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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Estranged

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MAP16: Battle Room
74% kills, 0/2 secrets

Small little "gather the three keys" map here, with some decently bloody battles. The start is actually quite dangerous on a pistol start, as there's a lot of monsters in-between you and that needed ammo. I ended up punching out a few hell knights before making a wild run for the shell ammo past the arachnatrons. Once you clear out the main rooms, it's not so tough, though I left all the revenants that spawned from the blue key grab behind then hid out and let the spider duke it out on my behalf before jumping into the teleporter.

MAP17: Twisted Realms
100% kills, 2/3 secrets

We Shores of Hell now! Another interesting start here, as there's a mad dash leading you to the rocket launcher, in some tight corridors too. Eventually you'll get a shotgun and chaingun off the zombies, but still lots of close dangerous rocket action. Spent a helluva time on that BFG secret, but it was worth it. Cool little map.

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Map 20

Very intense opening; I was darting all over the place. The dropdown fight past the two Archviles is just ridiculous. Maybe if we were handed a megasphere first, I dunno. You have to tank so much damage it's insane. It took me a lot of skill and luck to survive, and those are in short supply. Eventually the main door to the final arenafight is lowered; there's a Cyberdemon and lots of friends. It's really easy to skip this whole fight by darting for a teleporter that leads to the end, but I am quite committed to monster extermination unfortunately. Eventually I prevail but maybe this monster killing thing is an exercise in pointlessness; at most i'm just testing whether the ammo is sufficient, which is pointless at this stage as it's not betatesting. I already know I can kill the enemy in most any situations, so maybe I should start trying to give speedrunning a try, though I think I woefully lack the skills at the moment. At any rate, that's the map; it looks good and plays okay, a bit hectic for my tastes but it's fine.

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rileymartin said:

There's a non-secret rocket launcher in a reasonable spot, but it's flagged MP only for whatever reason. No idea how this got past QA.

pls elaborate


In no mood for standing around while monsters infight to death. Quit after the PEs/revs/etc. reveal.

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MAP20 The Rift

Woohoo, a level that isn't annoying, at least for me. This one gives the supplies right away, even when you start to get into the heat of battle. Yet it also gives the nonlinear approach a spin, to hell! Another kicker, NO KEYS! I appreciate levels that don't have you hunting for keys and such. The left side looks like a nice place to run to until you realize the mancubi and hell knights that will surround you. Run through them and take out the arch-vile as quick as I do, then you have a safe chance. The right side is more of a projectile hell with some lava and radsuits for protection, yet constant motion is most beckoned for getting through safe. The final area, after hitting the switches on both sides, is sort of the same thing, but the most concentration should be on the pain elementals, lost souls, revenants, and mancubi, while keeping watch of where your rockets (as well as cyber's rockets, since he'll certainly wind up infighting inevitably) are heading.

Onward to the next level, and let me tell you, this one isn't that good. Foodles said he would work on it some time, but it didn't look like time was spent on it much.

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map20

One of the best maps yet. Some open-field brawls with variety. I generally prefer setpieces to take place in geometrically complex areas (which is why I think the distinction between "set pieces" and "incidental combat" can be very blurry), with such devices as monsters in one sub-area of a contiguous space serving as the "soft lock" for an encounter in another part of that space.

Tiny weakness: Foodles does place some monsters that are annoying to kill and thus detract from the flow of the action, the HKs in the last area. But overall it's a strong small map, and much cleaner in that respect than map32. Literally every encounter allows you to escape quite easily (sometimes you have to know where to go), but that isn't a big deal because this isn't really meant to be a hard map, and these days, when a map isn't supposed to be, like, at least R1 on the Ribbiks Scale of Difficulty™, I care more that the map optimizes for UV-max flexibility instead of trying to wring every last bit of challenge out of the layout and thing placements, which often involves making areas "easy" to beat if you feel like cheesing or camping them.

