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

3 hours ago, Demtor said:

It might just be the assets used but this map reminded me of two Community Chest 4 map’s by Chris "lupinx-Kassman" Kassap. Those were maps 20:Interstellar Sickness and 21:Shaman Device. Or perhaps a bit of Valiant Ep 4. Anyways, it’s probably coincidence as I’m sure there are a lot of similar styled maps that I just haven’t discovered yet or perhaps there is a landmark wad that I have completely missed which was the original one to use these textures and weird oddities in. *shrug*

 

Check out the Vrack series, particularly Vrack 3. 

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Map 21: The Unholy Cathedral

 

  The maps are getting longer here.  I went for 100%.  Resorted to the DoomWiki to find some secrets that I forgot about even though I have watched Belial's maxdemo and played the map before.  Since I was being meticulous about not wasting health and ammo pickups, routing the map was like a puzzle separate from the puzzle of progression.  I felt the Eternal Doom vibe making my way through, seeking out hidden passages.  The textfile explains the objective: blacken nine floor pentagrams to open the way to the massive pipe organ in the middle of the cathedral,  The key from there and one other will open the way to the exit.  So most of the map is optional if just aiming to get through but it takes more searching for those like me who want to completely clean the place of the demon population.

 

For the blue key, deactivating six pentagrams will open the way to the fish maw and the fight therein.  It's certainly memorable with the damaging floor and resupply handled by voodoo doll.  Definitely better to find Sauron's Gauntlets before entering here as they slice through nearly anything.  I suspect the constant switching to berserk fist is a deliberate handicap.  Intimidating but one is unlikely to die unless standing still and surrounded or caught with a cleric or flying balrog at point blank.

 

The yellow key is more hidden.  There an out of the way path to the cliffs at the back of the cathedral.  It entails sniffing out the main loop of the West Antichrist section.  I did not think to shoot the cross when I first played this so this key eluded me for quite a while.

 

While the intention to open the way to the pipe organ and the brawl for the red key is find nine pentagrams, there are alternative ways to break in.  One is the super secret speedrunner method.  I watched it and still don't quite understand how it works though I suspect there's a time limit involved.  It's also possible to get in via archvile jump, which I found by accident while derping around and being sloppy.

 

The new enemies make their appearance here as well as Sauron's Gauntlets.  Not much to say about the new monsters that isn't already in the textfile.  Sauron's Gauntlets appear to be a chainsaw with the firing speed turned up.  They can cut down an archvile in 2 seconds and can stunlock a baron, that's how fast it attacks.  Viable on just about any single enemy other than bosses, arachnotrons, mancub, and the new baddies.  I have gotten disoriented after killing something with it at times.

 

Combat actually doesn't throw that many hordes (other than the showpiece fight, which I'll get to) instead creating difficulty through monster placement and lots of tight spaces.  Temporary lock-ins are frequent and archviles like to warp in where there is limited space to manuever.  There are a few bigger hordes but they generally consist of weaker foes.  There is the mancubus curve and a cacoswarm in the library for those who still want more bloodshed after the red key fight (or are going for 100%).  Being the hardest of the three main paths, the entry point to the mancubus curve is not as obvious as the ones to the West Antichrist or the East Library; find the lower stone in the fencing at the back of the cathedral if you're have the guts to enter.

 

I guess you're expected to take a beating.  There are berserk packs everywhere.  Three are basically mandatory for 100% secrets, six if going for 100% kills too (counting the forced one in front of red key).  There's also a soulsphere that will be picked up on the 100% secrets path and another that appears mandatory but the secret can be triggered without picking it up by careful inching.  The author also often stacks multiple ammo pickups on top of each other which added to my routing challenges and reloads to avoid wastage.

 

Doom Marine must have been proud of the pipe organ fight.  Unlike Map 3 and 13, where the big brawls are optional, here it must be triggered to open the way to the required red key.  The demons are very protective of the key and wil lock you in and pour out in masses to crush you.  From the pentagrams where the invulnerabilities are, first come imps and demons, then hellknights and revenants, then mancubi and barons.  Hell clerics will occupy the pews and provide cover fire and space denial.  At some point, hundreds of lost souls will pour out of the pipes, a neat artistic touch.  All this to be faced before the locking barriers lower.  Oh, there's a few cyberdemons that show up before the barriers lower.  They mostly get busy infighting but there's a few seconds of danger when they first arrive.

 

As for the marine's tools: BFG, thousands of cells, numerous soulspheres and megaarmor, and three invulnerability artifacts to use wisely.  It gets frantic trying to not get eaten all while keeping supplied with ammo and clearing a path to health and armor as needed.  Quite the adrenaline rush.

 

Or one can climb on the keyboard and straferun onto the organ out of the trap.  This approach is more fun for my "get everything infighting" playstyle.  It's a bit tricky to line up but so satisfying.  Lost souls can fly out and there's also a flying balrog to evade so there's still something to watch out for.  Also, the barriers will lower at which point crowd herding skills will be put to the test.

 

Soon after the lost souls came pouring out, it was more than OpenGL rendering and my system could handle and my framerate fell to a stunning 2 FPS.  Being unable to keep track of where I was or dodge effectively, that attempt ended in death.  Switching to the software renderer thankfully worked; it handled the masses of monsters much better.

 

I haven't mentioned the archviles yet.  Hope you still have an invulnerabiity available.  This run, I was fortunate to discover they warp in at the pentagram behind the pipe organ.  So if you time it well or are lucky enough be in the right place (as I was) when they arrive, one can nuke them before they can do their mischief.  Normally, well there's a lot of dead bodies piled up by the time they arrive.  Take a wild guess what happens.  Passage to the red key opens up sometime after the archviles arrive but I didn't notice when, too busy paying attention to the still alive monsters.

 

After that, the rest of the map feel like mop up.  Spent one invulnerability to cheese the cyber on top of one tower and still had time to gun down a pair of flying balrogs by one of the pentagrams.  It's possible to tringger 100% secrets and still miss monsters; for me those are the ones summoned by stepping onto the plasma gun and rocket launcher by the fish mouth.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
I think I'm done.
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Just FYI, there is a MP3 soundtrack most people hear when playing ZDoom and the regular soundtrack that only has MIDIs. I believe MAP12 and MAP19's music never changes.

 

MAP23 Hell's Vendetta

 

Quite possibly the most infamous map in DVII just because it's a slaughter map, yet it somehow is STILL much easier than the shit I pulled through in New Gothic II. Maybe it's from experiencing this one enough times, or maybe because it doesn't OD on the annoying enemies. Yeah, the opening committee doesn't feature anything I'd really like to call annoying, it's all projectile enemies and spiderdemons. I can handle these guys really easily. More importantly, I won't be on edge when handling on them. It's the thought that counts. These galleries don't really make much sense so I just ignore them.

 

Four wings of travel here. The south wing near the starting point opens up a bunch of chaingunners and the three-key switch. Alright. The yellow key area is the simplest, with just a cyber that I am up against. The red key one is the most infamous one of all, being a red Minas Morgul with loads of hell clerics raining upon you, progressively teleporting and probably attempting to cut off most players. It's yet another tedious combat example in all honesty, all that matters is to make sure they don't go all the way down. Made harder since these shits don't flinch on hit. That Type 11 exit is still there in the same spot if your interested (you're not). The blue key area is perhaps the most interesting, offering a fight similar to that lava-filled one from Deus Vult MAP01 with the invulnerability towers. I didn't need these things on my setting, not even for the surprise caco/PE swarm that came in. All of these feature voodoo scripting, which involves long amounts of waiting if you are the type to finish early like me.

 

The middle area is a blunderbuss of enemies, and four switches here do quite a few things. First of all, it lowers the exit, with that Sauron statue. Then, there are teleporting enemies around, plus the four corners offer loads of hell knights and a few invulnerabilities. The most sneaky aspect of all are the enemies that appear on the four wings. I believe they would be arch-viles on a higher difficulty setting, but then again, I fought revenants. Would not complain, as this is truly a fun slaughtermap anyways.

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13 hours ago, rdwpa said:

Check out the Vrack series, particularly Vrack 3. 

Cool, thanks. I'll have to do that. I guess I could've connected the dots with the music track selection for Stargate being from Vrack 3. Looking over the wiki again and I didn't realize there is an MP3 track listing and MIDI listing. That blows me mind a little bit. I had no idea that could be done.

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MAP20 - Desert Temple

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

The look of the starting gate is really cool as is the distant view of the pyramids and rivers. It’s spectacular stuff really. The map itself is a good blend of traps and ammo starvation. The start was my favorite part. Rock climbing to the top, avoiding chaingun fire and ambushes. It felt great getting inside of the temple because you really had to work for it.

