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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Coffee Break & Fava Beans & Double Impact

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E1M3

This seemed like a non-linear mapflow where you must find enough switches to raise a bridge the exit in the centre of a nukage pool.

Even though it took me about as long to complete as the previous level it felt quicker, which is strange because I again felt a little lost looking for the keys this time. The difference, I suspect, was made up by the blue key being optional and the level being easier to navigate.

Gameplay was again just moderate with only surprise sergeants and groups of lost souls providing a challenge. Demons and spectres try to keep you on your toes but I found them scarce enough to handle them easy enough and the other monsters are rarely at an advantage to you.

The dark section of this level is the most interesting part. The crate area could have done with some light sources at least but IIRC it houses only a few imps and former humans so it didn't feel too unfair. If I'd gone into it without much health it might have been a different story however.


I think I'm one map too far ahead on these somehow. I'll not play a map tomorrow to get back in line.

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purist said:
I think I'm one map too far ahead on these somehow. I'll not play a map tomorrow to get back in line.


The opening post allowed 9 days for Fava Beans but should only have allowed 8, so you're actually fine. There's a post about it from dobugabumaru somewhere above :)

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E1M2 -- Computer Mainframe - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
"The real Double Impact starts here."

While the Maintenance Area was a nice opener, the Mainframe sets the stage for things to come. From the moment it begins it's an unrepentant killing spree, with monsters again attacking from the moment the map begins. Many of the basic hallmarks of monster deployment in KDiTD are here--closets, groups of closets, groups firing through windows, deaf monsters hiding in small alcoves, etc., all carefully tuned to insure that every part of the installation is awash in the stench of spilled blood and adrenaline before the proceedings come to a close. If it could be faulted for anything it is perhaps that maybe it actually needed just a liiiiittttle bit more in the way of quiet moments between the mass-murder sessions, to go along with that rad remix track and some of the more atmospheric locales; for example, though I think the dark, blinking blue/tech maze is great as-is, I agree with Kristian that it probably could have been even better if the action in that section had started out very slowly before returning to a fever pitch.

As will be the case with many maps in this episode, you can go in a number of different directions at the start. While it isn't actually a highly nonlinear map in terms of basic progression, this relative openness is relevant in that it affords the map some significant replayability in terms of how the fights play out. The wealth of secrets adds additional interest; though the majority are simple (though not grossly obvious) pushwalls, finding all twelve of them, with the blue key and its related areas being the marquee act, is still quite satisfying, though in a pistol-start mentality a lot of the later secrets are just fleeting little treats rather than important tactical acquisitions. Still fun to find/use, though. Outside of the aforementioned mainframe maze, I don't think it's as visually striking as E1M1, but again, I've got no significant complaints about the looks of things here, either.

Really enjoying this, just like last time. Keep 'em coming!

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E1M1: Maintenance Area
Skill 4, Doom+ longtics, demo attached below.

Double Impact starts at the "maintenance area", a map that feels fitting as a first level in a set. You start off in one of a pair of roughly square buildings next to the larger structure you're supposed breach, giving the initial impression of a complex base. The enemies outside are just zombiemen, offering a light taste of fights to come, and you can explore and find the shotgun in one of the pits in the buildings if you're curious enough. If not, you can still get a shotgun from one of the shotgun guys. This is the weapon you'll be relying on most of the time. A good opening.

Inside, the building has decent height variation and an E1 feel, but with a more spacious impression than Romero's more maze-like levels. The opposition is moderate, although the trap before the red key can be deadly because of unexpected shotgun guys. This wasn't my first time through, but in my first playthrough alone I died there. Ammo tends to be sufficient but you can run out of shells occasionally, but not without bullets until you get some, as I did in the red key area when I fled from the trap (which arguably saved my life).

The yellow key is on a column you must lower with switches, and the area it's in is reminiscent of the final part of DOOM's E1M3. Another tribute area is the final room, which is somewhat like the end of the original E1M6. This complements the general design well in adding a touch of nostalgia, and the action-inspiring "hard rock" music is perhaps a bit too cheery but suitable for a shorter intro level. To finish the level you have to get to the final room before you get the yellow key you need to exit, and this requires backtracking, although the end gets new enemies once you got the key. I didn't really dislike this because the map is relatively compact and the yellow key switch is well marked, and this allows some additional enjoyment of the level structure without being a true waste of time. In addition, it creates suspense, as you don't necessarily expect a new batch of enemies at the end.

If nothing spectacular, the maintenance area is a decent promise of what lies ahead.

dbi_myk1.zip

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e1m3
I was not a fan of the repeated "fight in the pitch dark" sections of the map. I don't usually have a problem with light levels in wads, but this one has significant sections of the complex at (well) under 100.

Gameplay – when I could see – was solid but nothing amazing. Traps were generally easy to predict and prepare for, and I overall found it easier than e1m2.

Found 3 of 8 secrets as my patience rapidly expired, and I exited the level without finding the blue key, the secret exit, or about half the monsters.

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Hello all! Where's All The Data returns with a 3-part playthrough of Double Impact. Despite my rampant dying from m3 onward (I really should have turned down the difficulty like I said I was going to -- I promise that all future streamthroughs will be played on HMP), we were graced by the presence of a certain Mr. RottKing; one brilliant half of the Impact authorship.

