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E1M3 Nightmare Help

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Hi guys, I've been playing Episode 1 on Nightmare for some time now, and it's a blast. However I'm having real trouble with the third level.

I have spent some time on this map and have started to think of it as a puzzle than an actual action game. My ambition is to complete the entire episode in one run, so using guns from the previous two levels is okay for this. Anyway here goes so far with this map:

I start this map, hugging the left of the first door, and blast the first zombies and demon. Then I slowly work my way around, killing the guys at the front, and turning until I generally end up like this.

This nearly almost always works out well, ie. minimal damage, unless the demon decides to run around and chew my behind, so that is the only thing to watch out for in this room.

I then take out this barrel because I like to hide here on the way back, also if any demons respawn suddenly behind me, there is some place to hide.

Now, I hammer it out with these guys with a second, take out the middle barrel, and the shotgunner on the left, in that order. I then move to the left hand corner, and should end up like this:


I switch to the shotgun, take these suckers out, ensure that the barrel below is hit, and be ready around the corner for the approaching two/three guys who will be creeping up.

Now we are at this part. (The secrets aren't important to me on this map; they are too hard to reach.)

I approach it from the left.

I open it from the left to maximise infighting. Either the shotgun or chaingun work in this room. The main thing is to kill the previous guys so nobody is firing at me from behind.

I then approach the next room and take out the guy, imp, and barrel on the left, then move completely out and take out the guys on the right. This can be done with the shotgun, but by the time the demons are running around, the chaingun is best.

I then get to the key, which is easy enough...

Blast the suckers here for the easy bullets and health...

...And promptly die on the way back.

If I can get to the beginning part again with the key in hand, the rest isn't two particularly difficult; the locked room is best to start off by taking out the barrel, opening the door while hugging the right of it, taking out the first shotgunner immediately with the shotgun, taking out a few more that way and mopping up the rest with the chaingun, then grabbing the armour in that order. If my health is particularly low I'll go for the secret in this room, but I hate doing that because of the constant respawning. The final room is easier as well; the shotgun is good for clearing everyone out at first, because there are just so many of them, and then switching to the shotgun to deal with the rest, then exit.

The next level is nothing near as hard. E1M5 is very tough as well, but at least it is manageable and gives you some breathing space. This level just sucks every time. I can beat it in one run occasionally, but I really want to master it completely.

So I have two major difficulties with this map. First: the second room (see the third pic). There are just crowds of enemies here. It takes a good 5 seconds to clear it out to a point where I'm not going to get constantly blasted the moment I step in, and by that time, things behind me are already respawning. The alternative here would be to simply charge straight to the room from the start but that NEVER works out because any demons still moving in the room will make life a misery for the next rooms.

By the time I have a foothold in the second room, I will be aggressively attacking the imps by the switch, in a safe position where their fireballs will not reach me but I can hit them (see the fifth pic). They will be just streaming out up the stairs to attack me. I need to clear them ALL to ensure I survive the third room well. Since they attack so frequently, leaving just one is never a good tactic, but I can never predict where they are wandering around.

The second major problem I have is getting back alive! The room here is the outside area again. I think all the enemies in the map that I encounter previously will beeline straight to this point. There are just too many bad guys. The imp on the high position, the demons, the shotgunners, the constant imps, the things respawning in front of you and behind you... it all just sucks. I just duke it out with the chaingun and do what I can, then charge back to the start of the map - the previous rooms are easier because all the enemies have lined up to meet me just after I pick up the key! But I can't think of an honest tactic for this room either.

That is probably an awful lot, so if anybody has any advice about this map or even just playing nightmare in general, then I would appreciate it. Obviously playing on Nightmare is pretty advanced but this is the only real way I can get a challenge out of the game, and Nightmare has a lot more punch!

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I would recommend watching other nightmare runs of episode 1, they can be found here: http://doomedsda.us/wad947m110.html under NM-Speed or NM 100 (for all secrets).
Current record is by stx-vile in 6:46 (not counting E1M8), but if you are just looking to get through alive it might be easier to use older runs as I would assume they take some easier strategies in some cases, though that might not be too helpfull on nightmare because of respawn.

