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Adam blathers about wads (now playing: Unholy Realms)

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Map27: Afterlife
Like map25, this level is extremely tight on ammo. In fact, the monster health to ammo ratio is worse on HMP than on the earlier level.

On the other hand, this map doesn't suck. It's my least favorite of Sphagne's levels in the wad, but it lacks the egregious stupidity of map25 in its physical design. Nowhere in map27 am I stuck at the top of a high cliff, while monsters swarm at the bottom, ready to rip me apart with their infinitely high claw attacks if I try to jump off.

What there is instead is a reasonably enjoyable level in the "stretch your resources as far as possible" vein. This is helped by the presence of three berserk packs on the level.

The map has a low-key opening in a city-like environment. In Sphagne's usual style, this is fairly sparsely detailed, and comes across as a bit blocky and bland. Once you enter the building at the centre, however, things pick up both visually and in terms of the action. I enjoyed the platform hopping sections here. Not sure the soulsphere and mega armor really deserved to tbe tagged as secrets, but I'll take them.

Things pick up once you've got the blue key, with a 'marina' section that features tougher monsters, and ultimately leads to the final section of the map. This fortress, surrounded by lava, is no easy place to storm. Monsters of all variety abound, with chaingunners being especially troublesome as they snipe you from all angles.

Eventually you get inside, and face the end game. I declined to fight Mr Cyberdemon, preferring to lure him away from an elevator and then ride it onward through the level. I managed to exit with about 70 bullets and 20 shells, IIRC.

This 'scrimp and save your ammo' style is definitely not my favorite kind of challenge in a Doom level, but this is a pretty well-executed example of the type. You get berserk packs, and a decent number of demons and spectres to use them on, plus plenty of opportunities to create infighting if you choose to use them.

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Map28: Necrophobia
This level is from the same author as 'Monster Mansion', and there are definitely some parallels in the basic architexture and texturing. Bird uses broad strokes, not fine detail, and is happy to mix sharply contrasting textures.

Gameplay-wise, it's a pretty easy run. It's almost all SSG-based. You get the weapon early, and there are lots and lots of shells on the level. There's a plasma, too, and a rocket launcher, but you're not likely to really need either of them; I used the RL a couple of times on the level, but the plasma not at all. The RL is in a secret, but the level gives you a computer map, so your chances of not finding it are pretty slim.

I didn't find the megasphere secret, but it didn't matter: I exited with 200/200 as I had left te mega armor, berserk and supercharge behind as I was going through the map. The fact that I felt comfortable doing that should give you some idea of how easy this one is, in comparison to the levels around it :)

Overall, this was a decent romp with easy gameplay and basic but functional looks. It used height variation in combats more than 'Monster Mansion' did, and the flow is superior, with less stop/start to it.

I liked the leaping secret near the exit; that was a nice touch.

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cannonball said:

Playing the map in tns was really something (ok it sucked for everyone who died in the first 25% of the map as we had to wait over an hour haha)

Which was probably almost everyone. We played it just 3 until the end after only around half an hour. :p

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dobugabumaru said:
You at least have to mention where you stopped!

I finished the western section, realised I was having no fun, looked at how much was left of the level in DB2, and IDCLEV'd to map30.

Map30: Evil Itself
I quite liked the idea of the final "boss" in this map. A decent variation on the always problematic icon battle. TV was right to add a preliminary section before it, though, as it was enough for a level by itself.

Alas, the actual preliminary section itself, with its 'gauntlet' of each type of enemy, was fairly pointless busy work, and not terribly interesting.

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Capellan said:

Map29: Citadel at the Edge of Eternity

Probably a good decision, you probably would have celebrated 2 birthdays before finishing this map :P

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I'm a bit Disappointed to be honet, but I know how you feel about not enjoying it at all. It's really big and confusing.

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SFoZ911 said:
I'm a bit Disappointed to be honet, but I know how you feel about not enjoying it at all.

I wish I could like it, to be honest. I mean, it looks pretty good in the visual design sense, and it's obvious that a huge amount of effort went into it. But in gameplay terms it is total nails on a chalkboard stuff for me.

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Contemporary, more or less, with Community Chest. Sounds very different in a lot of other ways, though, so I figured it would make a good contrast.

As before: HMP, continuous play, frequent save and reload, no music, never seen the levels before.

