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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club Plays: CC4 (Starting JENESIS Oct. 1st!)

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map 4 was a furtive romp through a laberynthine base, I played this one kind of cautiously and ended up not losing much health throughout, though it was still good fun and I actually went back and found some of the secrets for a change. I actually went back to try and find the last monster that i figured I'd missed, but lo and behold it was hiding behind the exit button yet again.

This was a fairly linear map but I'm glad it was because I'd have been hopelessly lost otherwise. Some nice traps and interesting fights at close quarters. I'd give this map one of my chocolate biscuits any day, though maybe not one of my last ones.

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Map04 was quite a maze (in a good way, this time.), but the one secret (the one where you need straferunning to reach one platform) took a few retries to get it right. Also, some of the secrets weren't too bad to find, and the close-quarter fights were neat.

All in all, this map's mazy layout's much less aggravating than many of such maps in the other three CC megawads. (considering that Map06 of CC1 is still somewhat annoying even after knowing the trick to it, that's not an exaggeration.)

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MAP05: Installation Decrepit by Alice Jameson

Nice opening area, starting outside of this decrepit installation, and also a secret that I could finally manage to get! Gorgeous modern Doom style techbase with excellent use of the texture variations and just the *right* amount of detailed architecture. The underground cavern is a fun section and quite well done, and we also find the first boss monster used down here. The cavern area setup for that boss fight, and I can't say it enough for this map, is well designed. Did I mention how much I love this level? Moving to the back end of the installation, we venture outside again, this time into an area that gives the impression of looking out over the starting area. I love it when mappers do things like that... The barrel conveyor area and bloody corridor leading up to it are great. The blue skull was almost the end of me, but difficulty in this map is just about spot on. Inside the blue door, the area hints at Doom 3 bloody mess areas. Epic mountain arena ending battle, almost verging on mini-slaughter status. The battle is laid out very well, and you can set up some good infighting here. Once I dispatched the army, that pesky Cybie was no match for me and my plasma gun!

98/97/33 17:42 UV
This map encapsulates everything that I love about modern Doom design, from gameplay, architecture, detailing that's not overboard, great texture usage... I can't say enough good things about this map! I don't know who the author is by name, which handle does she go by?

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map05 is awesome. My LP screwed up, tho, so not sure I am going to record another one with all the elements of surprise and discovery now gone.

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Yeah, Map05 reminds me quite a bit of CC3's Map05 in terms of difficulty; that map's amongst the toughest early-level maps in any megawad ever. Also, in hindsight, I wasn't really surprised about Map05 having a bfg secret because it's also the first map where both big boss enemies show up in the same map. (Not at the same time, though.)

Any maps I complete after this point, though, I'll sum them up in a nutshell.

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Map05
Very good level. Looks fantastic, and plays well. My only quibble would be to wonder why it had to be right before my level. Tough act to follow :)

Tomorrow, I'll do my level appraisal from the perspective of the designer, not a player - why I did the things I did, etc.

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glenzinho said:

I don't know who the author is by name, which handle does she go by?

AFAIK it is Grain of Salt (who for some reason deleted all her posts), but I may be wrong.
I personally didn't like this map much. It's not bad but there is nothing for me to like about it. I found most texture combinations kinda ugly and the gameplay wasn't very interesting. The final fight especially didn't look fun so I just skipped it.
But cool "Charlie the Unicorn" secret.

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Memfis said:

Forty-Two = stewboy :) My favorite musician in the community...


Ah, I know him. Multiple alias' don't half confuse me. I forgot to mention that I really liked the understated but atmospheric music in his level - I'm guessing he had something to do with it.

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MAP05
Another level that looks very like something from a Quake mod, but in a great way. For some reason, the first Archvile took me by surprise resulting in my first death in this WAD. Overall, I think there was a lot of nice re-populating of enemies, and the Archviles were VERY nicely used. That bit where cover lowers and an Archvile teleports in? FUCKING GENIUS, especially given the oppressive fire from Cacodemons outside. I'll have to steal this for a level, or something like it.

