Favorite "City" Level

Of all the "city" level throughout the iwad and pwad releases, what's your favorite? 

 

This is maybe a bit of a loosely defined genre, but I'd say it comes down to employing a single, wide open area with multiple "buildings" dotting the map. Exemplified by Sandy Petersen levels like "Mt. Erebus" and "Downtown" in the iwads.

 

Of what I've played:

 

Mt. Erebus - The Ultimate Doom

The Factory - Doom II

Downtown - Doom II

Industrial Zone - Doom II

The Suburbs - Doom II

Odyssey of Noises - The Plutonia Experiment

Hell on Earth - Scythe

 

My favorite is probably "Odyssey of Noises." This isn't a genre I actually have a lot of love for, though this type of level is fun every once in a while. Direction tends to be obtuse, and they don't lend themselves to smooth replays: it's easy to force the question of whether to clear out outside areas (tedious, but often safer) or not before entering buildings where the true danger lies, which can make pacing rather frustrating. "Noises" seems to mostly avoid this though. It isn't my favorite level in Plutonia, but it's shockingly clear and has a nice flow, I think largely because it doesn't pack its streets with danger at the start. It's a fun one to navigate.

 

Second favorite would be "Mt. Erebus" just for the novelty of it. I think all its sections are genuinely fun to play too; nothing about it gets tedious.

 

The Doom II levels I enjoy for the attempt to capture the Earth setting, and they're probably my favorite part of that game, but they kind of typify the issues I have with this type of level, and Scythe's "Hell on Earth" follows suit. My favorite of those would "The Suburbs."

 

What are your favorites among city levels and where do you stand on it as a genre? What makes a good one, and what makes a level that requires a little urban renewal?

Edited by Cipher
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Doom City. It might not be the most sophisticated level, but its presentation is simply wonderful. It has an atmospheric sky, an above average custom status bar, a kickass midi and a good number of new graphics that really make it feel like a lively city. And the author made all of that by himself, he didn't borrow anything from anywhere. It is just sooo cute, a perfect example of how enthusiastic wad makers were in the early years.

 

I also have to mention Map02 from City of Doom. There is something about its cramped rooms and tall buildings that really makes you feel like a tiny human in a gigantic city. It's so elaborate, and since it's very confusing as well you will probably visit most of the optional areas even if you don't want to. It's not always enjoyable as figuring out what the last switch did can be rather frustrating, but something keeps you going. Maybe it's the music.

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A.L.T. has some great city maps (though some of them make me want to ram my head through a brick wall).

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I can't pick a favorite...

 

pl2 - 29

mordeth - 05

mm - 28

d2twid - uh, like fully half the wad is variants of downtown, the main reason I like it so much

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Hellbound has some great city maps around levels 14-17

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Neodoom has some great city levels, especially map 12 with the residential theme...

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I have 3 favourite city levels.

1) MAP 13 Downtown. One does not simply make a city better in Doom 2. High buildings that are accessible by the player, granting him great verticality in the process, tight alleyways and fun encounters from what I remember. Additionally, the music was perfect for that level.

2) I second Doom City. Played it some months ago, when I was searching for random short WADs in my Doom folder and it felt great. The city was well built, although it reminded me of a small village-town, instead of a large city with huge buildings, but it's ok, since it was very well designed for what it is and the gameplay didn't take any hits in the process. I like that it had a sudden start with many hitscanners and then once you find equipment, it becomes easier. Great music by the way and blue sky earns bonus points, because I love blue! Overall good atmosphere with a feeling of loneliness in the air. 

3) MAP 12 The Factory. I don't know why I like this map, but maybe it is because it was the first city level I have ever played. It is very open, it focuses more on gameplay rather than design and the Arachnotrons from this map are stuck in my memory.

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Odyssey of fucking Noises!

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6 minutes ago, Avoozl said:

Odyssey of fucking Noises!

I wish it had been called that in the game.

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Man I could go on & on about how much I love open layout city styled maps, by far and away my favorite design. Sandy Petersen was the master, E3M6 & Map 16 are pretty much my favorite maps from the main IWADs. I've also got to give a shout out to The Factory, it's not the same style of city map as Downtown or Industrial Zone, but that style of map has produced some of my favorite maps in several other projects, such as TNT Evilution map 15, TNT Revilution map 15, D2TWID map 12, Violence map 4, & my own map Bloody Rust 2 map 4.

