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The DWmegawad Club plays: (Ultimate) DOOM

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E1M6: Central Processing - 100/zip/100

Yes, this is perhaps the worst of the later E1 maps, although bad is way too harsh of a description. Because it's not bad at all for the most part, just less good than the other maps in E1. The maze is pretty dull though, no challenge whatsoever and looks boring as hell. Only serves as an annoyance when you're going for maxkills if you haven't memorized a route. The final area is pretty good however due to the rather meaty ambush there. Defusing the situation is quite easy though, if you have a few rockets still in your pockets, which is very likely if you've explored the all the secret areas as well. I know I always leave with some spare rockets heh.

E1M7: Computer Station - 100/nope/100

While Phobos Lab will always be my E1 favorite, this right up there tied with Toxin Refinery at the second place. Kind of Toxin Refinery -esque start actually, though it's much easier to not get stuck inside the starting booth here. Even without running I could relatively safely walk out of there to a better position. This one doesn't really have any highlight battles or such but it's the continuous flow of opposition that makes it so good. Really good use of monster closets especially to repopulate visited areas. Doomguys sixth sense and precision rocketing made a couple of those "traps" more like deathtraps for the unaware assailants though. Strolling made once again no real difference and I got through without breaking much of a sweat as there aren't really any spots where extra maneuvering is required.

E1M8: Phobos Anomaly - 100/some/100

Not much is to be said, I agree with others that in the early 90s this was a fitting boss battle but nowadays not so much. Still, it's a pretty atmospheric map and definitely does a good job ending E1 in darker note. The most trouble I had with this map was when a Pinkie blocked my way into the CG alcove and chomped away some of my health. But yeah, it's very very memorable anyway so I suppose it does something right.

So a not-very-unexpected deathless run (walk) of E1 is complete with that. E2 is going to be trickier for sure as my memories of the maps are getting hazier as the episode progresses. Let's see if I'm up to the challenge next week!

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The Ultimate Doom E1M7: UV, Pistol Start

I believe this map is know as Communications Tower in the Doom bible, it appears as E1M4 in both Alphas.

I don't remember this map very well from my first playthrough.

Whenever I'm stuck making a map & need a design inspiration this is my go to map. Everything about the design of this map is fantastic. The start is great as you see the spectre run at you from a distance. I like the look of the platform where you pick up the yellow key. I love the raised teck platform with the floor below just barley visible, it's also cool how it helps you to see outside to kill some pesky shotgun guys. This map has the best outside playing area & it really looks great. I like the exit, the computer rooms, the bridge, really
there is pretty much nothing about the design of the map that I don't like. I also like how you can just see everywhere in this map, the use of windows in this map is just the best.

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This is one solid map with solid barrel placement and it's good, no idea why some hate on it.
The traps are so cool, because they have barrels, and you'll hear some epic gibs, good one. The maze was good too, it wasn't bland and it was challanging too.

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E1M4: Command Control (GZDoom, UV, -fast)
What I find interesting about this map are a few elements which feel a bit ahead of their time – at least one corridor has inset sector details in the walls, something which has become incredibly common in modern PWADs but which is not (as far as I remember) seen much in other UD maps. Also, the small “building” which contains the chaingun also feels oddly newschool to me, for some reason. In a few cases there are examples of arguably inappropriate textures being used because a better alternative wasn't available until community-made textures arrived – the most glaring one being marble ceilings which look pretty awkward. Gameplay is reasonable even on UV -fast, although the cramped maze is still for me one of the worst things in Episode 1.

E1M5: Phobos Lab (GZDoom, UV, -fast)
This map can be reasonably tough, I think – I mentioned about a part in E1M2 which is one of the few which makes me hesitant in the original Doom, and the section beyond the yellow key door in this map is another one of those few. I'd never really noticed how high the number of secrets in this map was, but still found only around four this time around. I do quite like the dark maze at the end; I think it's probably the best use of the light amp goggles that I know of, and they seem quite essential on this difficulty.

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E1M5 – Phobos Lab – UV -fast. Kills – 100, Items – 89, Secrets – 88. Time – 17:07. End Health – 100, Armor – 53. Death Count – 14

This one’s a hummer at the start. Many deaths were suffered just trying to survive the opening, because I had to get past the ultimate nightmare – Hemi-powered Spectres – starting with just a pistol, and if I ran past them, I got buckshot for breakfast from the Sergeants. The key was learning that if I went for the Green Armor, the Spectre would close so rapidly that it would get in the way of the first Sergeant’s blast, so I’d be saved – momentarily, at least – by infighting. I pat myself on the back, because this is a rare example of strategic play on my part. ;D

Once I finally got past this section, I was so tore-up that I had a hard time getting the yellow key and then getting to the yellow door – yep, I was once again at 12% health. Many more deaths. And then one of the most exciting sequences, The Curving Double-Stairway of Death, saw me eating more buckshot and fireballs while I fled screaming in terror from still more Top Fuel Spectres. Damn, I’m getting tired of these things! Where’s my Chainsaw? Where’s my Zerk? These id fuckers are merciless! ;D And to top it all off, the one secret I missed was The Almighty Chaingun.