Part 1: http://www.twitch.tv/st_alfonzo/c/2318167
Part 2: http://www.twitch.tv/st_alfonzo/c/2318175
Part 3: http://www.twitch.tv/st_alfonzo/c/2318191

Once again, you can expect a review podcast on TTV to be posted at the end of the month, only this time we'll be reviewing all 3 selections from May.

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E1M3 - Research Complex
Pain, pain and more pain. How I loved being over 30% health, because it was a rare moment in this map.
Strategically places monsters which inflict pain on you everywhere in a map thin of health and especially armour unless you find secrets. The look of the map differs at times going towards episode two with vines and flesh present at times. I found the all important secret for the blue key which unlocks the secret exit.
Overall it was a good map if a little frustrating at times when the health you build up gets instantly erased by psycho bopping lost soul :P

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E1M4

First death! And it was in the slime around the yellow key podium, which I fell into after raising the catwalk but before opening the podium. I tried to edge my way around the trim exploring for a secret and fell in.

Monster-wise there was only one dangerous fight just as the yellow key is revealed along with a small group of lost souls and a sucker punch monster closet that will catch you napping. The trap triggered by grabbing the yellow key afterwards had potential for trouble but after my earlier misstep I didn't stick around long and chipped at the caco from the vantage of a doorway when he came looking for me.

Outside of this I was left untroubled to trundle around the level to finding the ample secret areas that were more rewarding to explore than they were to trigger. For the first time in living memory I actually found every secret, item and killed all but one monster (coward!) on my first attempt. Finding these really opened up the level and lent extra appreciation to the design. It made me more keen to find secrets in the next levels. Could be my favourite map so far.

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E1M3 -- Research Complex
Another very large and at times spacious map. This one is more sprawling than the first two and it feels like you can visit a lot of places in seemingly any order. This one didn't really do it for me, I had little sense of where I was going with all of it, had to check the automap over and over to find where I was going.

Like Adam and cannonball hinted at, this one can easily get more exhausting than exhilarating, with 412 monsters and a good 30 minutes playtime if you want to go for 100/100. The gameplay consists mostly of sniping zombiemen, imps and shotgunners and try not to get hit too much. The secrets share the same strengths and weaknesses as the last map: you're awarded more secrets for having found earlier secrets (which is doubly rewarding or punishing), some of them though -- the green armour one and the switch to get to the whole southeastern part of the map and the BK -- were quite nifty.

It's a fair bit challenging, but mostly because it keeps dragging on and the health balance is such that a roaming and/or sniping shotgunner can deplete your health forcing you to play sissy for a long time afterwards. If you don't find the first green armour secret you won't get one for quite a while, and there are some very violent -- and, admittedly -- fun traps throughout. The map basically says: "Here's the exit. Now stroll around and pick up keys and fight monsters for a while and check back". So I did. After having picked up all keys and fought a lot of monsters, suddenly I saw that the passage to the regular exit was open. I had no idea what triggered it. It's quite simple, really: you activate a switch behind each of one of the yellow and red key doors, and voilà. But you don't know that (how could you?) and for such a large map with all the sections you can play through it felt a little strange.

Highlights were probably the RK trap, the RL trap, and the BK trap, very action-packed all three. All in all, technically polished but not really a map I'd care to play again. And I'm beginning to fear that we've begun to go down a road to even larger and more complex maps, after having seen 821 monsters in the first three maps alone (KTiTD has 926 monsters total). --3/5

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E1M2: Knowing now that R&R are pulling no punches, I'm taking each map slow and steady, making sure to snipe my combatants as I see them. This worked well for me since I made it through without a death (though I was lowered down to 5% and had a lucky close encounter with a sergeant [I probably channeled my badluck to cannonball]). The secrets I found helped quite a bit although no blue key for me as I was more than happy to exit rather than stick my neck out for goodies I'd lose since I'm pistol starting anyway.

I'm really liking the design of these maps despite them not actually appealing to me aesthetically. The conceptual, grandiose side of Doom is the one that I enjoy the most, with the Doom 1/2 throwbacks being generally ineffectual for the most part—but I'm like these maps. The layout is still confusing and a bit unintuitive, but the difficulty, balance, throwbacks and pacing is a blast. To me this feels like Knee Deep made today (er, 2011), taking into account the skills and speed of modern players. Fun stuff.

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e1m4
A much easier and lower-key level than the last. It's not short on monsters, but the fights are fun and open. The melee after you lower the platform in the north west: a couple of cacos, some last souls, and various riffraff. Fun!

Secrets seemed a lot easier to find in this, too. I picked up 71%, which is about twice as good percentage wise as last time, and with far less effort.

A fun map to play, and I suspect it would make for entertaining speed run videos too.

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E1M3 -- Research Complex - 99% Kills / 87% Secrets
The maps begin to get rather sizable here, which is lovely, as far as I'm concerned. As I recall, of all the maps in Double Impact, this is far and away the one with the largest number of nods to specific KDiTD maps--Computer Station and Toxin Refinery figure most prominently (as they so often do), but a few important spots also recall Central Processing, as well. Truth be told I'm not normally a big fan of direct IWAD homages, but the ones here are implemented casually enough as incidental parts of the overall level progression that I don't find most of them too offputting. Visually, the most noticeable thing about it in contrast to the other maps in the set thus far is that it has a lot more lighting contrast, and particularly a larger number of areas that are quite dark, as others have noted. For my part, I find the use of darkness here compelling, rather than annoying--it lends the complex more of a haunted, ominous atmosphere, and it serves as a minor tactical wrinkle in a few otherwise straightforward combat situations, e.g. the imp-infested storage warehouse with the chainsaw and security armor secret.

