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Agent6

Your thoughts on Plutonia

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Tough IWAD with decent map detailing. Last few maps weren't my thing, especially map 29. Too large & kinda boring.

I think up to map 27, it was enjoyable. The arch-vile maze was something.

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12 hours ago, tchkb said:

*pretty long and quite insightful post*

I enjoyed reading this.

 

I didn't go into the rage-quit mode myself but did feel highly frustrated during many maps. Coming back to the Doom classics after some 15yrs+ and starting with Doom 2 and jumping right onto Plutonia afterwards may have not been the smartest move but hey, I did manage to finish the game on UV on my first ever run and that's an achievement I'm quite proud of. I'm definitely trying to improve my skills but I realize I may never reach the point I can pistol start all maps in Plutonia or in similar WADs. The truth is that I am simply not a skilled gamer, but not a mediocre one either, just somewhere around of above average. I may have become more or less good at other games but at more challenging or tactical shooters such as CS for instance I've never become a great or even good player and be satisfied with my level. Hell I've played 1.6 for over a decade due to being stuck with it and by looking at my current play style and skills there's barely any improvement from how they were 10yrs ago, even worse on some mods, whereas other people who have played it as much as I did are now probably almost experts or at the very least very good, like a friend who used to be slightly worse than me back in the day and now there's a night and day difference between us. I think this says a lot.

 

I've also never really got used to the '90s shooters either since I wasn't around at the time and only played Doom 2 when I was a kid, and never made it past the 5th or so map. Even DN3D which I finished around 2014 or so was difficult to me towards the end, but that may once again just be me jumping straight to the middle of the pool (no previous experience, and set on high difficulty).

 

But after playing Plutonia I've started looking for challenging stuff similar to it surprisingly. Finishing TNT afterwards which was really "Meh" to me in comparison to Plutonia might have also played a role but I do want to properly enjoy at least some of the "legendary" wads or similar ones which are held in high regard, and some of them seem to be at least on the same level of difficulty and re-experiencing the same frustration at the beginning yet again will do no good. My biggest problem was probably playing Plutonia without knowing what to expect and not knowing the levels at all, after I started seeing a pattern in their design and enemy placement it became easier and more predictable, thus manageable.

Edited by Agent6

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Doom has two skill ceilings: one whose reaching makes Plutonia-difficulty WADs trivial and very difficult WADs "playable" (probably by save scumming only), and one whose reaching makes said very difficult WADs manageable. The latter requires a degree of talent from the player, such as quick thinking, nerves of steel and fast reactions (but not aiming, unlike almost every post-Doom FPS), but the former does not. Reaching it is purely a matter of amassing the necessary know-how: how to efficiently move both defensively and offensively, how to exploit behaviors of each enemy against them and some general engine quirks, how to handle specific monster compositions in specific map geometries and the optimal use of your arsenal in doing so, in addition to learning routes of tricky maps you're about to tackle. Unless you really suck at first person shooters or are seriously mentally impaired (neither apply in your case), all you need to make Plutonia your bitch is accumulate the necessary game experience. Depending how quickly and efficiently you learn, how motivated you are and how much free time you can spend on Doom, you may take as little as a few months to get to that level. But if you grow to enjoy Dooming for the sake of Dooming, even a few years spent on learning may be worth it.

 

For the record, I'm nowhere near close to reaching the second (true) skill ceiling and probably never will, but who knows.

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2 hours ago, tchkb said:

Doom has two skill ceilings: one whose reaching makes Plutonia-difficulty WADs trivial and very difficult WADs "playable" (probably by save scumming only), and one whose reaching makes said very difficult WADs manageable. 

When breaking it down this way, being able to one-shot 'very difficult' maps is the second level out of three, I'd say. Also for that I'd put a big emphasis on general problem solving (things like understanding strategy of tough encounters) and on practice, etc., rather than things like talent and fast reactions. The true ceiling, imo, would involve beating said maps in a speedrun context for competitive times quite proficiently.  

 

The gap between these three isn't really that enormous, particularly when compared to games that allow for a higher skill ceiling (stuff like CS:GO, perhaps), and you can certainly reach #2 for sure . . . and maybe even #3, who knows. :P 

 

Edited by rdwpa

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Plutonia is the most consistent and "professional" out of the IWADs and PWADs of the 90's. Other sets tend to be all over the place regarding visual and gameplay quality, but Plutonia is good from start to finish. It's what I use for comparison when reviewing 90's stuff, with Plutonia being a 5/5 and everything else I've played so far, much lower.

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Plutonia is without a doubt the one Doom IWAD that has a huge impact on me. First off, it clearly was a wad made purposely for the veterans who wanted a challenge. Both Dario and Milo were somewhat restricted and had to make concessions in order for their Evilution maps to be accepted. However, here in Plutonia, you can tell that they just went all out, no-holds-barred, showcasing what kind of combat scenarios they can take on. Plutonia is to Doom what The Lost Levels are to Super Mario Bros, Oh No! More Lemmings to Lemmings, and EROTT to Rise of the Triad.