The Curving Double Stairway of Death is one of the coolest sequences in Doom, especially with those descending columns in the nukage pool that take you up for some goodies on the ledges. I watched some guy playing this on YouTube who couldn’t figure it out. Much laughter ensued. :D The Soulsphere was extremely welcome at this point.

Once I finally beat this area I went up, saw more Hemi-Pinkies heading my way from the now-revealed computer room, and said, “Eat some rockets, you ugly pink jagoffs!” I fired more rockets at imps in the dark Brown1 hallway just because I could.

I had relatively little trouble at this point, being well-armed and high on health – at least intermittently. I still died 3 times in the blinky stone maze, but I didn’t need the light-amp goggles because I had switched to Risen3D. Why? Because GZDoom doesn’t play “Suspense” correctly, and it’s also much harder to hit barrels than in Risen3D. I’m taking a wild guess that it’s because infinitely-tall actors are turned off, and since barrels are short, my bullets and buckshot tend to fly over them. If so, I’ve suffered many deaths for simply being unable to hit a barrel unless a monster stood very close to it. Not so with Risen3D and its ultra-aggressive auto-aim. It’s like shooting them in vanilla Doom, even with infinitely-tall actors turned off. And on top of that, Risen3D can see better in the dark than GZDoom. So I grabbed the light-amp goggles after I killed everything, and then I found my way to the secret entrance I missed – you know, the one with the useless pentagram teleporter.

As others have said, this is one of the best maps in E1, though I still prefer Toxin Refinery for the bravura secret-chains which are just a little cooler than the ones here, though I homage both maps in this regard in the same-numbered maps of Shotgun Symphony. Phobos Lab is a little creepier than Toxin Refinery thanks to its lighting, and it’s more dangerous thanks to hitscanners blasting you through all those windows which, I’ll agree with DoTW, gives this map a better sense of place. I do think the detailing is better in Toxin Refinery, though. One thing each map shares is a surprising level of linearity, since the path is pretty much set, the only real deviation being if you find that tricky entrance to the exit in the pentagram teleporter room, assuming you have the blue key. There’s really no problem with roamers here, either.

I have to mention the music track, “Suspense,” which is my favorite in all of Doom, and I think tends to show that Doom really loves creepy, suspenseful, ambient tracks, at least of this quality. Oddly, the volume is lower on “Suspense” than the other tracks, so I always have to turn it up, which means I blow my ears out every time I forget to turn the music down before E1M6 (I play with headphones on) since that one is unusually loud.

All in all, a great map.

Jayextee said:

Thanks for the plug. :P

They're not there on HMP, you know? Mind, I know how you love it when a map kicks your butt -- I think UV should be this setting, it's for people who want to battle unfair odds, right? ;)

That's true, Jay. And I've talked enough trash about that so I have to suck it up every now and then and just swallow my blood. Even so, you had me crying there, Jay. You had me crying. I really wanted that Chaingun, but you were merciless, and I admire that. ;)

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E1M8 Phobos Anomaly

Meh, I preferred the zombie-barrel pattern the PSX version had. On Beautiful Doom I lagged hard once I shot those barrels. On my continuous run I lured the spectres in the star room to me, while I was still on the elevator, and chainsawed them before killing more of them and then the barons. Pistol-starting, I didn't have either the chainsaw or rocket launcher, so the going was a little tougher. I'll admit I tried to get the barons to infight using a barrel trick, but it didn't work out too well. Old-fashioned way it was then!


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E1M7 - 100k/94i/100s - 10:48 - 1 death

I really savoured this one, probably the best E1 has to offer.

The computer areas are not really numerous, but this feels very like a facility with a dual purpose -- the toxic green slime is everywhere, not only in this map but the episode. Maybe a byproduct of the similar-coloured 'flash' when teleporting? Maybe it was under study and slowly drove the UAC's best men insane; this would explain why the last guy sent in (you) wears breathing apparatus they did not.

That first area is a killer when pistol-starting and going for anything other than a cautious approach. I popped the two barrels then dived right in; into my first death of the episode. Rather than try again more conservatively, I did exactly the same the second time - but smarter. Those three waiting by the yellow door as I head up for the key, those are the killers if I don't take 'em out.