UV-Speed for this map is quite leisurely, just like map32. 1:15 is fairly simple to get; you can even grab the green armor at the beginning. But getting ~1:00 depends mostly on the archvile duo and what clogs up that hallway. Oh yeah, now that I'm on the subject, I'd say that the teleportation destination is weird; not sure why it's facing the drop instead of the other way around.



This one was quite lucky, with the second vile being telefragged.

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MAP18: Crater
100% kills, 3/3 secrets

I can see the rehash comments, as this does feel like a place we've visited multiple times in this WAD set already. The rev battle at the start took me quite a few tries, but I really like the middle section of the map, especially the switch room. Looks great (even in the old-school style) and plays well too. Didn't really care for the rocky section after the teleporter, though.

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MAP20 - "The Rift”

This is one of those maps that seems to encourage running past everything, which I did for the most part. Its not that I don't enjoy killing the monsters, its just awkward when there are a lot of guys firebombing you from far away or up on shelves, so if you are running to find cover or a safe spot for a breather, then may as well keep on running if the map allows it. There are some archviles thrown in to trip you up though, and they definitey need destroying as a priority, but the entire final battle with the cyber I just skipped past. The exit killed me anyway, so we are even I guess. And you know, I never begrudge a map for letting me run away like a coward. We make the game that we deserve to play sometimes.

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MAP19: Haunted Mines
DNF

Started out pretty well, but even allowing for infighting on the yellow key room, started running out of ammo and needed to run past a lot of stuff (doesn't help that that group is full of Pain Elementals, so infighting = lots of lost souls). I had built back up some ammo by the time I got to the red key, but simply didn't see a way I could beat that fight with just the SSG/chaingun, door marshalling or not. I don't think running would've worked anyways, even had I got the lift up it usually got blocked by some PEs I had to run by earlier in the map. Damn you, missing rocket launcher.

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Map 21: Hell Hole

What is this pile of Mickey Mouse Shit®!? By far the worst map in the wad and perhaps in the whole world of Doom. I've played better Terry wads than this. No weapons, health or ammo anywhere near the start? Check. RNG based crap once you grab the BFG and go for the Mastermind? Oh yeah. Hell, even running past the damn thing can eat half your health. Oh yeah, once you get the radsuit the lava is one of 'em 20% floors that can damage you through it. Brilliant. And if you want max kills you better either play monster infighting simulator or have the monsters pile up nicely for you to BFG. Yeah, naw bruh. I'm taking this BFG into the rest of the maps after this crap. Rating: Ass-to-Ass

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Map20

Wasn't into it. Nice enough start, soon followed by annoying encounters. I played the Death-Destiny Lite area where PEs were maybe the biggest pain of all. At least there weren't that many of them. Arachnotron and Manc snipers kept you moving and probably did most of the murdering. That Archie had to be killed immediately, so on every attempt I took a lot of damage making that happen until finally I got a good run and saved while being pursued by a Revvie.

I also fought what I call The Hell Knight Bridge -- with overhead Manc snipers! -- by running across it. I got the Archie on the other side on my second try at the cost of half my health, but it allowed me to door-camp and kill all the Nobles and Mancs. I actually ran outside to kill the last Manc. Made me feel brave. :D At this point I figured I'd be going for 100% kills.

Negatory on that when I got into the big Cyb clusterfuck at the end. I fought it for real twice, died, then decided I'd rather run for the exit.

Not a bad-looking map, just not a fun one for me.

@Demon of the Well -- You're on to something with the "survival horror" idea. Probably the most effective of the maps fall into that category to some extent or another. As to whether the missing RL was an oversight, I'm not sure. Placing the RL in a secret area that's more or less impossible to find for those of us who rarely use the automap may signal that if you don't find it you're SOL, as in, it's a feature, not a bug. It's always possible to overlook things and make mistakes in a massive and complicated project like this, so I'll give Foodles the benefit of the doubt. However, there's been enough sucker punches here to make me think it was deliberate.

