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Everything posted by T-Rex

  1. Kama Sutra, Speed of Doom, Plutonia 2, PRCP, and Scythe 2 are the ones that come to my mind aside from the ones I mentioned.
  2. You might want to avoid wads like Plutonia, Hell Revealed, Alien Vendetta, Scythe, and the ilk, cause aside from being super-hard, they have their share of slaughter maps, though not to the same extent as Deus Vult, Sunder and Sunlust, which are all really ridiculous slaughterfests.
  3. Might as well finish The Classic Episode, so here we go! E2M6: Outpost 666 (Jan van der Veken/Anthony Soto) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 12:17 The placeholder map from Dawn of the Dead is here in its completed form, and this is by far my most favourite of the set, a techbase map in the Episode 1 style, but it's got some elements from Episode 2 thrown in as well, including textures and enemies. Jan only did the starting area, while the rest was all done by Anthony, if I recall correctly. Level design layout is solid all the way through with lots of areas to explore and running up and down the various levels, feeling just like a map John Romero would have done if he contributed to Episode 2. The challenge is pretty tight as well, with the regular cannon fodder of Episode 1, some cacodemons and even a few barons to tangle, though with the later, the first two are easy to snipe off. However, the last couple of baron encounters are the most precarious, where you search for the red key in the outdoor area and get locked out while you have to fight two barons plus a bunch of pinkies who could hinder your movement with their fast movement and zigzag patterns, making you easy prey for the big bruisers themselves. Another encounter is at the end where the last baron guards the exit. Luckily, you got enough ammo to fend off the resistance, and I save the rocket launcher for the twin barons, but I would suggest using them before alerting the pinkies or when they're all dead. Overall, another fantastic map and even though it's mostly by Anthony Soto, it's very cool and pretty close to what Jan would have done. I save the soul sphere secret for when I'm about to end the map as it will be needed for the next one. E2M7: A Place of Sin (Jan van der Veken) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Secrets: 11:26 The penultimate map is quite a tricky one! Unlike all the other maps that were Episode 1 and 2 themed, save for the secret level which took inspiration from Episode 4, this one takes after Episode 3, particularly E3M3 Pandemonium, and it starts you off rather intensely as you got a spectre coming your way, and attacking it alerts some shotgunners and pinkies. Careful if you choose to venture to the sides as in one you got more shotgunners, while at the other are some spectres and a baron. Either side has a couple of cacodemons that will teleport into the room as they get closer. There's also another baron opposite of the fake wall with imps and goodies in it. It's also where you'll get the BFG9000 at last. Almost every single area in the map is a trap, with a couple that are quite nasty. Going after both keys open up alcoves holding an assortment of monsters, beyond the yellow key door where you'll find the blue key reveals a baron and more enemies spawn in, and there's the optional area with the soul sphere where you get trapped in and when you pick up the rockets, all hell breaks loose with tons of pinkies and some barons emerging from their cubbies. If you know what to do in these situations, however, it shouldn't be that overwhelming. Once again, it's possible to exit with 200% health and armour if you save the soul sphere and the mega armours available. Just be mindful of that cacodemon guarding the exit switch. Hectic map from start to finish. E2M8: Evil Refinery (Nick Baker/Travers Dunne) The boss level of the episode. You start out in a hub where after you clear off the imps and gunners, you have the choice of teleporting to either the west or east quadrants each containing some enemies and even monster closets, and you'll have to visit both in order to finally gain access to the ending arena. As you hit the switches you find, a bunch of monsters will spawn in, saving the boss cyberdemon for last. At that point, the best strategy is to have the monsters infight with the cyberdemon so that by the time he has eliminated everyone, he would be softened enough to kill with just 2 BFG shots. Waste him, and the episode's over, ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom. So in conclusion, I must say that this is one of the best Doom episodes I have every played. All the levels have a very id-like quality to them, with a lot of cues and homages to the original Doom. The level design for the most part screams John Romero with a few Tom Hall-like maps, and the secret level nails American McGee's style and the Episode 4 vibes too. Challenge is mostly on the easy side, but there's a couple of tough nuggets here and there, especially A Place of Sin and Dissession. It's hard for me to decide which are the best maps as every one is very good, so if I have to say which are my most favourites, it would have to be E2M2, E2M3, E2M4, E2M6 and E2M9. All that leaves me now is to rate the three wads we played on a scale out of 10, like always whenever I play along with the DWMC. Dawn of the Dead - 8.5/10 Earth - 6/10 Classic Episode - 9/10 Well, that's it for me. It was fun playing these three wads, though Earth was a bit of slog with all those maze-like caverns and armies of barons that slow down the gameplay. May you guys enjoy the next megawad you'll be playing for March, if it's one that I won't take part in, take care see you all again next time!
  4. Continuing on where I left off with The Classic Episode. E2M3: The Deimos Complex (Jan van der Veken) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 11:27 After two Anthony Soto maps, we finally get a map by Jan van der Veken. Even though it is called The Deimos Complex, it still feels a lot like Phobos, right down to using the basic enemies of Episode 1. Unlike the first two maps of this episode, however, it's larger and houses a lot more monsters. Be wary of the gunners as they can chip off a substantial amount of your armour and health if you let them. Although this is a Veken map, he still puts great emphasis on John Romero's level design sensibilities, and there are quite a few neat little homages to Knee-Deep in the Dead, which I see a bit of E1M2, E1M4, and E1M6 along with a few other Romero maps I may have missed out on. The enemy ambushes are well-orchestrated and they keep you on your toes, so every time you do something, you have to keep moving, or else you'll take more damage than necessary. The computer area in the southeast and the area with the stairs in the northwest are where you'll have to watch out for the enemy hordes. Nevertheless, this is still a fairly easy map. E2M4: The Evil Base (Jan van der Veken) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 12:41 The difficulty ramps up in this Shore of Hell-style map as we are introduced to stronger enemies like cacodemons and barons. While the first three maps were John Romero in style, this map takes after the design tropes of Tom Hall, particularly E2M7 Spawning Vats since there's a couple of areas reminiscent to the map, like red monster closets overlooking the slime pool, the greyish stone wall textures, and the computer rooms. The tricky spots include when you reveal a secret holding the backpack and monster closets holding cacodemons open, and then there's the room en route to the red key where you have to contend with two barons while trapped in. Thankfully, it wouldn't be too much of a problem if you got the rocket launcher handy. A radiation suit will allow you to wade through the slime areas including the small room with rockets and a baron on the damaging floor. Beyond the red key, you get a nifty little warehouse with enemies and be ready for a couple of ambushes as you go for the blue key. This map is fun while on the tricky side. We're finally getting a bit of challenging, which would only get more interesting as we press onward. E2M5: Deimos Observatory (Jan van der Veken) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 11:08 Here is yet another Episode 2 style map, and there's a bit of a sense of nonlinearity to it as at the start you have one path to take and another. Both passages lead to separate floors of an area reminiscent to Deimos Anomaly. Level design is all Tom Hall-esque, much like the previous one, and there are thankfully not as many tricky areas to tangle with, but still, you have to be careful of potential enemy ambushes. One ambush happens at the very start when you take another passage that leads downstairs to a switch. Another when you collect the red key in the northeast section, and then when you grab the yellow key. Ambushes consist of spawning monsters or monsters emerging out of closets that eventually open. Save collecting the berserk pack and the soul sphere for when you're done with the level so that you can max your health to 200% for the next map, whether it be E2M6 or especially the secret level. Again, this is another neat and fun map with lots of places to explore and enemies to plough through. Secret exit is rather easy to find, and I like how it's a neat homage to the fireplace area of E2M5 Command Center. E2M9: Dissession (Travers Dunne/Jan van der Veken) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 11:30 The secret level of the episode. This one pays homage to Episode 4 with a hint of Episode 3, and it is a rather tricky map. Immediately when you hit the switch, you lower down to find yourself surrounded by monsters. First order of affair is to take out the shotgunners are they'll do more damage than any other enemy. My advise is to get the green armour first, then find the blue armour secret much later as you'll need it for the last couple of areas. Much like Episode 4, there are a lot of barons, so get ready to use your rocket launcher whenever you see them. Luckily, you'll be getting the plasma gun pretty shortly which will come in handy for a certain upcoming ambush. As Walter pointed out, this map is heavily inspired by American McGee, and it shows in the architecture. There's a part where you'll encounter a group of barons with their backs facing you and you can do some damage to them by activating the crusher trap, which also works for some shotgunners that will spawn in. Final testing ground is where you grab the blue key for the exit, and here is where the rocket launcher and plasma gun shines. Tough cookie all the way through. Alrighty, that's more than half of the episode done, and I'll play the next couple of maps tomorrow. See you then!