Loved the Smastermind section as well, for some reason. Again, a clever section since dropping down to get a clear shot means no backtracking to hide in cover. I managed to get all the Barons infighting with it though, and the Soulsphere was nice and handy too.

Bad bit at the end, though. I opened a door and heard a Cyberdemon roar at me. Awesome. Save game and prepare for a fight. Because I could reload, I thought I'd scout around a little first and get a feel for the area, even get some infighting going on whilst I take these bastards on... but I walked somewhere and exited the level.

What.

Worst thing about the level; I like my exits to be clearly-marked, thanks. I didn't reload my savegame out of principle. I feel cheated out of what felt like a stunning denouement to an otherwise excellent map.

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At first I thought the exit area was random and unfitting with the rest of the map. But on my second run through of the exit area (after loading) my feeling changed and I thought it was a very "classic" (fitting, I should say) way to end a fairly epic map. I don't think you are 'meant' to engage the monsters here. I think you're 'meant' to run through it and grab as much goodies as you can while dodging the monsters' hell-gifts (sort of a glorified/improvement on the Living End ending).

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Map 05

Bizarre in places. Found 2 of 3 secrets, both were fairly obvious.

Map looked nice enough, and you can't go wrong with that music track.

Died once at the hands of the SM, and twice at the hands of archviles..just BFG'd them out of habit in the end.

Memorable parts: That sludge pit with the switches. I went back to this after I'd finished the level but they don't seem to do anything but put you back on the ledges?

Spider was a nice encounter, not too difficult but something a bit different. I think you're supposed to distract it with infighting.

That whole section with the barrel conveyor belt was very impressive, a good idea well executed and the standout section of the map for me.

And the bit at the end..wtf are you supposed to do there? I imagine that's where the last secret is, I accidentally exited running for my life. Maybe that's what you're meant to do, as Hellbent said. Wasn't bothered about revisiting this bit.

Hit and miss.

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MAP05 “Installation Decrepit” – Alice Jameson

Alice Jameson is Grain of Salt? With this in mind I'm expecting to have my arse kicked in all sorts of new and fantastic ways. Whoever Alice is she's created a Wonderland in this level (arf!)

Installation Decrepit starts outside of an ominious looking condemmed base. It's a bit of an adventure but does not sprawl into confusion as I sometimes find is the case for me. Keys and locked doors are intuitively placed and switches always activate targets of close proximity so you'll spend little time searching or looking at the automap. The theme varies between neglected base and rocky wilderness. I love how the base gets progressively more bloody - it feels like the something had got really out of control - which puts the appearance of the dreaded arch viles into context.

While appearance-wise MAP05 only occasionally touches the highest standards set so early in the set, it is still a pretty sight. Where it occasionally loses points for noisiness it gains on creativity.

Challenge-wise I was expecting intense but the tension actually stems from the vacuums between the tough fights rather than any constant pressure. Jameson handles you with kid gloves 80% of the time and then goes right off centre with an arch vile attack or a boss monster. Between these encounters are mainly low level monsters with occasional mid-tier beasties positioned at a disadvantage. Medikits, ammo and armour is plentiful putting the player in control until the next inevitable difficulty spike, which after the first two arch viles put my nerves on edge. The harder fights are by nature the more difficult to balance and indeed it felt there was a little room for improvement here. Particulary the last fight that lets the player leave too early and even by accident as I did.

3/5

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ComicMischief said:

MAP05

[...]

but I walked somewhere and exited the level.

What.

Worst thing about the level; I like my exits to be clearly-marked, thanks. I didn't reload my savegame out of principle. I feel cheated out of what felt like a stunning denouement to an otherwise excellent map.


"When you see it, you'll shit bricks," moment.