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Map 21

It's a bit early, but I just played this and may as well comment. It's... different I guess. There's a whole lot of nothing to this map. It's basically a speedrun-only type affair; there's ammo but it's just a BFG and some cells; add to this a bulletbox and it doesn't take much number crunching to see that there isn't enough on the map to kill the various monsters littered about it. So 100% kills is out of consideration. There is health in the form of a soulsphere; other than that the place is bereft of supplies. Also there's one secret and you start on it, so that's dumb. Basically what you do in this map is you either choose to go to the BFG then proceed to kill the Mastermind and hit a switch it's guarding then bolt for the exit, OR you try a no-kill run just trying to make it to the switch and to the exit without getting perforated by the Mastermind. I chose the latter, and it's fairly easy just takes a little don't-target-me luck. I think I've said all there is I could say about this map.

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Seele00TextOnly said:

So 100% kills is out of consideration.


I actually left the map with 200 BFG ammo after getting all the kills. Of course that involved 6+ minutes of herding monsters with terrible pathing and making them all infight which is as anti-fun as it sounds.

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MAP19: Haunted Mines

Here's my continuous perspective. I had plenty of rockets going in, so 90% of the enemies in the yellow key room ended up pinned against the bars that bifurcate the hall leading to the switch, almost as if it was designed to make a choke point. Then rocketing them was a piece of cake. With a chainsaw, the spectre trap is trivial because you trigger it inside a narrow hallway; all you have to do is grind. The cul-de-sace after that with a couple of hell knights is ok. The haz suit temps you to jump down into the nukage, but then you're immediately blindsided by hit scanners on different levels, not to mention the spectres and caco's that come pouring out at ground level. The only thing that worked for me was reloading and camping the opening. The blue key room drop down to the manc, vile and souls looked like a beast, but the far room was a perfect camping spot to spam rockets both before and after I triggered the red plate trap. The final structure is almost funny. Visually, this is nice, but even on continuous, I don't think it works.

MAP20: The Rift

I spent the second half of the map benny hilling it to success. But I sure did like that first part.

MAP21: Hell Hole

More benny hill! The basic concept works, and then it's over. I guess it's supposed to be an opener to a new episode. I'm all for short minisodes but these are running together a bit.

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MAP20: The Rift
55% kills, no map secrets

As Mouldy said, this map really seems to encourage running away from everything. I cleared out the first room/area but started running past everything once I got to the two side areas. Just not much interest in shooting fireballers from long distance.

MAP21: Hell Hole
21% kills, 1/1 map "secret"

Hahaha what the shit. Hell hole indeed. Estranged hasn't necessarily been my cup of tea so far but this feels like something straight out of 1994 done by a first-time author. It's a bunch of blandly lit squares with one weapon and very questionable monster placement... two pulls of the BFG trigger is all you need to finish this map easily and even those aren't needed. Also weird how this level has the "start in the lone secret" to trigger 100% in older ports but plenty of other levels in this WAD (such as the previous one) don't. Feels like a placeholder or something. Bizarre.

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map21

Yeah, this map really reminds me of something out of the '90s, where secretless maps often put a "secret" flag at the start just so you wouldn't register 0% secrets otherwise, since that was how ports worked. And in a way, the iwads themselves often looked more sophisticated than much of what came in the (many) years to follow, largely because of all the oblique shapes and stuff. But this isn't quite early '90s aesthetically -- metal support over everything hadn't really been codified yet! It's like a Scythe 1 or Demonfear imitation without the charm and sophistication. It's so far below the standards of the other maps that it's confusing. Let's not call this one speedmappy, either, as if there aren't speedmaps that are a thousand times more creative.

The action could be interpreted as a pacifist puzzle, I suppose, but it's not really much of a puzzle. These can get a lot more sophisticated. The UV-Max grind doesn't seem to be too interesting either because it's mostly about monster bunching luck; ideally everything will be well placed for some quick BFG shots, and you shouldn't have to use the pistol on anything or go out of your way to encourage too much infighting. In casual play, there's enough cell ammo to get 100% kills without using the pistol and without more than a few seconds here and there of infighting encouragement. All that's needed is some efficient BFG use.

