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T-Rex

In Defense of Hell Revealed

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I think a lot of people are a bit too rough on Hell Revealed. Many complain that the megawad is nothing but mindless slaughter in practically every single map. I beg to differ, because I have played Hell Revealed and honestly, it is not that insane. If you want a wad that is pure, unadulterated slaughter all the way, there's Nuts and Sunder.

Now, I agree that the megawad has a few hiccups, like sparse ammo and health in some of the maps, but in the grand scheme of things, these are the kind of maps that encourage you to employ strategy on how to tackle the opposition with the gear that you are provided. Use that mentality with these maps, and you'll find they're a lot of fun.

Going on to the gameplay, anyone who thoroughly play Hell Revealed will familiarise themselves with other similar contemporary wads like Plutonia and the Chord series. In fact, most of Hell Revealed, especially the mid-late maps, have that Plutonia vibe of gameplay. The only difference is the size of the maps. Plutonia's maps were short and sweet, with only a few lengthy ones. Hell Revealed, on the other hand, had more larger maps, hence why many of them have monster counts that goes as high as 200+ enemies. If the Casalis had made more large maps for Plutonia, then I guarantee that they would have doubled/tripled the monster count since their intention was to really challenge Doomers who mastered Doom 2 and wanted a more brutal game.

Speaking of Plutonia, I couldn't help but notice how some of Hell Revealed's maps seem to draw influence from the design sensibilities of the Casali brothers. Yonatan Donner particularly cited a lot from Milo Casali, seeing how he likes to use curves, circular rooms, and even symmetry in some of Hell Revealed's maps. Furthermore, looking at Resistance is Futile, Map 22 of HR, how can you not think of Go 2 It and Showdown (Memento Mori, Map 23)?

While the difficulty curve is much harsher than Doom 2 and TNT Evilution combined, it still makes sense and it is consistent throughout the latter half of the megawad (save for the infamous Post Mortem and the breather Dead Progressive). It starts off with the weaker enemies and as you progress, you face them in packs, which indicates what you have to be prepared for. It quickly also introduces the heavyweight enemies before finally introducing what you'll be up against starting with Underground Base. So yeah, Plutonia just tosses heavyweight enemies right from the start, while HR starts off nice and easy before getting to the juicier, meatier maps later on. Let's not forget the great selection of Rise of the Triad music to complement the intensity of the wad.

Plutonia may have had a storyline while HR doesn't, but that still doesn't take any points off the megawad as it provides endless entertainment and action. All the same, Doom was always about the fast-paced action rather than the storyline, looking at what John Carmack and John Romero wanted to accomplished as opposed to Tom Hall's original intentions.

Much like the Casali brothers, Yonatan Donner and Haggay Niv worked on Hell Revealed as a duo, and comparing the original creators of Doom, seeing that John Romero and Sandy Petersen were the main mappers, I liken them to the two. Yonatan would be the John Romero as his maps were more appealing in design with addictive gameplay and consistent themes, while Haggay can be seen as the Sandy Petersen, having made average-looking maps that are still enjoyable to play through and provide a few interesting bits.

So that's very much all I have to say for Hell Revealed. I hoped this encouraged you reading to try out the wad with a fresh, new insight and perspective, hence being able to enjoy and appreciate it more. In my opinion, it's on par with, if not greater, to Plutonia's difficulty. If you still don't like it, then no problem. This is T-Rex, and I'll see you again next time.

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I'm glad you've come to this conclusion but I'm not sure many people are still arguing that Hell Revealed is "a mindless slaughter."

There have been 19 years of wads following Hell Revealed which has given many people a more refined perspective in the differences and nuances in gameplay across different types of easy, hard, strategic, and slaughter styled maps. So unfortunately I have to say your message is about 15 years or so too late.

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Do people out there really adamantly hate HR? For slaughtermaps they're quite tame and generally provide the player with fair HP and ammo. Hell, this is before people called them "slaughtermaps". It was just a wad with a whole lotta monsters and good build quality to boot. I very much prefer HR1 to HR2.

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I've never considered Hell Revealed maps as slaughter-type gameplay. To me it just seems like Plutonia-style maps, just a lot bigger and harder. Maybe back when it was released it might have been seen that way, but it's nothing like contemporary slaughter maps.
For example, take Deus Vult, which requires a completely different style of gameplay, involving memorizing the location of power-ups, expert crowd control, and heavy leveraging of monster infighting.

