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Katamori

What are you playing now?

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In the middle of a couple WADs right now:

 

Nic Monti's Back to 1994 (HMP), which purports to recreate the feeling of old-school WAD-making. It both succeeds and fails at this: Its success lies in the use of ridiculous sprite and sound replacements that very much evoke the "because I can" attitude of 90s PWADs. They're totally dumb, but also very well-implemented, and I was completely adjusted to them by the end of E1M1. Where the project "fails" is that these are still very much modern Monti maps, both in architecture, progression, and combat (for better or worse!) which is basically a plus, in my book (at least for the first two of those.) Each map also contains exactly 10 secrets, and in a neat twist, unlocking each reveals a giant mural of either a political caricature or an philosophical quote. Best moment so far for me is the map (forget which at the moment) that starts you in a small town in Argentina where you enter some massive underground caverns, eventually making your way to the (very DoomCute) airport. Eventually, you take another network of tunnels back to town, where you open up a highway leading directly back to the airport and your plane ride out. The highway visual is awesome, with the road before you, flat plains stretched out to either side, and the cityscape sky texture wrapping from horizon to horizon. Great stuff.

 

I also (finally!) just started Exomoon Director's Cut (HMP) after having fallen in love with its soundtrack two years ago. I was initially scared off by the difficulty (every test run to make sure my shortcut was set up properly resulted in MAP01 absolutely obliterating me) so I put off starting in, but last year's release of the slightly-less-difficult Director's Cut saw me vow to play it soon, and then flipping through some old Cacoward writeups the other day I saw its soundtrack mentioned, and knew I had to dive in. Anyway! Yeah, it's still really tough! The levels are large and wide-open, and even if not particularly nonlinear, the space makes it feel pretty sandbox-y. But all that space means there's baddies plinking away at you from all sides at all times, with a very Plutonish use of chaingunners and revenants, and often starting a map means running for your life while trying to carve out a little foothold, which can be fun, but gets exhausting every map. Thankfully, playing continuous mitigates this a bit. But the combat is still quite manageable, and the geometry and texturing are gorgeous. (And of course, the soundtrack is absolutely baller.)

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playing Doom 2 In Name Only, with DoomRL arsenal (currently with the shotgun class). I was enjoying it until about map 20 and from then on the only reason I am enjoying is because I got a infinite BFG that clears rooms in a flash, because even on ITYTD this is way too hard for me to enjoy.

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Second part of my Oops! All Techbase brief commentary: 

 

Spoiler

31. Title is self-explanatory, however I'm not sure how much liberty there is in the choices. Some have no reliable way back without a potential death from the  teleport delay. Ended up doing BFG first followed by chainsaw, netting me the only armor in the map, then the rest. Last area is the real tricky. No music replacement is a turnoff. 

 

32. Clausterfuck start was good, rng saved me at the drop with shotgunners around. Few homages here and there, from AV, Requiem (I think?), probably something else. Early BFG claim its role halfway, lots of cells to spare. Fine stuff.

 

16. Ah, cool setting. Baron trap was by far my favourite. Was lucky at the archvile+HKs trap rocket dps was on point. There was one monster closet later with boxes of rockets I couldn't jump in it (still can't, is it an sr50 or what?). Final ambush was a little meh, too easy to cheese, not like there were other options.

 

17. Interesting, I completely bypassed the plasma gun through the entire map. So I sawed a revenant twice. Map reminded me a lot to Roofi's design, evil traps for a blind playthrough, tan rock textures aplenty, no doomcute trees but still. Automap usage payed off (BFG). 

 

18. Not much to say, little uneventful. Frontal combat was okay, though past the RL things get dull. One pinky ambush spawned when I hit a lava fall, huh?. A trio of revenants walked towards a crusher as soon as I opened a door, again huh??. Looks are decent. 

 

19. Ooh the sd20x6 midi, nice! Really pretty setting, so music worked delightfully imo. Standout was the crusher trap. I found the BFG right before so shit vanished quickly. Normally I don't complain about impassable lines on scenery but too bad you can't jump down at the exit area, vanilla restrictions I know.

 

20. Much better from Walter. Some lucky hitscan rng I got here and there. Tricky soulsphere secret. I think the last ambush of pinkies plus archvile can be completely ignored, not sure. Cute boat.

