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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Newgothic Movement 2 & Deus Vult II

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2 hours ago, Grain of Salt said:

+++ Eternal Slumber Party

That's actually what ESP stands for? Hilarious. Probably more ToD than the club can handle there though. ;)

I'll give a shoutout to Deadwing's +++ Moonblood or +++ A.L.T. for the more esoteric pick.

 

Far behind this month but still...

 

NG2 map09

I gave this big boy another go and generally had a good time aside from the previously mentioned bugs in the North-East tower fight. Getting 100% kills took a while, 1h 40min precisely, and removing the turrets on the outer edge of the map was the low point. The big finale in the throne room was the most memorable section with a big fight that gave me more trouble than expected. Mainly, it was often difficult to heal back up due to the 8 megasphere all sitting in the centre which can easily get congested over the course of the lengthy fight. Keeping the 4 or so roaming Cybers alive did prove useful early on though. Fun map.

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7 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

EDIT: quick question, since there is no map 15, how does someone get to maps 31 and 32?

Spoiler

Secret exit at the fork of MAP29 (probably ZDoom only?)

 

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A gg suggestion for the next dwmc:

 

+++Stardate20x7 +++Legacy of Heroes +++Absolute Dishonor +++Altitude

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Gonna repeat my request from last month...

 

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

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Might vote for Eternal Slumber Party, scotty's set, or HR2. My vote can be yours with the right level of flattery and seduction.

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18 minutes ago, rdwpa said:

Might vote for Eternal Slumber Party, scotty's set, or HR2. My vote can be yours with the right level of flattery and seduction.

All I will say is: Strawberry kisses.

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+++ Eternal Slumber Party

 

(Strawberry kisses were exchanged independently but not for my vote.) 

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4 hours ago, Scotty said:

Gonna repeat my request from last month...

 

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

Still haven't gotten back onto NGM2, let alone DV2, but I'll pop in here and second these bad boys.

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+++ SUDTIC TEUTIC OBTIC

P.S. Seems we again have no chance against anime avatars gang.

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And finally finishing NG2...

 

Map 16 -- Author: ArmouredBlood/Archi

Ah, this is quite something. And that BGM! I know I've heard it before somewhere--perhaps it's a midi cover of this or that prog metal song, Dream Theater or Symphony X or Vanden Plas or Pagan's Mind or something of that general ilk--but can't place it. Anyone know what it is? It has been the only selection in the WAD's soundtrack that really grabbed me, whereas I eventually IDMUS'd away to stock tracks for some few of the others.

 

No real performance issues for me here, incidentally, though I did start detecting a very minor framerate hit (at a 1600x900 screen resolution, note) for maybe the last 10 minutes or so, presumably a function of the sheer number of sprites littering the pyramid area at that point.

 

This is perhaps ArmouredBlood's strongest map compositionally in the set, though having finished the whole thing now I reckon I'd still say that m09's throneroom remains the WAD's single best fight. In broad form, it's like most of the others in that it presents a more or less linear sequence of discrete slaughter vignettes (maybe a couple of forks leading up to some of the skull keys? hard to tell in all the chaos), and again, some of these seemed to me to be a lot more inspired/inspiring than others, but there's a sense of it all being tied together much more cohesively this go-round by virtue of the way that the central hub is implemented. There's a boss spawner activated early on in the proceedings that spends the majority of the runtime filling the spacious, multi-terraced courtyard with monsters, and while the rate of spawn is actually not as high as one might perhaps expect (you could easily keep on top of it for quite some time if you dedicated yourself to the task early on), given the various imbroglios you'll be caught up in hunting for keys in the various side wings and annexes it will inevitably turn into a mass riot while you're away.

 

This isn't really a serious concern in and of itself, as there is a functionally infinite supply of ammo available in the courtyard you can use to butcher the creatures to your warped little heart's content, but it introduces a lot of fun layers and a few minor tactical nuances to progression as a whole. For one, the presence of a spawner pokes that deep-seated instinct to go and do the level as fast as you can so they don't overwhelm you; rationally speaking, there's absolutely no point in fretting over this, since there's no way in hell you can outpace the spawn rate, and because the level's design/balance does a mostly good job of accommodating this eventuality, but that extra bit of psychological edge certainly adds some sense of culmination to the proceedings, which is not at all easy to do in the 16th map of a set that starts in the deeper end of the pool, suffice to say. Intuitively, monsters from the hub can follow you into several of the side wings to some extent; this is rarely much of a major factor as far as strategy goes (though I suppose it does discourage trying to camp out the side areas from their entrances to some degree, though for most of them this is not a particularly useful tactic anyway), but it does serve to tie everything together as a greater location with an overarching objective, something which many of the previous maps have lacked. Early on I had some concern about getting infinitely-tall'd out of reentering the hub by the spawning hordes, but in practice this is generally not an issue, as while most of the side paths end in a lift (denoting you've finished, perhaps), the initial entrance is always available as well, so there's little reason to get trapped given the application of a little firepower. Perhaps most importantly, though, as I was playing I came to look forward to returning to the hub after each side annex, massmurdering droves of monsters out there for a couple of minutes serving as something like a mental reset between the level's actual challenges.

