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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Epic 2

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What is the DWmegawad Club?
This is a place where we settle down, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice) and take a month to play through a megawad on our own, together! Any keen observations, criticisms, or frustrated ranting about it goes here in the discussion. As long as you want to say something about what you've played, feel free to speak your mind.

Can I join?
Sure. The only rule is that you have to play at least some of the levels in our monthly megawad to contribute, but you're generally encouraged to finish the whole thing, even if you've played it before.

What levels am I allowed to post about?
Whatever day of the month it is, is the upper limit for the map you can post on. So if it's the 6th, you may discuss up to MAP06.

Do I have to post an entry every day?
Nope, not at all. This is only for our more enthusiastic members. As long as you play through it with us you’re part of the club.


The megawad we are playing through currently is Epic 2


Epic 2 is another one-man megawad created by Alexander "Eternal" S, released in 2010. The wad centralizes around an Egyptian theme and provides plenty of puzzles for our more ponderous adventurers. So put on your expedition hat and brave the (demon infested) sands!

Maplist for Epic 2:


Map01 - “Entrance”
Map02 - “Voodoo”
Map03 - “Black Magic”
Map04 - “Sarcophagus”
Map05 - “Abu Gurab”
Map06 - “Revived Bones”
Map07 - “Hell Guard”
Map08 - “Karnak Temple”
Map09 - “Mystery”
Map10 - “Goldmine”
Map11 - “The Tower”
Map12 - “Alien Ship
Map13 - “Mebius”
Map14 - “Orion's Belt”
Map15 - “Astral Base”

Map31 - “Osirion"
Map32 - “The Harbour”

Map16 - “DNA Replicate”
Map17 - “Hologram”
Map18 - “Gunman”
Map19 - “Escape”
Map20 - “Anomaly Zone”
Map21 - “Shore Dream”
Map22 - “Mummy Tomb”
Map23 - “Oasis”
Map24 - “Hentiamenti”
Map25 - “Per Nefer”
Map26 - “Luxor”
Map27 - “Ammut”
Map28 - “Ogdoad”
Map29 - “Mortuary”
Map30 - “Amenthes”

The original Epic
DSDA archives
Community Chest 4
MAYhem 2012
Memento Mori
2002: A Doom Odyssey
Coffee Break & Fava Beans & Double Impact
Stardate 20X6 & Monochrome Mapping Project
Realm of Chaos
Back to Saturn X E1 & Favillesco E1
Kama Sutra
Unholy Realms & Zone 300
Vile Flesh
Ultimate Doom
Whitemare & Sacrament
Epic 2
Whitemare 2

Edited by dobu gabu maru

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Finally it is here. Right on time before I lose the track completely.
Replayed the whole thing a couple months ago in my usual scheme (UV, pistol start, no savegames, prb+) so let's hope I can still say something specific about its maps. I'm never the one to beat Demon of the Well's full-scale novels though.

Map01 - “Entrance”
A map that finely introduces the player to what (s)he's about to experience. So, the opportunist entered some Egyptian tomb and found something more menacing and more... alive than a bunch of mummies.
Also not your usual map01 since it doesn't rely on silly gunfight with packs of zombiemen. Instead it offers slower semi-exploratory pace, some easy puzzles along your way and also heavier opposition (namely revenant). So obviously this map breaks canons, and is a decent starter for sure.

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One of my favorite wads,one of the few megawads that i played (almost) completely and enjoyed.
I'm going to use the DOOM2+ engine for this one,since it allows me to save on big maps.

MAP01 - "Entrance" 100% kills; 100% items; 0% secrets
It's the first map and it already trows some big monsters at you,and still not becoming slaughter-ish,also the opening is a nice introduction of the Egyptian theme to the player.The new sounds helps to improve the mood too.While the views are nice,only the later levels shows at really this wad is about.
I wouldn't lose too much health if i didn't try to punch everything,but otherwise there were no problems.

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I failed to finish Scythe up to now, but I'm already gonna give Epic 2 a go. At least a try.

(Zandronum, continuous play, using saves, never played Epic 2 before and don't know anything about it.)

