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The DWmegawad Club plays: Urania

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I'm falling behind with my playthrough, but what can a man do when there's only so many hours in a day. But anyway, here's another part of continuous journey through Urania on UV.

 

Map 06: Death Mask

Time: 1:23:35
K/I/S: 101%/95%/85%
Death count: 4

 

This continues what seems to be Urania main theme, which is "You are not safe. There is no 'safe' here!". The level is filled with enemies that move around quite freely, coming from unexpected directions, even through doors and up stairs. Given how much I normally rely on "clean an area, take a breather, then keep going" routine when I play, this is an interesting new perspective on the game. There are also lots of well executed ambushes that require quick reaction but are still fair and survivable. The secrets are also well executed and figuring out how to get the BFG was especially satisfying. The only one I couldn't figure out was the one with Berserker pack in the slime pit room, but I wasn't feeling like spending much longer trying to figure it out.

 

Overall, this is, indeed, probably the best level so far in the WAD.

 

Map 07: Castelan's Feast

Time: 1:18:53
K/I/S: 99%/95%/100%
Death count: 4

 

An atypical, for Urania, map, where you are not in the crossfire 99% of the time. You can clear out room after room without worrying about something jumping you from behind. There are also lots of opportunities for infighting, which is my number one favourite aspect of Doom combat, and the Cyberdemon has been very kind to completely clean out the pit area for me. All that does not make the level easy, however, and you will die very quickly if you're not careful. The secrets, as, it seems, is usual for the WAD, are well-executed and fun to look for. What I didn't manage to find are the last few enemies, so I finished the level with 99% kills. It's also weird that that megasphere area doesn't count as a secret, or at least isn't marked as one on the map in PrBoom+ (I play without "you have found a secret" notifications).

 

This particular level made me wonder how people who think that playing it safe and sniping is the wrong way to play Doom. I'd sure love to see one of them beat this WAD.

Edited by Rathori

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MAP14: That was a pretty good level, although it had way too much HK's and BoH when you don't have a double shotgun to make killing them faster. Thankfully, however, you have plenty of plasma and rocket and both of them are quite easy to find. Another downside is the lack of a more consistent theme through the level, which could help giving this more identity. The setpiece where you fight the cyberdemon is pretty cool.

 

8,25/10

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On 09.05.2017 at 3:49 PM, quakis said:

MAP06: Death Mask

Couldn't figure out how to access the BFG unfortunately.

On 08.05.2017 at 7:00 AM, Salt-Man Z said:

MAP06: Death Mask

Wish I could have worked out the BFG secret, though.

 

Thought I'd post a guide, since it's a tricky one, so don't open the spoiler if you want to figure it out yourself.

 

Spoiler

After you get into the area with the BFG secret, go and raise the no-key bars that keep you from exiting the area, then stand under them until they try to close on you, and as soon as they bounce off your head run straight to the red-key bars near the BFG secret and raise these BUT don't go in that way because the trigger that closes them behind your back also closes off the BFG niche. Instead, run back and through the no-key bars before they close, and you can go and get your BFG.

 

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5 hours ago, Rathori said:

This particular level made me wonder how people who think that playing it safe and sniping is the wrong way to play Doom. I'd sure love to see one of them beat this WAD.

Wrong? No. Given the choice between "safe and sniping" and "frantic and on-the-fly"? I myself will always pick the latter.

 

The reason for this is that the safe and sniping approach, to me, means precisely one thought process: inch forward, find an enemy, shoot enemy until it dies, and repeat inch-by-inch. Sometimes you have to inch forward a good many inches to find an enemy, only to retreat to the safe zone in order to snipe it appropriately, but the way in which the player acts remains much the same. In a frantic and on-the-fly approach, I can't explain the thought process because it depends on way too many variables:

  • Is there any cover? How permanent is cover if it's available? Are there enemies that can be used as cover?
  • What types of attacks have to be avoided? Arachnotrons, Revenants, Mancubi, hitscanners, Archviles, standard projectiles (e.g., Barons), and Lost Souls all have to be accounted for individually.
  • What weapons are available? Rockets, plasma, SSG, BFG, and chaingun all have potential use cases (and chainsaw/berserk/shotgun if weaponry is limited)
  • How are the enemies moving around? Is there room to move around them, or do some have to be cleared out before that's the case?
  • Is there a means of escaping the encounter? Would it be worth checking or should another layer of the encounter be expected?

None of the above factors come into play when you're sniping, because cover is the basis of sniping, all projectiles are negated in said cover, weapons only vary by amounts of damage and timing (so as to not rocket yourself in the face, for example), and if enemy motion is non-trivial then you're no longer simply sniping.

