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dobu gabu maru

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

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Map 04: Abusive (UV/Pistol start. 95% Kills, 100% Items, map had 0 secrets)

http://youtu.be/ZjKXBn2jTdQ = my playthrough of Abusive.

Abusive must certainly sums up what FractalXX was thinking when spawning in monsters for this cyberpunk-themed level!

The level starts off with some nice music and an interesting looking building entrance of black and white/grey colours, with some nice visual details like on the building supports. A shotgun lies to the right showcasing some nice dynamic glow lighting, and some shotgun ammo is to the left. You'll quickly realise that you need to walk over 5 pressure pad "switches" to open the door. Upon doing so a most evil consort of shotgunners, pistolmen and Imps instantly appear in the area! Thankfully I managed to not be blown away despite being on the shotgunner side of the spawns, and there's some decent health drops if you need them after this clever ambush. I've only ever seen this spawning trick happen on co-op maps in the likes of ZDaemon or Zandorum; now I'm seeing it happen on a single-player map! So much for that 30 monster count....

Inside there's two doors to the left and right that you have to go through to find the 3 switches to unlock the central door, and I STRONGLY recommend going through the left door first to avoid the frustration I had in my video!
I went through the right door however, and was greeted by Imps, a Revenant and pistol zombie. After that is the highlight of the map; the "Lost Soul maze". I loved the visual splendour of this maze; felt very noir! The varied lighting throughout also adds to the feel of this pillar maze. Your objective here is to find 2 pressure pad "switches" and leave. The catch? Lost Souls will spawn forever around you in groups of 10 until you leave....which I didn't figure out straight away! I found the 2 switches but then thought there was a third around, so I kept killing and killing them until I finally left in frustration, which proved to be a wise decision. I can't decide even now in hindsight whether I should have thought to try the other door earlier, or whether there should have been some form of indication to leave the maze after the second switch if you went through the right side first (perhaps the Lost Souls could have stopped spawning in after the two maze switches were activated?). Regardless, despite my personal frustration, I quite liked the idea of this maze part and was very well done both in terms of visual appeal and gameplay challenge!

I went through the right door and a Lost Soul guards the staircase downwards. Through the yellow glowing door is a lovely looking glass-guarded corridor with glowing green pits around it, with all three hitscanner zombies around for the taking. The cyberpunk motif of this map becomes fully clear to me at this stage, and the dynamic lighting tricks on display here aren't too dissimiliar for those used on The Temple of Light by sawd. The door next to the one I just went through contains a lone Pinky guarding health and the chaingun, as well as x2 bullet boxes of ammo. Nice!
Through the corridor is a really nicely lit room with chaingunners and a Hell Knight above that guard the third and final switch for the central door. The room looks like something you'd see on the Death Star to be honest, and the small lift here is nice in appearance also (as well as shape-wise fitting in with the atmosphere of the level). Going back through the green glass corridor reveals some freshly spawned monsters to deal with, but only a couple.

Going through the now unlocked central door reveals a mixture of monsters including a Revenant and a Mancubus. Plenty of small health/shotgun ammo lerks around the next room, with some nice 'lift' texture pillars and a very futuristic looking grey pathway above, accessed by another lift similar to the one we just used. Into the final room is the backpack down below some bullet/shotgun ammo, and health kits. The reason for all this generosity; the pressure pad "switch" begins a small game of 'survival' as five waves of monsters attack the room. First two waves consist of Revenants and Pinkies (wave 1 having Lost Souls up top), while the next three contain Mancubi and Imps (with the final wave having Lost Souls up top). The fact that there's more than one wave may catch some players out (like me!) who head down to fight. This is a nice use of the instant spawning system here as the level's climax, although it's a bit simple once you figure out to stay up top for the duration. Then you go through the exit door to the void of monochromatic exitdom!

Overall this level was short but not all that sweet....quite evil in fact, especially in the Lost Soul maze. The visual and gameplay balance seem to finally be in order with this map though; Abusive was both visually interesting with its cyberpunk atmosphere, and gameplay challenging with the instant spawn traps and the switch hunting puzzle! Maybe some indication of needing to leave the maze for those who choose the right door first, but otherwise a solid map from FractalXX. I look forward to playing his other 2 contributions for the Monochrome Mapping Project. 100% Kills is probably not possible on this map due to the Lost Soul maze respawns, and the map has no secrets.
Will Map 5 be able to top this one next time around?

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Suitepee said:
Into the final room is the backpack down below some bullet/shotgun ammo, and health kits. The reason for all this generosity; the pressure pad "switch" begins a small game of 'survival' as five waves of monsters attack the room.

Aaand now I feel stupid. Ignore my previous comments on that room then, the pickups make perfect sense. I replayed the map and tried the "survival" -game. It was cool, easily the most challenging and fun part of the map. Could have been non-optional but whatever.

Anyway, onto the next map.

Map 05: The Primitive

This map was definitely pretty good. Very simplistic visuals yet not dull by any means and it has a distinct and thought out design that would work with more detailing too. The middle parts (the "maze" section and the damaging red floor area) were a bit strangely designed but it was nothing too bad really. Gameplay was again rather easy and the enemies were sparse compared to the size of the map. To each his own but in my opinion it could have used some more baddies to kill, in this maps case I'd say more enemies = better flow. When there's combat it's mostly in open areas though which is a welcomed change after the tight spaces of the previous maps. The archvile duo at the end was a surprise but since I was in full health and there's plenty of corners to hide behind I didn't really have a problem with them either. I did die once though in the ssg room by a sniping shotgunner on the balcony that I was unable to spot in time.

So like I said, a pretty nice map overall, good for casual playing and I agree that visually it's exactly what I would have imagined this wad is all about. Gameplay is alright, but the standard hasn't exactly been set high so far so hopefully we'll see some improvement on that department as the wad progresses. Still, it's my favorite map in the wad so far and something I could imagine myself enjoy playing again in the future.

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Map 05 -- The Primitive - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
This is far and away the most successful map in the set thus far. It uses an aesthetic more basic than anything that has preceded it--mostly just a selection of flat, solid greyscale "textures" (although there is a bit of red, some translucent material, and a luminous grey texture) comprise the entirety of the structure. But it is the structure itself that shines, and for this reason I would say this is the first map that really succeeds in what I understood the avowed project goal to be--that is, to call attention to abstract aspects of mapping like layout/flow, architecture, thing placement, and so on by taking the focus away from things like texture selection and color contrast.

Da Werecat's approach to this challenge seems to have been to try to depict a somewhat representational setting using these very barebones building blocks, and, unless my interpretation of the setting is waaaay off, I reckon he succeeded.....it's some kind of stylized highrise office building, isn't it? There's a reception area, a lobby complete with futuristic objet d'art, some kind of a mail tube system (one you can fit a rocket launcher through, no less), a clustered warren of cubicles, a cafeteria, and more; the way it communicates these settings using only flat greyscale textures while still managing to flow more or less smoothly as a DooM map (although there is a touch of backtracking) is pretty interesting. Of course, certain artistic license has been taken, naturally; for example, it seems to have suffered some kind of disaster, in that the lower floors are partially or entirely flooded with a nameless pernicious liquid, and at points we see the return of the metagame-y floor text to denote game elements like doors and damage floor and the like--and again, I think these were patently unnecessary inclusions, although it's good to see the author had some fun with that "Elsewhere is here" bit. And of course, it's also infested with Infernal shock troops, which most office buildings generally are not (although those that work in them might beg to differ, I suppose).