MAP01 - Entrance

Wow. Gotta admit, impressive and atmospheric, yet I still really think this style is somewhat off my preferred tastes. Not to say I didn't enjoy the little adventure. I did. I've got a feeling that providing a decent challenge wasn't by far the author's goal. Map's structure seems to be atmosphere-oriented, rather than efficiency-oriented. I'm not sure how long this would keep me entertained, but I'm definitely gonna continue. After all, this was just a beginning. I don't know what expects me next, I don't even dare to guess.

Nice interpretation of an ancient Egyptian crypt, which definitely makes sense as a "cliche" portrait of such place. You know, in Doom wads, this is something I like. That's also why I adore Pirate Doom. :)

The sounds aren't bad, but I'm kinda scared by the fact they'll follow me all the way in this megawad. Eventually they'll bug the shit out of me, I predict. However, I find the monster sprite replacements great looking. Other sprites too. Also the +2 health bonus, +10 armor bonus seems an interesting change of the default mechanic. I have to say though - I'm not very keen on the switches. They're sometimes unobvious, and generally feel strange. I'm so used to my Doom switches (as well as Doom sounds).

I'm already curious about the tomorrow's map and what impression it'll give me.

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This wad feels like a standalone Doom 2 iwad, and the new color takes you to a whole new world.

As for the map, apparently exploring is a main thing in this wad. Don't have much to say, but the layout is interesting and some areas seem to be cleverly connected. A good first impression indeed.

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Port: ZDoom 2.7.1
Continuous: No
Saves: No
Skill: UV

MAP01: Entrance
Attempts: 4 | Kills: 100% | Items: 53% | Secrets: 100% | Time: 04:14

4 attempts. Seriously. It probably could've been done in 3 but a certain Hell Knight right at the end had other ideas.

Look at him, hiding behind the dead demon. Coward! Fight me like a true man-bull hybrid, I say!

Anyway, seems to be a nice start, although after my awful playing on this first map, I worry slightly about the rest of it. I'd say the difficulty is rather low and I'm just shit, though there's really not much room to dodge that first revenant.
I agree with scifista, not a huge fan of the new pick-up sounds, and the switches are easy to pass off as simple decorative texturing. That said, I do like how the revenant has green eyes, and I hope I can actually do the entire month this time!

ErisRating™: 9/10

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Alright, it looks like our world tour has went from Russia to Sweden back to Russia.

GZDoom, continuous, double ammo, saves, HMP, I also took the liberty of taking out the Eternal Doom D_STELEPT sound because I have played this before and really hate how quiet that sound effect is for this wad. I replaced it with the regular Doom teleport sound.

MAP01: Entrance to the Secret (or Entrance) My Time: 3:27

The beginning evokes a bit of Tomb Raider, not to mention having to shoot (or punch in my case) the door open. It's pretty spectacular for a first impression actually, combat is generally not too tough, just watch for monsters in corners and shoot (or punch in my case) when necessary. The surprise revenant is no biggie, but the demon trap can be hard to get at, unless you push past them to the ankh wall that has that trusty berserk in it. At the final area, expecting hitscanners and then imps, demons and a hellknight in a simple but effective MAP01.

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Epic 2, oh yes. A personal all time top5 favourite wad by one of my favorite mappers, so this will definitely be good. I should finish my Scythe commentary too but better start this to prevent falling hopelessly behind immediately.

I'll be playing on Glboom+ with UV pistol starts and no saves.

Map01: Entrance

And here we go. An introductory piece to the wad yes, but quite different from your usual map01. The custom sounds are great imo and the egyptian style is awesome as always. The gameplay is what really sets this apart from the usual opener maps as this is, like already stated by Demonologist and scifista, somewhat exploratory in nature and doesn't rely on small time opposition around evey corner to keep the player busy. Instead we already meet Revenants and Hell Knights, not in particularly difficult situations but they are middleweights on map01 nevertheless. The Pinkie horde perhaps requires knowledge of the berserk packs location to effectively clear and not turn it into SG slogfest but that's only a minor complaint. Neat start overall.

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Since I've done a full 32 map playthrough already (more than a year ago but still...), I'm going to relax and take it easy here. Pistol start, HMP, probably no saves. If it's a dangerous map (15, 29) I'll probably break out cheat codes. Some of my writeups/rants will be on different settings and will be noted accordingly.