 

The rest from there, eh. It was okay but it wasn’t my favorite layout. It looked good with all of the decorations, the torches, the murials and monuments; I just didn’t have much fun with the space. The grave sites were a neat gimmick but a lot of the secrets felt very underwhelming. Granted I didn’t find all that many, but the ones I did were kind of like, really? That’s it? The BK for instance… real head scratcher. What was the point?

 

The end was fantastic though with all of the steps leading to another Stargate which sends you to a big red planet this time. It’s a really neat effect so why not use it again. This felt like a pretty decent detour on the path to hell as the story will describe before the next map.

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MAP21 - The Unholy Cathedral

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

The story so far...

 

Holy shit. This map. I only found 4 out of 17 secrets with not even a whiff of the YK and I still managed to finish this sucker. I missed so much but I can't get bogged down if I have a chance at getting through these in the next few days (hah). Lots of stuff to unpack here so thankfully others have already mentioned a lot of the finer points on this. Appreciated the talk about getting stuck as I was too and it helped reading you guys get through it.

 

What a visually outstanding piece of work! Gigantic architecture wrapped around a lot of smaller sections with great detailing. Love every bit of it with all of the art assets and custom touches like graffiti, new textures and red candles. Great stuff. Even tiny little skulls on the steps winding up with red carpet down the middle. Awesome.

 

The new flying enemy is a real pain in the ass. Not a fan as I couldn’t figure out a good way to deal with them. The clerics weren’t all that bad though. I was able to get them to pick a fight with the lone guardian cyberdemon, so that was fun.

 

The middle fight for the RK was nuts. What a mess. Took 3 IV spheres and a lot of luck to deal with it. As impressive as it looks I think the library was my favorite section. Book shelves done well are always really cool to me. Plus I like large puzzles like that where stuff evolves and changes shape the longer you’re at it.

Edited by Demtor
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MAP23: Hell's Vendetta

Time: 1:04:15

Death Count: 8

Secrets: 0/0

 

Ok, in terms of difficulty, the only tricky parts were the beginning, in which I saw myself dead many times, and the red skull part. In the yellow skull part I got casually lucky by not receiving a rocket in my back. And the rest was rather easy. This map started not so fun, since I kept running out of cells (ironically because there's like 1000000000000000 cells in the whole map, but it's true), but probably it was my fault for depending so much on infighting instead of just BFG spamming the way. This was the last way, the correct one, as well as employing the rocket launcher for the swarms. I totally disagree with the usage of SMMs here. Only served as immobile barriers. In my opinion, they should have been on the pedestal and the cybers as roamers instead. 

Anyways, once the indoors was cleared enough, I began to open the 4 wings, starting with the triple-key switch, with a horde of chaingunners, who killed each other. Then, the yellow skull, in which the cybers almost blew me up. Second key, the red skull. I died 3 times but the thing was to not go for the key, but to turn around immediately when the clerics teleport and get out, spending a few BFG shots, and then blast them, resisting until the doors open. And finally, the blue skull, in which I misinterpreted the idea. Apparently I had to shoot the IoS wall, and figured that out after grabbing many spheres. Still the battle was easy. With all keys in hand, I went to flip the switch and that opened the centre. Some skeletons and barbecuers, nothing special. Flipping the last fours switches released the last big battle, including all kinds of projectile-based enemies, except balrogs, hmm maybe there are a few on UV?... Easy to cheese using a few invul spheres to clear most importantly the archviles and pain elementals. The rest cleaned by itself. There was more than enough supplies, actually shittons of cells, probably too exaggerated. 

I liked those images used as paintings, lots of easter eggs to spot.

Overall, a fun slaughter level.     

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MAP22 - You Shall Not Pass!

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

Originally I HATED this map. I kept getting caught on the bridge with the revs. No matter what I did to shave time off my run. Then I realized the chainsaw, shouldn’t be a chainsaw. One of my weapon animation mods was messing with things. The gloves are a vital component to making it through this map on UV. Also, the double pistols are awesome, lol.

 

Another impressively designed map with grand scale and perfectly fitting music by Howard Shore. Love the concept of being chased and boy is it nerve racking considering how much I dislike those flying fuckers. Just knowing that there might be a pair of homing rockets coming at my head any time now and every misstep makes it more and more likely. Finally reaching the top with 3 cyberdemon is weirdly relieving. Hey guys! How bout a little help? Thanks! Loved the look of the final approach over the stone bridge too. Awesome stuff.

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MAP23 - Hell’s Vendetta

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

Right away I liked the starting design. That pentagram dragon is baller. Few other new bits as well, like the doors and skull trimming. New looking stuff but not so much of a new setting entirely like the past maps that had a drastic environment differences. It was kind of funny with all of the ‘evil guy’ paintings all over. This was a real 3D shooting gallery.

 

After the crazyness that was Newgothic Movement 2, this almost seemed pedestrian. Almost. The RK cleric swarm was quite something. With those three ball firing lines it felt like I was playing a very basic 3D shmup almost. Carefully navigating zig-zag patterns of incoming damaging dots to stay out of harms way while throwing offense back at em. There sure were A LOT of them. Jeezus that was nail biting. A very well timed encounter.

 

Like @galileo31dos01 mentions, possibly the hardest part of the map for me too (besides the RK horde) was just getting a good start going. Once you carved your way to access the virtually limitless plasma supply under the far portraits, things became a breeze. One warm, slow but violent breeze as you plod forward spamming at stuff in front of you.

 

I was stuck for a good long while until I realized opening doors by picking up megaspheres was a thing. As was the trick here with shooting face decorations to get demons to come out and play. And play they did but then I killed them.

 

A solid slaughtery map without a whole lot of unfairness and it’s own tricks and traps to make it stand out.

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map 22: You Shall Not Pass

 

  Well, this map goes by quick.  Usually, because of death or falling into lava (which, even if one escapes, one is still doomed because of the pursuing balrogs).  My 100% completion time is under 10 minutes which is a testimonial to the pace of the map.  Another infamous DV2 map because of the concept.  Here, I cast away my usual resource conscious style and leg it.  Trying for maxkills makes things harder, though carryover gauntlets and BFG do help out.  The first megaarmor secret is important when playing from scratch, though searching for it will be the last thing on your mind when playing this map.

 

Memorable fails:

- Knocked into inescapable lava by a revenant rocket.

- Being too slow to hop off the first rising lift before the mancubus platforms and it lowers.

- Good At Doom when clearing out revenants

- Thinking i had a few more seconds of safety behind a stone barrier.  Balrog flies over and wastes me.

- Falling off when making the last climb.

- Balrog invades personal space during the final climb and splatters me at point blank.

 

  Savescumming is mostly a bad idea; it's very easy to save into an unwinnable situation.  I did end up using saves as checkpoints but only after I'd made several dozen attempts and could judge if a segment went by particularly fast.  I had so many fails making the jump from the plasma rifle that no mid-level saves would have greatly increased my frustration factor.  It was such a relief to make it to the top; I felt essentially home free at that point.

 

A word of caution.  However tempting it may be to get the cyberdemon infighting, there is a risk that it will damage a balrog in a way that will push it all the way across the map.  This makes it harder to kill all of them off in the time you're invulnerable from picking up the visible artifact.  Decide for yourself when (or if) you make it there.  It's seems like a bad idea to take time to kill it if the balrogs are close.  Having one or two blown across the map is far better than dying to all at once because one dallied trying to kill the cyberdemon.

 

Did do a bit of scouting for easter eggs once everything was done.  Didn't find the Anima Zero message but did find the Belial vs 24 Balrogs one.  i guess this map garnered many pelts from the playtesters before release.

 

Heh, I know I won't be finishing the set this month, moreso because I won't have access to my Dooming comp all of the 30th.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
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+++ SUDTIC, TEUTIC, and OBTIC

 

If we plan on doing the TiC trilogy next month, may I suggest that for August, we follow that up with The Trooper's Playground in conjunction with another wad to fill the other 22 days (or 21 for those who try the bonus wad that comes with TTP).

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MAP29 Saint Peter's Gate

 

Three options, end the level early and go to MAP30, end the level early and go to MAP31, or go through the original Deus Vult again with little change. I took the secret path leading to the sun (in other words, the middle one).

 

MAP31 The Manliest Fight EVER

 

This being the last slaughtermap for DVII and one of the more unique ones, giving everything the player needs at the start but basically NOTHING ELSE for the entire map. Which means that dodging skills are put to the test, first against the Dead Simple mancubi and the walls of imps, then they all go down revealing mancubi, arachnotrons, some cybers, and zombiemen. The inside will get populated by revenants and cacos as well. Overall, the imps should be the least concern for the most part, while the zombiemen are hitscans they are top priority along with revenants, mancubi, and arachnotrons. The cybers could be a problem if you don't know you can telefrag them with the nearby switches. And speaking of switches, there are eight hidden ones that actually give you powerups, meant to be "punching the demon walls" which I thought was cool. Punch the north/south walls to get the invisibility, and punch the east/west walls where the cybers were to get the invulnerability. The exit isn't entirely obvious, sadly, you have to step on the mancubi platforms to do so. But this is a test in dodging and all, so make sure you have at least the health and ammo to survive it.