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Tosi said:

I've never considered Hell Revealed maps as slaughter-type gameplay. To me it just seems like Plutonia-style maps, just a lot bigger and harder. Maybe back when it was released it might have been seen that way, but it's nothing like contemporary slaughter maps.

Thing is, even to this day, some people consider HR as a "slaughter" wad, when Plutonia could be considered just the same. You're right that probably back in the day when both wads came out, they would have been considered that since they're a lot harder than what people were used to at the time.

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Doomhuntress said:

doesn't HR hit more typical slaughter gameplay a bit further ahead, though? it's definitely a higher body-count than Plutonia, though.

To some degree, but not really, since the body count in most of the maps range from Plutonia's to TNT's (Stronghold and Mount Pain had the highest body-count). The only maps in HR that do qualify are Hard Attack, Post Mortem, and Mostly Harmful.

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How many times has this debate happened ? Not that I disagree of course, Hell Revealed is one of my favorite Megawads. I would consider maps 13 to 26 slaughter maps for the most part, especially since they're the very reason such maps rose to prominence in the first place. I think "Showdown", "Go 2 It" and maybe even MAP12 of H2H-XMAS qualify as well. They're not the 2000-monster epics of today, but still. The thing with that though, is that slaughter as a gameplay type offers a lot more subtlety and variety than many people give it credit for.

By the way, I wouldn't say HR is exactly like Plutonia. There are a lot of maps in Plutonia that demand a precise course of action and only allow for very few mistakes. HR, by contrast, is usually more malleable. Also, most maps in Plutonia are very hectic and dare I say claustrophobic, while HR has more of a grandiose, epic feel. I guess the two share a knack for improbable scenarios and setpieces, an aspect which the canon narrative of the community often forget is even a part of HR, even though anyone who has HR fresh in their memory will know it's pretty much a constant of the WAD. Other than that, I'm personally a lot more receptive to the HR atmosphere than the Plutonia one, but I guess there's no explaining that sort of thing.

Another frequent criticism of HR is that it's supposedly slow, tedious and repetitive. Anyone who has dug up Donner and Niv's histories as not only Doom players, but video game players in general will know such an argument is hilariously uninformed and weak. The two were COMPET-N freaks back in the day, and after all Yonatan Donner is responsible for Doom 2 Done Quick, Quake Done Quick and of course Hell Quickly Revealed. Check out his UV-Max demos for HR, or better yet demos by those who have since surpassed him, and see for yourselves how slow and long they aren't.

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Budoka said:

How many times has this debate happened ? Not that I disagree of course, Hell Revealed is one of my favorite Megawads. I would consider maps 13 to 26 slaughter maps for the most part, especially since they're the very reason such maps rose to prominence in the first place. I think "Showdown", "Go 2 It" and maybe even MAP12 of H2H-XMAS qualify as well. They're not the 2000-monster epics of today, but still. The thing with that though, is that slaughter as a gameplay type offers a lot more subtlety and variety than many people give it credit for.

By the way, I wouldn't say HR is exactly like Plutonia. There are a lot of maps in Plutonia that demand a precise course of action and only allow for very few mistakes. HR, by contrast, is usually more malleable. Also, most maps in Plutonia are very hectic and dare I say claustrophobic, while HR has more of a grandiose, epic feel. I guess the two share a knack for improbable scenarios and setpieces, an aspect which the canon narrative of the community often forget is even a part of HR, even though anyone who has HR fresh in their memory will know it's pretty much a constant of the WAD. Other than that, I'm personally a lot more receptive to the HR atmosphere than the Plutonia one, but I guess there's no explaining that sort of thing.

Another frequent criticism of HR is that it's supposedly slow, tedious and repetitive. Anyone who has dug up Donner and Niv's histories as not only Doom players, but video game players in general will know such an argument is hilariously uninformed and weak. The two were COMPET-N freaks back in the day, and after all Yonatan Donner is responsible for Doom 2 Done Quick, Quake Done Quick and of course Hell Quickly Revealed. Check out his UV-Max demos for HR, or better yet demos by those who have since surpassed him, and see for yourselves how slow and long they aren't.

Hell Revealed is also one of my favourite megawads. While I respect your thoughts on Map13 and Map26, I don't really see them as slaughter maps, but they sure do keep me on my toes and have some rather intense fights. What I also do like more about HR is that it offers a variety of styles and themes.

