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The DWmegawad Club plays: Urania

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Hitscan snipers have barely been an issue for me and I am also playing on Hurt Me Plenty. And when they are it's usually the Shotgunners that bother me. But that aside, you know what else has a lot of Chaingunners and Revenants? Plutonia. The very IWAD this set is meant to emulate. Me personally, I prefer all these Revenants over the ridiculous Arch-Vile population of last month's megawad. I also don't think that 2 maps is a fair sampling to judge the set. This WAD was made over a fairly long period, so the quality is bound to fluctuate based on riderr's progressing skills as a mapper. The funny thing is, I think MAP03 has really good monster usage and some interesting battle setups compared to the first two. So maybe you should give it a try, @ella guro.

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fair enough - also i pistol started MAP 02 (because i loaded Doom2.wad instead of the Plutonia IWAD and played through the first map not thinking about it) so maybe that made a difference. i'm also not generally a fan of the difficulty in a lot of Plutonia anyway so take that for what you will. but from what i saw of Map 05 in a youtube playthrough it looked pretty cool so like i said i might come back to this one later.

 

also i totally understand about mapper skills evolving over a set. i just kind of made the assumption that if it's that difficult in MAP 02 i didn't want to stick around and see how difficult it'd be in later maps, because that's how it usually works. it seems like it may not be the case here though.

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Map03: Subcataract - HMP

 

Took several deaths until my feet hit the ground on how to get started.  Afterwards, the map played smoothly, except for a few tough spots.  I died once at the blue key switch area, the one with the Barons guarding it.

 

I never found the red key... and exited through some shadowy corridor behind a tricky teleporter.  I thought this would have been a secret, but found exit signs instead, and went through a teleporter to simply exit the level.  I was playing without saves, so I didn't bother to play the same map another time just to find what I missed.

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5 minutes ago, NoisyVelvet said:

Map03: Subcataract - HMP

 

Took several deaths until my feet hit the ground on how to get started.  Afterwards, the map played smoothly, except for a few tough spots.  I died once at the blue key switch area, the one with the Barons guarding it.

 

I never found the red key... and exited through some shadowy corridor behind a tricky teleporter.  I thought this would have been a secret, but found exit signs instead, and went through a teleporter to simply exit the level.  I was playing without saves, so I didn't bother to play the same map another time just to find what I missed.

The Red Key just gets you a bonus Plasma Rifle. Not really anything that's super important yet.

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MAP05: Terracotta
Time: 1:01:52
K/I/S: 101%/100%/85%
Death count: 9

 

A roomy map with a lot of crossfire moments, especially in the beginning, when you basically run around the main area in circles blasting things that are close with SSG and things that are far with RL. I died three times during that part by accidentally running into the same chaingunner-guarded area over and over again. There are a lot of hitscanners and I spent most of the time with 50% health at best: as soon as found a medkit, some asshole chaingunner would cut my health right back where it was before. There are two more areas in the map where a similar strategy, albeit on a smaller scale, was used: the red cave, spiced up with an AV resurrecting nearly everything you've just killed half-way through the area, and the blue tech room, which has a very inconveniently placed obstacles that caused a good-at-doom moment when I killed myself with a rocket intended for mancubi on a ledge, and had to replay the whole room twice because I didn't save. The rest of the fights aren't all about running in circles, and the final fight is perfect for infighting, which I used to the maximum extent possible, leaving me with just four half-dead HKs to kill.

 

Progression, once again, seemed a bit weird, some of the switches required to reach the exit are very well-hidden, and I honestly expected the area where I found them to contain secrets, rather than progression items. The ammo is pretty tight, I once ran out of shells and bullet simultaneously, and had to resort to using my plasmagun, and some rockets would have been welcome either.

 

I also couldn't figure out how to get the last secret, the one on the chaingunner ledge, but I don't think I missed anything useful, especially since I saved the megasphere until the exit and finished the level at 200/200. Unless, of course, that secret had a BFG in it, in which case I regret not getting it. The supercharge secret was a bit counter-intuitive, but it didn't take me long to figure out how to get there.