....well, maybe not "infested", exactly. Truth be told, the gameplay is rather light/easy, and I believe there are only around 80 monsters or so to start. Though it has a gentle pace/pitch, monster placement is at least very reasonable, and there are a few small traps to spice the action up. As far as the combat goes, my favorite part took place near the end, on the rooftops, with effective use of small groups of cacos and pain elementals floating in from a distance while chaingunners provide suppressing fire from nearby buildings. That being said, the visual impact of the blank black sky punctuated by the heavily stylized facades of other buildings is what really steals the show here, not the action itself, and that is more or less true of the rest of the map, as well.

Given that the action is competently conducted but generally very basic/low-key, I reckon this map would probably not make nearly as strong an impression if it were actually fully textured like a 'normal' map. But in a way, I think this fact only underscores the way in which The Primitive succeeds in fulfilling the MMP's goals: its superficially bland/barren aesthetic really calls the layout and map progression to attention, which tends to have the dual effect of making the map feel like a coherent location and lending the proceedings a certain air of adventure, two aspects of the gameplay experience that can compensate pretty well for easy/basic combat (as long as the combat is reasonably well paced and arranged, of course).

Nice work, Werecat.

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MAP06 - Control Centre by Jaws In Space
Hmm silver and green, at times it doesn't exactly feel monochrome.
This does feel better than support storage in the fact it is shorter and better looking. But still the monsters are all ahead of you and at the end of your chaingun/ssg so it's not exactly interesting.
Rather average map this one, but at least it's not offensive on the eyes haha.

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Map 05: The Primitive (UV/Pistol start. 96% Kills, 98% Items, 100% Secrets)

http://youtu.be/jvFvDw7uZTI = my playthrough of The Primitive.

This is a visually impressive map from start to finish. Da Werecat certainly knows how to create a good level atmosphere in both lighting and object placement.

The level starts out with you facing a flashing door that says 'door' and an arrow underneath it. Once again, The Temple of Light influence is back! The entire level is grey for the most part, only mixed around via different lighting and (not 50) shades of grey colour. Occasional white/black textures are used also, as is some blue/red sparingly. But for the most part you'll be immersed in an interesting grey colour atmosphere. There's some nice grey glass effects around the level as well, which aren't always obvious to spot. Hence I shot a few pistol rounds at a shotgunner above me, only to figure out it's glass. A lone shotgunner does come round one of the other corners during this commotion, and I acquire his weapon to start out the level nicely. There's also a door with 'opens elsewhere' on the floor.
Heading down the stairs to the right of my starting position, I see some enemies above me to my left with a nice glass guard-rail and a flashing door ahead (not marked with 'door'). A couple of Spectres, Imps and shotgunners lerk around the next detailed area, with some dark/light areas and one part brimming with health potions and a blue wall next to them to provide a nice burst of colour. I punch out the Spectres and head onwards to a switch marked with 'switch' on the floor. This activates a nice conveyor belt/wind tunnel effect that flings over some armor to the player; a nice touch! Around the back is a "secret" containing a lone Imp and the chaingun. Not really much of a secret to be honest, but I won't complain about getting the chaingun. Through a nicely lit corridor of rectangular light juts is the blue keycard guarded on another conveyor belt style thing, which you activate by shooting the blue flashing light above nearby, somewhat subtly placed.
I go back upstairs and through the 'door' door, revealing a nice dining/kitchen area combo and some health/shotgun ammo in the kitchen part. I then bumble around the level like a primitive idiot since I don't figure out said blue switch to shoot, in the process going up the stairs on the left to reveal the initial placement of the shotgun on a nice desk, as well as what looks like dark grey 'cabinets'. This map establishes an office motif early on. After a couple of minutes I figure out the riddle of the blue keycard sphinx and acquire it. I think my hangover whilst playing didn't help, but I can't help but feel this wasn't a super obvious solution; however there was enough of a hint if I looked properly!

Through the blue door lies a circular room with a nice looking 'helix' within another room that I can't quite access yet. Liking the visual build up here to eventually being able to enter this room! A door with 'locked' on the floor indicates it's locked. An 8-shot shotgun lies on the floor next to a shotgunner's corpse, which seems a bit intriguing. Around to the left is a shotgunner showing the other side of a glass area in the starting position, as well as an odd 'switch'(?) on the wall or something flashing with an arrow below, that I don't figure out in my playthrough what it's for.
Up the stairs begins the major highlight of the level; the office cubicles architectural height maze! Two chaingunners lie in the distance, then it's time to navigate the many office 'desks' as you climb up some, fall off others and search for goodies. Past the first initial set of office desks which you have to climb up atop to leave is a few more where the chaingunners where, then down you go towards yet more office desks! A lone Lost Soul provides the only enemy here for a while, as you climb and fall and bump around this architecturally impressive cubicle maze of sorts. Da Werecat must have spent hours placing all the different cubicles out and making it look like a real office. The lack of enemies here also indicates this part of the map was meant to be focused on navigating the architecture, which is a nice change of pace I haven't seen in a Doom wad before.
The Megaarmor lies around here as the second secret of the map, which requires running across a gap to access. And just when you think you're done navigating the office area....an area below with the floor marking 'toxic unpleasantness' reveals yet more office cubicles! Only this time as you drop below, the office area is flooded with red 'stuff' that will cause you pain if you touch it. (luckily I didn't). This area looks really really nice, and is for me the visual highlight of the Monochrome Mapping Project so far!!! There's a hint of Mirror's Edge about the toxic unpleasantness office area also. I also miss out on the Rocket Launcher since I utterly fail to spot it somehow in my playthrough, so there's probably some way of unlocking it since it was guarded by another conveyor belt barrier thing similiarly to the blue keycard. There's some kind of switch up the stairs exiting the toxic office that raises a lift quickly in another inaccessible room which is probably related to the rocket launcher acquisition.
Further up the stairs is a switch marked on the floor with 'elsewhere is here', surrounded by flashing white panels with I assume are meant to represent monitors. Flicking the switch lowers a wall behind you containing a Pain Elemental and two chaingunners. Some shotgun ammo and more stairs lies beyond, as you advance beyond what I think is meant to be a 'lift' of sorts which you run on top of.

