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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Stardate 20X6 & Monochrome Mapping Project

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Map05: Sector 8 - 100% kills / 50% secrets

Now this was a hard ass map. So goddamn hard. The blue key room was absolute hell, died so many times it's not even funny. Luring the cyber to kill all the archies in the main switch room was pretty funny on the other hand, they never knew what hit them. The mastermind encounter's setting was really cool, but the fight itself was pretty easy. Same goes for the red key fight actually. I agree that the optional room was pretty weird since well, you know, it's optional. Struggled there a bit before I found the switch for the invuln but after that it was not much of a problem. Maybe just restocking on health was the purpose there? Last battle was a tough one, but I don't really fancy the revenant spam fights in general so I didn't enjoy it too much. The strategy there is fairly obvious but it's easier said than done.

This level housed two of the hardest fights of the wad so far but it was perhaps the action in between the set piece battles that made the map seem so hard. It seemed like something was always happening and the enemy placement on high platforms and ledges was done nicely. My favorite death was probably being sniped by a mancubus all the way across the opening room while dueling with an arch-vile near the switch that opens up the plasma rifle alcove. Highlight of the map however was the use of lights. The staircase leading up to the final area looked absolutely stunning and while ascending the stairs you just get a feeling something big is coming up ahead. The mastermind room and the blue key cavern looked particularly great as well. The purple looks best too when it's highlighted like in the staircase or the blue key area.

Enjoyed the map very much apart from the last battle. The challenge was great and I barely made it out alive so hopefully the next maps don't exceed my skill level by too much cos I really want to finish this wad. Switching to lower difficulties is also definitely out of the question :p

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cannonball said:

one thing I've noticed so far which is a general theme of Ribbiks's mapping style is that you are rarely pitted against a large amount of monsters.

Good point; he does seem to prefer a series of "small" fights as opposed to large arena scuffles. It definitely provides more control over how the pace of the battle progresses.

SteveD said:

There was literally nothing I didn’t like about this map except for the set of bars that took a long time to come down. I suppose that was part of the staging and drama for the coming battle, but it seemed a bit much to me.

Actually it's often used so you can't just hit the switch and run away, which is actually a surprisingly good tactic to use.

MAP02: I mentioned that the last map is comprised of a lot of drab colors, but this isn't the case again here. Despite using the similar scheme of muted colors against a vibrant purple, the major difference in this instance is the use of more complimentary textures/patterns and a strong black. Black itself is wonderful at making colors pop, and even provides contrast against brown to give these series of caves a more rugged, dynamic feel as you move from area to area. If you go back to MAP01 you can notice the two distinct colors of the wood & metal textures, and that's about it (barring purple). Here, right in the first room, there's a wider array of textures (like the diagonally styled stone texture against the vertical pipewall) and the black ground helps to segregate portions of the floor without the need of radical height changes.

It coalesces into a very gorgeous map altogether, giving each area a very memorable feel despite only using the same dozen or so textures throughout. That, and the haunting midi use really set a dark, dreary tone for this underground facility. Sublime stuff that always feels intricate, but never complicated or overwrought.

Difficulty definitely ramps up here with nastier arena battles thrown into the mix. I like the numerous amount of bite-sized battle however, with even small ones like the imp+AV and RL-baron traps just to spice things up (even if they only have a semblance of danger). The highlight battle, like others have mentioned, was the large teleporter arena that deviously punishes you for circle strafing by throwing the enemies right back into the outer rink. I enjoyed it a lot but wondered if there was any strategy beyond circling around and praying you don't eat a rev rocket. All of the other fights are a lot of fun and can quickly get dangerous, usually resulting in a death for me until I know just when & where the hordes will be.

Unlike a lot of people I didn't really have a problem with the blue key battle, but this is possibly due to some great RNG on my part, as the first two AVs decided to hold hands and stick together as my rockets engulfed them. The other ones were cleaned up quickly as well, since I found it best to stick near the pillars. The fight afterwards, when you hit the switch, was initially overwhelming but actually has a pretty reliable strategy—once you hit the switch, turn around and fire rockets down the room into the incoming legion. Due to the knockback and splash, it should take care of every enemy that pops in, allowing you to duck behind a pillar only when an AV gets mad. I actually got through it twice with this method since I foolishly didn't save when approaching the exit door the first time.

Speaking of which, the finale felt like the only fight of the map that was a little too difficult. I liked the idea of reusing that tricky teleporter arena with now cybs added in, but found the twin AVs to be too much of a nuisance, easily pelting me from afar as I attempted to circle strafe. I think switching them out for barons would achieve the same effect (pushing the player away from retreating from the battle) and would encourage more mobility, but that's just me. All in all it's a fantastic level lined with plenty of sights and fights. Difficulty is spot on for me, so I can only dread how much harder this path will get.

