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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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Spoiler

MAP11: Circle of Death vs. E3M1: Hell Keep

Spoiler

MAP11: Circle of Death
Romero puts a cap on Doom 2's starport proceedings with Circle of Death, a surprisingly sightly yet challenging level that introduces us to the arch-vile and reminds us once again that yes, Doom can look good! Coming off the back of a much more free-roaming Refueling Base, the progression feels almost odd for being so well structured and rational (fancy that), although it still stands firmly in the abstract, much to its benefit. Many players will recall with equal measures fear and wonderment the encounters faced here as a newbie, and perhaps even the beauty behind the map's central theme. The hub setup that is the go-to model of so many Romero maps is also expertly designed to encompass the map's progression and account for all the secret ledges, nooks, crannies and assorted alcoves... truly 'O' of Destruction plays like one of the most complete and well-realized levels in all of Doom 2.

E3M1: Hell Keep
At the time of writing, Warrens is deceased; bludgeoned into infinity by the overwhelming favourite, Computer Station. Leaving out the two-or-so sorry souls who may actually prefer Hell Keep over Warrens on the grounds of a stinky gimmick, it's hard not to condemn this uninspired opener to a similar fate. Or, come April, I could be a very stupid-looking man.

MAP04: The Focus vs. E2M1: Deimos Anomaly
Spoiler

MAP04: The Focus
If we could steal into the mind of McGee and find out what it is he meant by "The Focus" in the first place, we might discover that this tricky little jaunt entails merely a great deal of concentration. It's a small but vicious number filled with quirky design choices and interactive elements, not to mention droves of gun-totting dead guys. The mandatory walk-over crate; the crusher/window; the light switch... it's been said that MAP04 almost seems like an early incarnation of Doom 3 level, and with its dank, embattled halls and claustrophobic setting it's hard to disagree.

E2M1: Deimos Anomaly
Welcome to Hell at several thousand feet. I'm assuming Evil™ is what's preventing Deimos from hurtling from the heavens (heh) and into Inferno. I'm also assuming that this is a conundrum that has no bearing on your decision today, but hey, permit me a flashy introduction why don't you. Unlike any other level in The Shores of Hell (save for E2M8 and the bite-sized secret level), Deimos Anomaly maintains a consistent theme from start to finish (with the beginning sections feeling like a natural extension of its Phobos Anomaly predecessor), while also impressing the player with a strong sense of departure from the familiar sheen of Starstruct, Inc.. It is a gritty, no-nonsense gun-blazer that makes frequent use of the teleport mechanic – still effectively new as a tool for formal level design – and introduces the player to the plasma rifle and cacodemon. An optional key and a number of additional secrets and features make this map more than just a fun opener, but a fully-fledged level in its own right.

E1M4: Command Control vs. E2M6: Halls of the Damned
Spoiler

E1M4: Command Control
Command Control is an interesting map, as an early version first appeared in the v0.4 Doom alpha. This early build showed much more of the original Tom Hall vision of levels as real spaces, with Command Control (probably intended as "Enlisted Quarters" at that time) including such mundane amenities as showers and locker rooms. By the v0.5 alpha, however, these had already vanished and been replaced by more "Doomy" architecture; that said, the level is still largely a Tom Hall creation, albeit reworked and retextures by John Romero. This still shows through in the final product: the first half of the level is fairly nonlinear by Episode 1 standards. Romero added his own surprises, however: the level introduces the first Soulsphere in the game that isn't hidden in a secret area, and fiendishly, reaching it is a one-shot deal with no second chance to reach the rising platform. Also, no discussion of E1M4 is complete without discussion of the infamous swastika room, intended as a small nod to Wolfenstein 3D. The structure actually started life in v1.0 as a left facing "sauwastika," before being mirrored into the more-familiar swastika in v1.2, and finally removed in v1.4 after outcry from players and pressure from id's business manager. Romero has remained somewhat incredulous by the furor, exclaiming, "I thought we were supposed to be Satan worshipers, not Nazis; are we both?!"

E2M6: Halls of the Damned
Sandy Petersen may not have yet discovered the more complex methods of non-linearity that would define his Doom 2 work, but this deliberately paced level from The Shores of Hell was a big step in that direction. The maze-like geometry allows for the working of several dangerous traps, which trigger as the player blunders his way up and down the dimly lit halls (the number of light amplification goggles on offer seem to rob this level of some of its appeal in this regard, however). With any luck the hapless player will fall for the biggest trap of all, and drop into one of Doom's most infamous moments: the fake exit, where flipping the "exit switch" results in the floor dropping out and the player suddenly beset on all sides by baddies. Crushers, demons and barons abound in Halls of the Damned!

MAP18: Courtyard vs. MAP22: The Catacombs
Spoiler

MAP18: Courtyard
The Courtyard finds us at the tail end of Sandy Petersen's outdoor expedition, and in a cunning inversion of the status quo. Downtown had provided us with a box into which ideas were placed – themselves in smaller boxes – and this map is a box from which ideas branch outward into the void. At the same time, the courtyard itself plays central to the gameplay in the level, featuring the game's second so-called "slaughter" encounter after The Suburbs' blue key pickup. Highlights include the somewhat humorous key placement (yeah, that's totally a health bonus) and what I prefer to assume is a shower cubicle in the glorious SKINLOW outhouse that overlooks the city skyline.