 

Some of may Favorites:
Doom City - What more needs to be said, a fantastic city map from the early days of Doom mapping that still hold up strong today.
Scythe Map 1 - This may not qualify to some as a true city map, as it only features 2 buildings. It's kinda crazy how inspirational this map was to me, it got me to try my hand at mapping in 2007, which ended in failure. Though it's still inspiring me today, map 5 & 13 of TNT Revilution both go for a much smaller approach to city maps like seen in Scythe map 1, as does the the majority of my maps in my project Could You Would You in a Box.
Requiem Map 13 - Where scythe got me into mapping in 2007, this is the map that got me back into mapping in late 2012. This is just a beautiful map & I love how complex some of the mechanics of the map are.
Pirate Doom Map 2 - My favorite city map in my favorite Wad of all time.
Ancient Aliens Map 24 - Not really an open city map in it's design, but you'd have to be crazy to exclude this map from a best city maps list. The map is a beautiful contrast to everything around it & it features one of Stewboy's very best midi's.

 

A few more favorites
Valiant Map 6
Memento Mori Map 28
Doom 2 In Name Only Map 29
No End In Sight E3M9
Kama Sutra Map 13
Monster Hunter LTD

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12 hours ago, Cipher said:

What makes a good one, and what makes a level that requires a little urban renewal?

For instance, the black square texture, houses, buildings and streets, and a lot of action inside and outside, plus some secrets, and better if it looks hellish. 

 

I can think of a few city maps that not only look awesome but also play good, for example Hellbound's maps 14, 16 and 24, they all play with snipers and big ambushes, but quite spacious, and amazing visuals, which is the strongest feature in the wad. Doom 2 In Name Only doesn't actually have city (per se) levels but maps 13 and 15 are in between my favourites because they gave me the feelings of classic Doom II, while also adding more monsters than the iwad's average. I don't know if Plutonia 2 map 29 can be considered city, but it is city-ish, and also one of the very first maps that I exceeded the two hours of playing, probably three... Keen hunting... D2TWID's map 13 is also city-ish, which is a mix of The Factory and Downtown, one of the most memorable maps from the mapset. I also liked Memento Mori's map 28, despite reading comments of it being too obscure, I liked the switch hunt and the claustrophobic encounters, that demanded quick reactions. 

 

That's all I can think of now.

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Which Vile Flesh levels qualify as "city"? MAP24,27,29 IMO. They are all mega cool, MAP24 would be my favourite of the three. It is "joyful" in contrast to rather sinister MAP27 and catastrophic MAP29.

 

Thanks for mentioning that brilliant Scythe penultimate map, good memories...

 

(edit) I just remembered another funny map, MAP15 from CChest2

Edited by vdgg
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In terms of custom city maps I would have to say that I like Lainos's Doxylamine Moon: Overdose and 5TIL Complex maps, I just love how he designed them and the custom textures used.

Edited by Avoozl
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18 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

Doom 2 In Name Only doesn't actually have city (per se) levels but maps 13 and 15 are in between my favourites because they gave me the feelings of classic Doom II, while also adding more monsters than the iwad's average.

You're a good brother, I like you 😎

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Hellcore MAP02 i think, Fusion and Darkfyre did an amazing job in that map, they tried to keep the scale of furniture and architeture inside the buildings relative to Doomguy's sprite.

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i don't like city levels in doom at all. The only one i enjoy was in brutal doom starter pack

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i like one Map that i can't remember but it was about a city combined with hell and everything was destroyed

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While not "city maps" per se, the above ground portions of Going Down are amazing. MAP01 and MAP30 of that wad do involve going outside into the city though, so I guess they count.

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Most of my favourites have already been mentionated. I'll add Hellbound map24 and 30, as well as The Netweaver map in Valiant.

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Worlds collide is the name of the map i remember, it has superb level design

Edited by Maisth
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As I'm working on a city map right now: What are the characteristics of city maps that make them your favorite ones? For example: Do they have to be realistic? Tough encounters only inside of buildings, etc.? Do they have to be completely open or do you prefer a predefined way through the map?

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I really like Planisphere 2 because of how ridiculously ambitious it is, even if the gameplay isn't all that great.

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Not to sound conceited, but my own Map 13 in Doom 2 Redux.

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City maps were the ones I was waiting for, as soon as I heard the subtitle was "Hell on Earth"... I found out about Doom 2 from a magazine cover, and the art was this strange painting with Doomguy fighting a Cyberdemon that had it's horns pointed upwards. They were on rubble with destroyed buildings in the background, and I remember thinking to myself "awwwww yeah city levels". That, plus the preview of some of the new monsters + SSG, that was some good news hehehe. I haven't played as many user maps over the years so I'm sure there's tons of awesome city maps out there I don't know about.

 

Mt.Erebus is the first map in any game where I had a feeling of "open world exploration", a style that was answered really well in a game like GTA 3 early on, for example. Games like Ultima Underworld existed at the time, but Wolf3d and Doom popularized fast-paced FPS action and E3M6 will always be one of my favorite Doom levels... some of the other maps from Doom 1 could make cool city style levels as well if they were retextured, E1M7 and E2M5 come to mind right away. I would almost call Mt. Erebus my favorite Doom level, but not my favorite city map.