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MAP06 - “Death Mask” Map Stats

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This is one of my favourite levels in Urania and one of the best maps I've played in 2016. We move up and out of the underground city and into a green marble fortress in a sea of poison. Starting out in a rather cool enclosed marble room, the map rather quickly opens up to reveal a sizeable fortress with heavy opposition on all fronts. Enemies pour into the starting room, including a Baron and Revenant as a means to encourage you to get moving. The opening combat takes place along the walls and battlements of the castle as you run around gathering supplies, like the essential SSG on one of the walls, and fighting off dense groups of heavily entrenched enemies. Again, this map is huge and non-linear so there's technically nothing stopping you from running through one of the doors towards the central hub area. Now what makes this map very clever is the use of sound and distant teleport traps to create the effect of enemies roaming around the map and showing up at unusual times and places. Quite a few nasty Vile surprises early on that can catch you with your pants down. No punches are really pulled here and larger Revenant groups are deployed liberally. It's a noticeable step up in difficulty from the first 5 maps and manages to retain some obscure puzzles that you'll either love or hate. Thankfully you're given plenty of ammo and there are something like 3 Blue Armours in the level as well as several Soulspheres.  The BFG also makes it's debut with a somewhat tricky but satisfying way of obtaining it once you figure it out. Big fan of the midi too with the atmospheric keyboards along with the usual rockin' tune. Great stuff.

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4 hours ago, Spectre01 said:

Now what makes this map very clever is the use of sound and distant teleport traps to create the effect of enemies roaming around the map and showing up at unusual times and places.

Because this map have door in central area which opens after 5 minutes, and monsters randomly teleports to different places.

BTW, MAP07 is one of the first maps made for this wad. It's even created with SLADE3 (on my old linux laptop), rather than Win8/GZDB which I use currently.

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MAP06: Another very good one. I also loved the use of roaming monsters. I think it enhanced the experience a lot, since it's much more common to use snipers and ambushers only. The layout itself is very non-linear and large which opens up a lot of approach options for the player. Progression is also obscure, though not as much as 4 and 5. One of my favorites so far.

 

9/10

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8 hours ago, Rathori said:

I also couldn't figure out how to get the last secret, the one on the chaingunner ledge, but I don't think I missed anything useful, especially since I saved the megasphere until the exit and finished the level at 200/200. Unless, of course, that secret had a BFG in it, in which case I regret not getting it.

If it's the ledge right behind where the Spider Mastermind is, there's an extremely narrow ladder, very hard to see, that you can use to go up to that place. If I'm not wrong there are some boxes of rockets. This kind of secret is very common in the wad.

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On 3.5.2017 at 2:22 PM, quakis said:

Came across a possible bug in the Plasmagun room; after lowering the side rooms, activating a lift and permanently lowering that platform, its possible to reactivate the former trigger again (from the remaining untriggered linedefs) this time taking the lift's new lower height value, creating some inescapable pits complete with HOM walls. (Reference Tags 39 & 40). Worth a mention I think.

Without any further investigation, this sounds a lot like a special linedef without a tag (which is thus applied to all untagged sectors).

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Map04:  Guerilla

Skill: started on HMP then moved to HNTR (no saves)

Beers: 4

Total Cumulative Time Across deaths: 1:30.  I got pretty darn lost on this one.

 

HMP was pretty hard.  Instead of chipping away at HMP until I learned the map, I just switched to HNTR to make the experience smoother.  Basically, most of the chaingunners either disappeared, or turned into shotgunners when switching to the lower difficulty.  It became much easier.

 

This one was quite a maze, a big green maze.  I didn't have my patient-explorer's hat on for this one that I sometimes wear when I play doom, so this map was quite a slog.  I liked map03 a lot because it was a pretty smallish size and the hub-ring was simple to navigate.  But this one, map04, was very hard to navigate.  When I killed most monsters, it took me a bit to find the blue key.  In, fact, searching for the blue key might have taken the majority of my total play time.

 

Edit: also, I took note of the fact that the chaingunners in the main circle-trench, particularly on HMP, would roam around the map and ambush you,  and this is on top of the ones in the little nooks and crannies that you already have to tackle normally.  I like this feature, but holy crap is it hard and it's too demanding for what I'm willing to expend during this playthrough atm, especially with low ammo and lack-of-preknowledge of the map.  I just wasn't in the mood to take them on.