 

Of the side wings, as has been the case with many of the set's other discrete setups, some work and some don't. My favorite of the lot was the YSK fight, a fire-corridor which quickly transforms into a patently absurd and deeply satisfying imp-slaughter with a pair of cybies slowly but surely carving their way towards you from the entrance. The weakest area was most certainly the RSK annex: the vast majority of the monsters here are placed in the upstairs warrens to either side, which they cannot leave (monster-blocking lines), and which affords both they and you limited opportunities for firing on one another. Pounding through this the first time is perhaps not outside the scope of the set's general stylistic oeuvre (though it's still needless fluff in a level this long, I'd say), but after grabbing the key both sides repopulate with arch-viles and some other dross, which you can either zerg-rush with the BFG (completely ignoring the monsters on whichever side you didn't rush) if you know what's going to happen or, alternatively, stand around near the key stairs and slowly rocket the mess into submission with relatively impunity. The combination of essentially doing the same thing twice in a row with the monster-blocking lines really robs this area of most of its value, IMO; there's a giant-ass pile of resources by the RSK itself, so why not ditch the blocking lines and most of the first clear and then have the actual fight be a heated bolthole defense by the key?

 

Still another leg of the journey to go after collecting all three skulls, which is a bold/risky decision from a progression standpoint, though to its credit the map does its best to maintain the sense of spectacle through to the end. After riding the big, ominous Earthen Peak-ass lift up to the pyramid-mecca area, my playthrough lost a good bit of momentum since I failed to quickly grasp a good/efficient strategy for that fight, mainly because I missed the V-spheres on the knight ledges and didn't immediately realize that 3 of the 4 switches on the pyramid itself actuated timed lifts (and that the 4th switch adds another complication to the fight which doesn't need to be there if you hit it too early), leading to a failed attempt and then a long slow clear of the mostly static (and very dense) blanketing of monsters. Doing it this way actually allows you to cheese out the final clusters of viles guarding the final two switches in a most cowardly/undignified fashion, but seeing how the rest of it all fits together after the fact, I reckon this is hardly worth the trouble (and the viles are probably line-blocked anyway, come to think of it). I do like the way that monsters from the spawner-hub eventually start being trickled in here, incidentally, adding a minor complication to breaking into the spiral area (though they only spawn on the northwestern terrace and not on the northeastern one for some reason, is this a bug?).

 

The spiral fight itself is a decent little bit of cathartic climax, framed as something much like m09's throneroom finale but taking place in a much smaller arena, though in effect it's really not a particularly tall ask given the presence of the two V-spheres provided you act quickly and decisively (fail to do so and you're almost certainly dead, granted). The spires or antennae or whatever they are being movement-blocking even while they're entirely flush with the ground before rising is a bit uncomfortable/disconcerting, but the cinematic effect of them building in sequence around you is worth the tradeoff, I think. I guess some might be disappointed that the game's final fight is not a particularly difficult one, but at the same time this is a rather long map as is and is arguably well-served by ending with a spate of celebratory revel rather than with yet another herculean extermination campaign.....valid points both, haven't quite made up my own mind how I feel about it yet, actually.

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+++ Whichever is winning

 

MAP19: Stargate

Time: 1:22:46

Death Count: 0

Secrets legally found: 9/9 

 

Nice long semi-linear mazy colorful fun medium starbase map (or read the adjectives in their correct order). Starting with simple encounters and getting harder along the way. Most walls had text messages over them, indicating something related to the section, which was neat, actually this map was full of neat details (yep I took a bunch of pictures). The path to victory was not so obvious, meaning that I spent a lot of time rambling around looking for what to do next. Switch-hunting would be the style of this map, and I liked that. I also liked how each section was illuminated with different colors corresponding to stuff like which key you'll need to find. Very nice secrets too, even the black room with random chemistry textures, providing some cells ammo. And this time, no weird images but the South Park characters! There were Stan, EricKyleKenny, and ButtersDid I miss someone?...