 

Yes, open-ended gameplay can easily devolve into a few well-known tropes (circlestrafing around a massive horde, as one example), but it is the responsibility of the mapper to account for repetition and avoid it when possible: the typical player will search for and act on the easiest solution to a given problem. Ultimately the issue I take with maps that allow or even enforce sniper-like gameplay in a majority of fights is that I'm not being asked to think about how I proceed, rather to perform a task of which I already know the outcome. If Doom were a game where searching for targets and finding ways to defeat them discreetly involved a more critical thought process (freelook, grenades, remote distractions, clever AI) then I would be more open to the approach, but it's just not there.

 

To return to the topic of Urania: I don't think the mapset is solely dedicated to sniper-like play, but it does lean on its usage a lot. Of course, in Urania, safe is a relative term, so it can quite difficult to snipe, but it's still necessary all the same. This is why I've enjoyed combat in MAP09 and MAP13 the most, where the turret count is fairly low and I'm given room to stretch my legs after all the camping in-between. There are levels thus far that did sniping pretty well (MAP04, for example) but it's too frequent to enjoy it overall.

 

I really would like to understand what makes meticulous, corner-shooting play alluring to some, because I only see it as a means to success: valuing the completion of a level over the journey taken to get to that point. I could be missing something crucial, and if anyone can enlighten me, please do so.

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16 hours ago, Spectre01 said:

MAP14 - “AVC Zone”

 

I looked up the various meanings of AVC and still don't know what the AVC here is supposed to stand for. Let me get the major quirk with this map out of the way first: There is no SSG from Pistol Start. I think every other map has one besides this one.


AVC means arch-vile crusher that you see at the starting area. Lack of SSG is the feature of this map.

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3 hours ago, CapnClever said:

I really would like to understand what makes meticulous, corner-shooting play alluring to some, because I only see it as a means to success: valuing the completion of a level over the journey taken to get to that point. I could be missing something crucial, and if anyone can enlighten me, please do so.

Hey, professional Chaingun-tapper here. Similar to that thread discussing camping vs and aggressive approach (which unfortunately got locked), some people prefer the slow "optimal" play where ammo used and damage taken are minimized. I'm no speedrunner but I do enjoy UV-Maxing hard maps on occasion, where the main goal for me is playing it safe and getting an exit. Using cover has always been the best way to handle hitscanners and some players enjoy the safe approach. Now, as to why it's fun? It's a change from the usual fast-paced gameplay and I don't believe Doom has to be fast all the time. So I guess one of the reasons I like Urania is that I enjoy taking the approach in games with the lowest possibility of death, and this mapset works well for that playstyle.

 

2 hours ago, riderr3 said:

AVC means arch-vile crusher that you see at the starting area. Lack of SSG is the feature of this map.

Fair enough. There is a good amount of plasma and rockets available, provided you jump across to the acid pit first.

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Map 08: Depths of Asthma

(UV continuous with saves)
Time: 35:09
K/I/S: 99%/74%/80%
Death count: 8

 

This map is best described as treacherous. Pretty much all my deaths happened in the starting area, where you're constantly being shot from all directions and there's not really a safe spot to cover yourself from enemy fire. I didn't fully die all 8 times, but I loaded the game and in my book that counts as death. Anyway, the bastards shoot you through windows and corridors at odd angles all the time, and sometimes you can't even figure out WHERE THE HELL FROM. It gets easier after the starting area, but there are also quite a few surprises and not-so-obvious ambushes, such as a bunch of chaingunners being released in building 1 when you get to building 2, who walk towards you leisurely and snipe you in the back while you're busy dealing with more immediate, at least distance-wise, threats.

 

Despite there being lots of monsters and ambushes, there are also medkits aplenty and some supercharges and blue armour pickups, making survival relatively easy after you've dealt with the starting area.

 

There aren't many opportunities for infighting, although I was quite amused when I tried to used to use arachnotrons to clear out the spectres behind the RK door and that didn't go as planned: plasma-spiders got completely owned, killing less than half of their intended targets. Also, a bit later a spectre jumped in front of me from somewhere, heroically covering me from mancubus fire, only too be blasted into oblivion by my next SSG shot, which took both the hero and the mancubus in question and left me feeling like an ungrateful bastard and a traitor.

 

The final area is quite easy, at least if you have the BFG from the previous levels: you can just blast the crap out of everything and then finish off the remaining shotgunners. HKs and BoHs in that room make perfect BFG targets and chaingunners get taken care of almost as a side-effect.

 

This map also made me think, one again, that riderr3 should get some kind of "best use of map space" award because of how much stuff he manages to fit into the map space he uses. Most of the maps in this WAD beat everything I've ever played in terms of gameplay value per square meter.

