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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition

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Preparing to host Christmas stuff over the next couple days (plus a couple other Doom things) has me stretched a little too thin to talk about maps in long-form, so for now I'll just say thanks again to everyone who's playing! I'd hoped the responses to some of these maps would have been a bit more positive, admittedly, but that's life. I've been learning a lot, and getting a lot of ideas. Those of you who were exhausted by map23 will be happy to know that it's the longest map in the wad - shorter levels are ahead. I'll do some work on map23's blue key fight especially - probably starting off by making the plasma gun not a secret. I have to admit I wasn't expecting map20's final fight to be such a huge roadblock. I have an idea for how to make it a little more palatable, though.


Thank you again for all the kind words about my music, I really appreciate it. :) I don't plan to change a lot of these songs all that much from their current incarnations, but better balancing is a given - and I have ultimately decided to replace map06's midi with something a lot more chill and sinister. I might as well donate the song currently in that slot to Realm of Chaos 2, huh?


On 12/22/2023 at 12:12 PM, Cutman 999 said:

What the fuck Cammy you actually did a gensokyo the gods loved in this midi, it only lacks the start of the song, its very obvious.


Though I will say that this reads to me as an accusation of plagiarism, which I don't appreciate or take lightly. I definitely hear the resemblance in some sections, but it's hardly a direct copy.

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4 minutes ago, Cammy said:


Though I will say that this reads to me as an accusation of plagiarism, which I don't appreciate or take lightly. I definitely hear the resemblance in some sections, but it's hardly a direct copy.

Sorry if it sounded like a plagiarism accusation, That wasn't the intention at all, just kind of exagerating the whole thing.

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1 minute ago, Cutman 999 said:

Sorry if it sounded like a plagiarism accusation, That wasn't the intention at all, just kind of exagerating the whole thing.


Ah, no worries then. Sorry for misconstruing you. :)

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On 12/22/2023 at 11:13 AM, Celestin said:

MAP22: Nova Akropola by Steve Duff


A fellow Laibach fan, I guess?


Absolutely. Here's what I wrote in the 2013 Realm of Chaos thread, and the links still work!


"The title Nova Akropola, or New Akropolis, is from the classic industrial album by the Slovenian art collective Laibach, a band that had enormous influence on Rammstein, right down to some of their iconography. Indeed, the first time I heard Rammstein, I thought Laibach had gone the industrial metal route. Perhaps the most approachable of their “classic period” songs is Slovenska Zena, from their Rekapitulacija box set; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iHAS9Qx2yQ which is kind of cheery compared to something like Vade Retro, from Nova Akropola itself; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4XVh1CCFRo Most people hate this stuff, so it’s not to everyone’s taste.

Kinda like this map. ;D"

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MAP24: Burnt Guts by Slava Pestov


It's good to play such a brisk map after Steve Duff's double feature. Burnt Guts has took me 10 minutes to complete, combining open fields populated by hitscanners and pinkies with several bigger fights. I really like the pacing and compact nature of this map, it's constant action with little dead time. Two setpiece fights are all good. The blue key in the FIREBLU cavern is loaded with monsters and rockets, with two archviles spawning if you try to grab the key. Another one is the yellow key teleport ambush that hands you a plasma rifle to deal with it.


I was about to complain about the baron turrets, but there's a secret that crushes them. It's a kind gesture that I doubt existed in the original. Overall, I enjoyed this as a breather after two previous maps.

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Map 24 - Burnt Guts by Slava Pestov and Cammy


A nice small map, which still hosts about 180 enemies on UV.

Among enemies, there is a good balance of hitscan (who hurt) and demonic troops of all kinds (who bodyblock, and can hurt too).

The encounters offer different combat situations too.


My personal highlights:

1. The FIREBLU cavern, which is very conductive for all kinds of projectile combat and is perfect introduction for the Rocket Launcher as a result.

2. The baron turrets. I didn't expect to like the baron turrets of all things, but here we are... What makes them good on Burnt Guts? Simple - they provide an additional threat to most of the outdoors fights. Barons a beefy turrets, so eliminating them immediately is not worth the time on a pistol start, and still would require some focus on continuous. So - baron fireballs need to be accounted for in all the outdoor battles. This is a small fun gimmick, given all the histcan running around.

- And as far as clearing the barons goes - there is both a secret baron-remover cave, and there is also enough rockets and plasma to clear the 1000 hp towers directly. The main baron related concern is fully accounted for!


Conclusion - this was a very fun level. And a pretty memorable one, despite its apparent simplicity.

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Map 24: Burnt Guts

by Slava Pestov


I am loving this midi! Starts out with gloomy strings, punctuated by JRPG-esque woodwind bombasticty, before changing to a heavy funk groove with the addition of an organ melody in spots. It's definitely on the shorter end of midis though, kind of like this map!


I dunno how much showcased here is the original design, but nevertheless, the presence of marble stockade, in the middle of a courtyard punctuated by wooden stockades and towers, the latter populated by Barons whose purpose is just keeping the pressure on the player after everything else has been cleared out. There is a fairly easy to find cave behind some wooden overgrowth near the end that allows you to crush them all, with a handy demonstration!


There isn't much really worth commenting on fight-wise, as most of them consist of incidental activity that shouldn't be terribly difficult on UV, despite the prevalence of pinkies in lava crevasses there's really no other reason to enter, barring an accident. The collection of enemies around the Supercharge probably asks for a later rocket launcher, although our health was quite low at the time.


The real centerpiece is not the diamond-shaped marble yard, which is kind of asleep, but another diamond shaped room with fantastic fireblu walls and some Imp, Sergeant, and Demon chaff in the middle, mancubi in square pillars and an Arachnotron on each far side. We do get a rocket launcher upon entering though, so be aggressive, within reason, although this is still thr hardest section of the map, underscored by two archi

-viles that teleport in I think after pressing one of the side switches here and crossing a linedef near the entrance. Let's hope that the Arachnotrons at least are down because things won't be so hard then.


After this comes a large brown field and a large teleport ambush near the plasma rifle at the other end but summoning enemies to all sections of

said field but we should have enough rockets to keep things from growing tedious. A solid end to a breath of fresh air.


I'm not at home so no video today


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I'm procrastinating on playing this wad now. Finally catching up:

I feel like this map is just longer than it should be, as if it wanted to be long but didn't have enough ideas to justify the length. The visuals are actually better than average this time, mainly because of the hub. The combat isn't super boring but a lot of it is cleanup and less exciting than I'd like. Some fights are fun, in particular the fight for the blue key was a treat after everything else in this map.



Even longer than the last and with much more confusing progression, which I think I don't mind because a confusing map is something that this wad hadn't shown before and you don't get stuck for way too long. The combat seems to alternate between fairly boring clean up of mid tier enemies plus corridor shootouts you've seen many times already and some of the most mean ambushes in the wad so far.

