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Fernito

Most "cryptic" level in Doom?

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I'm just wondering which level(s) of Doom feel(s) the most "cryptic" for you. I know the term "cryptic" is very vague, but can't think of any other word.

The Ultimate Doom:

- E2M4: this one holds for me the first place in the list of cryptic levels in every Doom version. I think it's a mix of many things: the eerie music, the strange layout, the odd secrets it has, etc. It just feels cryptic, like you just can't understand what's going on. Every time I play it I can feel that, no matter what, there are a lot of things about this level that I'll never get to know.

- E4M1: the NIN secret. 'Nuff said.

- E4M4: just... WTF!? This level has always felt out of place for me.


Doom 2

- The Chasm: it isn't that much cryptic, but it has one of the most cryptic secrets I've ever seen: I've always wondered what was Sandy thinking about when he made that useless invulnerability sphere secret.

I think that's all for me. You can add of course levels from the Final Doom to the list; I didn't just because I'm not that familiar with those WADs.

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Doom 1: E2M4, no question. So many strange optional areas and dead ends.
Doom 2: TBH there's tons of D2 maps that qualify, but in the end I'd have to agree with MAP24. Honorable mentions to MAP18 for its sheer volume of optional stuff and MAP09 for having a strange start progression.
Plutonia: Much less cryptic overall given Plut's simple nature, but Anti-Christ tends to get me confuzzled. So maybe that.
TNT: Pharaoh, because of the requirement to cheat or modify the map in an editor to complete it. :D
Doom64: either Breakdown or No Escape -- the former has its strange changing hallways and the latter's win condition means there's a lot of odd things that are easy to miss.

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Map 27: Monster Condo from Doom 2 always gives me a strange "something doesn't seem right" vibe. Lots of eerie moments with the library, room full of hanging dead bodies, creepy music, old wooden wall textures - it's bizarre and disorientating. Like, just what the hell is going on in that map? Definitely one of my favorite from Doom 2 and a seriously demented one overall.

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Well, if we include Final Doom, maybe TNT MAP04: Wormhole. It took me a while back then to understand there's actually 2 sections of the map that look alike. I always thought those blue bars somehow "changed" the level, I had no idea it was a teleporter despite the fog and the sound (yeah, pretty stupid, I know, but I was still a kid, and let's be honest, that doesn't look like a "normal" teleporter).

EDIT: Also, MAP23 from Plutonia, Tombstone. And MAP11. My two favorite Plutonia maps.

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Doom 1 - E2M4, E4M2, E4M5, E4M6
Doom 2 - MAP09, MAP18, MAP19, MAP24, MAP27, MAP28
TNT - MAP04, MAP16, MAP18, MAP21, MAP25, MAP30, MAP31
Plutonia - MAP11

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Doom E2M4, E2M7 & E4M6
Doom2 MAP25
TNT MAP18 & MAP25
Plutonia MAP08, MAP28 & MAP29
Particularly E2M4 and TNT MAP18 have the "something isn't right" feel.

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RUSH said:

...creepy music...

You mean Waiting for Romero to Play? I can honestly say I've never found it to be so, it's moreso laidback and contemplative in my opinion.

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Waiting for Romero to Play makes me want to sleep. At least MAP18 and MAP27 are short maps (if you're like me and always use the AV on MAP27 to open the exit door).

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AD_79 said:

Waiting for Romero to Play makes me want to sleep. At least MAP18 and MAP27 are short maps (if you're like me and always use the AV on MAP27 to open the exit door).

Yeah, and Adrian's Asleep has the same quality. :)

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Jaxxoon R said:

You mean Waiting for Romero to Play? I can honestly say I've never found it to be so, it's moreso laidback and contemplative in my opinion.

I used to think it sounded like a Halloween horror song when I first heard it.

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I think the creepiness of that song stems more from my childhood nostalgia of discovering the room full of dead bodies - which scared the living shit out of me at the time. In all honesty, "mysterious" is probably a better way to describe it - and it suits the cryptic strangeness of the level beautifully.

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E2M2 was pretty cryptic when I was young, but then all the maps seemed like mazes. I always thought Spawning Vats was confusing as well.