 

Anyone new to Doom better stay away from Plutonia until they are more experienced and have mastered Doom, Doom 2, The Master Levels, and TNT in Ultra Violence, or the farthest they would go is just Map01, because there's no difficulty curve in Plutonia, unlike the other IWADs. It starts ramming you at the first level and it never lets up. Be prepared to face commonplace chaingunners, including those that will keep being revived by hidden unkillable arch-viles every time you kill them, packs of revenants, pretty much every single heavyweight monster that was rare in the original games, you'll be facing them frequently in a lot of the levels, and there's usually more than one per map. There's also nasty ambushes that can kill you unawares, and every single fight was well-planned and orchestrated. The fact that most of the levels, save for a few large ones, are compact and the layout of each of them adds on to the difficulty of the wad. Nevertheless, this kind of challenge is pretty fun and addicting. The theme is also consistent as while in the other Doom games, each level you enter feels different in setting, Plutonia uses the jungle, brown stone, natural theme and sticks with it for most of the wad that you hardly felt as if you're in a different locale or realm. This makes Plutonia very arcade-like in that sense, both in theme and gameplay.

 

Most of the levels are great, but not all of them. Hunted for example, is the worst map in my opinion. Annoying maze full of arch-viles with doors that open randomly by randomly placed linedefs is not my cup of tea. Bad enough is that the keys are situated opposite of the switches you need the keys for to open the bars. I give Dario props for coming up with a unique concept, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. To give Hunted the benefit of a doubt, though, I can see it like a mandatory bonus stage, in terms of Plutonia being like an arcade game.

 

Out of the two brothers, my favourite has to be Milo, because I'm a huge fan of Tom Hall's architecture (round rooms, corridors, etc.), and Milo uses the same kind of geometry. Dario is good too, undoubtedly following John Romero's design sensibilities while simultaneously done in a way that makes it his own style, but I always liked Milo's levels more. Speaking of which, Plutonia is known for riffing off maps from the original games, and there's so many to name.

 

Caged - inspired by The Abandoned Mines

Caughtyard - Dead Simple remix

Speed - Wooden theme of Thy Flesh Consumed

The Twilight - another Abandoned Mines style map

Neurosphere - The Inmost Dens

Nme - Start copies Deimos Anomaly

Slayer - Smaller version of Circle of Death

Impossible Mission - Doom Episode 1

Tombstone - Reminds me of Deimos Lab a bit

The Final Frontier - The Living End, duh

Anti-Christ - The Living end again

The Sewers - Gate to Limbo

Odyssey of Noise - An amalgamation of Downtown and Industrial Zone

Go 2 It - Entryway with the concept of Warrens mixed together

Milo Casali - Tom Hall-isms all the way

Dario Casali - Romero-style with a fresh twist

 

So that's Plutonia. A sadistic bastard, but a damn good one. The difficulty is also something that sheds light on Hell Revealed, Alien Vendetta, Scythe, and the like.

Edited by T-Rex

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Don't we get a thread on this subject every 2 weeks?

 

My thoughts haven't changed. It was made by trolls, it has no cohesive theme, and it's annoying to play.

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1 hour ago, Impie said:

It was made by trolls, it has no cohesive theme, and it's annoying to play.


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Plutonia is hard and vicious. It punishes you for mistakes and most maps are about revenants, chaingunners and archviles. Visuals a bit better than Doom 2 I can say. 

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2 hours ago, cyan0s1s said:


x10-1439192289-lolemoji.jpg.pagespeed.ic

D'oh! I did it again, sharing my thoughts when asked, and not agreeing with popular opinion. When will I ever learn?

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Classic Doom is simplistic by itself, but this IWAD does this up to eleven by being very arcadey, focusing purely on gameplay. While I consider Plutonia as the most satisfying IWAD upon beating it, it has some trial-and-error sections which are unimaginably frustrating when played w/o saves (like the last part of MAP09:Abattoire).

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On 1/2/2018 at 5:58 PM, Michael92 said:

Classic Doom is simplistic by itself, but this IWAD does this up to eleven by being very arcadey, focusing purely on gameplay. While I consider Plutonia as the most satisfying IWAD upon beating it, it has some trial-and-error sections which are unimaginably frustrating when played w/o saves (like the last part of MAP09:Abattoire).

Making a blind playthrough like I did sure is no joke either.

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One plus for Plutonia is it had demo players that didn't seem completely brain-dead, which was rarer than you'd think. The third one actually showed a good amount of skill and died suddenly after being blindsided by a Cyberdemon, a mistake anyone could have made.

 

 

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Ah, Plutonia. The best thing that Final Doom gives us at least in my opinion. I've already written my thoughts on TNT and now it's time to talk about the one official wad with the difficulty kicked up to extreme levels. 

 

Plutonia is the Zelda 2 of the Doom franchise. What I mean by that comparison is how Zelda 2 is either loved or hated by the people who have played it. While there are a number of fans who like to take pot shots at Zelda 2 and bash the game, there is also a pretty dedicated community who defends the game and points out how influential it was on the Zelda franchise and how challenging it was. A lot of the criticisms to Zelda 2 can be boiled down to how difficult the game is and how relentlessly it kicks a player's ass. Zelda 2 requires a lot of patience and you absolutely will get destroyed by the game at various points. 