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/ww162/Tenebrae_Aeternus/not_an_unmarked_exit_cc405.png

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MAP06: Survival instincts by Adam Windsor

Nicely designed map that takes place at a Fort in the hills somewhere. Nothing to complain about design or gameplay wise, but it seems to lack that certain spark. It was a good slog for 15 minutes, nothing too difficult, no annoying switch hunts, in fact there's only one key in this map. In any other mapset this map would stand out, but in CC4 it's just there, which is not bad, after all Doom had plenty of levels like that.

100/72/33 14:44 UV

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Map06
excessively long designer comments :)

My CC4 map started with the mental image of a gate, flanked by a pair of towers, which doomguy had to breach in order to enter the demon-infested fortress. The entire opening area grew out of the need to provide an environment in which the player could see that gate & tower image, and then fight a wave of monsters to break through it. Which doesn't mean I just plonked any old thing down. I wanted to make sure of two things: firstly, that there were monsters on every side and (after the very start) pretty much anywhere in the area would be under threat from at least one angle, and secondly that there would be places where you could break the 'lock' of a chaingunner. Nothing is worse than being flayed alive by bot-aim and having no way to get out of it. That's why there's a rocky outcropping in the middle of the zone, and why the walls wrap around far enough to created a 'dead' space from the towers.

IIRC, the 'SSG jump' from one tower to the next, and the 'pole run' secret in this area were both born out of the fact that I was playing a lot of Borderlands at the time, and it had a lot of those exploration based secrets.

Having created a big first battle based around getting through doors to enter the main complex, I decided to maintain the theme. So the second and third stages of the level are also all about opening a door; the 'locked' door on the left as you enter the complex, and the door out of the final courtyard. This structure also helped me to focus on addressing an issue with the Demonfear levels: they often had frantic opening battles, and then a pretty mild 'mopping up' sequence to get to the exit. With this level, I definitely wanted to give the player several frenzied encounters.

To do this, I maintained the theme of 'monsters on every side' by creating open arches and windows between zones. Monsters attack from multiple angles in the first main room. Then as you move toward the caged-Baron chamber you alert some creatures off in the 'new excavation', or get sniped at through an open window.

Outside, you get a mini-Caco swarm (I do love the Caco; see MM2 map15, or Requiem map32 for evidence of that :) ) as well as a clump of imps sniping at you. I like to use clumps of imps, because they're individually weak by the deluge of fireballs is fun to dodge. I enjoy fighting 10 or 15 imps much more than a smaller number of tougher critters, myself.

Once you leave the balcony and enter the rear part of the complex, I go back to a tool I used in Requiem map11 and have monsters start teleporting back into the map at several locations you've already cleared. This is semi-randomised, so you could get a variety of different challenges at various places. Again, this is about keeping the pressure on the player and making them run and gun – for me, that's what Doom is all about!

Once you finally get the 'locked' door unlocked, you're into the final confrontation of the map. And once more, it's an area where you are under attack from multiple angles (though with more scope to back off and create a choke-point) before you get to do a little more Borderlands-style athletics to secure the red key and get out of there.

The only other deliberate design element I should mention is the secrets: I deliberately tried to use a variety of different types of visual cues as to their presence. I also built several of them to open up on multiple sides, creating additional paths through the level. This is a nod to multiplayer (co-op and deathmatch alike) so as to hopefully create a more open flow of the level over time.

An unintentional design element is that this level is the inverse of my previous Doom project – map03 of The Darkening 2. That was two bases separated by a rocky area, and this is two rocky areas separated by a base.

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Missed a day! Whoopsies

MAP05: Another favorite map so far. Jameson crafts a thematic map steeped in atmosphere and constant action. Perhaps my favorite thing is that she kept warping in enemies after every key, which makes backtracking still exciting and tense. What I also enjoyed was how each colored door had it's own "area", such as the strange and eerie caverns or the revenant-ridden barrel factory. At first I thought the ammo placement was a tad much (had 80 shells near the beginning), but since she throws really big baddies (and plenty of 'em) your way, it balances out in the end.