Now I'm inside the well lit 'helix' room, and the switch inside here causes minor hell to be let loose! Two Revenants and Mancubi teleport around the helix, several shotgunners/chaingunners teleport up top and some backpacks/the SSG teleport in shortly after this. Much pain is had (mainly from the chaingunners which I don't notice until late) but thankfully the Mancubi infighted the pesky Revenants and I mopped them up cleanly enough afterwards. The 'locked' door is now open by the way, and I can proceed to 'elsewhere'. Interestingly, aside from the corner pillar Revenant that materialises and is quickly SSG'd down, the 'opens elsewhere' marker has disappeared with the door opening; another nice touch of the map.
Up yet more stairs here is an outside rooftop area, with a completely black sky and several grey 'buildings' nearby. Me like how this is visually displayed to the player despite the limited textures. Cacodemons and Pain Elementals float around outside, alongside an Imp or two. A busy looking building lerks nearby, with Imps and shotgunners/chaingunners inside the building (and an Imp or two outside) trying to snipe through its windows. I approach this building down the stairs and deal with a Chaingunner atop another building and an Imp with some goodies scattered around the edges of this inter-connected rooftop. Up some thick stairs is the building with the monster party going on, that has most of its windows open except for one that's mostly shut with only a small part of it accessible. The chaingunners and shotgunners inside make tackling this structure somewhat dangerous. Inside the building yet more impressive lighting is shown, with various goodies located around the place. Through the final door is another rooftop with a chunky arch atop it, and an exit switch nearby with 'exit' marked on the floor. Activating this lowers two walls off the arch, revealing double Archviles. Too bad I've been reading this thread so this wasn't a surprise for me (going to not do that in the future to avoid spoiling future levels for myself), but it was still a nasty climax to the level and I very nearly got caught out! After some deft evasion later the Archviles lie dead, and after failing to spot the flashing panel indicating the exit inside one of the Archvile chambers for a good minute I eventually close out The Primitive.

Overall, this level has been the best one so far in my adventures of the Monochrome Mapping Project! The entire level was a visual treat from start to finish, with excellent lighting and atmosphere throughout. Gameplay-wise it wasn't too difficult but nor did that seem the intention of this map, especially considering the office cubicle maze that I won't be forgetting in a hurry! I certainly hope to see more visually impressive maps using minimal textures like this one for the reminder of this wad, so good job Da Werecat on creating a very good map that showcases the good potential behind this project! What will Map 6 bring?

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Thanks, folks.

Suitepee, sorry about the blue switch. :) I never thought it was so hard to notice. Curiously, the first player to test my map figured it out pretty quickly, but he missed the chaingun secret.

That switch near the 'helix' room is for raising the stairs to the 'cubicle maze'. Unfortunately, everything is built in such a way that most of the players will check the switch room first.

Demon of the Well said:

stylized highrise office building

Twisted cubicles are a dead giveaway, I guess. :)

When I just started, I didn't have any particular idea in mind. But it all just went this way. 'Textures' are to blame, I'm pretty sure.

Veinen said:

To each his own but in my opinion it could have used some more baddies to kill, in this maps case I'd say more enemies = better flow.

Yeah, it drags in the middle. Although I'm not sure if I could fix that without some serious architectural changes to the 'maze' area. It's kinda too cramped for any serious fights. In fact, I'm genuinely surprised that no one hated it yet, because it's also rather awkward to navigate.

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MAP03: Like with MAYhem's 2011 texture choice, I actually liked this pretty ugly color being used (maybe I have a thing for ochre?). The map itself is quite solid, the most enjoyable yet, with tight corridors and a fickle use of ammunition, demanding the player scours around. It's not too challenging if you take your time but there's still a cadre of baddies here that can swiftly get the upperhand on you. Some are quite ineffective but this was a mostly noble effort. I liked the dining room near the start.

MAP04: This was an interesting attempt, but the problem with using the boxy gray texture is that, while only being grayscale, it gives too much definition and form to the level. From the opening room to inside the complex it looks less like the previous vacant maps and more like an actual level, especially with the LIT textures thrown in.

Overall, my feelings are quite mixed. I like the atmosphere and drum&bass music, but as I previously stated the textures feel like "cheating" in a way, enhancing the map beyond the dull grays of something like MAP02. The gameplay was also mixed, with ammo as far as the eye could see and only a few interesting fights. The final battle, while somewhat tense due to its longevity, also felt monotonous and repetitive, as I felt like it should've been 3 waves and not 5 (or at least with wildly different enemy compositions). The maze was also pretty neat, but should've housed more than lost souls (unless I missed some other baddies).

MAP05: Really great level. Fits the monochrome bill perfectly with an interesting layout, cool architecture and various cheekiness spread throughout ("elsewhere is here"). Within the first few rooms the player has a good grasp of this place being some kind of compound, with a couple of interesting setpieces that, despite being blank, look excellent (lighting really helps a lot). The absolute best part is the Escheresque cubicles that look quite natural at first but get demented quickly and are quite fun to traverse. Inspirational stuff.

Gameplay is also well and good, with a mostly satisfying enemy placement. Only thing I disliked was not knowing what areas you could fire through upon first glance, and not noticing baddies in the dark (my fault mainly for rushing). IMO gameplay here takes a backseat to the design and looks, which I think everyone should definitely give a go if they haven't. Also, the blue key shootable switch was some pretty smart stuff.

Da Werecat said:

Although I'm not sure if I could fix that without some serious architectural changes to the 'maze' area. It's kinda too cramped for any serious fights.

Cacos and Lost Souls approaching from above, or imps in nearby alcoves could've helped it out... but I really liked it as is, giving the player a chance to just explore and wonder what the hell is going on.

Stardate update soon, promise this time.

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Welp, my Internet is back, took a lot less time than expected. Moving on.

MMP MAP05 The Primitive

Now here's a good map in the set, albeit a low monster count (66 on HMP not counting lost souls spawned), and mostly basic monsters. Some great visuals here and there, like on the floor for instance (opens elsewhere, elsewhere is here, toxic unpleasantness), and it wasn't hard figuring out what to do. The conveyors were cool when they sent the armor and blue key to me, and the outdoor area wasn't too hard to contend with either. I ended up missing a monster at the end again, apparently a spectre was still stuck in his teleporter holding and didn't teleport. But this is definitely the best map of the set thus far. Final time 4:49.

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Map 06: Control Centre

This is the second map by Jaws In Space in this wad and it's also the better of the two. The silvery textures don't stick out nearly as much than the orange mess of Support Storage so it's a definite improvement on that department. Much better use of lighting in this one too as the dark and bright sections are logically divided and the author uses some dynamic lighting as well with the lampposts outside. In fact I think the outside area looks pretty good overall. Could have maybe used some other shades of bright inside the complex but oh well. Also some kind of marking should be used when approaching the exit so it doesn't come off as a complete surprise.

Gameplay is much of the same, the monsters come at you en masse but mostly from one direction only so they are less of a threat than their numbers would suggest. There is some good enemy placement to be found though, like the hitscanners near the exit (when you first see that area from the rev room) that eventually teleport away and the arach who seemed to be prone to starting trouble with that one hidden chaingunner.

I'd say it's a decent map overall. Looks miles better than Jaws In Space's first offering and I think the maps shortness saves the gameplay somewhat. I mean, laying down the law with the ssg is always good fun but without any overly interesting moments or climaxes it would eventually get boring.

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Map 06 -- Control Center - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Next up is this quickie by Jaws in Space. This one uses the brushed silver as its one texture, although there are a few puddles of green slime here and there, and I seem to vaguely recall a lamp or two. There's an unfriendly grey, cloudy sky, as well, which goes fairly well with the low lighting outside of the 'Center', and the basic aesthetic in general--makes the place look cold. Once again, there was no BGM, unfortunately.

Like Support Storage this is some pretty basic/primitive stuff as far as architecture and layout go, although it is much less Tom Hall-esque than that map was in the maze/corridor department, and far shorter to boot--it's three rooms long, essentially. Nothing is garishly misshapen or broken (although the one secret is both nonsensical/inconsequential), but it's hard to find much to say about this--it's not a very interesting place to be, and its approach to the 'Monochrome' angle is too phoned-in to compensate much for the lack of structural interest. The most memorable thing about it is the tasteless, nearly invisible slow crusher right before the exit; you'll probably pass under it without even realizing it could've killed you, but if you happen to stand still in the wrong place, you'll be cursing Mr. J. I. Space for trying to underhandedly force you to replay the rather uninteresting map a second time.