The only bug I ran into was that you can get stuck behind this thing if you run around the wall looking for secrets like me. Also, in that room, I think the teleporters the imps come in on would look better with a different texture than the black floor (as their elevated height seems to imply such). Finally, for some reason in ZDoom the door that shuts behind the player in the blue key room wouldn't properly come down sometimes. As long as it works in other ports I don't think it's the biggest deal, seeing as all the ammo you need is inside the room anyway, which should encourage the player to stay.

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MAP05 - Sector 8
Well I screwed this map up by making the blue Key fight unbeatable as I had run out of ammo (my fault) so nocliped to get the yellow key and took the archvile punishment like a man.
This map was very very hard but still had a lot of interesting fights within despite having the lowest monster count since map01.
The final fight killed me many times, I was getting frustrated by the pain elementals and their ability to block you from miles away resulting in being punched to death or killed by the cybie so in the end I just hit the switches and got out with 147/147 health. I started this map on 50% health which was awful as RNG just said instant death to any hit I received at the start of the map.
I admit I'm getting to my limit here where I might drop the difficulty. Seeing Alfonzo playing on hurt me plenty shows the massive difference when it comes to monsters and hence ammo usage being a little more slack.

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Jumping in a bit late...


Yeah, not sure about that title. Seems weird that we know it ends a 6, but are unsure of the decade. Whatever :) As far as the theme... cool. I like purple, my favorite color.

MAP01: Amethyst II

Well, I love purple, but it’s more brown with purple highlights. Weird theme – starts out in a seemingly (grey) starbase setting, but turns into lots of wood and pipes and metal. The textures don't really seem to blend together in any meaningful way beyond "well they're all brown." Part of the problem is the overall busy nature of the textures - using only one or two textures per area would help create some distinction, but they're all mashed together in every area and becomes a big brown blob. Yeah, Doom is an abstract game, but I still like to have some semblance of where I am... techbase? Hell? Etc. Still, there are some really nice looking places (such as the purple "glass" room). In the end though, I agree with SteveD - you promise me purple, and you give me WOODMET with random purple lines and purple water. DO NOT WANT

Gameplay was okay, I’m not a slaughter fan, but thankfully nothing was too long here. The two cyberdemon battles seemed a little repetitive, especially being so close to each other. The lack of armor early on really makes the imps more of a menace. Secrets were good. Overall it seems like there's going to be a lot of little things that I don’t like, such as overuse of revenants as long range snipers or insta-lift monsters. The limited ammo means the player needs to be careful, but usually it just makes me feel hemmed into using the shotgun all the time given the paucity of non-shell ammo on this level.

MAP02: Mud Bunny

Despite using a very similar aesthetic and set of textures, it seems to hold together a lot better. Maybe it's the addition of black as Dobu said, or maybe just stronger texture use of what the area is supposed to be (rocky cavern, artifical walls, etc.) I like the overall layout, some branching in places but I rarely got lost (which is a bit surprising given that everything looks the same).

The map is split up into a number of obvious set-pieces, with just enough smaller encounters to keep the player on his toes. The teleporter room moving the enemies from the inside to the outside was evil and did indeed defeat my circle-strafing. I ended up having to restart this quite a few times after eating a revenant rocket or five (there's nowhere to dodge, really) but whatever. Just keep reloading until I get the desired amount of infighting. Same for the cyber/mancubus/hell knight room. The blue key room was absolutely demonic, though I kinda screwed myself a bit by quicksaving in a bad spot. I gotta say, another of my pet peeves shows up here... I hate "replace the monster you just killed with the exact same monster" areas, especially when it happens more than once. The blue door ambush was also pretty evil (and I think impossible unless the player knows it's coming, the revenants just surround the player faster than he can react), and I admit I ended up just running past it. Something which might happen a lot based on the monster counts I foresee...

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Map 05 Sector 8.

I haven't got much to say about this map other than the enjoyment I had from it was overshadowed by the blue key room fight which, like cannonball I had not arrived at with enough ammo. I'm going to admit I'm massively biased against pain elementals, and the use of them here (without freelook) was probably one of the worst instances of gameplay I've had the misfortune of playing since, well, sunder's use of them in 'Precarious'. The first map I've just iddqd'd through a fight on and that's saying something (I've completed sunder). Just too annoying to cope with. I honestly don't remember enough of the rest of the map to comment much other than a drawn out closetfest which didnt make enough of the abstract, purply weird theme. Although the outdoors area with the purple boxes was *******ely the highlight.

Map 06 Vehelits.

Now this is more like it! Hard as balls but enjoyable all the way through. A long, tough map which uses the non-linearity slaughter hallmark of this wad to its best. I found myself in the room of Archviles near the start without a rocketlauncher or plasma gun and found it too tough to take on. The map was really fun up to that point however so I had no problem in just restarting and taking the rooms more strategically at a time which proved invaluable. I finally felt that this map really succeeded in everything this wad stands for which for me is: Abstract, wonderful architecture, purple weirdness, and non-linear slaughter. Absolutely great all the way to the end.