Rest of the map went smooth as silk. One of the most awesome things about this map is the way that future areas can be viewed (and half-cleared of enemies if you have the patience), but these often take your attention away from the barely-visible secrets out there. It's all navigable (even outside!) and even clever in places; the rocket launcher is in a prime spot for you to be sniped by outdoor shotgunners, for example.

This is episode 1, ending the regular (non-boss) levels on a high point indeed. There's no wonder it's almost-unanimously viewed as one of the finest.

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Remember that Episode 2: The Shores of Hell starts on Sunday.

E1M3: Pretty dense level, I guess all the sergeants from M2 were hanging out here. Got killed when the compspan section in the western side opened up and a bulwark of shells greeted my ass. An alright map overall.

E1M9: My knowledge of this map is tenuous at best as this is probably my least played one (never liked getting the secret exit in M3). I realized through playing that this map is somewhat hubspoke but very cleverly disguised in the process. It's too flat, boxy, and lacks any setpieces in my opinion, which is good for something relegated to the secret level spot.

E1M4: The labyrinth always feels like the most memorable part of the level. I was surprised with how weapon deficient the beginning is on pistol start but it's not too bad.

E1M5: A good E1 map. The monster closets beyond the yellow key door is probably the toughest thing to deal with in the whole episode if you're not expecting it. The headache-inducing light throbbing area also utilizes specters really well, reminding you just how much more threatening they are without the SSG.

E1M6: This map was easier than I remember it being, as you're given plenty of ammo at the start and each trap gives plenty of time to react. The finale is a bit tough but luckily the demon population will take most of the bullets for you, as long as you give yourself enough room to slip by.

E1M7: Romero really likes keeping you trapped in the starting room, huh? Our final map for E1 is tricky and maze-like, being a bit tougher to navigate than I remember. I'm not a big fan of this since it makes each hallway look very similar to one another, but it's not a bad closer.

E1M8: After playing so many Phobos Anomaly knock-offs, I realize just how right the original got it. There's a strangely tense atmosphere, it's to the point, and the actual fight itself is tricky due to the star-shaped structure of the room and those damn specters loitering about.

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The Ultimate Doom E1M8: UV, Pistol Start

This is the second Tom Hall map in E1, but this one was finished by Sandy Petersen. While I complained about E1M4 being out of place, I don't have any issue with this map since it's supposed to be a non human made structure. This map didn't first appear until the 0.5 Alpha as E1M12, which interestingly was only the 2nd to last map.

I fondly remember this map from when I first played through Doom, this is also one of the first maps I remember playing on multiple difficulties due to the specters being there sometimes & not others. When the doors open up to reveal the Barons always scared the crap out of me as a kid.

I've got to start off by saying that this map has the best music from E1. I like the opening room & I make it a goal to kill all of the Demons with just 2 bullets, didn't do it on this playthrough. I normally play this map continuously so fighting the barons is extremely easy, but with just the chaingun & shotgun it's pretty tedious especially with all the specters in the way. I also make it a goal to kill all of the bad guys in the last room before I die, didn't do that this time either.

Since this is the textures first appearance I'll go ahead and ask, does anyone else think that DEM1_1, DEM1_2, DEM1_3, DEM1_4 is an unfinished version of MARBFACE? I'm mean just look at it, the demon looks like a cartoon, while the MARBFACE demon is quite detailed. I honestly think that they just used those textures as an unfinished placeholder & forgot to update it once the texture was finished.

So overall I have very high praise for E1, sure there are a few maps that are not as good as the others, but there are none that I would say are bad. Here is how I would rank the levels from my favorite to least favorite.

E1M9 4/4
E1M7 4/4
E1M2 4/4
E1M3 4/4
E1M5 3/4
E1M1 3/4
E1M8 3/4
E1M4 2/4
E1M6 2/4

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How can this be hard? I sometimes have a hard time navigating but that's okay, it almost always happens when you play a vanilla doom or a 90 one.
So I say it's good because it's open and has lots of patches and nice secrets.
I haven't even stayed in the room(Collecting the items doesn't count as staying) I just ran across everyone and when everyone was aware they sometimes create a line and you can kill 3 enemies in a shotgun shot or just make them to infight, :P. I didn't like most of the traps, most of them were dull and the only cool trap was in that pillar that can lead you to 2 secrets on both sides of the bridge if it raises you higher then the fence(or whatever it is)
The outside area is a huge secret filled with shotgunners which will shoot you constantly from the windows, so you better retreat them with a gun.

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Final Thoughts: Knee Deep In The Dead

Yep, this still remains the most recognizable episode of just about every Doom game there is. While it is almost dominated by STAR textures that may seem bad to this day, the way that Romero designed them fit in quite well. Now, despite not having cacos, lost souls, or berserk packs, Knee Deep in the Dead manages through to not be too difficult, and it's always fun to return to the episode every once in a while to remember how it was.

