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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Back to Saturn X E2

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Cool, the 'before' shots make me feel vindicated in saying that the skeleton of the map seemed very Vorpal to me (although it doesn't really have any of the strikingly large contrast spaces I tend to mentally associate with him); I think of something Xaser has built from the ground up and I tend to think of layouts that look like some sort of weird crop circle configuration when viewed from above, certainly not what we see here.

I'll definitely be interested to hear the story of map 04, I'm kind of wondering if what we see here as 'Dirty Water' is in some way the final form of a map I remember Use3D working on long ago but that never materialized, I believe its working title was 'Anchorite.'

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As a random interjection, I'm thrilled folks are enjoying the hubmap. It's definitely an oddball departure and a lot more explore-y than E1's hub, so it's refreshing to not hear "hey why am I wasting my time here"... heh. xD

Admittedly, I have to say that the idea of adding monsters to it at some point is very tempting, even if only as an exclusive bonus map. ;)

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Xaser said:

Admittedly, I have to say that the idea of adding monsters to it at some point is very tempting, even if only as an exclusive bonus map. ;)

Shut up and take my money!

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Xaser said:

Admittedly, I have to say that the idea of adding monsters to it at some point is very tempting, even if only as an exclusive bonus map. ;)


Music to my ears!

BTW, thanks for the killer dev notes. Pure map-geek bliss. It was great to see the contrast between the original and the final product. Many thanks, sir.

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MAP01 - "Shadow Port": Cool ship and lighthouse. Interiors not so memorable.

MAP02 - "Underwater Explosions": The barrels are fun to use without being a puzzle-precision-required gimmick. The viles were only mildly annoying--the trap at the top of the lift resulted in a couple experimental deaths. Once you know what's up, things aren't too rough. If you can get past the first spawn trap with the switch down in the water, this map is yours to lose.

MAP03 - "Wings of Thorn": Got a Heretic vibe from the dock, wood, and water. A dense and beautiful map with a little freedom to carve your own path. The demons in the water on the outskirts are kind of pointless since you get a berserk right at the start.

MAP04 - "Dirty Water": I liked most of the architecture (the south underpass to the blue throne room area looks very cool, as does that entire blue area in general) but the layout is windy, nested, and unintuitive. I found it easy to miss important side areas. The entire lava section should have been cut IMO, it makes the level overlong and is comparatively ugly. I liked the emphasis on plasma usage right from the start.

MAP05: Hub. I don't have much to say about the hub maps. The architecture is superb, of course.

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Map 1 - I liked it. Berserk is cool and adds ammo starvation possibilities, so you have to think through situations differently, that is whether to conserve ammo or not.

Map 2 - The barrel gimmick was pulled off nicely, I think.

Map 3 - Didn't care for this much, most of gameplay was a little too basic. Those red key chaingunners should lower to ground and thus be free to move around.

Map 4 - Liked this too, plasma given at start is a nice idea how to start off nonlinearity. It should be more visible though, like a doom2 map16 platform in the water clearly visible from start. With that said, I'm not a fan of too much optional stuff (which I skipped) and from previous posts here it seems to be the case of this map. That 20Hp lava was shit.

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I've been absent for a couple days - I was busy building a new gaming PC and had to basically spend a day building it, loading Windows, etc etc. Anyways, here's MAP03.

MAP03: Wings of Thorn 100% kills, 100% secrets
This one was really fun and challenging! It's good to see the difficulty curve actually being a curve and not a vast mountain range of difficulty spikes and valleys. In particular, I think the starting area was pretty damn challenging - I only survived because the author was kind enough to put a berserk pack right there in the middle of the first room. The revenant group near the end was pretty neat too, although not very difficult as I had plenty of areas to retreat to.

I love the visuals in this one. I'm a huge fan of the metal + stone + wood theme, and it's put to great use here. And damn, that ending area is freakin' sweet with all those beautiful red textures! The layout was pretty neat: I felt like I could choose my own way to progress through the map to obtain the required keys.