 

21. Fun formal introduction to HAK1800's mapping. Really neat intricate layout if sometimes combat turns into peekaboo mid HP things. Loved the secret detour to soften a latter fight, I found it at the end but still the idea was cool. That soulsphere secret hint though, hmm.

 

22. Interesting, this is how I'd imagine a spider mastermind would build the UAC so she can actually walk in it, because space feels so granted yet for me personally combat in large spacious areas usually weirds me out. Can't say fights don't work, they are samey, but functionally dynamic for a change of pace.

 

23. Like a KTDID inspired layout, including subtle homages. Stuff is decent, though no music replacement is a minus, since the og track doesn't fit.

 

24. Holy moses, this is a mapping style I don't see every day. Hard to explain, almost everything feels mm, wild, free, no strings attached. A map with strong personality, so to speak. Loved how it remained hairy uncomfortable til the end. Unexpected traps, freeform geometry, I'd like to see more from this style. Good thing I saved the invulnerabiltiy on the ship, a latter setup looked too rng for my taste. No music replacement, yet no complaints.

 

25. Your middle epic adventure in a community project by default. Really good stuff with lots of ideas blending well with each other, secrets aplenty. Favorite fight the "Tricks n' Traps"-ish concrete room with just SG-CG, mini crowd control/tight quarters. No point of return locked me out of the two missing secrets -including one blue armor I left for later. Oh well, fun times.

 

26. Reminded me to TNT's map "Mill", prominent squared shapes. Quite the high pinky count there. Lovely secrets.

 

27. Plasma gun centric? Good. Jumpscare revs alert, good. Almost no pressure from the combat, not that good. I mean, most revenants and spectres couldn't reach me. Killed the cyb with plasma before I knew of the BFG though. That OP secret reminded me to Perdition's Gate. Visuals were solid.

 

28. Bonus points for being a void-esque map. Cool slaughter type fights. No armor and no hitscanners, good combo. I cheesed a revenant swarm near some stairs for the better. How I managed to never ever die is beyond me. Wished there was a midi replacement.

 

29. Amazing stuff. The midi is great. Like map 24, it has a strong personality too, just more connected to the typical buildup of a 29th map. Plenty point blank traps, heavily guarded goodies, scary rooms via dim lighting, etc. Took my time to make things safer for me, map seemed more adequate for careful strategies. Important things, computer broke its secret probably because of a change effect action, and the triggers of the BK chair broke too, monsters remained stuck in their closets.

 

30. Hmm, not sold on this. Thing placement seemed lazily made to me, waaaaay too much ammo of types you don't even need, and key rooms prefaced with invuls or thousands of cells so no real pressure. Finale has infinite height issues - blind drop on cybs, tall lifts you have to jump down with high potential of getting stuck on monsters, no armor to recover from that happening. At least it's short.

 

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Played the first four maps of Back to Saturn X! Great stuff, been on my to play pile for a long long time. Really cool music too, terrific terrific maps all around.

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After getting tired of D2INO, I decided to play freedoom, since I had never played it before. Still kinda getting used to the monster sprites (in my humble opinion the worst thing about the game) but I am enjoying the gameplay : intense but never hard! 

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Played Ezekiel few days ago, then Demonfear, and now halfway into 1994 Tune-Up CP.

 

Commentary about Ezekiel, in the same format I've been using:

 