Highlight was probably clearing the space towers of hellknights and mancubi. Also the red key card fight which I felt giddy about successfully completing after finding the right strategy.

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I would add for map05 the difference in difficulty of the blue key room is massively reduced by the removal of one of the caco waves more importantly the one facing the blue key which means strategy is very easy for tackling it.
My problem was that I picked up all the items except the megasphere earlier and played the trap several times then decided to leave and well blew the rockets elsewhere. heh.
Anyway Vehilits today, holy crap 1000 monsters. I am in for a world of pain, the red key room looks fun :D
Got the red key and taking a break now :P

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Map06: Vehelits - 98% or so kills/ 0% secrets

Awesome map. Really friggin tough but very enjoyable. And so very long, took me over 58 mins + the numerous deaths I suffered to get through this corner of universe alive. Ammo was a plenty this time, but I always seemed to be relatively low on health throughout the map to add to the challenge.

Starts off with a cute little cat-and-mouse -dance to make room for the ssg grab if pistol starting and after that it's just a continuous massacre until everything is dead. My strategy of the day for pretty much all the fights was the fuck this I'm outta here -move and the only way I could survive most of them. Always did return to finish off what I started so only 20 monsters, presumably attached to the secrets I never found, escaped doomguys wrath. Don't think there really was a breather fight to be found here like in almost all the previous maps. The first cyber encounter was the easiest fight but even that was pretty tricky. Getting the big boy to infight was easy enough but the mancubi placement was a bit problematic, especially since I was low on armor. Archie room was the just brutal, after a long sequence of failed attempts at killing them on the spot I decided it would be best to simply leave and deal with them later. Wasn't much easier but at least the mission continued. Red key room looked really cool and was tough as hell as well. Again, left immediately after grabbing the red key and rocketed the monsters from outside the cavern. Waste of good rockets some may say but hey, I lived to tell about it. Blue key fights were fun and the area was an another good-looking one. What's a better way to spend an afternoon than to enjoy a stroll at outer space, watch the ongoing monster free-for-all down below and perhaps rocket a hell knight or two while your at it? The battle for the finish line was another tough one and yet again I resorted to escaping and killing them from a safer spot.

Then there was this garbage part that required some platforming to do. Nothing wrong with how the room looked, but I absolutely fucking hate platform jumping in general. Just don't see the appeal at all. Results in so many unnecessary deaths and in this case you couldn't really even take your time since you got assholes firing at you from every direction. Did I mention the platforms were small too? At least they weren't THAT far apart and in wonky directions.

So a very hard and a very enjoyable map this one. The smaller fights aren't really that small anymore and the big ones just keep getting tougher. I'm glad that Ribbiks didn't decide to use trapped battles of the timer-variety here which have been a trademark for the wad so far. This essentially meant that although some of the fights were pretty brutal, they never actually felt impossible since you could just leave the enemies be and go on your merry way.

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Map 06 -- Vehelits - 102% Kills / 100% Secrets
TRIVIA: The BGM to this map is taken from Streets of Rage 2 (yes, I know the textfile says that much!), the final area of one of the earlier stages, which takes place in some kind of alien/spookshow attraction at a large amusement park. The map's name, "Vehelits", presumably comes from a miniboss faced in this same area--sort of a big animatronic alien head-thing on a long elastic neck, that, if I recall, tends to ricochet all around the screen wildly when it's hit with any real force. The way this level looks on the completed automap also seems to resemble the shape of said alien head-thing, but perhaps I'm just reading too much into the reference at this point.

Anyway, sort of ironic that SoR2 is being referenced here, since it was by far the easiest game in its series, and this is a rather grueling map that is lengthy, expansive, quasi-nonlinear, and bathed in the combined stench of blood and adrenalin from beginning to end. I say "quasi-nonlinear" because, while you can once again explore in a number of different directions after the first fight, the overall order of progression here is actually even more rigid than in the previous two maps: red key, blue key, exit. Period. However, when you're actually playing the map, it doesn't really feel that cut-and-dry at all; once it has been fully explored most of the map becomes a sort of circuit with a significant degree of interconnectivity between its various battlegrounds, with each path ultimately terminating in the first battle area, itself a sort of junction. The keylocked areas are the exception to this, being cordoned off in their own self-contained areas, although you can see the exit arena well before it can be reached, and technically you start out high in a tower in the blue key zone before teleporting to the start proper. This means that many of the interstitial fights can be approached from two directions (or more), and it's possible to complete the circuit before getting any keys (as I did). So, while it's not non-linear, it certainly has the illusion of being so, and sometimes an illusion is just as good as the real thing in these matters. Well done with this, Ribbiks.