The secret areas were very well hidden - I could only find them by noticing some unreachable goodies in an area, then humping walls nearby until one of them slid open. In conclusion, I had a blast with this one. It wasn't too long nor was it too short for a third map. I feel that the maps have been well crafted in terms of health and ammo placement, and this one is no exception. I hope that the quality of the first few maps continues all the way to the end (and I'm sure it will)!

A couple days ago, someone wanted some Haiku reviews, so here I go... apologies in advance if I am a Haiku failure:

Wood, stone, and metal
Challenging and fun to play
And it's not too long

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j4rio said:

Map 4 - Liked this too, plasma given at start is a nice idea how to start off nonlinearity. It should be more visible though, like a doom2 map16 platform in the water clearly visible from start. With that said, I'm not a fan of too much optional stuff (which I skipped) and from previous posts here it seems to be the case of this map. That 20Hp lava was shit.

The easy-to-miss plasma and 20% damage are both fixed in beta 2, fyi :)

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MAP05 - Episode Hub by Xaser

Very nice. I prefer this to the hub in the first episode, the scenery and layout is more interesting to explore of course. Was there a reason for these hub maps other than a story-telling device? Like a technical purpose or something? Anyway, looks like the ancient ruins theme is going to be prevalent in this episode, be interesting to see where the journey will take us... underground caverns? alien artifacts? temples of evil gods and portals to their netherworlds perhaps?

Xaser said:

[Random aside for @mouldy when he jumps back in the thread: I was listening to a compilation of your music stuffs while typing this up. Why? "because." :D ]


heh, this reminds me I haven't really said anything about the music in this wad, you can take that as assurance that its doing its job, I usually only mention music when it feels out of place or takes my fancy, but I think like any aspect of design it works best when you don't even notice its there, either blending in with the action or creating an ambiance.

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5 - a hub is a hub, not much to say. I guess for me it kind of fails because it doesn't offer anything particularly interesting to compensate for the nonexistent gameplay. It's just a generic mountain\cave area that we've seen million times already. Oh, and there are ruins too, but they are all gray and boring. I like the broken columns though, a nice realistic detail.

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MAP06: Useless Inventions (7/10)
We're back to human civilization with this compact industrial themed map. You may think the opening warehouse is safe, but it's not. Fire a shot and Lost Souls start roaming through the warehouse hunting you down. The opposition here is weak but the enemy placement is absolutely diabolical, and you're likely to take a point-blank shotgun blast to the back at least once. Overall it's no big deal, but it's not as easy as it first appears.

When you exit the warehouse the level design seems to want you to dash out and mix it up with the monsters while grabbing the items strewn about in the street, but since I had plenty of resources from the previous maps I just camped the doorways, making it trivial except for some teleporting shotgun guys who warped in behind me. While the warehouse looked good, the architecture outside is unremarkable, with the building exteriors being mostly featureless brick boxes.

It's when you get the yellow key that things really get interesting. After dealing with some teleporting arachnotrons and chaingunner closets (too telegraphed to really be effective), you ride down one of your choice of two blind lifts into a perilous situation, as you find yourself with monsters on multiple sides and no defensible cover. Think fast and kill fast, and you'll be all right. But near one of the last switches there is an absolutely terrifying pop-up encounter with several revenants and an archvile, which forced me to reload the first time because I was too panicked to defend myself! Fortunately the architecture tilts the encounter in your favor and it's relatively easy to kill them all. That's basically it, really. It's not too hard and it's not too visually memorable and except for the REVENANTS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA moment I'll probably forget this map after a while.

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For some reason, I have been the victim of a recent internet blackout, so I posted this at my college.