At least there's some stuff to kill. It's mostly little dudes clustered into the last room (and the yard outside of it), and they tend to get mown down in droves, both by the player and via blue-on-blue. Again, pretty primitive, but there's a small something to be said for just how surprisingly numerous they are, given the small size of the area. I think it kind of reminds me of a Gene Bird map, in this sense; point the SSG in the general direction of the problem, and a couple minutes and one big pile of corpses later, the cannon fodder stops coming, leaving you with silence while you clean up. Bird did it better, and many others have done a similar thing better than him. Bird used pretty slapdash layouts as well, but he tended to make them a little more interesting, in a haphazard sort of way, by changing them up on the fly...here in Control Center it's really not much more than a killbox with some forgettable preamble.

I see a number of the same design traits in this map as in Support Storage, but they don't work out as well here, which unfortunately leads me to suspect that Support Storage might have been a bit of a happy accident on the gameplay front (it certainly wasn't any more of a looker aesthetically/structurally). Jaws has a few other maps in the set, though, so time will tell.

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MAP07 - Brown Room by Jaws In Space
Bland brown map with simple but functional architecture. It does look boring but at least there is height variation I guess.
What is unforgivable about this map is the fact that you only get the chaingun and nothing else (except the berserk pack) which make the first part easy and dull and then the latter half is ridiculously hard and tedious. The 3 mancubi I ended up telefragging to get myself out of a tight spot and in the last room I simply quit after dying the first time as that fight didn't seem fun at all. Insertion of the shotgun/ssg would make this map a lot better, simple as.

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Map 07: Brown Room

Another map by Jaws In Space, is third time the charm? Well it's not exactly a masterpiece but it's not too bad either. Gameplay-wise that is, visually it's boring as hell. Brown is the flavor of the day and it's dullness is simply suffocating. Everything is just unremarkable and unmemorable all the way. At least it's monochromatic to the extreme since almost all the enemies are also brown.

The first few rooms of the level are quite easy. There's enough ammo to gun everything down but I preferred using my fists because you know, why not? Less tedious too. After the second teleport/"doorway" we come to a room with the first HK of the map and this is where thing's get a bit nastier. Pressing a button (it's actually just more brown wall) reveals three mancubi. Easiest way to kill them is to hide behind the obstacle and do the peek-and-shoot -maneuver. The mancs can see you all the time though so they'll be firing constantly and the player must be wary of his timing. The Hell Knight will gladly help too, just remember to reward him with death afterwards. Telefragging the mancs is also a possible method here and one which I successfully used with two of them. Last room contains more HK:s, some imps, an arach and an arch-vile. The HK:s and imps have high ground so it's advised to deal with the archie amongst the pillars. A couple of right jabs to the chin should do the trick if you picked up the berserk pack earlier. Switch to chaingun and do your magic to finish off the level. You might want to grab the megasphere hidden in the middle of the last room since that's the only armor in the level.

Now the gameplay here is definitely an acquired taste. The spike in difficulty is big with the last two rooms but neither fight is unfairly hard or anything like that. I don't think there's enough ammo to kill everything in this map with the chaingun but that's not a problem for me personally since I prefer using the berserk fist anyway. I can see the reason for dislike though and I agree that giving the player a shotgun in say, the last room, wouldn't be a bad idea. Chaingun isn't exactly the greatest weapon to kill mid-hp enemies with either. Apart from the manc trio -room there's some room to move but the brown textures make the map seem more cramped than it is. So yeah, visually it's bad but I liked the challenge of the last few fights so I guess it's an average map overall.

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MMP MAP06 Control Center

Nice, short, and silver-colored level. Mostly basic monsters though, and it was completely linear. I used the SSG and chaingun for the entire level here. It could have been in a much earlier slot due to its shortness and linearity. Also the green nukage kinda doesn't look good here for monochrome. But I like the E1M2 references at the beginning and end of the map, and the yard outside reminded me of Hell Revealed MAP04. Not bad overall, and much better than MAP03 in that regard. Final Time 2:23.

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MAP06: If I was to describe this in one word, it’d be haphazard. Unlike Jaws’ other map, this one really feels thrown together, packed tightly with a host of enemies that just feel clumsy to fight. The layout is kind of strange and the dark area outside is a nice contrast, but other than that, it didn’t feel like an especially strong outing.

Demon of the Well said:

Bird did it better, and many others have done a similar thing better than him.

It’s been some time since I’ve played Bird’s Community Chest maps, but one thing Jaws has going for him in these maps is that he keeps ammo pretty well kept, forcing me to move around and look for it. I don’t remember having that problem in Bird’s maps so for me that puts Jaws’ attempts at least above those boring corridor shooters.

MAP07: Another off-kilter map from Jaws, better than the last but still not as interesting as MAP03. The only weapon here is the chaingun, which is always an interesting change of pace barring the high-health baddies. Luckily there’s a berserk pack introduced, which, after an agonizing death at the hands of the crusher, was my go-to weapon as I strafed around the areas, gibbing enemies in a single blow. The final area was actually pretty fun berserk-only, as you’re faced with HKs from behind and imps ahead while an AV dances between the pillars. It’s still pretty easy given the width of the pillars and nearby megasphere, but was a nice change of pace. Okay overall.

MAP04: This is probably my favorite level from a gameplay standpoint. Right off the bat I gotta say it’s a smooth choice in music, with the best track in Super R-Type being chosen (the synth at the ending is juicy; always liked it as a kid, especially since if you died once the whole level, you had to restart it from the beginning, so every chance I had to hear it meant good things). The tune serves as a nice juxtaposition to the frequent panic the player feels. This map offered my corpse up before their demonic leader an innumerable amount of times as I died over and over, largely due to the tightly confined spaces and wall of revenants constantly thrown my way. Health wasn’t a problem (neither was ammo once you get a path cleaned out); the main struggle emerges from the lethal arenas the player is thrust into, with enemies flanking them at every turn. Each arena, sans the yellow key one, was a blast to playthrough and devise a working strategy for, and I can’t commend Ribbiks enough on his brilliant enemy placement and numbers. It felt fan-fucking-tastic to finally conquer the malevolent blue key challenge, probably the most alleviated I’ve felt throughout the whole episode.

As I stated, the yellow key brawl wasn’t exactly suited to my tastes, since (as with Foxhole’s finale) the PEs are far more annoying than tactically dangerous, but it’s a minor blemish on an otherwise thrilling map (thank God I don’t have infinite height turned on). The only other issue I take with it is that it’s not nearly as attractive as MAP02 or MAP03 since the generally conservative gray horizontal texture takes the spotlight here, but it still looks better than the opener in my opinion, due to the wide use of textures. That and we finally get a lot of purple floor lights, which add a nice touch of variety. Otherwise it’s a hell of a romp that combines tight sporadic encounters with larger infighting setpieces that are addicting to overcome. Tl;dr great, great level with lots of cool fights.