Combat here is a little more low-key for most of the time than in the previous map, but occasionally erupts into frenzies of even greater violence, mostly where key traps (and trapped keys) are concerned. I don't find it to be very difficult, all told, although it can't be taken too lightly; there's enough health and plenty of ammo to get comfortable with, but a relative lack of armor could make for some significant hitscan attrition. That is, a relative lack of non-hidden armor; find at least a couple of the secrets and you'll probably snag a green vest at some point, and there are a lot of spiritual armors along the main route to keep it going.

Speaking of secrets, once again there are several, following a similar model as the Mainframe did--a combination of subtle pushwalls and other observation-based finds, together with special keylocked optional areas containing extra firepower and, in this case, the secret exit. The blue key here is a fairly easy find as long as one explores thoroughly after securing the two mandatory keys, although a player rushing through things could probably easily miss the semi-hidden button that opens up the start of the leg where it is found. The relative ease with which the blue key is acquired suggests that DI's authors probably really hoped most players would find it, and underscores their approach to secrets throughout the mapset--rather than simply concealing everything out of sight, they make it quite clear that there is a lot to see and do apart from simply reaching the exit, and then leave it up to the player to decide whether or not they're up for the adventure. I quite like this; I think it adds a sense of in-world intrigue to these important UAC facilities, and it doesn't require much of an adjustment in approach for me since I usually actively try to uncover as many secrets as I can, anyway.

Reading others' comments, however, it does occur to me that there is a potential weakness in this approach, in that the secrets can make a considerable impact on how the maps play. From what I've seen in the item placement, I don't think Dew is incorrect in his assertion that gameplay balance is very reasonable whether a player finds all secrets or none on a given map, but it does seem to me like opening the optional areas (and using the toys inside them) accounts for a large portion of the fun to be had, such that not doing so probably leaves players with a more lukewarm overall impression of a map's completeness, balance, and connectivity. Really, it's not unlike Fava Beans in that respect. Well, except for the fact that, any way you slice it, there's actually stuff to kill in DI. ;)

E1M9 -- Operations - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Every truly complete secret map has something that sets it apart a bit, and in this case, Operations is a temporary shift away from the running KDiTD theme to something just a little more warped...yes, time for a little Deimos, in all of its decrepit glory. Other than using 'The Demons from Adrian's Pen' for its BGM, however, it doesn't reference particular areas from E2 (or any other IWAD maps) nearly as much as the map that preceded it. Those who were a bit befuddled by the open-endedness and untelegraphed switch action in the Research Complex should feel a little more comfortable in this one, as the progression guides you around a bit more decisively this time (although there is some exploring to be done after finding the blue key), showcasing the map's high degree of interconnectivity in the process. While there are still a lot of secrets, this map eschews the idea of hidden keys/large bonus areas; all three keys are required to make it out this time, further underscoring the map's somewhat less open-ended nature.

The real soul of Operations lies in its combat. While the overall pacing is similar to E1M3's--that is, a constant stream of incidental skirmishes periodically punctuated by pitched battles near key objectives--Operations really turns things up a notch. The opening of the map, from a pistol-start, is a frantic scramble for shotgun ammo, one of those situations where it's quite possible you might be flushed deeper and deeper into hostile territory while trying to gain a foothold; demons/specters are used to either push you around or corner you a little more in this map, and lost soul usage sees an increase, with the bastards tending to crop up from all kinds of uncanny angles. And those set-piece battles.....mmmmm. The crowded battle in the yellow key yard is just the tip of the iceberg; my personal favorite is the red key reveal in the waste-settling room, where an almost comically huge crowd of the fallen pours out of garage-sized monster closets and clamors inexorably down the narrow walkway towards your position in the control room, with cacodemons attacking directly through the large viewport. Excellent stuff--my advice if you're pistol-starting is to save your rockets, because you'll need them for situations like this one. One thing...what sort of wacky speedrunning scheme is that invulnerability sphere for?

Big and bloody, and hard not to like. Those who tend to grow fatigued by processions of long maps will be pleased to know that R & R have a mind for pacing, however--the middle reach of the set features several maps that are more mid-sized.

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E1M2 from Dbimpact: these levels are following the following pattern: they are hard on the first playthorugh as your health is being slowly and steadily decreasing. Once you learn where some nasty sergeants and spectres are located, you lose less and less health and the maps are becoming easy.

There's a blue key somewhere on the map which I didn't find and which would open TWO blue different doors (time to watch some demos). The dark (but not too dark) maze was annoying. There's also a simple yet effective trap of a demon in front, a demon behind. I saw something similar in SID MAP02.

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E1M9 - Operations
The episode 2 theme is brought in for this secret map, which is a nice thematic change of pace. Gameplay wise it feels a little more forgiving than the last one with more moments of pure action rather than survival. Ironically I did not dies often at the big traps and mostly died due to stupidity. I was often killed before grabbing the yellow key just trying to get supplies and fighting the well placed zombie.
Found 5 of the 9 secrets which isn't too bad, the soulsphere one helping greatly at the end.