MAP06 Useless Inventions

Urf, compact cargo bay sort of level. With platforming included although entirely optional. Just cleaning out the cargo bay gathering secrets, but also getting exposed to tomatoes as well (whoops). The street wasn't too bad actually, I had less fun in the buildings for some reason. There's a cool BTSX easter egg type secret, but I don't like the teleport line that takes you to the street, probably because I went over it trying to dodge the mancubi. Just put a real teleport pad there. The yellow key not only leads into the final rooms, but also an optional crate maze oh the joy. I haven't had this bad platforming since Toxicity (that one map from Darkening E2) and it looks like that level's crate section too. The optional red key helps lead into the final room via secret. It's a much better entrance than taking the yellow doors imo. However I was TOTALLY unprepared for the six/revenant/archvile/sneaky teleporting mancubus ambush that I first tried to rush through. Urf again. Combat was alright until that point. If you like crates and platforming I guess you'll like this, otherwise you'll get nauseous with all those UAC logos everywhere.

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Map 6

I liked the fact you can skip large sections of this fairly small map. The crate maze was ok, I guess every wad needs one. Not my favorite though.

The map was about the same on pistol vs continuous, until the final room. There, continuous playthrough with a plasma rifle and some left over ammo made it a breeze. On pistol start I had a bitch of a time with it because I went in without exploring much of the map at all, and had real ammo issues. Because of the archis, running out to get more ammo is not really a good option.

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Map04: Dirty Water - FDA

Demo was recorded with b1 so whether it plays back properly on b2 I do not know. And yeah, it's really long despite no deaths.

Eeeeeh, I dunno about this. It's long and very, very confusing due to the possibility of skipping large parts of the map. Here I am, slowly crawling through this beast, with roughly half the monsters still out there and then I see a tele marked as the exit? There's a blue door and a yellow door, and I have a key for neither one so I'm wondering if I had done something I shouldn't have. Or maybe there's some delicious reward for getting the keys? After twenty more minutes I had both keys and no reward to speak of. The swith that opens up the shortcut was, in hindsight, hidden but not THAT hidden so I didn't really know what to think of when I saw the exit the first time. Besides, rarely have I played maps that are designed to have shortcuts this major without having to use some speedrunning trickery. Kind of left a sour taste in my mouth since it felt like I spent a lot of time completely in vain.

That said, it's a decent journey when you play the "proper" route. It's still very long and pretty confusing but it looks alright for a space Mayan temple and combat isn't just slogging through things in front of you all the time. The lava "maze" part is a bore though and adds next to nothing to the map other than length. Overall the combat is relatively non-threatening, not terrible crap but not very exciting either. At least the PG is introduced immediately so everything dies quickly and painlessly.

Map05 is a nice looking desolate hubmap, but still just a hubmap so I'm skipping that.

Late fixes for my awful spelling.

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MAP04

This one is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I'm really not a fan of explorative maps in Doom, since that pretty much inevitably means switch hunts. On the other, this map definitely sparked a sense of adventure that I usually only get in games like Metroid. The contrasting area with the white textures and lava, in particular, gave a real sense of discovery and were, based on the other comments, entirely optional? Pretty cool, worth getting lost and staring at the automap for a while.

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Just finished MAP04 and MAP05; here are my thoughts.

MAP04: Dirty Water 95% kills, 100% secrets
I'm loving the water in this WAD. The colors are just so... beautiful. Everything is beautiful! The new color palette along with the new textures make the maps feel very different to what I'd expect to see in a Doom WAD. I haven't seen a single original texture yet!

Anyways, this map is huge! There is a bit of switch hunting going on to raise two bridges that lead to thrones with switches on the back of them, which then open new areas where I can access two keys. These keys are then used to raise another bridge to the final area. There are lots of revenants and mancubi along the way to keep my trigger finger busy, and even some arch-viles too! Using the plasma rifle as a primary weapon is something I've not seen done much before. Never before have I had to use my plasma energy cells on imps and cacodemons, but the author provides loads of plasma ammunition to make this possible without the worry of wasting ammo.

I missed a few kills (about thirteen) because some monsters never teleported out of their sectors and into the map. Perhaps I didn't cross a certain line that makes them teleport in - pretty likely in a map this size. I didn't miss any secrets at all - one of them was actually already open when I reached it! Maybe I hit a hidden switch and didn't realize.