Also, she did a great job with the "boss" arenas. I particularly enjoyed the archvile and his henchmen after the blue key. Only nitpicking I would have to do is that the blue skull key columns looked a bit out of place, and that the finale felt a bit jumbled. I also agree with the others that I wish it was a little more discernible where the exit actually is (although there IS a sign), since I ran straight into it trying to strafe away from the cacos.

Oh, and the bloody halls before the revenant facility was REALLY creepy. I was actually going very slow, expecting a slaughter.

MAP06: Now THIS is a frantic level. What impresses me most is Windsor's reliance on simple monster density over traps. Because the level is packed so heavily from top to bottom, it makes this map quite difficult (compared to the last few at least), as I found myself backing up into imp fireballs at least a dozen times. I actually said to myself one time "where are all these guys coming from?!"

But it's a very solid level. Limited ammo, limited health, projectiles everywhere, and a scenic area too. Felt most like a "Doom" map to me for some reason... maybe it's the combination of all the different textures (couldn't quite pin down a theme).

Only thing I didn't like were the chaingunners in the tower at the start. The starting arena was already hectic enough with dozens of imp fireballs that I didn't need a gunner taking off 30% of my health in a second... but it's a minor complaint really. It's nothing like MAP24 from CC2.

So far, this has been a REALLY solid mapset. I'm very impressed that a stinker hasn't slipped in yet!

EDIT:

@Capellan: Interesting notes to say the least. I'd say you accomplished what you set out to do. Your flanking imps worked perfectly as I was very impressed how you kept such a large area (the starting courtyard) under constant duress, since it's an extremely hard thing to maintain in Doom (very few mappers can make me feel threatened in a room that big).

Also I thought the final battle had a nice dichotomy, as at first I just sat in the hallway sniping off enemies rather than facing the horde out in the open, but I found myself running out of ammo... which meant I'd have to run in and face the horde head on.

gun_psycho said:

Map05 reminds me quite a bit of CC3's Map05 in terms of difficulty; that map's amongst the toughest early-level maps in any megawad ever.


I don't think MAP05 in CC4 was nearly as brutal and blunt as the one in CC3 to warrant a comparison between the two. MAP05 in CC3 wasn't just a step-up in difficulty; it was a whole 'nother dimension of pain and aggravation. Closest thing it reminds me of is MAP29 from CC1.

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bit late, but some map 5 thoughts. I've come to expect the look of these maps to be top notch so don't have much to add about that, other than I really liked the build up of gory mess on the walls - really made me cautious as to what would be coming next. Oh and the barrel conveyor belts was rather clever.

That said I found it pretty straightforward going barring a few surprise encounters, I'm definitely playing a lot less rambo-style with these maps. I didn't have much of a problem with anything until the finale, which after a few fairly instant deaths I guessed you had to just run and keep running. Like others I fell for the surprise exit, which was a shame cos I just wanted to find a safe spot from which to engage with the hordes. I get the feeling this was a battle that wasn't intended to happen though.

Still, another quality map.

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Map 06

Slow start, opening area was well constructed, gave a castle courtyard kind of feel. No problems if you play cautiously. Few rooms inside where hitscanners will drain you a little from unexpected angles, and then..on Map 06, finally it starts getting difficult. I was feeling a little tight on ammo before my first death, but on restart when I knew to conserve it wasn't too bad.

Great use of the imps on the second outside bit, together with enemies appearing in a previously cleared area, to stop me from clearing the next area in a cowardly manner.

The battle in the final room was easy enough to snipe from the corridor, though you have to take care not to get blasted with fireballs when the door shuts behind you.

Found 50% secrets, I don't remember where. A fun level, but perhaps not memorable.

So far I've really enjoyed this wad, I'm playing it alongside Plutonia and definitely enjoying CC4 more.

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Map06 had quite a neat castle courtyard area, and the six secrets were fairly easy to reach. Also, the area at the end was the really annoying part with the damn revenants and the chaingunners at you the whole time if they're not taken out first.