Map01: Entrance 1005 kills

There's a bit of narrative right at the start with breaking in by punching the boarded up entrance followed by a one way drop which sets the tone of a fearless adventurer. With the new texture set, this map acts as a tutorial. It introduces the player to several of the new doorway and switch setups, several of which must be found before finding any monsters. This providing of a safe environment to allow the player to become accustomed to the new graphics is a design decision rarely seen in PWADSS.

That's not to say combat is a complete afterthought. There's some simple ambushes that will catch someone unaware of their surroundings (I took a hit from the very first zombieman I alerted) and UV appears to expect knowledge and usage of berserk. Bigger monsters put on an appearance too. Still there's very little danger for the alert and many monsters beyond the blue key door are vulnerable to being crept up on and picked off around corners.

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Well, if it isn't Epic 2. I've started this WAD more times than any other, by quite a long margin - I actually started it again about a week ago and gave up (again). The WAD has some really clever ideas and a great sense of atmosphere, but I find the difficulty gets silly pretty early and the number of items is comically low at times.

With that said, screw it - let's try this again. I'll be playing in Eternity on HMP due to bad experiences with UV in the past. Continuous, with saves.

Map 01: Entrance

A nice atmospheric map, as others have said. I think a lot of key design elements are introduced here which will persist throughout the set - interesting and often very small doors, sparse items, and a willingness to include mid- to high-tier enemies early on. The custom textures work very well so far, and it's notable how sparing the detail is (another WAD trademark, I think). Eternal uses smart texture choices, as opposed to lots of lines, to make his point. A good first map, albeit one I'm rather tired of playing after all this playthrough attempts.

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a little introduction. I have rather mixed feelings about Epic 2. Yes, it is undeniably a very professional product and that can't be overstated. The amount of effort put into compiling and editing the graphic and music/sound resources, making, testing and polishing the maps million times to ensure that every little detail is perfect... it's astonishing. Eternal is a virtuoso, that's for sure.

There are some great great maps, even some masterpieces, buuuuut... There is also a whole lot of what I can see as nothing but filler. I feel like Epic 2 is a very good example of a megawad that really shouldn't have been one. To meet the magic goal of 32 maps Alexander had to mix real gems with huge amounts of well-realized but just plain boring and repetitive ideas. That includes samey catacombs-like areas and whole levels, samey not that great gameplay parts (very symmetrical and predictable monster placement, carefully calculated balance, overly staged fights) and more. I get really sick of all that Egyptian stuff after a while, I guess it doesn't help that I'm not a big fan of the theme in the first place. Lots of yellow and brown, sand everywhere, hot sun, thirst for water... Not a very pleasant setting if you ask me. :)

But I'll try to play through it anyway because there is some amazing stuff that should be interesting to talk about (but of course, after a few maps, as usual I'll lose interest in playing/posting). So...

map01 - oops, I tried to write some things about it and already I'm feeling lazy to continue, so bb. :p btw lol, missing texture on the first map already? I guess I'll have to retract my comment about the perfect polish.

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I haven't played much of Eternal's stuff, but I've enjoyed what I've played. I'm looking forward to this.

I'll mostly play on UV, continuous, with saves. Will throw in the occasional pistol start when replaying a level.

Map 01:

A cool introductory map. The weapons and the monsters are familiar, but everything else feels different. My first attempt at the map took an embarrassingly long time because I missed one of the switches, but otherwise I enjoyed the light puzzling. I like the ammo balance - I was somewhat careless and as a result found ammo pretty tight and had to resort to fisting the big bads. I also like the encounter design. The fight after the blue key pickup is the highlight for me. I'm looking forward to the maps to come.

Because I have a weekend with no actual responsibilities, I'm going to toss some bonus content in here too, in the form of the original Epic wad, which I've never played.

Epic - Map 1
A Fool's Paradise

Rather than starting in the desert, this map has you in a base overrun with vines and jungle textures. It has a bunch of switch hunting which kinds of slowed it down for me on the first playthrough, but it's pretty linear. Not as much fun as Entrance, but pretty good.