Spoiler
  1. First of all, dig the status bar. TFC aesthetic is usually a win for me. Pretty nice fights, SG works for the most part, until the final archvile+pinkies was a bit grindy to my taste. Cool midi.
  2. Great stuff. Wood, marble, rocks, slime, bits of red here and there, og doom midi, a win already. Lovely SSG combat. Rev spam was good. Finale's first 30 seconds definitely went quicker thanks to a secret I found by accident. First death on a mancubus because I pressed the windows key which screwed up Crispy :D
  3. A tribute to "circle of death" maybe? Some fun old-school vibes, though both an imp and a pinky hordes lacked spice - for the pinkies I literally stood there with only one finger resting on the shoot button. Guess the RL "secret" shouldn't even be secret, otherwise the rev encounter is weird with all the boxes of rockets laying symmetrically on the ground. GG at the finale when chaingunners took more rockets to die than I expected to. Also found a library room full of shells, lol wut.
  4. Ah, something spicier. Not the most fitting music though aesthetics were on point. Kinda slaughtery combat, cool. Revenants on platform were rocket fodder, bad thing for me since I had none for the archvile duo in almost zero cover - had to skip them. Bullet spam and infinite height of PE sandwiched me to death at the end. 
  5. Oooh, new setting! Thanks to Crispy's support of the boom special, I got the intended sky. High Requiem/Memento Mori vibes here, a plus. Could easily pass as a Valkiriforce map if it had a dozen more chaingunners. What's with these helpless pinky hordes? Missing potential for a cool trap with them. Great music.
  6. Welp, talk about an unlucky start, 1% health for over 10 minutes, until a bit of mandatory slime killed me. Oh well, that's Doom. Setting was gorgeous, love the vistas and some darkness. Secret shells gallery served for multiple functions - both recharging, cover and processing a thonk. Quite the HKs/imps tight trap there. Nice vanilla bridges. The bit with the BK had a glitch in the ceiling for some reason. Would have preferred another midi tbh.
  7. Spooky ambiance. These moldy castles are great but no og midis work in them imo, probably better with Eternal Doom music. Anyways, more chewy hordes. Fights have a cinematic appeal in how they're presented. First one -pink/tan horde- is "by the numbers", though you do need to herd stuff away from ammo. Outdoors is kind of relaxing. Last one is a little frantic because "random" mancubi fireballs. Pistol starters may roll their eyes at the last secret.
  8. The slaughtery continues. Cacodemon horde is the highlight, came by surprise in the middle of a "talk" with the guardian. Almost freaked out when the last door opened, thank fuck there were only two archviles (dead cacos everywhere!). Characteristic 40oz openness, seen this rocky areas design in DB projects where he had maps in them. Soulsphere eluded me, unless I had to call for assistance then meh.
  9. :O :O :O Impressive job there at recreating the E3 cutscene with Daisy. And with actual gameplay, holy sheep. Tension was somewhat high, what could jump out of nowhere and shit. Finding good weapons was a thing. Missing the RL was another thing, obviously it had to be hidden in the last nook I didn't explore before!! Ah well, half the cacos froze at the SMM at least. Nice ending stretch revisiting the portal from the first map, only taking to somewhere else...

 

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As I finished doing the Top 10 maps from 1994 (as listed in 10 Years of Doom), I figured I'd try out 1995! I've already played Fava Beans once before, so I decided to make my test randomiser mod for The Ultimate Doom a but more fair, assigned some weightings to make the more dangerous variants less common than the stock/easy versions and fired it up! It actually got pretty difficult after a while, which was the intention, with E1M6 being dangerous, and several deaths in E1M7. I might have to try it with some more 90s Doom maps and see if there's any further tweaks to make!

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just finished RR2 : Powertrip, I might replay this in a higher difficulty one of these days since I enjoyed it so much.

I'm also playing Demonfear for the DWMC, at a pace of 2 maps a day.

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Continuing with my exploration of the Top 10 from 1995, I had a look through Boothill and Fistful of Doom a few days ago - they both feel like reasonably good starts to a "Western" theme, but they both seemed to underestimate how often you'd hear that sound sample from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (replacing the weapon pickup sound in Boothill and one of the Zombie deaths in Fistful). They also both reused some of their maps in different lighting for different themes, which is nice to see, but not much good from a playing perspective. Boothill being a DM set also isn't much good for me, as a single player! Still, pretty cool for the time.

 

I've since gone onto Obituary, playing through Compendium. I'm on MAP10, I think, so over halfway through. The powered-up Imps are pretty cool, and an idea I'm playing around with myself as well, but those rocket zombies... Playing on UV, the maps feel a bit long and very dense, particularly as an unnoticed rocket zombie can knock a huge chunk off of the usual 90s oversupply of health and armour very easily! I like the sprite work and the idea, though, so might experiment with it myself for my Ultimate Doom mod to try and make them a bit more reasonable. Anyway, the maps are... Well, not great, TBH. Inventive, and with some nice custom textures, but I'm not having a particularly enjoyable time. Actually the same thing I thought when I was playing Perdition's Gate in Compendium too, come to think of it - we're spoiled, these days! Unlike PG, I'll finish Obituary, though, as I know I'm getting there.

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Finished Obituary! I found the secret level and played that too, which felt a bit proto-slaughtery. Not a big fan of the set, overall, and kind of wish Compendium had the optional weapons mod included (just for variety's sake). Or, if it did, that I'd found it and enabled it. MAP13, for some reason, has this fantastic looking room secreted away in it:

Screenshot_Doom_20201013_174226.png

 

There's basically nothing else like it in the whole map set, which makes it stand out all the more. Of course, it's just a bog standard Cyberdemon arena with a key in it, but it looks amazing, particularly for the time!

