay attention to the surroundings, which are pretty incredible as a whole. The illusory stacked cathedrals chained together is a technological wonder, and the layout felt purposeful, at least up until the final blood pool fight that I felt was teetering on overstaying the welcome. The space was efficient, and I liked how the keys each wrapped back around to the teleport pillars. There’s a clear mark of craftsmanship on how this map plays, but it is just wildly ramped up in parts that didn’t at all feel warranted.

 

Map 14: Autumn Mausoleum

 

  This map is such an old soul, in both good and bad. It bleeds the same blood as Eternal Doom, rank with the stench of the 90s. Moving through the myriad of corridors in this ancient site of death will immediately lay all cards on the table: you’re either gonna like what is offered here, or be bored to complete tears for nearly half an hour. 

  I’m still in the midst of an Epic 2 bender, so my appreciation for these visual obfuscations is still there. The megasphere secret rolling the player through a dimension of blood was a bit hacky, but I understood what was going on, and the fight after the fact was frantic enough to support it. The crypt fight with the legion of Skellingtons was a big shakeup to the pacing, being probably one of the hardest pieces of combat I’ve come across so far in the set. Otherwise, I wanted to love the pacing for Autumn Mausoleum, but my god does it lurch forward for the vast majority of the progression like a corpse. 

  I’m not entirely trusting in the stability of this map either. I was able to hop the barrier by the wicker midtexture trapped Arch-Viles and press a switch with very little trouble, despite the intent of said barrier clearly being to keep me from doing so. I still have no idea what that switch did, a problem that wasn’t anywhere near as present as I thought it would be. Any time the map took the gloves off felt like an exercise done solely to shake up the prevalent doldrums. The Red Skull fight felt like a leaky faucet of lower tier monsters and Satyrs, mostly stuck in the central square due to how the room was laid out. The Skellington graveyard outside leaves the monsters in their holes until you go for the key, meaning you could easily bounce off their infinitely tall skulls when moving around the yard. As safe as the ideas are, they still need a sweep to properly preserve them. 

  Ultimately, as much as I tried to like this one, I still find myself in the range of satiated, but unimpressed. A great deal of the spiraling is properly useful, but it still doesn’t change how the map feels like a ton of mazy corridors in the style of something you’d see in the early developments of the community. I hope a lot more people enjoyed this more than I did.

 

Power Rankings

Spoiler
  1. Norwitch Lane
  2. Darkwood
  3. Checkmate
  4. The Imps in the Walls
  5. Shadow over Silverspring
  6. Catacombover
  7. King Boner's House of Fisting
  8. Uncle Reggie's Candy Factory
  9. Autumn Mausoleum
  10. Caco's Keep
  11. Devil Garden
  12. The Torture Garden
  13. Tricks n' Treats
  14. The Other Dario
  15. Pumpkination
  16. Beneath Bloodstone
  17. Pumpkin Delight

 

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MAP15 - “The Monster Mash” by Anon

 

Something bizarre happened to me, I died whilst was invulnerable, I took a teleporter in one of the sludge pits and simply died a second after appearing in the central part of the map. I have no idea how this happened but felt like the map was cursed.

Okay the map..... It's an icon of sin map, but one where you have a choice of how to collect a key of each colour, you can then activate a switch to reach a position high enough to shoot the brain and win. Now clearly you don't want to dawdle and you certainly don't want to allow monsters to congregate in the centre because they will eat your rockets. Second attempt resulted in victory here (The first being the strange telefrag death mentioned above).

In terms of the map, this was a decent effort to mix create a map around the Icon, the presentation is quite striking, though it isn't overly intrusive and the geometry of the map is easy to navigate. I guess one could wish for something more original, but the map is perfectly serviceable as a closer to the megawad. Short and shouldn't be too aggravating to players.

 

So Ad Mortem as a whole.... It is a wad that has your usual tropes for a community project. To quote Forest Gump - It is like a box of chocolates.... you get the message.