Epic - Map 2
Sand Storm

There's the desert. I don't know that I would replay this map. Too big, too barren, too much mindless switch hunting. The tunnel fights were memorable though, and the tanks were a nice touch.

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MAP02: Voodoo My Time: 5:55

Now, there's no voodoo doll tricks yet, but that'll come soon. (spoiler!) Don't put your guard down here, it's actually kinda tough for a MAP02, unless you get the berserk, then if you do, go nuts :P. Lotta Powerslave stuff here, the rocket launcher has the flamethrower sprite, one zombie death sound is akin to the mummy death sound, and the lost soul attack sound is the mummy attack sound. And for those with secret sound effects, you could hear a "That's right" akin to what the guy says in Powerslave when he kills something!

Beware teleporting revenants in places, it's easy to get surprised by these guys, and this is throughout the entire wad as well. The first archvile also makes an appearance once you roundabout back near the start. I killed him with a shotgun for some reason. The final few areas aren't anything big; I simply just punch and shotgun stuff as I please.

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Time for Epic 2. As I've said before, this is one of my very favorite of Eternal's many releases (up there with Hell Ground and 32 Inch Nails), although in truth I say that after only having played it twice before now. Will it hold up? I suspect it will--Eternal is not a one-trick pony, he has a skilled hand with both aesthetics and gameplay/choreography--and I'm even more interested than usual to see what others think of this one, as there are a few interesting talking-points that shall present themselves. For example, several of us just got done poking fun at the final 'episode' of Scythe for its somewhat monotone/monochrome redHell theme; Epic 2 also has a very set theme for around 2/3 of its duration (although the remaining 1/3 is a vast departure)....will it hold others' interest, or will it start to grate a bit? In contrast to Memfis, I myself am very taken with the gloomy tomb/crypt/pyramid/temple theme (the sunny outdoor desert scenes perhaps not so much, which is why I am grateful for that other 1/3 of the game), so its persistence in the WAD doesn't bother me. Anyway, enough lead-in. As is normal for me in my leisure playing, I'm using Eternity, playing all maps from pistol-start on UV, no infinitely-tall actors, etc. etc. etc. Without further ado....

Map 01 -- Entrance to the Secret - 100% Kills / No secrets
As Demonologist has observed, this is not a traditional eyeblink-fodder-slaughter map 01; certainly no 25 second par time, here. This isn't because the map is large (it certainly isn't) or prolonged in flow (it mostly isn't), but simply because it's rather slow-paced....which is not a bad thing! The early going sees the player breaking into (literally) what appears to be a small mastaba, gradually uncovering some waterworks and the beginnings of a labyrinth of switches, secret doors, and other mechanisms that all guard 'the Secret', which will be encountered several maps later. Apart from being a pleasant change of pace from the usual map 01 warmup exercises, this exploratory segment serves the practical purpose of acquainting the player with various switch placements and door textures and other fundamental pieces of the diegesis which might not be immediately obvious, all in a pressure-free environment. The tranquil, vaguely mysterious music track, which I know I've heard in some other game before (perhaps the PC version of Powerslave/Exhumed, as many of the other sound/texture/sprite resources have their origins there) is a fitting accompaniment that sums up the overall feel of the map nicely.

The upshot of all of this is that there is quite a noticeable lead time before the first monster makes it appearance, and when one finally does it's liable to blindside you from around a tight corner (a trick that many of the enemies in the map seem rather fond of), which is a bit of a tone-setter....sure, it's just a zombieman now, but as the adventure moves on it won't be long before there's much more to worry about than the recently-not-exactly-deceased; indeed, before this first map is through, there have already been point-blank encounters with revenants and hell knights, to let the player know that for all of its somewhat atmospheric/exploratory bent the mapset is serious about posing at least some kind of legitimate threat, even very early on.

An effective non-traditional map 01.

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Memfis said:

I have rather mixed feelings about Epic 2

True. My latest re-playthrough has resulted in the wad's initial gleam and Eternal fanboyism (oh yes, I used to have that) disappearing almost completely, so that I was able to see many things I could consider annoying/repetitive/uninspired. Of course it's not a reason to disregard Epic 2 completely, at times it really shines as an outstanding work of art among Doom mapsets, but it also has its issues, and a definite percent of 'artificiality' is among them, sadly.

