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Andrea Rovenski

(Least) Favorite IWAD?

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From favorite to least favorite:

Doom 1- Episode 1 (of course):
The level design was great, the other Doom episodes were sloppy and rushed compared to it. I've probably played through it dozens of times. The battle with the Barons of Hell is anticlimactic after you figure out how easy they are to kill, though.

The architecture was amazing, and the scripting fit in perfectly. Its a little slow at first, but the game play picks up after the first hub. Adding different classes gave it more replay value. I enjoyed the weapons, because they did something interesting instead of just throwing projectiles at the enemies. The fighter could have used some more interesting melee weapons, the weapons after Timon's Axe were just ranged weapons in disguise (kinda).

Doom 1- Episodes 2 and 3:
I've never really enjoyed playing through these two. The second episode was okay, but it just wasn't very memorable compared to the first one. The third episode was just sloppy and rushed, they should have kept the same level designer throughout the entire game. The Spider Mastermind was a huge letdown, you can bring it down with just 3 BFG shots. One thing that Doom (and Doom engine games) are missing is interesting boss fights. I've never thought that it was fun to just shoot and overgrown enemy over and over again until it dies.

I love this game, but it seems like its missing something, like they completed 90% of the game and just decided to give up. The RPG elements were lacking, I would have liked to see more things that could be upgraded, and some customization thrown in. Checkpoints would work better than ordinary save files. Also, I think that you should automatically lose/die and have to start from the last checkpoint after you alert enough guards in an area (except for certain parts of missions). Why? Because, you can alert all of the guards in the central hub, and still complete the game. You just have to deal with the guards shooting at you every time you return to the hub. It doesn't make any sense. The Doom AI in general just killed the immersion for me, the guards still shoot each other in the back every chance that they get, the enemies still just stand in place until something alerts them. The game would have been much better if they had a different AI system.

Final Doom and Doom 1- Episode 4:
I'm not sure what to say about these. I just didn't enjoy them. Evilution had average level design and was pretty forgettable overall. The Plutonia Experiment was a collection of levels with to many archviles, revenants, and chaingunners. They all had the same texturing scheme, with only a few variations, giving it an overall bland feeling. The fourth episode of Doom wasn't exactly terrible but it didn't fit in well with the other 3 episodes, they should have left it out. It also killed the storyline for Doom 1, and Doom didn't exactly have much storyline to lose.

This game is to close to being Doom, its more like a Doom mod than its own game. To top it off, the level design wasn't that great. The only thing that it really added was the inventory system and a few interesting weapons and enemies. Other than that, the game was completely forgettable.

Rise of the Triad:
I might as well put ROTT here, because it uses an IWAD and that totally makes it completely related to Doom engine games and relevant to this discussion. Anyways, I loved the weird atmosphere and weapons, but the levels just sucked. Its just a random smattering of cubes, traps, and weird floating platforms. Almost all of the enemies used (hitscan?) attacks, making them repetitive to fight. If it had more varied weapons and better level design then I would have loved it, might try making levels for it some day.

Chex Quest:
It was okay for a free game sponsored by a cereal company, but I've only playing past the first level once. Overall, it was meh.

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My least favourite Doom iwad is plutonia. It always introduces the one thing which annoyed me about doom. Mega confusion on where to go next. I'm not too bad when it comes to that nowadays but when trying to go through it I'd always get lost constantly because I've pressed something and now I got no clue where to go next.

My favorite is Ultimate Doom because I grew up with it even before Doom 2 use to play this none stop. Also it's very fun to speedrun within an hour or so.

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More or less in order of preference...

Knee Deep in the Dead: I've always been fond of these levels, and the way the space was used so marvelously in them. They now seem lacking in difficulty (especially Phobos Anomaly) but the expert design makes them still fun. Also, by keeping to the 9-level format, the authors were able to develop the signature look and feel of the episode without it wearing too thin by the end.

The Shores of Hell: More of a mixed bag; some of the levels I really enjoy playing, particularly E2M2, but others can be a bit of a slog. For the most part, though, the levels are cool-looking and fun to play, and as with E1 I think they benefit from the neatness of the 9-level format.