Weeeeeee

Next map, egyptian theme, yay! I hope I'll see the new monsters here.   

 

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MAP20: Desert Temple

Time: 46:54

Death Count: 0

Secrets legally found: 4/5

 

Very nice egyptian map, full of fun stuff. Rather easyish, basically encounters involving no more than 6 enemies, plus snipers. At least on HMP. Apparently, I was in Hamunaptra, according to the wiki, it's the name of the egyptian city of The Mummy, wow that movie scared me back then... A lot of nice visualsgolden slime? wow!

Monsters could be behind pillars, in traps, or in tombs. A few nice secrets, the random textures never fail to "impress" me. Missed (legally) the backpack secret, I forgot green torches are common secret triggers in wads, specially in a map inspired by AV.

The ending screen was awesome, approaching to what I think is Mars

 

"...Killing all evils in sight, your team enters the corrupted stargate and prepare to shut down the source of demonic invasion..." umm, it's just me, all alone!! jk

 

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3 hours ago, Demon of the Well said:

Anyone know what it is?

It's "Legend of the Black Sun" by Knightrider of Doom, and it was also on NG1 MAP11. It is truly a phenomenal piece of work. Some of his other works (with the KoD prefix) have appeared in other WADs - ArmouredBlood is certainly a fan.

 

Side note, his track "Dragon's Revenge" is one of my favourite MIDIs ever and I'd love to see more stuff like this in Doom WADs, though stuff of this nature is limited in the sort of map it can fit with, sadly.

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Quote

Slaughtermaps are true Doom. 

 

In the same respects as switch-hunting maps, grinding maps, mazy maps, UDoom-ish maps, DoomII-ish maps, FDoom-ish maps, under200monsters maps, justafewhitscannersimpsanddemonsandoccasionallybarons maps, etc, etc, etc 

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Thanks much for the info about NG2's m16 music track, @Eris Falling! Doom midis that are that long (with a linear composition, as opposed to just a long-ass repeating loop) are a rare beast indeed, perhaps because comparatively few maps are long enough to really accommodate them. I don't recognize the name "Dragon's Revenge", but perhaps I might know the track. Has it been used in anything that's released or otherwise 'on the market?'

 

 

It's very likely I won't have time to finish DVII given how much of my limited playtime I ended up spending on NG2 this month, but seeing as I've played it a number of times before I'll make some remarks when/where I'm able.

 

As a general thing, I believe DVII has been one of the most influential PWADs of its generation, up to the point where its effects are widespread enough that people may have cribbed from or riffed on it (or riffed on something which riffs on it) without even realizing they're doing it, although interestingly different schools of WADmaking have tended to take away very different things from the total package, the gameplay of its later levels being informed by and in turn informing successive generations of slaughter design, while its sense of color and bombastic visual presentation, and its thematic and locational variation married to its experimentation with wildly different gameplay/balancing styles are hallmarks of many notable WADs following it. It's also very evident in many cases what Huy Pham's own influences were/are (even leaving aside the WAD's voluminous textfile, which openly states many of them), fixing the WAD as an obvious point of reference if one is given to viewing the PWAD scene as a greater timeline or historical discourse. Regardless of the part of the scene one happens to inhabit or support, however, the biggest takeaway of all, and perhaps the WAD's most magical quality, is that painstaking attention to detail in design and design logic which its author so dedicatedly insisted upon.

 

For many of us playing or talking about this WAD may also be a bit bittersweet, in the sense that what we see here and refer to as "Deus Vult II" is in actuality something like an alpha-stage build of what the final project was going to be. I say "was" because, much as is the case with Sunder and a number of other highly notable projects, while it's hardly beyond the realm of possibility that the WAD's final form will someday emerge,  most of us have sadly accepted in our Doomed little hearts that this is realistically never going to happen, for a variety of reasons at this point. Huy Pham's avowed vision for what the final WAD was going to be was, as one might expect, massively ambitious from both conceptual and structural standpoints--posts talking about his desired introduction to the Hell episode being something like a massive freefall from miles and miles in the sky where you could see the 'Hell Planet' hurtling towards you stand out particularly in my memory--and of course this represents quite the undertaking, to say the least. The last few posts/screenshots I myself ever saw about it showed what appeared to be some kind of shiny moonbase-style reimagining of the original "Hangar", and also seemed to indicate that its author's tastes were undergoing a marked shift--what I personally thought of at the time as "catching a nasty case of KDitD-itis", if that tells you anything :D--and supposedly many of the maps seen in this version of the WAD we've before us here were to be cut and replaced with content that would communicate a more gradual/traditional difficulty curve up towards the craziness of the deeper parts of Hell, which would've ultimately made the project more akin to perhaps its single largest influence in Alien Vendetta. I'm generally of the opinion that philosophical revisionism of that nature in the midst of midwifing a project halfway through its birth very seldom works out very neatly, but given the vibrant amount of variety this fragmentary early look at DVII affords, perhaps HP would've stood a better chance than most of pulling it off.