 

I missed that one secret that wasn't shown on the map in any way, even though I had the computer map. I looked for it just a bit but gave up quickly.

Edited by Rathori

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MAP15 - “Haunt of Eater”

AAED8CA0F2D2F1AA7CD5C4AA401E2EDF6C50FC6B

 

Well that's a spicy start to say the least. If you thought Urania got a bit too easy and casual after map11, then 15 and the 2 secret maps are just what you need! This is an underground Hell map with plenty of lava and other red textures accentuating more neutral colours. There's also plenty of highly damaging lava and some minor platforming, along with an element of radsuit management. Regular progression is rather straightforward as far as non-linear maps go, but getting all the secrets along with the secret exit is a bit more tricky. Pistol Starters will be happy that all the weapons aside from the BFG, which is behind a yellow door near the start like in map13, are found very quickly in the main area. There is also plenty of ammo for everything, especially if you use a radsuit to explore the lava for boxes of rockets and other good stuff. You generally want to avoid the exit area with the reviving Revenants and the final fight can get quite heated if your BFG is not full of cells. Archviles are used a lot more casually here and there's a rather mean one once you jump across to the structure with like 5 or 6 Barons in it. Stunlock him with plasma and take a hit if you must so he doesn't revive everything. Cool map overall.

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I think both playstyles (slow vs frantic) are valid and I like to reinforce both when I'm mapping. Like CapnClever said, one if more focused on precise positioning (and map awareness) while other is mid-action tactical choice, so when you mix both is where, IMO, the Doom gameplay shines mostly. Not everyone likes it, though, and it is fine, IMO.

 

MAP15: Another pretty good level, though the obtuse progression was a bit unnecessary here. After losing a lot of time to find that RK, I decided to look at Doom Builder and realize that there was no RK in the level and I actually had to press a switch hidden in one if the turrets lifts lol

 

Apart from this, the texture usage was very consistent giving a good "Urania" feeling and monster placement was on point, without too much grinding, since you get the weapons you need early. IDK how do I kill the archvilles ressurecting the revenants, though lol The radsuit management was a cool element, but I think -20 damage in the lava was too much, especially because you needed to step in to reach some areas, and this didn't work well with the obtuse progression.

 

8,25/10

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MAP31 - “Chaingun Alley”

8ED859865C345D8B49A4FD8ECF70E8687C040CA4

 

Grab your Chaingun, find some cover and tap the shit out of that son of a bitch! As the Alley in the title implies, this is a linear map where you keep going forward through various distinct looking areas which all feature incidental combat against hitscanners and other turrets as well as more free-flowing teleport traps. Oh yeah, and it's the hardest map so far too. The pistol start here is incredibly painful. The only real good strat I found to work is grabbing some stuff and camping the hell out of the high ground here. Of course, the way up there is blocked at first so you'll have to survive some bullet hell before being able to try out any camp strats. I love this window at the start which gives a nice view of the E3 sky. Like I said, the map's mostly a series of cool-looking locations like the crusher room, a tech area and my favourite being the bloody vine room. That's a cool visual style that I've always liked seeing in this set. The gameplay is more varied than sniping back at enemies and the various teleport traps tend to involve high numbers of Revenants and Hell Knights which make you move around the often tricky layout. You don't fight any Viles though, which holds the map back from being as challenging as it could have been. Oh, and each room contains a hidden metal switch that slightly raises the exit bridge. Those are triggered by different things and if you happen to miss one you'll have to backtrack and try to find where it opened up.

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0LglVRih.png

 

MAP12 - “Odontolith”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

A night setting? Cool! I really love the dark blue hue in contrast to the browns. Thanks to the pleasant darker tones I got bit by spectres more times in this map than I can ever remember before. They always seemed to surprise me while I was banging away with my CG on high alert with all of the hitscans thrown about.

 

This was a fun map with a tricky ammo management situation. Things got tight for me a number of times until I started finding plenty of shells 3/4’s the way through this.

 

I liked seeing a more standard fair base design with Urania sensibilities in the form of far of hitscan turrets and nooks. That’s what made the beginning a lot more challenging then the rest of the map but there is a lot of health to be found. So once again the slightly heavy handed use of CG’ers at times is countered with plenty of armor and health to compensate.

 

My favorite part was being able to explore both of the rocky ledges that looked down in to the watery courtyards with one being a secret and the other mandatory with a switch flip. Least favorite was discovering the water that damages you right after requiring a player to be in water that doesn’t. Lame.