The biggest issue with this wad as a whole is the decision to place the secret maps in the way they are here. Two are off-cuts and the first is a poorly executed gimmick map. This causes the first half of the wad to sag considerably towards the point where I was thinking this would be a poor experience with just one or two diamonds in the rough. As it happened the second half of Ad Mortem is full of interest and charm with some proper stand out maps. I am completely baffled by the fact that there are no names to put against the last 3 maps in this set, because they deserve recognition for their effort here. If they were joke maps or maximum doom level efforts then I would understand, the Map13 is probably the most expertly crafted use of MBF in the set, map14 is a solid dungeon crawler and the final map is an interesting take on the Icon of Sin.  Maybe one or more might want to own up :)

 

In the end Ad Mortem could have used a bit more TLC to bring the poor levels up to scratch, but in the end it is a wad that is worth playing and I may revisit some of these again.... on another dark and stormy night....
 

Overall score - 3/5

 

Favourite maps - Map06 and Map09

Honourable mentions - Map10 and Map13

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MAP14 - “Autumn Mausolemn” by Anon

This level felt like a repsrise of map01, but on a much grander scale. Fitting cocept for a penultimate map.

 

The map is non-linear, and a bit chaotic, but it loops neatly to a set of central locations. Kinda like map 01. The main difference is scale. Autumn Mausolemn is a pretty big map, and it has more than enough space to become lost. This is the most objective "unfun" trait of map. I must note, however, that Autumn Mausolemn is comparable to a mid-sized Struggle map, when it comes to ease of navigation. Getting lost is a real risk, but finding your way is not that hard.

 

As far as comabt goes, the main treat is the HUGE skele-brawl in the south-east cavern of the map. In involves almost half of the monster count! Skeletons are great foes, I must say. They combine the traits of imps and revenants, which makes then perfect for slaughter-style crowds.

 

Autumn Mausolemn is not among my top favorites, but it is still a very solid map overall, with some truly great highlights.

 

MAP15 - “The Monster Mash” by Anon

Somebody have taken the colofur semi-abstract aesthetics of Stardates and Magnolias, and brought it to the logical conclusion: the main battlefield of “The Monster Mash” houses not only the monster, but also quite a spectacular light show. Every few seconds, the whole pallete of the map changes to a new color. This gimmick can be considered a stage hazard of sorts, especially on a weak machine like mine, where it occasionaly produces lag. But it looks really memorable, not gonna lie!

 

The goal here is straightforward - collect 3 keys to get a clear shot at the Icon of Sin. The icon is awake all this time, and the preset map monsters also cause quite a bit of trouble, so have fun! As far as sheer gameplay goes, I prefer map 30 of zone 400. It has the same 3-keys + Icon concept, but it felt more refined and focused from gamedesign point of view. However, “The Monster Mash” Icon Fight also felt quite cool to me

- The invulnerability sphere greatly helps with navigating the mess and lining the final shots. Wish more Icon maps gave invulnerabilities. They are great for reducing frustration.

- The visual presentation is unforgettable.

- Last, but not least, the final shot for the Icon was extremely satisfying to line up! Ususually, aiming for those things is either annoying, or pretty meh.

 

Very cool Icon of sin map, and a proper finale for a WAD.

 

 

Some words about “AD Mortem” as a whole:

Some of the weaker maps feel dated, and resemble some of less renown TNT:Evilution levels. But they are still worth a playthroufg, thanks to a really solid resource pack. Ad Mortem has one of the best resource packs I have ever seen deployed. The extended monster roster alone makes this WAD worth a playthrough. Even realtively meh maps like map 32, map 08 or map 03 have some novel fights, all thanks to the new monsters. Add to that the ecletic set of textures and a new, colorful palette - and you have quite a gem on your hands.

 

I also want to praise the theme. Halloween Holiday is a very good framing device for a Doom Community Project. Even more annoying trial-and-error setpieces feel less obnoxious in this setting. Trial-and-error challenges feel kinda like a growndhog loop, if you think about it. Being stuck in a growndhog loop is a good Trick for the whole Trick-or-Treat thing.