Best three maps were Phobos Lab, Toxin Refinery, and Computer Station.

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E1M8 - 75k/100i/100s - 3:34

Not a lot to say. I think the inclusion of the spectres in the main area was a stroke of genius, because the Barons are only really going to be a challenge for keyboarders who don't know how to strafe. On Ultra-Violence, the challenge comes from being surrounded by spectres if you're not careful.

But what a reveal, huh? Imagine not knowing anything of this level and taking a step forward to be met with the blood-curdling scream of two walking tanks. Just a shame they bleed red, or would if I weren't using Doom Forever.

That ending though. Sad in a way that it needs explanation, but I guess there was only so much id Software could do in the engine; and I do commend their attempt there to keep that element of the storytelling as a first-person thing.

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The Ultimate Doom E2M1: UV, Pistol Start

This is the only Tom Hall map that didn't appear in any of the alphas, which leads me to believe that it may have been the last map that he made before leaving Id. The music for this map is one of my favorites, it's based off of ADCD's song Big Gun which was made for the Arnold Schwarzenegger move Last Action Hero released in June of 1993.

I have no memory of this map from my original playthrough.

Sandy/Tom are so hit & miss with the maps they make it's ridiculous, but that shouldn't be to surprising considering that Sandy only had 10 weeks to finish 19 maps. I don't like this map, visually it's very boring & because of the teleporters everywhere it's not really fun to play either. The giant upside down red cross is pretty much the only interesting thing about this map.

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E2M1: I kinda like how this opener throws a lot of new things at you from the start: new textures, the cacodemon, plasma gun… feels a bit more balanced than E1M1 personally, but I’m bigger fan not-E1 stuff in general.

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E1M6 – Central Processing, UV –fast. Kills – 100, Items – 96, Secrets – 100. Time 27:55. End Health – 103, Armor – 16. Death Count - 1

This hasn’t been one of the more popular maps, but I liked it well enough. I used to dread this map because I always had problems with some of the traps back in the day, and trying it the first time on –fast intimidated me as I thought about the start, the red key trap, and all those top Fuel Spectres at the end. And . . . it was way easier than I expected. I died once at the threshold of the red key trap – yeah, dead before even activating it – but I sorta took a dive because my health was so low that I figured I’d never make it, and I was probably right, because I escaped that trap at like 23% health, but that was a problem to me, because there’s a Block Monster line that prevents the monsters from chasing you. Oh, man, that sucks! It’s been so long since I played this that I forgot all about it, so I discovered it by accident when I ran screaming in terror from all those hitscanners. ;D But damn, that room looks awesome. This is, to me, one of the iconic rooms and traps in Doom.

I liked the chain of secrets around the Soulsphere. And even bits of the maze. The traps around the yellow key used to scare me, but now, even on –fast, I view them as epic fails. All those Hemi-Pinkies and Spectres made a great show of dashing about like angry bees, but they were at the bottom of the stairs, or out in the nukage, so I potshotted them to death with the shotgun. I wouldn’t be surprised if this trap series inspired my Soulsphere trap in Map02 of Abcess (I do plan to remove that map and put it in a different set, though). There is also no question that the sneaky path to the exit area inspired a similar path in Map05 of Abcess.

It took a long time to get The Almighty Chaingun, so I had to play this map in a slightly chickenshit manner, mindful of the Pinkies and Spectres. But before long I had the firepower of a full rifle company plus Blue Armor and a second Soulsphere, meaning I was completely unstoppable against the opposition available. Even so, those damned light-speed Spectres chewed me to bits at the end, but I still survived.

There’s probably too many rockets in this map, at least for –fast play, because they are dangerous against oncoming Pinkies, and not enough bullets to feel safe. But I think the map is fun, with some really cool-looking rooms and pathways and loop-around secrets. It was a bit easy, though.

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E2M1 -- Deimos Anomaly - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Easily the weakest of the introductory maps (including the one for E4), I feel. As has been said, its main asset is that it candidly introduces a number of game elements not seen in E1, most notably the cacodemon, the plasma rifle, and use of teleporter pads as an important traversal element (the little bits of this hidden in E1 hardly count). On this last count, I think it does a decent job--the path through the various teleportation points is pretty straightforward, but you're taught that switches making pads accessible is something to watch out for, and that re-riding pads back to previously cleared areas is not only possible, but sometimes beneficial (or even necessary). On the other hand, the introduction of the caco is muffed at least as badly as that of the specter, and maybe worse...all three killer tomatoes appear singly in undramatic, low-ceiled areas where they essentially function as colorful imp substitutes--were it not for the second one's starting position near the slightly raised switch, their flight ability wouldn't be evident at all here.