 

Finding the exit was a nice surprise as the two key required double doors doesn’t just let you leave right away and there is a liberal use of the traditional “exit door” texture that doesn’t necessarily lead to an exit at all. Making a player teleport around a little bit and, oddly enough, find the actual exit to be at the entrance on the third trip back seemed funny. There isn’t any good reason for it, other than providing a fun little creative experience that isn’t normal.

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Quote

Least favorite was discovering the water that damages you right after requiring a player to be in water that doesn’t. Lame.

@Demtor that was lame for me too until I understood it was poisoned by the green slime, which made me change my opinion immediately to "cool!"

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NkgxzeAh.png

 

MAP13 - “Journey of Voices”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

Quite a navigational puzzle. Remembering how to get up/down and around stuff is a challenge in and of itself let alone battling all sorts of ambushes and respawns. Not to mention the color keyed switch hunting nightmare. I think I had located every single colored switch on this map before I found the first key. God damn.

 

The fight over the RK was pretty well done. I’m comin’ for ya! I had a lot of fun with that. The tighter inside areas were unique and helped break things up a bit. Being trapped in close with a bunch of nobles and crushers was quite a memorable moment as was riding the lifts and avoiding point blank face fulls of fire.

 

All in all, this was a tad tedious but once I finally figured everything out, found some fun secrets and eventually earned the right to enter the exit after surviving one last deadly showdown with a few AV’s and their buddies, I was okay with it all. I certainly didn’t regret my time spent puzzling things out and connecting the dots. It took work but there was fun to be had cutting baddies down bit by bit.

 

The music was a very silly though and after the 5th repeat I was ready to turn the gun around on myself. Classic rock songs stuck on replay are the worst. I don’t care what song it is. It’s painful. Maybe… that was the point? * shudder *

 

This wad has been quite the haul. Jeeeezuz.

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Haven't touched Urania since last time being so busy and I'm already so far behind! Switched over to Crispy Doom, which has been a good alternative to Choco. Now that enemies don't "forget" their target upon loading saves, the experience has been much more pleasant. No more 'breaking' levels. Loving it.

 

MAP08: Depths of Asthma

(Crispy Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Starts off on a very similar beat to MAP06, forced into a frantic rush for weapons before being pummelled into paste by an onslaught from all possible angles. Finding any spot of relief was never easy with the addition of windows looking into the central building allowing an easy shot on anyone not paying attention to their flanks. Pressured to keep moving further inside, oncoming beasties don't make it any easier where near every enemy type has been put to use. Spiders, Mancubi and Revenants mostly serve as turrets outside, leaving Hellknights, Barons and snippets of fodder to soak up ammo.

 

Positioning and patience were key here but once I managed to push on through the opposite side, combat eased out perhaps because I gained more legroom to work with. Ended up clearing out the chasm before lowering the blue key pillar, but this worked to my favour since grabbing it left me with a weakened opposition to fight against upon retreat. Though of course I had to backtrack first to tie up what I'd missed before doing so, appreciating how calm the area became in comparison to its starting phase. That finale though was a thrilling skirmish, enough space to lure everything out, cause chaos amongst themselves and somehow squeeze past to procure extra resources before cleaning any remainders. Good fight to end on.

 

MAP09: Metal Mayhem

(Crispy Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Enjoyed this one in many ways. First battle is tame, nothing creating any particular danger. Flick a switch, surrounding walls lower and suddenly the proceeding fight becomes an overwhelming death ball. Its intense but deliciously so. Not once did I consider it unfair, seemingly hinting I should retreat into a side path. In turn there's conflicting thoughts about missing out on all that good gear lying around, pushing me to jump back out and see what I can grab without dying. Then I noticed an Archvile. That Mastermind was going to be troublesome enough, but this added threat can't be left unattended. I had to do something.

 

Wasn't going to fight it out there considering what I was up against, so my tactic involve sticking close to one lift to lure out demons, take them out from resurrecting range and occasionally popping a rocket if I so much as see him. He eventually died to splash damage leaving me to focus on clearing out the northern block before heading south. MAP09 is otherwise par-the-courses here on out, Chaingunners never cease to be a nuisance and open areas acting as bait for those daring enough to become a bullet magnet. Exploration can yield some nice finds, attentiveness will eventually lead toward a BFG and Blue Key, the latter I couldn't figure any use for even after scouring every corner on the map screen assuming I hadn't already activated it.

 

MAP10: Stuffed

(Crispy Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Who's up for some Marine Pie? We need over a dozen Revenants to tenderise the meat and a few of our finest Archvile chefs to roast it up. To make things more exciting, we'll thrust him into a winding maze and chase the bugger down. A good spot of exercise will work up a nice appetite. Alright chaps, we begin after the first gunshot!