Fernito said:

E4M4: just... WTF!? This level has always felt out of place for me.

Yeah, this level is weird in that it feels like a good 1994 pwad. Why is the entire map made of BROWNHUG? I couldn't think of anything less hellish.

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StupidBunny said:

I'm tempted to go with MAP28 just by merit alone of that bogus door you have to open by shooting that one wall.

Am I the only one who never had issue with that? Maybe it's because I'm a Metroid fan.

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Doomkid said:

Why is the entire map made of BROWNHUG? I couldn't think of anything less hellish.


Well, E4 isn't really a hell episode, it's more of a whatever-the-designers-felt-like-putting-in-the-episode episode.

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cryptic - having a meaning that is mysterious or obscure. synonyms include mysterious, confusing, and puzzling.

TNT MAP20. also what Xaser said about MAP31.

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I agree with Zed - Wormhole is the eeriest and most unusual of all the official levels, it's the only one on PSX Doom that has ambient noise (clanking machinery in one of the corridors - we spent ages trying to work out what this was supposed to mean, it was so unusual we couldn't accept it was just noise). What's weirder is that you seem to be able to skip most of the map.

Lunar Mining Project is a terrifying experience. You get the "tell me why" music of demons singing while you explore miles of empty rooms, like the place was just being built when it was abandoned or overrun, and the caverns are terrifying.

Quarry was also pretty creepy.

Of the originals, The Citadel was an enigma which never played the same way twice. There were sections I only ever saw once and secrets I never found. It was a relief to beat this map the first time, it took over an hour.

Tricks and Traps is a really oddball map.

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MajorRawne said:

Lunar Mining Project is a terrifying experience. You get the "tell me why" music of demons singing while you explore miles of empty rooms, like the place was just being built when it was abandoned or overrun, and the caverns are terrifying.


Back in the day, it was my favourite map across the PSX ports, pretty much because of all of this. Somewhat ruined when I heard Bye Bye American Pie on it for the first time.

On topic - I would spend flippin' hours running around The Citadel without a clue of where I was going. Every time I finished it, I had forgotten the way long before I replayed the map.

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Probably Tricks and Traps, if only because there's maybe one or two rooms I never actually go into, like the Pain Elemental room. To this day I still have no idea what's all in there because I've been too lazy to look. The few times I have been there it's layout always sorta confused me with the weird slime pit, cages, lion switches, and the PE doors.

Plutonia MAP11, Hunted, too. Who the hell was able to round up all those Archies in a maze and froze them all?

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E3M2 - Ran into lots of dead ends here. Was never able to finish this level at first. Most of the time I'd find the Blue Key, and have no idea where to go with it. Then I think one day I just stumbled upon the Blue Door, and then like that, the level became pretty easy.

E3M5 - This is a level that I like, but navigating out of the central courtyard was a nightmare. I always thought it was a very specific teleporter you had to step over, and not a specific group of teleporters. After a while, I had an idea on which one to go through. Before finding out "it's the group in the northwest corner", I would say to myself "it's the teleporters next to that gibbed pile of blood."

E3M6 - Finding the Blue Key on HMP/UV was a project in itself. I would find myself walking around the entire level and eventually killing myself from walking across the lava too much.

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just played a bit again through e2m4 and indeed, i don't get it why it's called "deimos lab" when it's nothing like this. blue tech walls, stone, everything flooded by acid? weird place.

@ peach freak: yes, those were maps i had a hard time finishing back then.

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E3M5 I still have never bothered to figure this level out. I just run around taking teleports until it works out.

MAP19 Of doom 2 is cryptic as well. There's so many teleports and secrets and doors that open when you cross lines and such. Very confusing unless you take a while to learn it all.

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printz said:

Some people have a terribly low attention span, kind of like animals...

It's not about the people, it's about the situation and also playstyle: When playing a fast paced action shooting game and after getting pulled into it, we players temporarily become beasts of prey, when killing enemies is the one and only goal and joy. Are you actually wondering about it? :)

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E3M7, E3M9 being a runner up


I know its not an Iwad, but that torch in MAP01 of Alien Vendetta.

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