MAP22: The Catacombs
It would have been interesting to see what else American McGee could make if he'd been given more slots in Doom 2's final third to work with. The texture usage in The Catacombs is remarkably incoherent when compared with The Inmost Dens or anything in the early game, but the monster usage is largely the same (and the difficulty, by extension – American apparently interpreted his involvement in the Hell section as an invitation to pour chaingunners into the map like wine at a medieval banquet), as is his pathological urge to overload a corner of the map with detail down to the last visplane. This little kernel of a level may be unlikely to win big at the voter sweepstakes, but it's jam-packed with character and blood loss, and that's a Doomin'!

MAP08: Tricks and Traps vs. MAP07: Dead Simple
Spoiler

MAP08: Tricks and Traps
Tricks and Traps is the first level in Doom 2's "Episode 1.5" - that particularly abstract string of maps that, sources tell me, is actually set inside a Starport! The lack of clear direction that had been so well established in the first six levels of the game might throw some players off the boil, but there is a method to the non-linearity here that, once understood, allows for better enjoyment of the level's content. As with several other Sandy's maps in Doom 2 like Downtown or The Courtyard, the conceptualized layout in MAP08 serves as a platform for exploring independently formed ideas, and this gives rise to many memorable encounters and surprises. Who amongst us did not do a double take when stumbling into the cyberdemon lecture hall, or the baited cacodemon condo? Love it or hate it, this is a map that marks a bold new direction for the game, a path down which any remaining scraps of sensibility will be throw to the wind in light of daring gameplay concepts.

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.

E2M4: Deimos Lab vs. MAP12: The Factory
Spoiler

E2M4: Deimos Lab
If Doomworld consensus is anything to go by then the mantle of spook belongs to Deimos Labs, with its cold, empty hallways that stretch into the pixalated wilderness, and the silence that belies a hidden difficulty. To be fair, They're Going to Get You is a pretty eerie track, and the level serves as a brilliant change of pace after the more frenetic Refinery. Many players will no doubt remember feeling very small and hounded as they explore the corners of this desolate facility, and even though it's a lot easier to spot the pitfalls in design after twenty years of exposure, stemming largely from the blueprint of Tom Hall's layouts. Standout moments include the gun-triggered crusher, the spectre horde and Doom's only crushing floor. (Yes, floor - you hadn't forgotten about that, had you?)

MAP12: The Factory
The Factory is the first in a new strain of level design for Doom – the second if you count Mount Erebus. Trim away the fat that is the perimeter of the building and what you have would not look out of place next to Refueling Base or The Pit: a mangled assortment of shapes and ideas that cram into the void. The decision to open up the playable area and toy with outdoor concepts was the driving force behind much of Doom 2's gameplay philosophy, and in introducing us to this concept with MAP12 gives us a suitable opener for the second part of the game. Ickwall crates, storehouse imps and piston-driven cacodemons are among the many highlights of this drab but critical step forward in the game.

MAP06: The Crusher vs. E4M9: Fear
Spoiler

MAP06: The Crusher
No two ways about this one: it's a crusher, plus a lot of other bits of varying importance. The introduction of the Spiderdemon so early in the game was an indication to players that shit isn't just about to get real – it's already started. The level is also one of the few that shows how gimmicky American McGee can be when he puts his mind to it... or when he takes it off. Whichever you think is more appropriate. It's a fun little challenge that's oddly sparse in the detail department compared to some of his other works in the game, but given how many ugly maps there are this is hardly a reason for detraction.

E4M9: Fear
E4M9's biggest claim to fame might be as the origin of the background image in Doom 3's Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3. (This is not really high praise.) Fear showcases the game design of Willits at its most scattershot, with monsters and barrels burst seemingly from a great big bag in the sky. It is the most clear-cut decrescendo in Doom's line-up, with the chaotic beginnings of the map giving way to a steady subside in difficulty and action, and to symmetry. There are members of the Doom community who laud this map's approach, and this can be respected granted how differently the map plays to anything else in the Doom IWADs, but for many it is a level that has taken the place of what could have been a memorable outing in the ultimate slot.

E4M6: Against Thee Wickedly vs. E3M5: Unholy Cathedral
Spoiler

E4M6: Against Thee Wickedly
At some point after finishing Doom 2, Romero decided that enough was enough: everyone had to die. He tore out the carpet and replaced it with hellslime. On the balcony outside his office window he installed a cyberdemon and key-locked the exit. "If Perfect Hatred doesn't kill them," he proclaimed, "then wait 'til they get a load of this!" In many ways this isn't a joke. The ingredients had been broiling away beneath the surface of his work since Circle of Death came to fruition, and it would only be a matter of time before the combination of elevated platforms, damaging sectors and pressuring monsters revealed themselves as key requisites in the formation of a nightmare. Yes, the stage was set for Against Thee Wickedly, and what many consider to be the most impressive level in all of Doomdom. Certainly it's one of the most testing. The player must throw himself headlong into punishment with small chance of reprieve, often whittling his resources down to a nervous stand-off on a nearby ledge, craving stimpacks, health bonuses... anything at all to help him get out alive. It is a masterstroke of architecture, lighting and progression, not that any of this will mean too much in the face of such brutality. How far this map progresses could depend entirely on whether the victims with PTSD have taken their medication.