 

MAP32 Sauron's Gauntlets!

 

A boring bonus level that shows how nasty the new chainsaw replacement is against an arch-vile. This being the last level I reach kind of doesn't make sense considering the secret exit in MAP29. Even worse is that I enter MAP19 after doing so and the fact that MAP21 is the earliest I find the gauntlets.

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MAP29 - Saint Peter’s Gate

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

(note: the order of my events might be incorrect with multiple play sessions had.)

 

Very interesting start. Pick the left and you win! You are a hero. Pick the right and… hey, wait a minute here. I remember playing this wad a long time ago. I never got that far in it but I do remember playing the beginning few rooms at least. Huh, neat. Apparently this turns out to be one grand mash up of a few different maps from the first DV. All right, lets do this!

 

Humble beginnings with tech filled watery stuff with the BK. Later things get serious, and planned encounters start getting nutty. Battling the 5 cyberdemons in these halls was a lot of fun. Very enjoyable visuals everywhere and a lot of space to run and hide both in smaller rat tunnels and out in larger intersections. The introduction of another mob from where you came added a little spice to the whole ordeal.

 

The lead in to the next area was pretty fitting. Holy hell this gigantic part of the map took me a looooong time. So many AV’s and distant rev/cybe rockets though, ugh. Super annoying to deal with them let alone trying to figure out how to even approach this monstrosity and find any semblance of a goal. Thankfully I stumbled in to progression as I was driven to hiding in caves at first because staying outside meant almost certain death. From there you make a harrowing journey to reach the BFG on high which seemed to open the far end red gate structure to move on. I then took some time to kill every single enemy, bit by bit. Whew, slow work but felt good when done. Quite the undertaking but there is A LOT of ammo for it.

 

Good that I cleared things as you’ll soon get plopped right back at the gates as they lowered for the next big area. Another giant cathedral complete with another epic battle and 4 IV spheres on high. Crazyness.

 

THEN, once you make it up top and check out all of the twisted and evil art, you have to jump down a fiery hole and deal with hundreds of revs (Alien Vendetta MAP29 - Fire Walk With Me, is that you?, a lot of AV’s and a cyberdouche blocking the elevator ride to find three more AV’s at the top. It hurts.

 

Back to the blue water with a gate and the whole first map connecting in for health scavenging and secrets was a nice treat before the final battle. This one seemed a little more tame then the last few at least. Still nothing to sneeze at though and it's never over when you think it is. Was fun having to claw your way through three darkened gateway passages. So was going through a winding canyon for a game of Whack-a-Vile. Jumping through the hell maw and fighting through another couple huge encounters in some really awesome looking places before the final eye. This map just never seems to end!! You just have to clench your teeth and keep killing and surviving. What a crazy trip this one was. This whole wad really. Amazing stuff.

Edited by Demtor
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MAP31 - The Manliest Fight EVER

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

LoL, okay? Sure. Why not. Fun fight. gg

 

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MAP32 - Sauron’s Gauntlets!

gzDoom - UV – pistol start/saves

 

I missed the secret exit for this a while back, not much to say. Seems like a quick detour just to grab the gauntlets to have earlier on a continuous playthrough. Cool effect to have Sauron’s eye flash on the screen like in the movie.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Wow. To get where this got, from where it began… unreal. I would’ve never guessed how crazy this would end up given how the first two maps started. Which leads in to the only negative mark I have against this fine piece of work; all of the goofy pop culture stuff and the over the top LotR homages. I was able to ignore most of it, but after awhile I felt like, Jesus man, I get it. You loooove the Lord of the Rings movies. Enough already. That’s the only thing keeping this from a 5/5 for me as I couldn’t say a single bad thing about the actual gameplay and visual design or the music selections. It’s just that the overall randomness of the themes and the funny tongue and cheek moments really took me out of it. I prefer a more serious affair but in the end I was able to get past it. I could see why some others wouldn’t be able to though. This should be well worth anyone's Doom 2 time though. 4/5

 

Favorite Maps

MAP13 - Eagle’s Nest

MAP19 - Stargate

MAP21 - The Unholy Cathedral

 

Bad Maps

Nope. Not IMO. Some had a few minor problems while others were very different stylistically but I can’t think of a single map that wasn’t enjoyable on multiple different levels.

 

 

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MAP29: Saint Peter's Gate/Belial Goes Back To Hell

Time: 6:53:10

Death Count: ?????

Secrets legally found: 30/30

 

Longest map ever!! My goodness!! Pure fun for sure, with a few ugh moments. I did 100% everything, and I took my time to achieve the best score. Two days. And I'd made sure I knew every single corner so I wouldn't have the need to play the prequel, which features this map. Founding all the secrets without cheating or recurring to internet was my best personal achievement in this map. I liked how each section was connected to another one so backtracking was possible and not too boring. Ooook...

Starting in heaven, the map gave me the choice to, leave, or continue (going to the middle sends me to map 01 so yes it's a ZDoom-compatible exit). Continuing sent me to hell again, which is where I wanted to go duh. First, some blue-grey techbase architecture with mini battles and the blue skull, perfect to warm up. Then, a simple fight around a large pool of slime. I liked the switches used for this part. After that, a dark corridor leading to the next part which would be DV's second map, right? Same kind of encounters seen in Hell's Vendetta, using invul spheres to minimize damage. Loved fighting 4 cybers and another one which was telefraggable but found out later. In this section, there was a secret outside area with numerous cybers to telefrag one by one, my favourite secret ever lol

Once the red bars were raised, hell was the next part. I hated this part, so many stupid archie-snipers. It was damn tedious to try to approach one and get burned by three more from different spots. In addition, cyber-turrets, even though these ones were not comparable to the barbecuers. This part took me two slowly hours, patience was not by my side. Stepping on the square with the BFG opened another section guarding the yellow skull. Taking the key released a fun fight with speedy monsters. With the key in hand, I could open every yellow door that I wasn't able to before, and also opened a portal to 3 RGB dark corridors, reminding me to Killer Colours. To get a horde of demons and archviles to teleport in the hellish area, it's important to make noise in the corridors, otherwise the monsters are not alerted. 

Next section, another slaughter battle guarding the red skull. Again, using invul spheres to kill as much archviles as possible since these are the most dangerous ones. Do not stay too much on the pillars... Once everyone was killed, proceeded to grab the key and get on top. Another fun AV-like battle. Then several cybers. And then some fights on lava. 

Last section would be DV's map 04, a long lava lake, various enemies and pop-up archviles. Approaching the big mouth-like area, a bunch of nobles plus cybers got released. In general I didn't have to do anything, they all killed each other. 

Entering the big mouth released several archviles, and on the other side there was a new battle arena, which I cheesed by retreating, hehe. The cyber exploded instantly. I had to flip some switches guarded by big guys, in order to open a circular arena. Since it was circular, circling and infighting was the winner obvious choice, using the invul when the archies joined in scene. 

After this, I got out, went up the stairs, killed the enemies, and hey the finale! Nothing too serious, a slight slaughter battle where infighting was enough to clear everyone. I actually did that battle multiple times just for fun, I wanted to see if the SMM could survive more than 10 seconds, but the cyber was usually the last one standing. With everyone dead, I stood on the lift and exit the map.

 

In reality, the sequence of my actions took much longer than how I wrote. I also omitted talking about each secret, I liked them all and took my forever to register each one. Sorry if my pictures aren't any interesting (they usually aren't I know), but I was so focused on progressing that taking actual good pictures was forgotten.

Anyway, crazy long-ass fun map.

 

Map 30 is just going to heaven. I liked the ending screen.

 

MAP31: The Manliest Fight EVER

Time: 8:20

Death Count: 0

Secrets: 0/0

 

Done using -warp code. This was not as hard as I expected. I was given everything right at the start point and that was ALL, no more supplies, well yeah some invulnerability spheres only reachable after killing the two static cybers. In reality, I played this map 2 times, the first map I accidentally stepped on an exit line outside the stadium. Why was there an exit trigger?!?!?!?!

No pictures this time. Fun map overall.

 

MAP32: Sauron's Gauntlets!

Time: 29 seconds

Death Count: 0

Secrets: 0/0

 

Simple hellish map presenting the gauntlets and their power to kill tough guys. I suppose you can get to the secret levels earlier, in one of Lingyan's videos he made it to map 31 after map 13 and I sincerely don't know how he did that if in my case exiting that map theoretically leads to map 14. Huh?

 

 

I'm so tired right now to write something long about this wad, all I will say is, fun wad. Favourite maps: 03, 13, 19, actually all the maps lol 

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Feeling progressively worse about my ever-growing backlog, but since we're playing something a little less time-intensive this month, going to keep trying to chip away at this, for the sake of my own trip down memory lane if for no other reason.