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E1M3: Research Complex

This is quite a large map, as the 400+ monster count will attest. If one goes for the normal exit, it can probably be completed in half the time, as half of the map is a "secret" area to undertake the quest for the blue key (which leads to the secret exit). I liked the dark places, for the most part, as it did force me to play differently and more carefully (and it's amazing how much more of a threat spectres become in the dark - I had one that for whatever reason would bite me then run around the corner for another ambush). It also feels like there's a lot more "hitscanners in windows" on this level, which means the player will be constantly taking chip damage... I think I actually got down to 9% at one point. I enjoyed the key ambushes too, especially the red key one, which had me worried and mashing the 5 key thinking "dear god do I have a rocket launcher? Please tell me I ... awww yeah."

It is a big long though, and like Kristian, I did pretty much the entire blue key leg and most of the map before realizing I still had a yellow door to open and raised the regular exit. I also wasn't a fan of the amount of one-way parts on the map (the blue key leg has one, as well as the secret exit) - there's no reason reason the player shouldn't return after the initial locked door ambush is over.

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E1M2: Central Computing
Skill 4, Doom+ longtics, demo attached below.

Next is "central computing", a larger level with roughly three sections. The central part contains mostly wider halls on different heights and another yellow key on a column like in the previous level, including a zig-zag ramp over slime like in the original E1M1.

The partly hidden computer area or maze to the north is reminiscent of the maze in DOOM's E1M2, but is gloomier and more dangerous. The first time I played here, in a cooperative FDA movie in 2011, I had died twice in the computer area. I didn't remember this with exactitude now but I did recall the lower area was dangerous. Unlike in the original maze, you're trapped down there once the you go in with the lift and this time around I had a nice tense experience after descending with only median health, but fortunately some armor. The initial fight there can hurt you and once my health went down, I couldn't afford wasting any, basically making every corner a threat or challenge (as the demo shows). I did find the blue key in the maze, yet it was mostly pointless in this playthrough because I only found one third of the secrets in total. I wanted to have fun more than anything, so wall-knocking for secrets wasn't a priority.

The last main area is beyond the yellow key door and it contains branching halls (this was neat in coop as it invited each player to take one wing) that go to the red key area. In this last area there's a trap where you can get surrounded by enemies, but the lighting and space make it less threatening than the maze area. Outside there's a large area with a rocket launcher beyond a large pool of green slime. This time I didn't go out, nor in the FDA movie. I did manage to get there in a demo I had recorded in 2011 a bit after the coop, but amusingly I didn't really discover how to activate it, but a monsters (a zombieman, I think) activated it while I was before the lowering window. Who said monsters are always bad? (This is similar to the trick used in DOOM's Hangar, where monsters lower the secret lift to allow a faster NM 100% and the like.) That lowering window is reminiscent of the secrets in DOOM's E1M3, of course.

As a side note, the red key room has exit with stairs and a door that closes when you get the key. I didn't remember what the door did and tried to flee the ambush but was suddenly down there, cornered. Looking back at the demo this incident reminded me of ending up in similar circumstances in the stairs that go into the slime tunnel in the CTF map Ralphis' Magical Forts (map04 of zdctfmp), where occasionally I try to flee the defenders and end up cornered there.

Overall, and with only vague previous knowledge of the level, this took me about twice as much time as the previous level to complete (somewhat over 19 minutes versus over 10 minutes for the maintenance area), with increased suspense and fun, heightened by the great remix that seems to combine DOOM's "Dark Halls" and "Suspense".

Memfis said:
Cool, I finally found the blue key on this map. And still missed like half of the secrets heh.

vdgg said:
E1M2 from Dbimpact: these levels are following the following pattern: they are hard on the first playthorugh as your health is being slowly and steadily decreasing. Once you learn where some nasty sergeants and spectres are located, you lose less and less health and the maps are becoming easy.

I liked these factors, the enemy placement and the remoteness of some of the meatier secrets, because they allow more fluid speed running or give an eventual chance to weaker players without diluting a more tight initial experience. Very hard secrets can be irritating, but only if they become essential. In this case, it's good that they aren't easy to find. I've played E1M1 in three occasions (an initial coop, an "SDA" after that and now) and never found the chaingun, but that made the yet-unfamiliar level more fun.

PS: I'm a bit behind. This is actually yesterday's post (I played yesterday, in fact) and another is coming along tonight, but it's also because the schedule was moved back one day and I had scheduled this for the 21st. I'll still manage, I think, especially by catching up during the weekend.

dbi_myk2.zip

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E1M9 -- Operations
Another large one, but this map makes it work because, as D.o.t.W. says, it leads you along for much of the way. It is an intricately built and beautiful piece of work -- although it uses practically every texture in the original game, it does so in a way which helps freshen things up and bestow uniqueness upon each individual area (which is great for idiots like myself who keep wandering around getting lost, because that was never a factor here as I could identify and remember each part of the map). I spent about as much time here as in E1M3, but left this one with a completely different feeling: a sense of accomplishment and joy instead of bewilderment. The flow of this map is above par, you're kept very busy throughout in a long series of fights distinguished by superb monster placement, and violent traps.

