The DWmegawad Club plays: Tangerine Nightmare & UAC Ultra & Realm of Shades

UACUltra MAP11

I quite like the idea behind the final boss in this, though I don't think this was really the best implementation of it.  Other than that, I don't feel there is a lot to recommend this map: the starting section in particular is just a series of tedious set pieces based around cover shooting.  Meh.

 

I'm not going to bother with a write-up of map12 tomorrow, for obvious reasons.

 

 

UACUltra Overall

Memorable more for the (very nifty) new textures and visual design than the gameplay, IMO.  I doubt I will be re-visiting the map set any time soon.  I may play with the textures when I have a chance, though (for the second time, actually - I did a speedmap using them a couple of years back).

 

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MAP10: The techbase parts looked a bit too basic but the cool part of the wad is the long trip in the red caves and canyons, and i really liked that those areas were toxic and you are forced also to grab rad-suits. It's not clear to me if we went back up to the surface or we were going deeper to the planet nucleus, but whatever. Gameplay throws quite a lot of opposition but this time we are given lots of cells and rockets to have fun with them.

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MAP11 Sick

 

Wish I could grab those yellow armor bonuses, but okay then. Now, on my way to the armor secret which I knew about beforehand, I noticed STARTAN3 in the void below. Pretty sure THAT'S not supposed to be there. As for the rest, ominous intermission music reveals that this could well be a typical boss level. It tries out for something different, step on pad to teleport spectres in, then each of the three switches in the next area must be used to reach the next area, but also to reveal lots of small enemies and one of the usual necessities. Surprise arch-vile after each one too. A little interlude before our boss and...

 

At least it's not a monster spawner. But there's no real threat to this final boss at all. The real threat comes from the enemies just outside, the haymaker and mancubi being the worst cases, plus the snipers far off. As for the boss, just hit those pink things, then as usual, fire in the hole. The imp fireballs being launched are not hard to avoid. The heart is only slightly stronger than a regular IoS, but goes down just the same. It doesn't need to be that hard overall.

 

MAP12 The End

 

Elite wad, elite poster.

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MAP11: The switch trap at the teleport almost got me, I started to press all the switches and I wasn't expecting the arch-viles. The boss looks cool but the battle is a bit disappointing, having sniper monsters around the arena is a nice idea but the boss does nothing meanwhile you clean the area so when you are finally able to kill it it's easy to dodge all the fireballs it shoots. Overall it was a nice ending. MAP12 is a little credit map.

 

I was very glad to revisit this wad, it wasn't always at its best but it's plenty of nice ideas. Maybe the texture set could have been expanded a little, but it's more a matter to vary a bit the details, the levels already have their own character while they still stick to the overall theme.

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MAP11: Sick

100% kills, 0/1 secret

 

Like @gaspe, the main surprise for me was the AVs suddenly popping in (well, and the one being full of chaingunners too). After a restart and realizing I had to hide behind the pillars it was easy. Then a section of some rote room clearing and ... well, I guess I appreciate the attempt for the final boss (and points for not doing an Icon of Sin), but, I was pretty underwhelmed. I agree that it's just too dang easy because the "boss" doesn't actually do anything but sit there at first, meaning you can quite easily just clear out the rest of the room. The snipers don't do much and the haymaker is pretty easy to kill with plasma from the stairs, then clear out the rest of the room and the boss is basically helpless. As much as I don't like Icon fights, there is a reason they're designed to constantly spawn enemies and create some time pressure on the player.

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Starting Realm of Shades a day earlier than scheduled since the credits map12 of UAC Ultra was accidentally allocated a day.

 

Realm of Shades (1998) by NokturnuS

Based on an idgames searches NokturnuS was quite an active mapper in 1998 with 4 releases before going quiet until 2012 when he came out with Can't Run Frm Evil (Part I), 4 large, extremely difficult maps that I haven't tried yet. If you read the description NokturnuS still has "lots of incomplete maps which never see the light of day". I hope he gets motivated to finish off and distribute more of his maps. Let's enjoy Realm of Shades for now.

map01
zdoom2.8.1, uvmax, pistol start, no saves, first time played

The first map is fairly challenging, a taste of things to come? Enemies are well placed and some clever fights and traps are arranged to keep the player on his toes. After a couple of replays you will notice that there is quite a lot of variation as to what monsters pop up when due to the rng of monster movement and which monster teleport lines they run across. While it can be frustrating when you teleport into a bad monster combo during a good run, it does give the map plenty of replay potential since the map will never play the same way twice.

I am also impressed with the map layout, in particular the way the halls are reconnected so that earlier areas can be reused for new enemy waves. The first example is the west hallway which wraps back to the outside area. Later on you will notice that the toxic waste area leads back to the start or to the blue door room depending on which path you take.

One aspect of the map that I do not like so much is the secret hunt. Secrets are meant to be found and subtle clues left to hint at their whereabouts. I may have overlooked something but 2 of the 4 secrets on this map have absolutely no visual or sound clues, including the one with the megasphere which you will definitely want to pick up on this map. Additionally, there is a non official secret with a shotgunguy and an invisibility sphere that you need to find if you want max kills and items. Most players don't want to have to resort to punching and actioning every surface looking for missing secrets, items or enemies . I resorted to watching Belial's demo to find the missing secrets.
 

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