 

Plutonia is no different. For players lacking experience, it's so easy to get your ass handed to you on any level. Hell even an experienced player can still make mistakes. That's how difficult every map is. The Casali brothers even admitted in an interview that they would tweak a level if it seemed too easy for them. This is what led to things like getting archvilles in the first level. I also feel that Plutonia was infuental overall on the Doom community like how Zelda 2 was for that franchise. It basically created the slaughtermap genre and the main part about creating wads with difficulty pushed to the absolute extreme and with a love for torturing players with revenants. Scythe always made me think of Plutonia in a positive way, along with some other memorable wads like Hell Revealed and Alien Vendetta. 

 

I first tried Plutonia years ago when I was running Doom95 and playing with keyboard only and I couldn't believe how difficult it was. Back then, I used to really hate this wad due to how badly it would destroy me. I can definitely see how the game wouldn't appeal to players who are used to Doom 1 style gameplay. It takes a lot of experience of handling revenants, chaingunners and archvilles to eventually become confident enough to want to tackle the wad. For me personally, it wasn't until many years later once I had gained enough skill with Doom 2 style wads that I could go back and tackle Plutonia and knock out the levels. There was a time when I used to absolutely hate revenants and chaingunners, but over time, I learned how to deal with those monsters (playing with a mouse + keyboard combo is a godsend compared to using keyboard only). Not only did I learn how to handle revenants but I also learned to appreciate what they bring to the table in terms of gameplay.

 

The level design to Plutonia focuses almost solely on tricky combat situations. Again to compare with Zelda 2, this is right on the money. Zelda 2's bread and butter was the combat system. Ask anyone who has beaten that game and they'll tell you how easy it is to get your ass kicked in the overworld just against the trash monsters who can wreck damage. Plutonia is no different with how it takes any monster and makes them dangerous with proper placement. A lot of people bring up how chaingunners are used, but I also think Plutonia makes the shotgunners a bigger threat than any previous official wads. Take map 12 for example and how the shotgun guys are positioned in pacts with the chaingunners. Not only do you have to worry about the chaingunners draining your health, cause the shotgunners do that too. I can even say they make pain elementals more dangerous than any other official wad. Just take map 2 and how they're positioned in that room with the invisible bridge and arachnatrons above. Almost every time you encounter pain elementals in Plutonia, they're positioned so well that you have to take them out immediately or else you get overrun with lost souls in a matter of seconds. 

 

To a degree, it is absolutely true that to even beat this wad, you need to run the maps several times and get a feel of them and learn the traps. I don't think I beat a single level of this wad without dying a number of times and learning the traps. Just about every map has "that one part" just to call it where a trap can kill you instantly. 

 

This is a set of levels that will only appeal to certain Doom players in a sorta way how TNT is subjective and you'll get a different opinion on those levels depending on the player's taste. Regardless the comparisons, Plutonia has far more consistent level design and isn't random like most of TNT can be. You won't have to worry about any random awful WTF map design like Habitat and Mount Pain that pops up in TNT. I don't want to compare the two for a long time, but there's so much that Plutonia does better than TNT for the most part. It's not so much the difficulty, but if TNT had better level design in general like Plutonia, it would've made for a much better experience. Plutonia definitely knows how to use hitscan enemies in better placement areas. Leave it to the Casali brothers to also properly use revenant traps and break out the archvilles in dangerous positions where they can truly wreck havoc. 'Heck' was a Casali level, one of the few they did in TNT and the only one that properly used revenant traps. 

 

I love that they reused music from Doom 1 and Doom 2. Overall, Doom 1 always had the better soundtrack IMO and this uses most of the songs I liked from Doom 2. The one level with the most appropriate track selection though is 'Hunted'. It's almost like the map is laughing at you with the happy intro while you stare at the archville cage and then moments later, the power chord riffs play while you're in the maze feeling pressured. 

 

I love the look of Plutonia but I can see how some players don't like it. The use of brown and green textures and the sorta "jungle" look of the early levels is something you'll either love or hate. I think it looks wonderful with the dark and moody lighting that is often used. 

 

One thing I believe that kinda hurts Plutonia is the first 3 maps which have been mentioned by some players to be rather lacking. Plutonia opens with 'Congo' which I like, but it's not a memorable first map opener. When I came back to this wad years later and began to play it with intentions of beating it, Plutonia did not really begin to become fun until around map 4 'Caged', but that's not to say that the first 3 maps are bad, they just don't give you that amazing early impression that other wads do. 

 

'Well of Souls' is one of my favorite early levels, though I can see why some players dislike it due to the invisible bridge and how easy it is to miss that. Like I said before with each map having "that one part", each map is loaded with tricky combat situations that can truly make you realize the strengths and weaknesses of the certain monsters used. The section with the invisible bridge makes use of revenants from a distance but also proves cacodemons can be overwhelming as ever. And just for the sake of the map, there's also a chaingunner up above in the caged section basically saying 'fuck you' to the player (Something Plutonia does often). 

 

'Congo' and 'Aztec' both stand out to me for using an archville in sections where you have to deal with close quarter combats. "That one part" shows up in Aztec with the red key and the part with the invisible bridge while in Congo, it's the box crate room with the SSG. I do want to point out that the box crate room is a place to make great practice of dealing with archvilles using the super shotgun. I used that room often to practice my skill dealing with archies. 