Upcoming levels are the most intriguing from the top-down view, so let's hope for a strong final push.

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Map21

An inoffensive little concept map. Filler for sure, but hey, it's hard coming up with 32 maps all by yourself. Besides, this is fully in keeping with the '90s PWAD feel Foodles seems to be going for. I got the BFG, so I'm happy. ;)

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MAP21 - "Hell Hole”

Heh, i was a bit taken aback by the sudden ending until I remembered this is an episode opener. I guess we are finally in hell now, after jumping back and forth over the course of wad. The name of the game here is to make everything kill everything else, except the mastermind for which you are given a BFG to put it out of its misery. After that there is a hole, the hole of hell presumably. Not exactly an award winning map, but I'll still take it over map19.

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MAP17: Twisted Realms
13:40 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 66% Secrets

A very E2 feel, which I always enjoy. Pretty fun all around. I actually anticipated (more or less) the chaingunner trap at the end, but lost my footing and fell in the drink before I SSG them all. That BFG secret I wasted 5+ minutes trying to get (I gave up and reloaded to keep the extra time off my final score.) I'd be almost positive it's impossible for a keyboard-only player to get (I assume you have to lower the lift, run back around and hit the door switch, then get back to the lift before it raises) but it seems Steve was able to get it, so I dunno. I never got close.


MAP18: Crater
26:11 | 100% Kills | 93% Items | 100% Secrets

Not sure where those last item(s) were, but I got all the secrets! I liked this one quite a bit, barring yet another archie/revvie-in-close-quarters teleport trap. I'm rapidly getting sick of those. Otherwise, this was fun. The start was crazy hectic, though, considering I'm starting most of these levels around 50% health, and another Foodles trope is shaping up to be revenants-directly-coming-at-you-down-a-hallway...


MAP19: Haunted Mines
25:09 | 100% Kills | 0% Items | 33% Secrets

And now we get to Fuck You: The Map. Once again, I started with ~50% health, which means I had to use the meager provisions lying around to get up to base level in the first place, never mind getting back there. The yellow key trap was pretty poor: a big old arena, but you can never actually get there considering everyone bunches up in the hallway chokepoint. Dumb, and accomplishing nothing beyond draining my rocket supply. Then we get the blue key area, which starts out blind-dropping you smack into a manc/vile combo. B.S., my friend. Then (yet another) big revvie/archie smackdown, with nowhere to run and god forbid you come into it with less than full health. I would have grabbed the megasphere (I found the secret door) but at 30% health I couldn't make it more than 4 steps into that tunnel. So I basically spent 2-3 dozen tries where I just peeked out into the main room and spammed rockets. If someone fired a homing missile at me, I was dead. If someone got through my rocket fire and into the tunnel, I was dead. Plasma gun would have been ideal, but with only 20 cells it was less than useless. When I finally did escape, I had like 15% health. So guess how well the exit area went? "Hey, here's a single medikit so you can survive two hits instead of one! Also, here's a tiny amount of cells so you can pretend you have enough to actually do something with!" I ended up clearing out the first arena without releasing the revenants. Then wandered around for a bit wondering what to do before finding the trigger to open up the rest of the area. (I thought I had tried that trigger earlier, but I must have hit the 45-degree section instead of the flat part, so nothing happened, and I just assumed it didn't do anything. Ridiculous.) Unfortunately, by this point I had already saved a few times, so I had to face down all those revenants without the benefit of infighting, and I didn't realize you could walk around outside the arena area until I'd taken out half the revvies anyway. Basically, the entire end would have been much more manageable if anything at all was signposted a little better, but no. Or maybe just some more cells. (And I didn't realize until I exited that I had a BFG; when did I pick that up? Not that I had enough ammo for more than 2 shots...)

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Salt-Man Z said:

MAP17: Twisted Realms
13:40 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 66% Secrets
That BFG secret I wasted 5+ minutes trying to get (I gave up and reloaded to keep the extra time off my final score.) I'd be almost positive it's impossible for a keyboard-only player to get (I assume you have to lower the lift, run back around and hit the door switch, then get back to the lift before it raises) but it seems Steve was able to get it, so I dunno. I never got close.