Edited by NoisyVelvet

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Chocolate Doom / Ultra Violence / Pistol Start / Saves

MAP06: Death Mask doesn't pull punches, which is saying something considering what's come thus far. Finding any sort of safety is very difficult here from the get-go, and while the available weapons are relatively easy to reach, they are hard to consolidate under such pressure. The typical handling of turrets and general combination of static monster placement is lessened: this is instead replaced by a few chaotic teleportation encounters, and so trying to dig into a particular trench doesn't come with a guarantee. As such, working through most of the map will be not slow and steady, but faster yet layered. Progression is once again its own unique challenge, focusing mostly on the oddities of elevators, and a great deal of the combat can be over and done with before the first key (think like previous maps, except the hub actually envelops the side areas). The final section is an acceptable reprise to the rest of the map, but unfortunately easy to sidestep.

 

So I went with saves here, but it took me a good hour to put down a first save by actually nabbing the SSG and returning to a safe starting position: from there I managed it in about 90min. If you know where the SSG is, it should only take a few minutes to get it and maybe a few tries to arrive at where I did, but I suppose given the expectation of previous levels I thought it would be harder! Ended up finding everything other weapon (including plasma) before it. I'm just gonna have to keep an eye on all available routes from the start and not just barrel through as blindly. Also, I never could figure out why some of the teleports happened, almost felt like a static level timer (EDIT: because it IS a static level timer, thanks riderr3's comment above).

 

I might just end up even more judicious with saves, had to put in about 10 this level. I WANT to try and experience this on UV, but I may also try other difficulties in parallel to get an idea of the scaling. Honestly, I get the feeling that these levels would play better by first skimming through in -nomonsters to understand item placement and progression. They've all had the form of puzzle levels but, at the same time, drag on even when you know how to solve it.

Edited by CapnClever

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MAP05: Terracotta

(Chocolate Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

A deceptively open level luring players into a false sense of freedom through its underground cityscape, a giant leap away from those claustrophobic tunnels of previous travels. But these wide hellish planes don't offer relief, instead intent on surrounding players with an aggressive outburst of bullets and projectiles raining down from all possible angles. MAP05 is not holding back any punches. Getting a decent hold on where to go first becomes a task in itself since there's a degree of non-linearity involved here wherein all paths will eventually need to be explored. Securing a decent resource of armaments and finding a path that leads toward progression must be earned here.

 

First attempt didn't go well. Messed up my run by not conserving ammo, too focused on clearing out the main "outdoor" area before even considering moving onward, only to later find myself too depleted on ammunition for most weapons and my limbs being held together with rubber bands and duct tape. Yeah... I simply had no confidence pushing beyond that Blue Key door in this state after several failed attempts and eventually decided to restart from the beginning. Turns out it wasn't great idea to mow down everything in sight to avoid any potential hassle later and that sense of freedom to roam tempted me to get a little more reckless than usual.

 

Now from a clean slate I primarily focused on snatching up the SSG, PG, RL, a bunch of ammo and only gunning down any free-roaming annoyances before beelining inside a computer lab for the blue key. While I was better off on supplies during this second attempt, I still had trouble. Grabbing health held the risk of it being chipped off seconds after taking it by rogue hitscanners and a box of shells will only be eaten by the next meat shield hiding inches ahead bringing me back to square one. Choosing my fights wisely, which weapons to use and making shots count were vital. At times I felt flustered which battles are worth taking on or instead conserve said ammo for another situation, constantly put on the edge.

 

There are three very distinct locations each with involving some twist toward combat. One area is a computer lab which I would consider holds the biggest ammo sink across Terracotta. The initial triggered fight was a neat scenario, it places an alarming pressure on the player; One Pain Elemental who risks cluttering up the small room; Revs creating a distraction from other threats; Mancubi harassing from one upper ledge and Shotgunners chipping away from the other. Tackling either group requires another to clear off, forcing target priority and speed. Using rockets here isn't always a wise choice either due to limited space. Immediately after there consists more swarms of Revs and Hellknights up until a teleporter is revealed, soaking through hard earned munition stores, leaving me a little deflated once I took off toward the BK door.

 

Beyond this door lies the second distinctive section, a blood soaked room adorned with pipework across its walls. Navigating here wasn't much fun during a blind run since the blood itself is apparently acidic chipping away 5 health a time unless I stand on these small platforms. Fair enough I suppose, except every corner going forward awaits a notorious Chaingundude getting a haughty laugh reducing what little lifespan of mine remains, meanwhile Cacos and Pinkies close in fast. Moving between platforms didn't always guarantee a safeguard either but I'm blaming that one on Doom itself. Even had I discovered a Rad Suit in the side room sooner, I'd probably have bled down its timer from edging ever slowly forward. An apprehensive area all in all, but I liked the concept around it.