 

Obvious inspiration here from Plutonia's "Hunted", forced into a terrifying experience of cat and mouse. I couldn't imagine this would have the same impact on a continuous playthrough. Pistol start had me diving head first into the maze to escape danger only to realise; there's no weapons in here! As doors constantly open and close denying me access on demand into the other halls, Revenants slowly close in. Hopping through teleporters, bumping up my health an armour, I finally find my way back to the beginning avoiding most hazards and have a piece of mind. Until having the daylights frightened out of me from an unexpected Archie rushing into view. I should have saw that coming miles away.

 

Shotguns in hand I get to work picking off what I can, retreating when it becomes too crowded for comfort. Rinse and repeat. Whenever an Archie shows up they take priority. ignoring every other bonepile even if it means I'll need to finish him later. MAP10 is a gimmicky experience but I do enjoy having these to occasionally break away from regular gameplay. Wasn't too convinced regarding the finale however. Barons soak up too much ammo yet eight Pain Elementals consistently spit out flaming pain-in-the-backside skulls. Get out of my face! Several unsuccessful runs at this point were spent finding the most optimal way to proceed before running dry on munitions. Sneaking past three Barons worked sometimes but losing an arm or leg for it wasn't ideal. Best effort to save me going insane was to rocket the PE's and focus on whittling down three groups of Barons using the SSG. It was slow and not the most exciting ending honestly.

 

MAP11: Ejection of Energy

(Crispy Doom | Ultra Violence | Pistol Start)

Could have done without the beginning miniature maze, seemed a little pointless to throw that at us resulting in a bunch of silly deaths just to get out. Poor early impressions aside, MAP11 appears to be another experience much like previous offerings following Urania's usual tricks. Each room is just as dangerous as the last but care will lead to victory. Northern and southern routes can be explore independently from each other, our only goal is to seek out all three keys. However the overall experience can differ greatly depending on which path is taken first and choices made there. Having gone south I found myself regretting my decision to step into a portal, finding myself transported into an oppressive environment.

 

By choosing not to backtrack I missed out on a Red Key, BFG and Backpack before entering this area. Every encounter was a sledgehammer to the face. Ammo always wearing thin made it a battle of attrition to gain new ground for supplies. Did not have a pleasant time here in all honestly, growing a little impatient due to intimidation and doesn't help I'm bombarded from all angles around me, so that pushing forward required the best out of me. Conveniently almost every Rev rocket was a seeker which got on my nerves after a while. Decided to call it a night and continue later after calming down.

 

Once both blue and yellow keys were claimed I couldn't find my way back out. It then occurred to me I'm probably expected to do something in that Cybie tower, but did NOT have enough ammo to kill him. Several terrible attempts at side stepping point blank rockets later, luck would have it I somehow missed the Plasmagun turning the tide instantly. Everything after felt like a breeze having succeeded, in my opinion, one of the hardest parts of Urania so far. Before closing off, two other little tidbits I appreciate worth mentioning include; Upon entering the room containing a Red Key, an ambush is triggered to sneak up behind players... assuming we blew up the barrels. Nice touch; Secondly, I love how that hellish cave section is never alluded to at any point, the northern stairs suggesting a normal area beyond the barrier and a portal revealing no clues where it leads. In the end I grew to appreciate that entire section despite my frustrations in there. Great surprise. Great twist.

Edited by quakis : Typos!

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MAP08: Depths of Asthma

36:49 | 100% Everything

 

Might be the quickest I've managed to complete a Urania level so far! (Quick check says "no", on account of maps 01-02.) An absolutely frantic start to this one saw me running for some semblance of cover so I could save for the night. Eventually I was able to ensconce myself in a corner of the start hallway. A deadly map that isn't particularly long, consisting almost entirely of two bunkers connected by couple bridges in a (thankfully non-damaging) canyon of lava rock. There are snipers everywhere, inside and out. Entering any new area was putting your life at risk from chaingunners, revenants, and nobles. I spent a lot of time doorway camping, particularly when initially venturing out of the first bunker. Pump rockets/bullets into those revenant towers. Mancubi and spiders ringing the canyon were taken out from inside through the windows. Pretty methodical stuff, but rushing headlong into anything usually resulted in my dying. Not a bad level, all things considered. Though the ending arena was pretty underwhelming.

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MAP32 - “After-Effect” UV-Max demo in 32:47 attached.