Ah, no I clipped for it. Like you, I figured out what you had to do and I gave it the good old college try -- many, many times! :D -- but you're right, it can't be done by keyboarders, at least with our setups. Would love to see if SAV88 can do it, since he's the most fluid keyboarder I've ever seen.

Of course, I cheated. I don't feel bad about that because this is casual play. I'm not doing speedruns or anything defined by sticking to the rules, so the hell with it. ;D It's like the time I angled my RL down to deal with those Revvie snipers out beyond auto-aim range. A couple people mentioned that they could have been accessed and dealt with earlier. Maybe so, but honestly, I never realized they existed until I was out on that platform getting shot at. I reckon I just missed them earlier, but as I said, I didn't feel like backtracking to go and get them the legit way, so I decided, "I'm gonna kill 'em right now."

In the world of logic and debate, this is known as "rationalizing." :D But that's okay, because this is Doom. I try to do things legit as often as possible and I hardly ever cheat, and when I do, it usually involves some platforming BS. It can be argued that I did not cheat in Ancient Aliens Map10 when I angled my RL down to deal with the far beyond auto-aim Revvies there, because in the text file it says Ancient Aliens is "Boom Compatible," which would include ports like ZDoom and Risen3D which have mouselook. There was no specific mention that using mouselook is cheating, though I tend to feel it's anti-Doom behavior, so I hardly ever do it. But Estranged is for PRBoom+, so that means, yes, I cheated, but I wanted me that BFG, and I meant to have it! :D

BTW, congrats on having the grit to do that red-plate Archie/Revvie nightmare in Map19. I got tired of rocket suicides and God-moded out of it. Props to you!

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This is an FDA I recorded keyboard-only a month ago. I'm so bad at this.



Lots of hunting for secrets. start-5:00 and 9:00-[whenever the clusterfuck ends] are the parts worth watching.

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Map 20 -- The Rift - 100% Kills / No secrets - FDA
Right. So, there's been some talk about how the WAD has the tendency to repeat itself conceptually, yeah? Worth noting that this episode-ender is framed in largely the same way as map 18 not long ago (which was in turn laid out in a similar way to several other maps which preceded it), with Estrangedguy having to go spelunking in some kind of burning purgatorial in-between un-dimension just so he can bypass a thin metal screen between himself and the exit at the outset. Hmm. I guess I really shouldn't overstate the matter too much, though, since the meat of the action is pretty different in flavor from most of what we've seen since returning from the secret levels. The progression's not entirely linear in this case, either, there's a choice of two fights in the purgatory that you can do in either order (though both are mandatory). Might be reading too much into the music selection again, but the use of the track "AimShootKill" along with the red rocky canyon/cave setting and the choice of self-contained fights which follows the initial rumble within the Rift seems like a nod to "Heck" from Evilution.

This is a pretty good one for lose/scrappy running and gunning, and most of the major areas can be stirred up into a riot by dashing about and thumbing your nose at the occupants, which is more helpful in some fights than in others. Plenty of ammo around, seems like (and none of the kit is hidden from the player this go-round), and the straightforward nature of the encounters here means that there's probably not a whole lot of difference between pistol-start and continuous in this case, BFG as a panic-button aside. I felt that the best encounter was the rumble in the lava cave on the east side. The design here is a layer or two more complex than most of what Estranged has thrown at us thus far, with soft radsuit pressure used to limit the amount of time you can spend hiding from the artillery fire pouring in from across the lava-flow as well as the time you can spend indefinitely merry-go-rounding versus the revenants and arch-vile who immediately apply pressure as soon as you enter the area. Since it's a drop-down entry there's no retreating/camping the encounter either (though if you know what you're doing I imagine it's very easy to just run to the area's teleporter exit on the other side without dealing with much of anything), standing in contrast to the level's other fights. The obviously trapped crossing on the west side isn't as vibrant; not so much because it's obvious, but because slithering back out of it and fighting it from the threshold is apparently the only really sound way to handle the matter. I didn't know about the arch-vile and his pack of hounds on the other side of the crossing when I played, but I suspected that particular barb; I reckon if you ran into the far opening like Foodles seems to want you to do you'd be in for something of an RNG lottery as to whether or not the arch-vile hits you, so the smart/sound/un-macho way of doing things is really your best course, which perhaps makes actually killing the mancs and knights less satisfying.