I really didn't like the beginning of the map when you only have a chaingun and a shotgun that you need to use to take down a lot of not very threatening mid tier enemies, it goes even as far as throw a cacocloud to make you waste even more time shotgunning each caco one by one. Maybe there's a secret SSG somewhere in the beginning of the map that I missed but I didn't find it. When the map finally gives you a non-secret SSG it becomes a lot more tolerable, it's still a little boring but not as bad as the beginning. The hard fights are like lightning strikes out of nowhere, short combat puzzles that are often very likely to kill an unprepared player. I don't know why they are in this map but they'll keep you awake at least.

This map has a lot of secrets that aren't super obvious. Getting them is gonna make the map quite a bit easier as they give you guns that the map doesn't give you at all otherwise and with the final fights it's practically mandatory to find the secret plasma gun (not too bad to find if you try) or BFG, otherwise it's gonna be unreasonably hard, which kinda sucks! Though I think making a player find a necessary gun on their own may be an interesting idea depending on how you implement it, if there are a lot of secrets with each one having a plasma gun a player will have decent chance of finding at least one. The cool thing about that would be each playthrough being different in where the player got their plasma gun.



I'm super happy to get a shorter and more fast-paced map after playing the last two maps as I was getting a bit tired after playing them. Finished in just 8 minutes. I don't have much to say about this map, it's compact, very straightforward and doesn't let you get bored. All the action is quick and has some fun fights, especially the fireblu arena.



Another shorter map. Not as much of a breather as the last map, even though it's short it actually has intent of killing you. This is a decently challenging map, it's just downscaled using fewer monsters and being more claustrophobic which is actually a really great change of pace after the wad's slaughteriest maps, it's not as hard as those but still fun. The fights are also noticeably more creative compared to a lot of the previous non-slaughter maps in the wad, and there are barely any tedious moments. The map also has very nice visuals and thanks to being a short map, a consistent theme as well. It's just solid at everything and makes for a very nice short map. It's not as big of a meal as other maps in the wad but it feels nearly flawless - traded length for polish.




Edited by Cilian

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MAP25: Castle of the Hell Knights by Antoni Chan


The title is misleading - I expected yet another stronghold with higher than average number of hell nobles, instead I got a trip through the intestines of an Icon of Sin. Not that I'm disappointed, I've always appreciated when mappers remember that Doom 2's final boss was supposed to be a living creature.


After dispatching the initial opposition, you enter the monster's guts, where you can kill enemies outright or (which I find more enjoyable) use the crushers to do the job for you. There's no cheesing the final fight, with a bleachers of hell knights (here they are) and two cyberdemons plus mancubi firing at you from behind. I'd say the most entertaining way to deal with this is to flip a switch on the top level, adding cacodemons, arachnotrons and a mastermind to the party - most will tear themselves apart, the rest can be finished off with a plasma rifle. Overall, another breezy map, though not without an edge.


I know there were some high-profile wads released this month, but one, most of the community has already thrown themselves to play them, so fewer people would join, two, pleasure delayed is a pleasure doubled. In a true hipster fashion, I'd vote for something completely different:


+++ Sepia - a 34-map MBF-21 megawad made by Petyan with several guest mappers, based around the usage of colour brown.
+++ The 10x10 Project + What Lies Beneath + Pagodia - three separate episodes that are being voted on for a while now. I think it would be an interesting and diverse set.    
+++ Good Morning Phobos - a 33-map Boom-compatible megawad by sincity2100. Another set of maps that is often voted for, I had fun playing it on HMP and I'd like to see how UV holds up.

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Map22 - Nova Akropola - by Steve Duff and Cammy


Please forgive the tl;dr. A lot of this is extensive playtest commentary for Cammy, plus looking at the whole Realm of Chaos franchise that's coming out in 2024, at least so far as my maps are concerned. ;D  These are going to be fairly intensive commentaries because we now have three versions of all my maps; the original Realm of Chaos versions, the as-yet-unpublished Realm of Intensified Chaos versions, and the Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversay Edition versions, not to mention the Abcess version of Map06. The versions in RoC and RoIC are entirely by me, whereas the versions in RoC25 are a cross-generation collaboration by myself and Cammy, although in many cases I haven't seen Cammy's changes until, well, now. ;D Indeed, every map in RoC25 must be understood as a collaboration between the original mapper and Cammy. Viewing them as purely the work of the original mapper, and giving that mapper all the credit or blame, gets it wrong. These are collaborations and should be treated that way. In many cases, there are major changes in architecture and combat: specifically, slaughter fights are all Cammy changes. I don't want to give the impression that I'm upset by this. In fact, I found Map22 very entertaining. I just want to stop seeing "this is the best" or "this is the worst" Duff map. These are not my exclusive property anymore. Get with it! :D


That said, some of the alterations Cammy made in Nova Akropola involved changing secrets. This makes perfect sense because leaving all secrets as they were can also imply leaving architecture and fights as they were, meaning that Doomers who've already played RoC will know where everything is, giving them less reason to play this version, which IMO would be a shame. Clearly, there was a point, whenever this project first occurred to Cammy, to just do a bespoke OST and leave the megawad as it was. But from the moment Cammy thought about sprucing the maps up a bit, perhaps in pre-emptive response to such comments as, "Why do a bespoke OST for a crappy old '90s megawad?" he first set foot on the road of mission-creep, one I know very well from such projects as Abcess, Shotgun Symphony and Realm of Intensified Chaos.  You quickly learn that modernizing old maps can be tougher than simply making new ones, but you keep at it anyway because you know the old maps have good bones and because you get pissed off by modern players who assume that all '90s mappers were incompetent, pithecanthropoid morons, and this is your chance to make them swallow their own blood.  ;)


Before finally getting into the gameplay, let's look at the entire sequence of Map22 versions in UDB and GZDB in order of completion, with convenient statistics;


Original Realm of Chaos version 1996;



Realm of Intensified Chaos version 2014;



Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition version 2023;



Monster counts on UV:

RoC     -- 282

RoIC    -- 520

RoC25 -- 491


I played the RoC and RoC25 versions, and part of the RoIC version, today. As might be expected from the monster counts, the RoC version was somewhat easy and I completed the map without dying, though my health was down to 6% at one point. The RoIC version, which dates from 2013/14, is a nasty map from start to finish, though my deaths only piled up in the Red Key section, which is where I stopped. Death Count was north of 12 at that point, with much worse sections to come. 


The RoC25 version that I played previously was much easier than this one, with 369 monsters on UV, but structurally it was much the same as the current edition, apart from replacing green textures with grey, and without the monsters teleporting into the Blue Key Battle in the Akropola itself. The extra monsters and the greater darkness overall made a significant and very welcome increase in overall toughness. 