I don't mean to say HR is exactly like Plutonia, but it was greatly influenced by its, let's say its older brother, in terms of the difficulty curve. Nevertheless, I agree that Plutonia is very sadistic right from the start to the finish, while with HR, because the packs of monsters are mostly in wide open areas, you have plenty of leeway to avoid getting hit (though evading hitscanner fire is usually by chance), and the terrain can also be used to advantage, so HR's maps are very well orchestrated in design.

I personally never found HR repetitive and tedious. The trick is to use the right weapon for the opposition presented. Like, the supershotgun for the small packs of weak enemies or heavyweights on their own (minus the spiderdemons and cyberdemons), rocket launcher for larger packs and the more threatening enemies like revenants, mancubi, and arch-viles, and of course, the BFG9000 is best reserved for when you're in a pinch, or confronting a spider mastermind or cyberdemon. Lastly, to conserve the ammo of your best weapons, resort to the chaingun or plasma rifle.

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Guess I'll find out about the joys of HR this year when I finally play it. Didn't know people still passionately cared about it.

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Yeah, the haters of Hell Revealed clearly are exaggerating the difficulty, when they might as well hate Plutonia for the same reasons. Though in Ragnor's case, he prefers more the epic adventures and puzzle-solving like Eternal Doom and such, which I also like as well.

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The most annoying bullshit part in Hell Revealed for me was MAP24 Post Mortem's infinitely (not really but it feels that way) spawning Mancubi. I seriously hated that part. The Wad is a lot of fun for the most part. There's a few stinkers here and there. Like Map13 and the cage trap was kind of unfair. And MAP18 had way too many revs and HNs and Barons on an elevator at one point. Ugh but like I said it's still a fun wad.

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I remember the cage area in Map13. While somewhat cheap, it's at least not as unfair as Mount Pain, and the trap is nothing if you take out the chaingunners first since the projectiles can be easily dodged. Map18, your best bet is to use the plasma gun for the enemies in the walkway surrounding the arena in the big room. Map24 is indeed a test of skill, strategy, and patience, and is the zenith of difficulty in HR.

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Cage on MAP13 is supremely easy, even on UV. I did not die at that part. You must use your rockets on that part.

However, I find MAP31 to be extremely unfair. MAP32 is durable and can be defeated with a strategy, but MAP31 is really, and I mean really a pain, with 20 Barons and HellKnights and whatnot.

Also, MAP16 can be really tough if you played MAP32 before it. Have fun dodging Archviles with >11% health!

Overall, I enjoy playing HR.

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DoomLover234 said:

Cage on MAP13 is supremely easy


Indeed. The strategy T-Rex mentioned is pretty much a 99% guarantee of victory. The real danger is the first couple rooms, which hanging around in for too long actually works against you.

DoomLover234 said:

Also, MAP16 can be really tough if you played MAP32 before it. Have fun dodging Archviles with >11% health!


Might as well pistol start it. Most maps in HR are very, and I do mean very pistol start friendly, and the few that aren't (14, 23...) are that way on purpose.

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Budoka said:

Might as well pistol start it. Most maps in HR are very, and I do mean very pistol start friendly, and the few that aren't (14, 23...) are that way on purpose.

Or you can make a dash for a radiation suit near the start and hurry for the soul sphere secret that is behind a hidden wall. There's even some medikits not far from the start in the indention holding an archvile, a couple of hell knights, and a rocket launcher sitting on a teleporter to the starting point.

Map31 is definitely one of the toughest, but definitely not extremely unfair since you have an ample amount of medikits in the lowering lift and it all comes down to knowing what weapon to use against the teleporting monsters. The cacodemons and pain elements can be a problem however if you play HR on Plutonia (or even TNT) since they'll teleport high up in the sky.

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T-Rex said:

Or you can make a dash for a radiation suit near the start and hurry for the soul sphere secret that is behind a hidden wall. There's even some medikits not far from the start in the indention holding an archvile, a couple of hell knights, and a rocket launcher sitting on a teleporter to the starting point.

Map31 is definitely one of the toughest, but definitely not extremely unfair since you have an ample amount of medikits in the lowering lift and it all comes down to knowing what weapon to use against the teleporting monsters. The cacodemons and pain elements can be a problem however if you play HR on Plutonia (or even TNT) since they'll teleport high up in the sky.

Yeah well I got in another room and it teleported me to a room with 3 Archies. Luckily, I know how to use the BFG9000. I saved there with about 56% health.