 

I will try to write more stuff tomorrow, or on the 31st of october. I still need to arrange my favorite maps, and I also want to discuss the new monsters in more details.

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MAP15 - “The Monster Mash” by Anon
The opening has a fantastic looking void with skeletal multicoloured cubes spinning thanks to linedef wizardry. The map itself is a pretty fun variation on the IoS finale. You need to find the three skull keys, but there are multiples of the keys, so you can actually finish the map without seeing all of it, and where each key ends up seems to be randomly determined at the start of the map, so there's a certain degree of replayability. The pressure put on by the monster spawner is more relaxed than in other IoS maps, there's only one of them and the map is quite large, unless you get very unlucky the original enemies will be the ones to worry about and not the spawns. The secret helps a lot with the keyhunt, if you can figure out where it is early on. Once you have all 3 keys you shoot rockets into the brain as usual, but this time there's no timing, just careful aiming, and I think the brain has been changed so that a single rocket is sufficient. Throughout the chase the visuals keep shifting between the various Boom colormaps, which I thought looked really cool. I found the map quite memorable overall and it's a fun end to the wad.

 

Despite the warnings, v4.2 works quite well in GZDoom, kudos to the devs for improving the port's compatibility so much, and to those who have updated the wad to fix the bugs and port-specific glitches. The only visuals glitches I encountered were in MAP32 and MAP10, and neither was much trouble. The Boom COLORMAP cycling in MAP15 does work and looks great, but sadly GZDoom doesn't read Invulnerability colours from COLORMAP and so that part doesn't look right.

 

My final thoughts on Ad Mortem are quite positive, I think the wad surpassed my expectations. As with every CP there's variability in quality, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good some of the maps are, and I enjoyed the vast majority of them, with a handful being truly memorable. The custom Halloween assets range from good to great, even the more blandly-designed maps look better thanks to them, and the maps that fully take advantage of them look great to stunning. There's a lot of fun with Boom and MBF21 specials, it's quite amazing seeing how far the engine can be pushed. With one or two exceptions the wad is extremely well balanced for HNTR, it was funny reading comments about sadistic difficulty from those playing on UV; this is probably the best HNTR-balanced CP that I've played, some maps have hundreds of enemies but the fights are all, well, not too rough. All in all I had a ton of fun with the wad.

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Map14- Autumn Mausoleum by Anon

I really did not enjoy my time with this map, I didn't try to go for either 100% kills or secrets but it still took me over 30 minutes ingame, longer in terms of real time. I don't know why but I kept getting lost in the mansion with combat that never really kept me engaged. The whole setting, while undoubtedly cool looking, never managed to pique my interest such as in Map09, and most of my time was spent in the standard fare of maze-like corridors that felt interconnected to a fault. The combat here is alright but again, the moments of excitement for me felt swept away by the waves of boredom and building frustration. Even the big arena fight didn't leave much of an impression on me since you can easily bombard the skeleton closets and if the playing field is getting compromised, you can use said closets as refuge to camp out the enemies.

I don't want to disparage the effort on display here, despite my earlier statements, I do acknowledge the sights on offer here with the little cemetary; the whole underground section was pretty neat, particularly the hellish corruption coupled with a doomcute mouth; and my favorite, the seemingly haunted cabin with ghastly whispers making themselves known; furthermore, the combat itself isn't poorly constructed and someone who isn't continually going around in circles would end up appreciating it. I guess it's more so that my personal preferences and play here led to this map leaving a largely negative impression on me by the time I exited the map. I think a map like this would benefit in replay but for now, I didn't really like this one. 

Map15- Monster Mash by Anon

This is a pretty fun ending map, I decided to rush through this map and well, it worked out quite well. The map isn't too challenging and the monster spawner usage is rather forgiving. Coupled with the screen color changing throughout the map, the zany pvz music, the lack of obnoxious rocket timing and the generally fun vibe of this map, this was a pretty cool ending level. Plus, that beginning area looked very cool. Just a cool final level.