 

Plutonia really becomes fun (and more frustrating) with 'Caged'. The map is sorta like the Abandoned Mines from Doom 2. Just when you think you've seen it all with this map, they show you revenants from a caged window and then tease you with the 3 chaingunners who can't quite see you yet, and then hellknights come out with them. That's not even the most difficult part of the map yet. The room with the barons in the poison is even worse since it's so easy to die if you don't get out of there quick and fight them from the caged section. 

 

'Ghost Town' is probably my favorite map of the early ones and when I began to truly enjoy Plutonia. I like how it opens with the double baron trap and you can make some infighting happen if you go wake up the revenants in the halls. This is a map that is so easy to screw up since you have that section with the mastermind and the rows of chaingunners, but Plutonia really gave me a surprise here. After killing the spidermastermind and stepping on the platform, even more chaingunners come out from the same alcoves where you just got done killing the first pact of them. Then if that's not enough, there's the section with the two archvilles and then the barons up the steps where the door don't open but the walls disappear. I love this map for how challenging it is. 

 

'Baron's Lair' offers for more tricky combat, including our first cyberdemon fight and in close quarters making for quite the challenge to kill. 

 

I could go through every level and highlight these points where the tricky combat is the appeal, but if I did that, I'd be writing a tome. 

 

One of my favorite levels is 'Hunted' and that one also falls in the love/hate category for a lot of players. Hunted is the one level I feel where the archville is pushed to the limits in terms of threat as a monster. There are few moments in games where I really do feel 'hunted' down by an enemy or a boss. To mention another game; Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire from the N64 had a level that reminds me of this. The boss fight with IG-88 is one of the few times I actually felt as if I were being hunted down like a prey in a video game level. This happens again and again in the maze with the archvilles in this level. One of the most important aspects of combat with the archie and revenant is that you have to be 100% aware of your surroundings at all times, and this map proves that over and over if you want any chance of surviving. It's mentioned often how the Casali's were inspired by other maps but this map in particular is so unique since there isn't anything else like it. 

 

The first hell level is 'Speed' and this almost feels like something that could've been in TNT if not for the wood textures. It requires a bit of exploration and has some very tricky combat scenarios. 

 

There are a number of levels that lift influence from other maps of Doom 2. Everyone often brings up 'Neurosphere' and how it looks like 'The Inmost Dens' from Doom 2. There are tons of parts of Plutonia like this with map sections that are reminiscent from something in the official games. The most obvious is the secret level 'Go 2 It' which was built from Doom 2's introductory map. Go 2 It also is the birth of slaughter maps leaving a memorable experience. 

 

I prefer the other secret level more so 'Cyberden', as I find it to be more memorable and very challenging. I like watching players go through this level and the few I've seen who cause infighting to take out the cyberdemons. There was a video I seen several years ago of a player who managed to unleash the revenants on one of the cyberdemons and they hilariously killed it. 

 

The endgame throws a big middle finger at the player with the cyberdemon in front of the icon of sin, but I like how it all comes down to this. When you finally blast those rockets into that giant wall, it comes with a giant relief. "Thank god, it's over". Plutonia really gives off the feeling of accomplishment with beating this tough as nails game. I also want to add, of all the official released games, this one has my favorite ending text screen simply for these two lines - 'REMEMBER TO TELL YOUR GRANDKIDS TO PUT A ROCKET LAUNCHER IN YOUR COFFIN. IF YOU GO TO HELL WHEN YOU DIE, YOU'LL NEED IT FOR SOME FINAL CLEANING-UP'

 

 

Overall I think Plutonia is great but I can definitely see why some players would hate it or be turned off by it. It is the one official wad that takes Doom 2 and pushes the challenge to the limit with offering the player a challenge in each and every level. There are many times where the game out right forces you to play aggressively and take more risks. I feel that Doom 2 offers more moments to play loose and risky as opposed to the original game. For players that prefer the original Doom 1 style and hate monsters like chaingunners, revenants and archvilles, I can easily understand why they would dislike Plutonia, cause I used to be the same way. Doom 1 is played drastically different from Doom 2. Plutonia is to Doom 2 what 'Thy Flesh Consumed' is to Doom 1, and like I mentioned earlier, it's pretty much the Zelda 2 of the Doom franchise. Players either love it or hate it, but one thing is absolutely clear; Plutonia will kick your ass in every single level. It's so easy to screw up even from the extremely skilled players; much in the same way that Zelda 2 tortures eve the most experienced players with it's difficult combat and tricky situations. 

 

I would rate Plutonia an 8 out of 10. The one thing keeping me from rating it a perfect 10 out of 10 is that I can see and understand why it's a turnoff to some players. If you like Doom 1 style overall better, then you are not going to enjoy Plutonia. 

 

One last thing; Zelda fans if you haven't played Zelda 2, seriously go play it sometime. Yes it's hard and will kick your ass several times over, but it's a legitimate challenge and very fun!

 

 

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Finished this for the first time last week on UV. The overall experience was forgettable to me, and the most I remember was that the majority of it was simply irritating to play. That said, I will be going back to it to familiarize myself with it further and to see if it grows on me.

 

The difficulty was a bit overstated for me personally. I've been playing a lot of wads considerably more challenging than Plutonia (Sunder, a bit of Sunlust, Deus Vult, etc), so I was more than prepped for it going in.