  5. Okay, after that slog wad that is Earth, it's back to good stuff with The Classic Episode. Smooth sailing at last. Returning to more maps by Jan van der Veken, with Anthony Soto, Travers Dunne and Nick Baker. Pretty funny how the episode consists of mappers who worked on both Darkening episodes. Like Dawn of the Dead, The Classic Episode is a love letter to the Doom maps designed by id Software, which makes them all the more close to Doom the Wad Id Did than the actual megawads, in my opinion. Nevertheless, much like its predecessor, it manages to house some rather trickier gameplay than the original Doom, with a couple of maps that will put you in some very tough spots. Additionally, The Classic Episode is where you finally see Dawn of the Dead's placeholder map Outpost 666 in its complete form, though it is Anthony Soto who finished the map and not Jan. But enough rambling, let's get on with the last third of the set played for this month. The Classic Episode on vanilla Doom, Ultra-Violence difficulty. E2M1: Foray (Anthony Soto) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 05:07 We're off to a good start with this episode. This map is a techbase in the style of John Romero, and it's loaded with a lot of monster closets that open up as you make progress. Although it is an introductory map, it throws you into the action straight off, and there's so much to do, like finding all three keys, for example. There's an blur sphere with a chaingun as a secret, which helps to avoid getting perforated by the gunners, though you'll have to be careful as it affects the aim of the imps' fireballs too. Tons of exploration, and although the map is techbase themed, it's got a nice variety of textures to keep it interesting. The windows are also a nice touch and it helps in rendering the map to feel very interconnected. Enemy resistance is all gunners and imps with some pinkies for good measure, so this is quite a meaty starter. E2M2: Mars Outpost (Anthony Soto) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 06:45 Here is yet another Romero-style techbase map by Anthony Soto, but it's a bit more complex, and it immediately starts you off facing enemies, with some teleporting in as soon as you make your way out. If you keep your cool, however, you should be fine. The windows and locked key bars provide a lot of opportunities to snipe off the enemies so you won't have to bother with them when you get to the areas they're in. Get the radiation suit after getting the yellow key, so you could be able to wade through the toxic slime, which you'll need to a couple of instances to progress further. Lots of switches open up mandatory areas or secrets, and getting the keys will spring some ambush traps. When you get pass the red key bars, there are two switches, one will open the door to the blur sphere secret, while the other activates a crate elevator holding the rocket launcher. This map is definitely a lot of fun. Right, I'm gonna take a break from here and continue more tomorrow. See you guys then, take care and have fun. Oh, and now that we're on the topic of what megawad to play next month, here's my vote: +++ Dimensions of Time
  6. Right, time to finish off Earth. Map07: The Emerald Tower 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 02:40 This is basically Roger Ritenour's own spin on the Dead Simple concept. You start by seeing a huge green tower overhead, which you'll be getting too pretty shortly. Make your way through another tunnel (groan) to enter a temple. Find the secret filled with goodies, cause you'll need it for a battle against an army of pinkies. While the intended way to take them out is by going for the berserk pack inside the alcoves they came out of, I found that in continuous play, it's much easier and quicker to use both the double barrelled shotgun and rocket launcher since with punching enemies, the hit detection is very finicky in Doom. Just be sure to alternate between weapons so you won't come up short on ammo, especially rockets which you'll need for the mancubi, and you can use the berserk on a few of the remaining pinkies. With them dead, you can exit. You'll be running another long bridge to the tower guarded by the mancubi, so waste them and the entrance will open. By far the shortest map in this set. Map08: The Ammo Pit 134% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 17:48 I think at that point I'm getting sick to death with these caverns, but unfortunately, this map has to be tackled. So named because at the start there's a pit full of enemies, many of which are zombies that will drop their ammo, and there are also arch-viles that will revive them, which will allow more to be stocked up, much needed as throughout the rest of the map, there is no ammo to spare, except for health and armour. Trick is to get the monsters in the pit to infight with each other, weakening the arch-viles in the process. The cavernous tunnels have a very stringy and mazey layout, and you have to watch out cause some of the monsters spawn in them and with the majority of the tunnels so dark, you'll be having a hard time trying to gun them down. The keys are spread out, so look around carefully for them, especially the red key which is easy to miss even though it's situated in plain sight. Lots of backtracking involved too. Getting the megasphere secret will require you to have an arch-vile set you up in flames and you'll need to run at the right angle so you can be launched into the spot. Don't forget the invulnerability, but once you grab it, you really need to get it right otherwise you'll be forced to do it again without it, and that really hurts. After you navigate the caves, you'll reach the outside, but you have more enemies to face there and inside the building at the end. Not a terrible map, the over and under effects which The Innocent Crew are known for implementing are a nice touch, but the caves are so dark, and with no other ammo, you'll need to get the monsters to infight with each other, especially as there are a shitload of barons lurking around. Thank goodness this is the last cavern map in the wad. As for the music, well, I don't mind that much the midi rendition of the 1492 Conquest of Paradise theme. It may not be that fitting for Doom's gameplay, but it's rather quaint, to say the least. Map09: Islands 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 09:59 This is quite a welcome change from all those dark caves I have to endure, and it's a bit on the fun side too. It also plays rather unfitting music, a midi rendition of Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now, so this map is another one with a lighthearted atmosphere. Rather good to finally be able to stock up on ammo as I'm almost dry from the previous map. First order of affair is to kill the mancubi in the starting island, then find the teleporter to get to the other island where there's two structures, one of which houses the red key you need to enter the large structure. You'll also need to scale down some narrow ledges to get the blue key. Watch out for all the teleporting monsters, though you can get them to infight. Make your way into the large structure in the yellow key, kill all the resistance inside and locate the yellow key. Return to the