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Went digging through my unplayed folder and found Yab--not bad, but I wasn't prepared for the exit...will replay despite the chaingun sound replacement (it's not awful but that's the one sound I'd never changed out of the original game).

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Currently at half of No End in Sight. Quite fun, with some awesome looking levels and quite challenging. Also going my way in the rpg-like TC Abysm 2, full of fantastical moments and a moody setting.

 

After those, I might continue with DBP series and play some other popular WADs that I haven't checked.

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Over a year ago I sat down and played the pwad "End Game" by "Swedish Fish" et al. Today I played Map04. Playing on Itytd.

 

Fun fact: everytime I am hurt by an imp fireball it is because my nose was itching. Other highlights include me misreading a trap and saving the situation in the blink of an eye and, then a shy revenant who refused to say hello until I took the initiative.  Looking at the .lmp using cheats I see something very weird: the revenant appears to be glued to the door and I've never seen that before.

 

The switch to raise the thin exit bridge escaped my viewfield so I did a victory lap around the map.

 

There is a double switch puzzle thing going at one point, then we get a lightamp to take the edge of a low light fight despite just being given a soul sphere. I elected not to take the former. Actually there are two soul spheres in this map.

I am uncertain if the plasma rifle is given too late or I just missed it because it would have been handy when you grab the soul sphere before the big fight.  The Rocket launcher saved the day here.

 

I completely forgot about secrets and I let one spectre survive.

 

FDA

https://easyupload.io/m0q2uu

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Busy with Scythe for the first time. just finished map 13. I'm having a good ol time with these, can see why it's been such a popular pwad. It's kinda weak on the setting front, am I in hell? am I on a moon? it's hard to tell amidst the sea of poo brown bricks. 

 

Also been playing this set called KINDa.wad I have no idea who it's by or where I got it. but I'm only three maps deep. the third map gets much harder than I'm used to. but the design and architecture is pretty fucking cool.

 

Also rerunning through the IWADs for the first time in over 10 years.

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For the last week or so I've been replaying No End In Sight for the second (and a half) time, going for UV and 100% secrets. When I did my first playthrough a few months back, I was intimidated and often frustrated by the wad even on HMP, whereas now I blasted through it with relative ease, with only occasional moments of swearing at the monitor and cursing NT and co. under my breath. I'm nearly done with the wad (currently on E4M4), and yet there still seems to be No End In Sight.

 

I'm also playing D2TWiD properly for the first time, and am on MAP14. I think I must have played the first eleven or so maps at least three times by now, and every time I've yeeted at the first sight of the city levels. Now, having played Doom II's second episode and come to appreciate the concept of city levels, I decided to give the wad another shot. I was not disappointed. I find it to be a very enjoyable megawad, which in many ways feels like a more competent Doom II, with better architecture and higher difficulty. Standout maps for me so far include MAP05: The Boiler, by Pavera, a really nice, compact little map with a fantastic industrial atmosphere and a good grasp on the spirit of McGee's first six maps, MAP06: The Gorge, by esselfortium, which feels exactly like one of John Romero's D2 maps but far more refined and (dare I say) fun, MAP08: Quarantine, by Tarnsman, a true heir and successor to Refueling Base (one of the more interesting maps of D2 in my opinion), MAP11: The Garrison, also by Pavera, which, like MAP06, feels like a more refined John Romero map, and finally MAP13: The Wharf, by Marcaek, the MVP of the wad so far for me, a really good and engaging city level that somehow manages to avoid all the pitfalls of the archetype, except maybe bullshit secrets, of which there was one.

 

I've also just started playing Return to Hadron. I did actually play some of Concerned a few months back and didn't think much of it, though more recently I played the first few levels of Thy Flesh Turned into a Draft Excluder and was impressed by their difficulty and sense of flow, but the wad just didn't click with me. Just this week, though, I decided to give cannonball's more recent work a go. It was fantastic. As I blasted, dodged and sprinted my way through the first three levels of E1, I finally understood what he was going for. RtH is just so damn refined. The fast paced, fluid and free-form combat, satisfying and logical secrets, natural sense of progression and relatively high difficulty come together to create one of the most exhilarating experiences I've had in Doom for a long time. Cannonball somehow managed to make Doom 1 combat more satisfying than the vast, vast majority of Doom 2 wads I've played. The dude's a bloody genius. I eagerly await his next ventures, but for now I'll have to satisfy myself the rest of RtH and his considerable body of prior work.