It is indeed difficult not to fall in love with this... I succumbed almost instantly, when I, stumbling about near the start, noticed the green armour secret and having grabbed that, could get back at the demons that killed me in my first playthrough. :-) I think I was fortunate to go the "wrong" way from the start, and get my hands on both the chaingun and green armour before hitting a dead-end and going the "right" way, on to the yellow key area. It is possible to run into that area with no armour and no chaingun and this would be suicide, most likely! There are lots of subtle, delightful details here, such as being able to see secrets before you can reach them (green armour, invisibility), secrets rewarding attentive and explorative players (swiches hiding the invuln secret, berserk secret, soulsphere secret), the best usage of Lost Souls I've seen in a loooooong time ... forgot to mention that in my E1M3 review BTW, the way the Souls are used there is among the highlights of that map. Here they are used very intelligently again. The authors clearly understand exactly how to use the Lost Soul to let it wreak maximum havoc.

The gameplay is tough but never unfair, although the ambush right after teleporting was very rough and almost crippled me. I discovered the blue armour by accident as I was attempting a strafe jump to the platform in the corner. Lucky me, I thought I was done for. :-) After that the remaining traps became much easier but I'm certain they are quite survivable even without it. The best trap I agree with D.o.t.W was the red key reveal trap, absolutely brilliant stuff.

As for drawbacks, it is a trifle too big; I was ready to exit after opening the RK door, but fortunately there wasn't much of the map left, and the two traps towards the end were both great fun, especially the cheeky exit Caco trap. Oh, and I used the pointless(?) invuln to point-blank blast some monsters with my rocket launcher. Wheee! :-) Almost forgot: ammo balance is top notch. Very good work. --5/5

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The invuln is an accidental (and harmless) carry over from coop. A cyberdemon occupies that area when playing with someone else!

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E1M9

Since I'm on schedule for a change I thought I'd take an excursion and warp to the secret map even though I never earned the right by finding it while I was on E1M3.

Anyway, good map. The ugliest yet but at the same time the most visually interesting. For the secret map Double Impact goes E2 with all the mixed texture themes that go with it but although it's not always an aesthetically pleasing theme it provides a bit of variety from the previous thematically consistent but somewhat samey earlier levels.

Other than the new looks there's none of the gimmicks or high concepts that are often in the secret slots, which I think is a shame as I'd like to see what these accomplished authors would do when thinking outside the box.

If I'm not mistaken extra health has been added in HMP to repair your mistakes whilst UV is quite unforgiveable in this regard. Well, this map gave me a taste of what UV players have been suffering through as after losing a chunk of health I had to survive several battles untouched before I could find enough healing items to bring myself back up to 100%. This felt particularly acute as armour was also in short supply. I don't remember getting a green armour until quite late on. I liked this. Frugality is the direction I'd like to take my maps in as there's nothing like the delayed gratification of finally getting a decent supply and being able to wreak revenge on your oppressors!

It took me a long time to beat this map and I died often and used regular saves but I was never bored. Good job on it.

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e1m3:

i have mixed feelings about this map. on one hand i need to echo the notion that its pace is kinda crippled to a crawl, on the other hand i think this map "gets" episode 1 the most and upgrades it to year 2011.

it's basically two maps in one - the greatly nonlinear, smooth and open-design regular map that just screams "romero would love to be able to design this" and the secret part that can only be called "the quest for the blue key". it's exactly that, it's a goddamn linear dungeon crawl, but damn, it feels like an adventure. strictly speaking none of the two styles suits me greatly, because both promote rather gloomy, slow and careful gameplay, but i bow down before the flawless way the two styles are merged into a working map. the first time i played it, i exited with like 30% monsters killed and almost no secrets found, of course, and i loved that fact.

the "basic" map is extremely unforgiving and perhaps serves the best as an example of why dbimpact gets often called "the war of attrition". pistol start has you low on resources, both health and ammo, having to resort to stimpaks and bullet clip droppings... and monsters chase you, oh yes. they migrate through the map if you let them, i love that and i did research their, heh, migration patterns when i recorded my almost 12 min max run. continuous gameplay makes the tough start more bearable, plus it gives you tools to massacre some of the nasty fights (particularly the really evil RK arena), which is a nice touch. on the other hand it's kept under control and even continuers will soon find themselves begging for stimpaks, heh.

the "secret" map is, as i said, a dungeon crawl. quite linear (except a few optional side rooms), but full of clever setpiece battles. while the total nonlinearity of the basic map is such an impressive achievement and blahblah, i find the secret part more enjoyable to play, just because you get more of an accomplishment of beating battles and traps instead of running into stragglers all the time. also the big nukage room at the center of the BK quest may well be the most devious room in all dbimpact - unless you resort to some very slow sniping, there's no strategy to it. you just have to deal with a shitton of sergeants and lost souls and pigs. with a shotgun. agh!

all in all, it may not be my favourite map of the set, but i respect it and everything it achieves. as a playtester... there's still that invisible obstacle in one of the secrets, heh.


e1m9:

i see this map as a twin to m3, it just picked all the different life choices than its sibling. despite similar size, "volume" and a sidedish of nonlinearity there are many more setpiece battles, memorable vistas and whatnot.

two moments that make this map, imo: the YK arena, obviously, and the huge chunk of floor dropping to reveal HELL! the former isn't particularly tough, but it's just so entertaining to get rid of everything the fastest you can while practicing the arcane circlestrafe arts. the latter feels extremely e2-ish, but so appropriate. it only makes me feel warm and fuzzy that you can beat the trap and run across it with full speed. love you, guys.

recording a max demo was less pleasing and actually it got more frustrating than m3. there, i was happy with employing general strategies and avoiding stragglers - here i had to speed through difficult setpiece battles. that means very controlled amount of health and ammo for your impact weapons - and every time there would be a lost soul coming into your face just as you try to rocket a monster crowd.