starting isle, now full to the brim with monsters. Finding the secrets will reward you with some health and ammo, including a megasphere that will come in really handy for the final map. Overall, while the map is rather bland in design, the gameplay is thankfully not as gruelling, and it's another short affair that goes by rather quickly. Map10: The Hill 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 06:08 So here we are at the final map, which consists of a large mound hosting some baddies including a cyberdemon guarding the red key. Get them infight, and BFG the cyberdemon while he's distracted. Once everyone's cleared out, enter the northwest building where you'll be facing more enemies and the blue key. Go to the southwest building and take the elevator all the way up to your apartment with a TV and a grandfather clock. Turning on the TV will get you a rather pointless megasphere secret, but I'll still go ahead for the 100%. I can't say that much about this map as it's pretty anticlimactic and doesn't really offer that much. I do like how there's an invisible barrier between you and the elevator, giving a "glass" effect. Now for my final thoughts on Earth. Roger Ritenour opted for realism with this wad, and for its time, it was rather impressive. There's a mixed bag of pros and cons. Pros are that the mapset went for exploration, the lighting effects were done right. The wave graphics made for some rather cool effects, and there were some nice renderings to give glass effects in a couple of the maps. Cons, well, the monster spawn randomisation can cause you to be facing some of the tougher enemies rather prematurely than needed, the caverns are way too dark, making it difficult to see where you're going, let alone shooting enemies lurking within, and there are way too many barons, not helped by the at times lack of resources needed to take out those bulky walls of meat. Facing them in cramped winding tunnels where it's tricky to manoeuvre doesn't help either and makes the gameplay quite unfair at times. I used to like it before, probably cause I used to play it at lower difficulties, but after trying it on Ultra-Violence, I felt that it crosses the line between genuine difficulty and pure annoyance and tedium. The music selection, while it uses some Doom and Doom 2 soundtrack, the others tend to be unfitting due to how bubbly and lighthearted they are. In conclusion, this isn't really a wad I'd want to play again for a long time, but nevertheless, it offered some rather neat and quirky effects that push the boundaries of the vanilla engine, and as Capellan summed up, it's an interesting wad to think about. If you want a good wad by Roger Ritenour, check out Phobos. While it's got similar level design to Earth, it's a lot better in terms of gameplay, despite it being only four maps in total. That's it for now. Until then, I'll rejoin to play The Classic Episode. See you all in the brighter later.
  7. Continuing on with my playthrough of Earth. Let's go. Map04: The Chasm 100% kills, 85% items, 100% secrets Time: 09:29 Finally! A map that I was able to beat in under 10 minutes! It also seems rather humorous that it plays a midi rendition of "Self Control," another light-hearted track that just doesn't fit in Doom. The map seems quite short and straightforward. Start isn't so bad either if you have the BFG from Map02, which will be effective against the arch-vile, baron and a couple of arachnotrons at the start. Get the blue key then climb up to a tunnel where you'll be greeted by a long bridge over the eponymous chasm, including some barons coming your way. After crossing the bridge you'll find the blue door, so go in to be teleported into the chasm and hurry across to the other side to collect the red key. Monsters will start spawning all around, and thankfully you could get them to infight with each other. Let them have it out, then wipe out the remaining stragglers. With all the enemies, locate the switch that will lower the teleporter so you can be back on the bridge. Return to the start where more monsters are spawned in. A yellow key will also be revealed which you'll need to exit. This map is a bit more manageable than the first few, but still, you'll have to keep your guard as some of the big, nastier monsters can be spawned in the inaccessible ridges. Map05: Strategic Defense Command 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 17:27 Don't be fooled by the start. You would have thought the map will finally have some variety and include some techbase locales, if only that were the case. Instead, the techbase makes up a small portion of the map as like always most of it takes place in underground caverns. Anyway, the start has you battling a couple of Nazis, supposedly the stand-ins for possessed security guards. Enter the structure, and you descend into the caves below. You'll be doing a lot of climbing up and down, but be very careful when the monsters start spawning in. You'll be facing two different waves; the first is from when you start exploring the caves, and the second is when after you collect the blue key, located in a large room hosting the spider mastermind and several other baddies. Beware of revenants and arch-viles as they can do massive damage to you if you don't pay full attention to where they are. Getting back to the top will require you to activate the elevator through the tech section. Overall, it is not a bad map, but the darkness of the caves can be quire frustrating, and the lack of variety doesn't do it much favours either. Map06: Observation Station 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 18:34 This is probably the only map that has more emphasis on the techbase theme despite it having a few cavernous sections. There's quite a lot of enemies to plough through, some of which can be quite lethal if you're not careful. At least most of the fights take place outdoors, so there's that. Perhaps the trickiest part of the map is trying to find the secrets and there's also the rather disorienting climb through the rugged cliffs, where it will be hard to have a footing while you're blasting the enemies away from the distance. Getting the blue and red keys are rather self-explanatory, though you'll have to stay on guard as you deal with the horde of enemies that appear. Then comes the yellow key section where you'll be having your first encounter with a cyberdemon here. Sometimes it helps to have him infight with a few of enemies, and if you have the BFG9000, the battle is slightly easier, though you have to be mindful of some of the weaker monsters that can get in the way. Getting the yellow key will require you to find a switch tucked away in a narrow ledge. One of the secrets you have to find makes use of the crusher ceiling/door trick famously used in Memento Mori 2 Map07: Frustration. The ending has you wasting Romero's head overlooking the big fight. This is somewhat better than the previous maps, though the rocky textures continue to persist throughout the set. The shoreline graphic effects make a return, so at least the map has some nice, striking visuals to compensate for the lukewarm combat scenarios. Well, that's three more maps done, and I'll finish the rest tomorrow after a nice, long sleep. Take care, everyone.