 

Positive things I can say about it? The architecture most certainly is good. I found some laziness in some of the map designs and texture alignments in TNT, but Plutonia--outside of all the damn brown--looks sharp.

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Slightly cranked up difficulty may not be my personal cup of tea, but I can withstand it whereas I get to be introduced to some lushy landscapes, water-themed scenario, brimstone structures, etc. I mean, sometimes the setting to Plutonia means to say "LIVELY". Which is somewhat ironic given how the gameplay often pronounces "DEADLY".

Edited by Cell

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Plutonia is my third favorite IWAD (trailing slightly behind Doom II and Ultimate Doom). I'm more of a slow, methodical, and exploratory Doom player, so trap-heavy, arcadey gameplay usually isn't my bag - with some exceptions. Plutonia is one of them. I find the difficulty of the WAD to be perfect for a fun, (relatively) stress-free playthrough experience. It's never frustratingly difficult, but imposes enough of a challenge to keep things interesting. Curiously, I prefer it over TNT, whose adventure-based gameplay is more aligned with my sensibilities as a Doomer. TNT is just too much of a mixed bag, with some of the most hideous and WTF map design I've ever seen.

 

I digress. More than the gameplay, though, I enjoy the aesthetics. Even by modern standards, I'd say Plutonia's a good-looking set of maps (certainly one of the best-looking 90's mapsets). I love the naturalistic textures that have since shown up in later PWADs; and the Casalis' effective map design and attention to detail really unifies the mapset as a whole. 

 

However, despite the fact that it's one of my favorite IWADs, I don't find myself revisiting it often. I would rather play its community sequels and other modern WADs, or just go back to my roots with Doom and Doom II. 

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On 5/8/2018 at 10:34 AM, DeadAstronaut said:

Ah, Plutonia. The best thing that Final Doom gives us at least in my opinion. I've already written my thoughts on TNT and now it's time to talk about the one official wad with the difficulty kicked up to extreme levels. 

 

Plutonia is the Zelda 2 of the Doom franchise. What I mean by that comparison is how Zelda 2 is either loved or hated by the people who have played it. While there are a number of fans who like to take pot shots at Zelda 2 and bash the game, there is also a pretty dedicated community who defends the game and points out how influential it was on the Zelda franchise and how challenging it was. A lot of the criticisms to Zelda 2 can be boiled down to how difficult the game is and how relentlessly it kicks a player's ass. Zelda 2 requires a lot of patience and you absolutely will get destroyed by the game at various points. 

 

<...lots of words>

 

One last thing; Zelda fans if you haven't played Zelda 2, seriously go play it sometime. Yes it's hard and will kick your ass several times over, but it's a legitimate challenge and very fun!

 

Hell yes, fellow Zelda 2 fan, definitely second that others should try it! But other than both being hard I don't think linking it with Plutonia really holds, starting with that I'm pretty 'meh' on Plutonia even after a recent replay, split between the highs and the lows.

 

My feel is that it's a wad every mapper should play so they can see how not to do a megawad. A lot of the individual levels are great, but the whole is worse than the parts. Unlike the id wads, there's no sense of progression. Level themes change randomly instead of in episodes, and even then have such a sea of brown that it got boring. Mechanically, the placement is good, but the same damn revenant traps are repeated so many times that by Map28 I'd kill just to have something else in a trap, even just a Petersen "big box of imps". And like Lut I found the damage vs. non-damage liquids appalling. I wouldn't mind either choice on a single map, but in a wad, be consistent! Swapping water and slime or dropping a radsuit honestly wouldn't detract from the designs. The end result is that even though 5 or 6 maps are in my favorite list, it's least favorite in my 'classic' mix of Doom > Heretic > Doom 2 > Quake > Plutonia (TNT and Hexen have so many issues that I don't even replay them, the former because Revilution has displaced it entirely - kudos, Revilution team!)

 

I also think several of the traps are not fair given vanilla limits. Hidden archviles ressing Chaingunners isn't fun, and neither is corner-sniping CGs because it's suicide to charge a room full of them. Putting threats outside of autoaim range is also bullshit. Looking at you, Aztec Spider Room - that's a challenge that would be over in 10 seconds with Quake 2 aiming, and it feels unfair because of the Doom quirk that enemies aim better than you. The big caged island ambush in Map27 is another version of cheap, in that unless you've died once to it there's not enough time to react, between crowding HKs and the Mancs/CGs on the ledge.

 

That would sting less if the later levels weren't so long. It's on par with Doom 2, but I think that's a mistake. If you want to have 'bite sized challenges' like most Plutonia encounters, a level should be shorter so it's reasonable to speedrun for fun. I loved Ghost Town because it's really only three major encounters, and surviving the first usually gives enough edge to clear the other two.

 

From this it might sound like I hate Plutonia, but other than the progression problem, these situations are the minority. Many of the encounters are good, plain fun, and besides said Ghost Town I also love Abattoir, Impossible Mission, Tombstone, and Bunker, in part because these levels have more exploration. Go2It is fun as the original slaughtermap, and it's influence on that genre can't be understated.