 

Map 12 -- Minas Morgul

Hmm, I think this particular map has aged less well than many of the others in the set. While it's of course hard to say just how it would've read in the context of the finished mapset (though TBH I'd bet my bottom dollar that this one would've been either cut entirely or basically remade from the ground up if things had reached that point), as we have it here it comes off something like a 'boss' map, fielding 800 monsters and a gameplay style that is focused entirely on simplistic straight-up brawling rather than on exploration. There is still very much a sense of theatric presentation to it, mind--I've always gotten the sense that the main reason HP has you spend as much time in the little wind-cave complex (where the combat is pretty unremarkable beyond the note that Pham is another author willing to use specters correctly) as you do before entering the fortress proper is primarily so you have plenty of opportunity to look upon the structure from afar and from a number of different heights and angles. On the visual front I think it holds up fairly well, as HP clearly understood that the secret to getting a 'Killer Colours' angle to work correctly lies not in color or even architecture but rather in lighting, with heavy shadowing used to simultaneously soften seams, set a general mood, and even as a sort of flourish for scene transitions (i.e. the pitch-black stretch of the imp tunnel). Bearing in mind this WAD is basically an alpha, though, some things look noticeably hacked together, ala the very suspicious 3D/paper-thin aspect of the crowned entablature over the main Morgul gate.

 

It's a short map any way you slice it, and so speaking of 'padding' is maybe not entirely justified, but I do feel that the earlier parts of the level suffer somewhat from housing more (mostly unthreatening) monsters than they really need to, bearing in mind that these parts seem to exist more to set the scene/mood than to provide game challenges. The two side fights off of the inner court being conceptually/choreographically 100% identical is also very noticeable in spite of using different monsters (imps in one, specters in the other), and contributes to the content feeling like it's stretched thin despite the map's short length. The 'big' fights are soft breach-holding exercises against homogeneous waves of foes that primarily communicate spectacle. These, too, are largely identical; the imp wave is unabashedly about the satisfaction of racking up hundreds of kills in a matter of moments (a distinctly Doom-y pleasure), while the HK wave which closes the map is a bit more of a litmus for being willing to hold ground and the basics of proper BFG usage (the cybies at the back, I think, are actually mainly insurance to help timid players eventually fight through the mass of knights, an interesting tack for sure). I feel like even when this WAD was brand new this was not intended to read as a particularly difficult map, but these days the average player skill threshold has absolutely left this stuff in the dust, an interesting example showing that the phenomenon of constantly escalating gameplay conventions does not just apply to "classic" modes of staging/framing, as is often posited.

 

Map 13 -- Eagle's Nest

This was always my favorite map in the DVII demo, bar none--only the Unholy Cathedral and Moria maps later on come close. Sadly, this was one of the maps that was almost certainly going to be cut as a result of Pham's changing tastes (going from posts made on the subject 'back when', at any rate), so if I've given the impression of being somewhat wryly cynical about the avowed changes in artistic direction the final game was to take, I suppose I'll here confirm that it's not just your imagination. ;0

 

Incidentally, "Into Sandy's City" suits the level infinitely better than whatever piece of lifted commercial orchestral score Huy chose for the mp3 soundtrack in the "Ultimate" version of the WAD, which generally holds true for most of the other levels in the WAD as well, IMO.

 

Others have rightly gotten the sense of it calling it an adventure map, and a grand adventure it is, with a beautifully realized sense of setting. The majority of the action takes place in and around a haunted watchtower or observatory perched on a beetling rock spire overlooking a broad spread of steppes and valleys; while the map's physical dimensions are sizable, its actual playable space is quite compact, to the point that the initial area literally has more distance in vertical progression than it has lateral/horizontal progression (leaving aside the completely optional fight against the hell knight horde in the outlying steppes, at least). "Diorama detail" to its fullest here, as you are literally surrounded by what feels like a wider world beyond your mission at hand, as opposed to being able to look into a self-contained shoebox chiaroscuro or the like (which can still be cool in its own way, mind). Minas Morgul is an obvious visual landmark, glowing unwholesomely nestled in the valley far below; the strange tilted ring of magical starbursts with a tailing string of arcane symbols is another easy eye-catcher. Cool thing about the way this is all framed is that while a great deal of the outlying scenery initially reads as simply being just scenery (and indeed, much of it is, ala Minas Morgul), you might be surprised to find that some of it actually makes a surprise appearance in gameplay or progression, ala floating through the ring to eventually be teleported away to the astral crypt where the level concludes. "Astral crypt." Heh, just saying that gives me the tingles. Love it, love it, this sort of 'magic shadowy void-tomb' is totally my bag, aesthetically/thematically speaking.

 

One of the challenges of designing adventure maps is that the cinematic needs of the terrain and setting don't always mesh comfortably with the basic elements of Doom's gameplay, of course. Most criticisms of/complaints about the map, both then and now, fall somewhere along these lines--the space is tight, sometimes cramped, with complex vertical sightlines and strange doglegging vertical movement paths. The earlier half of the level also takes a relatively slowballing/minimalist approach to weapon progression and supply balance (this is the only map in the set where you spend any considerable period of time rolling with the basic pump-action shotgun, IIRC) which gives a bit more consequence to mistakes you might make, which are easy to make early on during the foliage-blinded, hitscan-dotted hillclimb segment. This balance potentially backs off a bit later after the map flips the table and emphasizes rockets and cells in its second half, though I suspect this is in no small part founded in runoff supplies from the optional areas and could read as very austere throughout for the player who fails/refuses to explore (again touching upon the set's aspect of balance-hinging secrets, I suppose).

 

For my part, all I can say is that I've never really empathized with complaints about the map geometry and placements being unreasonably unfriendly/uncomfortable; on the conceptual level I think it's clear that the level is consciously designed in such a way that the real adversary (and the real source of personality to the map) is the terrain rather than monsters per se, and it's committed to with as much attention to detail and balance as everything else in the set. The climb and the topside skirting around the fringes of the tower are both very amenable to a more considered tactical progression at best (and eminently learnable/memorizable at worst) which contrasts distinctly with the surrounding maps, and the later action swaps complicated terrain and limited arsenal for heavy weapons and larger groups of foes while maintaining a limited playspace to continue emphasizing tactical play, albeit a different side of it, which I've always found to be a very satisfying arc of progression/escalation.

 

Also of note are the optional battles, which are hidden away in a delightful easter-eggy fashion ala the secret chessmaster battle from m03. The genius of these inclusions is that they both feature a different spin on the action to what is found in the main level progression, which over the course of a full clear adds even more richness to the play variety. I think I more or less agree with the long-running sentiment that the rocket-slinging fight against 100+ hell knights in the steppes is overlong (perhaps better to reduce the length of the fight while also reducing the amount of ground the player has to retreat over?), though to its credit it is the map's main pressure-relief moment as far as the tightness on the ammo balance goes. The later revenant-curve/sanctum brawl is vastly more pressuring than anything else in the map and entertaining in a vacuum in its own right, and so reads naturally as a treat purely for the thrill/challenge-seeker. Bit of a spot of ego there in the textfile, though, if memory serves--IIRC this is alluded to as a reference to the original Deus Vult, though of course before the fight was enshrined there it was found in "Fire Walk with Me" from Alien Vendetta. ;)

Edited by Demon of the Well
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Map 23: Hell's Vendetta

reloads: a hell of a lot

 

  Well, I finished the map.  Guess I can write a bunch about it now.

 

  By appearances, designed as a fast paced slaughter map.  The 60 hell clerics that came out of the start chamber after I make noise for the first time sure appear they're meant to get people moving and not camping.  I found a slow and methodical approach to clearing out the initial areas is viable though it comes at a natural time tradeoff.  Also, 355 kills before I fire my first shot is more a feat of stubbornness than skill.  I was really stubborn about getting maximum mileage out of those corner cyberdemons; only one out of 4 do I kill myself.  Carryover gauntlets see some use in picking off lone stragglers given that the only shotgun shells are in the start room.  It's about 2 1/2 hours of clocked gametime before I finally clear out the initial demons in the hallways, though I did do the hell cleric siege during that time.

 

  Unlike previous maps which have a strong sense of setting, here the visuals come off as merely functional.  The portrait references are kind of Doomcute though a side effect is that they do help with navigation in the symetrical hallways.  Even the monster placement is nearly symetrical though different groups inhabit each of the four wings.  Item placement is also nearly identical in each wing.  I guess the symetry throughout is part of what makes this map memorable.  Items stacking on top of each other is very prevalent here.  Medikits come in packs of 4 for the entire map and most ammo pickups are multiples on the same spot.