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5 hours ago, Omniarch said:

For the last week or so I've been replaying No End In Sight for the second (and a half) time, going for UV and 100% secrets. When I did my first playthrough a few months back, I was intimidated and often frustrated by the wad even on HMP, whereas now I blasted through it with relative ease, with only occasional moments of swearing at the monitor and cursing NT and co. under my breath. I'm nearly done with the wad (currently on E4M4), and yet there still seems to be No End In Sight.

I had a bash at NEIS recently as well and I completely agree it's frustrating. I may give it another go after reading this. I enjoyed the approach to level design alot even though I struggled to figure out progression at times

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1 minute ago, Dylan Omen said:

I had a bash at NEIS recently as well and I completely agree it's frustrating. I may give it another go after reading this. I enjoyed the approach to level design alot even though I struggled to figure out progression at times

I'd definitely recommend giving it another shot. I agree that the progression can be a bit obtuse at times, so much so that I opened one of the secret maps up in an editor to try and figure out how to proceed. Honestly, I found the experience to be far more enjoyable when I had at least reached the exit on all of the maps once before trying to 100% them. I tend to think of NEIS as an acquired taste, initially off-putting but with a great deal of depth to explore once you get used to it's way of doing things.

 

With this in mind, 100%-ing it has been on of the most satisfying experiences I've had with any Doom wad, though I do still occasionally have to consult Doomwiki to find that one last damn secret or noclip to find that last bastard imp hiding in the god-forsaken reaches of a hour-and-a-half-long map.

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Replaying Back To Saturn X's First Episode on UV and giving Sunlust a try on HMP.

 

Back To Saturn X is such a good megawad tbh, a bit more of a ball buster than the last time I remember playing it. From the very first third of the megawad it's been surprisingly kinda tough but it eases up a bit on the second third, currently on map 16. Sunlust is an entirely different ballpark, even on HMP it's kinda beginning to frustrate me, I'm on map 7 on that one and I think I'll beat BTSX first tho before finishing off Sunlust.

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For the first time in 12-13 years (probably), I'm revisiting the entirety of Community Chest 3. So far I've played the first six maps, which is quite the mixed bag already! I'm playing continuous on UV in GZDoom with my usual preferences.

 

MAP01 and MAP02 are both very nice, although they both get much easier if you go the "right" way early on and get the new weapon early. Neither was quite as big or confusing as I thought, although I suspect years of experience with community maps has paid off. MAP03 has a very loud "Replica" MIDI and is a bit more puzzle-y than the first two, using more Boom features more obviously, with a bit of a difficulty spike when you get deeper into the mines. MAP04 and MAP05 are a double bill by the same author (Doom2Day), and use Boom effects so much that they feel a bit like early ZDoom levels. The first one is a dark and rambling tech base - pretty grindy, but not too big. The second was noted at the time for being a major difficulty spike, and even now it's surprising just how much harder it is than what came before. On the plus side, if you make it through and get the blue skull key (a nasty optional challenge) you get a BFG. This map seemed to hope I'd have the plasma rifle already, as there's a lot of ammo for it, but I didn't get it until pretty late. A weakness of a branching layout, perhaps. MAP06 is a pretty nice Tormentor667 level that feels like a more "bricky" take on what Dutch Devil was doing in MAP02, although for some reason health supplies (on UV at least) are incredibly tight.

 

It's enjoyable, going back to where I started, but aside from Doom2Day's maps I'm quite enjoying the set so far. I'd argue MAP05 isn't a bad map, per se, but it just feels horribly out of place so early in the running. MAP04 is a bit uninspired, though and my vote for weakest so far. Favourite? Probably MAP02, at the moment, because it has some fun secrets and has plenty of supplies... Plus Dutch Devil was already well on top of his visual game at the time, which makes the tech base a cool place to explore. I've only missed two secrets so far, both on MAP05 (there's eight, though, so it's not like I didn't find plenty), although the one on MAP03 was very elusive.

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On MAP13 of Cleimos II via Woof!, since there's no new music I'm using HRMUS.wad to supply ROTT tracks and it works very well!

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Playing some spooky themed WADs plus some other goodies this time around.

 

DBP25: Dead But Dreaming, the first WAD that I play that's exclusively balanced around NM skill. That's quite the job!