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Ugh, really falling way behind here. Gonna give up on Stardate for the time being and try and catch up on Monochrome, since it looks far more fun to review.

Decided to just play this all on GZDoom rather than switch ports for every level. Going to do pistol starts, which is against the norm for me. One note: I really dislike a lot of GZDoom's visual quirks (such as making the sprites keep direction if you look up/down, or monsters growing in size). I finally managed to figure out how to turn off the blur effect on the sprites that made me feel like I suddenly needed glasses, at least, but still. So I might be a bit more ornery than usual. :)

MAP01: Dada

Yeah, as others have said, not the best start. The use of a moving texture to create the visual illusion of everything moving is interesting... and that's about it. The entire level is basically a one-trick pony with nothing else to show. Gameplay is horrendously boring and unbalanced, with a chainsaw against mancubuses early on and practically invisible spectres. Poor monster variance too (room of mancubi/imps, room of revenants, room of arachnatrons).

MAP02: The Temple of Light

All-grey map relying a lot on GZDoom's colored lighting, which I think is basically cheating within the confines of the project, but hey, that's just me. I also think there's something wrong if you need to put big letters that say DOOR and BUTTON, but whatever. This level, like many later ones, also completely lacks music, which in my opinion is a huge turnoff - really kills the mood. Just get some default music in there! Some of the doors/buttons are silent as well, making things really empty feeling.

Combat is nothing exciting, lots of tunnels with not much in them. The only area of note was the areas with the pits and red lighting, which was actually a nice effect - probably the best use of the GZDoom lighting effects I've seen. I can see it look really nice in a real map with lava and such. And man, the mirror effect by the yellow key almost made me shit my pants, since I just thought OH GOD WHY IS THERE A MARINE RUNNING AT ME WTF IS THAT DO I SHOOT IT IS IT A VOODOO DOLL OR SOME NEW ENEMY OH GOD I TELEPORTED JAISODJLAKSD.

The end is really bad, with two Barons making up the battle against your shotgun/chaingun, hooray. And if it wasn't boring enough, for some reason they have twice/thrice the amount of health. What's more fun than sitting there pumping 15 shells into a baron? Pumping 30 shells into one! Fucking hell.

MAP03: Support Storage

Dear lord... of all the texture choices, you choose THAT one? As cannonball says, that texture is basically vomit, and there's no real reason to use it. The fact that half the level is basically full-bright doesn't help either.

Wasn't a big fan of the item/monster placement here. As it is, the player basically needs to go into the "maze" first, stocking up on weapons and ammo since there's barely any in the rest of the level. (The chainsaw/beserk also feel necessary to thin out the demon herds). If the player instead heads to the dark area with the cacos and hell knights, they face certain death due to lack of ammo. Not fun. And yeah, the map is basically a bunch of small tight corridors with a few larger areas, almost all of which have a very low ceiling. Very claustrophbic, but it all seems somewhat amateurish instead of atmospheric. By the end of the level there's some decent fighting, but most of it's just blah. The texture choice doesn't really help either. And there's enough weird details to almost make me feel like this was just a re-textured level (especially the random "boxes" in the northern room).

MAP04: Abusive

Well, this is the first map I would say actually looks like something approaching good, though I note that it does so only by keeping the "monochrome" theme rather than the "pick two textures" of the original ruleset. Lots of textures here, with various grey and black walls and white lights. Still, it actually looks somewhat attractive, and I like the use of ZDoom features here like the lighting in the first room, the 3d ramps as decorations, and explanation text. And there's music! It has sort of a Half-Life into Unreal Tournament vibe, I like.

What I didn't like was monsters being teleported onto me out of thin air... bad bad bad! I hate it already to see teleport monsters or monster rising out of the ground in "normal" WADs, so to literally have them appear out of nothing (not even the monster count) is even worse. Bah.

The aesthetic also breaks down a bit as the level goes on, including one room that has three (!) different colored lights in it. Monochromatic, huh? The lost soul maze is also a puzzlingly greygreygrey nothingness. Whatever. The final room is some decent combat, offset by the annoyance of having monsters constantly appear out of thin air without any indication of how much longer it'll last. Still, definitely the best map so far (though that's not saying much)

Overall, I gotta say... this is kinda what I was worried might happen with the project. Sub-standard maps that appear even worse when forced to use only a couple textures. There's really not been a lot of light variation or interesting architexture yet, which was the point I think of the whole thing. Looking ahead, there seem to be some interesting maps, but it's definitely a weak start.

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MAP08 - Tessel Dose by FractalXX
This map consists of one room which warps itself from battle to battle. The map is entirely scripted and has a few stages which represent the sort of survival gameplay show in the likes of Call Of Duty and timesplitters zombies mode. The issue is the this is all fine and all but the playing field is flat and the encounters are far too easy. The lost souls were the only issue, in fact I think I took just one hit of a shotgunner after the lost soul stage.
Looks and all are fine but you are just recycling the same room for the entirety of the level.
It's non-offensive but not exactly ground breaking and exciting. This map needs more height variation and more of the architecture moving around which would provide more exciting and challenging encounters.
I agree with others at my disappointment so far of this wad and given the ratings it's getting on Idgames I am feeling a sense that this isn't exactly going to improve. So far apart from the clear stand out of map05 the rest have ranged from average to dreadful.
Sorry :/

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MMP MAP07 Brown Room
Only a chaingun and a berserk as the weapons? Well this would definitely be harder from a pistol start perspective but since I'm going continuous play, this is easier due to having lots of shotgun ammo. Just like the previous level I only used the SSG and chaingun throughout this one. I actually missed the berserk pack on this level, it was behind a crusher at the beginning. But since I had a lot of shotgun ammo, it didn't seem too much of a problem. The mancubi and the final room were standout encounters in this otherwise dull level. Final Time 1:55.

Cannonball said:

given the ratings it's getting on Idgames I am feeling a sense that this isn't exactly going to improve.

I didn't even know this mapset was on Idgames as of yet. But I agree, most maps are average or below-average in the set so far.

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Map 08: Tessel Dose

Another short and simple one, though this map is very different compared to the rest of the maps so far. The idea here is to survive waves of enemies that teleport in after a previous wave has been dealt with. The whole map consists of a single large room that changes shape as the "survival"-game advances. Changing the battlefield as the level progresses is a good idea, but it doesn't really pay off too well here since the battlegrounds always end up being flat. Some kind of height variation would definitely do wonders. Visually it's not very interesting but this map isn't really about visual splendour so I didn't pay too much attention to it.

My biggest problem with this map is the lack of enemies. The biggest wave has like 8 enemies and with an arena this big the number is just criminally low. Survival-styled gameplay can be good and enjoyable, but it really has to feel like you're trying to survive and this map does not provoke that feeling at all. This can be done with few enemies IF the level is designed in such a way that the enemies are deadly i.e. small spaces or mazes with tough monsters. Other obvious way to do it is a large arena with lots of enemies. But here we have a relatively large arena with very few enemies so it doesn't really add up and falls pretty flat.

So, I feel that this map has potential to be good but right now it lacks too much in execution to be considered that. Add more bad guys and some height variation to make things interesting and this map could be much more enjoyable.