Like the inexplicably antagonistic carnival attraction that bears the same name, Vehelits also yo-yos wildly about, at one moment trapping the player in a small area packed with powerful foes where twitch reflexes are paramount (e.g. the much-vaunted arch-vile room), and the next spilling over into spacious arenas containing small armies of hellspawn to manipulate and destroy (e.g. the much-vaunted red key arena). There are a wide variety of themes to the major battles, from the initial challenge of outwitting the SSG's numerous guardians while packing only a shotgun and a few shells, the fevered room-clearing contrasted with long-range rocket barrages of the blue key area, the hide-and-seek in the aforementioned vile lair, the post-hopping in the leadup to the finale, and the expected crowd-control scenarios in the true slaughter arenas (yes, though it arguably was not there yet in previous maps, at points this one does enter full-on slaughtermap territory). The sum effect of this combat variety, in combination with the (eventually) more open layout, amounts to something of a consummation of the Stardate 20X6 style--it remains very specific, very tightly-controlled, very inflexible in some ways, yes...but here it feels like a more cohesive, integrated, and organic struggle as an overall level, rather than a selection of discrete/largely unrelated set-pieces that all happen to have been dropped into one map together.

While I haven't had many real complaints about the mapset's aesthetics to begin with, I think this map handles the tech/industrial/wood juxtaposition better than previous maps. I think it amounts to establishing more of a sense of place than many of the others have done (although 02 and 03 were good at portraying their cavernous themes, I felt). I interpreted the map as a series of inconceivably tall towers (I don't think the buildings in the blue key zone are supposed to be space-boxes, but rather the tops of towers whose bases fade away into the darkness below, as evinced by the shading on the textures comprising them) somehow powered by massive quantities of toxic blood--indeed, the presence of an inescapable bloody sump in the lower reaches of many of the map's areas is often on one's mind. This element comes to the fore in a decidedly cruel way in the final battle, where tmost of the arena floor is covered in an endless swell of the stuff, adding an additional complication to an already demanding challenge. In fact, as a little extra, Ribbiks has thrown in a special unmarked two-part super-secret involving a yellow key, which, if found, allows you to avoid some of the pressure in the final battle (and no, I only found it while exploring AFTER killing everything/reaching the exit); consider that little bonus the cherry on top, so to speak. Oh, and before I forget: the purple really makes itself felt again in this map, only conspicuously absent in the bloody final area.

Best map since 02, no contest.

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Hi everyone, I'm late;

@ The Club & Ribbiks: This Stardate 20X6 feels kinda Epic à la Sunder. This hardcore training will get you much too strong when you come back to our Monochrome Mapping Project. I hope you will like it and, since you are getting in shape, I will highly recommend you to pistol start (level after level) the mapset on UV. Then, you might still have some fun :). But, Holy Epic, Stardate 20X6 feels like Tool playing the first part of an unknown band.

Now, I took a ride with Stardate on UV. I feel at home. I very feel the Sunder in it. Not quite as hard, but still. Now, I tried to hit the switch below. Guess what? It worked. There is one "get stuck here" on the other picture.

@ Ribbiks: Mighty great mapset sir.

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MAP03: Foxhole

I think I like this map the most of the three so far; while there's still scripted set pieces, the flow feels more natural with smaller set pieces and more enemies in-between. The yellow key fight the AVs and revenants, for example, only has about 12 enemies, but is still plenty challenging and fun. I got splattered over and over on the cyber-vs-revenant crossfire room, but I'm okay with that - just keep quickloading and know that it requires a bit of luck. But yeah, that secret rocket box... yeesh. Skipped that after figuring out what the trigger was. Don't need 5 rockets that badly. I really liked the last area, with the waves of monsters cascading in (and it worked fine for me in ZDoom, so, got the full effect). I ended up leaving as the monster count got to around 900/1000, as the Pain Elementals all flew up to the roof where I couldn't take them out while still avoiding the Cybers/Knights/Arachnatrons, ah well.

Aesthetics wise, not much to say, still the same color palette, lots of brown with the odd full-purple light stripe thrown in. And like MAP01, there's a bit of weirdness, with the tech greebles inside the rock cavern columns. Huh?

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Continuing map06
After the red key door was another evil fight, in the end the best course of action was to just leg it and take out the towers and grab the blue key. The cyber then did the hard work and thankfully took out the archviles which meant simple cleanup work after that.
The pillars section isn't too evil on combat, just enough to distract you whilst I guess the pillars were not too tough to traverse.
I was a complete coward and just legged it from the final fight, sorry Ribbiks :P

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Map07 - Magnus
Cannonball failed, cleanup in aisle 1
7th map is the 7th easiest in the game. To comment on it would probably not be proportional to the quality of the map.
Oh there is one massive sunder-esque brawl here in a room which could only be described as fucking awesome.
Also those towers at the start look great. I can only imaging if there were any doomers from Dubai who might want to replicate that in real life (with lots and lots of purple of course :P)
Guess I'll play the secret map and regain a passion in 90's dance music :P

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Negative, on the 9th the 'UV max speedrunning' of Stardate 20x6 begins. Monochrome mapping project means 'brown and purple speed runs'.