This is a good map. It looks good, it plays good, and the music fits the map's stone theme well. My only criticisms would be the brutally nasty lava (20% damage is a little on the high side) but I have seen that this has already been fixed in the next beta. I also noticed a minor misalignment with one of the bridge raising switches (the rune tiles that rise on the sides of the switch were not aligned correctly).

MAP05: Hub 1 100% kills, 100% secrets
It's a hub map. No monsters, no risk of dying (yes, I tried standing in the toxic waste pools), and no items to pick up. There are, however, lots of beautiful buildings, mountains, waterfalls, and a pair of clever bridges that use an illusion to make it seem that it's truly 3D! It was nice to have some scenery to look at instead of an array of rockets sailing in my direction.

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MAP06

Oh crate, a warehouse full of lost souls. A city street was certainly unexpected after the warehouse section -- the difficulty definitely ramps up suddenly, and it's way more fun if you just run for it and find the rocket launcher rather than downing the revenants and plinking everything else with the chaingun like I did originally. Riding the yellow lift down into that cluster of monsters was panic-inducing, but there was plenty of health and ammo to clean them up with safely. Only thing I disliked was the final revenant/archie encounter, because the rocket launcher was pretty much out of the question when auto-aim would've sent them right into the floor.

Overall, fun map. I feel like I missed a lot in this map, I never did get to the red key, and was not expecting the exit to be a real exit.

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MAP05: Tower in the Fountain of Sparks I

Hub map. I generally like the concept of having some nice no-monsters maps as breaks, and to allow me to just spend some time looking at cool architecture and listen to some peaceful music. Some people have mentioned putting in a few popcorn enemies, which I think might ruin that, a bit. What I DO think you could do is at least throw some items around, even put in a few secrets. Yeah, it'll be useless for pistol starters, but they can still make getting 100% secrets a goal for the playthrough.

Still not quite sure what it's supposed to be story-wise, as there's an odd mix of techbase and ruins here. My favorite visual sight is probably the Parthenon-style ruin, though the block-off guarding it kinda reminds the player they're playing in a game (oh look, a waist-high gate I can't jump over!)

Very minor bug: if you stand on the highest part of the 'gates' (of which only the green one opens) it turns the underside of the bridge into a HOM.

MAP06: Useless Inventions
100% kills, 7/7 secrets

This map feels like a 'normal' map, in that I could see it appearing in any number of usual WADs without feeling out of place. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind, just saying. Starts off with a large box-filled cargo bay, then a street area with some open-windowed buildings, then finishing with a two-tiered cargo area.

There's some nice gameplay here, and despite the relatively high monster count, it never feels like a slog. One exception to this might be the ammo... I was running low on bullets (as seems par for the course so far in this megawad), and I noticed that the SSG isn't accessible until after acquiring the yellow key. I had mine from continuous play, but I'd bet pistol starters might find fighting all the revenants and cacodemons with a single-shelled shotty to be a drag. I'd guess that the RL is supposed to be the weapon of choice here, but many of the areas are cramped or have sharp angles and aren't really a good place to use it.

I'm a big fan of the final battle (that teleporting mancubus is a good dick move), but for me the star attraction here was the secrets. Had lots of fun combing the cargo area for nooks and crannies and areas to jump to, and I liked the multi-part secret involving the red key. I was actually a bit disappointed when all it provided me was a plasma gun... I was hoping for a BFG, or, even better, a backpack! How do I not have a backpack yet?? And the secret with the health potions spelling "BTSX" felt straight out Serious Sam, heh.

Either way, this is my favorite map so far. And illustrates why I don't necessarily like giving out number ratings all the time without having played every level... I like it more than MAP01/MAP02, but it's not a 5/5 because the aesthetics are a bit... generic. Not bad; it looks nice, but almost all of the custom textures here are just recreations of stuff that already exists (UAC boxes! Bricks!). So I'm gonna cheat...

4.5/5

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Oh yeah, and what's the music for MAP06? It really reminded me of ... something, not sure what, but it was strong enough to the point I figured it had to be a remix of something.