Concluding Thoughts of Ad Mortem

I didn't really expect much coming into the wad but I'd say that I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. Not every map was high quality sure but I think what Ad Mortem had the most in its favor, above all else, was personality regarding the festive vibe., even the weaker maps like 03 or 14. This was helped by the custom resource pack, and the MBF features being put to use offering a fitting experience for the season. I'm ultimately glad to have played through this mapset and would like to thank all the mappers involved here for creating this wad :)

I'd say my favorite maps were:

5) Imps In The Walls/Checkmate
4) Shadow over Silverspring
3) Darkwood
2) Devil Garden
1) Norwich Lane

Anyways, as usual, playing this along with the DWMC and reading all of your writeups is extremely fun, hope to see you all again for the Wormwood Trilogy!

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MAP14 - Autumn Mausoleum by anon:

30:23/3 Deaths
A decent map, if a little long and mazey for my taste. It makes sense, considering the next map, to send off the wad's more sincere attempts at spookiness with a long exploration of this haunted mausoleum. The gameplay of the map is pretty trap heavy, but with the exception of one fight, they're all pretty relaxed and not too challenging. The visuals are nice, once you get out of the very grey starting halls that is, and there's a lot of nice details such as the models of the pillars you have to lower being a reminder of the progression and the little graveyard next to the yellow key.

 

The big fight in the basement is the star of the show for me, it's an expansive slaughter with half the enemy count of the entire level, and I'm fairly sure most of them are skeletons which swarm you and are absolutely terrifying in this high a number. You're given tons of ammo and health, and it's really fun to tear through the horde with rockets. Unfortunately this is two minutes of fun in a half-hour long map, and the rest is a little dull for my liking. I wasn't in love with the level at the end of it, but it's a solid map nonetheless.

 

MAP15 - The Monster Mash by anon:

3:17/3 Deaths
It's an Icon of Sin map with a load of monsters placed at the start, so I ignored the majority of them and just went for map completion here - sorry! It's a great send-off for the wad, even if it's more of a visual spectacle than gameplay masterclass but holy shit this coloured lighting effect is so cool and I really want to know how it's done! There are several versions of each key and but you only need one of each colour to exit the level - unfortunately, because everything in the map changes colour, you can't actually tell which key you're going for until you pick it up, but the map is short enough that this didn't bother me. Not too much else to say, it's a good icon map (which is an achievement in of itself!) and I still love PvZ music :P

 

Overall thoughts on Ad Mortem:
Ad Mortem is a mixed-bag overall, and the very high-quality presentation of the wad does feel a little at odds with the often scrappy level design. That being said, I think this wad executes the Halloween theme really well and there wasn't a map in the set that felt out of place despite the inconsistency of the settings. It was interesting seeing everyone's different interpretation of the theme, from the doomcute filled, spooky slow-burners of maps like Imps in the Walls to the imposing hordes of Devil Garden, they worked really well together and the variety on offer will mean that everyone will likely find a level they love.

 

The first half of the wad is much more inconsistent than the second, and I do think that throwing the "less good" maps into the secret slots is a bit of a missed oppourtunity since they're not that much worse than some of the maps in the main roster and it makes me not want to visit the secret maps on a second playthrough. Then again, inconsistency is part of the game in community projects and there weren't any maps I outright hated which is not something that I can say for every wad!

 

Overall, I think Ad Mortem is a solid set of maps that is worth playing around this point of the year just to get into the Halloween spirit as that's definitely what this wad excels at.

