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The Focus is the Best Doom II Map

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It's hard, maybe impossible to refute. Encapsulating the Doom II techbase style, it's a perfectly-balanced level in a small package. I haven't heard a compelling argument yet why this isn't necessarily true.

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The focus is a very focused map and requires you to focus. It's definitely a good map, but I prefer Tricks and Traps, as you have to focus more there to remember where you've been. Although the focus requires focus, you don't have to focus quite as much as on some of the great later maps where the design focus was clearly on making you focus hard due to traps and challenges.

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Doom 2 doesn't even start until you reach Map07, and even then not properly until Map12 when the hallmark exteriors, sandyboxes and otherwise wide-open playgrounds start to become the norm. Map04 isn't the best Doom 2 map because it isn't even that :)

That said, it does its job fairly well, but it also isn't jumping a very high bar. If you aim low and strike with dead-eye precision, the accolades can only mount so high. I'd put Underhalls and Waste Tunnels above The Focus any day of the American week.

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The Focus has some interesting designs like the "silent crusher" windows and the lights-out section, but it's too linear for my tastes. And the music is one of the worst tracks in Doom II, the OST where every track is a 12-bar blues.

I'll take either of "Waste Tunnels" or "Tricks and Traps" over this one.

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Alfonzo said:

Doom 2 doesn't even start until you reach Map07, and even then not properly until Map12 when the hallmark exteriors, sandyboxes and otherwise wide-open playgrounds start to become the norm. Map04 isn't the best Doom 2 map because it isn't even that :)

That said, it does its job fairly well, but it also isn't jumping a very high bar. If you aim low and strike with dead-eye precision, the accolades can only mount so high. I'd put Underhalls and Waste Tunnels above The Focus any day of the American week.

In all fairness, Waste Tunnels is memorable in its own right and I sort of see it as a big brother to the Focus. Also, I really dig the track that's in it. Probably reminds me the most of Doom II.

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Wrong, underhalls is the best doom 2 map. Short, punchy and the first time you got to pick up the SSG!

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Uncle 80 said:

And the music is one of the worst tracks in Doom II, the OST where every track is a 12-bar blues.


Ain't this the motherfucking truth.

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I have a preference for the 'O' of Destruction. Nice big starter area with branching off areas that you go into one at a time, including one that you have to dive into the slime after getting to the center of the O. All around good flow, good introduction to the Archvile (With a nearby Plasma Rifle if you need it), and I like the cool relaxed style of Healer Stalks.

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The Focus never really stood out to me out of the early maps unlike something like Waste Tunnels. I prefer the ambitious E2 maps like Downtown and Industrial Zone as my top D2 maps.

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The best part of The Healer Stalks is the latter part where it goes all samba. BECAUSE, FUCK IT, WHY NOT HUH? My partner and I call the track "The Sneaky Samba", and it's now canon around here.

Doom II's music is fucking weird, man. There are highs (Waiting For Romero To Play, Message For The Archvile looking right atcha; I've even a soft spot for Shawn's Got The Shotgun) but then the rest is almost like Bobby Prince just threw all his Doom 1 reject doodles at it.

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The Focus has never wowed me but it has remained really fun after playing umpteen times. Most areas if not all have some kind of monkey wrench in the design that mixes up combat without getting in the way of basic shooting.

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Its not my favorite map to play but its Dooms best looking map, for sure. The lighting is excellent compared to other maps.

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Jayextee said:

Doom II's music is fucking weird, man. There are highs (Waiting For Romero To Play, Message For The Archvile looking right atcha; I've even a soft spot for Shawn's Got The Shotgun) but then the rest is almost like Bobby Prince just threw all his Doom 1 reject doodles at it.


I resent that! I do believe that "Into Sandy's City" is the finest track in all of the IWADs, contested only by "Sign of Evil" and perhaps "The Demons from Adrian's Pen." Something like "Waiting for Romero to Play" is certainly effective as an unobtrusive background track able to shine when it comes to the fore for brief moments during lulls in the action, though as with most tracks in a similar vein the conceptual/compositional bar is set fairly low there. Of those quieter tracks, I've always been most partial to "Adrian's Asleep", myself, one of the more underrated D2 ditties--usually a prime choice for a long map (with no custom track), though often second to "Into Sandy's City" as aforesaid! Have to say I've never really been fond of "Shawn's Got the Shotgun", by contrast--Dead Simple clones aside, it's often used in longer/heavier maps, and I've always found it starts to grate fairly quickly, even moreso than the much-maligned "Running from Evil."