  8. Hey, everyone, I'm back to continue on playing through the wads picked. So now, it's time for Earth, a 10-map episode designed by Roger Ritenour, famed for his 4-map episode Phobos, which along with Earth was listed in the top 10 wads for 1998. Here, you are battling through a rugged coastline infested with demons. This mapset consists mainly of natural environments, including ancient ruins, coastlines, mountains, underground caverns and a few bases as well. There is a great deal of realism applied and there are some really neat graphical effects including waves crashing. One of the most notable oddities of Roger Ritenour's level design sensibilities is the randomness of the monster spawns. To explain it perfectly, in most wads, monsters that repopulate maps spawn in exact locations, whereas here, Roger has set various spawn points in different locations, and any of the assortment monsters can spawn at these locations, so they're not always the same, giving the maps different challenges each and every time. One of the most annoying aspects of Earth, however, is that a good number of these levels are dark, so navigating through these dim tunnels can be a hassle unless you consult your automap. Anyway, let's dive right in to Earth, playing on Ultra-Violence difficulty. Map01: The Ruins 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 12:31 You start off in a vista where you can see the waves crashing below, which makes the episode start off very beautifully. In spite of the action you'll be getting yourself into, Roger Ritenour selects a rather light-hearted midi rendition of "Stand By Me," which felt rather peculiar, but humorous, nonetheless. Immediately, you'll be picking up the shotgun, and rightfully so as there are some medium to heavyweight monsters to contend with, including hell knights, barons, cacodemons, pain elementals, revenants and mancubi. Watch out as you enter the first dark cavern as that opens up an alcove with monsters already spawned within. Soon after you get the red key, you can enter the ruins, and you'll need to find a switch to raise the bridge for the yellow key. Radiation suits are there so you can wade through the toxic sludge, and I dig the deep water effects. The fun of the map is searching for secrets, 10 in total, and some of them are found either in the toxic sludge tunnels (the rocket launcher) or humping walls (various goodies including a backpack, soul sphere and partial invisibility). There is also a secret that will allow you to kill the mancubus via a crusher. Decent starter, but mostly good for the exploration. Combat is nothing impressive and it mostly amounts to random monster spawning. Map02: The Tomb 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 16:48 Here the map starts off overlooking a large pyramid. Unfortunately, you won't find any Egyptian hieroglyphics, but still it's another ancient ruins map like the previous. You have to go around to the back and climb up near the top and find the way in. Once you do, you'll teleport into a hub where you'll be hitting some switches revealing various passages to take. Random enemies also repopulate the base, and while the last map had fairly tight ammo, here you receive a lot more to spare and you'll soon be getting the plasma gun and BFG90000 as you search every nook and cranny for secrets. The first two keys are pretty easy to get, while with the last one, it's guarded by some monsters that did not spawn around. Use the BFG if you already found it, otherwise, you might want to have the monsters infight with each other. Layout is somewhat puzzly, but thankfully they're not as cryptic as Jim Flynn's maps or Eternal Doom. Once you found the blue key, the six passages are sealed off, leaving you to exit the pyramid. Overall, this is yet another exploration map. Despite the monster spawns, they're yet again not that great, and the rooms fell somewhat empty with all the resistance being disposed of. Map03: The Mines of Moria 117% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 13:13 Eh, I'm not too fond of this map. It takes you into some rather deep, dark caves, so dark that it's almost impossible to see when an enemy is coming up at you or about to open fire. Doesn't help that now the map introduces arch-viles that will revive some of the monsters that you have already killed. Sometimes, they're spawned in spots that where the claustrophobic layout of the tunnels make it difficult to manoeuvre, rendering you helpless as they set you up in flames, so while the enemies are a hassle, it's the level design that will work against you at times. Thankfully, the map does offer a few neat visuals and there are a couple of lava pits as well. Neverthless, you'd want to turn up the brightness level, because the confusing layout of the tunnels will have you running around in circles, and the monsters can easily corner you if you are unlucky. Although you can collect all three keys, really you only need two to exit, unless you're trying to 100% everything, of course. This map is somewhat linear to a certain degree, but there's a sense of nonlinearity with all the multiple passages to take as you make your way through. The saving grace is that once you reach the end, you'll get to see Baphomet's face just before you hit the exit switch. That should do for me. I'll continue on with the next couple of maps tomorrow. For now, I'll be playing some Commander Keen and Quake II. See you all then.
  9. Continuing on with finishing Dawn of the Dead. Let's go. E1M4: Atmospheric Processing 100% kills, 98% items, 100% secrets Time: 14:18 This is yet another fine techbase map by Jan. Tons of enemies to plow through, and this is where you finally get the plasma rifle. While it's a pretty lengthy map, there's thankfully not as much backtracking as that in E1M3. I like the nifty little homages to Tom Hall in a few spots, such as the room with the plasma rifle which echoes E2M7's computer rooms and that baron chamber with the inverted cross. There seems to be a bit of E2M4's style as well in that secret with the baron and chainsaw after finding the switch through the nukage canal. Watch out for sneaky ambushes as you grab the important keys or certain items in secrets, and when you check out the optional outdoor area, don't drink the radioactive water, keep your eyes on anything unusual on the wall and think fast to get the rocket launcher. I saved the mega armour and soul sphere for when I'm close to finishing the map as it's inevitable you'll take damage from the hordes and ambushes littered throughout the level. The map was quite a ball. E1M5: Outpost 666 0% kills, 0% items, 0% secrets Time: 00:01 Nothing but a placeholder map that remained unfinished until The Classic Episode which we'll get to later on. Next. E1M6: Fortress of Hate 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 15:54 Anyone who enjoyed Doom 2's The Citadel would feel themselves at home with this map. It's a castle map in that style, but much more crisper and cleaner in design, and also not loaded too many monsters. Even so, opposition is somewhat tricky and you'll be keeping your eyes peeled so that you won't be sniped off by anyone. Don't forget to dive down into the slime moat and grab the radiation suit so you can obtain a secret down below. Once you enter the castle, you are locked in until you find the keys and solve some rather mind-bending puzzles. It could be assumed that it's an establishment of the ancient relics as mentioned in the story. You'll be doing a lot of running around as you scour the place for switches. Once you gain access to the central courtyard, you'll need to watch out for a nasty ambush after you grab the red key, which involves a bunch of monsters spawning in consisting of some pinkies, spectres and even the bruiser brothers. As you explore the ramparts, you'll eventually come across as neat little Quake-style slipgate, and I like how you can be able to open and close the windows of the castle. Despite it being a stony castle map, which is a far cry from the techbase theme that make up most of the episode, it manage to house in some computer panels. Overall, this is a good map, but it can be quite tough and the progression tends to be counter-intuitive. E1M7: Death Awaits 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 19:45 Hoo boy, this is by far the toughest map in the entire episode. Immediately as soon as you plummet down from the start, you are greeted by two barons and some spectres, so you'll be pressed to go ahead quickly, but onward are some shotgunners. This map does not pull any punches whatsoever, it will be trying to kill you with all those ambush traps and the sheer number of barons that can rival that of some of Episode 4's maps. Speaking of Episode 4, I couldn't help but notice that the level design is very reminiscent of Dr. Sleep. You'll be in desperate need of secrets to get yourself better equipped and in good shape as a lot of these fights are merciless, and if you don't know about the traps in hindsight, you could be trapped inside as all the enemies pour in and lose so much health in process with the possibility of dying. Guess that's why it's called Death Awaits. Luckily, you have some moments to breathe before you are thrown into more traps. Be sure to search for irregular bars the further you go as that will lead to a non-official secret where you'll pick up a mega armour, a computer map and some health if you need any, but the mega armour is absolutely necessary to track down as soon you'll come face to face with a cyberdemon, which promptly awakes once you shoot the baron marble face. Get the hell out of that room as fast as you can once you shoot it, cause stay while you wait for the bars to open, it will appear and blow you up. Make sure to stock up on cells if you have the BFG as it will help in the climactic fight. Luckily, there's a berserk pack for if you're in dire situation, and I would recommend picking that up first then fins the soul sphere secret to get 200% health. So glad to be done with this map, it took me a while due to being very wary of my surroundings and having to ration up enough rockets and cells, which is easier said than done as there are a lot of barons along with other nuisances. E1M8: At the Heart of it All Here we are at the finale, and it feels more like a souped up version of Phobos Anomaly, with the swarm of spectres at the start in place of the pinkies, including a cacodemon in the mix. Getting the soul sphere will require you to quickly step on the flashing sector further up ahead and race back before the block raises up. This has some rather neat homages to E1M8, E2M1 and even E3M3 with the imps hiding in the indentions that looked like the start of that map. After obtaining the blue key, you'll be able to get the lift up to the ledge where all those zombies were, and then you reveal a teleporter leading to the big fight against the bruiser brothers, flanked by some spectres and shotgunners. Fortunately, with the BFG handy, this should be an easy showdown. Once everyone is dead, you'll be able to leave and you teleport into another void getting murdered by cyberdemons to end the wad. Okay, so now my final thoughts on this episode. Dawn of the Dead is a classic, and it truly feels like an id-style Doom episode, while mixing in all the elements of Episodes 1 and 2, including 3 and 4. Jan van der Veken has made an episode that starts off easy to being more difficult in the latter half. The execution was well done, and some of the traps were pretty fiendish, especially monster teleport ambushes. We get a good assortment of themes, from techbases to castles, both in flavour of stone, metal or marble. We also see the variety of styles Jan has cleverly emulated, from John Romero, to Tom Hall, to Sandy Petersen, and to even Tim Willits and Dr. Sleep. It's definitely worth playing and I highly recommend it for classic id-style Doom gameplay. The best maps in the set include E1M2, E1M4, E1M7 and E1M9. Who knows if we'll play another Jan van der Veken somewhere down the track, like No Sleep for the Dead, perhaps? Anyway, that will be it for me. I'll come back to play Earth. See you guys next time!