You also mentioned playing on nightmare is the only way to get any challenge, I'm sure there are plenty of custom made WADs that can give you plenty of it :)

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@ deadwolves

Download some slaughtermaps, dude, you'll get your challenge there :-D

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Oh yeah for sure, there are loads of great mods which I look at online, but I don't want to go close to them until I've completely mastered the original episodes. It's got to be canon, y'know?

And the speedrun videos don't do playing on Nightmare justice, not in reality. For starters, speedrunning on NM is totally different from playing it normally, because you don't have to care about what state you are in for the next map. You just get there and if you have 1%, then you don't have to care, whereas start-to-back playing means you have to play each room healthily.

Also, the NM video walkthroughs don't show just how much luck you need to rely on sometimes, like running through a horde of monsters to get to the switch behind it - nine times out of ten, you will need to clear at least half the room to move on. Monsters respawn randomly, so knowing where they are is only half the story, and once you have to retrace your steps it's anybodys guess where that pack of demons will jump out again. Actually one of the biggest reasons I wanted to completely sort these maps was seeing the examples online, and learning that they are not always the full story. It only takes a few lucky hits from a shotgunner to seriously mess you up, and a lot of the playthroughs almost show the player as if he's figured out a way to dodge hitscans.

Getting through each room usually means taking out literally everything and just hoping for the best when you next enter it, you can't simply rush through the map - the enemies are so aggressive that you can't survive that way. Playing cautiously massively increases your chance of survival. Of course hanging around means you will end up being overrun, so you have to count every second you are spending in each area for that to work out.

If you mean easier strategies, you are probably referring to getting 100% secrets? That is not a big deal to me, though it might be to others and yes, that requires better level planning, but once you get those secrets your chances of surviving the level significantly increase. Reaching the yellow key on E1M3 is pretty hairy, but at the end it offers you a load of weapons and blue armour, by that point most people could get through to the exit without too much trouble.

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deadwolves said:

And the speedrun videos don't do playing on Nightmare justice, not in reality. For starters, speedrunning on NM is totally different from playing it normally, because you don't have to care about what state you are in for the next map. You just get there and if you have 1%, then you don't have to care, whereas start-to-back playing means you have to play each room healthily.

An episode run -- which is what ZeroMaster linked and referred to -- is played "start to back"!

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Yes, I don't quite understand the difference here. The episode runs that you can find all start with pistol on E1M1 and without dying goes through all 8 maps in the episode (I believe secret exit is required in NM 100) in a single segment.

Going faster means you are less likely to deal with respawn and if you die you start over. Which obviously happens often in nightmare and perhaps a lot of the time because of a bad respawn shotgunner getting a high damage hit for example.

The first run for ep1 probably didn't think too much about the time, the runs after that probably all tried to do it faster. The more risks you take the better time you get, which is why slower episode runs might take less risks and thus being better to use as a guide for getting through the episode.

Anyways, of course you can try to do it without looking what has been done before. In that case I would recommend knowing of relevant secrets (secrets that aren't more dangerous to get than to ignore), having decent movement (that is being able to use straferun) and just do every area several times until you find the best way to get through it with taking the least amount damage (which of course will be random every attempt so it's hard to tell what that is).

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Ah, it would help if I paid attention, thanks.

Yeah this is what I am talking about. A video playthrough is all good, but it never compensates for a random shotgunner which suddenly wakes up behind you and takes a third of your health off. On most levels this is just the Doom way, you can work around it because there's usually some wide space to run around and a medkit somewhere.

This map - the first half of it - is particularly difficult because it squeezes you so tightly through so many bad guys. By the time you pick up the key you need, you turn around and there's a wall of respawning enemies that either kill you or make the rest of the journey very hard. If you rush, you take too much damage, if you don't, you take too much damage.