The last fight's a mostly simple riot in a wide open space, complicated slightly by the presence of broad lava pools on either side of the yard, which limit the viability of simply circle-strafing/infighting until victory. Foodles seems to like this particular angle (the use of damage-floor to complicate otherwise very simple encounters); I notice that generally speaking most of his best encounters in Estranged are made not through placement/thing balance but rather through environmental wrinkles such as this. A little odd you're allowed to just run back out of this fight just like you can (and should) with the earlier one to the west, I guess; this certainly decreases the pressure, though the level as a whole reads to me like it's supposed to be something of a Michael Bay-ish breather/catharsis outing anyway, so I don't reckon it's too much of a missed opportunity--at least the level feels like it has some kind of reasonable climax, this time.

The Portal That Started It All sure is humble-looking, must say. Leave it to UAC to let a molehill turn into a mountain of catastrophe. Got to make those quarterly bonuses, eh?

Map 21 -- Hell Hole - 100% Kills / No Secrets - FDA
Yeah, definitely feels like a placeholder. To give it its due, though, there's a sense that the author is aware of the trope of the Hell episode (or the E3 Hell episode, I should perhaps say) starting out with a Tyson-style map, and wanted to do something genuinely different but with a similar overall concept using of tough monsters that the player is not initially equipped to deal with in a conventional way. So, what we get is a simplistic tidbit of a map that seems like its primary 'weapon' is actively designed to be the infighting mechanic, with a BFG and a few cells to squash the spider bathing in the lava pool and who would otherwise be quite the deterrent to your wading out there to hit the switch which opens the exit. There's no armor and no healing of any kind until the soulsphere after all's said and done, so I suppose the challenge is credible in that way, but players comfortable with quasi-advanced shit-stirring techniques should find this to constitute less than a morsel. Extremely simplistic aesthetics and the use of the stock track for the slot make it seem like an alpha-stage or even pre-alpha concept scrap, which is quite different in feel from the simple/clean oldschool air of most of the rest of the mapset. Man, filling out 32+ slots has got to be tough.

Kind of weird/interesting that the level doesn't use a death-exit, incidentally, so continuous players get to go into map 22 with a soulsphere, a pistol, a lightly-fueled BFG, and nothing else. Sure is different, got to give it that.

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Map 22: The Bloodworks

Eh... this one's alright. The progression is not particularly intuitive and I spent a good chunk of the level doing platforming and then running around and back up the stairs. Also, there's too much ammo boxes lying around and no backpack in sight which makes for some annoying "ammo management", if you can call it that. At one point after grabbing the rocket launcher you open a room with tons of rocket boxes, more than the 50 you can carry, which just means you have to backtrack there again after you spend some up ahead. Withholding backpacks is an annoying design decision and something I hated in BTSX E2. What's with the lack of cells again? You deploy a Cyber and expect me to shotgun him to death? That's neither fun nor challenging, just time consuming and annoying. Good thing I got that BFG in the Shithole level prior.

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Map 22 -- The Bloodworks - 114% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA
This one left something of a sour taste in my mouth, gotta say. Like many of the other maps, the layout is again constituted by a linear path through and over a series of open blood-flooded yards and alleys undertaken in order to achieve a very roundabout bypass of on obstacle otherwise preventing access to the exit switch (a strange set of oversized steps too large for Estrangedguy to climb wedged into a hallway bend in this case); the spacious quality that defined maps 20 and 21 is still in evidence, and so movement and combat are generally free and fluid enough. Not a very difficult map all told, I think, though I did manage to once again nearly get myself killed at one point via a rather dimwitted/unnecessary show of bravado. If I had played smart, those monsters would have been toast, no problem--none of the available weapons are hidden, and there's quite a stockpile of rockets available, more than you need to quickly obliterate everything that might get in your way. Well, with one notable exception....

