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The Lost Episodes of Doom - My thoughts

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Ok, I did play through all 3 episodes this afternoon and it was mostly decent. Episode 1 and 2 up to M6 were really good but once it started going into Robert Carter's levels, the quality took a nosedive, not to mention those levels were large, wide levels with less detail as opposed to Klie's levels which I loved.

If Robert's quality matched that of Christen's levels, I would have loved the entire mapset but liked because of E2M6 to E3M8 were meh in quality.

So what do you guys think of these levels?

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Isn't there like this book that originally came with the mapset that's supposed to be really good that you read while playing alongside the game? Only reason I've waited on playing this, want to get a copy of that first.

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I agree, the Klie levels are great, if needing some polish, while the Carter ones are terrible.

I didnt get time to play E3, due to PC issues, but I dreaded it. The whole thing needs a drastic update to be at least comparable to Perditions Gate and Hell to Pay, the other two commercial wads.

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Death Egg said:

Isn't there like this book that originally came with the mapset that's supposed to be really good that you read while playing alongside the game?

The book is, indeed, well-developed. It's primarily an illustrated walk-though of the game. At the time it was released, the book + CD(?) cost $10.00, which I thought was a reasonable price for the package. The levels are pretty good for their time, but I don't remember if I had any complaints of the levels after E2M6.

[EDIT: I just checked my copy of the book, and the game was included on a 3.5" diskette, not a CD.]

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That will be a problem with users who have no 3.5" disk drive, which will force those to get a USB floppy disk drive to get the contents.

I wish Klie chose someone else who knew what they were doing so the quality would be consistent, Carter couldn't map well enough and I grudgingly went through the levels, even E3M8 was a reuse of E1M1 with small addition to it.

Ragnor: Be glad you didn't because E3 was worse than the latter E2 levels.

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Klie chose Carter because they were acquainted (or e-acquainted), and Carter had a body of work of considerable size and with a relatively high degree of internal coherency in his design philosophy, much like Klie himself. Incidentally, one of the main reasons that a lot of Carter's maps feel like they have something subtly 'off' about them in terms of how they flow is that he was a Deathmatch-oriented player, and so tried to make single-player maps that would also play well in that game mode (which, of course, is something far easier said than done). The comical degree of over-generosity in terms of ammo/weapon/artifact placement, which Klie's maps are also guilty of, is more a hallmark of that era of WADmaking than a particular failing of either author.

While some of the Carter maps are a mess (e.g. E2M8, "Late for Supper"), I think that most of that mapset's most memorable (in a positive way, I mean) entries are also his--"Jovian Stonehenge" (E3M1), "Subterranean Stoneworks" (E3M3), "Pools of Despair" (E3M4), etc. Combat itself is very paltry throughout the whole thing, which means the maps need to stand on other attributes, like atmosphere, layout, and whatnot--Klie's maps are generally much less scatterbrained in terms of layout, but Carter consistently beats him in the realm of atmosphere, I think.

The book itself is by John Mendoza (though it also includes commentaries by Klie and Carter for each map, as well as a short advice section on WADmaking by Klie), who also wrote the official Sybex guide to the original DooM--the pre-game stuff is 90% copy-pasted from that book, in fact. The Lost Episodes book isn't as rich in the maps department either, but the set-piece focus of the writing remains, and is just as good. Interesting to see how much easier players were to scare/intimidate back then (and I can even rememver a bit of that reality firsthand!)...in fact, you see this in other Doom-related print media as well--the sheer number of situations that Ed Dille recommends you avoid or flee from in the Prima Doom II guide is pretty telling, for example.

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