 

The other thing I don't see talked about much is that playing Plutonia in co-op is completely awesome. I have fond memories of running it with my best buddy back in the 90s, and levels like The Twilight and Go2It which were too tough for me to solo back then were perfect when you could treat them as meatgrinders. The semi-linear layouts like Ghost Town or Neurosphere also let you split up and race to clear your zones. I think the key is that encounters usually give either multiple safe spots or an arena, so you're not crowded into one spot.

 

Last, I think it's a plus that the Casali's copied id's open level layouts. As they say, great artists steal, and I rather have even an obvious rip like Neurosphere/Innermost Dens than an original map made of 64-wide corridors and linear rooms like TNT Map29. Or Hunted *shudder*. Great high concept, horrible execution.

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1 hour ago, zodiac said:

 

Hell yes, fellow Zelda 2 fan, definitely second that others should try it! But other than both being hard I don't think linking it with Plutonia really holds, starting with that I'm pretty 'meh' on Plutonia even after a recent replay, split between the highs and the lows.

 

My feel is that it's a wad every mapper should play so they can see how not to do a megawad. A lot of the individual levels are great, but the whole is worse than the parts. Unlike the id wads, there's no sense of progression. Level themes change randomly instead of in episodes, and even then have such a sea of brown that it got boring. Mechanically, the placement is good, but the same damn revenant traps are repeated so many times that by Map28 I'd kill just to have something else in a trap, even just a Petersen "big box of imps". And like Lut I found the damage vs. non-damage liquids appalling. I wouldn't mind either choice on a single map, but in a wad, be consistent! Swapping water and slime or dropping a radsuit honestly wouldn't detract from the designs. The end result is that even though 5 or 6 maps are in my favorite list, it's least favorite in my 'classic' mix of Doom > Heretic > Doom 2 > Quake > Plutonia (TNT and Hexen have so many issues that I don't even replay them, the former because Revilution has displaced it entirely - kudos, Revilution team!)

 

 

 

Hi, thanks for the reply. After thinking about my post, you are correct. Zelda 2 isn't the best comparison for Plutonia. I think I got too caught up in thinking about the difficulty overall, cause Zelda 2 is notorious for it's hard difficulty and how every enemy encounter must be taken seriously since even the trash overworld monsters can easily kick your ass. I see where it's a bad comparison now though since the more I think of it, what makes Zelda 2 so amazing as a game is how different it is from the rest of the series. 

 

I love Plutonia but I can definitely understand why some people hate it and I see your points of the frustration with it. One reviewer I seen years ago once described the game as "gotcha!" type traps and it depends on if you'll find that fun or not having to redo the level multiple times to learn the traps. I agree with this since most of the traps, it comes down to flat out knowing what is coming and preparing yourself for it beforehand. 

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5 hours ago, zodiac said:

My feel is that it's a wad every mapper should play so they can see how not to do a megawad.


History has decided the exact opposite. Plutonia is certainly one of the most influential works of all time, and in the modern area of pwad making, the most influential and timeless iwad. It's fine to have an opinion about Plutonia, but lines like this give me the impression that you're imposing your personal tastes as 'objectively correct design dogma'. For example, I'd say that Plutonia is largely fair, that occasional unfair traps are a good thing, that hidden viles rezzing chaingunners can be fun, that putting threats out of autoaim range can work if there is a way to get into range to kill them (as in Aztec), that the 'caged island' trap in 27 is fair and not that harsh because only the chaingunners are dangerous, and that Plutonia maps are in the territory of 'ideal length' for maps of this nature (on the low end of 'medium-sized') and that if e3 maps were mostly as short as 'Ghost Town' Plutonia would be worse. A lot of mapping philosophies are consistent with those views, and a lot aren't, and either are fine. But taking up the pulpit and saying, 'Don't do it this way', reads as off key and naive to me.

 

I had this post in the draft window several hours ago and wasn't sure whether I'd bother posting it, but I had no choice after opening a random feedback thread and reading this (after expecting something of the sort): 

 

On 4/17/2018 at 10:29 PM, zodiac said:

Tried it, it feels like you've made it hard at the expense of fun. The biggest problem is how much of the map takes place on 64-wide catwalks and tunnels, that's not really enough for any enjoyable maneuver.

 

Things like this are a matter of taste. There are people who'd agree with it, people who wouldn't (one of many 'The Chasm' likers here). Regardless, though, it's not true in an 'objective' sense as it's currently couched, and I think it's important for phrasing to reflect that.

 

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7 hours ago, zodiac said:

My feel is that it's a wad every mapper should play so they can see how not to do a megawad.

Don't know why people seem to oppose MegaWAD a lot. Just say this reminds me of that "150 Hell Knights in a room" comment. To be honest, if you throw Plutonian maps to me one by one, they can't really impress me like a whole consistent MegaWAD. Also, I don't think id WADs have actual "correct" progression feeling. The Chasm is in the middle of a hell episode. The Nirvana and The Catacombs are two short maps randomly dropped in the hell episode. The Inmost Dens is in the city episode etc. Doom is an abstract thing, so I don't think we really need to consider "progression".

 

Then, if you're talking about fairness, it's a matter of fact about how you play the game. I'm those who propose savescuming at the first time. If you're a casual player, I don't think you should be obsessed with saveless or something. With this, traps are just like puzzles in front of you for you to solve, and different player would have a different reaction to a certain trap, but not everyone can solve the problem at the first time, so you may feel the unfairness in the design.