If you described it to me on paper I reckon I'd see little to complain about, as conceptually this is just like most of the other Estranged maps--quite palatable/digestible, if a mite unremarkable. So why the sour grapes? Well, there are 137 monsters in the map on UV. My FDA is about 20 minutes long. Exactly 100 of those monsters are dead at the halfway point of the runtime....much of the remaining time (and indeed, even a chunk of the time before this point) is taken up with my pathing and re-pathing through a strangely unintuitive layout. It's a very linear path, as aforesaid, mostly staged on top of walls and skirts that line the yards below. At many many different points, you're invited to jump down and explore or fight monsters that present themselves, but from a flow perspective this is almost never the 'correct' move to make, and every time you do so you end up having to laboriously path all the way back to where you were in order to continue--it's like the progression is torn between different types of play, which compete with each other more than complementing each other. Some areas also seem strangely underutilized or underdeveloped, ala the northwestern chamber with the unusual half-rise wooden wainscotting, where you can hear a ton of monsters knocking around (actually baddies contained in a nearby offmap teleporter pen) but where nothing ever really happens. You have to backtrack here at one point (which is signposted very poorly, if at all), and the aforementioned rocket stockpile is also here, which is oddly completely unguarded but again requires you to do lots of redundant running/pathing if you opt to top-up--I think just having a backpack somewhere here would've indeed been more elegant within the microcosm of this particular map, but perhaps it's being withheld as part of the set's seesawing on again/off again pistol/continuous compromise balance.

The crowning buzzkiller here is the cyberdemon, quite poor placement IMO. I get the impression he's supposed to be a complicating factor while you're fighting the groundlings that I nearly died to (although he seems like he'd be pretty weak in this regard since his actual level of overview over the part of the blood-slume where you're likely to fight these others is very limited), but given the collander-leaky progression scheme it's quite possible these two elements will show up entirely separately. You can't realistically ignore Cybie, since he cockblocks the exit run pretty convincingly (having to ride a standard lift up to it while he's stomping around up there is the issue), and so you've got to take him out from below, and at about middle-distance. Not even remotely threatening or fun, particularly from pistol-start, where you'll most likely end up using buckshot and bullets for simplicity's sake.

Next.

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SteveD said:

BTW, congrats on having the grit to do that red-plate Archie/Revvie nightmare in Map19. I got tired of rocket suicides and God-moded out of it. Props to you!

Heh, thanks. :) Even in casual play I try avoid cheating as much as possible. The only two times I think I've ever cheated for Club play were in Whitemare 2: one was a legit bug in the map (19) so that doesn't count, but I did eventually just completely skip MAP20 ("Gloominarch's Realm") because gah. Also the end of MAP06 of Sunder, but that almost doesn't count because I never came back to the WAD after IDDQD/IDCLIPing my way to that exit. The only other time I might cheat is when I fall into inescapable an death pit: if I have time, I'll noclip out, or jump if it's not disabled. Otherwise I just can't bring myself to cheat when playing, but I'll savescum without remorse, so there's that. :)


MAP20: The Rift
22:24 | 99% Kills | 91% Items | 100% Secrets

I actually mostly enjoyed this one. The big battles were a bit more manageable. Health was still an issue, though, as the finale handed out a soulsphere and nothing else. I got myself whittled down to 8% by the end, too, so I was afraid I wouldn't even be able to make it to the exit portal across the nukage (which I can only assume was damaging, though I didn't manage to find out.) Turns out it's another death exit, so I guess I could have wasted time/ammo trying to take out the cyber, but whatevs. One thing I enjoyed about the final battle was, when I first entered the arena and set everybody off, I immediately turned around and ran back to the entrance, thinking I'd pick dudes off from there. Well, at point I had to retreat back down away from the gate, and soon had a swarm of revvies and PEs/souls filling up the place, sending me back even farther to the opening blood-pool area, where I sniped at them from behind the columns. (Carelessly taking a rocket to the face at this point is what dropped me to the 8%, whereupon I hilariously decided to save anyway.)