E3M5: Unholy Cathedral
Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Take Monster Condo, for example, where Sandy's master plan was to execute attacks on the player using isolated groups of the same monster type – a little-known fact, it would seem, although everyone's experienced it. In Unholy Cathedral the ideas aren't unified by any one concept this way, and as is usually the case in Doom 1, but there is a meticulousness to the layout and teleporter setup that often goes unnoticed, and this is to be commended when the author is often seen as a chaotic designer throwing caution to the wind. Add to an atmosphere that is richly malevolent and sacrosanct, and you have a level that is as close to complete an experience as any other in Doom 1. Not bad for a man dragged in a couple of months before the deadline.

MAP29: The Living End vs. MAP30: Icon of Sin
Spoiler

MAP29: The Living End
If we're looking to use words like cinematic or spectacle to describe key moments of the game – and we're willing to accept that there aren't that many in Doom 2 given its broader focus on gameplay – it's hard to go past Romero's Doom 2 magnum opus. With a relative handful of linedefs and a liberal scattering of torches, he has managed to forge a level so compelling and fraught with anticipation that it almost seems a shame we have to wade through twenty-eight maps to get to it. The deliberate combination of platforming, puzzle solving and monsters pressuring the player from distant vantage points was immediately successful outside of the level it was most formally introduced in, so much so that the Casalis saw fit to repeat the concept twice for their Plutonia Experiment. They even went so far as to rip the texture selection right off the turf (although that's not entirely out of character)! As the penultimate level of the game, The Living End satisfies both artistically and in its ability to ready the player for the final showdown. It's also a pretty good "last hurrah" for the Doom engine, with an impressive verticality and level of detail. Perhaps the only letdown in the map is the cyberdemon at the very end, which does a supremely ineffectual job of actually guarding the level exit. Oh well, you can't have everything, it seems.

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. And while it might be dirty pool to place the level in a historical context, consider this: Icon of Sin managed to provide a template for final levels that continues to this day. Think of just about any Doom 2 megawad you’ve ever seen, and how MAP30 is almost invariably a mapper’s personal take on the Icon of Sin concept. How many levels can boast that degree of near-ubiquity?

MAP24: The Chasm vs. MAP09: The Pit
Spoiler

MAP24: The Chasm
MAP24 represents the pinnacle of Sandy's concept-driven level design. Whereas maps like Tricks and Traps exist to harbour a host of independent ideas, others like Barrels o' Fun seek to exhaust a particular mechanic in the game until there's nothing left to give, ensuring they meet the bare-minimum requisite in visuals with sheets of falling nukage (incidentally, this one of the only two levels this texture is used in, surprisingly enough). In The Chasm, this mechanic is balancing on paper-thin ledges and praying to God you don't fall off. It's a level that nurtures a finesse in movement and weeds out all the clumsy, and depending on how you look at it it makes for one of the most enjoyable or most frustrating setups in the game. But with the all attention being drawn to this idea, one can forget that this is also among the most rewarding and expansive levels going from an exploration point of view (the area with the BFG was the last area I discovered in either of the IWADs being discussed today), and that it plays host to some truly impressive achievements in design. The world's first computer terminal switch may be found here, as can one of the first uses of a midtexture along an otherwise one-sided wall to divide upper and lower sidedefs (consult line 601). The blue room also exists. Chances are you've already made up your mind on this map, and all this text is pointless scroll buffer. But all the same, I urge you to consider the importance of The Chasm in the wider context of the game. Choose carefully – you don't want to end up on the wrong side of The War.

MAP09: The Pit
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Sandy Petersen map to file away under the category of "normal," and certainly The Pit is not one of these with its rampant swings in balance and unconventional gameplay ideas, but most of what defines levels like The Pit are in those ideas and not whatever centralized idea it is that binds them all together. The titular "pit," for instance, is a recessed hub with elevators. Bang goes that application. Impotent pain elementals; the rocket launcher trap; the bit where you go up and down again a lot... Christ, I don't even know what to call that part. These are the starts of moments that help separate the normal from the noteworthy, whether or not you can bear to stand them, and if The Pit sails through then you can bet your bottom dollar it's off the strength of these events.

MAP02: Underhalls vs. E4M7: And Hell Followed
Spoiler

MAP02: Underhalls
It's not hard to see why some folks call Underhalls the most entertaining map in Doom 2. The player is given free reign to mow down hordes of zombies with the SSG, and the prevalence of sergeants in particular demonstrates American's penchant for breakneck, ruthless engagements. It's because of this approach to level design that Doom 2's starport levels are considered some of the most endearing (and frustrating) to speedrunners – because of its plethora of sergeants in tight quarters, Underhalls has the odd distinction of being the only Doom 2 level that has never been properly beaten in the Pacifist style (discounting MAP30, of course). Underhalls is also well-known for a certain bug-that-maybe-isn't: MAP02 houses the first barrels in Doom 2, and directly next to the first one the player encounters is a sergeant partially stuck inside a wall, unable to move or shoot. Is it a design error, or did American McGee exploit a bug in the engine to set up a controlled demonstration of barrels' enemy-splattering powers?