MAP01: Get Going
Wow, people weren't kidding when they said Scythe had small maps. This makes Demonfear's levels look large :)

This level consists of two simple brick buildings, each with a couple of computery annexes. They're separated by a small courtyard, which is where you start the level.

Texture work is solid. It makes use of two of the brick types I've never used much myself, finding them too 'clean' for my Doom texturing tastes.

Gameplay is simple enough: troopers and imps, with only the pistol and chainsaw to fight them. I relied on the pistol more than I probably should have, really.

MAP02: Punchline
I'm guessing the name comes from the berserk pack the level offers, but I relied on the pistol and chainsaw myself, saving the berserk to replenish health at the end of the level (though that wasn't really necessary). Demons and Spectres get added to the combat mix, to encourage the use of melee weapons. I sawed 'em all down.

Texture use had some sections that reminded me of Doom2 map01, combined with some more E1 sections as well. It was quite nicely done. I also liked how the map linked up. Combats were fun, if easy.

This level used a key, as did map01. I don't think this was really necessary in either case, but that's a pretty small quibble really.

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Aww you aren't going to play the secret maps?

Anyway, I think you will enjoy scythe. It'll be neat to see what you have to say about it since I find its idea kinda similar to demonfear's, though I never actually played the first scythe all the way through.

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lupinx-Kassman said:
Aww you aren't going to play the secret maps?

I only play secret maps if I actually find them.

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MAP03: Up and Around
My favorite map to date in the wad; just a fun little place to rock through. Finally ... finally! ... the shotgun has come back to Doomguy. That raises the tempo immediately, since it's possible to drop enemies quickly, instead of plinking them to death.

It also means sergeants can join the fun, which means there are enemies that are actually capable of hurting you if the RNG is mean.

Visual design is fine; a solid e1-e2 style base level. Small again: just a courtyard with a room on each side, really. But then, the levels in Demonfear were small too, so I can't point too many fingers there. I think these feel smaller, though ... probably because of lower/lesser monster counts.

MAP04: Lost Warehouse
A grey tech base level. Not a bad one, and it feels a little more expansive than the last, though I didn't think it needed two keys (nor did the last, for that matter). Actually got blindsided by a spectre in this, which dropped my health to 69. That's the lowest I think it's been. There's plenty around the replenish it, though.

The level introduces lost souls, though it doesn't do anything interesting with them: they emerge at enough distance that they can be handily dispatched via pistol. You don't even need to use the 'item shield' trick.

Best part of this was the opening courtyard - nice brisk action for a few seconds, there.

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This is a simple techbase, split in half by a nukage river. It's a pretty simple 'explore both directions down the nukage to get to the exit' kind of gambit, with a key in one direction and the route to the key door in the other. It's solidly executed, though, so no real complaints about it. The twin caco fight was definitely the highlight of the level, as you need to take them on in quite close quarters.

Of course, if you grab the chaingun for that fight its probably just a case of 'hold down fire to win', but I did it with the shotgun, which was a lot more fun :)

This seems to be a map where the author had a psychotic break.

It's very, very easy for most of its length ... just wander around a metal base, easily killing monsters that have little chance of hurting you (I literally took no damage until the exit room).

And then you reach said exit room, and there's a narrow platform, with four cacos in your face and two HKs sniping from a distance. Oh, and you're standing between barrels. It's definitely a very different encounter than any that have gone before it, and a welcome step up in intensity.

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Getting dropped right in the middle of the mancubi causes a moment of panic, but they're actually no danger at all: run down to the lower walkway and you can snipe them without any risk at all. A little disappointing, that.

Then the arachnotrons come out to play, but you get the RL here, and with it in your corner, they're very easy to destroy. So a pretty straightforward gameplay experience, and certainly nothing unusual, conceptually: it's Dead Simple in a smaller area.

The design is square and the texturing is very very bland: lots of BROWN1, and not much else.

Ironically, this map makes much better use of Mancubi than did map07. Here, they force you to move, engaging with the lesser monsters that roam around so as to find somewhere you can catch a breather and work out a plan of attack. A good opening to the level.

Gameplay thereafter is solid, though it doesn't ever reach the excitement of the beginning. It's mostly lower echelon stuff, plus some HKs for backup. Pretty easy to clear. The final trp could be quite nasty, but it's pretty obvious it's coming: I ducked into an alcove and sheltered there.

Looks of the level are good, with the base palette continuing to dominate, but some brick and earth also in there. I thought the selections on this level did a good job of feeling consistent without being bland.