 

Then finally there's the Hellish cave section, quite a frustrating area. Enemies are dotted around in various positions providing them good line of sight. The Arachies proved a major nuisance forcing me to drop into the chasm to exploit their poor firing angle and finish them off. Then a wild Archie appears to mock me from above as rockets plummet into his shield of bones, attempting to dispatch him quickly before it becomes another ammo sink. From here is when another form of obscurity comes into play - having pressed a switch, opened something further ahead and... huh, now what? Spent several minutes wandering around before eventually coming across a switch behind a pillar, what one would consider a secret turns out to be an important method to progress forward. This wasn't exactly satisfying to find either.

 

In theory I could have noticed the switch from the Hellknight's tower, but in defence this section rarely ever lets up to allow players to stop, relax and inspect the area; before that can actually happen your opposition must die (horribly) or else be constantly swarmed with rockets, napalm and deadly green globs. Ah, but wait! Perhaps doing so turns out to be a terrible mistake and that ammo is best saved elsewhere? It becomes difficult to weigh in those options and potentially miss what the mapper might consider to be an obvious switch from certain perspectives. Either way it also counts toward another one of those obscure puzzles which doesn't come across very naturally or rewarding. The entire process in claiming the yellow key also suffers from some weird routes to unlock the way forward, involving teleporters and particular switches allowing access into them.

 

[TANGENT] I don't believe obscure puzzle design is inherently bad in itself if you want players to put more thought into earning their progression, so long as we're also not relying on guess work to figure out what the developer happens to be thinking. Provide clues to pinpoint us closer to the answer. Think of switches further away from their intended target the same as keys; Doors requiring a key is usually marked clearly which key it requires, so in theory a switch that doesn't activate anything in the direct vicinity (either via sight or sound) should have some form of visual aid as to its main function. One possible example is using face-switches only activating objects using the same face-related marble texture. Or a button with a nearby green torch opens something where those same green torches are primarily found. Positioning is also important. In regard to the pillar switch, players could have been prompted to check behind a set of pillars much sooner to locate a more obvious switch, then potentially having them repeat this method later and be rewarded for it. Teach these ideas to players early and remain consistent about it, perhaps spicing it up with a curve ball here and there (e.g. a trap) but don't stray off track. [/TANGENT]

 

Well... now, that turned out to be a lot of rambling! Might need to cut back on that a little next time but I'm actually glad I had more to say this time. To summarise; MAP05 is an aggressive level forcing prioritisation and ammo conservation. While there was some frustration, deflation and dissatisfaction after some encounters its a good level in terms of scope and I got some enjoyment out of certain scenarios. Had there been less meatier enemies beyond the computer lab and puzzle obscurity finetuned to seem less about guesswork, it'd have been a vastly better experience for me.

 

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MAP07 - “Castellan’s Feast”

89584D432E710C2786A3704E412C15E89C30CBDD

 

Surely we'll get a simple breather map in the 07 slot, right? Heh. No luck for anyone holding out for a Dead Simple remake here, as this is another long map that's even harder than the previous. It's an extremely oppressive level and the UV + Pistol Start combination likely won't be fun for the average, above average and the "thinks he's good at Doom but isn't" type of player. Every inch of progress requires careful and precise execution, otherwise you will simply run out of ammo, health and either die or save into a bad slot. The green marble theme continuous from the previous map and feels like a logical thematic progression. After a rough start involving a Mancubus and 5 Imps, you ride a large lift up and eventually ascend to a large brown brick and wood fortress which wraps around a green marble castle at its centre. The castellan which the map's title alludes to is a Cyberdemon which eventually greets you after clearing your way around the map's perimeter and earning the right to enter the main castle. It's no easy feat however since you're constantly under pressure from snipers in the central area as well as enemies on ledges, or in cages, outside. This map does use the 666/667 tag feature by killing 6 Mancs and 6 'Trons in the large central cages. I don't know if that's part of mandatory progression, but punching the Walruses lowers a BFG while swatting the spiders unlocks access to a tower containing a Megasphere. You'll want pretty much all the secrets here since any extra health/armour/ammo is always welcome in reducing some pressure. This map's design is more simple and linear compared to the sprawling and interconnected maps before, but you do get two paths to choose from. Both are difficult but going right is less painful in my opinion. All the weapons minus the BFG are easily obtained early on in the map, although the SSG is in a very obvious secret area. (By the way, the yellow key is in a Caco Cage that's reached by a floor lift. It's the only bit of progression you can really miss here.) The map does relax in the 2nd half after grabbing the BFG and secret items, at which point you'll have plenty of firepower and defenses. Pilfering the red key from the castellan and reaching the exit should be quite easy and I have enough ammo to BFG everything in the final wave. 

