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BlackFish

90s Megawads

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Yesterday it occured to me that many of the 90s megawads I have, I never completed past the few dozen levels (both Moris, Requiem), so I decided to play them. I didn't want to bump the Megawad Club thread regarding Mori 1 so I wanted to make a new thread regarding 90s wads in general.

Memento Mori is a lot of fun, but its age really sticks out. To me, unless you have Zdoom's "show sector action lines in automap" feature on, some of the maps are really ambiguous. There's tons of doors and elevators that look like scenery! I don't remember MM2 having this problem so much, but maybe I'll run into it. MM1 really does a good job with Doom 2's textures though.


I still remember Squadron 417 being very fun and challenging, even though it was meant for coop so to speak.

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As a personal preference, Doom level designs really peaked around the late 90s. When I'm looking at a wad on /idgames, a release date of 1996-99 is often a really good sign. They're not always five stars, but detailing and texture alignment was primitive, which either looked good, or was visually noisy and didn't look like anything, leaving more to the imagination.

The gameplay wasn't as hardcore as it is today, but it there was a lot more to explore, places to get lost, puzzles to figure out, which I believe are an essential part to engaging level design that seems to have dissipated in the last decade, in favor of more simplistic layouts, and doors with switches that are an extremely short distance from each other. Older wads work as brain teasers for me while newer wads have heavily choreographed fights and difficulty curves. Not to imply that I don't like those things we have today, but I like feeling more independent by figuring something out instead of the game holding my hand through it.

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90s Megawads are my favourites. Eternal is first in my list.
MM is very good, it was a bit hit-and-miss as some levels don't stand up very well compared to others of the wad. But overall it was always fun.
I prefer more MM2 over the first. It has a very good balance of a difficult and very fun gameplay and level atmosphere; also Requiem it's very good at this. Imo MM2 it is almost flawless on not having drops in the quality in any level.
I love how the older wads use more some tricks to make more complex stuff for the gameplay and to make more different (or sometimes more weird too) level concepts/settings.

40oz said:

They're not always five stars, but detailing and texture alignment was primitive, which either looked good, or was visually noisy and didn't look like anything, leaving more to the imagination.


I agree with this. Also I find that the custom textures they use give more warmth and depth to the visual compared to the more modern and polished ones.

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I too just played MM1 for the first time earlier this year, and it was a lot of fun. I'll go ahead and agree with 40oz about 90s gameplay, though I also really enjoy modern WADs as well; but the 90s "feel" definitely has something special about it. The 90s style does, however, often come with the downside of not-infrequent "What Do I Do Now?" syndrome, and MM1's focus on multiplayer only exacerbates those issues. Still a pretty solid set of levels.

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You know, when my PWAD adventure started, I was frequently downloading the ones reviewed in The Visions of Doom, so they are very special to me. Maybe except HR...

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Today I hosted Cleimos 2 on a ZDaemon server and played the whole of it (we only skipped map 25, crazy teleporters there). In my memory it was stored as a quite annoying wad with ridiculous amounts of mazes. But today I loved most of it. Imo the only overly annoiyng maps are 12, 16 and 25. The rest of the puzzles\mazes are tolerable and sometimes can be skipped too (like on map18 you don't need any of the keys if you know where to press on the doors). The style is very unique and consistent, detailing at times is just excellent for 1995, there are so many cool ideas with triggers (like on one map you can turn on a radiation field in a room). Great lighting everywhere. Favorite maps: 15, 20 and 24 (I agree with vdgg's d2reload comparison). Inspiring stuff.

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vdgg said:

You know, when my PWAD adventure started, I was frequently downloading the ones reviewed in The Visions of Doom, so they are very special to me. Maybe except HR...

Right there with you on this one... except HR, which has a special place for me as I considered a benchmark in how I approach and judge the quality of a map. Up until that point, I always felt I that the most 'innovative' wad was the best (think in terms of Daedalus), but this made me realize how much there was to the creative process.

I totally get the sentiment that map creation was at its finest in the late nineties. It's hard to deny that '97 was sort 'the' year for mapmaking - Requiem, HR, etc. - so many great releases. That being said, I also think that the community today produces is probably a close second in terms of 'eras' in classic Doom lore.

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40 has a great point about 90's maps being brain teasers, and modern maps being a lot more linear/streamlined, but of course there are exceptions. I think the best thing to do is try and find a balance, I'm always worried that switches will confuse people so my maps end up too streamlined, but at the same time it's a result of not wanting people to go through the "what the hell happnes now" feeling.

Honestly, it's a tough balance to strike, and that's why MM1 and Scythe are two of my all time favorites, although as BlackFish said a lot of the MM maps are too ambiguous.

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