  10. Greetings everyone, T-Rex here to take part in playing the trilogy of wads set for this month. Let's get started with Dawn of the Dead. Dawn of the Dead is an episode 1 replacement by Jan van der Veken, released back in 1997. The gist of the story was that simple lifeforms were discovered in Jupiter's moon Europa, leading to attempts to terraform the planet. The end goal was the colonise the moon, and at "present" time, there was a quota of 20,000 civilians and 500 marines were brought to Europa. They then discovered relics from an ancient alien civilisation that mastered teleportation technology, including later on some manuscripts containing vague warnings. Now the moon's colonies were overrun by unknown hostile forces, and having been experienced since the events on Mars, it's up to you to take care of the situation. As for the level design, Jan's calling cards were emulating John Romero's level design sensibilities. However, he is by no means a one-trick pony as he has also dabbled on other design styles of the others names associated with id, including Tom Hall, Tim Willits and Dr. Sleep. Most of the theme is techbase, but Jan explored other themes like marble, stone, etc. Gameplay starts off easy, and gets progressively difficult. It also comes with a music wad which consists of some new tunes including a couple of Doom's soundtrack. So time to be underway, here's Dawn of the Dead, played on Ultra-Violence. E1M1: Warp Station 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 03:50 The episode immediately starts off with imps looking down at you. Don't waste your bullets on them. Instead, hurry straight into the base entrance, kill all the gunners and imps, collect the dropped shotgunners, then go back and deal with the imps at the start. Progression is linear, straightforward and pretty easy, though you later on will face a spectre and a cacodemon as you reach the end. The theme is predominantly techbase, but you get some metal textures to give somewhat of an Episode 2 vibe. There's also the classic Doom tropes, including the walkway that sinks into the toxic slime, and the little callbacks to E1M1, E1M3 and E1M4. Nice little secret which requires you to make use of the radiation suit, and the partial invisibility really helps to avoid getting shot by the zombies. Fun opener, and the midi rendition of Nine Inch Nails' Last sets the tone well. E1M2: The Reactor 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 10:29 Fairly longer than the previous map and with plenty more enemies to slaughter. This map emphasises a lot on exploration much like E1M7, and it even lifts from it with the large nukage area where the catwalk is including the pillar that lowers revealing imps and a soul sphere. There's also another nukage chamber not far from the start after getting the red key which reminds me of that area in E2M2 leading to the backpack that gets raised up by the three columns as you approach it. Scan the walls beyond so you can find a switch that will lower a lift, giving you access to a much needed backpack for all the meat you have to plough through. The chaingun comes in very handy for the nasty ambushes in this map, especially when after you obtain the blue key. There's some backtracking involved as you search for the yellow key. Then as you get close to the end, you'll finally meet the lost souls in the sewers, but before you do any exploring, hurry to your left to grab the radiation suit, then you can search around for the switch that will allow you to reach the soul sphere on the pillar. A good map and it really picks up thanks to the sheer number of enemies to kill. E1M3: Space Port 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 18:50 Much longer than the previous maps and the difficulty has scaled up significantly. Some of the nastiest parts this map offers is firstly the outside area which reminisces E1M6, and as you explore around the walkways, imps will start teleporting on the columns scattered throughout. Then there's the BFG secret, as soon as you grab it, the block lowers revealing a quartet of barons. Seeing the id logo where they stand makes me chuckle at the obvious homage to the Nine Inch Nails secret of E4M1. Another really tricky spot is the Episode 2-esque room with the arch-vile marble face where you grab the rockets and suddenly demons come teleporting in. You can easily lose a lot of health in those ambush traps if you're not careful. Anyway, the map does very well with the lighting effects, such as when you navigate dark passages and then they light up, allowing you to see the enemies better. The launch pad area is nicely done, and there's also the elevators behind the red key doors. One thing to keep in mind is that in the northeast section, do not take the teleporter with the symbol inside as you'll die through telefragging a voodoo doll. Another thing in the same area is don't go straight for the secret exit, or you'll be locked out from the rest of the map, including getting 100% of everything. This is by far a tough map, though t's only going to get tougher as the episode progresses. E1M9: Hunted Down 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 09:39 Deviating from the Romero-style architecture, Jan van der Veken graces us with a map that is clearly influenced by Tim Willits as this map bears a resemblance to E4M9. As soon as you open fire, enemies are alerted to your presence, including a marching band of pinkies and spectres. Also watch for the gunners and imps that will hunt you down as they teleport into the atirum as soon as you make your way up. A couple of lethal ambushes, but they're not too overwhelming if you're ready for them. Try not to get hit too much as health is pretty much at a premium. Luckily, you got a berserk pack at the start, and once you find a radiation you can search for the soul sphere in the nukage pool. There's also a nifty mega armour secret guarded by those killer tomatoes. Overall, this is a map that while it is fairly easy, the scenarios and sparse health keeps you on your toes. Okay, I'll stop right there for now. See you in the latter half of the episode. Take care!
  11. T-Rex

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    I'd like to play these maps as well, and makes sense as it's 28 maps altogether, so +++ for Earth, Dawn of the Dead and Classic Episode
  12. Wow, this looks very promising. First John Romero treats us with two standalone E1-style maps, and now he creates an episode. Happy 25th Anniversary to Doom! If only we could get a full megawad with maps by him, Tom Hall, American McGee, and even Sandy Petersen, if they are also interested in making more Doom maps, then it would be definitely something.
  13. Most of Plutonia's maps are excellent made with the intent to give the veterans a formidable challenge with the compact level design and nasty monster placement, but it does have its share of stinkers, most notably Hunted. I know some people can take it, but it's very annoying with the doors opening randomly in the arch-vile and the key switches are opposite to their respected bars.