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Map 07 -- Brown Room - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Here's another one from JIS. He's quite prolific in this mapset; judging by the extremely simplistic nature of his submissions I'm assuming that they were generally speedmapped, and the layout here suggests this even more than the brevity of Control Center did. What gives me this impression is the progression/flow--the map has almost none of it. It is essentially a collection of about a half dozen simple, structurally unrelated rooms, most of which have no connection to one another--literally. Apart from a couple of blank rectangular sectors joining two pairs of the rooms, all other travel is handled via teleporter. This strikes one as being a 'take the easy way out' approach to trying to make a map out of a bunch of otherwise unassociated ideas. Were it not for monochrome brown theme, it'd feel like little more than 6 map fragments held together with chewing gum.

Ah, yes, the brown. It's all brown dirt here, except for a couple of small, gameplay-irrelevant mud streams (which do fit the monochrome theme, at least). Some folks can't stand this texture, I know, but I find it very inoffensive in and of itself. What I think is more of an issue is that the texture, like the other JIS maps thus far, seems to have been chosen at random, rather than custom-selected to fit the nature of the level. Since what we're looking at here is dirt, dirt, and more dirt, I might've expected some more organic shapes, a warren of tunnels, a big muddy crater, or any number of other things--instead it's the same blocky, boxy, unswervingly orthogonal fare from the previous map. The repetition of this simplistic style is wearing out its welcome at this point, and the disconnect between the structure itself and the texture/color chosen for it lead to it failing to seem like any sort of believable place. Simply making a map all brown (or any other color) is not enough to make it thematically interesting. If one desires to make an all-brown map, by all means, do so!....but it'd be best if the resulting map looks like it should be naturally brown.

At least Jaws' maps do offer us some semblance of gameplay, which cannot be said of all of its cohorts. As others have noted, this is a berserk/chaingun map--and that's quite alright with me. Hell, I think the chaingun doesn't get enough spotlight time in a lot of mapsets (especially where people play continuously). This one gets off to a fast start with many pre-placed enemies in the opening room, supplemented by dual imp closets--run around and hold down the chaingun trigger for a bit, not too shabby. The play gets sloggier afterwards, though....for example, in the mancubus room others have mentioned, the intended tactic seems to be to just stand behind that random L-shaped partition and cheese the mancs from there--it's a position where you can hit them, but they cannot ever hit you. The final room tries to liven things up a bit with a decently placed arch-vile, but the presence of the cluster of pillars and the easy megasphere secret render it pretty trivial (I punched him out, myself), and there's the matter of tediously chaingunning the various goat-turrets to death afterwards, which ends things on a low note.

Not very impressed. Jaws' first map was still his best, thus far.

Map 08 -- Tessel Dose - 100% Kills / No Secrets
.....this is pretty damned dull. We're back to the solid greyscale texture set here; it has been used to render a large, nondescript bossmappy arena with a misshapen pentacle motif in its floor, where the player fights a few waves of monsters before running for the exit (literally). I guess it works as a monochrome selection, but it's a very boring sight to behold, not helped out by its uniform light level. But hey, at least there's some BGM....

Rather than going for visual flair, FractalXX has tried to make things interesting by having the arena alter its shape as each successive wave of monsters is defeated. It's a cool idea in theory, but is not pulled off well here, for two reasons. One, while the surroundings change around you as you play, they almost never change in such a way that they require you to fight any differently than you fought the previous wave, or indeed, if you were just fighting in a big flat box--generally you just circle around in a big flat-floored enclosure (which is sometimes star-shaped, and sometimes circle-shaped). The lost soul wave is the exception to this, as it constrains your elbow room to a significant degree, although being that your opposition is something like 4 lost souls, it's barely relevant. That's the other problem, perhaps even more serious than the first: this is ridiculously piss-easy. I played on UV, and I feel like I accidentally selected HNTR....and I reckon people who actually do play the map on HNTR are still going to feel insulted at how easy this is. There are simply far too few monsters in each wave to justify the vast amount of firepower/movement space the player has for dealing with them. The fact that most of the monster groups are heterogeneous also means that infighting will tend to kill half of them in short order. The finale is a lone cyberdemon, a babe in the woods given the situation he's thrown into. Oh, and then there's the "run for the exit in a long straight line" part. Just do what the onscreen text says or you get hit in the back by a couple of rockets and die; there are no interesting consequences to experimenting, here.

Thoroughly bland. Needs a lot of retooling (at least in the thing-deployment department) before it'll be worth a second look. Or indeed, a first...

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Map 06: Control Center (UV/Pistol start. 99% Kills, 100% Items, 0% Secrets)

http://youtu.be/6oEIkQ6DCJA = my playthrough of Control Center.

Time for round 2 with Jaws In Space, and.....this map is a slight improvement over Support Storage in my opinion.

My analysis here is going to be quite brief, since the level itself is quite short. You start off in a silver room (the colour this time around is 'silver') with a toxic fountain/pillar of sorts (first blood, now toxic; can't wait for the water fountain on startup next time!) and two pistol zombies, with the shotgun in front of you. A hidden chaingunner provides a good opening ambush from behind the toxic 'pillar'. Flick the switch and kill three Imps up high, and mouselook down below to dispatch a duo of pistol zombies. The secret is located to the left, but I couldn't figure out how to access it. (you open a wall in the starting room somehow according to the map...this is probably also where I missed the last monster) Down below starts out a sort of E1M2 feel to the rest of the level; flick the switch to open two areas left and right like in that room on Nuclear Planr, then flick another switch to proceed to the right.

Up ahead is the Super Shotgun! Grab it and the walls in front lower to reveal two Revenants guarding armor and a medkit. Down below is a few more Imps and pistol zombies, then begins the intense part of the map. A bunch of Imps, Pinkies, shotgunners and chaingunners are packed into a small area both inside and outside, as two windows flank you from both sides approaching a small inside staircase leading to an area above where you'll hear a lot of TELEPORTING SOUNDS due to monsters going through the teleporter on the left, as well as aspy a red keycard. Approach further inside and you'll obtain the blue keycard, as well as drawing out two Cacodemons and a Hell Knight. Blue keycard switch opens the way outside you'll have spotted earlier, where yet more densely packed enemies lie in wait, including some 'corner' chaingunners. Some nice use of lighting out here, including some light pillars amidst the toxic goop. An Arachnotron snipes you from around the other side, then you can access its room to teleport inside the red keycard area. One switch raises the bridge, the other opens up the exit room which is a tribute to E1M2's ending room, much like the feel of the entirety of the intense area you'll just have battled through. As you go down the exit lift a crusher trap activates the barrel in the centre of the room, which damaged me but didn't kill me....yet another odd ending part here from Jaws In Space. I didn't remain down below so I had to be thankful for infinite actor heights (or peeking down below enough) to flick the exit switch.

Overall this map was short and sweet, although visually dull for the most part. The map seemed to be heavily inspired by E1M2. Gameplay wise however it at least provided more of a challenge than Support Storage ever mustered, and the intense firefight after the SSG run was a decent run for my money on nearly costing me my second death in my Let's Play of this! I wonder if Jaws In Space will be able to provide both a visually interesting and gameplay stimulating map among his 4 remaining contributions.....

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MAP08: When people list complaints about ZDoom levels, maps like this come to mind. The arena is neat to behold but just about everything else is just... not... nice. It's slow, constantly warps you into the next fight, not intimidating, and has an ending that feels like a prank more than a finale. Did none of the playtesters bring up the fact that each of the battles feels uninspired and too simple?