 

Top 5 Maps:

Map13 - Devil Garden by anon

Map10 - King Boner's House of Fisting by Punch you in the face man

Map09 - Norwitch Lane by LunchLunch

Map06 - Darkwood by A2Rob

Map05 - The Imps in the Walls by ASO3000

 

~~~

Looking forward to getting my arse kicked in the Wormwoods!

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Map 15: The Monster Mash

 

  Campy, colorful, a hell of a lot of fun, I see no better way to end a set like this than with one of the best Icon maps I’ve played. The Monster Mash is actually pretty minimalist in terms of raw geometry. The real player in the visuals is the discotech strobe of halloween palette pressed into your face as you navigate this negative space. It’s a real shock the first time through, lifting your spirits considerably, preparing you for what should be a quick romp through a bunch of fun parties in the form of the key fights, and it is fun as hell. My biggest issue with this presentation on the other hand is visibility, I would just end up taking damage from either shit I couldn’t see or that was coming from halfway across the map from a fight I had opened but couldn’t handle, such as the two Cyberdemons or ring of King Boners. In that sense the spastic lighting was a hinderance, but I feel that the whole mood of the level made up for it, and I couldn’t imagine it being anywhere near as entertaining without the filter.

  The fights were fine, some abrasive on the first round, but nothing was hard to adapt to. I’m also happy that killing the Icon is as simple as scaling the stairs after getting a key of each type. I love maps with flexibility like this, allowing me to pick and choose one kind of fight over another in order to achieve the same goal if I’m not serious about maxing one day. It’s not the pinnacle of quality, but I love the unabashed dedication for a party to wrap up the set.

 

Summary

 

  There are a lot of people around here that preloaded me with much higher expectations for a /vr/ set. What I got out of Ad Mortem was a bunch of hobbyists going into a project that they did for a good laugh and a chance to capitalize on a holiday theme. It's a community project, filled with the necessary highs and lows to wear that badge proudly. I feel like nowhere near enough maps actually capitalized on the featureset of MBF21 outside of the use of the custom actors, the complevel is incredibly powerful in ways that I feel have yet to be accomplished. It's a great set though, one that I am more than happy to have gone through in entirety. 

 

Power Rankings

Spoiler
  1. Norwitch Lane
  2. Darkwood
  3. Checkmate
  4. The Monster Mash
  5. The Imps in the Walls
  6. Shadow over Silverspring
  7. Catacombover
  8. King Boner's House of Fisting
  9. Uncle Reggie's Candy Factory
  10. Autumn Mausoleum
  11. Caco's Keep
  12. Devil Garden
  13. The Torture Garden
  14. Tricks n' Treats
  15. The Other Dario
  16. Pumpkination
  17. Beneath Bloodstone
  18. Pumpkin Delight

 

I'll see everyone soon for the delight of the Wormwood series, which I will surely be gushing about at every chance. 

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alright, time for the cool maps
i'll be dropping in a completion video for each for the hell of it

WORMWOOD: 

Map01: Copse by Grain of Salt

Spoiler

 

A fun and bouncy opener. The chaingunner / archvile parts are more 'sequences' than fights, and the centrepiece isn't anything to write home about, but goose's real gift to the wormwoods is on full display - the palette, which you'll be seeing a lot of over the coming week, makes these wads feel entirely unique, and the contrast of glow-in-the-dark greens and oranges against its generally dark backdrops makes them all the more beautiful.
I'm sorry I don't have much else to say, it's a short map. The gag at the end is worth a chuckle, at least.
Anyway, about to get my ass kicked. Let's hope one day is enough.

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The Wormwood trilogy is arguably a quadrilogy that begins with Orange Is True Love, but that isn't part of this month's schedule, so I'll just say that I highly recommend it.

 

Wormwood Map01:

 