Map02 - “Voodoo”
It was already stated above that this map is harder that usual map02s, probably the case with many Epic 2 maps and I'm totally okay with it. However, I should also say that this particular map largely defines the overall scheme for the whole wad (at least for the first episode of it) that isn't that easily broken with stylistic deviations. Here we have the catacomb-ish maze full of narrow corridors, enemies behind every corner (this is truly a trademark of Eternal's work, sometimes up to the point of being funny and always predictable) and lots of 'surprise!' ambushes, the author is known for clever usage of even vanilla's limited actions to mock an unsuspecting player, including the situations when (s)he's backtracking and thinks (s)he's safe. And backtracking is not a rare action here, so you should be on your guard all the time. The walls have eyes and ears.

To be completely honest, there's not much for me to say for the next series of maps to come, the reason for this is that they all look the same by a large margin up until map11. Still, I'll try to put some lines about each one, but there won't be much. It's episodes 2 and 3 where Epic 2 really shines in terms of diversity. So a note for those who would think about dropping the wad because of its seeming homogeneous nature - I advise you to persist and reach at least for e2. It will get better.

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Okay, after a long absence owing to obsessive mapping, I'm back to try and stick with a megawad all the way to the end. I'm especially interested in this one because it's a fave of DoTW's, and its author is Russian, and I'm rather a fan of the RDC. And to top it off, the theme is Eqyptian, which I loved in my all-time fave TC, Osiris. BTW, although I'm not quite ready to do it now, at some point I'd like to gather a team for an Osiris Redux. All the resources can be freely used except for the music. This means that the little King Tut with a Plasma Gun can march again, with his cool ticking sound that was actually sampled and modified from Jimi Hendrix guitar work, as I learned back in the day when I corresponded with Glen Payne.

So how will Eternal's take on ancient Egypt compare to the classic Osiris?

Playing, as usual, on UV, continuous, frequent save/reload, keyboard only, in Risen3D with infinitely-tall actors turned off (why would anyone want to have them on????). If the maps become exceptionally difficult, I'll pistol-start any troublesome map on HNTR and assess whether I'd like to replay in HMP, and I'll pistol-start the next map on UV, rinse/repeat as necessary.

Map01 - Entrance - 0 Deaths/0 Secrets, about 21 minutes

It's immediately obvious that Epic 2 stacks up nicely with Osiris in looks and atmosphere, and I was impressed when I was able to shoot boards out of the first door. Prior to falling into the catacombs, I'd have expected to hate any more than 2 seconds in some stone and dirt maze, but in fact, the exploration wasn't bad at all, and soon the caves opened into nicer-looking areas which displayed Eternal's flair at designing tight, yet attractive spaces, which I admire all the more since that's not in my skillset.

The music works beautifully with the exploration theme, and I had a good time wandering around in here. It was really, really easy, as others have noted. And to echo others, yes, this was a good way to introduce players to the odd switches and "doors." I really liked a lot of the new sounds and basically found nothing to object to.

I was also happy to use the save/reload function at the big Pinky trap, because I didn't find the Zerk in that room until after I had emptied all my ammo on the Pinkies. Once the Zerk was found, I opened a save and worked my way to the Zerk -- took a few tries -- and punched out the Pinkies. Since I'm not a badass player, I feel no guilt about doing things this way. ;)

The only other trouble I had was at the end, because I missed the switch that raised the platforms to the exit well. I had to open DB2 and use the Find/Replace function (thanks go to Cynical for alerting me to that function) to locate the trigger line. Keep in mind, I played this very late at night, so brain function left something to be desired. :D

All in all, I'm very pleased so far.

BTW, for a long time, I mixed this up with Epic2A, a 1995 map by Matt Williams, who I also corresponded with back in the day. In the Paleolithic Era, email was the only way I gave or received commentary. Epic2A was not up to Eternal's standard, but one of the maps had a really cool Mayan Temple.