MAP21: Hell Hole
1:00 | 40% Kills | 100% Items | 100% Secrets

Well, I thought about starting over on HMP (like I had mentioned earlier) but figured if I'd made it this far... Not much of a chance to think it over here, though. Finished this one in two attempts, if I recall. The first time I got perforated by the mastermind. The second try I almost bought it when I got surrounded by the pinkie swarm, but managed to just pistol my way through one guy on the left and squeeze free. A fun little map, not exactly linear, but it really just kinda guides you to the end: Radsuit? Better head for the lava. Oh, there's a switch. Run away from the spider and, hey, is that a soulsphere? Well, there's pit over there, where's that go? Oh, it's the exit. The end.

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The backpack withdrawal in BTSX E2? You have me to blame for that primarily, actually. It was a simplistic approach to the problem we were witnessing of continuous players having a ridiculous glut of ammo. Heck if it were up to me the ammo would have been strictly doled out and every map end with a death exit, but the withhold-the-backpack approach was taken as a marginal step in the right direction instead.

Map 22

The problem with this map isn't the lack of a backpack. If anything it's that there is so much damn ammo all over the place that it's ridiculous. You can just ignore it, you'll never go wanting for ammo even if you let the Archviles resurrect all sorts of crap. No, the real serious problem with this map is progression indications and layout. Left the Cyber alive because there's no convenient way to kill it, I've proven to myself I can kill the things enough times. Anyway took me way too long to figure out where i should go at the end, but the hint in Demon of the Well's post about staying high up helped me out. I just did not care for this map at all.

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MAP22 The Bloodworks

So yes, apart from the rather enragingly bad MAP21 that apparently didn't have the chaingun at the start on UV (why else would there be an ammo box right there at the start? Unless I'm a sick fuck who wants to kill these big guys with the pistol), that map had absolutely nothing to defend yourself with aside from the BFG and the radsuit. This level will hopefully change all that.

SSG, armor, chaingun eventually, but there's plenty of supplies to find which is great. The armor is under a rather obvious crusher. Plus there's quite a lot of enemies around. No worries when you can run around most of them. Once you get a feel of everything it's actually sort of easy. The rocket launcher resides to the west, a bit of platforming (and a somewhat surprisable trap) can allow you to reach it. It gets slightly confusing at one point at the western bloodwork, where a teleporter takes you back and you gotta backtrack again. Hmm, wonder why they give me all these rockets? Of course, then you have a combined teleporter ambush of hitscanners+archviles, and whatever else found later on. The worst thing is that it distracts you from hitting the switch that opens the door near the exit (the one that releases the cyber), and then you spend more time going up the lift and around again. Just because you can roundabout doesn't mean you should force it. I don't even want to talk about the cyber.

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map22

An oddball of a map, layout-wise. In this sort of layout it would be helpful to raise lifts at some point, to allow convenient access to parts of the path already traversed. There are some infinitely tall cacodemons below a drop-off into that area where your presence mysteriously lowers a barrier that you need to get past. Strange placement for sure. Cyber doesn't work either -- at least give the player a BFG to two-shot it. Most of the action itself is quite light and fun, however, begging to be sped through, if only the cyber wasn't such a pace-killer. Favorite part was the HK trap at the lift, which is silver for some odd reason.

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MAP22 - "The Bloodworks”

The main thing I remember about this map was going around it several times to pick stuff up because of the one-way navigation system. That and the crusher at the start, which I crushed a lot of stuff with. The most dangerous enemies for me were all the hitscanners at the beginning, that and the fact that I left a load of monsters alive at the start and wasnt expecting a teleporter in a dark cave to take me back there. Ammo certainly wasn't a problem. Neither was the cyber, who I cheesed somewhat by hugging the wall beneath him and wearing him down with SSG.

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