The start is the weakest part of the map, as it's the most faithful to the original RoC version. You begin with a hitscanner hot start, breaking out of the "prison" from Map21. Alas, this really made no sense as you had already busted out of jail at the beginning of Map21! ;D So much for continuity. @LadyMistDragon, unfortunately, missed the SSG and Rocket Launcher in the opening when she ran straight into the outdoors and didn't explore the side wings. I think that both Cammy and myself should make these weapons more obvious in future revisions to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. That said, LadyMistDragon fought on valiantly without them. 


The outdoor area is an improvement over my hideous original, but the sloggy Spectre fight is still there. I'd recommend replacing them with more dangerous monsters as well as breaking away more from the original visuals. The next area, the red lava room, is the first really big departure from the original, pitting you against 4 Revvies as you seek to reach the main Akropola complex below. I found it to be a fun and surprisingly dangerous fight.


Dropping into the Akropola complex presents you, first, with a layout reversed from the original, and a much better fight. I concentrated on taking out the PE first but was bushwhacked by the Revvie on my right. The dark grey textures used here, replacing the original GStone and green Marble, IMO made the monsters more effective because now it's harder to see them. Another nice touch, not present in the original or RoIC versions, is Archies guarding the goodies behind those pillars flanking the stairway on the other side of the Akropolis. What a great way to snatch pelts! Players will likely run in here seeking to tank up on health and ammo, be horrified by the Archie, start fighting it, and then find themselves incinerated by Manc fireballs or Revvie rockets that they dodge right into. It certainly happened to me. Oh, such larks! :)


Although it looks really cool, I can't help wondering why there is gradient lighting on the lava since it's all under open sky.


A feature retained from the original is that the Red and Yellow key wings can be tackled in any order, breaking away from the map's inherent linearity. By contrast, the RoIC version puts the Blue Key in the Red Key wing and the other keys have to be gathered in a linear order. I tried the RK wing first but was a bit low on ammo and health, so after 3 deaths, I switched to the much easier Yellow Key wing, which also fills you up with health and ammo. Cammy remains quite faithful to the structure of this area, including the guardhouse where you can get the RL if you missed it earlier -- was a BFG in the original -- and then mow down the hordes of hitscanners and Imps. The major addition is the Revvie/Archie platforms at two corners. They add a bit of spice but otherwise, it's a less exciting change than I first thought, so this section remains one of the easiest parts of the map. The Revvie/Archie platforms could be more dangerous if they lower to the floor when the player grabs the RL, though it's a potentially good design choice to keep this area easy since it offers some respite from the brutality found elsewhere. It's a judgment call. Note that in the RoIC version, I completely eliminated this area and replaced it with a 3-part arena loaded with Wolfies, Wolfenstein textures, and a swastika skylight because RoIC is dedicated to tracking down and killing Hitler.


The Red Key wing adds a PE to the initial Caco trap, and also removes radsuits from the lava, preventing the player from jumping down there to fight the fliers. However, it's easy enough to back up through the entrance door and camp the fight. Otherwise, if you charge forward, you'll get another trap releasing a battalion of Imps, making for some extreme discomfort for a player at my meager level of skill. Good news is that the BFG is a free giveaway here. 


Once you raise the lifts, you can attack deeper into the RK wing, facing numerous troopers and Wolfies. As to the mystery of why I use Wolfies, back in '96 it wasn't an issue in the MacDoom world. We didn't care. I still like Wolfies as carriers of a nice machine gun. It's no more complicated than that, but as mentioned above, I decided to make RoIC Wolfie-oriented to justify using the little buggers. Anyway, it's pretty easy to survive the series of narrow, hitscanner-heavy corridors to find the switch that lowers the Red Key. The next mission is to find the secret Plasma Gun. To do this, you need to locate a vertically misaligned SP_Hot texture, which opens a chamber guarded by a Chaingunner and which contains some health and ammo, plus another misaligned wall texture, which reveals a switch that opens the path to the PG. The weapon, guards, and other goodies are the same and in the same place as the original, but the method of reaching it is different. This is the kind of tweak that makes these maps fresh for RoC veterans. Further, as you walk towards the PG, you cross walking triggers that lower a wall at a pillar in the Akropolis area, the one with a question mark on the floor next to it. Thus is revealed a switch that lowers a platform with the Invuln on it. I'm totally thrilled with this new secret progression. Well done, Cammy! As it happens, I didn't find the PG or Invuln on this playthrough. ;D


And now for the biggest gameplay change, the slaughtery fight inside the Akropolis itself. I had the BFG, the SS, and all those rockets. I died 3 times using the BFG to blast the enemies, but a new element compared to the last version I played is all the monsters that teleport in, especially the 3 Archies. I thus decided to exploit a weakness typical of many slaughtery fights by doing a ring-around-the-rosie and promoting infights. Worked like a charm but I still died twice more thanks to missing an Archie each time. Given that Cammy separated me from 5 pelts, the fight has to be judged as successful, but given the huge number of monsters required to take me down 5 times, it can also be viewed as unsuccessful, and players more familiar with slaughtery setups might well use ring-around-the-rosie from the start and essentially nerf the whole thing.


After this, we have a slightly modified version of the original's exit, this time adding 2 Revvies to the mix and eliminating the side corridor where the exit actually was. Overall, I'd say this map is very successful, with some pacey parts and some rave-up parts, plus a really cool secret progression for the PG and Invuln. The opening area was a bit unattractive, but the Akropolis, with its reversed crosses and scrolling red Marbfaces, looked really cool. OTOH, the side wings can use a facelift, especially the YK wing. I guess it all depends on how much Cammy wants to maintain an old-school look, but there's a point beyond which adding new looks and detail more or less forces your hand, and IMO Cammy's hitting that plateau here.


Of course, I can't forget the midi, Dead Prominence, with its forward momentum and sense of adventure. Outstanding work!



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MAP24 - “Burnt Guts” by Slava Pestov

Last time


I didn't have any issues with the dodgy platform when I played this.
This map was ok, pretty decent looking, the map needed a little more ammo in the first half I thought as I skipped the imp trap at the blue key due to not having enough ammo.
The barons and hell knights should have revenants and chaingunners as they offer a bigger threat.
The pestov platform teleport trap is a little sluggish and I had to return to snag the final kill.
I liked the acquisition of the red key, just for the fact that it returned you up top after grabbing it to avoid backtracking.
Certainly one of pestovs better maps, short and pretty sweet, just a few little noobish mistakes and better monster placement could have made this a really solid map.




