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Linguica

April Agitation: the megathread

Which do you choose?  

137 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Which do you choose?

    • E2M2: Containment Area
      71
    • MAP29: The Living End
      70


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Welcome to the first (and probably only) April Agitation: a 68-entrant tournament to determine once and for all the greatest vanilla Doom / Doom 2 level of all time!

Using highly scientific techniques (i.e. some asking random Doomers to give their opinions), we have meticulously slotted each Doom / Doom 2 level into one of four regions, each with a seeding of 1 to 16, where they will battle to the death! Survive and advance!

But there is still one caveat! We have 68 levels, not 64! So we must start out with the Pernicious Play-Ins to knock out four levels before we even really begin!

ROUND 0: PERNICIOUS PLAY-INS

E3M9: WARRENS VS. MAP31: WOLFENSTEIN

Spoiler

E3M9: Warrens
It's difficult now, in 2015, to really understand the effect that E3M9 had on players back in the halcyon days of Doom. After blasting through 6 hellish levels, and cleverly using a rocket blast to access a secret switch, the player ends up... back in the first level?! Warrens keeps up the charade until the last possible moment, with the "exit teleporter" instead revealing a Cyberdemon arena. The rest of the map is a reverse trek through a series of new arenas that cleverly build off the original level. It's certainly an apt secret level for an episode full of fiendish, mind-bending maps.

MAP31: Wolfenstein
E3M9 was a cute trick, if a player somehow failed to notice that the music was different, or that the automap had a different name. MAP31, on the other hand, was a legitimate shock for any player reaching it for the first time. As a full remake of E1M1 of Wolfenstein 3D, MAP31 was a clever historical callback, as well as fully fleshed-out with new textures and even a new exclusive enemy. Don't like Wolf3D? Well, that's your prerogative, but it's undeniable that MAP31 achieves precisely what it sets out to do.

E2M9: FORTRESS OF EVIL VS. MAP32: GROSSE
Spoiler

E2M9: Fortress of Mystery
Looking at E2M9 today, it seems extremely small and simple. And while this is true, Sandy Petersen nevertheless remembers Fortress of Mystery as the Doom level he is most proud of. The reason is somewhat diminished today, but makes more sense in context: E2M9 was the first (and, arguably, only) Doom level that was centered around the concept of monster infighting, which was a behavior that the id Software designers had barely considered during the game's development. So if you still feel a sense of glee at hellspawn turning on one another, recognize where it all started.

MAP32: Grosse
MAP32 isn't just a secret level: it's a SUPER-secret level. It was designed as a treat for the most diligent players, as well as a natural coda to MAP31: you've seen the first level of Wolf3D episode 1, now you can see the last level. As a boss map, there isn't a whole lot to Grosse, but it does give the player a Doom 2 equivalent to E2M8, with a wide-open space to battle a Cyberdemon. It's simple, but at least it's not just two rooms with a smattering of monsters masquerading as some sort of "high-concept" level.

E2M8: TOWER OF BABEL VS. MAP07: DEAD SIMPLE
Spoiler

E2M8: Tower of Babel
Barring E1M1, the Tower of Babel is arguably the most memorable level in all of Doom. Who doesn't remember the first time they made it to E2M8, heard that level-filling roar, and having their first glimpse of a cybernetic monstrosity stomping amongst huge demonic pillars, seconds before they were turned into paste?

The Cyberdemon may not be the "final boss" in Doom, but it is certainly the most fearsome, and the one that has maintained the tightest grip on our imaginations. With a tension-inducing arena, and no other monsters save a few stray Lost Souls, E2M8 does a masterful job of introducing the biggest baddie of them all, and ensuring we will never forget him.