i really like the final fight too... if i had to pick a weak point, i'd say the soulsphere secret in the final area. it feels quite fillerish, tbh. overall though, i think i like the map more than m3, because it's more fun even when i replay it over and over. which i did more times than most of humanity would find bearable. D:

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E1M9: Operations

Another long map with 400+ monsters, but the objectives/pace is set out a bit better so I didn't feel the same pang of drudgery that E1M3 gave me partway through it's blue key leg. And yeah, it's a bit "uglier" given the use of more of the ugly E2 textures, but still nice looking. The yellow key fight was pretty fun, though I felt the area was a bit too bright (feels like the area with sky should be bright but the surroundings a touch darker?). The fight for the red key was pretty tough too, as is the last one. Lots of good use of closets surrounding the player from multiple angles, forcing the player to try and find a good place to hole up but still needing to take out priority targets and keep on their toes to avoid being overrun.

I also really like the secrets designs, with most of them being visible from some angle, giving the player a few clues to try and figure out how to reach them. Can't say the stuff inside was always exciting (I was kinda crushed that it was just another green armor near the 'zerk back, not a blue) but finding them is its own reward. I agree with Purist that I'm slightly disappointed that the secret map isn't a big more high-concept or "different", but that's just my own bias. On it's own it's still another good map.

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E1M3
Some club members complained about ultra dark area(s). They are right. Nothing very fun with them.

A long map, though I shouldn't complain, this time I finished it relatively quickly. Then watched dew's max: I missed, among others, a very nice outdoor area with cacos and small monsters on rock cliffs. The best map so far.

I must however stress that after playing this very map some time ago, I started to lose interest in the PWAD itself. E1M3 is all very nicely designed, floors and wall textures combinations are perfect, textures chosen are among my favourites (though it's difficult to go wrong with Ultimate Doom stuff)...

What's wrong then? I'll say, if you want to make an interesting LONG map with DOOM monsters, there must be something crazy about it. Check end2.wad to see what I mean. E3M6 and E3M7 are almost never-ending, yet gorgeous. NaturalTvventy knew the way...

Once again, nothing wrong with this map, but it's dull due to Doom monster restraints.

Addendum to E1M2: by using right hand maze method, after 30 seconds from the start I arrived at the exit, but guarded by a key. These layouts are killers!

E1M9 Many deaths (about 10, DNF)

Well I didn't quite find the secret exit, but I tried this anyway after reading cannonball's post. Played it for the first time (I had watched the max demo which don't recall at all). This turned out to be a gorgeous Hansen-style level (you'd say Episode 2 style? wrong, it's too big). I liked everything about it, but I kept dying after using a teleporter. Switched from skill 4 to skill 3, this time I got all three keys, but died somewhere near the end. Will try this again for sure when time permits, the WAD is worth downloading just for this map alone. Design, traps, monster usage, ammo balance, everything seems so fine.

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e1m5
Another strong level, once more capturing the fluidity and inter-connectedness of the original E1. Monsters swarm in from all directions, both in set pieces and in the general flow of the level. You've got to stay on your toes and check your flanks. But it all feels fair, like a sufficiently skilled and careful player could survive it all, sight unseen. I never felt like I was being suddenly dropped into a situation where it was vital to have a specific weapon selected. There were times when one weapon was better than another, of course, but the level gave you clues as to what was coming and let you prepare appropriately.

Lots of loops and connections here, allowing you to quickly retrace your steps or reach previously unexplored areas. Lighting was varied and well-done, and texturing was solid. Good variety shown with the secrets, too.

With the exception of e1m3, which I found a chore to play, this has been a very good episode.

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E1M4 - Hydroponic Facility
This map is shorter and easier than the past couple of levels, it's also pretty good fun. Found 5 secrets and died zero times :)
Whilst you get a large horde of enemies in the vine area, this pack is easier to take down than most of the traps so far as you can use barrels and rockets and also manoeuvre around the monster. The rest is pretty standard fare for this wad so far. Good stuff.

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E1M4 -- Hydroponic Facility
Well, since I've known for some time now what hydroponics is (reference here) I was expecting to see plants aplenty ... and I found another spacious techbase. :-P Slightly smaller this time, though.

This one eases up on the traps and crossfire situations, but you still can't fuck around, because even when finding all the secrets, there isn't a boatload of health and powerups. It starts out a bit like the last few maps: there are monsters closing in from all angles and you run away in some direction to pick them off until things cool down a bit. Sooner or later (sooner in my case) you'll find your way to the blue key section. I liked the way the ambush with the lowering floor works, fooling you into thinking it's a lift, as it looks like a lift you're likely to have just encountered (leading to a green armour). There are other, more or less subtle, intelligent design decisions everywhere: including two rad suits allowing you to go through the ooze in the YK area in two runs, if you should find the soulsphere secret the first time down there and teleport out. Or that a remote room accessible from the open area housing the blue armour, right at the end, contains a computer map to let players find remaining secrets, and even allowing them easy access to one of the additional secrets which could otherwise only have been reached through the ooze.