Well the baron snipers remained for some reason, okay the only secret crushes them, but frankly they offer little to the proceedings. Most of the map is pretty ho-hum in how it pans out, the yellow key trap being pretty awful in terms of execution (Looks like this was mostly unchanged). The blue however is in a different league, pretty striking to look at and offers not one but two "Oh shit" moments. Overall this is slightly above par, but mostly because of that one area which elevates the map above mediocrity.


MAP25 - “Castle of the HellKnights” by Antoni Chan


Last time


Well this map starts off really well with a cool entrance scene to an "oh shit" moment with the icon, except he is quiet, all good there.
The battle in this room is pretty darn neat I might add.
When you get inside the icon you are stuck in a cramped and small flesh maze. I didn't mind this as it at least meant that hell knights were used reasonably effectively.
Then you get the hubspoke and the map simply bombs :/
Overall this map started really well but it seemed like the author just ran out of ideas and slapped together the laziest method of extending the map as physically possible. Shame because the start was really cool.


This time


Fair play, I actually enjoyed this one a lot this time. Okay so we still have the starting area and going through the mouth of the Icon of Sin, beyond this is the kind of flesh horror that I last experienced in Skulltiverse, it actually pops nicely and the encounters in here are not exactly hard, but more amusing, the highlight for me was managing to get all three barons crushed at the same time.

The final room offers the most resistance, I wouldn't exactly say that this room is well designed, because it is flawed but how everything panned out was a real mess and I am thankful for the recovery items in here that would be deemed generous by modern standard. Another mark here is for a mastermind that actually carry a sizable amount of threat, mostly because the safe spot at the exit isn't immediately available, other cover is the bare minimum and achieving distance between yourself and the spider queen is hampered by mid-tiers coming from every other angle. 

Overall this is one of the most striking maps in the set and finally offers something more than that opening vista, good job Cammy.


Note - Technically I have played map25 on Christmas eve (It has just gone 11pm here), but I thought I would get a pass because it is Christmas. Enjoy yourselves tomorrow.

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Anything that's not Eviternity 2 (I'm not playing another PRCP 2) and gooooooo!





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+++ Back to Saturn X 3 teaser /  Pina Colada / Violence*

+++ Boomer: Beyond Vanilla / Tetanus / Altar of Madness**

+++ Abscission


(*5 + 24 + 4 = 33 maps total. Lets combine future classics with a small drop of the old one!)

(**8 + 10+ 12 = 30 maps total. Just a set of solid WADs, exactly 30 maps in total.)


Map 22,

a more detailed commentary:


1) The start of the map begs for a non-secret invisibility. (Cause hitscan is everywhere)

But the rocket launcher library is really exciting in 2023 version!


2) The incidental fights in the hub really make this map feel longer and slower than it should be.

Revs are a real pain in this area. Pain elementals and cacos don't help too.

I think that all land based revs and angry meatballs would be better replaced by arachnos.

Less running in circles, more diving in and out of cover, please.


3) The revenants around west and east doors are also a pain to dismantle, thanks to all the curved rockets they can launch. Hitscan, like in the OG map, would be more fun in those circumstances. Or maybe even a lone archvile on one of the platfroms...


4) The East side area (Red Key) holds all the goodies, including the BFG and all the secrets. I think, an opposite setup would be more efficient, given the map. The east area also hides some wolfenstein guards, but too few to notice... Dunno, what to think


5) The West side area (Yellow Key). It is a really boring place. OG 1996 map put a BFG and more a squad of Wolfestein Guards here. I think a BFG + 40 cells would be welcome in this area in annivessary version. And would also replace the 4 hell knights on squares with 4 revs on squares. In that composition, the revs are much more exciting.


6) The big Arena (Blue Key). The BFG access makes a huge difference here. Another reason to place a second BFG to the yellow key area. Also, the Blue Key arena would really benefit from about 200 easily accessible cells, and better healing/armor opportunities (something like a second armor + second supercharge).


7) Wolfenstein weirdness: The Wolfestein Guards are here, as they were in the 1996 version. But unlike map 19, and especially map 09, they feel kinda wasted this time around... This late in the WAD, a dedicated wolfentein set-piece would feel right at home! Something like Viles/HKs/Cacos/WolfenGuys arena fight. Or maybe a simple wolfenstein+arcvhile guard tower/firing gallery.


Pesonal notes: I admire many of the changes in 2023 version, and I especially like that Blue Key is now connected to a grand battle.

Yet still, right now I prefer 1996 version gameplay. Like @Cutman 999 said, current 2023 version has too much Later Alien Vendetta incidental fights in it, and they really slow everything down.


Map 23,

a more detailed commentary:

After playing the map23 2 times, and also checking the 1996 version, I kinda like what @Cammy is going for...

However, the current state of the level feels notably under-cooked.


1) Starting area.

Like others have said, 8 caco ambush is far too beefy to feel fun without the SSG at hand. I think this trap should activate after the player gets the SSG + Yellow Key and returns back to the grand staircase. The dangers of YK section are respectable on their own, even without cacos chasing the player.


2) The red key archvile squad.

When I was entering form the south, this room was a fun fight. I cleared the other demons in advance, and was able to aim for the archviles, when they finally joined the fray. But when I entered from the west, the whole didn't work effectively. I was at a mercy of rng: taking a clear shot at archviles was often impossible, because the other fat demons were body blocking. To make the archie fight fun, the west room needs some powerful non-secret item (Invuln maybe? Or berserk + Megarmor?).


3) The water section at the South-East.

Two viles are overkill, IMO. The room is purely optional, the hitscanner galleries are nasty, and there is not much cover from the zaps.

I feel like 1 vile would be scary enough in this section...


4) The blue key section at the north east.

3 pain elementals are anti-fun inside that particular section. One would be enough to pressure the player on UV, IMO.


5) Finale

The fight is perfectly winnable without any cell weapons, as I found out. Still, the damage levels are off the charts compared to the rest of the level. IMO, something like 2 soulspheres inside sector 312 would be a worthy addition. As it stands right now, the fight relies too much on slaughter fundamentals about herding monsters and avoiding swarms of projectiles, and this feels wrong for 1996-inspired map.


Pesonal notes: I really love the exploration parts here, especially with the perfectly tuned music. Sadly, map23 has many overly beefy incidental combats straight from weaker parts of Alien Vendetta... This makes Realm of Chaos 25 map23 notably less fun than it could have been.

Edited by Azure_Horror

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A very soft +++Eviternity 2 (we haven’t done an in house play testing thread in a while, but I suspect this wad is a little too much for the start of the year).