To me MAP31 is tougher than MAP14. The only things I have died on MAP14 were on the start (I used the speedrunner strategy with not shooting but Mancubi killed me over and over) and when I had to avoid the Cybie when I grab the blue key. However, on MAP31 I have died everywhere. For the lift I used plasma guns and the SSG. Died about 7 times there. Each of the Cybies was not a threat ut due to my stupidity (aka used the SSG on him). I have died a lot. And finally, the Barons and Hell Knights. They ambushed me so much that I lost my nerves and resurrected.

MAP32 is definitely not "you're dead". I got out of the first room with ease, as well as I cleaned the inner moat. Then I forgot to take out the Revs and... well, I somehow did NOT die there. It was hard, but not you're dead

This is my first time playing HR on UV, yes. I have played it on ITYTD before and MAP23 sticked in my mind as a normal map. Also, I remember wasting 40 cells on the Cybie on Hard Attack... lol.

The furthest I've got is probably MAP27. I remember beating Afterlife after many tries and then I just quutted. Couldn't play it anymore and when I got ZDoom I forgot about it.

But I really like it, and as the first PWAD I played, it will always stick out from CC, AV, 1024CLAU, MM, REQUIEM and others.

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DoomLover234 said:

Yeah well I got in another room and it teleported me to a room with 3 Archies. Luckily, I know how to use the BFG9000. I saved there with about 56% health.

To me MAP31 is tougher than MAP14. The only things I have died on MAP14 were on the start (I used the speedrunner strategy with not shooting but Mancubi killed me over and over) and when I had to avoid the Cybie when I grab the blue key. However, on MAP31 I have died everywhere. For the lift I used plasma guns and the SSG. Died about 7 times there. Each of the Cybies was not a threat ut due to my stupidity (aka used the SSG on him). I have died a lot. And finally, the Barons and Hell Knights. They ambushed me so much that I lost my nerves and resurrected.

MAP32 is definitely not "you're dead". I got out of the first room with ease, as well as I cleaned the inner moat. Then I forgot to take out the Revs and... well, I somehow did NOT die there. It was hard, but not you're dead

This is my first time playing HR on UV, yes. I have played it on ITYTD before and MAP23 sticked in my mind as a normal map. Also, I remember wasting 40 cells on the Cybie on Hard Attack... lol.

The furthest I've got is probably MAP27. I remember beating Afterlife after many tries and then I just quutted. Couldn't play it anymore and when I got ZDoom I forgot about it.

But I really like it, and as the first PWAD I played, it will always stick out from CC, AV, 1024CLAU, MM, REQUIEM and others.

While I agree that Map31 is tougher than Map14, I find Map32 to be the second-hardest in HR. If I have to rate the five toughest levels, here's what I felt are from least difficult to most.

1. Afterlife (Map 26)
2. The Descent (Map 31)
3. Resistance is Futile (Map 22)
4. Mostly Harmful (Map 32)
5. Post Mortem (Map 24)

Oh, boy, playing this megawad on UV is challenging, but if you can beat Plutonia on that difficulty, then you should be a ninja on this. I prefer to stick to HMP in most of the wads I play.

Everything else after Afterlife, while still tough, it is smooth sailing. If you can get past Map 24 and 26, the rest of the maps should be a cinch.

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T-Rex said:

While I agree that Map31 is tougher than Map14, I find Map32 to be the second-hardest in HR. If I have to rate the five toughest levels, here's what I felt are from least difficult to most.

1. Afterlife (Map 26)
2. The Descent (Map 31)
3. Resistance is Futile (Map 23)
4. Mostly Harmful (Map 32)
5. Post Mortem (Map 24)

Oh, boy, playing this megawad on UV is challenging, but if you can beat Plutonia on that difficulty, then you should be a ninja on this. I prefer to stick to HMP in most of the wads I play.

Everything else after Afterlife, while still tough, it is smooth sailing. If you can get past Map 24 and 26, the rest of the maps should be a cinch.

MAP23: Ascending to the Stars is MAP23. Resistance is Futile is MAP22

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Maps are boring looking and there isn't that many enemies either so it's neither a proper slaughterfest by today's standards nor it has any eye candy I really wonder how shit players were back then if they considered it a challenge and I'm by no means a hardcore gamer who plays every game on highest difficulty replay this wad for yourselves and see how easy it really is. HR2 is better.

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DoomLover234 said:

MAP23: Ascending to the Stars is MAP23. Resistance is Futile is MAP22

That was a typo on my part. Did mean to say Map22.