The map begins with some chaingunners, but in the grand scheme of things, they're just BFG-fodder and it's best to skip them and clean up later. The main fight begins next, and involves goading 2 cyberdemons to infight hordes of revenants and hell knights while trapped in a relatively small arena with them, which makes survival interesting. Apparently, there's a linedef skip somewhere you can use to escape immediately and let them kill each other while you clean up the rest of the map, accelerating your UV-Max pace considerably, but it sounds annoying to get, so I didn't bother. Once this arena is escaped, you get a BFG and have to face several archviles, but you're given enough health that you can afford to take a few hits. It works well enough to just shove your face into them with the trigger held down, and I'm not complaining; it's pretty fun to do. The map ends by presenting a choice between "Trick" or "Treat", one of which opens the exit, and the other is a funny surprise. Cool map.

 

 

Demo:

wormwood01-232.zip

 

I'll be using saves for the next map :P

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MAP01: Copse. Played on DSDA v0.24, HMP, PS. 89/89 K, 0/0 S, 2/2 I. Completion time 6:06.

 

I decided to do Wormwoods on HMP, as per the usual recommendation. This first map though, by Grain of Salt, is not insanely difficult on HMP, it's basically a curved corridor leading to a small arena fight, and ending with another segment of the corridor and a funny halloween trick at the end.

 

It's good map! Coming off from Ad Mortem, I was starving for short maps such as this one. It's so short, that I'll give this first map a go on UV. What do you know, it's doable; I had slightly harder time to survive the arena, but not by much. There are only a few monsters more on UV, and I don't know what they are. Two more hell knights or revenants don't make that much difference. Were there more archviles at the end? The hordes took care of the cybers for me and I had to clean-up after the riffraff, on HMP it was the other way around (but there I used my rockets on revenants more, on the other hand). In any case:

 

Played on DSDA v0.24, UV, PS, 91/91 K, 0/0 S, 2/2 I. Completion time 6:19.

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Wormwood

 

  Coming off of their success with Orange is True Love, Ribbiks and GrainOfSalt have made a thing off of dropping these every single year. Despite all existing under the same umbrella, every one of these WADs is distinctly different either in looks, music, mechanics, or whatever the maps intend on delivering otherwise. I have played every one of these to completion, almost obsessively. I love what this duo has managed, and hopefully continues to manage, to pull off with the theme.

 

Map 01: Copse

 

  For anyone that is nervous that this is just gonna be another Ribbiks tribulation set, I can assure that the Wormwood series would not be what it is without GrainOfSalt. The balance between the usually jovial romps through a handful of fights is great when sided with the threatening vice of nightmare that is a blind Ribbiks map run. Copse is great clean fun, with its campy MIDI providing a great tone for what is a really incredible visual set. Any map that can make circular and angular geometry look good is already exhibiting some solid skill, and Copse owns what it creates. 

  The combat is pretty good, one big fight on top of the monument supported by a couple smaller rounds about the outer edge. The option to either stick to circling the ring of the upper level, or take the tunnel and pray that you can push out the other side is a really creative combination that has led to me playing this fight differently every time I come around to it. I somehow managed to survive the Cyberdemon mosh the first time through on this go round, attributed probably both to this fight not exerting an unwieldy amount of pressure on you, and that I got lucky with all the high damage flying around. The Chaingunner spritz and Arch-Vile waves were trivial, but they prove challenging for anyone who doesn’t spend time clearing out the entirety of the capstone fight beforehand. 

  I do love the campy ending too, having to choose between a mobbing of nine Cyberdemons, or a stimpack left out since the owners were too lazy to stand by the door. It’s crazy to me how the entire mechanism was created in the one room, shaping it differently depending on whatever the player chooses. It’s this kind of self aware fun that makes these contributions to what is otherwise a dead serious atmosphere draped in terror. I love this one.

 

Probably not doing power rankings since each WAD is short until next month. 

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Wormwood:

MAP01 - “Copse” by Grain of Salt

UV, pistol start, DSDA, complevel 9

 

One tiny complaint - I dislike the memey Archvile crowds, which sadly seem to be popular nowadays... (Seriously - Ray Mohawk 2, Fractured Worlds, Wormwood - this is getting out of hand!)

 

Other than that...