Aesthetically speaking, I suppose the overall shape of the Anomaly on the automap is vaguely interesting and contrasts very starkly with that of the E1 maps, but excepting the iconic incandescent cross-gate it's extremely bland in decor and lighting, and the gameplay is very flat, both literally and figuratively--at one point you have the option of shooting some helpless pinkies spazzing out on an elevated platform before they can reach you, but that's about it for variation in the combat. I dunno, maybe this could've been more interesting if it hadn't been tethered to the difficulty constraints of being E2M1 (not that any of the other E2 maps would be a better fit than it is)....this is the first map I remember using with one of those tacky 'randomizer' utilities that one used to be able to find on various shovelware CDs, which filled the main area (read: the control booth with the blue key, and the spacious lower hallway wrapping around its base) with ~90% of the map's monster population (including two of the three cacos), which made that segment a lot more interesting (and the rest of the map only slightly more dull than it naturally is).

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E2M1 Deimos Anomaly

Onward to my favorite episode, from anomaly to anomaly. Okay, this one puts me starting with lotsa zombieman and a damaging inverted cross...thing. Then, it's shotgun action all the way through. Yet I also get a chance to see the cacodemons and the plasma gun here. Nifty secrets as well. It's small, but always has been fun, and probably my favorite of the starting levels in any of the 4 episodes. Totally disagree with that Demon fellow, this is my favorite starting map, fun to play mods with :).

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Map: E2M1 Deimos Anomaly / Kills: 100% / Items: 100% / Secrets: 100% / Time: 6:34 / Difficulty: UV / Mode: -fast

I would go as far to say that this is my favorite starting map in the game, I particularly like the new textures, it introduces the player to yet another demon the Cacodemon and another weapon the Plasmarifle.

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E1M7 – Computer Station, UV –fast. Kills – 100, Items – 97, Secrets – 100. Time 27:06. End Health – 168, Armor – 184. Death Count - 2

This one has a horrifying start. You definitely don’t want to door-camp the start on UV -fast. I popped the 2 Sergeants but got mobbed by an Imp army and fireballed to death, so the next time, I popped the sarge to the left, ran out, grabbed his shotgun, and turned on the jets. I flat-out fled the opening, then looped around to the elevated walkway and killed everything from there. It’s pretty easy if you do it that way, so aggression pays off at the start.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t maintain an aggressive stance against all those hitscanners plus the occasional terrifying Pinkie, because the shotgun and pistol are just too weak. You know the idsters must have discovered through internal playtesting that the Chaingun trivialized these levels, so they play keep-away with it for most of this map. Even so, I only did a small amount of wall-hugging and corner-abuse, but I did step lightly and take it slow, mainly because of all the snipers doing great damage to me through the many giant windows.

There’s iconic moments in this map. The descending column on the bridge is way too cool not to be homaged again and again. I’ve done it in E1M5 and E1M7 of Shotgun Symphony, and many other mappers have, too, including Sean Birkel in E1M7 of Fava Beans. But I don’t think anyone yet has emulated the outstanding chain of secrets associated with the original. There’s also that weird elevated computer area with a tiny open space around the low ceiling. Strange, and brilliant. I always get hit by the little jagoffs up there. They should’ve put more monsters up there to make it really dangerous. This area was homaged very well in Double Impact.

Unlike Hurricyclone, I had no complaints about “That Fucking Outdoor Area”. ;) I think I popped a couple Sergeants early through the window and infighting did the rest, so when I finally got out there and grabbed the Blursphere, I had all kinds of relaxing fun blowing the brains out of Zombieboys and Sergeants in the exit area, and then fragged all those Sergeants hiding on the other side. Tense moments came on the bridge because of all the snipers and roamers. I died once shooting rockets toward that exit-area window when a roamer waddled out and killed me.

I’ll confess that although I understand why so many rank this map as the top of the heap of E1, I still prefer Toxin Refinery. The Iron Law of Death Count is 9 to 2 in Toxin’s favor, and it’s a smaller map with fewer monsters. Computer Station may have a greater sense of place and all those cool sniping positions, but it’s also nonlinear and confusing. I wandered around aimlessly searching for the blue key because I always forget you have to remember that first red door. So for that reason I subtract aggravation points. ;D

I agree with DoTW that more mappers should release roamers from distant monster closets to spice up gameplay. It’s a bit difficult to do correctly, which is why I reckon most maps are based on setpieces, but it’s a great way to surprise players who might be feeling a touch too safe from time to time. ;D

All in all this is an outstanding, iconic and very influential map which, more than any other in E1, set the standard for Doom techbases.