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Map07: Magnus -99% kills / 20% secrets

Phew, that was one hell of a ride. I almost gave up on the archie onslaught at the end battle but finally managed to kill them on my one hundredth and first attempt. I guess if you bang your head against a wall long enough, the wall eventually breaks. Difficulty is pretty much on par with Vehelits, though the final battle of the entire wad is also the hardest so maybe that puts Magnus slightly ahead in that department. Highlight was the huge battle cannonball mentioned, fucking awesome indeed. What an epic BFG introduction too :p Too exhausted to write much so I'll just say that this was a very deserving finale for Stardate 20X6. Everything looks great yet again and the gameplay is very enjoyable all the way through but that's not really surprising at this point anymore.

Just a great job by Ribbiks on the wad, really challenging gameplay throughout and dull moments were few and far between. I was pretty much at my limits near the end so I'm happy I managed to finish all the maps. Of course there's still the secret map but I think I'll have to pass playing that one. I checked it out briefly and it looked too gimmicky for my liking. Also I don't think I'm ready for more archie action right now after the archvile galore of map07.

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Capellan said:

So are we starting Monochrome on the 9th?

The 8th actually, as the final map of Stardate is a bonus one and there's no bonus maps for MMP meaning it goes until the end of the month (unless I'm dumb at math again).

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MAP04: Tangara

Finally away from the brown/amber theme, thankfully, with lots of grey here instead. Still some brown, but not overpowering with it's monotony. Gameplay-wise, more of the same, with lots of big ambush setpieces split up with some smaller engagements. The red key one wasn't too bad, like some of the others, just gotta keep trying until you get the monster infighting necessary. The blue key one was nearly impossible, though - mainly just because those three chaingunners come out blasting away right away. I was at 67/10 when I hit the switch, and the chaingunners often got me down to under 30 health before I could do anything. The yellow key fight was probably the easiest, though I admit I ran away from this one because I absolutely loathe trying to fight cacos/pain elementals in a high ceiling area. The last room was a doozy - got the demon/revenant battle figured out quick but had saved with too low of health for the imp/AVs afterwards. Very hard to beat when you've got 17 health and need to avoid every projectile.

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dobugabumaru said:
The 8th actually

On well, it's the 8th here, so I guess I can kick things off.

Actually, I think I'll wait for tomorrow and start with map02, instead.

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Map 07 -- Magnus - 115% Kills / 80% Secrets
.....that was exhausting.

Folks have been saying that Stardate is very Sunderesque, both in visuals and gameplay, but I reckon this is the only map in the set where either of those is true to any real degree, particularly in the cyclopean BFG shrine. Magnus presents us with a titanic keep of black iron and wood, erected to protect an unthinkably giant pillar of sentient purple crystal; overcome the absurdly unfavorable odds and you can shatter it with some high explosives to end the Stardate odyssey. As far as being a spectacle goes, it succeeds in spades, though I did find the comic book supervillain BGM rather annoying, and so eventually IDMUS'd it to the track from Foxhole.

This plays like an expanded version of the last several maps, with more options for the player as regards the order in which earlier areas can be tackled, although here incidental combat is once again mostly absent. A few of the fights are amongst the most difficult the WAD has to offer--most particularly the final battle, which is crushingly hard on ultra-violence--but I think a few of the bigger ones actually feel a bit easier than a lot of what was populating maps 05 and 06. For example, the aforementioned BFG shrine fight, though it involves the largest number of creatures attacking at once out all the fights in Stardate, is actually one of the easiest parts of the whole WAD, given the vast amount of floorspace, the presence of several megaspheres and a multitude of cells, and a powerful secret that is best used for the batshit crazy chaingunner/vile reveal. My favorite fight was actually the smaller one for the blue key, where the player gets to play king of the hill on a wooden deck with all kinds of freshly-resurrected shit trying to climb onto it from two sides. The red key phase-room was the low point; it looked bland, and I didn't find that fight's gimmick very interesting to deal with, since the best strategy is, yet again, to let Mr. Cyb do most of the heavy lifting. As I said, that last fight.....damn. Good BFG weaving practice, but it's a true endurance match.

Truth be told, while Magnus offers a lot of bang for your buck, and ensures that Stardate 20X6 doesn't end on an anticlimax, I don't think it's as much fun or has as interesting a layout as Vehelits before it. If you go back and look at the fights, you'll see that the vast majority of them are very 2D, although they hide this behind a number of gimmicks--the cross-shaped keypath walkway; the blood pool fight, the waist-high mimimaze, and the monster-phasing box along the red key path; the BFG shrine and its vast open floor, the final fight with its open deck and wooden columns to interfere with everyone's LOS, etc. Some of these are still fun as single encounters, but they do return some of that sense of artificiality that the highly choreographed fight style that Stardate escaped from during its best maps.

Still, Magnus certainly feels like the final map, and is a suitable conclusion to the WAD.