Also playing Mapwich 2, an insane map set that made my mind explode. Fucking awesome.

Next is probably going to be Atmosfear or Soundless Mound (that last one really has my hopes up cause I'm a big Silent Hill fan.)

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I came back and did the next 5 maps in Community Chest 3 today. If the first cluster was a mixed bag, then the second was consistent... In that it wasn't very good. what was inconsistent, was how they achieved that!

  • MAP07 is a fairly linear grind of tight spaces and dense enemies that goes on forever, building up to a Dead Simple-style arena. It looks reasonably good, albeit brown, but is a drag to play. Matt Tropiano was apologetic at the time for how his MAP29 of this same project is rather copy and paste heavy, but that tool was also used pretty widely here, just not necessarily on large areas - more the "detailing". I missed out on at least half of the secrets, but the map becomes harder to explore at the end, so I wasn't keen to go back and search.
  • MAP08, IIRC, is Impure Liquids, an Andy Leaver map that's been polished up by The Green Herring. Visually, this is quite impressive, particularly outside where the white stepped rock formations contrast with the blue sky and water, all whilst showing painstaking shadowing. Enemies are mostly quite dense monospecies blobs, with one notably interesting fight for the red key card, where you're the target in a shooting gallery. This one isn't bad, but the game play is perhaps a bit basic. I didn't find either secret, and could only tell you that one of them was a rocket launcher.
  • MAP09 is a pcorf map, where he pays homage to Dr. Sleep (at least in the name of the map). It's very orthogonal, looks pretty nice, albeit rather brown, and plays reasonably well. I actually died here, when I stepped forward and triggered a bit too much on a narrow platform. I should've jumped off and used one of the radsuits in the nukage to give myself some breathing room, but evidently the pressure was too much! I found a couple of secrets and missed 2-3 more - my main impression here was that things were competently done, but not too exciting. Probably the highlight of the five, though!
  • MAP10 is awful, and I remember people saying as much at the time. It goes on forever, has multiple switch hunts where you're not sure what you're achieving, has many cramped parts (one with a scattering of pews in a church and a Cyberdemon to fight...) and ends on a subway, for some reason. One of the line triggers didn't activate for me initially, early in the complex water pumps puzzle, which rather threw me for a bit. Visually, there's some interesting areas, but there's also large expanses of mono-texturing and quite a lot of darkness. The map seems to have been made more to explore what the author could achieve with Boom line actions (and possibly voodoo doll scripting) than necessarily to make a fun map. I actually did pretty well with the secrets here, but that's mostly because you have to do a lot of running back and forth to progress anyway. Definitely missed at least one, still. Ambitious, but I'll stand by the statement that it's awful. The author is credited by what looks like his real name, and it's not one I'm familiar with, so this might be a rare map from them. I died a couple of times trying to BFG the second Cyberdemon (with my carried over BFG) in that cramped space, so that's the third map to kill me now.
  • MAP11 is by kirby (presumably from the ZDoom Forums) and plays like a bit of a beginner effort, but one with polished visuals. Game play is pretty safe and simplistic, whilst progression is mostly along one path, looping you back to a hub room. There's some narrow corridors with thin detail trim that get in the way of progress, but otherwise not much to complain about. Both secrets are rocket launchers, and one is right at the end of the map, so it's handy I'm playing continuous.

The intermission text makes note of the dark corridors you've mostly played through to get to this point, so there was some awareness of what was going on here. Attention to detail, lighting, shading and borders/trims seem to have been a big priority here, whilst advanced Boom mechanics and features (such as scrolling floors) also get a good work out, but actual playability definitely suffers a bit in execution. Narrow spaces and small rooms seem to be stuffed with enemies, whilst a lot of the bigger fights seem to rely on meat or initial surprise to do something, with the notable exception of MAP10, where all of the climactic battles just seem to be poorly implemented. Maps are already getting a bit on the long side, but with MAP12 and it's over 800 enemies ahead, they're getting longer still.

 

This trip down memory lane is already turning into a bit of a slog! Still, at least the cramped corridors stuffed full of enemies are nicely lit and have some intricate detailing.

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Map12 is pretty easily among the best maps of CC3, if you can stomach the size (pretty much on par with the biggest levels from Eternal DooM or with Misri Halek!, among maps from older megawads).