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Obsidian said:
I'm curious to find out what you'll think of MAP28. :)

I hope you're patient. It'll probably be at least a week before you find out :)

Another decent-looking base, in keeping with the theme that's prevailed so far.

It's also very easy: I took damage for the first and only time in the ambush shortly after grabbing the red key, and even then I dropped only to 80/180. It's mostly imps (with plenty of room to dodge) and troopers for much of the level; except a mobility-impaired mancubus and a single revenant.

Despite the low difficulty, I had fun with this.

I'm not generally a fan of death-endings for levels, but evidently the author wanted to break his wad into 'episodes' much like the original Doom, and in D2, this is pretty much the only way to do it. Oh well. I guess I can expect the same thing on map20.

As for the level itself, it's a short boss fight styled affair: room full of weapons, then a couple of mancubi to duel with, followed by a couple of barons. The latter you can actually just ignore, as it turns out: I was able to slip around them and could have gone to the exit witout even engaging them, if I wanted. But I killed them, since I had plenty of rockets to do so, and didn't want them following me further into the level (since at the time, I didn't know they were the end of the level).

Visually, it's a bit of a change. The first room is the expected tech theme, but then you enter an earthen cavern filled with lava. It looks fine, though it's fairly plain in design by the standards of more modern offerings.

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Scythe's a cool wad. The 1st third decent; the maps look cool but the gameplay is pretty meh, but it gets a lot better in the 2nd episode, with some more interesting themes (library, shipyard) and better gameplay. The last episode is by far the best IMO; it has some of the funnest doom maps I've ever played (23, 24, 26, 30). Map28 sort of sucks though. The concept isn't that bad, but the execution is crap. It's really just a test of how good you are at straferunning.

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Processingcontrol said:

Map28 sort of sucks though.

Ditto. Capellan is gonna skip it right when he realizes the gimmick, and I don't blame him. Scythe was a pretty cool journey with probably the largest jump in difficulty in a wad I've played so far: the first few levels are really easy going and can be completed without much resistance, while the later ones laugh at you for even trying. I kind of like the extremes because it forces you to get better since you're knee-deep into it once it gets brutal and you can't (or shouldn't) give up.

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Processingcontrol said:
It's really just a test of how good you are at straferunning.

I already know the answer to that: "not very".

The early howl of revenants seemingly signals that the gloves are about to come off, gameplay-wise. That's not entirely the case - this is still a relatively straightforward level - but this is definitely a step up in intensity: multiple Revs, a couple of Cacos, and even an archvile.

It's also a change in the visual department, being a mixture of buildings and caverns, rather than the heavily base-themed episode 1. The design and texturing is all pretty well-executed, though it comes across as a bit 'squarish' in the building section.

I got the supercharge secret, but from looking at it in DB2 I think I did so by unintended means: looks like you're supposed to find a concealed but not marked as secret area to the north and then jump from there. I just strafe-jumped from the west; only took 3 tries so not a difficult thing to do.

Speaking of secrets, I'm not sure why the megasphere was marked as one. "You went down an open corridor! Secret!"?

The highlight of the map was definitely the blue key trap.

The map starts once more with the howl of revenants. They're set up with more room to move and snipe at you here, which makes them a bit more challenging than they were in map11. Still, on continuous play (or once you grab the RL right in front of them) they're unlikely to present much threat.

We're in a sort of brick complex here ... a couple of individual buildings once more, with what looks like a driveway leading into one of them, though if it's supposed to be a garage, it's an odd one. There are splashes of marble and gargoyle faces around too. It's a bit of a mixture, really. Works well enough in the level, though.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward: run around killing everything and grabbing keys. Most of the level is basically one interconnecting area, so there aren't really many discrete encounters within it. They just all merge in together. It's enjoyable, but nothing stands out.

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Gosh, this wad does love BROWN1. This is another level that features the texture pretty heavily.

It's a pretty good level, though it suffers from some of the same flaws as other levels in the set, especially the use of too many keys for the size. This was something I tended to do in Demonfear, too, but it's especially egregious here: the blue and yellow keys are entirely pointless, existing only to make you backtrack across the level.

That said, it's pretty good fun to play, with a good heartstarter to kick off the level and a decent revenant battle later. The exit room trap is a bit of a fizzle, though ... easily cleared with rockets in a matter of seconds.