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Magnusblitz said:

Oh yeah, and what's the music for MAP06? It really reminded me of ... something, not sure what, but it was strong enough to the point I figured it had to be a remix of something.


I think there was a part of that track that was the same as the music from Tricks & Traps

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...Oh wait, it's back.

MAP05 - Episode Hub by Xaser
I can't say anything adequate about monster-free maps, so I'll remain silent on these. Some lovely looks though.

MAP06 - "Useless Inventions" by Vader
I can remember that Metal Mothers from E1 was an exception from this rule since I had a decent time with it, but in general I've come to define Vader as a mapper who makes nice, at times even astonishing looks and then throws gameplay aspect in as an afterthought, simply because it's a shooter game and there should be some monsters to shoot at, naturally. That was the case with Blackrock, for instance. This map is no exception, but, in its favor, it's still short enough for such approach not to become too much of an issue. Nice city-like layout (or more like a tiny part of it, this map is really small) filled with some baddies that don't pose much threat unless you let them corner you (you shouldn't). So basically - a trip to see some eyecandy (starting with another storage area, how original) and feel some moody atmosphere, nothing memorable gameplay-wise. An okay map, I guess.

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MAP05: Cool little hub—I like it a lot more than the basic hub we received in E1, as this one feels like an abandoned clandestine outpost, letting you peek into its nooks and crannies (not that the E1 hub was bad by all means, but this one feels more like a place).

MAP06: Alright, now we're cooking! What starts as a nod towards E2M2 becomes quite a bloodbath, forcing you out into the streets in search of health and ammo with fire coming down all around you. There's a couple of brutal encounters in this one, made all the more dangerous if you waste your rocket ammo. I like that there's a big portion of the map that's optional, combining tough fights with a necessity to explore (a personal favorite of mine), but I have to air grievances regarding the final fight—sticking two archviles behind a wall of revenants always feels like a cheap move, especially in an area that limits space and on a map that limits munitions. Of course you can activate the trap, jump down and hold back the legion from the bottom of the steps, but I have no idea how a player is expected to survive this on their first attempt, especially if they're careless with their ammo like I was (and left a bit too many corpses up there for the archiwa). I think it's a trap that would be "acceptable" in other wads, but I expected a little better from Vader, especially regarding how fun the map was until that point.

Also it's super minor, but I caught a small offset texture.

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Heh, concerning the final fight in map06;
I've been very indecisive about this one as well. Originally the fight had less reventants and only one archy on UV, but a couple of days before the beta release I decided to ramp up the difficulty in this spot, because some people have been saying that the map lacks teeth. I'll think about making that part easier for the next release again!

Btw, concerning the teleport line near the BTSX secret;
This one is kind of necessary, because beyond that line VPO-land begins. The only other option (without removing any of the architecture) would be to have an impassable line in the middle of a large, flat sector wich makes even less sense IMO.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

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To throw a chip in the public pile, I had a miserable time with the final fight in my most recent playthrough, but that's partially because I hit the switch releasing the revs/viles before clearing out the room... oops. :P

I wonder if something can be done about allowing the player to descend to ground level after those revs+viles are released. Not being able to hit them was the part that gave me the most trouble... D:

In other news, I'm still behind in reviews! Welp!

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I thought the final fight in map 06 was okay. It hurt me a little bit, but that's because I took some unnecessary risks. The last thing I generally want to see in any of these maps is the action being toned down (at least on UV and/or solonet); quite the opposite in some cases, although the part of the WAD I've played so far seems like it's less conscientiously restrained than lot of the stuff in E1 (which is good).

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Demon of the Well said:

the part of the WAD I've played so far seems like it's less conscientiously restrained than lot of the stuff in E1 (which is good).