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Right, thoughts for today's cluster... I'm still yet to find a great map, I'd say. I'll break it down like I did above, as we all love a map-by-map take:

  • MAP12 - I remember not liking it at the time, as it was a massive slog. My opinion hasn't really changed on revisiting, I'm afraid! It's a shame, too, as, in theory, it's exactly what I want. A big, impressive map that steers clear of slaughter. However, progression is a big, sprawling switch and/or key hunt, forcing a linear sequence of objectives through a sprawling base early on, before opening up when you get outside into a multi-pronged, non-linear area. Even ignoring progression, a lot of the texturing is dull grey/green or dull brown/green, with the hellish bits and the initial change once you're up the lift standing out for being more interesting to look at. Credit to the mapper for using new/additional textures and having a consistent theme, but it's not much to look at, especially for long, long periods of time. I think the biggest issue for me, really, is the way enemies and health are balanced, though. Health often feels quite tight on UV, and early on the light opposition makes it acceptable. Sure, there's lots of mini ambushes and enemies lurking in the shadows and round corners, but that's much like Knee-Deep in the Dead. It doesn't take too long before it's Revenants and Chaingunners, though, and the ambushes are a lot more up close and personal. Plenty of enemies teleporting in behind you unexpectedly, too. For some reason later on the map becomes more experimental, with a Blood-style train tunnel surprise death (I didn't find a way to get out before the crusher caught me, so it works as intended, at least) and more interesting combat set ups, but that rather enforces the need to save a lot, as there's a lot to try and catch you off guard. One switch literally just silently drops a Lost Soul in behind you! It's a touching tribute to a community great (from another) and obviously a real labour of love, but whilst big is often impressive, neither big or impressive necessarily mean fun, and that's where this has fallen down for me both times I've played it. I got 8/9 secrets this time around. No idea where the one I missed was, but I only found and killed two Hanging Keens, so it may have had something to do with those. The one near the exit, with the megasphere was incredibly tricky to get to. I'll credit the map with having nice bits, some good fights, nice details and good effects, but the sum of the parts, and the bulk of the map, just don't come together for me. I suspect this might have benefitted from a solo release, as you've already spent hours to get this far, but even then, I'd want clearer progression, the bulk of the map to be less dull, a bit more health all round and some of the corridors and caves trimmed out before I could really recommend it. I'd probably question the couple of Wolf SS that sneak in there, too. Then again, if it was a solo release, you'd also have the chance to make all of the custom switches actually animate, which would be helpful.
  • MAP13 - A welcome relief after the hour-plus spent on the last map! Lots of Doom Cute sector machinery, a sector aircraft and a neat, looping layout that can be entered from two key ways. Secrets are easy enough to find and the inclusion of the CC3 logo in textures and sectors was a nice touch. Difficulty is low, particularly compared to the more "Opus" styled maps earlier in the set, but I suspect if I wasn't playing continuous, the beefier enemies would've felt threatening. The Cyberdemon, in particular, is clearly meant to be dodged whilst you race around the room outside of it's cog-themed emplacement hitting switches, but I took it on with my plasma rifle and then triggered the crusher for it later. The way the keys flow to the doors and to the next keys is really enjoyable here!
  • MAP14 - This is a weird one. On the one hand, the sector detailing, with furniture, games consoles, fridges (using a switch texture as an ice dispenser, no less!) and even books, cards and other stuff on the tables and by the bunks is obsessive to the point of being incredible. The tiny slice of suburb outside of a castle, by a load of hills and caves is an unusual setting and, with 10 secrets (I found 8) quite intricately put together, but item placement also tends toward the realistic, with a lot of green armours and other supplies on tables near castle entrances and the like that you probably don't need. Particularly with how many bonus items are around, and the secrets often being quite generous too! This over supply doesn't quite extend to the ammo, which is quite up and down (after massacring the church congregation with a BFG blast, I was pretty heavily stocked for shells for a while, but up to that point wasn't making much use of my backpack for half of the map). Enemies are definitely placed with an eye to aesthetics, which works sometimes (zombies in the barracks and other living quarters; also the graveyard with the Revenants) and other times doesn't work too well (an Arachnotron keeps you from emerging through a narrow hole in a wall, making fighting your way out very awkward on the fiddly little stepped detailing, for example). There's also a Cyberdemon jammed in a little room as a turret, which you can bump into from a 64-unit corridor. Backpedalling immediately and working out the crusher mechanism elsewhere came naturally, in this instance... All told, a likeable map, with a lot of personality, but perhaps not the best combat.
  • MAP15 - TGH lets loose with the same detailing and lighting he added to MAP08, but unfortunately also sticks to the massed monoculture enemy placement and then combines that with some horrendous puzzles for a hub-spoke key hunt. The secret exit is found by pressing on a fairly unremarkable wall and noting that you need three keys to open it (fortunately, it's in a COMPTALL maze where pressing on walls that look just like it is a way to find half of the ammo, but none of the progression). As you also need three keys to exit, and half of the progression is tied up in such unintuitive joys as shooting in random broken computer panels and 1-second reaction-time lifts, you're likely to stumble across this and at least one other secret (there's six, and I only found two, including the exit, so for how unintuitive progression is, secrets are evidently more so). Honestly glad to see the back of this one.