  14. T-Rex

    Best/Worst maps in TNT

    TNT may not have aged well as its sister wad Plutonia, but it has some charm, and its quite fun if you love the techbase theme. There's numerous maps to name that are my favourites, but the ones that stood out for me are Wormhole, Open Season, Stronghold, Redemption, Crater, Nukage Processing, Dead Zone, Processing Area, Mill, Ballistyx, Heck, River Styx and Caribbean. Pharaoh, while a good map all the way, the yellow key bug does drop it points, especially if you're going for all kills and secrets. System Control is a neat little opener, and pretty much everything else is okay, with the exception of the following maps. I wasn't too fond of Prison cause its needlessly lengthy in spite of appearing short, Metal, it really felt like a map designed by someone who just started Doom mapping, so it's ugly with questionable design tropes along with monotonous texturing. Administration Center is a boring slog, unlike Central Processing, and as for Mount Pain, well its not because of a celebrity thing, it's more the fact that it's unfair and difficult for the wrong reasons. I mean, aside from it being lengthy with unappealing design, the ending bit is the worst part as you're forced to snipe at enemies on a ledge with no place to take cover from enemy fire, but your movement can be impeded by the shitload of lost souls that come flying in, and that makes it easy for chaingunners and revenants to waste you. The final area cuts no slack either as you have to be really fast and precise with taking out the more dangerous threats like the revenants, mancubus, chaingunner and arch-vile in that huge red cavern, and on top of that, the map just gives you the bare minimum of health with no soul sphere or megasphere present, so you're given little to no margin for error. Anyone who is still a fan of Mount Pain, just take it in stride as you're entitled to like the map, regardless of how infamous it is for a lot of players.
  15. The Twilight Zone, Project X, and Icarus: Alien Vanguard are some of the wads I like to play through for a respite from the hardcore, knockabout wads like Plutonia, Hell Revealed and Alien Vendetta, or the sprawling puzzlers like Eternal Doom.
  16. T-Rex

    Erik Alm's Europa 1

    Well, since you suggested that I describe the secrets I could find, here's the first five. Dunno the sector numbers though. ^^; - Secret #1: In the east section of the map after you take the first teleporter on your left at the start. hit the switch that triggers the stairs, then hit it again as it will make the stairs lower down, revealing an indention holding a mega armour. - Secret #2: In the east section outdoor where the slime fall is. Climb all the way up to the top, then using the bit of rock at the edge, race over the huge slime pool across the series of platforms that start lowering as you step on them. With the right momentum, you should land on the circular platform (secret area) holding the megasphere. Because the lowering platforms before it don't raise back up, you won't get a second chance if you miss. - Secret #3: In the west corridor before the main northern central area, shoot the middle green face. It will open a door behind you revealing an imp and shotgun ammo (secret area). Enter the small sector however will cause the wall in front to open up, revealing another imp and a couple of medikits. - Secrets #4 and #5: In the middle south area behind the fast-moving elevators, go up the stairs, hit the switch, run, get near and hump the nearmost green baron of hell face wall, then run as fast as you can before the way out closes up, quickly rush for the two backpacks that are accessible only for a short time and enter the small cubby where the baron came from. It holds the red skull key. The cubby is two sectors and count as two secrets. That's all the ones I can get by now. The other 10, I have no idea, though with the soul sphere blood canal secret, you can have an arch-vile blast you up to it, though only on the higher difficulties. The other nine secrets are in the baron and cyberdemon maze leading to the exit. It seems as if the three suspended platforms count as three secrets, each one containing goodies, one holding an invulnerability orb, another holding a megasphere, and the last one holding a BFG9000. These are the secrets I'd need to know how to reach.
  17. T-Rex

    Erik Alm's Europa 1

    I'm playing through one of Erik Alm's earliest Doom wads, Europa 1, and so far, I'm trying to get all 15 secrets. While I was able to get some of them, most recently one with the two backpacks that require some insane straferunning, I can't seem to figure out the last few. One is at the northern section where you have to go up the raised blood canal for a soul sphere that seems inaccessible in the lower difficulties as you could use an arch-vile to jump you up to it, and the others are near the end where you hit a switch to lower a pillar while avoiding getting spotted by the cyberdemon and baron. I tried firing up the DoomEd level editor to find clues, but it crashes every time I load up the map due to all the number of sectors and things, and I tried searching YouTube for a UV-max, but the only video available is just a speedrun by dew with no secrets found. Anyone who has played the map and found the secrets, please leave your comments.
  18. T-Rex

    Erik Alm's Europa 1

    Whoa! I knew that map would be so complex, but damn! While I'm able to beat the map once figuring the safer teleporter to start from and managed to find 5 of the 15 secrets, it's just the remaining 10 that I couldn't figure out. (9 of them are the 3 indentions in the ending maze with the cyberdemon and baron, and 1 is the blood canal at the north section where you can get a soul sphere, which on HMP and beyond, you can get to with an arch-vile assisted jump, but after looking at the layout of the map, there's a couple of unseen linedefs which if I don't know either mean nothing or could hint out stairs) Thing is that it doesn't say on the Doom wiki how to get to any of the secrets, it only says how many there are in total and their sector numbers.
  19. T-Rex

    Erik Alm's Europa 1

    I appreciate the suggestion, but it would save me a lot of trouble if someone can tell me how to obtain those secrets without having to resort looking up through a level editor.
  20. Time to do the last three maps of The Talosian Incident. We're almost done. Map16: The Canyons (John Bye) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 06:53 This map is very linear and despite its seemingly massive size, the layout makes it short and quick. After you come out of the base, you'll see a fork in the canyon, and the first way to go is the north route as the yellow key is located within a small mansion. There is a spider mastermind among the enemies you'll face there, but she is really easy to dispose as she is confined in a small room and you can just take potshots at her with your super shotgun and take cover when she's about to open fire, rinse and repeat. With the yellow you can finally reach the end, which is guarded by pinkies, hell knights, and barons, including some chaingunners stationed on the ramparts. Easy stuff and goes by really fast. Anyone who has played The Darkening Episode 1 would recognise the music as it is the only track in this megawad composed by David "Tolwyn" Shaw while everything else (excluding Map14) is composed by John Bye. Map17: The Great Outdoors (Malcolm Sailor) 466% kills, 100% items, 0% secrets Time: 03:55 The penultimate map of The Talosian Incident, and honestly, this is my least favourite. You basically have rush outside, hit the switch which raises the bridge and try to survive the neverending onslaught of monsters for roughly 2 minutes until the bridge fully rises. Getting the monsters to infight is a must so that they won't be coming after you, but if some like arch-viles are spawned at the other end of the area, you are in trouble. Thankfully, you get a shitload of ammo that rises out of the tip, including a megasphere and finally the BFG9000. Grab the megasphere when you are dangerously low on health and use the BFG when you need to clear out some of the more troublesome monsters. There's a soul sphere on the bridge which can also be helpful, and when you reach the other side, a rock wall will lower to a tunnel with a megasphere and the end where you see your ship. Unfortunately, it's heavily guarded a platoon of pissed off cyberdemons, so your best bet is to lure them away, open the door, but do another run around to avoid their rockets and finally race in and hit the switch as fast as you can. Keeps you on your toes, but having to endure the onslaught of enemies for a period of time and trying to evade so many cyberdemons is just not fun for me at all. Map18: Hi Honey, I'm Home (John Bye) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 07:22 Final map, which is basically the reverse of Map01, but now it is swarmed with monsters, some doors are locked off, and the elevators to the bridge don't work anymore, requiring to explore all around the ship in order to head back up. It seems the monsters have also made a hole connecting the reactor room to the southeast room where you see a voodoo doll in place of the sleeping revenant. You'll be forced to explore a room with damaging floor without the radiation suit, so be quick eliminating the enemies inside and grab the soul sphere. The ending, once everything is opened up, is a fight against a mancubus, arch-vile and various baddies, which is thankfully rendered easy on continuous play, especially if you have the BFG. Press on one of the consoles at the front to end the level. For my final thoughts on this megawad, the Talosian Incident is a pretty good set of maps. It tells a really good story, and I like how the beginning also serves as the end with you starting at the ship and the ending at the ship, The strong points is that the set has more emphasis on atmosphere than action, amplified by John Bye's evocative, ambient soundtrack. The theme is consistent as well since the maps mainly use earthy textures with some stone and marble mixed in, and also a few techbase maps in the mid to latter half of the wad. Weak points is that some of the maps, particularly those by John Bye with large open areas, feel almost empty with only a handful of monsters to slaughter. The smaller maps tend to have some dickish traps, forcing you to play slowly and cautiously. As for the authors, John Bye and Malcolm Sailor stand out as being mappers with their own distinct mapping style. John sticks with squarish, highly-detailed maps complete with connecting corridors while Malcolm favours tightly packed maps that pits you straight to the action. His offerings may not be as spiteful as his standalone wads like the Chord series, but occasionally he would whip up some nasty moments like in Map13 and Map17. My favourite maps would have to be 04, 06, 07, 08, 10, 16, 18 and 32. Now to tally up the scores for the three wads we played. I give both 99 Ways to Die and The Talosian Incident a 7/10 while I give The Trooper's Playground an 8.5/10. All of them are great and are recommended for players looking for excellent maps to play. This was a great week of playing (if catching up) some good Doom wads. Hope you guys have fun playing the next megawad for June, and see you all again next time.