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E1M8– Phobos Anomaly, UV –fast. Kills – 70, Items – 100, Secrets – 100. Time 6:05. End Health – 94, Armor – 22. Death Count – 1

Ah, the atmospheric ending to Knee Deep In The Dead! I dreaded this one going in because of all the Pinkies and Spectres, but the first batch mostly fell to barrel explosions. I died once when I got cornered in the Chaingun room by only 2 of them. Oh, the shame! :D

After that it was pretty easy, natch. Barons, perhaps the least popular monsters in Doom, are not good boss monsters, though I remember the sheer terror I felt the first time I faced them and they Just. Wouldn’t. Die.

I did open a saved game when I misplayed the start of the boss sequence, because I took a lot of Spectre damage. You can say I cheesed my way out of a future death there. The next go I ran to the north point of the star, turned, and hosed ‘em down with a storm of hot lead! ;D

I didn’t play well and actually took some hits from Barons that caused a bit of concern for a second or two. The 666 tag descending walls and the floating star ceiling remain cool as hell to this day. My health was at 94% going into the death-exit.

I must say, the main thing on my mind at this point is that I won’t be playing anymore on –fast, which means no more Hemi-powered Pinkies or Top Fuel Spectres. Good-bye and good riddance! :D OTOH, I did improve my –fast skills, even surviving (on the second try) the start of my own E1M6. It began to feel almost natural to me towards the end.

Final Thoughts on Knee Deep In The Dead

This has always been my fave Doom episode. Will it remain so? We’ll soon see. The premier advantage of Knee Deep over the other episodes, and Doom 2 as well, is that IMO it’s so much nicer-looking, so tricky, so fun to explore, and with the coolest secrets and chains of secrets in all the IWADs. The primary disadvantage is that combat is too easy, thus why I tackled it on –fast for this anniversary playthrough. Coming up are much nastier maps thanks to the killer instinct of Sandy Petersen, and even Romero himself, when he unleashes his bad side in Perfect Hatred.

As stated elsewhere, I initially played Knee Deep as Boot Camp for Doom 2, and thought no more of it until I replayed it after playing Fava Beans. It has grown in my estimation in all the years since. There’s so many nice little touches by Romero throughout these maps that they still inspire me.

One surprise was how little impact roamers and interconnection had in most of these maps. My memory saw these maps as very nonlinear, but only E1M4 and E1M7 really lived up to that, and roamers were absent or trivial in most of the levels. In some maps, such as E1M3, looping secret chains give the illusion of nonlinearity, which probably influenced my thinking.

This episode was a blast to play through, and is serving as Boot Camp for a new wrinkle – mouse-playing. I went through E1M2 in no time using the mouse. I’ll keep practicing. ;D

Map Ranking
E1M4 (when played wrong)

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SteveD said:

The Almighty Chaingun

Heh. Is there any wonder I tease it for so long in my own maps of late? Against hordes of fodder (which is all of E1 bar the Barons), there is no substitute.

And, it's given pretty late on in E2 if I recall. Usually when I casually play through, I don't acquire it until Fortress of Mystery. Isn't there a really out-of-the-way one in E2M2 though?

Don't know. I really should make a start on E2, I've just been indecisive as to whether to stick with Doom Forever for it...

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E2M1 (again, playing with 3DGE and Doom Forever)

I actually like this map, a lot. Screw y'all haters. :P

This is probably designed to feel ramped-up from E1's start, as no matter which way you go, there's a barrage of soldiers waiting for a lead injection. Inverted cross is a sinister sign of things to come, a departure from all the logical damaging sectors in E1, and is the shape and colour of a deep foreboding. What sinister evil is in this episode?

My favourite area has to be the crescent with the shotgun and small RIVER OF BLOOD in it. That ceiling has some nice shapes and detail, the STONE2/3 playing rather nicely off the red sky. It's still a base alright, but not in the same spirit of the Phobos installations. It feels older and more worn.

After the gathering of blue/red keys and plasma rifle (which is a neat little secret, even if its acquisition means that E2 will be a breeze -- good job I'm doing pistol-starts, then) the demons area is a bit of a letdown. Kinda. I'm under the impression that it was designed not as a challenge, but to tutor the player exactly how the autoaim works, vertically. Lowering the switch can leave you hopelessly outflanked (if you're not so good, I lowered both switches at once, and gathered the trinkets through the teleporter as the platform lowered) so the 'best' and safest way to do this is to sit tight and peck at the pinkies from below.

Red key area's a bit pointless. I'm not sure why I remember Barons in there, but they certainly are not.

Finale is ruined if you got the secret. One caco with enough room to cower, and then one in tight quarters. Oh, if only there were a chainsaw around (certainly, I'd have put one near the switch up those stairs). Imp guarding the exit got my boot.

As you can see:

There are a few jerks and stuff in the video I recorded. My laptop ain't cut out for this recording shit, even if gameplay goes without a hitch when not recording. I don't generally mouselook either.