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MAP02: Voodoo
Attempts: 1 | Kills: 96% | Items: 93% | Secrets: 40% | Time: 08:17

Descending into the next area of the ancient temples, I see Eternal didn't go overboard on ammo placement. I pretty much owe my completion of this map to the berserk pack, which happened to be in a secret area. I wasn't expecting the arch-vile to appear so early in a megaWAD, so I jumped a considerable distance when I heard him, and unfortunately did fall victim to one of his famous detonations. I'm wondering if I'm finding imps harder to fight, simply because they look different, anyone else get this?
New pain elemental looks pretty cool too.
Overall, it's a nice, dark level, but I really would've liked just a few more shells, or even maybe some more sergeants to drop them.

ErisRating­­™: 6/10

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MAP02 - Voodoo

The architecture and overall structure is very interesting, again, kind of makes sense as a portrait of typized real place. I get the feeling that Eternal is able to create great aesthetics, but he doesn't mind that not every part of his map has great aesthetics, he doesn't see it as a fault. Nicely flowing map, although linear. Damn one-way closing doors, they could have stayed open. But it's not a big deal, walking through the map in circles for several times wasn't annoying for me, as the map is small and eye-pleasing for the most part along the main path.

I also enjoyed the gameplay and combat here, not that intense (rather atmospheric, sparse ambushes), but obviously there was an attempt to increase challenge, and successful. For me, still easy. Maybe because I was able to find all secrets - with a soulsphere-boosted health, it's much less stressful to fight a revenant while you can't dodge his missiles well. Admittedly - these maps seem to be very generous with health to me. I could even manage many of the fights with a berserk (but I've been using the shotgun a lot, too).

The lost soul attack sound is really nightmarish, surprisingly I didn't find it unfitting yet. I wonder if I'll eventually get annoyed by it too, or appreciate it instead.

I haven't yet shot from the rocket launcher, but the sprite change looks... strange, yet interesting and I'd say, fitting (on the first glance).

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scifista42 said:
Also the +2 health bonus, +10 armor bonus seems an interesting change of the default mechanic.

Pretty sure they're the standard items, just stacked multiple times in the same spot.

HMP, continuous, no music, frequent save/load.

Not a huge fan of the new textures so far, or of the reskinned imp. Lighting also seems very flat in this. There are lighting variations, they're just not very significant or interesting ones.

Blue key trap is laughably easy to neuter by just standing at the top of the steps. Liked the way the map set you up with a chance to snipe the revenant, though. Single HK at the end is a bit of a weak conclusion though.

Seems this may be a switch-heavy mapset based on map01. That's likely to irk me, especially given the use of new textures for switches, some of which aren't that switchlike to my eyes. Suspect some random wall humping in my future.

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Capellan said:

Pretty sure they're the standard items, just stacked multiple times in the same spot.

Of course - I don't deny it. ;)

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Map 02

This map is fairly enjoyable. There are some very nice looking rooms in which Eternal displays his knowledge of how best to make his texture choices work, which I like a lot. The main problem I have with this map is the extremely scarce ammo and health, which tend to make me feel that I need to save after every small success. I really think this is a problem which brings down the first several maps of this WAD, which is a real shame.

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Wow! This is just the megawad for me.

I've always enjoyed FPS' games that incorporate time-travelling elements into their story and episodes. That goes for the HeXen games, Serious Sam and even Daikatana (that is, the time travelling episodes were enjoyable, the rest were not). It was this that made me loosen up to the otherwise panned DTS-T. I enjoyed it, for all it faults, for being so varied and atmospheric in it's misty sceneries and dark dungeons.

This goes along those themes.

MAP 01 & MAP 02

Both great maps. The first one starts out just as I wanted it to, standing outside some ancient tomb or temple. There's nowhere to go but inside. Inside you face off against some retextured imps and zombies, as well as a hell knight or two. It's not as "puzzly" as I thought it would be, which is a good thing. Usually you just have to find a switch and flick it, and something opens. So far it's been very intuitive... Reminds me a little bit of Chasm: The Rift so far. Did that thing have time-travelling episodes? Can't remember.

Map 02 continues in this vein. It feels more action orientated than MAP01. The tomb continues on. So far I've found pretty much all the secrets, mostly because it seems that you can press anything, and I mean anything, that seems out of place and something will happen. It seems more like a way of completing the level rather than searching for secrets. Found the rocket launcher here too.