Progression felt a bit strange: I had killed almost 75% of the monsters before I found the first key. I got to it via the YK area, having discovered the secrets there first (one of them I mentioned earlier, from the way I got to it it was just a lift). The overall design of the map is simpler than the preceding ones, perhaps on purpose. It feels more retro, even down to the secrets, which apart from that lift are all oddly textured doors, most of them very easily spotted. Fights are a bit retro too, not as elaborately planned as in the other maps so far, but still packing a punch (especially fun was the heaves of monsters to kill in the large, well-lit, open-air area). The yellow key trap was expected but well planned. Not bad! --4/5

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E1M4 -- Hydroponic Facility - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Hmm, interesting map. I like the natural introduction of vine textures, the more prominent usage of outdoor vistas, and the generally more spacious feel of the area as a whole (though objectively speaking a lot of it is still fairly tight/corridor-y). While smaller and otherwise more concise than many of the preceding maps (again, no secret key), this one still has quite a bit to offer both first-time and returning players. It has a very high degree of variability in terms of the way its action plays out, and, as a result, a lot of overall replayability. While the overall level of actual physical interconnectivity is not much higher than in the previous maps, the freedom the player enjoys in heading in many directions from almost any given point is facilitated by a much more limited use of keylocked doors, and the fact that the facility is replete with railing-free overlooks....and that's just considering the unhidden areas! Many of the secrets add even more shortcuts and alternate routes from area to another, making it possible to reach one side of the map from its opposite side very quickly, even in a matter of seconds in a few cases. I don't think it's any coincidence that the secret pushwalls are more blatantly telegraphed here than in the previous maps--again, much like the blue key sidequest in E1M3, I suspect this is an aspect of the map that the authors really wanted most players to see.

Despite the smaller size and commensurately smaller monstercount, pound for pound it's no less bloodsoaked than its larger predecessors. I came closer to being killed in combat here (and very close outside of it at one point, more on that later) than in any other map thus far, partially because I was playing extremely brashly, running through area after area without cleaning up thoroughly, but also because height differences make more of an impact here, with many of the open ledges being staffed by all manner of sniping beasties, who caused a significant amount of attrition in a map that is a little tighter on health aids than is typical for the mapset. As Kristian notes, the direct placement of the monsters makes it quite possible to kill the vast majority of the population before you've even begun the level progression proper; only a few monsters are tied up in a couple of smaller traps in this one. Though small, these are effective, however, making good use of cacodemons and their flight ability in the context of tight quarters (not easy to pull off).

There is one thing that kind of bugs me a little, that being use of max-damage nukage in the general area around the yellow key cylinder. I assume it's that way to discourage players from just dodging the YK trap by jumping into the ooze, and since it's not a mandatory trip it's not really a big deal, but while I was down there getting the soulsphere secret and checking out the scene (I first entered the area via the radsuit secret on this playthrough), I took something in excess of 60% health damage from the suit leaking, to the point where the soulsphere brought me back from the very brink of death! Granted, this was partially attributable to plain old shitty luck, but I think this stuff really blunts the soulsphere's effectiveness, and may even dissuade wounded players from running for it in the first place.

Cool map apart from that niggling complaint.

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E1M3: Research Complex
Skill 4, Doom+ longtics, demo attached below.

Now we're onto the "research complex". Before playing I looked into my Double Impact demos folder and noticed it had taken me eight tries to complete the level in single player in 2011, this made me a bit concerned about surviving or exiting in a timely manner... The level starts in a way similar to DOOM's E1M7, although with monsters that come at you more aggressively than in that level. The music used is "Sinister", which I've always liked for its immersive nature and is based on a piece in the Aliens sound track.

Beyond the initial area there's a structure akin to the secret exit pit in DOOM's E1M3. This time I even thought it led to the secret exit. Believing it was going to be hard to open, I ignored it all along. In my very first experience in this level back in 2011 in the coop movie, we exited through there (after wasting minutes looking for the blue key or a way to open the door to the secret eastern section), and then in single player I played for the secret exit, but I didn't recall all this now. My memory may have helped me remember the hidden secret area switch, though, but I thought I was moving toward the normal exit when I went into the secret zone, heh. The bridge to the secret area, by the way, could be taken as another reminder of DOOM's E1M3.

But before going there, by necessity I made my way to the western area, finding the chaingun atop that other E1M7 tribute, that structure with and opening from where the monsters can shoot at you. The chaingun is crucial for the "arena" fights ahead, like the one for the red key, but it can also help as a sniping weapon for the many zombiemen and shotgun guys shooting from ledges and windows.

After getting the red key I kind of wandered, approaching the dark hall area, getting the useful ammo-saving chainsaw but chickening out before the room with the lost souls guarding the lift (my 2011 demos show once I ran out of ammo with little health there), going back and having a fight in the area north of the secret switch, around that building surrounded by green slime that has a steel door, where I raised the bridge. I still don't know what's in that structure! But I went back (instead of going north to the blinking area). The lost souls are easy to kill from the switch nook, especially with the chaingun, yet this time I didn't think of that cowardly strategy and things went well and I got the yellow key. Then I went west beyond the yellow door and activated the switch there... I guess that's for the normal exit bridge but I didn't expect it and didn't check. I wouldn't blame this on the map, rather my belief that the central exit structure had to be secret and with a remoter switch to activate.

The "blinking area", as I called it, is well made in my opinion. Like in DOOM's E2M3, the blinking lights are reserved to one area, combined with obstructions to add uncertainty. But here they even work a bit better than in the id level because the more curvy walls can make the monsters flow at you from two sides, and the active monsters atop the lowering structure make it uncertain whether the threat is over.