 

For my personal taste, I actually like things that is a little bit unfair to me because this makes me think and struggle. If everything is fair, it's just the same thing repeated over and over again.

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10 minutes ago, GarrettChan said:

Don't know why people seem to oppose MegaWAD a lot. Just say this reminds me of that "150 Hell Knights in a room" comment. To be honest, if you throw Plutonian maps to me one by one, they can't really impress me like a whole consistent MegaWAD. Also, I don't think id WADs have actual "correct" progression feeling. The Chasm is in the middle of a hell episode. The Nirvana and The Catacombs are two short maps randomly dropped in the hell episode. The Inmost Dens is in the city episode etc. Doom is an abstract thing, so I don't think we really need to consider "progression".

 

Then, if you're talking about fairness, it's a matter of fact about how you play the game. I'm those who propose savescuming at the first time. If you're a casual player, I don't think you should be obsessed with saveless or something. With this, traps are just like puzzles in front of you for you to solve, and different player would have a different reaction to a certain trap, but not everyone can solve the problem at the first time, so you may feel the unfairness in the design.

 

For my personal taste, I actually like things that is a little bit unfair to me because this makes me think and struggle. If everything is fair, it's just the same thing repeated over and over again.

 

1 hour ago, rdwpa said:


History has decided the exact opposite. Plutonia is certainly one of the most influential works of all time, and in the modern area of pwad making, the most influential and timeless iwad. <snip...>

 

I don't deny Plutonia's influence, and when I said individual levels were great, I mean it. But if you're going to have a megawad it implies you want something more than just releasing cool levels - pick any or all out of levels generally growing harder, themes being grouped into episodes, training you to progressively learn their tricks, or offering variety so as to be compelling played in chunks instead of single levels. The id wads aren't perfect here, sure. I'd go as far as to say that given one random Doom 2 level and one random Plutonia, Plutonia almost certainly wins - more chance of something close to what you expected. But played through as a whole, id wads make out a hell of a lot better than Plutonia.

 

Let me give a concrete example: take maps 26-29. In Plutonia, 26 is jungle-theme, a callback to the first 'episode', and difficulty wise is in the middle of the four. Then you get 27, hell-themed and the hardest map on UV except maybe Go2It. Then you're back to the Sewers in 28, largely with easier versions of 27's teleport on grab traps. Finally you have 29, a big hell city, easiest and most dispersed. That's bad no matter how you cut it. I could see 26-28-29-27 for inter-level story: down into the bunker, through the sewers to the city, and then on to the finale. I could also see going 28-26-27-29 to break up the trap levels with breathers but increase their difficulty with each wave, classic arcade design. And I could see moving 26 and 28 to earlier in the set and subbing in other Hell levels for consistency, the way Doom 1 was stricter there. If Plutonia did one of these, or some other I've overlooked, that would be good design and a matter of taste if you agree. But it's not clear to me that any of this was considered - I think it likely that there wasn't time given the tight dev schedule, and that by definition is bad megawad-wide design.

 

Doom 2, in contrast, gives you 26 as mines + Hell rooms, more of a 'city' feel, and is easiest. 27 is 'wood hell', in Ultimate Doom E4 style, and 28/29 are just plain hell. They ramp difficulty purely 26 < 27 < 28 < 29. And as far as play variety you get the two cramped Romero maps, still with more distinct encounter types than Plutona 27/28, split by one with wide-open fights and then one that primarily gets you with tricks.

 

And looking to modern megawads, I see much more similarity with the id wads in terms of total progression. To just name two that seem widely applauded, Sunlust cleaves to Doom 2's general progression of 'more difficult, but using themes for variety', while Valiant explicitly holds to Doom 1 style episodes. And yes, in encounter design they're more children of Plutonia than Doom 1/2, but in megawad design they wisely stick with id.

 

@GarrettChan, as far as fair vs. unfair, are you really fine with things that are patently unfair instead of just notably harder? If what you're objecting to is the old meme of perfect smooth difficulty curves I'd agree 100% that that's bullshit, but I draw a strict line between a fair but tough difficulty spikes and a truly unfair bit, where you don't learn, just lose progress.

 

So in Plutonia Map 16's red key, where new arachnatrons and revenants and some other stuff all teleport in, it's a spike in difficulty for those sort of traps compared to what came before, and even in my recent playthrough I died there. But redoing it, I had to actually strategize, and thus become a tiny bit better than I was before. Whereas for Map 27, my only flaw was that I came from the left side of the key (absolute east on the map), thus couldn't turn fast enough to face the chaingunners when I heard the bark - and before that I wasn't sure where they'd show, anyhow. I guessed wrong, so I died. Or to call out Doom 2 where a callout's needed, the teleport into an imp cross in Doom 2's Map 12 is even worse - teleport on low health and you just die. That's not struggle and strategy, that's just unfair.

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I'm pretty sure I've explained this before, but Plutonia is simply one of the best, if not THE best official WAD ever made, and is one of the candidates for one of my favourite games ever made.