 

Each wing comes with it's own showpiece fight.  The hell cleric siege is one of my most memorable due to being stuck at it for weeks years ago.  Only after I learned that the soulsphere is actually two on top of each other did I eventually win.  As lame as my savescumming tendencies are, I have gotten more skilled since then.  This run I survive to the doors opening on the first try.  I do reload since I wasted the megaarmor pickup (which is two on top of each other).  Several fails later, when I do live to escape the lockin, it's at 5% health and 27% armor to which I say "good enough."  There's lots of health and armor in the halls; I can surely spare one of the 24 megaarmors.  For the early part, I found moving in some sort of loose slowly retreating rectangle (firing all the while) worked well for avoiding the fireballs.  It becomes harder when I need to run for ammo reloads.  Losing ground is the main consequence but also, the advancing clerics are at ground level so it's trickier to avoid damage.  I find it's vital to avoid running for health or armor for long enough since it gives the advancing hell clerics too much time to push forward.  So dodging skills are important.  I also felt the shmup vibe in this section.  Looking back, I feel I could have handled running for more rockets better.  Grab the closest set of rocket boxes on one side and quickly get back to laying surpressive fire.  Go for the close set on the other side the next time when running for more rockets and resume firing down the corridor.  Feels like that would minimize the time loss.

 

  I take on the blue key wing next.  It features another setpiece fight, of course, which is a spiritual successor to a setup from Deus Vult. What I find really unique is that it features invisibilities that are actually desirable despite not using a single hitscanner.  Even if they weren't as useful as they are here, I still want them for timing purposes.  I grab the first after the gunshot activated wall starts to lower and aim to take the second as soon as the first wears out.  When the second invisibility is nearly done is when I want to get to one of the tower invulnerabilities since there is very little time to act when the timed warp-in shows up.  The fight feels similar to the hell cleric siege yet different as well.  The ideal approach still appears to be a rocket barrage against a pack coming from one direction and ideally not letting them advance far.  They're a mixed group so there's different attacks to dodge and if the RNG is kind, infighting can slow them down.  The lost souls are quite dangerous here, moreso with infinite tallness off.  Over multiple failed attempts, I had numerous mishaps with firing a rocket into a lost soul at point blank.  Or rocket to wall.  Or rocket to other monster that passes in front of me,  I seem to have trouble reacting to surprise developments when wielding the rocket launcher.  Many Good At Doom moments here.

 

  This fight took a lot more attempts to get something I was happy with.  Even when factoring out quits from picking up something I didn't intend to, there was still plenty of mishaps to be had.  Sometimes there were stretches I could hold down fire and not move at all, other times I eat three homing missiles in quick succession even when I try to dodge.  Lost souls that slip past the rocket barrage are also random.  Sometimes they repeatedly fly off in the wrong direction when trying to bite my bum.  Other times, they're spot on in invading my personal space or flying in front of me right into the path of a rocket.  A few times I survive the nearly two minutes to the surprise warp-in and get mauled going for an invulnerability tower.  If too many monsters spill out onto the floor before the first minute is up, the attempt is almost certain death if I don't reload first.  The archviles are my main priority while invulnerable.  Pain elementals?  There were so many objects still on the map that they couldn't generate any lost souls.  It's a small perk for getting the cyber turrets to off several hundred monsters for me.  Just hold out a few more seconds after the invulnerability wears off and the door unlocks.

 

  The yellow key fight and the one for the key switch are simple by comparison.  Just multiple cyberdeoms for the yellow key, no problem rignt?  Well, they are likely to appear very close and there's another temporary lockin so there's limited room to retreat.  I used the other invulnerability from the blue key section to cheese this encounter.  Took a bit of splash damage right at the end because I ended up on the wrong side of them (by the key).  The dozens of chaingunners guarding the key switch are simple enough.  I think the anti-camping hell clerics are a part of this group actually; I had opened this up very early and the chaingunners died to infights.  There's a few more in the back on a ledge which can be the bane of a maxrun attempt if one of them gets resurrected by an archvile that... well I'm getting ahead of myself here.

 

  One more multi-stage combat while the exit platform lowers.  Tight circlestrafing for a few laps while taking shots at whatever (or not) is good enough to survive at first.  The pain elementals still couldn't produce any lost souls in my game which made things simpler.  Of course, things don't stay that easy in DV2; the corner walls will lower on a timer revealing a pack of hellknights and a cyberdemon general in each corner.  There's also lots of cells and an invulnerability in each corner.  It is possible to survive the whole thing pacifist style (without using an invulnerability either) though given how much space those hellknights will take up, finding a clear enough path through the crowds is a challenge.  The cyberdemons are helpful in distracting multiple monsters and keeping the areas near them relatively clear.  I would be a little remorse in killing them but all four died to infighting by map end so no internal conflict.  If you use the BFG to clear a running path, survival will be much more consistent.  Those invulnerabilities will help too though it is highly desirable to save at least two for one last dirty trick the map will pull.

 

  Picture this: a player has cleared out the hordes and is leisurely picking off the replenishing mancubus and revenant turrets.  Out of nowhere, blindsided by "oh god, where did these monsters come from?"  After about 2 min, 20 sec. after the exit platform starts lowering, the map warps in archviles to each of the four wings of the place.  On HMP, it's one archvie per wing with a few revenants.  This is more than enough for them to be an issue with all the corpses that have piled up.  I opted to scout ahead from a save after gaining enough of a foothold in the brawl so I could time arriving at the blue key wing right when the warp-in occurs.  From there, the plan is to quickly nuke the vile, then hustle for the nearest invulnerability.  I rushed the hell cleric wing next to nuke the vile there, then sprinted towards the chaingunner wing to off the vile that spawns there.  Spent another invulnerability to root out the last archvile.  From there on out, it was simple to herd everything into infights and finish off the survivors.

 

  Yes, I did make sure i had no more than 520 cells before this unfolds so that I wouldn't waste any cell packs when picking up the invulnerability artifacts for my approach.  The last batch of archviles resurrected 40-50 monsters which I guess is fairly low given the potential for making trouble.  Completion time was over 3 hours but that is vastly inflated because of how i play.  A less obsessive or patient player can very well finish the map in under an hour.  Amazingly, even though I was back in openGL by this time, not once did my framerate drop to my 2 FPS episode of map 21; it may have slowed a bit at some points but not enough for me to notice or be an obstacle to survival.

 

  One map to go and, oh Doomgods I'm really going to do this.  This will take a while given the size of map 29.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
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again, sorry for the bump, trying to catch up with playthroughs that i didnt finish up in the month.

all these have saves; i may be an idiot but im not mad. im breaking into cold sweats just thinking how long 16 wouldve taken without saving D:

 

NGMVMT2 FDA pack

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Cont'd...

 

Map 19 -- Stargate

As others have said, the main point of stylistic reference here is the Vrack series, by Fredrik Johansson. I'd say that the level of visual fidelity and the style of structural detailing and the like most recall Vrack III, while the level progression and layout most resemble Vrack II (though the open spaces are fewer), and the actual curve of the combat most resembles the original Vrack of all things, starting out with very traditional slowballing with basic weapons and a fairly tight early ammo supply, gradually and eventually building to more packed Plutonia-style brawls driven primarily by cells and rockets. The late V-sphere fights (that is, fights patently designed to be done with the V-sphere, but not actually requiring it) are something of a Vrack tradition, established early on in the very first installment, as aforesaid. Apart from the generally slick, futuristic spacebase theme, IIRC most references to the source material are more nods to form than very specific homages (ala the 'revenant curve' from m13), though it's been forever since I've played anything with the Vrack brand and so perhaps am missing some obvious examples.

 

In terms of how tightly and intricately the structure of the base and its many different locks, decks, and holds is interwoven, this is arguably the most complex and elaborate of all of DVII's maps ("Unholy Cathedral" later on being the other obvious contender), though if you were to take a pensive walking tour without the need of having to constantly frag zombified space cadets and the like, I reckon it'd be fairly plain to see that the actual progression route is almost entirely linear and mostly micromanaged from point to point, and that much of the interconnectedness is purely cosmetic. Given the density of the smallscale, deceptively utilitarian architecture itself, to say nothing of the welter of colorful laser midtex and other trim applied atop, the usual bullet points/buzzwords about 'visual connectedness' and 'foreshadowing' seldom actually apply here in any meaningful way (the one big exception being the early looks you get at the actual Stargate itself before you actually reach it), though I don't think that this necessarily harms the level's presentation; there's a sense of scurrying around in the guts of a truly vast station at play here, and while the actual complexity is mostly smoke and mirrors in this case, it's commendable and a testament to the author's craft that the level gives the impression of being ever so much larger and expansive than it actually is.

 

Also playing into this, perhaps, is that the closing stages of level progression (that is, preceding your trip out to the Stargate itself) involve what amounts to some relatively inelegant backtracking, complicated by the aforementioned complexity of structure with relative uniformity of theme to somewhat defeat most obvious modes of signposting. It's hardly a dealbreaker, and once you hit a certain point the repopulations of earlier areas with crowds of monsters make it fairly clear where to go, though how to get there is perhaps less clear if you're not possessed of a particularly sharp navigational memory.