Dew made an accurate description of the level by splitting it into a central non-linear part and a grinding quest for the blue key. The magnitude of the latter part does make it like two maps in one, especially considering the structural and gameplay differences.

Here's where I started that quest. You can go up the elevator to the area with the green armor unless you activate the elevator from below (this happened to me in 2011) and there's a nice view up there of an outside area. Various areas in this level block the way back, but the green slime reservoir area near the start of the secret area stands out because it does so by lowering the bridge you just crossed.

The feeling of being trapped with no way back (like in the dark halls in E1M2) is enhanced by doorway getting sealed with an iron door. Here I said "oh shit" and ran ahead to the door on the other side, but alas, the way was blocked by imps! The rocket launcher room can also be dangerous but it's also probably the best place to use that weapon, as you get enough space to safely bombard the monsters while the device the weapon is on and the doors hint at the nature of the trap.

Finally there's the tight blue key trap, which is a place to use the chaingun, especially after being weakened by exposure to attacks from all sides earlier. The way out through the slime makes good use of the radiation shielding suit. The two times I crossed this slime area (now and back in 2011), the suit was running out just as or a bit after I reached the lift.

Before going to the secret exit area to the north, past the blue doors, I went west and found the supercharge. Without it, I might have died at the end, so lucky me. The final fight is a bit cramped because of the architecture and the monsters coming from all sides, especially the faster demons, which makes using the rocket launcher more difficult. The smartest way to use it safely may be to blast the cacodemons coming from the west (at least it worked well in my 2011 playthrough). This time I had to fight at close range and didn't manage to use it.

I reached the exit in over 35 minutes, with an approach that was a bit more cautious than in E1M2, mainly because I was aware I had died various times two years ago. I only found 3 secrets (37%) but got 94% kills. Another fun and good looking level, but for now I'll probably stick to E1M2 as my favorite.

dew said:
continuous gameplay makes the tough start more bearable, plus it gives you tools to massacre some of the nasty fights (particularly the really evil RK arena), which is a nice touch.

Yeah, assuming good health! The only time I tried it was in the coop run I've mentioned. My buddy was in bad shape from E1M2 and died within seconds in the rectangular entry room while I died shortly after close to it. At least it was coop with deaths allowed...

dpi_myk3.zip

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e1m6
Other than the eye-rolling blinky light midgrate maze, which to my mind is the laziest and least fun way to create difficulty, this was another solid techbase.

The early stages of the level are fun run and gun, dealing with mostly minor foes but in situations that require some rapid shooting and target prioritisation. This culminates in the blood pit baron fight, which was a create deal of frantic fun.

That fight is however the level's last hurrah: after you've done it, you've got the yellow key and can proceed to the end game. Which is where you run into the tiresome maze, and a whole lot of not much else. The map really needs a more memorable and exciting conclusion than the rather anemic blue key wing and the minor smattering of monsters in the tunnel to the exit.

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E1M5 -- Engineering Station
I agree with Adam's assessment that this map plays fair. There are only three somewhat tough spots: when you drop down right into the lap of a cacodemon and two demons with imps and lost souls closing in (but the drop isn't unexpected and you have every chance to prepare yourself for it), the trap when flipping the switch to raise the walkway to the RK section, and the RK trap, which uses the 30-second-door effect well (here you have the chance to escape through the blue armour secret, which also serves as a shortcut for reaching the exit). The rest is quite managable even when playing casually... and quite entertaining, as well.

The monster selection and placement in this map is ingenious. The word "strategic" falls tragically short of describing how well monsters are used throughout the proceedings. Not only that, it suits my playing style perfectly -- it's almost as if I had playtested the thing many times over and every change I wanted to see had been implemented. :-)

With monsters placed one by one or in small groups, spotting you at different points in time as you make your way through the tech-base (there's some heavy-duty sound blocking linedef work here), the progression moves along not in the style of "let's clear this room, collect some goodies, and move on to the next room" but more in the style of "whoops, another monster noticed me. Gotta kill i.. oh, wait, another monster started firing at me. I'll just kill that as we.. hmm, two more guys were in that corner behind me..." which creates such a nice flow. The map is, again, intricately built but I was never lost, as I was always given ample clues about where to go and what effects my switch-pushing actions caused. It's also not quite as large -- especially in the sense of how much there is to do -- as many of the earlier maps, which surely helps in this respect. Only two keys are used, for example.

To top it off, I loved the texturing and layout (truly beautiful old-schoolish stuff), and there are several very clever secret areas -- my favourites are the soulshere secret which is very much in line with the Knee-Deep style, the secret behind the hidden wall that you jump into, and the RL secret, where you say to yourself "there just has to be a reason that this section exists and I can access it"... and, yup, there is. I adore the fact that curious (or lucky) players can access the plasma rifle mid-way and aren't forced to wait until the end. I didn't find it until the end in my playthrough but next time I'll put it to good use. :-) --5/5

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Having done some filler stream of Double Impact for the dopelives livestream recently, I was quite impressed with Double Impact's first three levels.
Therefore I've decided to do what I did with Fava Beans and cover the entire wad in a single playthrough this Monday night at 7pm BST for this thread on my twitch channel!

http://youtu.be/iJ46cnIlMng = details here!

Hope to see some of you there once again. Guess I'm pulling a triple header for this thread after all; damn you Doomworld for being so addicting!

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