Map 31 -- Hyperspace - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
...But wait! There's this little party-favor to look at as well. A gimmick map in the truest sense of the term, this a tiny and rather dull-looking gray/tech station stuffed full of arch-viles, and nothing but arch-viles. It's not all gloom and DooM, however, as they are a decidedly jovial lot, given to shaking their emaciated, dessicated demon booties at the oddest of moments (nothing can top the one fellow moonwalking on top of that tiny soapbox). While the description of the setup may make this map sound difficult, it's really not--at least not once you figure out its tricks. More than any other map in the WAD, this one requires you to use your head more than your gun; figure out how to deal with each encounter, and actual execution of the strategy is generally quite easy (although some will probably resent having to pistol that early guy to death). The real challenge in this map is to find its one secret, so that you can see the whole map, and get to see the dance floor and a "Thanks for Playing" message from Ribbiks in the bargain.

I rather enjoyed Stardate 20X6 overall, and kudos to those club members who stepped out of their comfort zones to give a mapset of this general type a shot. While the proceedings do occasionally feel perhaps a bit too rigidly controlled, with a handful of the fights feeling like more trouble than they were worth, and I feel there were a lot of missed opportunities as far as following up on the "It's purple!" billing goes, there are some really brilliant fight designs in here, and purple or no purple, the WAD definitely has its own unique atmosphere and visual style. Rather than being an all-rounder tough/slaughter WAD, this feels like it's really steeped in Ribbiks' particular style. I admire how calculated his gameplay balance is; it reminds me of Dannebubinga's maps in that sense (though his major releases are couched more consistently in a full-on slaughter idiom), and of course both authors have the evident Sunder influence in their architectural leanings. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that these two dudes should team up and do their own hard-style megaWAD; I reckon Ribbiks would make a good Ghost/Joshy to Dannebubinga's Darkwave0000.

Favorite maps were definitely 02 and 06.

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Map 08, Magnus: 114% kills 40% secrets.

I can't really say much than what's already been said, though it was a fun blast, if a tiring one. Stardate 20x6 is a 7 map epic designed to test every skill you have at Doom on UV, including a damn lot of situations which honestly, I've never had to face on any other map. For that Stardate 20x6 is a winner.

Also I like the purple.

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Demon of the Well said:

I'll go so far as to say that these two dudes should team up and do their own hard-style megaWAD

it's curious that you mention this :p

Coming soon... in 2015...

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MAP04: Tangara

Way behind on this now. This map felt like a nice change, it's more future tech inclined than the first three grime rock levels.

Although it still relies on it's set pieces the fights in-between are more frequent and it ties that mapflow together than being locked into a sequence of choreographed arena battles. This also allows the map to be explored in a way that feels non-linear. Despite the optional paths I still felt as though I could find my way around easily enough most of the time.

In the main battles, I struggled only with the twin cyb and surrounding HK room. My relative success is probably because, playing continuously and in ITYTD, I avoided the ammo issue others have mentioned. For this fight I couldn't decide at what point to shoot the cybs or whether to just leave them to infight with HKs until one of the other wins. In the end I settled for shooting whatever looked most immediately threatening while circling the area. I found both cybs eventually died without needing much of my own help and the HK were thinned enough to manage.

I cheesed the YK fight by rocket spamming the HK's and using angles to minimise crossfire from the mancs and cyb. The next wave was even easier as I just hid behind one of the side areas and plasma'd the caco's/PEs then took care of the cyb on his own. I occasionally had to dash from one side to the other but that wasn't difficult to do.

The last battle was my favourite. I sensed the megasphere was the place to be so I wasted as many of the demons first to make space then fought the revs, using the megasphere spot to fight from when my health lowered so I could top up at the prime moment.

The imp/AV fight was easy enough to blitz with the RL as the AVs got too distracted rezzing or infighting to target me - but I find it fun to do.

Good level, feels like a change.

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purist said:

Way behind on this now.

You're not the only one. I'll be playing Monochrome and Stardate in tandem in order to stay current.

MAP01: Well, this is probably the strangest opener I've played so far. Alternating black+white floors aren't exactly the first thing I think of when I hear "monochrome", and combined with the strange layout I can't help but feel overall that this is just a purposely wacky map. The revs in that one room were kind nice combined with the pinkies, but everything else didn't really have a flow or feel to it, as I just shot around corners and ran past any time-wasters. Spectres felt unneeded too given how hard to spot they were, forcing me to play more cautiously than I felt was fun. Overall, looks rad, plays mediocrely.

MAP03: Yet another pleasant map. I agree with the others that it doesn't quite stack up to the atmosphere and feel of MAP02 but it's still great to look at and explore. The large arena battles from Mud Bunny are switched out for more open scuffles here with a bunch of revvies lying in wait for the player as they make their way through the halls. The three fights I died at the most were the SSG one, yellow key fight and finale. The SSG dual viles were a thrilling for me as, like I've said before, using one to resurrect their fallen comrades while the other provides cover fire is one of my favorite scenarios to put into a map—it was possibly my favorite encounter due to the strange layout of the room.