 

Oh, and before I forget, the midi is a King Diamond instrumental called Cremation for anyone that wants more of it. I dig it, but if guitar scales aren't your thing you probably won't. Very hard map overall but it's fun and rewarding for me.    

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MAP06 is the map that I liked the most , but idk what to say that I didn't already say for the previous levels. On MAP07 I reached the yellow key and then I jumped to see some random maps ahead but I'm going to drop this, I've had enough of this utterly repetitive and grinding gameplay. It was already getting old few maps ago.

I liked the less obvious steps of progression even though here they feel like an afterthought, I wish more people would do stuff like that and especially nowadays that's pretty rare to see. Visually I don't like it so much either, there's some nice stuff if picked apart and I appreciate the variety that the maps have but the mishmash of all those custom resources and themes looks like a mess.

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Place your bets folks: Will anyone else get through all 32 maps on UV-Pistol Start without tapping out this month? You know I'll be here!

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MAP06: Death Mask

54:47 | 99% Kills | 75% Items | 42% Secrets

 

This one was a lot of fun. Very frantic from the get-go, and once again highly nonlinear, so I'm just charging every which at full-speed trying to take out baddies (without being nailed by them) as they fly by. Trying to establish an initial foothold wasn't terribly difficult (though it certainly wasn't quick) but every venture out into new territory (and there was a lot of it!) was fraught with danger. Probably the worst time I had was when I discovered the switch to release the first (?) archvile before I had cleared out a few more monsters. The battle for the yellow key was also tight, but I went in with plasma armed expecting an ambush and didn't fare too badly. A lot of cool stuff to look at; I especially liked the opening few areas on the ramparts with caged shotgunners hanging in midair. And a special shoutout to the start room whose walls dropped away with that first switch: that struck me as very cool. Wish I could have worked out the BFG secret, though. I have a feeling I'm going to wish I had that sooner than later...

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7 hours ago, Spectre01 said:

Place your bets folks: Will anyone else get through all 32 maps on UV-Pistol Start without tapping out this month? You know I'll be here!

 

Well, I've been doing UV pistol start, and I'm ready to give up after trying MAP04. Which is a shame, because I actually really liked the design/theme... cool jungle stuff (within the confines of the vanilla Doom engine), well-named. But jeez did I get tired of every single damn room turning into a potential instant-death trap if you just don't notice which direction the goddamn chaingunners are coming from right away. Especially when the corridors are tight and there's a lot of other stuff to pay attention to (such as the collapsing floor, but the chaingunners from the other hallway will still happily follow and blast you from above). Just starts to feel like more trouble than its worth, unfortunately. Might try picking it back up on HMP or something.

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Chocolate Doom / Ultra Violence / Pistol Start / Saves

MAP07: Castellan's Feast is mostly a return to the trenches, though it switches to a simple box-and-hallway layout to change it up. Carefully examining the first elevator is the player's ticket to an easier start, and combat progression flows fairly easily for a good third of the map. This quickly changes to familiar caution when traversing the main boxed section of the map, containing more than a few snipers and relatively little armor to compensate. Collecting keys and opening the way to the inner box is mostly smooth, and one need only explore the crevices in addition to the basic path (exploring said crevices will also tend to keep you alive longer anyway). While the inner encounter is a fresh challenge, it is by no means the end of the level, and it's quite important to grab supplies for the real finish that is somehow of a let-down by comparison.

 

On a technical note: the mancubuses and arachnotrons do not teleport into their compartments using Chocolate Doom. I was told this is because the place where these enemies are stored are not linked to the rest of the map by sound, therefore they never wake up under vanilla conditions. On one hand this makes the map contain fewer projectiles, but on the other it means the bonuses made available by killing these enemies (being MAP07 and all) cannot be gained. Also found a visplane overflow (found one on MAP05 too) and can provide visuals if they're deemed important.

 

Technicalities aside, I thought the middle fight was a highlight and probably could've been a good ending: the last bit felt like overkill (though I guess that's kinda par for the course). Getting a foothold was far easier on this level and is appreciated, but the turrets are really getting on my nerves.