  21. Time for the secret levels. Map31: Inferno Revisited (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 09:24 Hell-themed level that takes place inside a marble temple. Opening reminds me a bit of E4M1: Hell Beneath with the battle against two barons in a small space. Kill them both and then wipe out the swarm of lost souls in the next room. You'll then be doing some switch sequences while fending off against pinkies before reaching a large area with barons. Hit the switch so that more of the area will open up as it will reveal a cyberdemon which you can try to instigate some infighting so that the cyberdemon will be weakened. Hit one more switch once he's dead, and you'll have a clan of arachnotrons including an arch-vile that teleports on a Baphomet square to contend with. Then there's the main exit, but finding the secret will have you to find a hidden switch to gain access to a maze reminiscent of Map18: The Courtyard. Solid map with some intense gameplay. Map32: Portals (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 08:03 The super-secret level of The Talosian Incident is a rather unusual one. You are greeted with three portals, two of which takes you to different areas of the map and one that ends the level (but it's marked "Bad" on the floor). There's another that ends the level, but it does not open until you kill the two hanging marines (Commander Keen replacements), one found in each area you can teleport to. Killing them causes the Quake symbol to glow on their chests, indicating what game the Black Star Coven are moving to. The first area has you sniping off a revenant then some arachnotrons, while the other has you shooting off a mass horde of imps that spawn in. Intriguing map and those floating textures really gives off that otherworldly vibe to it. Alright the secret levels are done, and it's only three more to go, which I'll do tomorrow. Take care and have fun!
  22. Hey again, seems like we're at the home stretch of The Talosian Incident, so let's get the show on the road! Map12: Vulcan (Patrick Martin) 104% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 11:13 This is a neat little spaceship style map that reminds me a lot of Icarus: Alien Vanguard, but take care, cause it's got a bunch of really nasty ambushes. Getting into the engine room and shooting one enemy on sight alerts everyone, including a fleet of cacodemons. As you make your way to the north section of the map, you'll eventually come to a flickering hallway with a soul sphere, but watch out, cause two revenants will spawn in from both ends. Kill them quickly with the plasma rifle. Then when you reach the blue key room, you'll have a chaingunner ambush, so you better act fast and terminate them ASAP so you won't lose too much health. The worse is yet to come when you have access to the blue doors. When you reach the red key room, hitting one switch spawns a baron and going for the red key will spawn in several chaingunners. Finally, the ending in the storage area, which is by far the nastiest as some barons along with an arch-vile will appear. Taking cover and eliminating the enemies quickly is imperative. Good map, but the fights can be really tricky not to mention those mean ambushes. Map13: Get The Hell Out (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 02:26 Shorter than the other maps, but boy is it brutal! When you get a rocket launcher, a bunch of rocket ammo, two armours and a soul sphere, you know you're in for a fight, in which two archviles, six revenants, and two arachnotrons, all split in half, emerge from two revealed indentions. Eliminate one arch-vile first, but keep an eye on the revenants and arachnotrons, then have them infight to make things less hectic for you. Even with that strategy, it's inevitable that you'll lose a lot of health. Once you survive that part of the map, it's all smooth sailing as you grab the blue key, open one door to teleport up and fight some chaingunners to the exit. Don't step on the flashing sector with the gibbed bodies as it's a trap. Quick, small map, but the arena part is challenging. Map14: Beneath (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 06:56 Here we have another small map that takes place underground. There are fortunately no roaming arch-viles (though there's one halfway), but there are still some moments where you will be kept on your toes. Unless you have a rocket launcher, it could be quite tricky and you'll have to rely on some of the monsters to infight with some of them, like the mancubi and the enemies from the distance while obtaining the blue key. There's the aforementioned arch-vile, but he's easy to dispose of as long as you keep your distance and mind the enemies coming for you. All that culminates in a fight against a swarm of arachnotrons and their mama, which could serve as a potential infighting scenario. Nevertheless, this map is somewhat of a breeze if you're playing continuously and know how to handle each combat situation effectively. This is also the only map to not have any new music. Map15: Solvent (Brian Owens) 100% kills, 100% items, 0% secrets Time: 18:41 The longest map in the wad so far, and it's quite a boring one as well. The overabundance of silver here reminds me of the Icarus ship maps, though some brown stone textures were thrown in the eastern section of the map for some variety. Although the attention to lighting (the map is mostly dim) is applied nicely, one of the map's biggest drawbacks is the amount of backtracking you have to do in order to progress. The tight health and armour also forces you to avoid taking too much damage from the monsters, which isn't easy due to some of the cramped hallways and they're placed at a distance while you try to snipe them off with the rocket launcher in those hallways. Other issues include trying to shoot chaingunners in pitch black darkness while climbing up the stairs causing each sector to light up, and also being ambushed by imps when the room goes dark after you grab the blue key. Despite the limited supply of health and armour, there's thankfully a mega armour in the blue key area from where the imps ambush you, and there's a megasphere guarded by barons. Despite this map having a secret exit, the map has no official secrets. Overall, it's an okay map that has some similarities to Icarus, though it could have been better. Getting there, see you guys later in the secret levels.