The map is essentially dediacted to one combat setpiece - the big brawl in the center. Other parts serve to provide anticipation and denouncement. The central setpiece is a laconic combat puzzle. The battlfield has a very obvious grometry, and the enemy placement is straighforward - 2 Cybers, a pack of Revenats, and a pack of Hell Knights. The revenants and hell knights are repletished via special teleporters. If all the monsters decide to chase the doomguy, he is pretty much toast. So proper infighting should be orchestrated. The teleporting reinforcemnts complicate things a bit, because each new wave does not care about the whole infightinng business. The whole situation requires some careful postioning to ensure that new arrivals join the infights properly.

 

Central setrpiece aside, the map greets the player with cozy atmoshere, thanks to new pallete and careful choice of textures. Everything looks spooky in a fun way. The final trick or treat choice also adds to the map's character. (make a save, and choose "Trick" - it is funny!)

 

Overall, this is a pretty enjoable map. The focus on a single carefully-designed setpiece is a good design concept, I wish mappers used this approach more often. Off the top of my head, I can remeber only two other maps with similar design - 180 Minutes Pour Vivre map 06 and Ozonia map 21.

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Alright, time for the Wormwood trilogy (I'd also recommend anyone who likes what's in store for us to to have a shot at Orange Is True Love). I have played the first Wormwood in its entirely around a year ago, and played Wormwood 2 up to map04 about half a year prior. Going to play on dsda-doom, complevel 9, pistol starts, and going to aim for around 100% kills.

Map01: "Copse"
By Grain of Salt, 91/91 kills, 0/0 secrets


Copse is a delightful short map that serves a preamble for the headliner. The map is centered on the central brawl on the pillar where you have to negotiate with a crowd of revenants on one side of the tunnel and hell knights on the other, each with their own cyberdemon friend. You can either fight them in the tunnel itself or as I did this go around, simply get a bunch of infighting going between the crews on each flank to weaken the crowd and bring all the teleporting reinforcements out. It's probably more riskier this way as the teleporting monsters end up not getting involved in the infighting and can complicate matters but I had fun. The chaingunner and archvile guards before and after the central fight respectively are nothing special but due to the short nature of this map, aren't too much of a bother and are simple fun to dismantle. This map has got a lighthearted atmosphere, helped by the similarly lighthearted MIDI selection and more vibrant palette changes despite the largely muted architectural textures. The cherry on top is the ending gag, pick trick for a fun surprise (with a save on hand!) or treat for your way into the demon house. 

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MAP01 - “Copse” by Grain of Salt

 

I guess in the end the main event occurs when you pick up the rocket launcher, the battle up here requires good movement and to instigate infighting as quickly as possible. Nothing too taxing here, the other fights are a bit of a throwaway here where the chaingunners merely exist and the archvile stampede at the end is rather tame considering the weaponry you receive to deal with them. The ending is worth a good chuckle, I guess in todays world there are no treats......

Overall this is solidly built map that sets you up nicely for the main course..... I will try playing on UV, but might have to resign to HMP.

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MAP12: Checkmate

By Lunchlunch

Kills: 126%

Items: 90%

Secrets: 0%

Time: 9:39

 

After a rocky first half, this wad honestly just seems to keep on winning! Checkmate is pretty great. The first fight is definitely the best I'd say, I feel this map was attempting something akin to Micro Slaughter Community Project but it ended up not really as tightly woven and ran out of steam in the second half I feel, but anyway, the visuals were great, all these pumpkins combines with the amazing animated skybox is a really neat aesthetic to me only boosted by the MIDI and white marble. Great atmosphere here all around. As I said I find the first fight best here, a creative little combat puzzle that heavily reminded me of the opening fight of Micro Slaughter MAP02, but put it's own devilish spin on it with Arch-Viles you gotta keep busy and less space to run around than in that fight. Sadly after that the map kinda falls off, I mean it's fun for sure, the 4 Archies in the following fight and the rush of Imp Knights in the corridor later on were all staged exceptionally well, but these as well as everything in the last building feel a bit loose compared to the tight design decisions right at the start of the map. Oh well, it's not a huge issue or anything.

 