 

Anyway, going into the next level I eventually had an epiphany (AKA got incredibly salty) and will now be doing the following: play the level on HNTR, then HMP, and finally UV, all from pistol start. Assume saves for all of them, though I may try to go without saving on the easier difficulties.

 

Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves

MAP08: Depths of Asthma manages a very compact layout while still performing the same tricks. It's difficult to be completely safe in this map, due to a doubled layering of enemy turrets, but keep moving and there should be no problem. Picking up strong weapons can be quite the challenge, and the enemies scale up quickly to increase tension. Most of the encounters are just a matter of breaking through or knocking out turrets, but with so little space available this is far from a trivial affair. Progression reverts to typical obfuscation, though the map's size thankfully alleviates some of the difficulty. The ending takes place in an entirely different location and proves to be an interesting set-piece.

 

I have to say, building up to UV makes this a far more enjoyable experience. That doesn't mean that I don't think the maps are still been mostly repetitive when it comes to combat, but easing into the abnormal challenge means I can get used to a strategy and then implement it under stricter conditions. It also means I can look for progression and secrets more comfortably, then handle them advantageously at the most difficult setting. If anyone here is doing pistol starts, I highly recommend trying this out: it's quite possible you'll finish the maps faster than trying to pull through on HMP/UV only.

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MAP07: That wasn't one of my favorites, but still a good level anyway. I took a while to discover how to get the yellow (the one inside the cage), but that was more on me, since I didn't noticed the "big" lift lowering because I was too scared of the cyberdemon hahaha. It's linear on the beginning, with a cool lift similar to the one on map 04, with many passages to uncover. Then, after you get on the fortress, you can go left or right in a barely-symmetric architecture. I got a bug while playing with zdoom, where I got a HOM in the RK locked area (in the cave). Also, some of the teleporters lines where you get the megasphere wasn't also working (maybe they are W1 instead of WR?)

 

8/10

 

MAP08: I wasn't a big fan of this one. Everything here is too cramped and crowded. Snipers are strategically placed to annoy you and they aren't easy to take down due to crossfire. After you get out the experience gets more interesting, since it gets less crowded and there's more space to move. It's a very different map from the rest of the set, which it's good because makes things less repetitive, but wasn't really my style.

 

6/10

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MAP08 - “Depths of Asthma” Failed UV-Max where I miss one turret Revenant attached.

ADD47E0630A5D72FB8C71AD478F87878CB09AB4A

 

This maps takes place in a very compact, or cramped, underground techbase with some red hell visuals in the background. Quite similar to the map05 exit area aesthetic. The first few minutes are quite possibly the hardest Pistol Start yet since the base is packed with enemies and there are roaming snipers and turret Revenants which can easily get you through all those windows. If you manage to make your way out, you'll be faced with some lava trench warfare with plenty of Revenants to shoot their missiles around the curves. The final area gives you a Megasphere and features a simple Revenants + Nobles setpiece encounter, which isn't too bad assuming you don't path poorly and get cornered. Plenty of ammo downstairs both ways to handle the monsters. Also, it's a rather eccentric looking room with unusual texture combinations. I do like that hexagonal floor texture. The view behind the exit is also quite cool and somewhat reminds me of the intro to Sunlust's flesh episode at the end of map16.

 

I did encounter a bug with the 3D bridge where invisible walls can block those Chaingunners from specific angles. Enjoyable map overall and quite short by Urania standards, taking me around 25 minutes to fully clear. Good midi too.

 

ua08-UVMax.zip

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17 hours ago, CapnClever said:

On a technical note: the mancubuses and arachnotrons do not teleport into their compartments using Chocolate Doom. I was told this is because the place where these enemies are stored are not linked to the rest of the map by sound, therefore they never wake up under vanilla conditions. On one hand this makes the map contain fewer projectiles, but on the other it means the bonuses made available by killing these enemies (being MAP07 and all) cannot be gained.

 


I will explain this. Chocolate Doom have a "feature" when monsters forget about player after reloading savegames. So they are just not wake up because of saving and loading inside the fortress walls. Though they can be woken up in outside bridges area.