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E2M1: Deimos Anomaly (UV, continuous, -fast)
100% kills, 4/4 secrets, 3 deaths

Jaws and Demon dislike it, Hurricylone, Avoozl and JXT like it. Hmm. Maybe this is our "most controversial" map?

Aside from the soft spot I have for being an introductory E2 map (and thus, much-played in my youth) I fall on the "dislike" side of things. I agree that it does a good job introducing several aspects - the teleporters especially, but also a relatively gentle way to introduce traps like the hurty red inverted cross, the bridge that falls into the blood, or the trap caco at the end. I also agree with Demon that the introduction of the cacodemon is a bit muffed though - part of me wonders if they purposely used it in non-flyable areas to save that for later. I dunno.

Overall, it's a bit of an ugly map, with most areas having only one or two textures (this is the big STONE2 area, this is the marble area, this is the SLADWALL area...) connected by teleporters. There's also basically no height variation, which combined with the layout makes it somewhat of a linear corridor shooter, despite the smart idea to wrap the "main" area around the blue key tower.

I noticed for the first time in many, many times of playing this map that the red door wall actually has ledges on both sides. Such a strange, easily overlooked bit of detail.

Playing on -fast was actually a bit easier than I thought, as I was worried about getting instantly vaped by hitscanners after the first teleporter. Luckily, not so bad. What was bad was the pinkies in the plasma gun secret, took all of my deaths there. I returned the favor by cowardly killing their brethren on the high wall from below. :)

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Most of the map is demons: The barrel chain, the stairs, the weaponary caves, the baron arena, the teleporter.
Suprisingly the most memorable thing in E1M8 are not the barons, but the first thing you see in the map: A nukage pool filled with demons and barrels all the way aroung the pool.
The boss fight is challanging if you play with pistol start, because of those barrels and the spectres and no rocket launcher.

The best map in the episode, it has the feel you're on a floating base and has lots of nice features like the red card secret, the plasma gun and the red cross along with the collapsing bridges over the blood pools, that's that.

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E2M2: Containment Area
100% kills, 11/12 secrets, 0 deaths

I was thinking this might be one of the maps I disliked, because LOL BOXES but I think it's actually quite the strong map. Yeah, box mazes are overplayed now, but it's hard to hold it against this level (being the first one) and there's actually quite a lot of level besides the box maze. Others have commented that E1 isn't as interconnected as they remember; this level has interconnectivity for days. It can be a little hard to navigate in places, but each of the areas has a unique look without just being a different wall/floor texture like E2M1. There's a lot of nice architecture here, and some nice lighting as well. Lots of nice little touches, like the four-way light in the moving pie segment area or the pegged SUPPORT3 textures on the crushers. While there's a couple areas that seem a bit phoned-in or rushed, on the whole the map is actually quite nice to look at.

No map is perfect though, and I think this map fails a bit on the monster usage. There's only three enemies in the whole map: imps, demons, and a few lost souls (most of which are in secrets, and one lingers in the slime tunnel). Not the best introduction for the new enemy, and this map could probably use some zombiemen.

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E2M2 -- Containment Area - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
In contrast to E2M1, this is one of my favorite maps in the second episode, and hell, probably in the whole game. Long ago, when IWAD content and shovelware CDs were my only access to the game, The Shores of Hell was by far the episode that least interested me, to the point where I only used to play it just to get to go through this map. Over the many years since that time I have become far more appreciative of E2 at large, and a couple of its maps outside of this one in particular, and yet Containment Area still remains a firm favorite. The sense of place here is thick enough that you could cut it with a chainsaw, thanks in large part to the juxtaposition of the eerie BGM, the quasi-realistic warehouse area, and the abstract machinery of the deeper reaches. There's also a real sense of satisfaction (not to mention plenty of actual material reward--you can acquire every weapon available in E2 and a backpack and a ton of armor/health to boot if you fully explore the level) in discovering all of the ins and outs of the expansive installation, something you are very much free to do at your leisure and in accordance with your own itinerary, given how open and interconnected the layout is.

The map also presents a big pile of firsts for the game: the first map without a hitscanner (although I suppose we can argue E1M8's case on that point), the first appearance of the lost soul (which is fairly effective if you first see them in the chainsaw secret, and admittedly somewhat anticlimactic otherwise), the first appearance of crushing ceilings, the first berserk pack (<3!!), and of course the first instance of the now-iconic crate maze. On a subtler but no less impactful level, this is also the first time you really get the sense that something is just fundamentally wrong on Deimos in a way that didn't apply to Phobos--the way the essentially benign machinery just past the marble junction gives way to the decidedly sadistic and archaic-looking crushing ceiling section further in bespeaks that the very pith of the installation's matter is somehow taking a turn towards the sinister and malicious.