Grade: A-

Difficulty: A-

 

 

MAP13: Devil Garden

Kills: 97%

Items: 100%

Secrets: 0%

Time: 10:35

 

Okay now THIS is what I'm talking about. Devil Garden is great. Every part of this map slaps and as a whole it probably has the best combat of the entire megawad. I hardly even know where to start, uh... this map has another army of Silver Revenants you can take down with the Rocket Launcher, that's always fun, their gib animation makes boring fights on paper really entertaining, that's for sure. I like the visuals too, a pretty vibrant blend of all sorts of colours, and there's lots of cool little scripting events too where you kill an enemy in order to progress. I have NO idea how this happens multiple times in this map. The fights themselves aren't too complicated honestly, mostly just simple and really fun shootouts, I guess the highlight would be the ending. Act fast on a damaging floor of blood or suffer the consequences. As a whole this map is simply very creative and therefore very fun.
 

Grade: A

Difficulty: B+

 

 

MAP14: Autumn Mausolemn

Kills: 88%
Items: 70%

Secrets: 0%

Time: 13:43

 

Kinda surreal we're basically at the end already. Huh. Anyway Autumn Mausolemn is definitiely the most expansive map in this wad. To an extent it feels like everything MAP08 wanted to be. It's surprisingly not too hard to get lost in, which I feel boosts the layout a fair bit. If you just keep running around you're likely to find everything you need without much difficulty. That said, this is one of those maps that I have a lot of fun quite simply being in. The map feels secretive and lived in without being cryptic or even having an ounce of doomcute, which is honestly really impressive. It's also got some pretty strong combat, and by "strong combat" yes of course I mean it has another rush of Silver Revenants how could you tell? Okay but it's unironically a pretty good fight, gradually upping the intensity as it goes along. Honestly that's all I have to say here, despite being the semi-final map, it's also one of the most likable and well-rounded for me. Very good.
...

Mephisto's Maosoleum and its consequences have been a disaster for the Doom community.

 

Grade: A-

Difficulty: B-

 

 

MAP15: The Monster Mash
Kills: 72%
Items: 23%

Secrets: 100%

Time: 3:36

 

The Monster Mash isn't complicated. It's a bizarre and colourful disco floor that happens to be populated by an Icon Of Sin and at least 6 or 7 Silver Revenants. I'm not sure, I haven't counted. This map uses the coloured lighting in an interesting way so that you're never quite sure what key is supposed to be which, only stalling for time while the IoS literally raises hell. The ending is pretty neat, a cool little Invuln splurge to finish off this short and sweet romp. Not bad.

 

Grade: B+

Difficulty: C-

 

 

- FINAL THOUGHTS - 

 

I don't have too much to say here honestly, I'll admit this wad definitely surpassed my expectations, after the first half and the secret levels I was kind of thinking this wad would be just sorta okay, but then I played the rest of it and it was pretty great! Raising my ranking from sorta okay to pretty good. As a whole I do appreciate this wad and quite thoroughly enjoyed it despite the blunders and weak start, the DeHackEd is pretty great, especially the weapon replacements (Except the weirdly missing Plasma and BFG? Oh well) and the general spookiness of this wad did personally kick it up a notch for me personally as a massive Halloween fan. Between the two, I'd play Tangerine Nightmare any day, but for anyone looking for a pretty distinct and memorable experience this month, I'd say give it a shot. My final grade for Ad Mortem is a B+. On the difficulty side of things I'm gonna go with a C here, it's about on par with Community Chest on average but I'd say it's a little easier, Unlike that wad it mostly stays at a consistent tone without ever testing you too hard.

 

Whole playthrough

 

Now for the grand ranking!

 

Spoiler

10: King Boner's House Of Fisting :)
09: Norwitch Lane
13: Devil Garden
06: Darkwood
14: Autumn Mausolemn
05: The Imps In The Walls
12: Checkmate
07: Shadow Over Silverspring
02: Caco's Keep
15: The Monster Mash
11: The Other Dario
01: Catacombover
04: Pumpkin Delight
03: Beneath Bloodstone
33: Uncle Reggie's Candy Factory
08: The Torture Garden
31: Pumpkination
32: Tricks N' Treats

 

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