CDBF1F904785E24921B7994EA8BA7024EF55558D

 

What do you get when you cross Go 2 It, Go 4 It, Have @ It and... Well, you get the obligatory slaughtermap in the 32 slot. What seperates After-Effect from the other ones is that it's significantly more difficult and harder to camp/cheese. You start in a large courtyard with all the weapons, which quickly opens up to expose hordes of enemies and force you to move your ass. The map is nicely open and non-linear with 3 keys placed in various locations. Progression is as obvious as it gets here. What makes the start so difficult is that you're severely outmatched regardless of which path you choose. I had quite a bit of trouble getting a good start going and even managed to save myself into an unwinnable situation where I ran out of everything. There isn't enough ammo or health to spam the shit out of BFG and Rockets until the later half of the map so you're forced to manage both resources wisely. This is in contrast to the original Go 2 It and other imitations of it which contain plenty of Megaspheres and ammo to make you feel like an unstoppable badass. The most dangerous aspect of this map is the 28 Archviles contained here. A few of the wander around while other teleport in with hordes of enemies in often unexpected sections of the map while you're fighting other enemies. This makes a lot of safe plays a bad idea since you have to aggressively rush them to prevent the revival of entire sections cleared before. It's not a huge map but it certainly shows what can be done with just over 500 enemies.

ua32-3247.zip

Edited by Spectre01 : Demo attached

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Map 09: Metal Mayhem

(UV continuous with saves)
Time: 41:04
K/I/S: 104%/91%/100%
Death count: 3

 

Fun map, lots of crossfire, lots of chaingunners (what else is new?). Some very nasty Archies resurrecting enemies in the central area and making coming back up VERY dangerous.

 

I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get that final secret with the green armour and the impaled zombie. I also have no idea what that blue key was for, or what was that door/lift noise in the starting are all about. I spent a few minutes trying to track it down thinking it had something to do with that last secret.

 

Map 10: Stuffed

(UV continuous with saves)
Time: 13:46
K/I/S: 117%/71%/0%
Death count: 0

 

Obviously, Plutonia homage; very easy on continuous play. The corridors are just the right width to make killing Revenants with SSG trivial, and occasional BFG blast or a few rockets take care of already scarce Archies, and the two harmless ones behind the yellow bars are nothing but SSG fodder. Did die, didn't load, didn't find any secrets. I did see the suspicious teleporter in the starting area, but I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there, AV jump maybe? Probably the shortest map so far, and I wasted a few minutes finding the fifth yellow bar switch. I kinda like how there's no actual yellow key on the map, and the yellow skulls texture is just used to colour-code the bars and the switches that lower them.

 

Map 11: Ejection of Energy

(UV continuous with saves)
Time: 38:17
K/I/S: 111%/63%/50%
Death count: 6

 

Didn't die at the start (easy on continuous), but died several times due to recurrent stupidity, although some of its fits I did survive (like slowly riding the pillar up to try double-tapping the Cyber. And what a great idea it was! [/sarcasm]). This map felt like two maps in one, probably because of the red cave area. I also forgot where the exit was, and wasted a lot of time finding it. This map feels easier and more relaxed than pretty much any previous level (map 10 excluded), I wonder if the WAD has got some nasty surprise ahead to make up for this.

Edited by Rathori

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Map 12: Odontolith

(UV continuous with saves)
Time: 34:35
K/I/S: 97%/79%/60%
Death count: 5

 

A rather compact map in industrial/tech style with lots and lots of hitscanners occasionally coming out of seemingly nowhere. Surprisingly, no strong monsters at all, but there are still plenty opportunities to get your ass kicked. I couldn't find the way into two secrets, and, what's bugging me even more, into a monster closet in the cave with the bright UAC logo and a teleporter in a pool of blood in the middle, said closet containing, by the sound of it, some imps and pinkies.

 

Also, I don't know what to make of the music on this map, it seems kinda silly and maybe a bit sarcastic.

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1 hour ago, galileo31dos01 said:

it has to do with a secret, reachable from the last courtyard

Wow, it's actually quite an obvious one, I can't believe I missed it.

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nKeuAjNh.png

 

MAP14 - “AVC Zone”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

Weird start. I don’t understand what an AV crusher is but it would suck to try and pistol start this. If my save file gets corrupt or something, I am fairly certain I wouldn’t be playing these maps.

 

Lots of confused running back and forth in this one. Urania has this weird kind of aspect of pain and joy. The pain of not knowing where to go and what to do is massive. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. Then you find a key and suddenly a breeze of hope blows through and you feel a tad better. Like you can go on and figure out the next step, dreading the moment you get stuck again.

 

A few TNT logos abound. Kind of a surprise. I love finding blue armor in any level but this one was particularly fun and ghastly. I liked being able to step outside for a tiny bit too as this map felt very cramped at times. The blue sky is a welcome discovery where ever you can find it. The tree hallway was a nice looking touch as well. Could’ve done without the pitch black warehouse though I did appreciate the dirty trick with being able to turn the lights on and then yanking the rug out from under a player.