Everything else played well, even if I didn't, and was quite fun overall (I do tend to like maps with a bunch of tight spaces). The cyber shooting gallery was a cute little surprise that went swimmingly for me since I didn't fire a bullet the whole encounter, strafing between the two at my own peril (didn't occur to me to hide behind the brute). The yellow key fight on the other hand was quite taxing—the fire fight was exhilarating but the imps/HKs warped in too fast for me to really enjoy the second wave. I got the hang of it after 4-5 deaths, but it still felt like I got lucky more than anything.

I thought the finale was fun, and about as interesting as you can make a huge brawl in a big round room, since those are some of the hardest to not allow the circle-strafing snore-fest they turn into. I was an absolute fool while playing it however, not picking up the megasphere ("I'll grab it later" was my reasoning) and not realizing the soulsphere/blue armors are on SR lifts, so a majority of the fight was spent running around at a measly 10% health waiting for an opening so I could grab the pulsating white blob at the monster-filled center of the room. I was finally able to do so only after there were 20 HKs remaining. Skipped the PEs because I am not a janitor and don't care about Lost Soul cleanup. Overall, definitely liked it more than MAP01, and it's about on par with MAP02.

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So then after unpickling my brain and a few counselling sessions here are my thoughts on Stardate 20X6
It is a very hard wad with the difficulty starting out quite manageable before turning into a wad of extreme difficulty. Some of the fights were beyond me and I had to cheat to get past them. My favourite maps were 04 and 06.
Given that the maps were playtested properly then all I can say is that the difficulty is well beyond what I can handle which would be the same for many I guess. This makes the wad rather niche but hey so are most slaughter wads. Personally I enjoyed Combat Shock 2 more but that's my opinion.
Things which I feel could be improved, firstly some of the voodoo doll set ups worked a little dodgy in pr-boom in it's default state and generally looked a little strange (aka I've never done certain things ribbiks has done). There are solutions which you can still control set pieces which work at the same speed universally. Secondly and this has been said by Alfonzo, Tarnsman and many others. The use of purple I feel is far too conservative and the brown, metallic colours overpower the wad.
Overall it is a high quality piece of work and well worth a playthrough even if it does leave you a nervous wreck from countless deaths. I rated this on idgames at 4 stars.

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Monochrome Map02: The Temple Of Light
Playing HMP with no music. Using GZDoom, since it seems like it should handle all the maps. I imagine these maps are largely intended to be pistol started, but I'm playing continuous because I'm lazy.

I pistol started this one, however, since 2 minutes with map01 was enough to convince me I didn't need to play it.

Map02 is all about grey textures, which is suitably monochrome-y, but I think the coloured lights are kind of a cheat. The "Button" and "Door" annotations on the floor amused me.

Gameplay-wise, it's mostly good. The opening section judged the ammo well, as I had to make a mad dash to grab some shells at one point, as all my weapons were empty.

I'm not a fan of the chasm section, where platforming is required in an environment where I could barely see. A little more light there would have gone a long way to making it more fun. It segues into the yellow key area, which is frankly a bit gimmicky for no good reason I can see.

From there, it's a pretty straight run to the end, with Barons that seemed to have a lot more hit points than usual. I guess it was possible I was missing more than I thought I was, but 70 shells for two barons is close to double what I'd normally expend. Something sneaky going on, mayhap.

Overall, a pretty solid level.

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Well it's finally time for my second full level-by-level DWMegawad Club contribution! I will try to update somewhat regularly but do expect delays in-between maps as I have a full-time job in full swing nowadays, unlike back when I did my Coffee Break contribution, so I won't be able to update too frequently in theory.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqbI6-fu868nN042vQ7mkK-NI_p1AGA5W = my playlist of my ongoing Monochrome Mapping Project Let's Play.

Map 01: Dada (played on UV/pistol start. 100% Kills, 90% Items, 100% Secrets. Death Count = 1)

http://youtu.be/iyWt-YbJ55Y = my playthrough of Dada.

This was certainly a visually interesting opening map by Scientist! Black and white everywhere, with scrolling white lines/boxes all over the place atop a black background. A very trippy small map this turned out to be; good job on aligning those scrolling textures I guess.

As for the gameplay; Schwerpunk himself declared this map to be 'tough'. Not really Mr. MMP project leader!

The chainsaw in the middle of the room was a delightful setup for a chaingunner and a shotgunner to ambush the more foolish player, but my more cautious approach rendered this largely ineffective. What I found interesting about this in hindsight was that this initial encounter essentially gives the player access to the shotgun/chaingun from the corpses of the dead hitscanners. Two Mancubi round the corner alongside several Imps; I mistakenly thought to chainsaw the Mancubi on my first run (thinking ammo would be scarce, which it wasn't), which largely cost me my lone death a bit later due to taking a big hit from a Mancubi before deciding to switch to my shotgun.

