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Capellan

Adam blathers about wads (now playing: Zone 300)

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14 minutes ago, LHSpanner said:

Leeds Castle is in Kent and has nothing to do with the large city in northern England

 

That is so very, very England. :)

 

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2 hours ago, Capellan said:

 

That is so very, very England. :)

 

 

Not least because Leeds Castle in Kent was built in the early 12th century, and Leeds in Yorkshire was a tiny market town until the industrial revolution in the late 18th/early 19th century.

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Zone 300 maps 07-10

We're all sick of Dead Simple clones, but only doing half of one doesn't seem like a particularly good way to subvert expectations.

 

Map08 is stronger, with a couple of decent encounter areas: especially the raised walkway were the exit door is. There's some good crossfire action going on there. Shame the exit door itself hides the typical pcorf baron / demon speed bumps.

 

Map09 is the oft-scene pcorf hub-spoke action, only writ small. It's line inefficient again, but the monster mash behind the red door is fun (not really dangerous, but fun).

 

Map10 has a lot of parkour. Also some high & distant revenants and Chaingunners that are quite annoying.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 11-13

Map11's basically a rather pointless 64-wide corridor crawl to pick up all three keys so you can go do an arena fight and flick four switches. This reveals the spiderdemon, which I merrily skipped fighting to just push my way over the exit line.

 

Lordy, pcorf needs to stop using stairs in line-limited maps. They suck up the line count so fast. This is pretty much a blink and you will miss it affair, with the opening fight being easily the most engaging the map has to offer.

 

"Walk down a long snakey corridor to have the walls lower and reveal a big open room" is something of a motif here. And fair enough, it's an efficient design, line count wise. Still, it's a bit repetitive now. I'd like to see pcorf challenge himself more with the design elements.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 14-15

I feel like map14 misses a trick by not having anything happen after you grab the red key. You just trudge back to the red door, open it, and either fight or skip the monsters within.

 

I failed to get the secret exit on map15, though I actually worked out all the steps. I got insta-gibbed when teleporting out of the sludge, so didn't check the secret exit that time, and then because there was no visual or audio cue that crossing those lines had done anything, I neglected to re-load it and try again. Oops, I guess.

 

Both maps seem to have not had much consideration for continuous play given to them, as they're very much "camp a doorway" affairs when played on that basis, whereas you'd be under a lot more pressure to move about the map and gather resources on pistol start. They'd need multiple angles of threat to get a continuous player moving, rather than camping, and the threat is all from the front.

 

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 16-18

Map16 is another one where the basic lack of attention to actually trying to be line-efficient is very obvious. You could wring a lot more detail and gameplay out of the line limit than we get here. This map also features what may be the most pointless of pcorf's often pointless exit room monsters, ever: an AV that promptly teleports away, leaving me to just step forward and nonchalantly slap the exit switch.

 

The marble and vine walkway section of map17 feels like filler that's somehow become the central focus of a map. It's not a particularly engaging or innovative set of encounters: definitely one of the weaker maps of the set.

 

Never has the failure to actually try to maximise the gameplay of each map been more evident than in map18, which fritters away its resources such that the level is over before it's even really started. Only the teleporting monsters when you open the blue door could be considered to have any chance of getting the blood pumping, and it's all too brief a moment.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 19-20

I'm amused all the lines pcorf wastes, only to then save lines with his floating marbfaces. On the other hand, while still a line-inefficient design, map19 shows a welcome dedication to putting some gameplay front and centre. The hot start is turned up to 11 here, and while it dials back quite a bit once you've snagged the red key, it's definitely not as stilted as many of the other maps. Probably the first really memorable dance of the set.

 

Map20, on the other hand, is memorable for mostly bad reasons: catwalk shenanigans and butt ugliness being its two principle crimes. The 'tron/SMM/cyber gangbang is actually a rare case of a Zone300 map having its best encounter at the end, though. It has that, at least.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 21-22

I liked the clumps of imps near the start of map21, and some of the early layout suggested we might see a bit more efficiency wrung out of the line count than normal, but it was not to be. Why do you keep using stairs, pcorf? The map's also very static once you reach the berserk patch: lots of standing in doorways/corridors killing monsters as they trundle toward you.

 

Map22 has a similar pattern, except that the middle of the map, with the solid use of sneaky cacodemons and the imp shooting gallery, is the action highlight. After that, it again becomes a rather stop-start affair of opening a door, killing what's behind it, and then hoovering up the goodies in that area before repeating in the next section. Getting the barons and 'trons to infight was fun, at least, though the poor baby spiders got stomped pretty hard.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 23-24

I've not generally been all that effusive about this WAD, but I had fun with the two maps that I'm covering today. They weren't flawless, by any means, but they had some good action and neat design.

 

Map23 starts off looking a little pedestrian with a short corridor clean-up, but it's possible for a caco from later in the map to get alerted and come sneaking up on you, which creates some fun multi-angle threats. Then once you get upstairs and deal with the traditional harmless pcorf demons, there are some fun caco and mancubus engagements that you can handle a couple of different ways. I also liked the parkour-based secret.

 

Map24, on the other hand, is very much one of the front-loaded maps we've often seen in this set, but the opening cavern sequence makes up for this by being really good fun indeed, with smart enemy selection, traps not quite where you expect them, and the neat chaingun secret. The subsequent long winding corridor where it's painfully obvious the walls will eventually drop is ... well, painfully obvious. So much so, that I didn't even bother to engage with it: you can easily skedaddle to the exit and ignore the mancubi and whatever else might be lurking in 'ambush'.

 

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 25-26

These two maps feel like a definite step back after the last couple. Map25 is a tedious near mono-textured hub-spoke grind with lots of monsters on ledges, though the occasional opportunities to leap back down from an even higher ledge to grab some new goodies were quite nice. Map26, meanwhile, is basically just an arena with a cyberdemon whose help you will probably need to clear out the enemies, especially on pistol start.

 

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Zone 300 maps 27-28

Though guilty of many of the same sins as other maps; very linear, heavily structured gameplay, a stop/start tempo, wasted lines, and so on; map27 felt more engaging than the last couple. I'm not really sure why. Maybe just because the flesh tunnels were executed quite well and thus seemed a cool location? In any case, I quite enjoyed it.

 

I liked the opening of map28, with the imp swarm, but after that it mostly went south. The trap on the red key is really obvious, and easily choked off by retreating up the stairs, and that motif of choking off or camping encounters recurs again and again here. The spiderdemon fight is probably the most egregious issue, since it's either a hugely tiresome cover camping affair, or you just skip it entirely (I chose the latter option). The cacodemons being trapped outside the windows ends up looking pretty silly over the course of the map, too.

 

 

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Zone 300 maps 29-30

Like the last couple of maps, map29 seems pretty impractical for ammo on the 100% kills front, but fortunately I only care about exiting. This basically meant that I skipped most of the second half of the map, skating past Stompy, all the cacos and all three AVs (why anyone who wasn't trying to 100% would bother fighting the last two, I don't know).

 

Map30's an Icon map that skips the need for accurate timing in favour of forcing you to fire a lot more rockets into a hole. This is not an improvement, IMO.

 

 

 

Zone 300 Overall

The biggest issue I see with this wad is that pcorf doesn't seem to have really engaged with the line limit in any meaningful way. He's just made regular pcorf maps with regular pcorf tropes (like a tendency to linearity, lots of harmless demons and inevitable exit room monsters), only smaller. It would have been nice to see more effort to stretch himself.

 

Next up is Unholy Realms, though I'm not sure how far I will get – I've heard comparisons to Scythe, and I thought that got a bit tiresome in the final episode.

 

 

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