 

Map 01 -- Entryway Pass

In the past, I've spent a lot of time complaining (directly or indirectly) about the doldrums of 'traditional map 01' conventions. This level is another good example of the many ways to soundly avoid these while offering up something which very credibly serves as a come one/come all intro to the game. It is essentially a looping, winding corridor of sad sacks to be gleefully mowed down with the akimbo pistols (which are so vastly more satisfying than the default pistol it's amazing more WADs haven't tried something like this), and eventually the chaingun (there are shotguns too, but bullet weapons are much more satisfying given the circumstances). Clusters of barrels sprite-stacked on one another along the path aid in the destruction, and allow you to barrel-kill hardier creatures like cacodemons and arachnatrons as quickly and as easily as you would lowly former humans. Apart from agility-based/linked secrets which challenge you to think of what is otherwise basically a theme park trolley track layout as a more credible 3D space, it's the definition of dumb fun and instant gratification, and I think that's fine and dandy. Playing this always makes me think of that scene from Hot Shots: Part Deux where That Sheen is mowing down dudes with an M60 and a big hammy "Bodycount Equal to: Robocop!" message on the screen, haha. Lovely!

 

Map 02 -- Mutagen

Mad science. Bad science. Huge quarterly administrative bonuses. Prison rape? DVII, folks.

 

This is one of the smallest levels in the set (in fact, many of DVII's levels have rather small/compact main playspaces, though often surrounded by a great deal of outlying scenery or minor/optional path projections), I'd say the most defining element of the action here is that most fights take place in cramped/congested spaces where there is relatively little room for easy dodging and often no immediate means of retreat. I don't reckon it rightly qualifies as 'hard'--nowhere close, really--but there's some sharpness to its teeth, and you'll need to stay on your toes and be mindful of your surroundings to avoid an ignominious death. There's still a sense of chest-thumping JERRY BRUCKHEIMER Y'ALL action at play here, with barrels placed as juicy targets on waterfalls/ledges around the main installation to allow for rapid devastation of otherwise pesky snipers once a good firing angle opens up (another viscerally satisfying 'dumb fun' thing which far too few WADs do, IMO), and more packs of largely inept fodder enemies to be summarily mowed down as machismo fuel, but there's no playing on autopilot and expecting to have success from here on out.

 

Several more secrets here than in the previous level as well, and some of them are even trickier this time, to boot, and certain of them can make very pronounced changes on how the level plays (i.e. whether the rocket launcher is present as an ammo-saver for lighter weapons and/or a hard counter to the last imp-spawn fight or not), which for a first-time player can very feasibly have quite an impact on how difficult/gritty/pacey the gameplay feels. This is one of the more interesting arenas of criticism regarding DVII I've often seen over the years, that whole debate about whether or not it's 'proper' for secrets--some of which are quite tricky in this WAD's case--to impact map balance as heavily as they can here. My personal stance is that this type of design is absolutely fair game (and a welcome gameplay contrast in maps where the actual combat is often heavily encounter-focused), but all the same I don't want to go so far as to frame this in a sort of "git gud scrub" way, as the effect can be quite pronounced in some of these cases, though the farther one goes into the mapset the more the really esoteric/well-hidden stuff tends to skew towards weird easter eggs or entirely optional battles than towards weapons/supplies that have a logical/obvious role to play in mandatory progression (which is probably even cooler, IMO).

 

Map 03 -- Crouching Demon, Hidden Arch-vile a.k.a. Ichi, Ni, San, Shi

I've played this one a lot less than most of the other maps in the set, for the simple reason that back when the WAD first came out my poor doddering old steam-and-animal-sacrifice-powered PC wasn't able to run it very smoothly (regardless of port used), thanks to its Grove/Cold As Hell-like blanketing of tree sprites and the like, and so I don't know as much about the ins and outs here. I never knew about the hidden chess battle until I eventually saw it in somebody else's demo (didn't watch the LMPs which come packaged with the set until after I'd already beaten it myself, out of pride), always wondering about that big chunk of the monster population I'd always miss after stumbling my way to an inevitably sleazy and unsatisfying exit. Eventually I played it on a much more adequate system, to find that this mysteriousness, while initially underwritten by hardware limitations in my personal case, is in fact arguably the core concept at play in the design.