 

What Plutonia had over TNT was a sense of real progression, and a feel of consistency in its design. You start the game in some sort of jungle with ancient ruins, then you gradually make it to a sort of hell-earth mélange before finally going into full-on hell. Considering the Casali brothers had a deadline to meet (unlike TeamTNT for TNT), this just shows how great they were as mappers.

 

The biggest issue people have with Plutonia is its difficulty. Well, I'm gonna be very blunt when I say this, but if you find Plutonia hard, you're gonna find pretty much any fan-made WAD 100 times harder. So, I suggest either going at a slow pace OR saving a lot your first time around (I did the latter my first time playing). Once you get a feel for the game (and its difficulty), it should become easier. The maps get progressively more challenging, which is nice (okay, Map32 is arguably the hardest and it's about halfway through, but maps like Map22, 23, 24, 25 and 27 all get harder and harder). The biggest difference between the difficulty in this WAD and TNT is that no matter what your strategy is, you should be able to beat the traps (with a couple of exceptions, like the Arch-Vile in Map03 and perhaps the start of Map20, to name a few).

 

So, let's look at the overall package: great-looking levels (Map29 needs no introduction, I'm sure), fun and absolutely fair gameplay (except maybe Map25, as I've mentioned in previous posts), great progression in terms of both difficulty and level design and well-placed secrets and monsters.

 

 

 

 

In regards to the unofficial sequels, let's put it this way:

  • Plutonia 2 gets redundant after Map10.
  • PRCP is better, but not as great at the original.

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One of the best games ever made; in my top three favorite games on the whole.

 

When I first played Doom two years ago, this one seemed completely out of reach. I didn't know if I'd ever beat it (of course, I was playing the original keyboard only at that time; I'd never really gamed on a computer before and didn't even have a mouse).  Finally beating it less than a year ago, the satisfaction was immense. Over that time, too, I came to love the intentional difficulty of its level designs, and how perfectly fit they were for a fair, though legitimately challenging, experience: the quick pace--but not too quick--the traps that offered consistent solutions, the utter thoughtfulness in how enemies were positioned around each other and the environments to make things most difficult for the player.

 

Of course, by other wads' standards, it's not that hard. But that's another thing that makes it so enjoyable: It's a genuine challenge, but one that can be beaten by mere mortals, who can then focus on improving consistency. It's just pure fun. I'm currently through about half its levels, scattered, from pistol-starts, and they all play wonderfully that way as well.

 

It's a game that pulls off the same trick I love in my other two all-time favorites: Castlevania III and Super Mario Bros. 2 JPN: A sequel that feels at liberty to take an established, robust gameplay system and take the gloves off to challenge a player to really know it inside and out: a game where the overwhelming sense is that the creators just hate the player, but you know, in your heart of heart, they truly don't. The challenges are too well-thought out, too encouraging of improving your skill, to think otherwise. The kind of game that can get in a few cruel jokes on you and have you laugh with it, because you know it's just a challenge to do better, and because everything leading up to that moment was fun and intense enough to replay while getting better one step at a time.

 

Plutonia is awesome. I have no idea how such a gem was forged in such a quick timeframe, but the Casalis had some kind of magic working going into this. Bonus points for the immediately identifiable, pleasing color scheme.

 

Favorite levels:

 

1-3: All great; excellent way to start off the game. "Congo" perfectly sets the tone for its gameplay.

5: "Ghost Town" - Totally adore this level. Again, it's really good about setting the tone of the game's encounters. Not a dull moment, and each bit of combat is fun to solve.

9: "Abbatoir" - The game's love of clever monster combinations like Revenants and Pinkies comes out in full force here: a series of great and difficult encounters before a truly absurd ending

20: "The Death Domain" - A fantastic "get inside the base" level. There are a lot of options for handling the inside portions vs. the outside field, in terms of order, and it's satisfying to beat in either continuous or pistol-start play. Maybe even better from pistol start.

21: "Slayer" - A compact "O of Destruction" homage that outdoes the original in every way.

22: "Impossible Mission" - Again, great series of setpieces

27: "Anti-Christ" - Amazing

28: "The Sewers" - Find this one really fun to navigate, and, again, memorable encounters throughout

 

In general I don't think there's a level I dislike except maybe "Tombstone," which just has too much going on, and is too bloated, to be very enjoyable from a pistol start. Even levels I'm mixed on, like "Hunted" and "Speed" have things to love about them. ("Hunted" is fun to learn to do safely; you feel like you master combat against Arch-Viles, and "Speed," if overlong, has such an unbelievably cruel ending section, and good combat throughout, that I can't help but smile at it.) It's astounding how consistently good the game is.

 

I've played about half of PRCP, and all but the final two levels of Scythe (often recommended as a similar-in-spirit next step), and as packages they do not live up to the magic of Plutonia.

 

Then again, to fuel @DeadAstronaut's point, I also love Zelda 2.

 

But yeah, Plutonia is The Lost Levels of Doom. I couldn't not love it.

 

Quote

Anyone new to Doom better stay away from Plutonia until they are more experienced and have mastered Doom, Doom 2, The Master Levels, and TNT in Ultra Violence, or the farthest they would go is just Map01, because there's no difficulty curve in Plutonia, unlike the other IWADs.

Yeah, screw that noise. A fair few of the Master Levels are harder than anything offered by Plutonia.

Edited by Cipher

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