It's not impossible, but I usually get shredded, and I don't get it. The entire game even on UV was fairly easy to beat - the hardest maps IMO were E4M2 and E4M6. Most maps I did on my first run, so it's weird how this is such a challenge. The one I have spent a little time working from is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S_jzstLBUs. But things hardly ever work out as fortunate as these maps make it look like, dammit.

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Unfortunately I haven't got any advice, but I enjoyed that screenshot oriented writeup of your approach - I know it would be a lot of time and effort, but seeing that for every E1 map in Nightmare would be highly entertaining and informative.

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deadwolves said:

I've been playing Episode 1 on Nightmare for some time now
However I'm having real trouble with the third level.

Sounds like you're having a lot of trouble

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When you play Nightmare you must understand something. You must not play it in the same way you play in UV. If you "Duke it out" the enemies are going to worn you and kill you.
- Don´t kill all the enemies it´s just pointless
- The only enemies that are a must to PUT DOWN are those with hitscan

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I play nightmare quite a bit to warm up and E1M3 is a common go-to map if you're looking for serious resistance.

I do believe that its necessary to remind everyone that the skills required to beat a map as fast as possible, the skills to endure a 10,000 monster swarm on UV, and the skills to power your way through a simple map like E1M3 on nightmare are three different skill types that aren't very interchangeable. UV--fasting maps wont prep you for a huge and painful monster slog, and likewise killing fast-shooting infinitely-respawning shotgun guys wont help you beat a map faster, and so on. But these are all skills that ultimately tailor yourself to be a better doom player in one way or another.

Now the challenge in E1M3 is that after the starting area, you basically trudge through a really long hallway, then come back through that same hallway with an uncertain number of respawned monsters in unexpected locations. The design has a lot of lines toward a dead end or circles you back through previous areas. What you want to do is kinda pretend that the health kits on the map aren't there, power through the map toward the blue key, then once you get the key, take advantage of the health on the way back so you're prepped for the next parts. That works for me anyway.

The argument zeromaster is making is that if your end goal is only to complete the map, you just gotta waste the shotgun guys and move quickly. Ultimately the doomguy is too fast so if you've got the dexterity and agility, you can get past the imps and pinky demons with little damage without having to waste time killing them. In effect you don't give the shotgun guys enough time to respawn and you can get to the end of the map with little damage. Essentially that works, but when you understand this to be a test of might, or like a puzzle as you say, scoring less than 50% kills almost feels like a sham.

It'll take a lot of practice but i think you can do it. If you can, talk some buddies into playing cooperative with you. Its especially fun to work together, and e1m3 is great for that. Communication is key! Having players stand guard in areas and spawn kill monsters to keep rooms clear while another makes a dash for the blue key is really fun.

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You know I might be up for doing that. Once I actually get my head around this! It would be fun to explain how to run through the entire episode using a kind of screenshot gallery approach, as if it could be done by a beginner. It's such a hard difficulty that 'cracking' it with a walkthrough would be interesting.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NkbN0ezGf4

@Wild Dog
See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NkbN0ezGf4

The only enemies that are a must to PUT DOWN are those with hitscan

So the demons in the open air area on E1M3. You figured out how to just fly over them? If you are playing a large and hectic map, you can cause infighting or just run away. Otherwise, you HAVE to clear rooms in order to reduce risk. I've tried speedrunning the entire level like this, only choosing choice targets - best I can get is the essential key.


The argument zeromaster is making is that if your end goal is only to complete the map, you just gotta waste the shotgun guys and move quickly.

Well my end goal is to master the map to the point where I can always reach the exit like I have done with most of the other E1 maps by myself. It is this map that is proving a real challenge. The shotgun guys are all mixed in with zombies, imps and demons, so picking them and their human shields out takes way too long. And just sprinting past the rest always results in quick death. Most of the walkthroughs I find rely on the player hanging around a lot, theres one on youtube which lasts for nearly 10 minutes on this map alone. This isn't one you charge through surely.

Also, I figured out a new thing. Quickly opening/closing a door to a new room once or twice will result in enemies opening fire but quickly infighting, and you get to use the door as a shield. Drawback: I've found that respawners tend to land up here!

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