E4M7: And Hell Followed
Originally titled "CHIRON.WAD" and slated as the eighth canto in his celebrated Inferno series, And Hell Followed is a quality outing from John Anderson aka "Dr. Sleep" that may be remembered more for its exploration value than its difficulty. It plays host to a bunch of innovative technical accomplishments, including instant-lowering floors via adjacent ceiling height, and can still prove fiendishly difficult if the player takes one too many wrong turns. While the layout of the map is strictly symmetrical, it is typical of Sleep's method in allowing for the ordered execution for a number of ideas, typically involving crushers or other traps. Placed alongside his other works it mightn't seem all that remarkable, but it brings a fresh brand to Thy Flesh Consumed and that makes it a winner.

E1M2: Nuclear Plant vs. E4M8: Unto The Cruel
Spoiler

E1M2: Nuclear Plant
It may be easier to think of Nuclear Plant as the level that collects the most run-off nostalgia from the top of the mountain, but when you stand back and admire what it achieves in furthering the player's understanding of Doom, it's a really fine piece of work. It's the first level to offer the player real options for progression, keys as an objective, and a rich array of dynamic lighting and other cool effects (the chainsaw donut!), and it does all this with aplomb. Creeping around the COMPTALL maze was the first spooky experience in the game for most people, unless most people were like me in being unable to open the first Hangar door without getting sweaty palms. Even when measured against its arguably better compatriots in Knee-deep in the Dead, this is a level that stands out for more than just its recall value.

E4M8: Unto The Cruel
Unto the Cruel stands out on the short list of boss maps for being a level with actual substance, although it may not be true to call it a boss map at all given the nature of the beast. The second spiderdemon to make its appearance in the game seems equally as ill-equipped to fight the player as the first one, having been shuttled into her wooden tomb on the wings of complete indifference, and further evidence of E4M8's confused objective can be found in the key placement, where Shawn appears to have copped out on an entire second half of the map (the red key could only afford the cheapest accommodation). Still, for all this the level has its moments: the opening bloodbath is a classic scene in gibbing history. Can it save it from oblivion, or is this the map best remembered as an anti-climax to round out the supposed hardest episode on Doom? You decide.

MAP03: The Gantlet vs. E4M5: They Will Repent
Spoiler

MAP03: The Gantlet
I was too young to care at the time, but finding out that The Gantlet was not in some strange, twisted way a section of double railroad tracks formed by a temporary convergence must have been really disappointing for someone somewhere. For almost everyone else, though, it's a pretty decent little romp through zombie-infested browntown. The main area is a cleverly orchestrated encounter that sticks immediately to the memory, and the map feels right at home in the early stages of the game, where the going is tough and the tough dies fast to a well-placed SSG blast.

E4M5: They Will Repent
They Will Repent has an interesting distinction: it's the only level in any Doom game (and possibly any id game whatsoever) designed by a woman. Although usually credited to Tim Willits, the level was actually designed and laid out by his sister Theresa Chasar, with Willits providing texturing, item placement, and mop-up duty. Upon playing E4M5 recently, I was strongly reminded of the recent WAD series Back To Saturn X: the level starts out appearing to be linear, but it soon becomes clear that it keeps looping back into and around itself, with windows and ledges leading back to previously explored areas or offering alternate routes. I might even say that by that metric, E4M5 has some of the most "modern" level design in all of the original Doom games. E4M5 is often derided as "forgettable," and gets demerits in the eyes of players for its paint-by-numbers "stone and metal" texture scheme and weak, uninspired monster encounters. Oddly enough, those are the aspects of the map added by Willits, which can make you wonder...

E1M3: Toxin Refinery vs. E3M4: House of Pain
Spoiler

E1M3: Toxin Refinery
Backtracking is often frowned upon in Doom level design. If you're going to do it, make sure there are fresh baddies to bully or new tangents to explore. And yet, while Toxin Refinery does not allow for either of these things upon pickup of the blue key, it is regarded as one of the best levels in E1, if not in Doom outright. Why is this so? E1M3 continues the trend of evolving more complicated means of progression and allowing for more decision-making in the game, this time in the form of an optional key and multiple, matryoshka-type secrets. The player is rewarded handsomely for his explorative efforts, and is treated to a few cinematic moments that have since become embedded in the minds of millions: the oval-shaped catwalk, the rising staircase, the blue key trap. It is a timeless classic supported in equal measure by the strength of its design and the lasting impression of its key encounters. It's also pretty fun to play on Nightmare! which, as it so happens, is due mostly to the backtracking in its progression.

E3M4: House of Pain
Here's a fun bit of trivia for you: House of Pain is modelled after the human anatomy. I know, right!? While you're busy scratching your head over what room is supposed to represent what organ, and exactly at which point Sandy decided to give up (or whether he even started), here's an overview of the map with regards to actual level design. Doom mapper Hellbent once described House of Pain as Doom's Indiana Jones level; one big, romping adventure filled with all manner of puzzle-solving and mysterious imagery. The way it progresses and the sorts of encounters it contains make this comparison seem apt, although some might be more inclined to think of E3M4 as the final dumping ground for all of Sandy's disused ideas. Even by his typical standards, it plays like a hodgepodge of experiments and aging scraps of sector all sewn together under a weakly functional concept... and this almost seems to be its strength. There's a certain charm to map that knows it's the filler of the bunch and plants its tongue firmly in cheek, so much so that we can forgive the incessant switch flipping and the bizarrely set up door triggers. An interesting outing, to be sure.