Up a small skatepark style ramp is a square room with 3 Revenants (my nemesis, my hated thing in Doom! All thanks to Matt Tropiano!) atop small juts of land whilst several Pinkies and Spectres lerk around above and below. Whilst it appears simple to just circle around the room and pick off the Revenants, a lone Spectre or Pinkie can form a quick wall of flesh to cut off your circle-strafing, which results in my first death of the Monochrome Mapping Project!
It's also around this time that you'll notice how near damn-invisible the Spectres can be on this map due to the colours/textures used. Seems like Scientist was very much aware of this, which results in a GOOD use of Revenants and Spectres in a rather delightful trap!

After this room is a claustrophobic area with small pillar divides, that hide more Spectres and 2 Arachnotrons, as well as a Lost Soul or two. Spectres can and will ambush unweary players here, be careful! I get bitten twice by one Spectre due to this. The secret here requires good use of your eyes (or of the map screen) and reveals the earlier scouted Megaarmor.
Past this area is a room with four jagged spikes on the floor, and two blasted Pain Elementals alongside another Arachnotron. I ponder if the chaingun ammo located just before the drop into this room provides a subtle clue as to what weapon to use here. One PE pops the ghost quickly, the other spawns a fair few and forces me to rush into the room to take it out quickly. +13 to the monster count after the carnage! (keep in mind the initial monster count is a lowly 32)

Grab the berserk pack in the centre of the room, lower a passage back to the starting area. Entering the corridor of health potions between the two areas lowers another wall with a Lost Soul and a pit that contains the final flourish of 5 Cacodemons. Punch them out greatly....then exit the level!

Overall this level was mainly simple, and more about the visual splendour than the difficulty of gameplay.....which is fine by me for an opening map and a real taster of what the MMP is all about hopefully! I liked that Spectres became more of a stealthier threat given the feel of the map, and that there's some good evidence of quality map design in both enemy placement and interesting yet simplistic architecture on display here. Not to forget the variety of enemies used, and anyone who can use Revenants properly deserves kudos in my newly found book on how to judge Doom wads.
Hopefully this trend continues for the other 22 maps....wonder what the other mappers will bring forth?

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Guys, consider playing MMP with Doom Noir palette (leaves only black, white and red). I tried to play this wad with the standard palette, but colorful monsters and items looked really outlandish in these monochrome environments so I tried to use Doom Noir and I thought it greatly enhanced the experience. Anyways, I probably will not play this wad any further and will just watch Suitepee's let's play instead. :) Watching good let's players is usually more entertaining than playing by yourself, hehe.

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Alright, Monochrome Mapping Project it is then. Playing on UV and pistol starting. Played the first two maps tonight and I can already tell that this is going to be a very strange looking wad. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen.

Map01: Dada

Well, sadly the wad starts off with a puff. Looks trippy, which isn't a problem for me, but the gameplay has really no flow at all. The only even vaguely threatening part is the revenant area which I admit is rather nicely designed. Now I understand that this is the very first map of the wad and so it should be rather easy but it doesn't really feel like a map01 either when it's occupied by these middleweight enemies. The mancs and the arachs serve no real purpose here at all other than being nuisances since I would think 99 percent of the players will just shotgun them from the doorway without taking a scratch. I also agree that the spectres were very annoying in this environment. This map focused a bit too much on the visual side and it resulted in a rather poor experience gameplay-wise. Replacing some of the middleweights with small packs of lightweights would be a huge improvement in my opinion.

Map02: The Temple Of Light

Now this is starting to be more like it. Considering everything is grey, this map actually looks pretty nice. The colored lights might or might not be cheating but they do look good and unique. The "sky" is also done really well. The gameplay is also much more enjoyable than that of the previous map. The enemies are mostly small scale baddies and aren't exactly toughly placed but the action is continuous and well balanced. Platforming is still platforming and the yellow key shrine was strange, those are pretty much my complaints for this level. I was expecting some enemies in the yellow key area and was sorely disappointed when there were none. I guess I'm still in Stardate-mode regarding those kind of situations :p Overall a nice little map, hopefully more of this is to follow.

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MAP05: Sector 8

This one didn't really grab me at any point, I'm not sure if it was just not as good as the others or I'm starting to feel worn out by the whole WAD. Playing continuous made the opening battle nearly impossible as I entered the level at 17 health with no health to pickup at the start. Died plenty of times before making it through unscathed. Blue key fight took me a few times, ended up finally beating it by pumping a few rockets in each direction to scatter the Cacos, then just holding down the fire key on the plasma gun. Was pretty low on ammo after that though. Thankfully the red key and yellow key battles were fairly easy in comparison. The last room was just...ugh. Mass revenant swarm with no invuln or BFG? Yeah, screw that. I figured out which switches I needed to push and just ran away from it all.

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