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Praetor

What makes the original Doom 1 and 2 levels so amazing?

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So after beating Evil Returns, I couldn't find anything that looked interesting to play, so I decided to go and play Doom 1 and 2 through again as I haven't done so in about 3 years or so, and my god, I just beat E1 in about 25 minutes but it sure does hold up.

 

What is it about the original level sets that make them so iconic and fun? What sets them on such a high caliber compared to other WADs?

 

I just get this really weird fluent feeling when I play the original levels. It's like everything is cohesive and put together in a way that keeps the game moving the way it was intended to by the developers. Maybe that is it, they just understood what the levels needed since they made the game.

 

Beats the hell out of me, but it sure is fun.

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Familiarity which could be part of nostalgia. You know what to expect and can glide through it with precision. So much so it's as if you created the maps.

 

I bet first time play throughs of late Doom 2 levels are questionable at best.

Edited by Chezza

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Some Doom 2 level are... something I don't agree on, for the majority of Doom 1 levels are pretty good.

Nostalgia could have a hand in it, but it also could because we enjoyed it very much even in some questionable level designs...
 

Except The Chasm.

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Doom 1 is something I play through on an almost anual basis. Doom 2... Not so much. After the first six or so levels of Doom 2, I'm kinda done with it.

Doom 1 is unique in the sense that the design worked within the limitations of the engine. Doom's abstract base environments still hold up because they knew what the engine was capable of and not. This is why a game like Duke Nukem 3D, while an awesome game in its own right, hasn't aged quite as well; It's very obviously a product of its time. While the first Doom has obviously lost pretty much all of its atmospheric eerie appeal (yes, back in the day it was considered to be rather spooky / moody!), its design stood the test of time pretty well.

I'll also be honest and say that story-wise, I'm having a hard time accepting anything after episode 1 as canon. The plot is wrapped up perfectly after the first episode (marine ends up fighting to the death in a hellish dimension, the end), and I feel like every following release makes a mockery out of it (story-wise). But that's a different topic altogether I suppose.

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Lol go tell the duke3d community their game didn't age as well. That'll cause a shitstorm. Both games are still alive.

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Definitely nostalgia, but that works better for Doom 1 than Doom 2, which I never could warm up to. I found most if it pretty disappointing even back in 1994.

 

Aside from Episode 1, without the nostalgia factor, most of those levels range between mediocre and plain shit (where 'plain shit is more prevalent in Doom 2, of course), compared with what some user mods even from back in the day provided.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Pegg said:

Lol go tell the duke3d community their game didn't age as well. That'll cause a shitstorm. Both games are still alive.

I don't see why you can't love a game that didn't age that well. I think this was one of the reasons why Duke Nukem Forever was such a failure: it tried to push a 90's stereotype into the current day, and it just doesn't work out (unless you turn it into an outright parody).

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4 hours ago, DoctorFrickinRetro said:

Except The Chasm.

Agreed. The Chasm is objectively an excellent level based solely on its own merits. Nostalgia need not play any part here. Some may say it is the greatest map of all time.

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3 hours ago, Agentbromsnor said:

I'll also be honest and say that story-wise, I'm having a hard time accepting anything after episode 1 as canon. The plot is wrapped up perfectly after the first episode (marine ends up fighting to the death in a hellish dimension, the end), and I feel like every following release makes a mockery out of it (story-wise). But that's a different topic altogether I suppose.

It does seem like an incongruity. You end up fighting a bunch of zombies and demons and the level ends (although at 11%, so you're not actually dead), and then you wake up on the Deimos base, which just so happens to have been teleported to Hell. Even John Romero kind of says it doesn't make sense when he talks about it during his playthrough with JP LeBreton.

He does say that the plot was that you were expecting something when you stepped on the teleporter and then you went to another place where you could not win (a sort of "What the ..." moment) and then you wake up in hell. And it's supposed to be a taste of what is to come in later episodes. The decision was meant to be a "nobody's ever killed the hero at the end of the episode, ha ha, so let's do it" sort of things.

 

As for the original question,

7 hours ago, Praetor said:

What is it about the original level sets that make them so iconic and fun? What sets them on such a high caliber compared to other WADs?

I think there is definitely nostalgia and familiarity attached to the levels. I don't think that every level is Doom 1 and 2 is the pinnacle of WAD design, but that as a whole, they're a pretty good mass of levels. And they're fun and flexible in that you can play them multiple ways (run n' gun, Tyson, pacifist, etc.) that you don't necessarily see as much now.

 

To me, it's interesting to think about what the games would look like had Romero actually made all the levels (a Romero megawad, if you will), since his levels tend to be well-liked and are quite different from Hall's or Peterson's or McGee's levels. Of course, it's possible that the quality would've diminished because to make 27/36/32 levels (depending on whether it's Doom, Ultimate Doom, or Doom 2) by yourself in a relatively short amount of time, may have led to some form of burnout after a while. Or maybe not--he is John Romero, as he says in the above video, he was addicted to playing Doom.

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Nostalgia to an extent, and because the iwad maps are part of your first Doom memories, so thinking of Doom automatically makes you think of them.

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Definitely nostalgia and familiarity for me. While playing some of those classical episode replacements and megawads that intentionally mimic the originals' style I've often thought about the same question: why do I like the original levels so much even though many of them are just sub par compared to today's standards? Even from the best wads of early 2000s the quality of DooM level designing has increased considerably. A few months back I decided to replay Scythe 1 again and was astonished how mediocre it looked compared to some of the top wads of recent years. And I used to really love Scythe 1 - well I still do. I guess I have nostalgia towards Scythe now :)

 

 

9 hours ago, Praetor said:

So after beating Evil Returns, I couldn't find anything that looked interesting to play

Just checked my personal reviews archive and there are 156 levels that I've rated higher than Evil Returns and I have probably played only a small percentage of all the levels ever made. So there should be a ton of levels that are interesting to play :)

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