E1M6: Central Processing vs. E4M3: Sever The Wicked
Spoiler

E1M6: Central Processing
Bigger doesn't always mean better in Doom, but the largest, most complicated level in Knee-Deep in the Dead (also the most populated level in the game with over 170 baddies to sort through in Ultra-Violence) is easily one of the standouts. With its sprawling yet perfectly navigable network of traps, mazes and catwalks, Central Processing serves up another bloody helping of memorable encounters and textbook Romero brilliance. Maybe the mid-episode blues is what's leading some folks to overlook this particular map, but I'm putting all my chips on the table and touting E1M6 as an April dark horse! You read it here first.

E4M3: Sever The Wicked
Sever The Wicked is supposedly the very first Doom map that Shawn Green ever created. If that's the case, the man was some sort of prodigy. The level is relatively plain in its layout, and certainly in its texture scheme - it's possibly the most overwhelmingly wooden map in Doom or Doom 2, although this does lend it a novel character. E4M3's is most dangerous at the very beginning, as it's easy to quickly become overwhelmed in the large outdoor area; but once the player gains a foothold (and a rocket launcher), they can go to town. I also love the stairway "ramps" above the two lava pits; it's the closest that the speed-demon Doomguy ever gets to a Dukes of Hazzard-style stunt jump.

E4M2: Perfect Hatred vs. MAP21: Nirvana
Spoiler

E4M2: Perfect Hatred
If Thy Flesh Consumed needed a poster boy for promoting its souped-up difficulty, this would be the first map to spring to mind. A couple of other levels still contend for the honours of "hardest map in Doom," but few seem so committed to killing the player from the outset, with barons packed precariously on thin wooden ledges and a layout that at times seems more intent on your destruction than the monsters. One wonders if John Romero wasn't making this level following a heated row with another member of staff. Whatever the case, E4M2 remains a standout level for more than just its difficulty. It is a chief example of how best to restrict movement while still giving the player options, and how to effectively provide incentive to the player through limited resources. And how to use cyberdemons! Also impressive is the fact that it was made in one late-night mapping frenzy; maybe id should have deprived Romero of sleep more often.

MAP21: Nirvana
Nirvana gets a bad rap, and before we steer this carriage into another ill-informed Kurt Cobain discussion about "that shotgun," let's remind ourselves why. It's ugly. Real ugly. Dead-set butters kinda deal. But when you quit harping on about how defective the whole thing looks and focus on the gameplay, it's a map that really has something going for it. Try it from pistol start if you haven't already – those medikits aren't just there for show.

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my thoughts:

Spoiler


E1M7 - no surprises. E3M9 is a rip of E3M1.
E4M1 - thought it would do better than how it did.
E1M8 - i'm a fan of map28 and i like the music and hellish atmosphere. however seeing as E1M8 is the boss map for the shareware episode, no surprises here.

Map28 is a great base for mods I will add - one of my favorites being this:
http://doomwiki.org/wiki/MAP07:_Cave_of_Hades_%28One_Bloody_Night%29

Map14 - No surprises. Map14 was a great city map and Map25 a meh hellish map with not so good music.

Map27 - IMO Map27 has a much better monster array than E3M7. I like the music for Map27 as well. No surprises here.

Map26 - I'm a little surprised as I prefer E3M2 due to design. I just don't really envision a mine in Map26.

E1M5 - No surprises. Knew this would win. 'Nuff Said.

E3M6 - Mt Erebus is a good level but E2M9 is the best of the secret levels in DOOM imo (followed by E1M9).

Map20 - MUCH better than Map05. Not surprised.

Map16 - I like this map. Very big with lots of roaming. E2M7 was good, but just not as good as Map16.

Map01 - This map isn't as glamorous as E1M1 and would easily lose to E1M1. I'm a little surprised over it winning to Downtown. Maybe it's cause of all the fast demos? Maybe cause Map01 is used for PWADs? Don't know really.

E1M1 - I really don't have much to say here. Of course it is superior to Map23. It's the first level most of us know about.

E3M3 - No opinion here. A very good battle, though. I do think E3M3 was a bit better, though. But it would have lost to E2M4 in my books since I really liked that map.

Map15 - E1M9 had no chance against this huge building battlefield. No surprises here.

Map10 - One of the more interesting battles. I think one of the big factors may be the Cyberdemon that teleports around. And of course, that room with all the zombies to obliterate. Don't get me wrong though, Map19 is a very large and interesting map.

E2M2 - No surprises. The map layout is much better than for E2M3.

PLAY-INS:

E3M9 - E3M9 is really E3M1 but Map31 wasn't that good. The map seemed kind of dull.

Map30 - I like the IoS. The fear of getting telefragged and swarmed. Took me a while to learn how to beat - as in years. As for E3M8 - you can hug the spiderdemon with a BFG and it will probably die in one hit.

E2M9 - Much better than E3M9. An interesting secret map. Map32 was much better than Map31 and I like it better than E2M9 so I am surprised it won. I mean running like a madman down a corridor dodging shooting Nazi's to open a door to find one angry Cyberdemon is fun, no?

Map07 - Now this surprised me. Yes, Fatsos and Arachnotrons are deadly. But... The first thrilling roar of the cyberdemon and getting rockets in your face for the first time is priceless.