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Map23 - Ancalagon - by Steve D and Cammy


Despite a few flaws, this is easily my favorite map so far, because I love what Cammy has done with it. Back in '96, I was very proud of the original. IMO it was my best-looking map and probably the last one I completed before release. After Nova Akropola, I aimed to make another epic map, but better and more thematically cohesive. The original got mostly positive commentary in the 2013 DWMC thread, but over time I came to see Ancalagon as a rather weak map, with a plodding pace and perhaps a bit too large. One thing it had going for it was the exploratory quality and the interesting secrets, features which Cammy exploits to the utmost in this version. By contrast, the Realm of Intensified Chaos version goes all-in for raw brutality and massive setpiece fights.


So let's take a look at the three versions of this map.


Realm of Chaos version, 1996



Realm of Intensified Chaos version, 2014



Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition version, 2023



Monster Count on UV

RoC     --  312

RoIC    --  576

RoC25 -- 467


So we start under immediate attack by a couple Imps as you hear the opening strains of The Dragon's Stigmata, Cammy's incredible midi, which sets the tone for a sinister map focusing on exploration and adventure. This is probably my favorite midi in the megawad.


The opening vista is dramatic and the action is very much like the original, except for the switch that triggers an instantly-lowering floor. I thought this was a delightful tweak that left you facing a Caco, 2 Chaingunners, and 2 Imps. You also get a Green Armor and a couple Medikits, which aren't really necessary. What you don't get is ammo. This area replaces a couple of trap sectors in the original, which held a clip and a shell box, the latter of which would have come in handy fighting Cacos and Mancs. In fact, it might be a good idea to put an SSG in here given the amount of mid-tier meat players face in the early going.


Going upstairs towards a wooden door can net you a Hell Knight in front and 8 Cacos behind in a tense battle, though it's basically like the original, which made you wait even longer for the SSG. You had to enter the guardhouse in the Yellow Key area, fighting your way through a couple of Chaingunners to get it.


As it turned out, I didn't have enough ammo and health to deal with the Manc/Spectre trap at the YK fight, which Cammy made a lock-in battle by closing Yellow Key doors. You had to get the YK to get out. Nice! But after dying twice I opened a save and went for the Red and Blue keys.


The Blue and Red Key adventure is the best part of the map. It's a very good-looking section, blending the best of the old with Cammy's new additions. One of them is an overlook in a hallway that allows a view of the dark Megasphere secret room, which looks awesome with its grey textures and tall, skinny windows letting in beams of light from the red sky. This sets a very atmospheric tone that never lets up. I'd say that this is a map where atmosphere trumps action, and you really don't see that many of these, so treasure them when they appear.


I went the Blue Key route first but actually bypassed it by accident because Cammy made some useful interconnections that allowed me to reach the Red Key first. In the process, I found the secret Fireblu room, which I deleted when I made the RoIC version, and have ever since deeply regretted. I won't spoiler secrets this time except to say that Cammy uses a mix of old-school and new-school clues.. Cammy is much more merciful than I was in this room, giving you easily-dispatched Revvies, Imps, and Chaingunners, and deleting the Manc from the descending platform, leaving you a whole load of goodies, including the Computer Map! The map shows the location of all secrets, so right away I went for the BFG, which is in this cool outdoor area that's like being in liquid redness;





I should mention that before I got here I had to go through a cool room with wall-mounted Chaingunners plus an Archie and assorted riff-raff. Again, I died the first time but prevailed on the second try. I liked that room, which had a grimy quality to it.


Surprisingly, there was no ambush on grabbing the BFG, showing remarkable restraint from Cammy and a dedication to atmosphere over brutality, or at least that's how it seems to me, as the original map forced you to fight 4 Revvies out in the open to get that BFG.


From there, I went back to the RK area and had a chance to face the infamous 3-Archie Ambush, dying on the first try but dusting them easily with rockets on the second go;





While in the RK area, I took advantage of the SS/Blue Armor secret. Big health bonuses like these made this map rather easy, to be honest. Nova Akropola was IMO significantly nastier on the action side. I also discovered a texture misalignment on the window frames;





Now I was finally ready to tackle the divisive Blue Key battle, which takes place in an outdoor area with minimal visual changes from the original, and here is where I think Cammy made some questionable decisions. First, he turned the harmless old RRock08 floor into -10% lava, and on top of that, he left all the monsters and goodies down there, resulting in groan-worthy SSGing of 4 Pinkies from above. This was something we often did back in the day, a truly dreadful practice of which I was guilty in Nova Akropola and Venom, for certain. My advice, Cammy, is to either go back to a harmless floor, or at least get rid of all the monsters and goodies down there, unless you give us a radsuit.


The Plasma Gun secret is in this room, and it will come in handy if you can get it before springing a big trap.


Getting up on the Baron Tower involves riding a lift that goes all the way down to the lava, when instead it should stop at the Flat5_2 wooden floor. I suggest adding a control sector unless there's reasons that it won't work. Once upstairs, we get to a couple more issues, of which the most important is jumping for the plainly visible secret SS. This is a very awkward SR40 jump through a narrow opening. It took me 8 tries to make it. Good thing I'm a savescummer! ;) This method of accessing the SS is different from the original and something I considered for RoIC before I went back to the original way.


In the tower, you press a switch that lowers the Blue Key and also pops up a small horde of Cacos and PEs. Pretty slick trick, I must say! Even with the PG and SS, this fight can be hairy unless you get out of that tower before the fliers mob you. I was happy with this battle. It's very mean-spirited, which I like. 


From here, I stopped at another secret area to tank up on ammo, then went after the secret Megasphere. The room hosting it is even cooler looking from inside than from above. I really love it. It's not a friendly room, as you'll discover when it pops up galleries of angry hitscanners on the ledges above you. Leaping lizards, Batman! Be careful to avoid waking up 2 Archies as you dodge around, and take out that Arachnotron sharing the water with you. Nice hectic fight here. Once I figured out how to get the Megasphere -- nice because I was down to 26% -- it was time to leave this beautiful room and get the Yellow Key. With all the health and firepower at my disposal now, this fight was almost easy, but I still took some fireballs in the face. Getting out of there and going to where I could raise a bridge to the Blue Door, however, was a super-long backtrack, which could have been avoided if Cammy added a lift in the Rocket Launcher Intestine Floor Room like the one in RoIC. This would make the map even more nonlinear than it already is, plus lower the blood pressure of annoyed players. ;D


Once I crossed the bridge, I hit a drop-floor -- still there after all these years -- which IMO adds a little spice to the occasion, since you get trolled a bit by hitscanners and Imps. Once you terminate these pests it's time for the big show up above, as Cammy gives us another slaughtery fight, even meaner in some ways than the last one in Nova Akropola, though I only died once. The way to victory for me was behind my belching Plasma Gun, which allowed me to cut through Revvies and Imps, blast Arachnotrons, and generally make a nuisance of myself. Meanwhile, King Cybie was dueling plenty of riff-raff out in the lava pond, killing most of the monsters for me, although in one poorly-timed movement, I managed to get char-broiled by a Manc, which dropped me to 6% health. Panic!!!! :D Cybie took him out for me and I managed to get myself back up to 26% before dueling him, again with my PG, which ran out of juice and forced me to merk the bastard with rockets. I then grabbed the Mega I'd left outside and took this victory pic;