MAP07: Dead Simple
MAP07 is clearly the best boss level in Doom 2 (not that it has much competition), but the question really is: is it the best boss level in all of Doom and Doom 2? It's easy to argue yes. Up to this point in Doom 2, the player has been introduced to only a few of the "lower-tier" new enemies; on Dead Simple, the player is introduced to two tougher foes, in quick succession. Why stack the new enemies like this? Two reasons: first, it gives the player a controlled arena to focus all their attention on each new enemy in turn, getting a sense of their attacks and their toughness, without being distracted by anything else. Second, both the mancubus and arachnotron are specifically designed to stymie the sort of basic shooting and strafing that Doomers might still be holding onto up to that point. By making a player face off against an enemy that purposely shoots to your side, and then with one that fires at you incessantly until you regain cover, the designers are saying: you're going to need to up your game.

E3M8: DIS VS. MAP30: ICON OF SIN
Spoiler

E3M8: Dis
It's hard to argue that E3M8 does much that E2M8 didn't already accomplish, but there's this: the final boss is actually an enemy that shoots at you and which you can shoot back. You wouldn't think this would be a thing that you'd have to credit a game for, but, well, we know what happened next.


MAP30: Icon of Sin
As a followup, Doom 2 could have made a final level with a normal boss arena where you shoot some big fireball flinging demon, but the designers decided to actually do something new and different. The Icon of Sin is not only detailed and visually striking in a way that a normal enemy could never be, but defeating it requires a level of problem-solving and finesse, rather than just holding down the fire button for a while.

VOTE NOW!


=== FAQ ==

Q: When will this run?

Tentative Schedule:

March 17-19: Pernicious Play-Ins

March 20-22: Round 1 (first 32 entrants)

March 23-25: Round 1.5 (next 32 entrants)

March 26-28: Round 2

March 29-31: Sinful Sixteen

April 1-3: Evil Eight

April 4-6: Fiendish Four

April 7-9: Final Showdown

Q: Why do I need a Google account to vote?
A: It's the simplest way to have some sort of protection against ballot box stuffing. If you don't have a Google account, who are you and how have you traveled to 2015?

Q: Why is it called "April Agitation" when it starts in March?
A: Because the ultimate winner is crowned in April, of course. Why would you name a tournament based on when it starts, not when it ends? That would be silly.

Q: I think a map is seeded too high / too low.
A: You're probably right! Oh well!

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Linguica said:

Q: Why do I need a Google account to vote?
A: It's the simplest way to have some sort of protection against ballot box stuffing. If you don't have a Google account, who are you and how have you traveled to 2015?

And this is where the thread ends for me.

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Very tough choices! I love your descriptions: somehow you're able to make any level look respectable.

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I found all the choices quite straight forward so far. I assume they are all seeded lowest, in which case it proves id's inability to make good secret and boss maps!

Seconded on the descriptions, they were fun to read.

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Easy choices so far... except e3m8 vs. map30. That was like asking which one of my two life-threatening brain tumors I want removed.

Love the introductory texts.

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scifista42 said:

And this is where the thread ends for me.


Same, but that's ok, this kind of thing isn't appealing after all.

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I'm interested to see where this goes. Dis is lazy and anticlimactic, while Icon of Sin is gimmicky and anticlimactic. That one was a tough call. I'm a also bit torn between Tower of Babel (Yay cyberdemon!) and Dead Simple (Yay mancubi + spiders! Boo (mostly) lame tributes!).

Can't wait to read more of those introductions, especially advocating the merits of maps which I strongly dislike; maybe I'll find something new to appreciate.

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Linguica said:

I edited the OP.

Thanks! I liked the favorable descriptions, particularly the Dead Simple one - you've easily and genuinely convinced me to appreciate the map with everything it has.

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How does google prevent ballot box stuffing? Don't most people have multiple google accounts? Work, personal, etc.

I only voted once anyway. Honors system.

Btw fortress of mystery I think it is.

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40oz said:

How does google prevent ballot box stuffing? Don't most people have multiple google accounts? Work, personal, etc.

I only voted once anyway. Honors system.