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MAP06
Boy, if this didn't feel like a map from an imaginary Plutonia-Lite. And I don't mind that one bit, as I love Plutonia in general. And as a rule, maps that make me feel like I'm running around a working ecosystem really do it for me; techbases notwithstanding.

I must say, this was a nice (and almost key-less) trek through some great scenery and some nice, though unsurprising, enemy encounters. I liked how the mid-way point saw access opened up to earlier parts of the map, and that unlockable door was great. Last outdoor area was a nice runaround that kept me on my toes, although I half-expected a Cyberdemon to waltz out of the exit door -- which was at least clearly marked.

I liked this a lot, but didn't love it. :)

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MAP06 “Survival Instincts” – Adam Windsor

CC4's first perfect map? I loved everything about this one from the way it looks to the way it plays and especially how much thought went into the flow. As walls opened up showing routes into previously visited areas and guiding me around I felt like this really was a map that had a lot of care taken over it.

Rocky textures and rusty bases are something of a theme of CC4 so far and Windsor does it as well as anyone else. Meanwhile on the action front we have a very different take to MAP05's ebb and flow where instead low level monsters contantly pressure the player from all angles. I spoilt myself a little carrying ammo over and cowardly fought from safe spots whereas a pistol start would have forced me scrambling into the danger zones for provisions - yet occasionally I found myself doing just this quite unnecessarily and intentionally for the sheer joy of it.

Most impressive was the triggered release of monster out of the players immediate vicinity giving the hellspawn the element of suprise and keeping the player guessing. Thing placement was generally a gift for mappers looking for inspiration with revenants in particular being placed very well all round.

The only thing missing was something big behind the red key door. I poised my Rocket Launcher in anticipation to no avail. A minor grumble though. This one gets top marks from me, I'm gushing.

5/5

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ComicMischief said:
Plutonia


Any similarity is unintentional. I've never played FD.

purist said:
The only thing missing was something big behind the red key door.


I'm old school. Boss monsters don't belong in map06 (or map09, which was the original slot I was designing for), at least not for me :)

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Capellan said:

Any similarity [to Plutonia] is unintentional. I've never played FD.


In which case, I'd love it if you did a map for the next one should it happen. You're a natural. Great stuff.

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MAP06: the rain of fire at the end was pretty awesome. It was fun running around quelling the imps on the ledge with rockets.

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MAP07: Hoedown by Phobus

The pool of nukage at the beginning let's you know what you're in for in this map, as the difficulty is ramped up, mainly due to enemies on high ledges. The enemies at varying heights are used very well in this level. The beginning area was okay, but it's when you get past the yellow door that the map starts living up to its name. Here the enemies up higher in this beautiful canyon start to make real trouble, particularly a Cybie. The chaingunners kept me on my toes as well. Liked the long nukage pool room and crate room. Great battles here.

79/89/12 20:24 UV
Great stuff! The difficulty is progressing upwards now.

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Map07
Lots of wide areas with chaingunners on ledges makes Capellan a cranky Doomer. Enjoyed some of the more 'up close and personal' sections, but several sets of steeply ascending or descending stairs made other firefights more frustrating than fun. Shooting at someone I can't see isn't an enthralling experience.

Some nice architecture, the few times I had time to appreciate it.

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MAP07: (pistol start) Did I say MAP06 was dense? Because this map is definitely denser. I found myself constantly cornered and attack in the blue key facility, not having one moment to catch my breath.

Probably my least favorite map so far. The architecture is strange and unintuitive, so I wasn't able to keep track of which room was which. Add on top of that the fact that I missed the rocket launcher and that the PE spawned nearly 40 Lost Souls in the cyberdemon room and I was having a frustrating time. And then there are those chaingunners in those ABSURDLY high towers that you have to waste ammo and health just pelting. That was definitely the most annoying part.

Some parts of the map are neat, and I like how the classic MAP07 gimmick wasn't apparent here, but the strange rooms, dark ambushes, and sniping hit scanners definitely made this the weakest map IMO... although it's still pretty good compared to a lot of the other maps that made it in CC before.

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