All in all, I had a great time with this map. Cammy's tweaks and changes made this a new map for me. This was especially true of the E1-like interconnections he made that tied the map together and made the whole experience feel cohesive. The Dragon's Stigmata was like a carrier wave floating me along on a pleasant, if ominous, and occasionally quite deadly adventure. Still, I only died about 5 times on a map with 467 monsters, a sure sign that it's pretty easy.  I'm not complaining, though. This is a map dripping with atmosphere, loaded with secret areas to explore, and it should be taken for the adventure map that it is. If you want raw brutality, wait for the RoIC version, you'll be well served, perhaps too well for many players. ;) So let it be said, I really enjoyed playing this map. Yes, the atmosphere, music, and new interconnectedness meant that much to me. If Cammy takes care of the issues that I and others have mentioned, especially if he adds a free PG and an earlier SSG, this map will sing for more people. Also, you have a bucketload of Imps in the blood-moat at the Red Key fight, and thanks to infinite-tallness they prevent players from jumping into the side wings if they enter from the south. You probably only need one on each side.


Next, I'll go back in time and start posting my Map09 and 19 commentaries.

Edited by Steve D

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Voting time.


+++Ultimate Doom In Name Only (Yeah, I know cannonball and Dobu probably never want to lay eyes on this again) :D 

+++Good Morning Phobos

+++Eviternity 2

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Merry Christmas! Enjoy your flesh castle map. Thanks to Steve and @Azure_Horror for the in-depth commentary on the past couple maps. I'm VERY interested to see what people will think of map26. ;)


I anticipate nothing will stand a chance against Eviternity 2 (perhaps rightfully), but I'm going to try to make things interesting either way:

+++Ultimate Doom in Name Only


+++Boomer: Beyond Vanilla / Tetanus / Altar of Madness

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Couple offbeat votes:


+++ 2022 A Doom Odyssey

+++ Endless Torture

+++ 3 episodes: Rupture / Knee Deep in 2023 / Solve et coagula

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+++ Eviternity 2 - I'll be honest, i just want to play this to test the wad and save future time of mine, if not is going to pass a trillion years until i play it.

+++ Good Morning Phobos - Completed it in 2022, interested in revisiting it in both the original release and the 2021 version, the last one is where i completed GMP originally and i want to have an excuse to see the different maps in both versions. Also, to see if I can beat the grind of Hybrid Excalibur saveless.

+++ 10x10 / DBP39: AUGERZENITH (21 + 12 = 33 maps) - I also want an excuse to play diet sunder lmao, I only survived until map03 and then never played it again. In the case of auger zenith I was kind of doing a playthrough, but I'm too lazy to play the whole thing trough while I'm trying to play, replay and produce a lot of shit in once, so for laziness let's include it with a 10x10 or another wad and let me kill 2 birds in one shot.


MAP24 - “Burnt Guts” by Slava Pestov


10 minutes of fun, that's all I want. Although I feel the map is a little clunky, especially in enemy placement which is the stereotype I heard Hell revealed 2 being called, you know "How many monsters can we fit into every square inch of this map?". The start is kind of hard and somehow easy to get lost, unless you go to the very cramped pilar area in which a small door is located, after that is kind of fluid incidental combat all the way through, and I say this more as a positive than a negative because compared to how boring and slow the last maps were, is refreshing to see straightforward progression.



I like the fireblue landscape room, with a decent ambush like the double archvile squad after you killed everything in the room. The yellow key fight is very simple but decently entertaining as well, the super charge fight earlier in the map is also kind of engaging. Overall, not bad, Cammy's Accelerating midi makes it stand up a bit more.




MAP25 - “Castle of the Hell Knights” by Antoni Chan


This map is so fucking weird, and I ended up liking it. For some reason it reminds me of sunlust map17, mostly because of the aesthetics, but the combat is similar to what is present there, well because is not incidental but settled up. Especially that weird double cyberdemon with hell knights and mancubi reminds me of that kind of encounter design. Actually, fun map, tricky fights with no space like the hell knight crusher room, only under tuned encounter is the 2 bruiser brothers with the crusher in the middle




MAP26 - “Above and Below” by Rob Berkowitz


Lord, how to begin. This map is complete chaos (You get it, the wad is named realm of chaos, laugh, laugh). I'm unsure to consider this complete garbage, or a fun gimmick map in a weird amalgamation of hell revealed and Iikka Keränen's requiem maps. Ignoring the obviously crappy texturing first and the absolute crime against humanity that is the layout, the combat is not that bad, since almost everything wakes up at once. this forms ever-flowing incidental encounters, making the map never stop its momentum, creating a fun dynamic of sometimes tricky encounters not allowing you to just bust the sniper enemies on the ledges that protects the switches. I'm conflicted between the weird design decisions, the unnecessary red and blue key that just punishes the player if they don't have any form of proper equipment, but I won't tell i didn't kind of enjoyed the map.


Btw cammy this is my favorite midi of the wad because how out of place it feels, is like a grungy tune you would likely find in a fucking wario game. Definitely saving this in my midi collection.



Edited by Cutman 999

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Map 25: Castle of the Hell Knights

by Antoni Chai


Another Castlevania-esque midi? This one is quite fun and so is the map. Some of the flesh usage and Icon of Sin are quite experimental but the map itself plays kind of normally. Thats a big collection of hell knights with barely any room for rockatage. Cool final room too, although I would save the hidden invulnerability for the second stage with the mastermind and Cacodemond

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MAP26: Above and Below by Rob Berkowitz


Sorry, Cammy, I appreciate your work on this project, but some things are just impossible to salvage. Above and Below is a series of identical square rooms loaded with monsters - hell nobles, pinkies and chaingunners mostly. You have two tast to complete to finish this map. First, you need two keys, accessible from the east and west side of the map. The blue key room has you defending against revenants and flying monsters over a pool of lava (it's the only part of the map I like), the red key teleports you to a room with an archvile, revenant and the sole cover behind their backs.


With both keys, you have to traverse through a string of platforms, engaging in a cycle of raising one bridge, killing nearby monsters and repeating this ad nauseam. The worst offender is when you try to press a switch only to have an archvile appear in your face. With no cover. On top of two dead hell knights. It's the worst map of ROC25 - repetitive, boring and I can't offer any ideas on how to improve it. The original concept is just so bad Above and Below would need scrapping and replacing with a completely different map, but I understand that would go against the project's spirit.