Btw fortress of mystery I think it is.


It presents a trivial inconvenience to any sabotage attempts. I have multiple Google accounts too but can't be buttocked to log in to another one.

Anyway, if anyone is pathetic enough to try to stuff the ballot of a contest like this, they need to get all introspective and sort out why they are such a piece of crap.

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Linguica said:

If you don't have a Google account, who are you and how have you traveled to 2015?

I've had a few Google accounts, none of which saw much use, all were locked at some point following security upgrades or breaches and weren't worth the rigmarole involved to get them unlocked. I'll go crawl back under my last millennium rock.

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Excellent idea and thread. I submitted my picks just now.

I just hope that people are objectively judging the maps, not just based on nostalgia.

Personally I mostly take into account the mapper's effort and how memorable the map is.

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Feels like it's been a few aeons since I've participated in a polling thread (and there's a reason for that), but you won me over with those level descriptions.

I agree that E2M8 vs. Map 07 is a bit of a tough choice if I try to look at it "objectively" (e.g. how much of my disdain for map 07 comes from the map itself, and how much is runoff from its endless procession of imitators and remixes?), but the other three matchups were pretty cut and dry for me.

Looking forward to see more of the descriptions in the later, better rounds.

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Demon of the Well said:

Looking forward to see more of the descriptions in the later, better rounds.

Thanks - I am actually trying to write a bunch of descriptions right now, looking at your level reviews in the old Ultimate Doom DWmegawad Club thread, and wishing I could just copy and paste everything you said better than I could :)

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Except Dead Simple, I don't even remember what I picked, all these other maps are crap, good riddings :-)

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Justice is served. Or at least what I wanted to happen happened.

I'm expecting future rounds to be more difficult to choose from.

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Legitimately surprised about E2M8! That boss board is bloody iconic in my eyes -- that place where you get splattered horribly fighting the toughest creature the game can offer. Scary stuff, "back in the day." :p

On to the next round, though, I suppose!

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Xaser said:

Legitimately surprised about E2M8! That boss board is bloody iconic in my eyes -- that place where you get splattered horribly fighting the toughest creature the game can offer. Scary stuff, "back in the day." :p

On to the next round, though, I suppose!

It's just lazy, you just strafe to dodge rockets and waste all your ammo, and "ta-da", you win. That's how I felt playing through the doom series the first time.

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I voted for all the Doom 1 maps. Wolfenstein levels: meh; their competitors automatically win, even with a blindfold and two hands tied in their back.

MAP07 vs. E2M8 was hard, but I went with the Cyberdemon's introduction.

And finally E3M8 vs. MAP30. Gotta admit Dis is very mediocre as an endgame boss level; but MAP30 is actively unfun to play what with its stupid elevator gimmick. I'd rather play E3M8 twenty times in a row than play MAP30 without cheating (or without mouselooking my rockets, which is pretty much cheating on that map, but screw that map).

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joe-ilya said:

It's just lazy, you just strafe to dodge rockets and waste all your ammo, and "ta-da", you win. That's how I felt playing through the doom series the first time.


It's not a "waste", you're not using that ammo for anything else in the episode.

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Xaser said:

Legitimately surprised about E2M8! That boss board is bloody iconic in my eyes

I agree, but it was also a tough choice between that and MAP08, the level that introduces both the Arachnotron and Mancubus. We've all seen those monsters so many times we perhaps forget that was the level where the first appeared. It's a pretty iconic and memorable level regardless. I found it a really hard choice.

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Xaser said:

Legitimately surprised about E2M8! That boss board is bloody iconic in my eyes -- that place where you get splattered horribly fighting the toughest creature the game can offer. Scary stuff, "back in the day." :p

On to the next round, though, I suppose!


Tower of Babel is powerful for the nostalgic effect of it, but I chose dead simple because its fast paced and intense even to this day. I often return to this map for a quick warm up after being away from doom for a while.

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