See, E1 received quite a bit of flak in the club thread for playing it safe/basic with many of its maps, but I actually liked that about the set. Besides Bingo Pool, each map felt "softly" designed to treat the player well, still providing a variety of encounters that were dangerous but nothing that you really had to sit down and figure out. But in E2, with the barrel-hijinks of MAP02, imbalanced routes of MAP04 and rev-AV-deathwall of MAP06 I think I'm feeling a little bit more mixed on the set... it does provide more combat variation but at the expense of battering the player around for fun, which makes the maps feel less finely tuned.

Though I suppose for the Back to Saturn X team it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, since they're gonna catch shit no matter which way they lean.

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It's worth noting that we haven't ignored the lower skill settings here, and set them up with the aim of taking some of the pressure off of the most difficult situations (whether by changing available pickups, swapping/removing key monsters, etc.) rather than just overall reduction of monsters. If any of you get to finding UV more frustrating than fun, maybe give one of the lower skills a try -- we'd be very interested to hear how they compare! (And if any maps seem either too hard, too easy, or otherwise problematic on lower skills, please let us know so we can improve them.)

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Map 6 - Useless Inventions - 100% Kills/Secrets, HMP Skill.

We return back to techbase X with two themes that were never really demonstrated in E1 (huge crate maze/small city with roadway), all in one rather enjoyable map.

It's not all techbase though, there are some ancient ruins present in the background. Maybe the level is supposed to be a research facility of sorts, and these ruins are shipped over and analyzed here. Perhaps that's what all the crates are for. Perhaps I'm also reading too far into this...

The music track is a nice hard rocking tune that cleverly interpolates the hook of "The Dave D Taylor Blues". Nice touch!

Incidentally, I'm now playing the latest beta version of E2. As a consequence, I did this level on a pistol start. This made the initial crate warehouse section more of a game of hide and seek from all the lost souls. At least I wound up with a slightly more reasonable amount of ammo by the map's end.

And yes, the ending is a bit too brutal, although this has already been pointed out numerous times.

Overall, a well-designed, and occasionally brutal small/medium sized map that adds another level of diversity to the already widely varied Episode 2. That intermission screen text is a bit confusing though.

PS, Pressing F1 gives us four pixilated teasers of Episode 3. Needless to say, by the end of E2, I'll be wishing it was 2015,2016,2026, or whatever year it is that E3 drops!

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Before I get started, I think it's best to mention that as of yet, this many maps so far, I'm gauging that this wad is embracing the philosiphy that a megawad with it's ups and downs are essentially a more memorable and relatable experience. I'm not sure I agree with it, as it sounds to me a lot like asking your dinner guests to eat their vegetables before getting to the main course. If your guests are spoiled (unfortunately, many of us Doomers are) there's isn't a whole lot setting them apart from walking the fuck out the door and going to taco bell instead.

The way DoomworldMW club evaluates a wad like this, in which maps are reviewed under their own merit on a per map basis is detrimental to it and the team may not get the reception they're going for until we're deep enough into it to announce an overall impressions review of it upon completion.

HOWEVER, I do want to mention that I've also observed that BTSX E2 is the answer to BTSX E1's criticism of the sweeping "samey" epidemic that was said to hurt the project overall before. Perhaps also a response to the evil dictatorship critique of the mapping ideology that went on behind the curtains, as most people's style of mapping I've seen yet don't appear to be too heavily compromised I don't think, and all maps so far are quite obviously different from one another. It's too tough to call if this is working in it's favor or not. I've learned my lesson that a radical change to a generally well-recieved project to account for the vocal minority doesn't always yield the best results. But we'll see as we get closer to October.

MAP04

--I think I read something about this map getting an update, so I downloaded the latest beta before touching this one to review it with a clean slate and to avoid and predisposed opinions of what it was like before.--

28:53 1 death.

I will kill you guys if there's another monstrosity like this. The map opens up with an inviting "MAP12: The Factory" opening, which is great until the entire map plays the same way. I'm not a fan of the usage of the plasma gun as a primary weapon when there's ammo famine for the majority of the first half of the map, and most of the opposing monsters are wimpy no-pressure monsters like imps, cacodemons, and hell knights chewing up all my valuable plasma, and then being dangerously low when revenant hordes pop up or a door reveals a pair of archviles protecting nothing.