 

As it stands I'm not a big fan of Plutonia for whatever reason, but Odyssey of Noises is really cool for the idea of hell cracks broken all over the city. That effect is in Doom 2 "Industrial Zone" sort of, which is probably one of my favorite maps. Suburbs, with the teleporting hordes, is also way up on my list, and The Courtyard as well. Downtown would have to be my favorite though, in the end, if only because it's the most "city" like. 

 

One of the only things I remember on my first playthrough of Doom2 was running into the first building that's like an Arachnotron turret, and then there's the building that's a low ring of Revenants down the block. I was like "holy shit" because """no idea where to go""" and rockets and plasma all over the place, and that's when I noticed the giant arrow on the ground. Fancy that!!! It turned out to be the way. I would never think to put that in a map if I made one, but at the time playing it, the direction/cover was very helpful ehehehe

 

If Heretic is to be considered, I would also say E1M3 "The Guard Tower" and E1M5 "The Citadel" are really good city levels. Heretic E1M3 is probably one of my favorite maps of all time for any FPS.

 

 

 

Edited by reflex17
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4 hours ago, reflex17 said:

City maps were the ones I was waiting for, as soon as I heard the subtitle was "Hell on Earth"...

 

Yep you need to hit up d2twid, it pretty much addresses this exact sentiment.

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Played "Doom City" tonight on a whim. It was shocking to play a custom wad so easy ("You mean I can just grab these keys and weapons with no ambush? Just one chaingunner or a couple Cacodemons in this huge space?"), so it's a complete breeze, but it does indeed ooze charm as far as someone enthusiastic to modify the game so early on.

 

Re @Stocki a few posts above: I think I do prefer tough encounters be contained to the insides of buildings. Only because if streets are jam-packed and threatening from the start, it presents a grindy proposition for no-save play. Do I spend the time running around clearing out all the street stuff for later, only to possibly die in one of the buildings early on as I'm learning the level? If I don't clear the streets first, will I be killed when I come back out again after clearing the first few rooms?

 

"Odyssey of Noises" hit a sweet spot where its streets weren't devoid of danger, but it's spread out enough that you don't have to grind through things before feeling safe to tackle the main traps, so there's a model too. Scythe's "Hell on Earth" is a bit frustrating, because it does present the proposition above.

 

I think it's fine as long as the streets aren't crawling with tightly packed dangers from the start. I'm not trying to make it sound like I don't like challenges, because I do, but I don't like challenges that present that kind of grindy damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't option right away. Personally. Makes repeated attempts less fun.

 

From there, either completely open or pre-defined paths are fine. I think completely open (a la, grab these three keys in any order; come back here) makes more sense given the nature of this type of map, but it's not necessary for them to play well.

Edited by Cipher
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10 hours ago, Cipher said:

Do I spend the time running around clearing out all the street stuff for later, only to possibly die in one of the buildings early on as I'm learning the level? If I don't clear the streets first, will I be killed when I come back out again after clearing the first few rooms?

I'm curious to know how you play maps a first time, if blind, if previously checked via, for example, iddqd, completely saveless from start to end, or only saveless after the first time. Not judging, just wondering.

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MAP13 of Remain 3 is pretty baller. Sweet BGM as well.

Astrostein 3 has a futuristic Berlin at MAP03 or 04 which impressed the hell outta me back in the day.

Edited by Negrostrike
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2 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

I'm curious to know how you play maps a first time, if blind, if previously checked via, for example, iddqd, completely saveless from start to end, or only saveless after the first time. Not judging, just wondering.

Blind, saveless from start to end, with very few exceptions. Basically the way you'd have to play if cheats and mid-level saves didn't exist. (To date I've broken the saveless first-attempt rule on one map in Plutonia and one in Scythe, which I went back for saveless attempts on afterward.)

 

I grew up with, and still primarily play (outside of Doom), older console games, so that's pretty ingrained. IMHO, if a map has pacing issues on blind no-save pistol starts, those are gameplay issues in general.

 

They can be alleviated by saving to learn the level, but that's something I only want to do in a pinch. (When you get into Doom-god-level difficulty, I feel it's less of a cheat, but I'm not tackling anything on that tier yet; talking about functionally "normal" level design.)

 

For the record, being very hard to complete blind without saves doesn't mean it's bad. If the encounters are engaging and well-paced and challenging throughout, I'm all for it and actually think that's super fun. If it's tedious to play blind without saves, due to requiring unchallenging grunt-work before scattered bottleneck spots, etc., that's where I start to have issues, and I think it's something city maps are in particular danger of if they don't make careful choices.

Edited by Cipher
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