MegaSphere said:

Maps are boring looking and there isn't that many enemies either so it's neither a proper slaughterfest by today's standards nor it has any eye candy I really wonder how shit players were back then if they considered it a challenge and I'm by no means a hardcore gamer who plays every game on highest difficulty replay this wad for yourselves and see how easy it really is. HR2 is better.

With all due respect, MegaSphere, HR's maps were impressive in architecture and design back in 1997, and since you said HR2 is better, you were comparing HR to a wad that was released at exactly the end of 2003. HR isn't necessarily a slaughterfest, with only a few maps that are of that classification for its time, counting a handful in Plutonia (notably Map32 Go 2 It), Milo Casali's Showdown (Memento Mori Map23), and Dario Casali's Runriot, Punisher, and Seej wads.

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T-Rex said:

That was a typo on my part. Did mean to say Map22.

With all due respect, DoomLover234, HR's maps were impressive in architecture and design back in 1997, and since you said HR2 is better, you were comparing HR to a wad that was released at exactly the end of 2003. HR isn't necessarily a slaughterfest, with only a few maps that are of that classification for its time, counting a handful in Plutonia (notably Map32 Go 2 It), Milo Casali's Showdown (Memento Mori Map23), and Dario Casali's Runriot, Punisher, and Seej wads.

I did not say that. MegaSphere said that.

I like HR. I never even played HR II because I never liked a sequel to a great WAD. And I must agree, Showdown and Go 2 It were real slaughtermaps; but tbh Mostly Harmful must be classified as a slaughtermap. For the time when it was released, the architecture was great and impressive as you said.

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DoomLover234 said:

I did not say that. MegaSphere said that.

T-Rex said:

With all due respect, MegaSphere,

Fixed.

DoomLover234 said:

I like HR. I never even played HR II because I never liked a sequel to a great WAD. And I must agree, Showdown and Go 2 It were real slaughtermaps; but tbh Mostly Harmful must be classified as a slaughtermap. For the time when it was released, the architecture was great and impressive as you said.

HR2 isn't a bad megawad, but it hardly felt like an actual sequel. It was quite a mixed bag as there were some good maps that surpassed HR, some average maps, and some rather ugly and horrible maps. Not to mention that a lot of them really went overboard with the body count. Additionally, too many of HR2's maps were claustrophobic and loaded with monsters, rendering them tedious, and at times quite unfair as some of these maps have little to no cover, as opposed to the original HR where the packs of monsters are always in the large open areas and you can take cover by using the terrain. Still, HR2 yielded some good bits, though Kama Sutra comes off more as a spiritual successor to HR, IMO.

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I feel like HR2 tried to do - Unsuccessfully, in my opinion - What Scythe II did to Scythe. I know Scythe came much later than HR, but it's one of the only examples where I liked the sequel about as much as the first installment. They usually go overboard as fuck with the monsters, detail and new textures in sequels, but something about Scythe II just got it right.

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Just so no one gets confused, HRII is also older than Scythe II. Anyway, the thing is Erik Alm made all three Scythes entirely by himself (except for MAP31 of the first one), while Yonatan Donner and Haggay Niv are nowhere to be found in Jonas Feragen's HRII roster. Donner did greenlight the project as the oOCities mirror avialable on the wiki shows, but I don't think he did any overseeing on it.

So when you factor in the six years of time that separate the two, the fact that they have different authors, and that the same thing is never really me made twice anyway, of course both WADs are going to have a somewhat different spirit. But I can't vouch for the quality of HRII overall since unlike the first one, it thoroughly kicks my ass.

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Budoka said:

But I can't vouch for the quality of HRII overall since unlike the first one, it thoroughly kicks my ass.

That's the thing. I remember the maps having a mix of interesting textures and environments, as well as dull 'all brown' and 'all grey' bits thet just didn't seem inspired. HR wasn't exactly detailed, but as you said it's significantly older anyway. In addition to that, the monster spam is kind of absurd and makes it way too grinding, for my tastes anyway.

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HR2's best thing going for it is probably the soundtrack, which fits the chaotic firefights perfectly. on the other hand though it is an absolute chore to play. i definitely agree that Kama Sutra is better.

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Indeed. Kama Sutra had better monster placement than HR2. It had a substantial higher body count than the original HR, no doubt, but at least they were appropriate for the size of the maps. It was like Plutonia, HR, AV, and Scythe in a blender.

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