Doom II: The style and feel of Doom II has grown on me a lot. I used to be in the "Doom II is boring and ugly and drab and the texturing sucks" camp, but I find now that it has a lot of atmosphere of its own. The levels of course also benefit from the extended bestiary, as well as the opportunities to make the levels nice and large. It's still a mixed bag; a lot of the hell levels are disappointing (MAP21, in particular, is probably the shittiest map in the entire game) and a few others like MAP08 and MAP20 are just too gimmicky, but for any of those there are others which are well-designed, challenging and make great use of space.

Plutonia: This is one I'm always on and off about. I think that in terms of gameplay it's more solid than Doom II, but I find that the levels aesthetically just wear on me after a while. They look cool, but since they never really change their look throughout the game it becomes tiring by the end. That being said, a lot of these levels are really fun to play, and in particular MAP29 is one I can go back to over and over again.

Hexen: Better than Heretic I think; the appearance is no longer so garish and is now dark and atmospheric, and the complex style of gameplay combined with some pretty clever scripting give it a feel of its own. I can get really into Hexen, but it's one of those that's hard to just jump in and blast through like I can with Doom. The puzzles in the game can be interesting, but they can also be really fucking annoying, and I hate when I run through the same 3 maps of the same hub a million times looking for an unturned switch, an unfound artifact before giving up and looking online for some hint as to what the hell I do. Also, the arsenals of each player are too limited, and when playing as the fighter you will basically be forced to spend the first couple of hubs humping up on every enemy to beat them to death.

TNT: An interesting contrast to Plutonia. Where Plutonia suffers from too much stylistic uniformity, TNT suffers from too little stylistic cohesion: even within levels, they are all over the place in terms of appearance and design, and little seems to become fully developed. That isn't to say that the appearance and design are never good, though. There are some very clever ideas put to use in TNT, and in spite of the lack of cohesion many of the levels manage to be quite atmospheric. The new music is pretty neat (MAP04 has one of the best tracks in Doom) but the new textures are mostly weird and sometimes really ugly. The gameplay is interesting and varied.

Inferno: Disappointing, especially compared to the first two episodes of Doom. The texturing in the levels is bizarre, not always in a good way (see E3M6, excessive use of blue-and-red fire texture therein), and some of the layout is pretty sloppy. As always, there are some good levels as well, and E3M3 and E3M5 in particular I find to be fun and interesting levels. Some of the levels I think do a very good job of evoking hell, and in particular a sort of strange, semi-technological vision of hell that I quite like (it's much more convincing than the Doom II hell levels which mostly don't look like anything of the sort until MAP28). If the look had been applied to better levels in a more careful manner, this would have been a really good episode.

Heretic: I enjoyed playing through Heretic, but it's not one I often feel compelled to revisit. Unlike Hexen, I don't feel it added much to the engine (inventory aside), and while some of the levels are fun I find a lot of them to be too wandery or convoluted (in this case much like Hexen). Heretic's biggest weakness I think was in the graphics. The textures and sprites are way too brightly colored and fail to evoke much in the way of atmosphere for me. Hexen and especially Doom benefit a lot from textures which are varied in tone but still subdued, so that they can be used in a variety of settings to create a variety of feel, and Heretic's graphics just can't really do that.

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1) Heretic -> I can't understand why you guys trashed this game so much, first of all it had an interesting story, the weapons were super - all of them had sort of analogues in Doom, but every game has analogues (knife/pistol/shotgun etc.). I loved the level design more than in doom, because it had more colors, which did not annoy me, but looked to me with a certain charm. Also the inventory and the items!! Woohoo!!

2) Doom I -> the best of them all. It had lights go out and become scary in certain areas, when you get a key. Quite darky levels (atleast in episode I and II), perfect atmosphere, balanced A.I. and of course the levels were made perfectly, not like in Doom II, which I hated most of them.

3) Doom 2 -> Hated the level designs, atleast most of the levels. Loved the Suburbs level, reminded me of Doom I, which was a great thing. Quite a large map for a good shootout.

4) Hexen -> Not bad, not bad, but not too god. Loved the levels design a bit less than heretic, but still. Hated the weapons, needed a bit more..

5) Plutonia / TNT -> by far the worst. Commercial purposes and thats all.. Repetitive in all. Not interesting. Levels way to hard and paranoic. No fun, no sir.