If I had to name one gripe, it's that the Beastiary doesn't seem as thought out and exotic as the levels, textures and weapons. I'd have liked it if the author would have skipped all the zombies altogether and add something in place of them. Why not some simple mummy monsters or something like that? Heck, even a reskinned Golem from Heretic wouldn've been preferred, and somewhat keeping with the theme of this megawad. The zombies seem kinda pointless.

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MAP02 - Voodoo 100% kills; 100% items; 100% secrets

This level is more typical,it already let's the player comfortable about the next maps.Since i played this a month ago,so i just remembering my past experiences.

The new pain elemental sprite is cool i guess.pretty much the whole thing that keeps me playing is the atmosphere,a break from the techbases and hell.And the music of course.

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Good to see epic 2 getting a run through, its one of the first custom wads I played and its a good 'un.

I've been absent from the club for a while, too busy working on my own megawad, but I might try and play catch-up with this one at some point.

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My preferred MO with not fun early maps is to skip them as I've done several times in the club already. As I type this, I realize I have something to say for every map in the first episode, even if it's sometimes short.

MAP02 - Voodoo 100% kills, 5/5 secrets

At first, I thought I'd skip this one but since it's so short, I went ahead and did a playthrough. It's darker than map 1 and I have little else to say on visuals. Combat is meatier here with an archvile making an appearance on skill 3 or higher. Ideally, the player finds the rocket launcher secret to deal with it quickly. There's some surprise revenants as well. Health is tight early but becomes more plentiful later. Still playing by leaving berserk for when I want the health boost, which happened early as the first hellknight nailed a 64 damage shot. Ended up finishing with 27 shells. If that seems high, the ammo pickups are balanced for UV throughout the whole wad and are rarely altered for lower skill levels.

Trivia: the secret shotgun at the start is obtainable without alerting anyone on skill 3.

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MAP01: Entrance to the Secret
100% kills

Nice little starter, sets the mood - some exploration at the start, bit of combat the end. A good way to introduce the new textures (especially what is and what isn't a door). A bit disappointed there's not a single secret, especially when some easily could be (such as the berserk). Not a fan of the recolored sprites or new sounds, on the whole. Some are fine (and I suspect the imps were changed because they would blend in too much) but others are annoying, such as the zombies having some new sounds and old sounds. Also, using the "hit the ground" sound from Hexen really sticks out like a sore thumb when you fall into water (since Hexen had its own water noises) and you hear a loud dusty THUMP.

MAP02: Voodoo
100% kills, 3/5 secrets

But Voodoo is West African, not Egyptian...

Either way, this is a more "standard" map, and another good one off the bat. My main complaint here is the ammo - it's too damn thin in places. In some parts, it's done so on purpose to make things difficult (placing the box of shells behind the enemies, for example) but in other spots it's just not there (no, I do not want to fight a revenant and spectre with only 90 bullets and nothing else). Later on I only had enough ammo to get by because I let the Arch-Vile resurrect the same shotgunner over and over and over again.

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MAP03: Black Magic My Time: 6:56

I don't know what this music is. Anyone?

I found this to be a bit more easygoing than the previous, although I still punched demons and imps when I felt like it. Still not too tough. While there's no berserk, we get the SSG and later the chaingun here, plus another RL in a secret area. I believe an archie appears after the red key grab on UV; he could be difficult. A few more of those "in your face" teleport traps exist in this map, like when climbing the stairs, a caco shows up, and almost at the end, a revenant. If I'm not going too fast though it really isn't a problem in the long run.