 

It can also be fairly said, I think, that of all of the DVII maps this is also the one that most closely fits an older pattern of gameplay (though at the time it was still enshrined in a number of notable ZDoom PWADs), speciously dubbed "classic" by some, wherein you primarily walk through a quasi-maze of corridors, gradually collecting weaponry and shooting various things which appear almost universally in front of you, in one way or another. It plays fine, I think, and wouldn't agree with the sentiment it's notably overlong (perhaps could've done without reusing the 'laser fence-maze' idea several times, though), though I do think it's one of the set's weaker levels (bearing in mind that's a very relative statement). Whatever else we might say of Pham, he was not one to ever half-ass anything, and I think it's evident that he was trying to inflect on the generally very straightforward staging of 99% of the battles by working to have monsters intimately crowd your space (hence the use of those timed metal airlock segments to allow monsters to all port in/get close to you before letting you have at one another), though one wonders if this was entirely by design from the get-go or a canny adaptation to a layout that turned out to be more tightly knit and have notably fewer more open spaces at work than any of the Vrack levels from which the map draws so much inspiration.

 

Map 20 -- Desert Tomb

Here, the take on the stylized ancient Egyptian theme most closely resembles that found in the second episode of Erik Alm's Scythe II, presumably not purely coincidental given that the cleanly chiseled, tastefully terraced and trimmed temple architecture seem to read much more like Alm's habitual style than Pham's more irregular, inset-laden one. I like to think the terrain views (which are quite striking if you take the time to look at them) are a fond nod to "Misri Halek" from Alien Vendetta, though this may or may not be coincidental given the author's predilection for this same type of expansive diorama detailing in various other (differently themed) maps.

 

It's less clear if the level's slant on gameplay is informed by one of Alm's various austerity-themed levels (m29 of the original Scythe being perhaps the most popular, largely because it differs vastly in tone from the levels surrounding it), though perhaps the massive textfile might clear that up. Like m19 before it, the trip through the Temple is almost entirely linear and begins at a slow burn pace of using small arms and a limited ammo supply to skirmish with small groups of weaker foes or single powerful ones, the key difference being that the gameplay in "Desert Temple" commits to this idea for the duration of its (relatively short) runtime. Pressure is generated not so much through tricky placement as through keeping the player feeling as though they are just barely scraping by, mostly leaving actual threat to elide from nerves and from overthinking the generally simple encounters, occasionally trying to instill crucial moments of flash panic through suddenly introducing monsters at point-blank range via various trap mechanisms (almost all of which can be spotted and outwitted/outflanked by the canny player, incidentally).

 

To put things in context: the level's 'boss fight' is a tussle with two Barons in a short-ish corridor (there's a group of revenants a couple of minutes later which are the actual final opposition, but you get significantly more room to move/retreat when you fight them). Yes, you read that right. No, there's not really any trick/gimmick to it, beyond the fact that a 'conventional' playstyle will likely see you almost entirely out of ammo at that point, requiring you to fistfight them, which is not trivial given the setting. Foreknowledge of the map (or some talent for recognizing and managing austerity scenarios during blind play) will carry you through this all much more relatively comfortably, mind you, and as this type of map goes this one is far from being among the most infamously tight/demanding, but it's a stylistic change that is always going to make some segment of the audience uncomfortable and fidgety, underscoring the commitment to variety in that sense.

 

For my part, I'm not at all averse to this type of play/balancing in measured doses, though like many other maps with similar philosophy also designed with an eye towards demo recording I think its capacity for zest suffers at least slightly because the thing balance is overtuned to the point where certain items (i.e. the rocket launcher) are so limited in their 'correct' usage that you're basically not allowed to have real fun with them if you want to try something different. So, while the level is perhaps one of my least favored in the set (also not terribly fond of the regular secret level IIRC), I still pretty much never skip it when I play this simply because I like the setting so much, which I think shines in its relative layout simplicity in comparison to the similarly-arranged m19 prior, allowing much more space for cinematic vista and more clearly distinct areas (i.e. temple terraces, hill-climb, outlying graveyards, weird non-damaging molten gold pit, etc.) as it does.

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Map 29: St. Peter's Gate

 

  Presumably, Doomguy died while fighting in Hell (most likely involving a heroic sacrifice of some sort) and this is the next step in his path.  In some alternate future where DV2 is completed, I imagine map 28 would end with a death exit of some sort (and no carryover weapons either).  Anyway, this stage is cinema in Doom done well.  Even if the effects are simple with the player drifting towards the light and marines with halos, the setting of a fluffy cloud heaven/afterlife for the brave marines in the war against Hell is well done here.  The music choice works very well here.  (had not played DKC2 before so was unaware it came from there.  Even after knowing the origins, i feel it still fits well here.) 

 

  At a crossroads, the marine is given a choice.  Ascend to his well-earned eternal rest or a cheeky invitation to return to Hell (if you're Belial or crazy enough to try to 100% this map).  Playing with a visible HUD spoiled the effect a little when I first played this since I immediately saw over a thousand live monsters lurking in the map.  Oh well.  The secret exit to map 31 is here if you head towards the sun instead of the other gates.  I'll be covering the trip into Hell.

 

Return to the original Deus Vult, (censored)  Overall thoughts:

 

  A bonus map with no mention in the textfile.  This is Deus Vult apparently copy and pasted with a few graphics edits and the DV2 arsenal.  Too bad, I would have enjoyed more screen time with the new enemies.  One can imagine all sorts of reasons why this map goes unmentioned in the textfile.  I'm not advocating one reason over another (or even some combination of motivations) but when compared side to side with DV2, the original feels less polished and rougher around the edges.  It also comes off as more grindy and monster spammy.  Some encounters also feel as if foreknowledge is required.  It's not terrible; it's that the difference in quality is very noticeable compared to the DV2 maps proper.   The influence of Alien Vendetta is strong throughout and the gameplay definitely evokes a Hell Revealed vibe.  It's also noticeable how several fights in DV2 have their origins here.  Given the size of this map, I'll be breaking up this writeup into several parts.  I have lots to say about this journey and would prefer to split up the walls of text to follow.  Also, I prefer the Stickerbrush Symphony in the background over the original's music pick; I enjoyed the map more because of it (not getting on my nerves after over 6 hours of maptime).

 

   With my insistence on not wasting pickups and the number of items sitting on damaging floors, routing proved to be quite the task.  In some cases, advanced planning was called for since there are a number of cases where one is teleported right on top of items or a soulsphere or ammo is sitting right on the path of progression.  I also tried to plan my path to use ammo that's sitting on damage floors lest it end up wasted.  In the end, got by with something I was satisfied with though the routing added another layer to the experience most people won't bother with.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
squashing the typo monster

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4 hours ago, Demon of the Well said:

It's less clear if the level's slant on gameplay is informed by one of Alm's various austerity-themed levels (m29 of the original Scythe being perhaps the most popular, largely because it differs vastly in tone from the levels surrounding it), though perhaps the massive textfile might clear that up.

According to the textfile, the inspiration was Chord 3 + Crimson Tide (the layout is nearly identical, aside from that terrain-y start bit) + Misri Halek (thematically)

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Return to Deus Vult: Insurgents area

 

     The starting techbase area does pop thanks to effective lighting.  After warming up on some demons easily sliced apart with Sauron's Guantlets, the map quickly introduces the type of combat that will show up over and over again throughout the map.  Lots of monsters at once, often pouring in from multiple directions to make it trickier to dodge.  The fight for the blue key occurs against over something like 80 imps at a time when it's intended to have nothing stronger than SSG.  It's pretty much solved once one herds them into the center, complicated slightly by a pair of perched mancubi.  I'll admit to pacifisting this encounter until the mancubi fell to imp fireballs (they took out 30 or so beforehand) before engaging in the circlestrafing grind.  Wearing down 40-50 imps with SSG is tedious though since I had carryover, I sped things up with a few rockets since I had plenty to spare and would get a chance to restock not to much further.

 

    The fights around the plasma rifle and the rocket launcher (and I see the resemblence to AV26 in the rocket launcher room) play similarly with a lockin and a bunch of foes at ground level and some more offsides to prevent braindead circlestrafing.  If one is bored by the conclusion of the rocket launcher room fight, best to bail out, the rest of the map isn't going to be more enjoyable.  There's a spiderdemon there to add some spice and the only cover is at the entryway.  If one is lucky, it will get trapped via infighting and die with no effort exerted by the player otherwise it becomes a vicious turret.  This map is very much a linear affair with progress, setpiece fight, repeat with some incidental stuff to break up the pattern.