I spent a majority of the map avoiding monsters as many of them are not particularly used in a way where they impede on your ability to traverse through this giant map (in part due to the plasma gun mowing everything down) There are traps here and there, but they were rarely very dangerous and I didn't want to let them distract me from backtracking through the map, as my memory of the 10,000 places on my checklist of areas that MIGHT have a switch-operated door in it was quickly vanishing. The layout is so complex that I probably would have found it more enjoyable with -nomonsters on so I could solve this behemoth peacefully. The challenge in navigation really made most of the monsters a nuisance than anything worth fighting for. Often times, I was confused by the misleading yellow and blue markers adorned all over the place with no yellow or blue key anywhere to be found. Many of the inverted cross switches are... inverted, meaning sometimes they light up when you press them, and sometimes they darken, making every one I see in the distance a guessing game on whether or not I pressed it. More importantly out of the 50 switches in this map, there were about 6 or 7 of them where I was absolutely sure what they did. I hope the other 43 helped get me get to the end some way or another.

The weapons in this map are very scattered and not arrayed in a way where you are expected to find them in some sort of sequential order, save for the plasma gun and shotgun in the starting area. It resembled a lot like the discovery of weapons in the banal mundane corridors of Wolf3D where you open a door and just happen to stumble into them because you opened the right door. Even in wolfie, many special weapons were sealed in secret rooms still. It would have really benefitted to be able to see them in a window or on some sort of pedestal marking some kind of objective to work towards. The Super Shotgun I only found after I died the first time and looked for a new way to go from the start, I found the Rocket Launcher waaaaaaaaaaaay after I needed it, and I found the Berserk after backtracking through a room I already killed all monsters in for the second time!

The Mayan textures were cool. The grainy fire textures made me chuckle, they must look much better from a distance and where you can see them in full instead of how they're used here. I'm a bit bewildered why this mayan theme wasn't used in a map like MAP02 that actually looked like a mayan temple. Thats not really up to me to decide though. Not to say that this map doesn't look like it deserved it, but for how huge it is, there certainly isn't enough very inspired or distinguishing areas, especially by how much of it is almost entirely textured by those stone METAL2 variants instead of interesting pieces of architecture.

My feelings are that the original author had the intention of creating a nonlinear map, and after a weeks worth of work, realized there were like 30 different unfinished paths to take, and had to map a majority of them with filler rooms instead of dead ends. Some real layout planning would have went a long way. This map is huge, and to get it in a state where it's really good, would require the authors to be okay with "killing their baby" and stripping it out of 75% of it's rooms in favor of more distinguished landmarks, and doing a better job at guiding the player in the right direction and leading him into traps and stuff. In my point of view, that's a lot more work than just scrapping it and making a whole new map from scratch.

MAP05

Hub took me 2:43 seconds to figure out how to get through. Seems like not a lot of time, but don't forget we're talking about a map with no combat here. Xaser's a great mapper but I don't know why these little hubs need more than one way to go. The exit had a vanilla 3d bridge phoned in the start which made me turn around when I saw the 3d bridge towards the exit I think. I'm just frustrated and second guessing all the paths I take from enduring the labyrinth that was the previous map. Maybe later I can give this hub a more neutral review.

MAP06

Only played a couple minutes of this, will give it a fair review another day, but the techbase theme creeping in again is discouraging, especially because it looks like an average Community Chest 4 map with BTSX textures instead of... well.. a really good idea. From the start it certainly feels like one of those maps where they mapped the entire thing first and put monsters in all the places that felt empty instead of with any particular strategy. I saw a spectre running back and forth in a 128x64 sized space that couldn't get out between crates. One particularly striking instance happens once you get to the first outside city area and there is a long narrow alleyway where you are horribly vulnerable to sniping revenants and there's only a burning barrel blocking the end of the path and a 10 bullet clip in front of it. Sure glad I lost 80% of my health for those bullets!

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