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Oh damn, missed the first round. Will have to pay attention. I am addicted to brackets (just got done updating brackets for a "favorite combiner" bracket over on a Transformers forum).

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I totally contributed! This is an awesome spread and layout with the descriptions, videos, and reminders for all the old and new school players.

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Spoiler

Map 11 vs E3M1, poor E3M1 doesn't have a chance, I voted Map 11
Map 4 vs E2M1, this was a tough one for me, had you asked me a month ago before I revisited Doom 2 to beat the whole game in one sitting I would easily have said E2M1 was the best, but as I keep replaying these maps my opinions continue to change as would be expected. Map 4 is one that continues to rise, while E2M1 has always been one that isn't one of my favorites, but I don't have any problems with it either, in the end I decided to go with Map 4 as the best of these 2.
E1M4 vs E2M6, once again I find that my opinion of this E2 map is quite the opposite of what most people think, I simply can't stand it, so I voted for E1M4.
Map 18 vs Map 22, Map 18 is in my top 5 favorite levels for Doom 2, so I obviously voted for that.
Map 8 vs Map 7, this was another kinda hard one for me, Map 8 used to be in my top 10 favorite maps of all time, I still love the map but not as much as I used to. It's that damned room with the Pain Elementals that makes me dislike Map 8, everything else I love, even that evil exit. I did end up voting for Map 8, I feel that there just isn't enough to Ma7 to give it my vote, it's just too simple.
E2M4 vs Map 12, another map falls victim to my opposite opinions of E2, plus The Factory is a great map, I voted for Map 12.
Map 6 vs E4M9, so while I do like E4M9, Map 6 is my second favorite level in Doom 2 so The Crusher gets my vote.
E4M6 vs E3M5, Ugh so this was a vote between my 2 least favorite levels in Doom. I get why people like E4M6, it Romero, it looks good, it has weird progression, but it's way to friggin difficult for me to enjoy, perhaps it's my complete unfamiliarity with the map, I've seriously only played it once or twice, but whatever it is I don't like it at all. Now the only map I dislike more than E4M6 is E3M5 & that's by a wide margin, I simply cannot stand this level at all, to me it's easily the worst map in either Doom or Doom 2. When the Doomworld Megawad players club did Ultimate Doom on the 20th Anniversary I couldn't even bring myself to finish the map I hate it so much. Since I can't skip this one I voted for E4M6.
Map 29 vs Map 30, yeah no competition here, I voted for Map 29.
Map 24 vs Map 9, Map 24 is a map I used to like quite a lot, but the more I play it the less I like it, the same could be said about Map 9, but to a far lesser extent, Map 9 gets my vote.
Map 2 vs E4M7, Underhalls gets my vote here, I was never really that fond of Dr. Sleeps work, he clearly is the best mapper out there at the time, but his work just doesn't do it for me.
E1M2 vs E4M8, this one was pretty close for me, both are some of my favorite maps in Doom, but I think that E1M2 has the edge.
Map 3 vs E4M5, this was another tough one for me, I never really thought I'd vote against The Gantlet, but that's exactly what I did here. E4M5 reminds me of a Romero map, even though Romero had maps in E4 they are in his Doom 2 style, whereas E4M5 reminds me of an E1 Romero map, the progression is linear even though it feels completely open, windows connecting everything together remind me of E1M7, E4M5 is simply the better map here.
E1M3 vs E3M4, E1M3 easily gets my vote here, I have always found E3M4 to be a rather forgettable map.
E1M6 vs E4M3, I'm not really a fan of E1M6, to me it is the worst map in E1 though there are still a few standout moments, it's just a case of being too big with too much going on that it gets boring after awhile. E4M3 on the other hand is one of my 5 favorite maps in Doom, so I voted for E4M3.
E4M2 vs Map 21, I voted for E4M2, how could you not. Sure it's a pain in the ass, but it's a fun pain in the ass.

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Time for me to be right again.

Spoiler

MAP11 - Circle of Death
E2M1 - Deimos Anomaly
E2M6 - Halls of the Damned
MAP18 - The Courtyard
MAP08 - Tricks and Traps
MAP12 - The Factory (Would've voted for E2M4 out of nostalgia and my love for spooky maps, but I think MAP12 has better design overall if you discount the retarded exit puzzle)

MAP06 - The Crusher
E4M6 - Against Thee Wickedly
MAP29 - The Living End
MAP09 - The Pit
E4M7 - And Hell Followed
E1M2 - Nuclear Plant
MAP03 - The Gantlet
E1M3 - Toxin Refinery
E1M6 - Central Processing
E4M2 - Perfect Hatred

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Oooh, it's stickied, that's why I missed it. I'm so used to automatically looking right past them since they tend to be old threads. Oops.

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Magnusblitz said:

Oooh, it's stickied, that's why I missed it. I'm so used to automatically looking right past them since they tend to be old threads. Oops.


Yeah I missed round zero because I also just skip past those.