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In terms of what I've played, Plutonia is my least favorite. The difficult-for-the-sake-of-difficulty gameplay design got kind of monotonous (even when I played it in iddqd mode as a kid), and I don't find the visual design very interesting.

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TNT: Evilution is defintley my least favourite IWAD, the level design and detailing is poor, most of the new music/textures arnt very good, I dont hate it, its just that I dont think it should have become an IWAD...

Hexen is my favourite, its different to Doom in that its more puzzle based and also I much prefer the hub to individual levels.

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-Ep1: Timeless. Even though the flat and texture selection is really limited, it managed to conjure up some very memorable scenes. In a way it's to Doom 1 as a whole to what Doom 1 is to Doom 2. Much more limited resources, but has a style and flair of its own that's often mimicked. I have to admit that when I play through KDITD, the last few levels discounting Phobos Anomaly start to tire me out a bit, due to their "heaviness".

-Ep2: The black horse and the middle grounder. The first full version episode, it pretty much brings in the rest of the unused resources and combines them together with the converting base theme, with mixed results. Petersen's aesthetic and gameplay design choices are controversial, but I have always like TSOH a lot, partly due to the amazement when I finally saw a whole new map in Doom 1. Can't forget the duel with the cyberdemon.

Ep3: Don't know, the limits of the textures came visible here. When you play through and look at the visuals with a discerning eye, you notice lots of strange things, even more so than the first two episodes. Overall it's a strange mix of techno-dark-firestone hell.


-As we know from historical media, the Second World War was fought over the theft of colors by the Nazis, so were all colors other than brown and gray stolen by the Archviles and Chaingun dudes in Doom 2. Gameplay evolves drastically from Doom 1, as the exotic monsters that differentiate significantly from the basic guys of the original are brought in. The quality of maps sways. Some are brilliant, like The Living End and Circle of Death, but on the other hand there are such piles of vertices like Suburbs and Nirvana, which is, honestly speaking, a fucking mess. The gameplay of Doom2 is widely regarded as an upgrade, but the maps are a subject of debate. I hold 1 and 2 as equals, which is saying something considering I played 2 long before the original.

-Haven't played it fully, can't say much.

-Heh.... Also known as "The Great Primeval Switch Hunt". I really like Hexen, despite its shortcomings in the puzzle department. Another thing that I don't like much is the smallness of the weapon arsenal. From what I understand, it was designed as such that you get all your weapons pretty quick, but the challenge lies in that you have to choose the right gun (sword) for the right situation. It works halfway, but something more would have been nice. There could be some kind of inventory hoarding regulation like in Heretic, and ToP also, of course.

Final Doom:
-Again can't say much, haven't really played them. IWAD status is debatable.

Overall, like I said earlier, my personal best spot is shared by Doom 1 and 2. Not saying anything about the worst, there's been too long since I gave Heretic and FD a try.

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I'll go from best to worst:
Plutonia- Beautiful maps, combination of music from doom 1&2, lots of hard battles, hard maps even from map 1. Amazing secret levels.
TNT- I loved the musics, 2-3 maps from episode 1 and the whole maps in episodes 2&3 especially map 26 and her music.
Doom1- The fact that you have a challange even against shotgunners&demons&imps etc is nice but without hell knights&revenants&fatsos doom is boring.
Doom2- Annoying maps, except for map 28 I hate doom 2.

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Marnetmar said:

I liked the atmosphere of hexen.

That was probally HeXen's biggest strong point. I personly like HeXen a lot. I'm not very fond of Strife's level design though.

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Strife is my all time favorite IWAD. The story, the atmosphere, the weapons, the locations and the innovations built on the doom engine are considerable. The game does lose a bit of steam by the time you get to the factory but other than that it's easily in my top three games of all time. Shame it came out in 1996 rather than 1995, at least then it wouldn't have had Quake to make look like somewhat of a technological dinosaur.

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My least favorite IWAD is the shareware Doom IWAD. Episode 1 is a nice mapset with some great levels (in particular, the atmospheric E1M7), but there are some even better maps in the next UDoom episodes, in Doom2, in TNT and especially in Plutonia. My personal least favorite IWAD level is TNT21, but the rest of Evilution isn't too bad at all.

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