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MAP06: Death Mask

(Chocolate Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Without doubt I loved how this level begins and the expectations placed on the players' shoulders. There's an abundance of activity going on all at once, enemies guarding every inch as I move forward, weaving past projectiles, ducking behind cover, popping a shell into an Imp's brain and darting away before a Baron knocks out my teeth. Each time a body falls another step forward can be claimed, only to find additional foes warping onto the scene to refill missing ranks. When that Archie first turned up I wasn't in a great position, taking a blast and instantly melting. It probably took a dozen or so attempts to get a strong footing before throwing down the first save. Priority was once again to seek out weapons, both CG and SSG were essential tools considering my trusty shotgun was being put to the test against bulkier opponents. It was a brutal, slow going fight but incredibly satisfying nonetheless to create a space of relief before marching onward into other sections.

 

From here on in the level practically paces itself much like before albeit more spacious and evermore dangerous. Now that initial panic is over I fell back into cautious play checking into several areas only picking off surface level threats while understanding its layout better, an interconnected network of rooms linked up in various ways. This allows many engagements to be tackled from multiple angles but can in turn give unwanted line of sight from our flanks. Helps having many paths to choose from when forming an escape plan or alternatively luring enemies away to weaken their offensive. Supplies were quite forgiving this time often given the opportunity to procure enough ammo to tackle the next battle and a surprising number of armour powerups. I'm quite thankful for the Berserk to aid in conserving ammo, having some fun skirmishes against Revs and Barons.

 

Although the level is quite sprawling I didn't have too much trouble finding my way around. Of course there were occasions I'd activate a switch without knowledge of its function, but would figure it out sooner or later. There were always new paths to check out or a fresh batch of demons to attract my attention. Had myself another horrible surprise in store while exploring a segment with skin-decorated walls. Fell into a trap when the floor dropped down, two angry Mancubi staring right back. Hoping I'd be out before they fired, a pinky blocked the lift from raising properly forcing me to retreat further inside and taking some serious damage. With little health remaining, the emerging Revs were quite a test, one lone rocket from either of us would end me from short range. Once they were downed I decided to test fate by having another boxing match against the final Baron. Phew... never gets old!

 

That Yellow Key was practically screaming that a massive ambush was waiting inside. Plasmagun in hand I rushed down the middle waking every beast from their slumber and took them on, dodging left and right... dying miserably in my own tears. Perhaps this might have been more effective had I not dove straight into every rocket and flaming death ball! Round two was a smoother attempt, one of the rare opportunities to go wild and blast everything in sight, releasing all that pent up tension endured across the experience thus far. Couldn't figure out how to access the BFG unfortunately.

 

MAP06 currently holds the torch as my favourite level in Urania thus far, more so for its outstanding and exciting beginning phase.

 

MAP07: Castellan's Feast

(Chocolate Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Starting off inside a compact library section, I feel this level attempts to lure players into a false sense of security due to its tame combative gameplay relative to my previous endurances coming to this point. It only later becomes apparent this area only amounts as a mere entryway into a deadlier terror further beyond. Bookshelves and other niches provide more than enough cover to get through here with ease and discovering those side diversions within the earliest lift will help out a ton. Unless you're like me and take a beating from the Archvile as I narrowly avoid taking a rocket, instead lining up into his sight just as the attack fires off. 4HP should be manageable enough... right? Between both areas a bridge must be crossed, except its defenders serve more of a nuisance than an actual danger.

 

MAP07 steps away from its winding paths, approaching a simpler corridor centric layout following the outer perimeter walls, leading into rooms dotted along the way at key intervals. Routing remains very obvious wherein both blue and yellow keys are required moving forward. In turn congestion is a heavy ongoing hazard here, smaller spaces against larger quantities of demon folk, trying to force me to back pedal toward windows overlooking various perched turrets. Perseverance is needed here since ammo is tighter than usual so every piece will count and its easy to become swarmed from all angles. Not only must I ensure good footing but also be vigilant regarding enemy positions at all times, lack of attentiveness will reduce chances of retreat no thanks to a pack of Pain Elemental. Because there's a high chance of infighting it results in several free roaming Lost Souls to deal with squeezing their way into the upper halls. To manage supplies I kept the majority of turret roles alive even if it means putting up with their harassment, limiting myself to picking off hitscans or nearby Revenants.

 

Frustrating level to play through overall, never receiving much respite from those outer threats and any forward motion was tedious at best, which I've only began to feel upon hitting this stage. Close quarter fights are constant, meat shields always blocking my path, dodging past dozens of homing rockets and avoiding chip damage from chaingunners at every step. There's little breaking it up leaving me more worn out than threatened. An increase in fodder to mow through might have loosened up the slog.