 

  Found a permastuck in the passage from the AV26 tribute room and the marble temple,  It is possible to fall into the crack in the floor and get stuck.  Huy, fix your damn map.

 

   A short passage and then it's marble temple and a setup that I saw before in map 23.  Not enough room to try to pacifist through so I don't bother.  Grab an invulnerability and go cause a lot of damage with the rocket launcher.  Actually, what I did was grab one invulnerability and carve a path into the talon to open the path to the next area.  Planned things to grab the second tower invulnerability when the first expires and rocket out the archvile in the next area.  From there, it's a simple task to thin out the herd enough one way or another.  When things had settled, I was left with one or two high up revenants and some hellknights that were aggroed at each other.  Let them be and moved on.

 

  Part of why I consider this map spammy comes next.  Four cyberdemons and one isn't intended to have BFG at this point.  My carryover BFG gets put to good use here.  Could have fought fairly but opted to cheese them with the invulnerability from the talon and a BFG barrage.  Ride up the lift, hit switch, run past everything and use the secrets to telefrag stuff.  Also got the cyberdemons to anger the barons in the outdoor secret area but didn't go there (until much later).  Stocked up my ammo before going to the next area.  There was a revenant and two hellknights still trying to hit each other at this point.  I let them be.  Plopped a save by the invulnerability by the tall lift, took a deep breath, and got ready for the hell to follow.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
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Return to Deus Vult: Torture Chamber area

 

     I thought for sure that GZDoom would run into framerate issues when I dropped into the next area but it actually held up.  Survival is another matter with all those archviles and revenants around.  It appears very intimidating at first and standing still in one place too long will see one plastered with homing missiles or roasted by the numerous archviles.  Actually not at impossible to live as it may first appear but does call for a higher level of skill and strategy to survive.  Ramboing the area is just not going to work.  The masses of revenants on a large plateau were the most memorable monster placement for me.  They were a constant presence and source of danger for a long time until they were eliminated.  There's also scattered archviles and it can be a shock to find a hiding spot only to find that it lies within a cyberdemon's line of sight.  In spite of the intimidation factor, I think it's less than 200 initially alerted monsters in these pits of Hell; it's the really effective placement of them that causes this area to feel daunting and why my framerate didn't chug.

 

  Taking this from a pistol start may be beyond my ability.  I really prized my carryover BFG here.  Combined with a carefully preserved invulnerability from the Insurgents area, this gave me valuable seconds to telefrag one archvile before it was alerted and nuke 2-3 more to create some sort of semi-safe zone to shake off homing missiles.  The next step of my general strategy is to get active ground forces dead or distracted.  The caves provide refuge from all the perched snipers but since monsters can pursue the marine into the caves, turtling there from the outset is no idea.  No easy outs in this map, at least not yet.  I suppose cave turtling could work with Sauron's Gauntlets but opted not to go that route with so much infight possibility.  Had quite a few situations where a stationary sniper was neutralized because it and another monster were angry at each other but had difficulty hitting because of height differences.  Whatever it takes to lower the number of threats after me and all that.  Also had a funny fail where I lowered a pillar forgetting it was one that was occupied by a cyber.  It took offense to being lowered to ground level with a point blank rocket.

 

  The first objective is to reach the BFG at the top of the cave tunnels (or rather the trigger it sits on) though it's not immediately obvious that's the goal.  Living long enough to figure that out is a challenge in itself.  I do clear a path through though there are things I want to do before I hit the trigger.  Main thing I want to do is clear out key monsters near the passage the BFG trigger opens up.  For me, that's archviles though other nearby monsters are part of that list as well as some more ground forces that I hadn't yet alerted.  Was quite the task to clear out key threats while ducking fire from stuff I didn't want to deal with yet.  Oh, there's that cyberdemon fiercely guarding the BFG.  I'd lured it into hurting some of the revenants on Revenant plateau which proceeded to retaliate.  Except their attacks usually missed because of height differences and the cyber kept failing to hit them as well.  It eventually died while I was off clearing out other stuff.  After grabbing the BFG and wiping out the archviles on the lowering tooth pillars, I finally got around to getting that perfect angle where the revenant plateau angered one of the cybers on the pillars (the two that can be telefragged).  The ensuing retaliation took out several dozen before the cyber lost the fight.

 

  The next fights are more of the standard AV "warp in a buch of monsters" variety.  There's a non secret invulnerability to help with the revenants and archviles that spawn in by the yellow key so just be smart and fast.  The still living pillar cyber had a line of fire into the battle zone so it helped distract some of the masses.  A forced soulsphere triggers the next requisite wave.  Mostly standard for the map, however opening any of the yellow doors beforehand also spawns some archviles into the Insurgents area which can cause some mischief and also make the fight more dynamic.  Here, which doors one has opened can influence available strategies for this fight.  I'd only opened the door into the Darkdome inspired room for the secrets so it's simple for me to funnel monsters where I wanted them.

 

  Entering the portal drops one into a series of "Killer Colors" inspired hallways with increasingly more durable opposition in each one.  Straightforward corridor shooting that's only complicated if one makes it that way like I did.  Passing through here lowers barriers that lead to the Cathedral area.  Seems like a good place to end this part of the war journal.  Given the difficulty of clearing this area, part of me thinks the worst is behind me.  The map does find ways to up the difficulty even more later on, as I will discover.

 

  Of the four areas, this one is the jankiest when it comes to getting 100% kills.  I didn't trigger the demons + archviles mass warpin while progressing.  Only with IDDT did I determine how to alert them.  Making noise in the green hallway is the trigger except it somehow didn't on my first trip through despite firing off 30 or so rockets when I entered the green hall.  It's also tricky to find all the walkover triggers that release monsters.  Took quite some trial and error to find when I came back for cleanup at the end.  There's also a teleporter that doesn't work on skill 3 so the pit it's located in is inescapable.

Edited by Crusader No Regret
incoming wall of text
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DVII-1i FDAs

with saves. i didnt really know what to do about map29/30 so ive just left them out. im not playing a rehashed DV1 map - ill save that for that wad.

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Onward with the map that never seems to end.

 

Return to Deus Vult: Cathedral Area

 

  Before entering the cathedral proper there's amassed archviles, revenants, and chaingunners to take out.  Monster blocking lines prevent them from crossing the lava river so it's one of those grindy fights.  Fire a few rockets, retreat for cover, repeat until archviles are dead.  There were still some dozen or so revenants on revenant plateau to complicate things but this is a self-inflicted wound.  I guess the invulnerability on the parapets is meant to be used here but that cyberdemon was still there so no idea.  I also could have used the one tucked away near the BFG on top of the cave run (hidden just out of line of sight) but never thought to go for it.  Anyways, the other side of the lava river proved to be the vantage point from which I could get the monsters on the parapets to finish off that once-huge mass of revenants.

 

  Entered the cathedral at last, took out the few monsters present.  Oh hey, it's those red candles from the Unholy Cathedral.  This is more likely because DV2 has a different set of graphics resources rather than something planned.  Before triggering the next fight, returned to insurgents area to clear out those monsters I'd left behind.  The hellknights had finished off that one revenant on a ledge by the time I returned.  Cleared out the big outdoor secret with all those cyberdemons too.  (side note: while it's designed so that holding forward the whole time is enough to telefrag all the cybers, it is possible to get really unlucky and get splattered before picking up the invulnerability in the sequence).  I did leave behind a number of monsters in the torture chamber area as well as the fork in the caves that leads to a trapped megasphere.

 

  There's a big brawl to be had when flicking the switch to lower the red key.  It's not quite the spectacle as the main fight from the Unholy Cathedral but there's still plenty of violence to be had.  The invulnerability artifacts in the towers are key to survival; the most important task is to flush out the archviles.  It pays to save one of the invulnerabilities for later use, ideally the one in the cathedral closest to the left staircase (from the perspective of the entrance, south side on the automap).  If one left the cyber on the outside wall alive, it can contribute to the fight though some may argue its presence would be more of a hinderence.  I don't think it's that hard if one gets trigger happy; it's a lot harder for me being obsessed with infighting as I avoided attacking unless I could take out an archvile with my BFG shot.  Eventually, got my magical attempt where I flushed out all the archviles and semi-camped on the other side of the lava river.  Any surviving mancubi died to infights and I dodged stuff until the cybers angered the mob milling on the bank.  Revenants would have been an issue due to lack of cover but they were already down by the time I had retreated over there.  One cyber died to infights.  The other had a pack of barons around its platform trying in vain to hurt it.  I let them be while grabbing the key and moving on to the infamous Revenant Curve.

 

  Going back a bit, the cathedral brawl had some complications.  I died a few times because of tower lifts lowering before I moved off them, usually into a mass of waiting monsters.  Also for some reason, I consistently had troubles saving while facing towards the cathedral interior from the lava river.  Had a few instances where not only did GZDoom stop responding, my entire system froze forcing a hard shutdown.