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Map 02 -- Voodoo - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
A rather unassuming map, very corridor-centric, without a whole lot to set it apart aside from a vague concept or two and the mildly stealth-flavored start (it's possible to get the hidden shotgun/shells from the stiff without alerting any of the imps in the start room on Ultraviolence skill, as well). As to the aforementioned concepts, the main one at work is that demons start spontaneously phasing into existence near the player at certain key moments--in this still-introductory level, it's usually single revenants, but this is a device that's here to stay for the rest of the mapset (it's more common in the first and third episodes, though). Incidentally, a moment just before the first time this happens, you can hear the pained ululations of many imps reverberating through the dank corridors. Continuing to stand still and listen suggests that they were all simultaneously crushed to death in some nearby inaccessible chamber. I remember the first time I heard this I immediately began steeling myself for some forthcoming ghost-imps (which would have been really cool, actually....), but it seems this is done for no other reason than to provide atmosphere--some daemoniacal concatenation of the damned crying out before the fabric of reality ruptures and lets loose that first phasing revenant, perhaps lending the map its name. Other than this, there's little to report....I personally had not a whisper of ammo shortage, myself, perhaps because I initially ignored the half-dozen imps or so in the start room, only killing them upon returning there later. Well, I suppose I also found all of the secrets (though I didn't use the berserk pack much at all this time), which also present a slight bit of oddity in themselves in that they're all 'concealed' in pretty much the same way as most parts of the mandatory progression in map 01, where there were no official secrets. Oh yes, I do like the game's first arch-vile, as well. I forgot he was there, so he startled me a bit (not that this did him any good when all was said and done).

Odd what Magnusblitz mentioned about certain terrain types not having special fall sound definitions, I could've sworn that ZDooM did that as well. In Eternity, at least, in Epic 2 as in nearly all other WADs, landing on water flats makes a splash sound ala Hexen, and lava flats make an analogous sizzling/searing sound, although for whatever reason nukage/toxin flats always seem to be treated as solid ground.

Map 03 -- Black Magic - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
"Voodoo Plus." This is highly similar in both style and concept to the previous map, simply with an extra layer (albeit a thin one) of complexity; the action highlights still generally involve monsters that manage to suddenly appear right next to you singly or occasionally in pairs, often at an inopportune angle or moment. The most dangerous of these is probably the arch-vile in the fountain area, as he can push you away from meaningful cover from his attacks if you allow him to close in too quickly, but my favorite is the cacodemon twins that hang out in the soulsphere shrine; one bursts out of his closet right in your face as you climb the stairs, and you feel like a grandmaster for all of 1.5 seconds as you deftly straferun by him within centimeters of his diabolically smug mug, only to find yourself being given one hell of a hickey by his sister when she materializes from the aether right on top of you a few steps on. I actually found ammo here to be a lot tighter than in "Voodoo" (although you get more rockets later on in this one) for whatever reason; I was down to two shells after finishing off the pair of revenants in the alcoves near the combat shotgun, but still never fully ran out. Decently entertaining and more substantial than map 02, but Epic 2 hasn't even begun to really get started at this point. Oh yes, one rather petty (but nevertheless valid) complaint here, that actually applies to a lot of the maps in this set--the exit room is really bland/boring visually, somehow leaves a slight flavor of anticlimax at the end.

I suppose I should weigh in on the resource replacements, myself--as I've said previously, I generally quite like the textures/flats as I am disposed towards this general 'Egyptian tomb' theme; for the most part, I don't mind the sounds at all--not even the way the zombies have theirs mixed from two games--with one major exception, that being the horrible nails-on-chalkboard sound the lost souls make when they attack. What few sprite replacements/modifications there are are just fine with me as well, from Powerslave's flamethrower replacing the rocket launcher to the black imps from Rylayeh (which, incidentally, is a tremendously fun 10+ level mapset that we really ought to play sometime); there's some other things I could comment on at this point as well, but they'd essentially constitute spoilers, however small.

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Shades of Hexen when I got stuck because I couldn't find a brown switch in the corner of a brown wall.

Other than that, this was OK though the AV fight seemed a bit blah. Maybe because I found the RL secret and blasted him with that.

Overall, ammo seemed quite tight. I could have saved some by using the (secret?) berserk, though, so that's at least partly on me.

I ignored the PE at the end. Seemed by far the best course of action.

The revised sounds are a bit annoying.

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Map03 - Black magic 100% kills; 97% items; 75% secrets
In this map you get a glance at the new decorations and sounds,but overall it's the same as the previous map,with more rocket launcher goodies and bigger architecture.

At least the secrets are marked,since Eternal likes to use wallhump secrets.

Would't lose much health if wasn't for the revenants.

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