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Map 26: Above and Below

by Rob Berkowitz


The 90s called, and they want their gimmcky square pits back. I'm not kidding, that's all there is beyond the limited ammo stores and surprisingly hefty amounts of nobles. Good luck on establishing a foothold though, at least until picking up all teh weapons because at some point, we will have to plunge into the dungeon below, enter a door on each side and engage in some rather lame fights. Ok, the way the RK room teleported us in front of an Arch-vile and Revenant with a narrow pillair was kind of nice, but most other situations here were either unfair (this one chaingunner should have killed us a bit more, but we somehow popped him from 200 feet away, we barely killed an Arch-vile first try with 19 plasma shots and one SS blast) or tedious. Although props for sound propagation because a Mancubi in a secret chamber opened the door here, allowing us to score a nice Megaarmor and some other materials. Once again though, the midi delivery is top-notch, mixing a piano riff into a Touhou-esque tune that starts out with a sort of Turok-like mono synth like I heard in the MFG38 midi that was included in the Ultimate midi Pack. This is still the megawad's worst map and its not even close.




Edited by LadyMistDragon

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Gonna be very short today.


Map 25 - Castle of the Hell Knights by Antoni Chan and Cammy

I really love the visuals, the crushers and the finale.

- The visuals are detailed and beautiful.

- The crushers are an additional efficient weapon in the player's arsenal. Usually the crushers are too gimmicky and/or insignificant for this. And even if they are not - they are often deployed as "must exploit" way to win. But in Castle of the Hell Knights the crushers are neither weak, nor obligatory to use. This is so much fun!

- The final room manages to combine old-school fight design and some modernist challenge-wad tropes (heavy firepower from enemies, attacks from many sides, infight-conductive monster placement, relatively confined space). Cozy and old-school, yet fresh and unexpected.

All in all, map 25 felt really great to play.


MAP26 - Above and Below by Rob Berkowitz and Cammy

Part of me wishes to have a faster heavy weapon access and some non-secret armor.

But a different part of me admires the current map 26 for its strong commitment to old-school design tropes, and thinks that the map is very good already.


But both parts agree that the whole "two vertical levels" design scheme is done very well on Map26.

Seems like a big part of design space, which is still left unexplored...

Curious map. I had fun playing it.

Edited by Azure_Horror

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I decided to jump on this late. The cacowards as usual cause me to play some Doom, and this seemed like a good wad to play. I won't have a lot of time so I'll be saving, but still trying to go for 100% kills unless it's not possible or worth it. I'll also do an appropriate amount of secret hunting, but I'll probably just look in the editor if I can't find them after a reasonable amount of searching. The idea here is to have fun, not to try to prove anything. I never played the original, except I did play the first level or two at one point to check it out. I probably like old 90s wads more than a lot of people, so let's see how this goes.


I'm using DSDA-Doom 0.27.5 cl 2. I'm using pistol starts on UV. I'm also using RC2 of the wad, since I started late.


These will be pretty brief, due to lack of time.


MAP01 - Oh, new sprites and colors! I don't remember this from the original, but looking in the zip shows a separate wad for them. It's possible I just forgot. (Later: Oh, it seems Cammy drastically increased the number of recolored sprites. I didn't know this until I went reading this thread.) This map started out a bit boring, but after I grabbed the red key things became more fun. I found a secret berserk early on, but I don't know what triggered it exactly. Forming the pentagram at the end was fun. Pretty easy map, as expected.


MAP02 - Found the first secret almost immediately, and then promptly died to the hell knight duo. I did a much better job of avoiding them the second time, and was able to kill them leaving the goodies untouched. Had some fun punching some demons, but then started getting stuck on the geometry. Nearly died trying to punch out a hell knight, since I'm no decino. But another berserk pack erased my mistakes. Ended up having to raise bridges at the end just like the last map, but this time we get a simple cross rather than a pentagram. Another easy map for the most part, although that first secret surprised me.


MAP03 - The hot start is forgiven due to the early SSG. I had the baron duo half dead before I found the crusher switch just in time to keep me from getting bored. My first encounter with a mancubus started out with him shooting me through a wall. I'll never stop hating that bug. Ran into a few cacodemons and decided to go secret hunting while they meandered over to SSG range. Immediately found the soulsphere in the initial room. I had seen it earlier but didn't bother to look for it. Left the mud pit and my three cacodemons were right there waiting for me to end their suffering. Making my way to the red key room found me triggering a pretty exciting trap with monsters coming in from all over. I had plenty of shells to deal with it. Killing the two hell knights at the end was a bit annoying. I went back to find the last secret. I could tell there was something behind the slimefall since bullets wouldn't show up when shooting it, but it still took me a bit to find the cleverly hidden switch. Still a pretty easy map, but more exciting than the previous two.


MAP04 - Well that's a spicy start. I run around letting things begin infighting, and then hit the switch to add to the chaos. It works out, and many of the monsters just kill each other. The arachnotrons in the next room proved too much for my lackadaisical attitude, and so I got to start the map over again. The second time went much as the first, but this time I found the secret with the plasma rifle. I didn't let the spider get me the next time. The level turned into a zombie slaughter with the chaingun for a bit, which was satisfying. The red key trap was easily dispatched.


Unfortunately, after clearing the caco-cloud and exploring a bit more, the auto-aim turned out to be my worst enemy as a rocket went into a wall. I didn't bother trying to restart from the beginning this time. Clearing the caco-cloud the second time didn't work out well for me, but I did survive, though barely. Eventually I made my way to lift that dropped me behind some arch-viles. I noped out of there and went to go grab the megasphere I had seen before. Going back, I cleared out the room. It's a good thing I didn't come in the other way...


MAP05  - This is a fun, high intensity map with a explosive start. If you manage to survive the initial company of shotgunners, you'll get your health back in the next room. Surviving can be tricky though. The rest of the map is a fun romp, with a fun difficulty level that didn't feel particularly challenging but didn't bore me either. This map makes use of a multi-floor elevator, which in some maps annoys me but was used well here. Somehow I managed to find all of the secrets without having to actually hunt for them.


Note: I didn't find the initial fight in this map to be a problem. I just started by getting on the left side of the room near the barrels and using them to blow a hole through the company. Most of them die to just that. You still take some damage, but it really isn't that bad.


MAP06 - This is a fun map with a bunch of secrets. Half of the monsters are hidden in an optional secret fight, and I had a blast looking for all of the secrets and then unlocking that fight. The fight itself is a great reward for all of the time it took to find it, although it is pretty easy. This was probably my favorite secret hunt that I've been on in a long while. I didn't die at all, and for the vast majority of the map I didn't even feel threatened, so it was pretty easy. I didn't get bored though.