So, we've got a lot of sector detailing and doom cute ("destroyed" rooms are very popular in MAP14 and 15, alongside the sector furniture that extends to 12 and 13 as well). We've got some slogging and we've got some dodgy game play. Simpler times, back then... I guess the big ambitious maps here at least give me plenty to talk about.

 

I've got lupinx-kassman's timed mission in Berlin to take on next. Might find time for that tomorrow. Might even find MAP32!

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Back again today with another cluster from CC3. It's just MAP31, as I did indeed find the way to MAP32 (it's rather easy to find) and that is the start of a new cluster (as divided by the text screens).

 

Again, I don't remember being a fan of this map at the time. However, I can't imagine why, as it's great! You've got a plot, which is nice, and a timer, which combines with the large number of light enemies to make for a very fast-paced, action-packed map! I disarmed the titular mechanism in about 17 minutes, so that 30-minute timer is pretty generous. After that I backtracked to find the one secret I'd missed (behind me, at the start) and looked on the map (even using IDDT and IDCLIP) to work out what the replicas for the mechanism room and room to the mechanism were about. No idea... DM, perhaps? Anyway, this is a cool, light-hearted map with exactly the kind of chaingun-heavy action I enjoy, further enhanced by my continuous loadout allowing me to flick some rockets and plasma about when helpful. Later in the map I went on a plasma gun rampage, and even found a couple of uses for my BFG (Cyberdemon and Mastermind, naturally). The colour and lighting variation make it nice to look at, and there's a smidgen of custom textures, just to add to the plot and show when locked doors are... Not locked any more. Obviously kassman later went on to be the star of the CC4 show, but in looking at this map, you can see it coming - it's a highlight for sure (for me).

 

This, of course, means that the secret map stuffed full of Nazis that I don't think I liked may actually be MAP32. Something to look forward to tomorrow, I suppose.

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So, besides the DWMiniwad selections, last thing I (re)played was MM2 in four days. It was very sweet, with the excellent music and all the grievances I had somehow vanished this time (okay, lies! still not a fan of several things in map 28). I would say it's one of the few super old megawads that aged quite well imo, like it really has some brilliance behind. 

 

And now replaying Valiant, with pistol starts and UV this time. I didn't know I missed arachnorbs so much :p

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I remember when I was younger I always wondered how to get the bigger buildings (higher density residential developments etc).

 

Now I am the bigger buildings.

Seriously, they're spanning all blocks! Not a single one is without! :v

iwcOmzg.jpg

 

EDIT: It looks particularly pretty in the night. Particularly without the HUD tapering XD

jiGSsLs.jpg

 

Can you guess what game it is? :o

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On 10/13/2020 at 9:39 PM, Phobus said:

Finished Obituary! I found the secret level and played that too, which felt a bit proto-slaughtery. Not a big fan of the set, overall, and kind of wish Compendium had the optional weapons mod included (just for variety's sake). Or, if it did, that I'd found it and enabled it. MAP13, for some reason, has this fantastic looking room secreted away in it:

Screenshot_Doom_20201013_174226.png

 

There's basically nothing else like it in the whole map set, which makes it stand out all the more. Of course, it's just a bog standard Cyberdemon arena with a key in it, but it looks amazing, particularly for the time!

how did u get it to look like that?

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@DutchDoomer That's GZDoom, using the alternate HUD, Vulkan renderer at 4k (I may have downsized the image to 1080p to share here) and with dynamic lights and Compendium's bright maps loaded. I think Compendium also changes the appearance of the yellow skull to be less orange, and I've got a few tweaked settings in GZDoom, like using the Uncharted 2 shader.

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