Visually, it's good. Nice use of earth and marble together, while the BROWN1 sections, unlike map07, have enough embellishments to stay interesting. Shame about the texture offsets on the final brick building, though - all the windows and indents look decidedly wonky.

Another map, another excessive number of keys. I'd have dropped at least one from this map.

Visually, this partially flooded base looks OK. There's the inevitable BROWN1 section, of course, but also some other base textures in use. The northern section reminded me of the iwad's map10, though it's really only the silver alcoves they have in common.

Combat-wise, it's another easy run on continuous play. I took very few hits, and don't remember any especially memorable encounters. The opening "pyramid of sergeants" was probably the (slightly goofy looking) highlight.

Map11 hinted at a change of gear that later levels haven't really delivered, it must be said.

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Demon of the Well said:

Can map 28 be finished in normal fashion on UV without doing things like wallrunning? I can manage it pretty consistently with a deathslide, but that's it.

I don't think there are any useful wallruns on that map...
And yes, you can quite easily finish it without dying even if you make a lot of mistakes. example

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Thanks for posting. I tried replicating that run, and I was able to get it after a few attempts, and then again a number of times afterwards. I think you're underselling how small the margin for error is, though...seems like I always end up deathsliding out unless the turnaround after the blue switch goes just right. Thoughtful of Erik to put that teleporting corpse in to let you know how well (or poorly) you're doing. I also tend to forget that wallrunning only works when you're traveling in certain directions, and not others.

Edit: I seem to be doing better now with auto-run turned on. Guess my prolonged straferunning technique without it needs some work.

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Pretty clearly a level inspired by the Inmost Dens ... and also a level that I spent a lot less time playing than I expected. I cleared out the start area, ran over to the red key room, and fought the revenants there. Then I found the 'door' that was actually a lift, with the megasphere behind a wall, and I thought "huh, I bet I can use the lift to boost me over that wall". Which I could. And then I found the secret exit, and was all "holy hell, I just found the secret exit". So I left the level :)

What I saw was pretty good fun, and a nice homage to the original level. The megasphere secret was a fun one, too.

This is a rather drably textured affair, being almost all ROCK3. A bit more variation and decoration would have been good. But the layour is pretty smooth, and the fights are relatively good fun, albeit rather easy, so it's not all bad.

I quickly cleared out the level, but had not found the super-secret level. I also hadn't got the plasma rifle, which I could see, but which was in a secret. Then I spotted the strafe-run over pillars to get it, and did so. This was a pretty easy strafe run to do, since you could use the wall to guide you. Grabbed the plasma gun and opened the super-secret exit, which was in the same place. Next time, I will go through it :)

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Hmm. This is basically a pair of small, square arenas, into which a bunch of monsters will teleport or otherwise be released in waves. There's not much more to say about the gameplay, other than that the berserk at the bottom of the shaft is a cruel trick.

This reminds me a lot of Requiem map25. The teleport-based gameplay, especially the four sections of the marble face on the floor, the release of an AV guarding the key, and the general texture choices, all put me in mind of that level. No idea if there was any actual inspiration there, though. Just noticed the similarities.

I like the gravestones on this level. They looked cool. The winding passageway up to the main area from the start was also cool. ROCK4 is not a texture I think I've ever used. I don't think the 'depth' of the texture looks convincing on Doom's flat walls, but here it's made to work fairly well.

The hellish chapel was nicely realised, though as with many other levels in the set, I thought the use of keys was a bit pointless. Neither the red nor blue key was required for this level. Just put a switch to open the chapel up in the top cemetary area.

Gameplay was mostly fun. The first AV was a nice tactical challenge. After teleporting onto the yellow key, I ignored the revs and bolted down the exit corridor. Plasma dealt with the second AV fairly easily, and allowed me to exit in good shape for the next level.

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Capellan said:

Map32[/b] This reminds me a lot of Requiem map25. The teleport-based gameplay, especially the four sections of the marble face on the floor, the release of an AV guarding the key, and the general texture choices, all put me in mind of that level. [b]No idea if there was any actual inspiration there, though. Just noticed the similarities.

Lol are you serious? Check the level's name :-P

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vdgg said:

Lol are you serious? Check the level's name :-P

Yeah, I was serious. I never looked at the level's title while playing it :)

I guess that answers that, then!

Useless Trivia Factoid: maps 25 and 26 in Requiem are actually the wrong way around. What ended up as map25 "Chaos Zone" was actually intended to be map26 "Excoriation", and vice versa.

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