MAP07 - This map goes by pretty quick despite the monster count. It's a bit meaner than the previous levels. I ended up giving up trying to find the secrets, they are very well hidden and I could only find one on my own. One particular door was afflicted by HOM, and in general this level didn't seem as polished as the previous ones. At least it's not yet another dead simple clone.


MAP08 - This is a simple tricks and traps homage with some really fun and tricky fights. For some reason the arch-vile really gave me a lot of trouble, while the cyberdemon and mastermind tussle didn't. I ended up finding all of the secrets pretty easily too.


Also, what's with a single imp being alerted in another room when you start the map? I noticed it when I started the level to listen to the music at one point.


MAP09 - As much as this level has some cool looking rooms, it doesn't really seem to fit together very well. There's definitely no ammo shortage here either... you have so much ammo you can pretty well just use whichever weapon you prefer. With how the map is named I was expecting something more chaingun focused. It has some rocking music though, and a few mean traps. At the end I thought the map design was going to cut me out of exploring for more secrets, but there is a helpful window you can just squeeze through. The arrow in the nukage border pointing at one of the secrets was funny. I can't say I liked the out of service teleporter in the nukage though...


MAP10 - This is by far the shortest map so far. The start was pretty intense, and the pinky trap with the berserk was hard. I barely survived the pinkies because I got really unlucky with punch damage, but I made it through thanks to the secret soulsphere.


Overall I enjoyed this first ten maps quite a bit, despite some of the 90s jank. The music really elevates this wad, so far I keep going back to listen to some of the tracks while I read this thread!

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MAP26 - “Above and Below” by Rob Berkowitz


Last time;



Intriguing idea, would work very well in co-op. The execution is about as lazy as you can get. Just a bit of shape and variation to the level would have helped it's cause. Still the combat was pretty frenetic at times.



This time;


Yeah this gimmick pretty much results in a pretty awful experience and without basically removing the map entirely and starting again, there isn't many ways of salvaging this. You have two objectives that can be done in any order, the first on the upper level revolves around building walkways to reach the exit that is locked by two keys, the second objective in the lower section is to get said keys. Well given that I fell almost immediately, I thought it would be prudent to clear the lower levels first, you get just the shotgun and chaingun to do this unless you head for the red key where you can grab the SSG. Said fight has just two monsters and it is awkward and rather annoying, funilly enough the blue key is also awkward and annoying, but you can easily flee from this trap and never waste any more time n it.

The raising platform section is slow and even if you get the SSG from the lower levels, you will find progress to be slow. Later on the rocket launcher and plasma gun can be earned, but honestly the progression still felt stilted and flat. 

From a "what can be done to improve this" perspective, you could change the raising floor action to the fast variety and you could hand out the higher tier weapons in the lower levels with the cost of offering tougher fights, that said you get no armour in this map outside of the secrets and health is thin on the ground. Both of these suggestions could make the upper level play a little better, but unfortunately I get the feeling this map isn't going to shine regardless. As it is, the map is rather dull to push through, but is also frustrating given how late the better weapons are required and the general lack of health and armour. 

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"Sorry, Cammy, I appreciate your work on this project, but some things are just impossible to salvage." - Celestin


"Curious map. I had fun playing it." - Azure_Horror


"Yeah this gimmick pretty much results in a pretty awful experience and without basically removing the map entirely and starting again, there isn't many ways of salvaging this." - cannonball


"What starts off as a super gimmicky, slow map slowly becomes my favorite endeavor from Berkowitz. Why? It had great gameplay." - dobu gabu maru


"I'm conflicted between the weird design decisions, the unnecessary red and blue key that just punishes the player if they don't have any form of proper equipment, but I won't tell i didn't kind of enjoyed the map." - Cutman999


"Map26: Aside from the fact that I don't like the map at all, no issues found." - Michael Jensen


"This one is ideally matched to my skillset and, on pistol start, delivers tense, exciting gameplay every time. Great ammo/health balance." - Steve Duff


"Fuck my uncle, this one was utter shit." - BaronOfStuff


"So overall I'd say this is something that's worth replaying, and to me that's what matters in a megawad, replayability. The best map overall would be MAP26, followed by MAP23." - NuMetalManiak


"I've got to differ with some of the positive appraisals this one received...I'm afraid I found it to be rather dire. Apart from being extremely dull to look at and explore, gameplay doesn't pan out very well (or very much), either." - Demon of the Well


"Well, I actually gave out some half-assed scores this time. So, divvying it up by author: Rob Berkowitz - Best Map: MAP26 Above and Below" - Magnusblitz


Above and Below is the most divisive map I've ever seen in Doom and it's not even close. There isn't even an IWAD map that matches it. Sure, I could have reworked it, made it more palatable to the general audience and ditch the current gimmick, but then where would all this great discussion be? More than any other level in the megawad, Above and Below is boldly, defiantly itself. I love it so, so much for that. :D

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Kind of an odd map. I like that it's just one long set piece, not many maps in the wad are like this. The gameplay in the "main quest" of raising all bridges is a bit tedious at first because of lack of variety but near the end when the map throws more monster closet ambushes and revenants which spices things up pretty well, especially the archvile at the end. I only wish it didn't use barons because they take long to kill for no reason.

I also want to add that I don't know how to feel about the enemies below the bridges you are raising. On one hand it's just fun to walk above them and hear them throw projectiles to no avail and they also force you to stay on the bridge until you get better guns, but at some point you'll have to kill them and the cleanup is actually not too bad. At first you have to be very careful not to get surrounded and keep an eye out for spectres, but as the risk of getting surrounded decreases it gets a bit more boring and the two pain elementals seemed to be just excessive.

I expected the key fights to be a lot bigger but it was actually a kind of nice surprise to see that they are very short, probably only there to force the player to go through the land enemies. The red key fight was more fun than the blue one for me, the blue one was a bit of mindless trigger-the-monster-closets-and-run-behind-the-door kind of fight. I'm mixed on the map but I think it's mostly good.



Escalating kind of map, you start with pistoling zombies and end with BFGing through large crowds. I found the progression and visuals incoherent in this map similar to some of the maps we had way earlier. I had bad sense of connection between all the areas you are going through here, oddly disjointed with not the most consistent theme, in this way it's similar to map04, just not as weird.

I've got no real complaints about the gameplay here, mentioning the one time you have to shotgun a mancubus and a hell knight would be a nitpick considering how little it affects the map because it's pretty fun all the way through, especially the ending which is slaughter but not like in the previous maps, this time your BFG ammo is very limited and so you need to use other guns too but it's made harder by how cramped you are with the amount of cacodemons here. There's also a lack of shells and rockets too, as you get to the four archviles ambush you may even be forced to chaingun them, very tough.




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