 

Not to suggest there weren't any positive moments; Acquiring the YK offers a neat idea by lowering a large segment of its room to get beneath the cage its held in, all while a Cyberdemon looks across the chasm to punish stragglers after pushing the switch. Also loved the super secret hidden behind the BK original location, rewarded for being curious enough to check. Once all keys were in my possession and realising where my next destination lead left me reluctant to move for a while. Jumping on that lift to dash away from the Cybie is one thing but what awaits further in? Turns out a cat and mouse chase sequence, not wanting to fight due to low ammo and throwing other foes into his path to keep them busy while figuring out how to retrieve the RK; Only to have fingers point and laugh as the walls close up, stockpiling me with supplies and forced to fight to the bitter end. I do wish the level ended on a good note after suceeding this battle.

 

8 hours ago, riderr3 said:

Chocolate Doom have a "feature" when monsters forget about player after reloading savegames. So they are just not wake up because of saving and loading inside the fortress walls. Though they can be woken up in outside bridges area.

Would be nice if there was an option to toggle that off in Chocolate Doom. Upon realising that enemies weren't spawning after a reload I did discover the bridge area as their sound trigger, so made it a habit to wake them up every time I loaded my game. That ensured both Arachnotrons and Mancubi appearing in their designated cages for me;

 

KR4J3fU.png

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36 minutes ago, quakis said:

Would be nice if there was an option to toggle that off in Chocolate Doom.

Chocolate's purpose is to emulate the original EXE's behavior as close as possible; it's a bug from the original game, therefore a "feature" of Chocolate Doom.

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20 minutes ago, Salt-Man Z said:

Chocolate's purpose is to emulate the original EXE's behavior as close as possible; it's a bug from the original game, therefore a "feature" of Chocolate Doom.

I understand that, reason alone I love using Choco for vanilla compatible wads. It's just a selfish desire of mine for a bug I wouldn't miss in an engine I like using :(

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MAP09 - “Metal Mayhem”

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As the map title implies, the setting is a gritty and rusted techbase with plenty of metal and wires. This worn-down techbase style reminds me somewhat of what was seen in Revilution earlier this year. The main areas are all rather open in comparison to the claustrophobia of the previous map and the hitscan snipers are deployed more sparingly. Ammo starvation is also not really a thing and I was rocking over 50 rockets at one point. This makes for a less punishing map by Urania standards but the challenge is still there. You'll need the ammo to handle sizeable groups of mid-tier enemies, Viles and Pain Elementals which show up on larger groups and on a more frequent basis. There's a bit of a secret chain to unlock the BFG (and a blue key which I have no idea what it actually does) which is nice but not mandatory to have. Strange final secret before the cool-looking exit portal too.

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MAP09: That was better than the previous one, though it still wasn't one of my favorites, since it felt shorter, more linear and enclosed (although not as much as MAP08). Anyway, there's lots of remarkable rooms and fights, such as the first big battle (where you fight a SM, but I guess it's probably 2 on UV) and that very shaped room that's in Spectre01's screenshot. An improvement from the last level, but not as good as the earlier ones.

 

7.5/10

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MAP05 - “Terracotta”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

Some sort of demon city with buildings you clear out one by one. Meh. I didn’t dig it. Some of the fights inside were okay but most of the beginning is dealing with lots of window snipers and far off Manc/Rev turrets. The frozen horde was a really odd choice as well.

 

This area was probably my least favorite spot (though the damage floor blood vine switch hunt felt terrible despite it’s cool looks) and seemed really unfair with the amount of BS thrown at you once you reached the halfway point at the tower. I had to corner camp and kill every single thing with multiple saves as there really was no other good option to get through any of it. What with all the Revs, the AV with more Revs, the manc turret, spiders off in the distance, two cacs, a PE, CGers and demons below, HK’s above and away to block the steps up to the final ending where you're pretty much guaranteed to get blasted. That was all a little over the top IMO.

 

The real kicker through out this one was when I managed to get all 3 keys and felt like I’ve spent enough time on this map only to find that the final exit is still inaccessible. *eyeroll* Lots of time wasted figuring the rest out, but I did somehow. Lots of podcast listening while I stumble around poking at things I might have missed. I figured it out but it didn’t feel all that clever to me. Felt like just forcing a player to waste more time. *shrug*

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