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Spoiler

MAP11 / E3M1: Circle of Death wins handily.
MAP04 / E2M1: Tough choice for me, I like both these maps. I ended up giving my vote to The Focus.
E1M4 / E2M6: I actually like E1M4, but E2M6 made quite the impression on me as a young lad, so had to go with Halls of the Damned.
MAP18 / MAP22: And now we have the opposite, two maps I don't really care for. I went with The Courtyard.
MAP08 / MAP07: MAP07 certainly sticks out as iconic, but, I'm also tired of seeing it get copied over and over. I always loved Tricks and Traps for some of its setups, so it gets my vote.
E2M4 / MAP12: I love E2M4, easy vote for Deimos Labs.
MAP06 / E4M9: Never was a fan of either map, but the titular room for The Crusher gives it my vote.
E4M6 / E3M5: I hated E3M5 when I was younger, but I've grown to appreciate it more as an adult and find it underrated. But E4M6 is a great map, so Against Thee Wickedly takes it.
MAP29 / MAP30: No way I'm voting for MAP30. Freebie win for The Living End!
MAP24 / MAP09: I hate both these maps, but I hate The Pit slightly less, so I went with it. Pretty much the only thing I like about MAP24 is the color scheme.
MAP02 / E4M7: Underhalls is too classic to not vote for it.
E1M2 / E4M8: I like that E4M8 actually has some meat to it for a boss level, but Nuclear Plant is also a classic and gets my vote.
MAP03 / E4M5: MAP03 has a lot going for it, but I've always found E4M5 to be underrated - if it had a better texture scheme I think it'd be remembered as one of the greats. So going with They Will Repent.
E1M3 / E3M4: Never really a fan of E3M4, gotta go with Toxin Refinery.
E1M6 / E4M3: Tough choice. I like E4M3 a lot, but that damn wood-everything color scheme really lets it down. Just barely voted for Central Processing. Damn you KTITD nostalgia!
E4M2 / MAP21: No contest, MAP21 is just Perfect Hatred's sacrifice.

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Spoiler

MAP11 / E3M1: I prefer Map11. E3M1 has good music. No surprises if map 11 wins.
MAP04 / E2M1: E2M1 hands down.
E1M4 / E2M6: Two good maps. E2M6 being one of the best. Of course this map will win. It has my vote.
MAP18 / MAP22: I really like Map18. Map22 is meh for a hell map.
MAP08 / MAP07: Map08 has the scary exit. Map08 has the room with the cyberdemon that gets pwned by the barons. And Map08 gets my vote.
E2M4 / MAP12: E2M4 hands down. Superior in everything vs Map12.
MAP06 / E4M9: Both meh maps. The crusher does have a few surprises to it. One does not expect a powerful monster this early even if it is crushable. So i voted for it.
E4M6 / E3M5: E4M6 hands down. Love the ledges with the lava pit.
MAP29 / MAP30: I'm a fan of the IoS. I like a nice challenge. But this is based off of Map30 itself. There are no clues for a first timer on how to beat it. And when you do, it's suddenly easy. There are map30 mods (Shai'tan's Luck) and one for WOOO 2 that I made with Walter C. (a little self-promotion haha) that are much more challenging. Map29 IS a good and challenging map so I'm voting for it.
MAP24 / MAP09: I hate both these maps. Map09 has good music. Map24 doesn't. And Map24 takes up a hell slot which sucks. So Map09.

MAP02 / E4M7: Not much to say. With some exceptions I prefer Hell Maps so I vote E4M7.
E1M2 / E4M8: I agree with the poster above me.
MAP03 / E4M5: I really like the layout for E4M5, so I vote for it. Music is also better.
E1M3 / E3M4: I liked E3M4. Music fits the map perfectly. E1M3 was good but not one of my favorite E1 Maps, so I'm going with E3M4.
E1M6 / E4M3: E1M6 because the music and was my favorite E1 Map along with E1M5.
E4M2 / MAP21: Map21 stunk. Perfect Hatred was a great map. 'Nuff Said.

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Spoiler

-MAP11
-E2M1
-E1M4
-E2M6
-MAP22, i was battled between this map and map18, but when i was a kid i found this map pretty stupid since i was thinking it was only the starting room whit the blue skull exit door
-MAP08
-E2M4, classy
-E4M9
-E3M5
-MAP29
-MAP09
-E4M7
-E4M8
-MAP03
-E1M3
-E1M6
-MAP21

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Heh, goodbye Sandy maps :-D

That Pit vs Chasm though, I wish there was a None of the above option...

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VGA said:

Heh, goodbye Sandy maps :-D

That Pit vs Chasm though, I wish there was a None of the above option...


How dare you. The Chasm is objectively the best Sandy map, and it's an excellent map in itself.

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Most of the Chasm is pretty great IMO, and among Sandy's best work in the Doom games. That whole underground cavern look is just awesome. The side areas, like the weird flashing blue room and computer station section, are pretty cool too.

The map as a whole is really hurt though by those razor thin walkways. Going through those parts is not fun in any sense of the word.

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Processingcontrol said:

The map as a whole is really hurt though by those razor thin walkways. Going through those parts is not fun in any sense of the word.


xD

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When I think of the chasm, I think of it as the pinnacle of the scarcely explored concept of first person platforming.

When I think of the pit I think of not easily identifiable switches and doors, and broken pain elementals.

No contest.

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I think they're both great; it was a tough call for me - my pick was pretty arbitrary in the end, to the point that now I'm unsure which one I went for.

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I dislike both maps, but The Pit feels like a map that actually hates you and does so effectively, The Chasm just feels annoying. "Oops, fell off the tightrope again."

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It was an easy pick for me. I love The Chasm and The Pit both, but I just love The Pit more, for its totally surreal dream-logic progression.