The problem with the Monochrome wad in general, is that a couple of mappers tend to dominate the set and their styles feel more like an acquired taste (Jaws and FractalXX). We'll have to see how Membrain holds up with tomorrow's map, since he also has multiple contributions. But otherwise, there's been ironically a larger emphasis on looks and style than actual gameplay which tends to be a bit disappointing. MAP02 and 05 have been the highlights nonetheless, and I have faith there will be some more gems.

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MMP MAP08 Tessel Dose

Demon of the Well said

.....this is pretty damned dull.

Took the words right out of my mouth. I liked the music. Other than that everything from the design (just a circular arena which shapeshifts) to the gameplay is horrendous. Just a few waves of monsters which were underwhelming, teleporting you to the center of the arena when a wave is finished stopping your motion to get the monsters ready. Waves were way too easy to complete. I mean, five zombiemen as the first wave? Anyone could beat that without a problem. The waves don't get too hard as they go either, the only possible challenge being the sergeant/mancubi/revenant wave, which is easily handled with infighting. The ending run was incredibly stupid as well. No offense to the author, but this map may be the worst so far in the set, and his MAP04 is better. Final time 2:22.

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Catching up.

Monochrome Map04 - Abusive
Hate hate hate the lost soul maze, which is desperately, desperately unfun to play. I did enjoy the end area, with its successive waves of monsters, though, and the level looked pretty nice. Colored lighting is still cheating though. This map also used quite a lot of different textures, albeit ones that are all white, grey or black.

Monochrome Map05 - The Primitive
Return of the writing on the floor to tell you what's a door or switch. I was amused the first time a map did this, but this time it's a bit more frequent here, and becomes somewhat intrusive.

Visually, I liked the design, but several sections of the gameplay were wearisome rather than fun, for me. The maze of "office cubicles" (at least, that's what they looked like) didn't do much for me, and I mostly ignored the end areas and ran through it to the exit switch.

Monochrome Map06 - Control Centre
Though architecturally simple, this was for my money the most fun of any map in the set so far. Just good old fashioned action. Some sections were a bit on the dark side, perhaps, but there were plenty of crossfires, infighting and other Doomisms to enjoy.

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MAP09 - Coagulation by Membrain
This was pretty good.
An open playing field from the start with monsters meeting you from start to finish as you flip the 3 switches required to exit the level. The gameplay is pretty easy and manageable with the weaponry provided but always engaging with a few more troublesome monsters like chaingunners/revenants and mancubi, not forgetting the lone archvile in probably the only quiet section of the map when you meet him.
Visually it's ok nothing special but gets the job done and the switches are designed to make them stand out and say "hit me" which is good design by the author here.
Whilst this isn't as visually and atmospherically interesting as map05, this map is a success and I liked it.

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Map 07: Brown Room (UV/Pistol start. 96% Kills, 50% Items, 100% Secrets. Death Count = 8)

http://youtu.be/wFSK-eG1Zi8 = my playthrough of Brown Room.

Another Jaws In Space map, another brief writeup of his one colour style. This one however has proven to be his best so far! The return of the death count says it all.

Bet you can't guess the colour of this map! (but you can certainly guess the music of choice; none!) Too bad you won't have time to think about it as right off the bat, there's Imps surrounding you as you start in a small tower of sorts with the chaingun right in front of you. If you go down the staircase behind you the walls lower the Imps down, so it's a smart idea to trigger this then remain in the tower to pick them off like I did. This was a nice opening frenzy with just Imps and pistol zombies. In fact, the chaingun is the only weapon you'll get on this map, which proves to be quite interesting. There's some basic lighting around the place. Moving into the next room is some Spectres alongside an Imp and a pistol zombie, and a brown river on the floor overlooking two tech pillars and a crusher trap guarding a berseker pack. The dark square on the floor next to said crusher is a teleport, pinging you into a room with pistol zombies, Imps and Spectres. Nice and easy to navigate, just pick off the pistol zombies and then the Imps and then finally the Spectres; starts to feel like that one puzzle in Link's Awakening! Whether or not you can actually acquire the berseker pack I didn't bother to find out.

Next area; Imps and pistol zombies. Ammo is sufficient enough on this map for the most part. A somewhat subtle lighting cue indicates the need to press a wall switch in the middle, opening the walls either side and showcasing some boring Spectres for me to punch (and occasionally shoot) out. Yawn. But I won't be yawning for long as through the next teleport is a Hell Knight on an upper platform, and an Imp round an oddly placed L lump on the floor. Another pistol zombie guards the next switch, which lowers the curved wall to reveal three Mancubi! And now the L block acts as somewhat tricksy cover, since the Mancubi can on occasion shoot around it somewhat so you'll really need to tuck in at a good angle to avoid being burnt like I did once!
Past the fatsos is another teleport, and thus we enter the room where Jaws In Space decided "I'm going to construct a real bastard of a finale here!" There's several brown pillars in the middle and all around you there's Hell Knights or Imps on upper platforms providing pesky fireballs to evade. As if this isn't stressful enough, we have an Arachnotron and an ARCHVILE on the lower ground! An Archvile! Only a chaingun to use! Ammo spread around the place and barely just enough to clear them all out! AHHHHHH! Several deaths occur in this room as I eventually figure out to just chaingun the Archvile to death amidst the pillars, instead of trying to get it infighting so I could pick off the other monsters. I enter panic mode several times here to say the least. Of course, it would have helped if I'd bothered to find the secret Megasphere hidden by pressing the glowing pillar in the middle of the brown pillars earlier, but as per my luck in Let's Play runs I tend to find useful secrets in tight situations AFTER the threat is over! Much rage was had by myself to say the least, but eventually I clear the bastards out and go up the lift to the exit, sparing only a Mancubi and a Spectre that teleported away in earlier parts I couldn't be bothered to chase after.

Overall, this is the best Jaws In Space contribution thus far to the Monochrome Mapping Project for me, and arguably the trickiest map of the project currently. While visually the map was quite boring and didn't really stand out whatsoever (even less so than Control Center), the gameplay here was quite tricky! I liked that you only had the chaingun to use on the map, and the ending monster mash was quite delightfully tricky given the circumstances. The lack of armor also helped with the challenging parts of the level, having no damage reduction to help defend. The first real challenging part of the project, so here's hoping that among his 3 remaining maps Jaws In Space can provide the challenge of this map and a visually pleasing romp to boot.

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Map 08: Tessel Dose (UV/Pistol start. 100% Kills/Items/Secrets. Death count= 1)

http://youtu.be/ChcOrqyDxO8 = my playthrough of Tessel Dose.

FractalXX's second of three MMP offerings certainly mixes things up a bit in this brief burst of fun. And there's music!

The entire map is basically a 'survival' run where you fight progressively harder monsters in small numbers.
You start in a grey star with some decent detail around the place from the supports above. The moment you step on the nearby pressure pad switch (ala Abusive) you receive the message 'HERE THEY COME!' in red text, followed by teleporting in 5 pistol zombies. After you pick them off you're teleported back to the middle and given the shotgun + ammo, then a message pops up (DIEEE!) and then 5 Lost Souls attack. You're now also atop a grey circle raised within the starting point, as with each 'wave' the level slowly lifts up in a cool "gradual lifting of the level" effect. (I may not have explained this well, just watch the video to see what I mean...) Luckily 2 of the Lost Souls started infighting and the rest were easily picked off.