 

The best part of this map was the giant fight inside of the green toxic area with all of the columns. That was crazy stuff and then throw in a cyberdemon for good measure. Good choice.

 

I didn’t understand why the BK stuff used three pressed in skulls. Figuring the switches and keys out is hard enough without red herring textures. Unless I missed something. These maps are very obtuse at times so I wouldn’t be surprised if I did.

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I'm doing pistol (though on HMP) start and I died a couple of times in that starting area of AVC Zone. I had to figure out the crusher thing to be able to pass, which was a similar mechanism in the previous level (which helped a lot to figure out)

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MAP15 - “Haunt of Eater”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

Kind of a frustrating start for a rather frustrating map. I suppose you could go whichever way you want but whatever you do... you best get running boy! I took a HK blast to the back of the head just for taking a second to think about it. Lots of cross fire and craziness. Plenty of far off snipers for added fun as well.

Later on you'll find that this time you can’t kill them all thanks to some infinitely rezed revs. Was that really necessary with all of this shit? I guess it did make that final fight flow extremely different than it would have otherwise without them.

 

On to what I did like. The look of the central hub was cool and I appreciated the use of grated walkways to allow some safe spots to walk over the lava with.

 

Couple of nice looking sections to be found. I enjoyed the look of the torch lit cavernous secret below and it’s little IV sphere. The YK area had a nice hellish marbled theme to it as well. The throne room was a slick looking place to fight in. 

 

Having to jump down in to the lava bottom was an exciting choice. Fun and frantic fight with the timer running out on your EV suit. Appreciated the extra one hidden in the steps back up by the demon pack.

 

Hey, I managed to find the secret exit in this wad! Hell ya. Didn’t expect I’d be able to do that.

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3 minutes ago, Deadwing said:

I'm doing pistol (though on HMP) start and I died a couple of times in that starting area of AVC Zone. I had to figure out the crusher thing to be able to pass, which was a similar mechanism in the previous level (which helped a lot to figure out)

Hey, way to be! You pistol starters are a brave lot this go around.

 

My time is limited this summer and these maps are long enough without me struggling to start every single one of them. I did go back and figure out how to squish those bastards though. Didn't see the tiny colored floor switches. Seems like an odd mechanic to me.

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1 hour ago, Demtor said:

Hey, way to be! You pistol starters are a brave lot this go around.

 

My time is limited this summer and these maps are long enough without me struggling to start every single one of them. I did go back and figure out how to squish those bastards though. Didn't see the tiny colored floor switches. Seems like an odd mechanic to me.

 

It's not that hard on HMP, though haha It's not really hard to find the guns and, in the later levels, ammo is more safe (instead of being very strict like in the earlier levels) I'm also using saves or I wouldn't be able to finish any level D:

 

That crusher mechanism is weird, but at the same time I liked it. This wad has some weird but interesting starting areas, like the tiny maze on map 11 and the chaingunners ambush on map 4.

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Early suggestion for a 'variety pack' next month:

 

+++ No Sleep for the Dead, UAC Ultra, Scythe X

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Map 13: Journey of Voices

(UV continuous with saves)

Time: 1:22:54
K/I/S: 100%/85%/80%
Death count: 3

 

A more or less run-n-gun map. Except for the blue tech area, there isn't really much of a need to use cover, except for staying out of SMM's sight in the inner circle. There are some puzzle-bits, some slaughtery bits, some platforming bits, and a crusher-labyrinth bit, allowing for a lot of gameplay diversity for just one map. That piinky ambush in the blue tech room was wicked, I have no idea how I managed to survive THAT on first try. I got left with under 10 HP and was killed by a chaingunner turret about half a meter away from the medkit, though. Good thing I saved right after I've dealt with the pinkies.

 

The Roaster (aka crusher labyrinth aka YK area) was very intense and the crushers proved very helpful in dealing with the nobles, HKs were usually left with so little HP they only required one blast from SSG to kill them. Incidentally, all the time I spent in this area I kept saying "please no Archies, please no Archies!" to myself. I'd hate to be followed around the map by a crowd of effectively unkillable nobles, so thanks a ton for not doing that to players.

 

The rising-platform room has been one of the most intense parts of the map, carefully balancing sniping enemies in hard-to-reach places with medkits to allow careful players to survive while still keeping them on their toes.

 

The spectres outside were the bane of my existence. You can barely see the bastards, and I had large chunks of my health bitten off when I least expected it. I'm sure there would have been many more deaths were it not for a supercharge hidden in wall by one of the lifts.