I reckon it's fair to say that the Doom II soundtrack was a lot more 'experimental' than that of the first game, and as is so often the case with such ventures, we get a bunch of weird offbeat tracks defined more by singular idiosyncrasies than by composition per se. Some of these are weird in a good way--"Opening to Hell" is one of the most memorable FPS tracks around precisely because it's so weird--and then on the other hand we get the occasional "Bye Bye American Pie." Ah, well. Win some, lose some.

Anyway, to the OP!: I must say I heartily disagree. The Focus is one of the closest things Doom II possesses to what we might today refer to as a 'filler map', speaking of a modern PWAD. It has some funky little doodads in it that lend it some personality--there are the cycling pillbox shutters that Memfis mentioned, the purely cosmetic lightswitch deal, etc.--but as far as the meat & potatoes goes it's by far the most 'it's early days yet, so here just shoot some fodder I guess' of E1, and of McGee's maps in general, more often defined by their gritty ballistic-heavy action.

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We've been through this, the best Doom 2 map is officially Map29, although it's still inferior to E2M2.

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Nirvana is the best map ever. Especially that final section it's so memorable.

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Focus music is indeed one of those WTF moments.

But the best Doom 2 map is obviously Suburbs.

Also, I've never seen anyone talk about Tenements ever (not saying it is my favorite lol :P).
Is it so immemorable?

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idbeholdME said:

Also, I've never seen anyone talk about Tenements ever
Is it so immemorable?


True. I never see Threads or Posts about Maps like Tenements,Courtyard or Catacombs... I dont know why... These Maps aren't even bad

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Probably because those maps don't have any notable outstanding features comparable with MAP24's catwalks or MAP30's lift puzzle and such.

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Yes they do, MAP17 has its cool AV cage and puzzling exit, MAP18 has a big ass courtyard filled with bonuses and monsters, MAP22 has a compass and a memorable odd-one-out torch trigger secret.

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Demon of the Well said:

I reckon it's fair to say that the Doom II soundtrack was a lot more 'experimental' than that of the first game, and as is so often the case with such ventures, we get a bunch of weird offbeat tracks defined more by singular idiosyncrasies than by composition per se. Some of these are weird in a good way--"Opening to Hell" is one of the most memorable FPS tracks around precisely because it's so weird--and then on the other hand we get the occasional "Bye Bye American Pie." Ah, well. Win some, lose some.


You sir, have good taste. I forgot (somehow) about the sublime Into Sandy's City, and on the other end of the scale Bye Bye American Pie -- which is a strong contender with Between Levels for WTF award -- even though the Lorcan TNT remaster beefed it up beyond merely-listenable (nah, really).

Opening To Hell, yeah I can dig that. We're getting more into the PSX/N64 style of music by that point, which I also dig in a different way.

Shawn's Got The Shotgun though, I've consistently used as a MAP01 tune because I agree on how it grates; but that really LARGE-sounding opening is ideal for a welcoming vista. Small gap into open space where you see the base for the first time? (see: Murderous Intent, Nex Credo -- I basically did the same thing twice with D_SHAWN) Yeah, it fits. Didn't say it was one of the best, said I had a soft spot personally. ;)

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My favorite D2 map is either Inmost Dens or The Living End. I like the difficulty of TLE, but the non-linear layout and speedrun acrobatics of ID are just brilliant.

I'm also a sucker for ID ripoffs, like map 15 of Scythe (forgot its name), and the one in Plutonia (forgot its slot number and its name).

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42PercentHealth said:

the one in Plutonia (forgot its slot number and its name).


MAP18: Neurosphere. DoomWiki link

I concur, that's a great map right there. Seen the big AV jump shortcut? Crazy.

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Jayextee said:

MAP18: Neurosphere. DoomWiki link

I concur, that's a great map right there. Seen the big AV jump shortcut? Crazy.

Yeah, that one. If I ever get around to publishing a megaWAD, you can bet it will have an Inmost Dens ripoff! With some clever shortcuts, of course. :-)

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