Next up you're given the chaingun + health when you're teleported back to the middle as the rest of the initial area rises up to expand the fighting arena quite a bit, another message (NO ESCAPE!) and some Imps and Hell Knights to dispatch. After this you're given some more health potions, ammo and the Super Shotgun on the teleport back to the middle (KILL DOOMGUY) as Shotgunners, Mancubi and Revenants pop up. I was thankful the arena had expanded by this point, so I could use the grey pillars to take cover from the Mancubi. After that (COME CLOSER) is another health/ammo refill as several Barons of Hell approach. Slight yawn at this point from me, this wave being a bit of a dull timesink.

The final wave gives you the rocket launcher (DEATH) and a 1v1 with a Cyberdemon, as well as the grey wall around the arena lowering I suppose to provide a pitfall hazard. This E2M8-esque ending was kind of easy to be honest, but the level has one last trick up its sleeve.
After beating the Cyberdemon (NO WAY!), you're teleported to a long dark corridor and told to RUN TO THE LIGHT and DON'T LOOK BACK! Several rockets bead down upon you, so don't look back (or you'll die like I did) and head to the exit light.

Overall, this was a technically interesting yet brief level. Visually-wise it was sufficient, if not a tad on the dull side although I did like how the level slowly 'lifted' to the final circular arena. The real joy here for me was the interesting 'survival' gameplay of the map; even if it was mostly simple and in low numbers it was an interesting change of pace for the Monochrome Mapping Project, and showcased yet more clever spawning tricks like FractalXX displayed in Abusive. Could have perhaps been a bit trickier though; maybe throw in an Archvile at one point? I look forward to seeing what spawning tricks FractalXX displays in his final contribution...

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Map 09: Coagulation

Good map! Lots of open space and a decent amount of enemies to fight off. Most importantly the map has a good flow going on and while the combat isn't overly challenging, it's continuous and enjoyable.

Looks nice and in my opinion these black&white -styled maps look way better than those that use the "standard" doom textures. Those switch "altars" look particularly good although at first I didn't even realize that it's a switch. This resulted in some goofiness in my initial playthrough but more about that later. Lots of pits and obstacles and such which I felt made the map look really natural. I don't know if that makes any sense but I'm not a native English speaker so sometimes it's pretty tough to express myself in words :p

Like I said earlier, the gameplay is pretty enjoyable. No battle here is really that tough but there are enemies firing from above and often form multiple directions so the fighting doesn't feel tedious at any point. The archie fight was slightly lackluster though since he had no companions and was the sole target in that area. Ammo balance seemed perfect in both of my playthroughs. Indeed, I played through the map twice as the first finish felt a bit strange and turned out for a good reason. Like I mentioned earlier I failed to press the first switch I encountered (the one that raises the "bridges" between the platforms) and hopped the platforms to the other side to press the exit-opening switch. I did eventually press the other switch and because I'm obsessed with 100% kills I went to look for the enemies that it released. At that point I was very low on ammo so I ended up punching a HK and the lone archvile to death.

But yeah, overall a really nice map, probably my favorite one in the wad thus far. Good and engaging gameplay coupled with a nice design and visuals are the route to success and this map does all of those things fairly well. Could be a tad harder but nevertheless, it was enjoyable as is too. Nice work, Membrain!

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Map 09 -- Coagulation - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
The newsprint aesthetic theme from the previous map continues here (same texture set), but this is a far more interesting map than Tessel Dose was. Of all of the maps featured in the Monochrome Mapping Project up to this point, this is certainly the one that plays the most like a 'normal' DooM II map....which is not a bad thing.

'Most like', hell, it IS a normal DooM II map in every respect except for its simplistic/monochrome texture scheme. Wait, scratch that, I guess the resource constraints did require Membrain to come up with an alternate way to depict switches....I nearly forgot about this because the first time I saw those candle-pillar-dais things I immediately interpreted them as switches/usable parts of the environment, so I guess it's fair to say that he pulled off the alternate rendition fairly well. Truth be told, despite my overall favorable impression of the map, I feel like it's a counterpoint to map 05, which I reckon would have been less enjoyable if it were not monochrome'd, in that Coagulation would probably benefit from being normally textured/colored. Apart from the novel candle-switches, I reckon this map simply fulfills the requirements of the monochrome stricture, rather than standing out or seeming more interesting because of them.

No, Coagulation stands on its layout and gameplay. Were it not monochrome, I imagine it would be some kind of a Hell on Earth sort of city map (e.g. something in the 11-20 mapslot range) from DooM II, albeit much cleaner and a bit less sandboxy than several of those were. I guess I get this impression because it's rather "3D"--lots of stairways, overlooks complete with mid-tier monsters like mancubi and revenants as turrets, at least one mandatory jump (at least I think it was mandatory) from a ledge on one side of the abstract 'avenue' to another in order to reach one of those switch-objects, etc. The player can explore in quite a few directions from the start, and the ammo balance supports this type of play pretty well--it's hardly a starvation scenario, but in order to have comfortably full bandoliers you have to keep moving around; you can't hang back and methodically plink all of the monsters to death one by one.

It's not really nonlinear, though--as the player hits switches, various parts of the terrain gain elevation or otherwise shift, allowing access to further switches and ultimately to the map's end. Sometimes the environmental changes are kind of hard to spot, which I think is more a pitfall of the monochrome color/contrast theme than a layout problem (again, see my intimation that this might be a little better than it is if it were NOT monochrome). By the end I it seemed to me that only the black-colored parts of the ground/architecture were actually shifting, which helped navigation, but I may well be vastly overestimating my own cleverness here in that most of the later changes are more pronounced/harder to miss than the earlier ones in terms of sheer scope. Membrain has remembered to keep some action going throughout, which is much appreciated, although my personal tastes would've liked the addition of more ground-based foes over opening up new turret-spots. Whatever the case, I always felt like I was accomplishing something in the map, which is good. My only real layout complaint concerns the approach to secrets--this is just pure Wolfenstein wallhump territory, although once again this may be due in part to the very limited texture set Membrain was working with.

Is Coagulation really interesting as a Monochrome map? Eh, I don't think it's particularly so, though granted it (and all of the rest of the maps in line behind it) does have a pretty tough act to follow in that regard in respect to Da Werecat's 'The Primitive.' What Coagulation does have, however, is a pretty good, cohesive layout that supports some solid core DooM II gameplay, and would do so no matter how it was textured....and for that reason my overall impression of it is positive.

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MMP MAP09 Coagulation

I really don't know what to say about this grey map. It is both better than the majority of maps thus far yet for some reason it falls a little far behind in terms of real excitement. So with that said I can say this is an average map. The start is good, but I killed all the initial enemies too quickly, leaving me with barely anything to do. I then took along time figuring out where to go, before realizing where the switches were hiding, yep, it was those blackish pedestal things that I ignored for a large part of the level. Angered, I loaded an autosave to start over. Oh well. Fights were alright at best, again it was another SSG/Chaingun fest for me, either clopping the big guys or sniping at the little guys across the level. Not sure what encounter really is a standout though. At least the level managed to be quite decent. Final Time 6:30.

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