 

Progression-wise, it's Map 04: Guerilla all over again, only it took me even longer (found the first key at about 58 minutes in). I spent most of the time running around finding switches by accident and having no clue whatsoever where I'm supposed to be going or what most of the switches that I activated did. After almost an hour of running around the map I found myself in the Roaster Room to discover that yellow key was, finally, accessible. The red-key switch hunt didn't take too long, I had all the switches discovered long before I found the first key. Another similarity to Guerilla is that navigation around the level is tricky and automap is of no help whatsoever.

 

I missed one secret, and I was too fed up with map to go looking for it. Also, when you shoot a barrel next to a teleporter, make sure you kill it with that shot. I owe my first death to not doing that.

 

On a side note, I'm 10:26:21 into the WAD so far. That's already about 25-50% longer that an average modern shooter (which usually takes me about 6-8 hours to beat, no rush).

Edited by Rathori

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MAP16:  One of the largest levels so far, very non-linear. Surprisingly, monster count is quite low, but the placement was very good, with LOTS of roamers. I got myself killed several times due to a monster waking up on the other side of the level and ambushing me, which was amusing. It's probably one of the rrider3 early levels too, these tunnels looked very abstract (though on the other hand it worked well with the roamers).

 

You can get the RK early which will help a lot dealing with high tier folks. Plasma and SS felt more tricky though, but since the level of meat isn't high, it's no big deal. The BK secret was really cool. I got lost sometimes, but figured out how to reach the exit. I think the most 'problematic' moments was to run to reach that switch (you'll know which one), which requires some precision to do successfully.

 

I think I took 50 min to finish this one.

 

8,5/10

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MAP31 - “Chaingun Alley”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

Short and simply introduction.

 

Crazy start with CG’ers everywhere assuming you survived the point black punch to the side of the head after the first door is opened. Can I just cower here for a while? I understand this wad loves using hitscanners, hiding/teleporting them everywhere, but this map cranks it to 11. With a map name like that… ho boy. I get it, but come on.

 

I liked the black mountain on red backdrop used for the sky texture.

 

Every large section has a pretty cool and unique look to it. Red and green blood fountains in the first area were neat. I loved the look of the crushers in the 2nd. Shit gets crazy in the 3rd area. I don’t know how anyone would tackle that without A LOT of a doorway sniping.

 

Lots of doorway sniping everywhere in this map. Hell, this whole wad just loves impossible to survive in open areas without proper sniper fire to whittle down the hitscans numbers and this map takes it to another level.

 

I liked that the solution to the map is hinted at with the auto map. Very useful. However, after tracking each and every single switch I had found so far, I ended up looking at this wall and being stuck with the 5th one. There was no way to flip that last switch. I spent a few minutes running around before I shrugged and noclip skipped through it. Bug?

 

Also, a terrible midi version of War Pigs on repeat? Eh… could be worse I guess.

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MAP32 - “After-Effect”

gzDoom/BDoom - UV – continuous/saves

 

At first I HATED this but am glad I stuck it out with multiple save scums as it turned out to be a lot of fun once you first took down the AV’s followed by the CG’ers.

 

Those two enemies ruined every encounter in this map IMO and they were the first to die by my hand every time I saw them. Nestled in cubbies? RL them immediately. Wandering around from a respawn/teleport, track down and eliminate ASAP. Hanging out in a lone tower above a sea of enemies? Precision rockets and a lot of saving/reloading FTW. AV’s sitting behind a pack of barons? Stall and run circles until they move themselves to the front for a good BFG shot.

 

The rest of the map is enjoyable if you can manage to take out the cheesy BS damage quickly. That start though, is chaos and if you don’t read the warning label and take it’s broken english message to heart… you’ll end up having a bad time.

 

Control the AV and hitscan population though and fun can be had. Can you say KA-Boooom! There were quite a few times I laughed when looking back at the splattery mess left in my wake.

 

LoL at the YK sitting alone in the back without any fanfare, decoration, lighting or otherwise notable markings. Just sits there. Lonely and easily missed.

 

I don’t know why, but again I feel like this map had a bug. The RK would not lower. If I missed something, fine, but what the fuck though? In general, the design of the puzzles in this wad has been suspect. Obvious progression steps like this shouldn’t be that hard to find and reeks of unnecessary time wasting bullshit. However, to be fair, this rant is null if there wasn’t anything I missed and shit was just broken. * shrug * I no clipped that shit and moved on to the next wave of evil.

 

Another daunting encounter but if you hang back a bit, they do a great job of just killing themselves. The final bridge area was kind of cool looking if a bit silly with the invisible barrier at the bottom and the teleport exit to the top with awkward falling required to get back to the center.

 

Felt good to manage all the secrets. It’d be funny if the game time somehow could track actual play time instead of in game save to save time. I’m pretty sure I’d be over 10 hours at this point. Easily.

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