After a relatively grounded first episode, The Pit is like the internal logic of the game world being warped and dismantled around you as walls raise and collapse and you're tiptoeing across awkward corners between areas that were clearly not designed to touch.

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Spoiler

MAP11 - Circle of Death
MAP04 - The Focus
E1M4 - Halls of the Damned
MAP22 - The Catacombs
MAP07 - Dead Simple
E2M4 - Deimos Lab (this one was very difficult, as I think both of them are bad)
MAP06 - The Crusher (the same, but for the opposite reason)
E3M5 - Unholy Cathedral
MAP30 - Icon of Sin
MAP24 - The Chasm
E4M7 - And Hell Followed
E4M8 - Unto the Cruel
MAP03 - The Gantlet
E1M3 - Toxin Refinery
E1M6 - Central Processing
E4M2 - Perfect Hatred

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i think The Pit is more fun overall to play, though The Chasm's gimmick is pretty cool. it also helps that The Pit has one of the best tracks in the game (why is this one only played once, while DDTBLU is replayed thrice?!!) and speaking of tracks, it would be cool to see a similar kind of tournament for the games music tracks, if that hasn't been done already.

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Doomhuntress said:

(why is this one only played once, while DDTBLU is replayed thrice?!!)


DDTBLU is replayed only twice. :p

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Setting up The Pit vs. The Chasm, man. You have no heart, Ling. I love them both, in fact I think they were both on that "top maps" list I pulled out of my ass back when this thing started. Again, I won't say which I voted for, but I see a strong case for both, with the biggest drawback to The Chasm being that it feels slightly underpopulated given its size (especially given relative monster density in stuff like Refueling Base or whatnot), and the biggest drawback to The Pit actually being the odd little bits in it that seem like they might be actual malfunctions as opposed to everyday Sandyweirds (e.g. the barren Pain Elementals), given that it's such a busy map.

Incidentally, per Doomhuntress' comment about the BGM tracks, for my part I pretty much always IDMUS to 'Into Sandy's City' when I play "The Chasm."

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Round 1.5 is now over!

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP11%7CE3M1&chco=0000e0&chd=e%3A48HC
MAP11: Circle of Death demolished E3M1: Hell Keep, as expected, since E3M1 is atrocious and MAP11 is great.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP04%7CE2M1&chco=ff9900&chd=e%3AdFi5
In the one and only "upset" in this round, E2M1: Deimos Anomaly edged out MAP04: The Focus. People love their inverted crosses.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E1M4%7CE2M6&chco=d00000&chd=e%3AhveP
E2M6: Halls of the Damned was actually leading for much of the polling time, but E1M4: Command Control came roaring back at the end to give The Swastika Level the victory. You bigots.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP18%7CMAP22&chco=dcca02&chd=e%3AqdVh
MAP18: Courtyard easily handled MAP22: The Catacombs.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP08%7CMAP07&chco=00d000&chd=e%3AiUdq
MAP07: Dead Simple put on a good showing, but in the end, it couldn't fend off MAP08: Tricks and Traps and the Cyberdemon lecture hall.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E2M4%7CMAP12&chco=9601ac&chd=e%3Ap4WG
E2M4: Deimos Lab dispatched MAP12: The Factory with relative ease.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP06%7CE4M9&chco=0000e0&chd=e%3A2lJZ
MAP06: The Crusher crushed E4M9: Fear.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E4M6%7CE3M5&chco=ff9900&chd=e%3AzEM6
E4M6: Against Thee Wickedly beat E3M5: Unholy Cathedral, but not as overwhelmingly as I had expected.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP29%7CMAP30&chco=d00000&chd=e%3A6KF0
On the other hand, MAP29: The Living End annihilated MAP30: Icon of Sin, because duh.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP24%7CMAP09&chco=dcca02&chd=e%3AprWT
In the most vocally contentious matchup thus far, MAP24: The Chasm easily cast MAP09: The Pit into the abyss.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP02%7CE4M7&chco=00d000&chd=e%3At8SC
MAP02: Underhalls put E4M7: And Hell Followed to sleep.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E1M2%7CE4M8&chco=9601ac&chd=e%3A2GJ4
E1M2: Nuclear Plant took E4M8: Unto The Cruel behind the woodshed.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=MAP03%7CE4M5&chco=0000e0&chd=e%3AkpbV
E4M5: They Will Repent put up a good showing, but ultimately, MAP03: The Gantlet wore the pants.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E1M3%7CE3M4&chco=ff9900&chd=e%3A31IJ
E1M3: Toxin Refinery jumped around E3M4: House of Pain.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E1M6%7CE4M3&chco=d00000&chd=e%3Ap4WG
E1M6: Central Processing and its hordes of zombiemen vanquished E4M3: Sever The Wicked and its... hordes of zombiemen.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?cht=p&chs=180x90&chl=E4M2%7CMAP21&chco=dcca02&chd=e%3A6KF0
E4M2: Perfect Hatred gave MAP21: Nirvana an aneurysm, drained it of life, and put its remains in a heart shaped box. Made of lithium.

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Linguica said:

MAP02: Underhalls put E4M7: And Hell Followed to sleep.

For me reading the descriptions is the best part of the whole thing.

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Never_Again said:

For me reading the descriptions is the best part of the whole thing.


I'm surprised by a few of these results.

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