You add all of this stuff up and what you get is a proper full-blown adventure in a strange and mysterious setting, one of the cornerstones of the whole DooM experience, as far as I'm concerned. And yet, concerning the fundamentals of the game, I suppose there's a bit of an elephant in the room here in that, despite its relatively large monster count, from a combat perspective this is a really, really unthreatening map, even by the general standards of the IWADs--the lack of hitscanners plus the wealth of goodies available for a thorough/inquisitive player means that most competent players should have relatively little trouble with it, even if using extra parameters like -fast or whatnot (incidentally, this map is one of only a few that really is great fun on Nightmare! skill). And yet, in a way, I think this only underscores how effective the setting is--this map used to creep me the hell out and intimidate me into mistakes, even after I'd become comfortable enough with the game's core mechanics to be able to competently handle every general type of scenario that E2 threw my way.

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The Ultimate Doom E2M2: UV, Pistol Start

Here we have another map Started by Tom & finished by sandy, Tom Hall has said that this is his favorite map that he designed for Doom & has complained about the changes that were done to the crate maze by Sandy. Judging by the 0.5 Alpha I'm pretty glad for the changes Sandy made to the crate maze, Toms design hardly had any variation of height to the crates which made the whole area quite bland, though the position of the player start in the hallway that divides the map may have been interesting. The Doom bible calls this map Supply Depot 2, it appeared as E1M2 in both Doom Alphas & was also one of the 3 maps released in the Press Release Beta where it was referred to as E3M2.

This is one of only 3 maps that I remember of E2 from my original playthrough of Doom, along with E2M3 & E2M8. Interestingly I only vaguely remember the crate maze while the 2nd half of the map is quite vivid. One particularly noteworthy thing was getting the chainsaw behind one of the crushers, when the doors opened revealing the lost souls my dad said "Watch this" with all the confidence in the world & then proceeded to quickly diminish to 20% health, try & retreat to the hallway only to be killed by the crusher.

Honestly while most people love this map & think it's the best from E2, I'm pretty indifferent to it, I do think it's one of the better E2 maps, but I think E2 is pretty okay overall so that's not saying much. I do enjoy the crate maze more than the rest of the level now that I'm older, but it's still not that great. My biggest complaint about this map is the seemingly complete lack of monsters, it defiantly seems to be going for a more atmospheric route, but still for a map this large you could have double the enemy count & it still would feel quite atmospheric while not being much tougher & just simply giving some thing for the player to do.

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Map: E2M2 Containment Area / Kills: 100% / Items: 100% / Secrets: 100% / Time: 16:47 / Difficulty: UV / Mode: -fast

Took an embarrassingly long time with this one due to looking for the secrets, this map is most likely well known for it's crate maze, it also introduces the played to the Lost Soul demon, it's a pretty enjoyable map with interesting architecture and some sort of machinery and a weird looking electronic area with damaging flashing blue panels on the floor and ceiling.

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E2M2 Containment Area

Crate maze, crushers, some very handy secrets where all of my hard-earned other weapons were stashed in. I've always loved this level. Plus it has the best track in the original games. The first berserk pack is just around that corner, I tend to over-use that item on all the imps, a bit too much for my own good, but whatever. I'm also good at tempting the imps to get crushed too. All in all, I'm saving a fuck-ton of ammo for later maps! Of course, for 100% items I had to scour the hell out of that maze in order to get all those bottles n' helmets, and it takes awhile, but the stray imp keeps me satisfied. No hitscanners assaulted me on this map as well, which may explain another reason why I love it so much.

Beautiful Doom does lag like hell if I gib enough corpses, though.

Despite it being just more than an hour from where I live at present, happy 20th, Doom, and real glad to play one of the most memorable maps from it right here, right now.

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yay anniversary

E2M2: HEY YOU GUYS LIKE CRATES? I actually like this map because while E1M7 was a maze of hallways, this is a maze of crates which has a few pinches of vertical movement… a nicely appreciated change of pace. It’s a pretty big map to run through with a surprising absence of formerly human enemies, which is another neat change. Plus you have to utilize the berserk a little more on pistol start.

E2M3: Speaking of the berserk pack, this map really lets you go hog wild with it once you pick it up at the start, handing you lone fools to pummel into giblets. I kinda like the nukage traversing in Doom as well—it’s something that wouldn’t fly by today’s standards but I still enjoy the novelty of its early iteration.

E2M4: Didn’t expect this one to be so dire on pistol start, thanks in large part to the meatier enemies used here. Wound up running from most of the cacos in order to save my own sanity and hide. Petersen doesn’t pack his map as tightly as Romero, but he still includes plenty of rough situations.

E2M5: Map goes on a bit longer than I think it needs to.

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