 

  So, there revenant curve.  Obviously inspired by a setup from AV29.  Not much else to say about it since it's also an optional secret in map 13.  The suicide exit is here but if one has made it this far, might as well go all the way.  The second fight down here is harder though.  No invulnerability to hide behind and four archviles on top of dozens of revenants.  Very easy to spiral out of control unless one quickly dispatches the archviles; know their spawn spots.  There's a cyberdemon too but it's stationary.  Have that BFG ready when riding the lift back up because there be archviles waiting and no cover.  I guess the cell packs are a sort of hint but wow.

 

  One more obstacle before opening up the next red hallway.  Six cyberdemons, no problem right?  They're not even that mobile.  Grinding them down gets time consuming.  There is an invulnerability in a secret library; I suppose the idea is to use it here for faster killing.  It is heavily guarded though, most notably by a cyber in tight spaces.  If you're skilled and lucky, you can time a BFG blast to nail it before it can attack (this first blast is reliable) and fire off a second for a quick-kill (all luck) but this is not a safe way of going about things.  Barons still trying to hit that one cyber on the lower level.  Keep ignoring them.

 

  A one way drop leads to what may be a tougher setup than the Torture Chamber area.  Lots of monsters, including archviles, and a damaging lava river with very little cover to work with.  This may be beyond my ability except for a preserved invulnerability which let me enter safely.  This is why I specifically recommend saving the invulnerability in the close indoor tower; it maximizes invincibility time to clear out key threats, mostly archviles.  There's more danger before being allowed to leave.  The pad in the lava with a soulsphere opens up the way out.  It also releases some door guardians, among them about 5 archviles.  Gotta be fast in this area too with the damaging lava.  My health was good at about 140%-ish at this point so I was glad to find I could trigger the path opening up without picking up the soulsphere.  Angry mob was handled with rockets first, then BFG when monsters got close.

 

  Progress continues along the lava river.  Barons still trying to hit cyber in cathedral.  Small incidental skirmishes along the way, complicated by the lava and limited safe ground though nowhere near as dangerous as what lead up to the point.  There's a side path that will open up connections to earlier in the level, nice for returning to search out undiscovered secrets.  The mancubi on the banks are hilarious.  They're rooted in place by monster blocking lines so other than the fact there's 7 of them to fill the air with fireballs while shooting at them, they're just target practice.  There's a secret teleporter near the tall lift.  The chamber it leads to is memorable enough because of "four AVs, are you kidding me?!" in a cramped space.  It's RNG how many hits you sustain there.  I redid that until I finished getting hurt once, which I considered acceptable.

 

The tunnel at the top leads to the final portion of the map.

 

Edited by Crusader No Regret
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Hey guys! Here's my playthrough of Newgothic Movement 1 and 2! As for 2, I just started if you wanna check it out:

 

 

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Return to Deus Vult: End of Days area

 

  Following the lava river to somewhere.  Pockets of resistance along the way, nothing too intense though the lava complicates movement.  Avoiding unwanted ammo pickups was more challenging than the fighting for me.  There's pain elementals here and they actually work, a surprise given how this map feels as packed with stuff as 23.  Lava river leads to a monster maw which is very heavily guarded.  With a cliffside full of revenants and a pair of cyberdemon sentries, rushing them isn't likely to work out.  Before taking them out, may be wise to handle the cavern walls opening up an ambush packed with barons and some cybers.  They have a way of crowding the player and/or pushing the marine into the line of sight of previously mentioned revenants and cybers.

 

  Well, I dived into the secret chamber leading to the visible soulsphere.  Gunned down pain elementals. then cheesed the ambush from above via infighting.  If an enemy retreats far enough, it can have a clear line of fire but is otherwise a safe way of going about things.  With how vicious combat has been prior to this point, a bit of cheese is welcomed.  Barons gangbeat the cybers on my playthrough.  Dealt with survivors and then turned my attention to the monster maw guardians.

 

  I'm not sure if there's a consistent way to approach this setup swiftly.  There a third side with a number of perched archviles so approaching from there isn't viable.  I solved this with a duck and cover approach where I would dash in, take a few shots at the archviles, then retreat out of line of sight of everyone.  Eventually cleared out the archviles and could make use of the space there.  It works but is slow and tedious, there must be a better way.  The mancubi aren't an issue, got the cybers to deal with them.  Ground down all those turrets with HP before approaching the maw.  Have BFG out because several archviles warp in in quick succession.  Though they all pile out of the same spawn spot so if the first attacks right away, Sauron's Gauntlets become a hilarious alternative.

 

There's a secret teleporter that leads to a hidden gallery.  It sticks out because of the images of maps from HR and AV which this map draws inspiration from.  One of the images comes from this map itself, don't know if this was something different in the original release.

 

Going into the maw leads to a concealed demon temple of sorts and a waiting ambush.  With the way the sound block lines are set up, it is possible to take out a bunch of visible enemies without alerting the others.  I opted here to set everything loose (well not everything, there's a number of deaf monsters) in one big brawl.  Given how much I enjoy infighting, this was one of the most fun fights for me.  The demons can't pass through the monster maw so it was simple to peek in now and then and let them go at each other.  Cyber took out nearly 80 monsters before an archvile finished it off.  Easy mop up after that.  More monsters to dispatch (the cyberdemon in tight space killed me several times), hit some switches and the arena where the penultimate battle of the segment takes place.  Walking close enough to the megasphere starts things rolling.  Oh, it's a lockin, no hiding by the monster maw allowed.

 

  Here's how I solved this fight.  At first, it's easy circlestrafing.  One can shoot monsters but I wouldn't bother.  Of course, Doom Marine isn't letting you out that easy.  First, it;s the monsters that spawn on ledges.  For the most part, one can get right back to circlestrafing but positioning matters here as soon things become more deadly.  When the demons start warping in, that's the clue that archviles will soon follow.  Only then should one make tracks to the invulnerabiity.  Squander it early and you're probably doomed.

 

  Under the protection of the invulnerability, it is vital to take out most, preferably all, of the archviles in that time.  Once they're gone, picking off pain elementals is a lot safer.  With AVs and PEs gone, you're basically home free.  Whether any cybers perish in the mass of infights and stray BFG tracers is not that important.  For me both were still alive when the infighting settled.  In my game, I went to the extra trouble of getting the baron on the blood fountain to aggro the cybers.  One landed a retaliation shot before they got too close to the fountain.  From here, they would mill around until the end of time.  Made my way up to hit the switches right under the baron's nose.

 

  This whole fight is skippable if you really want to and are fortunate.  Shooting in the spider mastermind chamber is what awakes the masses.  Being partially invisible here is totally viable so just rush past, hit switch, and rush out.  I didn't test whether making noise in that tight cyberdemon room would alert the packs.  At worst, one would need to evade it.  It's viable with tool assistance at least.  Achieve stealth, and almost nothing will attack while waiting for the red column to lower.  Also, there are monster blocking lines around the center star such that monsters will never enter the center where the megasphere is.  This has use when looking to root out the archviles while invulnerable.  Cut through the middle instead of going around.

 

  Back to progression, the path up the cliffs is open.  There are some monsters waiting to ambush you that can be dangerous if they catch you by surprise but nothing difficult to handle with foreknowledge.  PrBoom+ users can take out a few of them early with rocket splash but in GZDoom?  38 rockets to kill one archvile isn't worth it.  At the top, staying close to the walls will avoid damage from the lava river.  Four cyberdemons are the last resistance before the point of no return so make way to the nearby invulnerability and nuke them.  It's a freebie for making it all the way here.

 

  At this point, I travel through the map to clean up any survivors and trigger secrets I passed up for one reason or another.  Got to trigger all the trapped items.  Finally put the cyberdemons and barons in the temple and the cathedral out of their misery.  Light amp visor in the secret library I put to use in the torture chamber caves since the path leading to an optional megasphere and fight is so damn dark.  Resorted to looking up a few of the missing secrets; after coming this far, I won't exit without my 100% kills and secrets.  After finishing up cleanup, I drop a save with max stats before the point of no return.

 

One secret and one fight later, I trigger the exit with 100% kills and secrets.  Not that it matters but I improved my completion time from over 8 hours to just over 7.  This is still glacial though there is that bit of personal satisfaction to go with the feeling of completion from the last time I played the map years ago and couldn't figure out how to release the last 3 monsters.

 

The Cacoward writeup described DV2 as what one would get if HR and AV had a baby and that baby had offspring with NUTS.wad.  I feel this clunker of a map, more than any other in the set, matches that description.  The gameplay evokes shades of both quite often as well as the abstract nature of the visuals.  It's quite the curiosity as it's easier to see Doom Marine's evolution in mapping skill and where he came from.  After this juggernaut, I plan on taking a break from Dooming for a few weeks.

 

 

Edited by Crusader No Regret
Done, unless a thought pops up.
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