 

The stated/apparent references to Grove are quite telling, though repurposed for Huy Pham's more combat-focused design. As in B.P.R.D.'s WAD, stumbling through the thickets barely able to see six inches in front of your face and often having no idea what you're actually doing or where you're going is very much a thing here, though these sojourns here mostly reward you with ammo and items that are, strictly speaking, optional, as opposed to containing mandatory progression objectives as in the case of Grove. Thus, again, knowledge of the level makes a huge difference in how it plays, which on skill 4 can make the difference between a notably austere/survival/just-scraping-by outing and something more like an elaborate routing puzzle. In contrast to m02, then, which has a very straightforward path where useful tools/gadgets happen to be hidden behind little brainteasers, this level is really more focused on genuine exploration, never actually insisting that you do it but greatly incentivizing you to do so. I think that's really neat, and while I can understand the aggravation some feel over the fact that some of that exploration basically takes the shape of pixel-hunting (especially as one who initially struggled with framerate while playing)--i.e. if you're able to spot the actual rocket launcher as the needle in a proverbial haystack in the expansive and otherwise largely featureless lower periphery--I wouldn't see it changed, since I think it's what makes the otherwise fairly dry fights here interesting. If you're a combat fanatic that extra hidden fight is worth finding, incidentally, as it's easily the map's best and toughest (though by today's standards it's pretty tame, some might be wryly amused to find). Just remember what I said about bumbling through the thicket!

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Map 19: Starbase

99% kills, 9/9 secrets

 

When I looked for the missing two monsters, they turned out to be mancubi in teleport closets that never got out.  I'm guessing that they were meant to come out in the setpiece for the yellow key but their destinations ended up blocked.  That fight is crazy.  I suppose the intended approach is plasma spam but I am a crazy person who tried out shuffling at the top of the ladder where the switch is trying to blindly dodge imp fireballs and get the infights going.  And then, because of ZDoom, I ran across the on top of the monsters once they were thinned out enough to the conveyor belt is and fought from there.  Paid the price in health loss from over 170 to 93 but I have no shame about my playing style and reloading until I'm satisfied with my result.

 

I found one South Park kid and stopped looking; didn't realize there were five.  Will revisit some time after this playthrough.

 

Solidly done map, not much to add.  The little architectural  details such as the displays and the color coded outdoor grids set this apart from other starbase maps.  Difficulty curve is evident with it escalating with map progression.  I felt it peaked at the yellow key fight though there are some archviles that can make nuisances of themselves, especially if they revive multiple chaingunners or are allowed to roam too much.  There are later encounters with high monster counts late in the map but they're not to rough with proper approach.

 

Map 20; Desert Temple

 

  This is a low ammo map so I missed out on the intended experience by playing continuous.  I' had more fun using whatever weapon I preferred at the moment so there.  At the end, the only unused ammo pickups were 14 sets of 4 shotgun shells (and a rocket or three I couldn't return to) and this is with HMP monster population.  UV has more monster HP in the map.  I saw one set of shells that found it's way up to a wall, how unfortunate for the pistol starter this happens to (though it's highly unlikely a pistol starter would pass it up).

 

Neat visual design.  The ground buttons I found particularly fitting for the setting.  The cinematic climb to the stargate works here.  More trivia, one secret lets one telefrag a distant monster that was sniping from afar at map start.

 

Getting 100% items proved interesting.  Turns out there are health bonuses tucked in an out of the way location on the cliffs climbed at the start of the map.  Completely missed this when I played the map years ago.  Getting there also let me reach another dropped chaingun which let me cap my bullet stock before exiting.

Edited by Crusader No Regret : more map writeup

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+++ SUDTIC, TEUTIC, OBTIC

....because I promised Capellan I would. It's about time we returned to that era, anyway (IWADs don't count, you crazy kids).

 

From Dobu's post and others, am I to understand that we all get two official votes now or something? If so, I guess my other vote is for...

 

+++ Moonblood

 

....simply because I've never played it before, and don't know a whole lot about it.

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12 hours ago, riderr3 said:

+++ SUDTIC TEUTIC OBTIC

P.S. Seems we again have no chance against anime avatars gang.

Join us.

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12 hours ago, riderr3 said:

P.S. Seems we again have no chance against anime avatars gang.

You should form a clandestine alliance with the 20+ people who have this avatar:

 

STFEVL3.png

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