  23. Hello, everyone, I'm back again to play more The Talosian Incident Map07: The Church (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 13:19 I don't know where the church bit fits in with this map, but it's another Dead Simple style map with additional monsters to contend with. Firstly, you run around the outer perimeter, killing every monster in sight while tracking down the blue key. Once you do find the blue key in the northern quadrant, hurry to the western quadrant where you'll find the yellow key, which also triggers a trap revealing imps and an arachnotron. With the yellow key, you can enter the outer perimeter where the Dead Simple scenario begins. There's a bunch of mancubi, including some hell knights, so you could be able to have the mancubi infight with the hell knights to make them take less shots to kill. After all the mancubi are dead, it's down to the arachnotrons. Fortunately, you can use the windows of the outer perimeter of the map to pick them off without exposing yourself, which is the safest (yet time consuming) approach to avoid having them all firing at you. Nicely done map, even if it's another variation of Dead Simple. Map08: Focus (John Bye/Ola Bjorling) 100% kills, 100% items, 0% secrets Time: 05:19 Short and quick Quake-ish map that uses a lot of brick and metal textures. Just waste the gunners, imps and demons while to hit the west switch to open the bars allowing you to reach the blue key, and then head to the east side and hit the switch to lower the blue key elevator. You then enter a hallway with more pinkies and enter a large room with shotgunners and imps guarding the teleporter to the second half of the map. From there, hit the switch to raise the platform with the arch-vile, who is really easy to dispose of, and hit the switch to raise the bridge. Step on the arch-vile platform and more of the map is revealed. While you're mowing down the shotgunners, beware of the chaingunners hidden behind the fake facewalls. Find the switch that exposes the yellow key, and you got one more big fight with a bunch of gunners, two hell knights and a baron who all guard the red key. Nice small easy map all the way, and great architecture with all the lighting and detail. No secrets in this map, though. Map09: The Palace (John Bye) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 09:53 We now move to mansion map that is pretty much in the same vein as Maps 05 and 06 as it's all just running around, hitting switches and some backtracking as well. Enemy encounters are pretty much meh, for the most part, though there are times where you have to keep your eyes open for gunners as they tend to be tucked away by the corners of the room and where you rush in they shoot you from behind, which happens a lot in the western section of the map. Beyond the blue key door is a large chapel, where you'd think there'd be a big slaughter, but alas, that is not to be. It's basically just some gunners out in the distance with a baron, where you could get them to infight. It's very annoying though how no matter you shoot at them from afar, you can't seem to hit them all the time, but they can with amazing precision, especially the chaingunners. Everything else falls into place once you obtain the red key, though you'd have to know to hump the computer in the northeast room in order to open the bars. This level could have been great with all the detail and lighting, but the monster encounters does make it a bit boring. Map10: Hardware (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 06:03 This techbase map appears to be like some kind of storage facility, which is pretty neat. You start out in the cargo hold, where you need to search for the red key. Once you do, you'll be greeted with some spawning spectres and a baron, so eliminate them with extreme prejudice. Then, pick either red door, and you'll have to start finding the blue key, which will require you to find the switch to climb to the other end and then hit the switch that raises the bridge to the end of the facility where you see a canyon ahead with some arachnotrons outside and a few cacodemons. This is yet another level that goes by really fast. Few tricky fights, but they're fun. Map11: Software (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 08:13 Here's yet another short techbase map by Malcolm Sailor, but it's somewhat cramped, so you'll have to take care when making your way around, especially when dealing with the mid-high tier enemies. Ammo and health is pretty tight as well, so make your shots count and be careful not to take too much damage than needed, easier said than done. The first section to the red key has some tricky fights with some revenants and arachnotrons, and when you head south, you'll be dealing with some enemies that are revealed when you hit a switch or progress. Beyond the blue door is a fight with an arch-vile, and after getting the soul sphere, you'll be gunning down arachnotrons and chaingunners. Taking your time is imperative so that you won't lose a lot of health, but overall it's a neat little map with excellent contrasts in the lighting. Gonna take a break now. Almost getting close to finishing The Talosian Incident. See you guys next time.
  24. Okay, now that I've done playing 99 Ways to Die and The Trooper's Playground, it's time to take on the last wad, The Talosian Incident, created by the Black Star Coven, a small team that consists of John Bye, Malcolm Sailor (notorious for designing extremely difficult wads), Ola Bjorling, Dan Huff, Patrick Martin and Brian Owens. The team intended this project to be their swan song before moving on to Quake (gee, Quake seems to be mentioned a lot this month). Funny enough, John Bye would design two maps for The Darkening Episode 1 two years later, Ola Bjorling would even make Tantrum 2, Venom, and even contribute to mapping for The Darkening 2, and Malcolm Sailor created the last two Chord maps and make some maps for the Deathmatch-only megawads Gothic 2 and Crucified Dreams. The story is self-explanatory. You're a marine setting off to a seemingly abandoned planet, but then something goes awry, stranding you in and when you try to send a distress call, the communications were tampered, so with no other option, you step into the planet and find the source of the incident. The megawad has more emphasis on story and exploration than straight up action, something which is a first for Malcolm Sailor as it's a far cry from his brutal, assholish, knockabout-style gameplay, though he still offers intense fights every now and then. In the tradition of Eternal Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, every end of a level also serves as a start of the next one, making the wad very cohesive and coherent as oppose to just exiting a level and starting at an unrelated, random location like in so many other wads. Gameplay for the most part is easy with a few tough maps, so it's on par with the difficulty of Doom 2 and other easy wads like The Twilight Zone and Icarus: Alien Vanguard. The mapping team also make attempts at showcasing detail and lighting to show that even Doom is capable to doing things Quake can do, though it doesn't come close to reaching the same calbre as Requiem. In a way, The Talosian Incident continues on the trend started by 99 Ways to Die. Now that the overview is done, I'm gonna play The Talosian Incident, on Ultra-Violence. Map01: The Transport (John Bye) 0% kills, 0% items, 100% secrets Time: 03:38 No real action in this map, it's just an introductory map with you exploring around the ship and finding the exit. Still, it's cool to check out the detail and lighting John Bye has executed to the map. It felt very realistic. Although there are no monsters, there is a sleeping revenant. However, you can't kill him and he can't attack you as you're both blocked off by an invisible wall. This is quite similar to Chris Hansen's opening map for Flay the Obscene where you have no monsters to kill and just explore the map at your own leisure. Even so, you get to pick up some weapons, ammo and armour, which I recommend doing for an easy time for the real action. Map02: Desolation (Malcolm Sailor) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 05:51 Here is where the action starts. Picking up from where the first map left off, you start inside the ship's elevator and open the door to step into the planet where you're greeted by some pinkies. Monster placement is just mostly the lightweight hellspawn, the imps, pinkies and lost souls, but there are a couple of cacodemons and barons to watch out for. It's an extremely linear level as you race into the caverns before eventually reaching the wide open outdoor area and finding some switches in order to progress further. As soon as you find the switch that lowers an elevator in the centre of the area which serves as a teleporter, you'll be transported to the northern section where you jump down some bloodfalls and see an elevator that will rise up slowly to the end as soon as you step on it, but be sure to take out the imps and baron beforehand. Map03: The Cliff Top Fort (Dan Huff) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 13:05 A rather spacious level with a silo and the eponymous fort. Lots of enemies to gun down, and you'll be encountering a lot of zombies and imps with some pain elementals. The plasma rifle secret isn't hard to find once you figure out that you have to go inside the western entrance of the fort. You'll have to know about the fake walls in order to progress, like when finding the blue key inside the silo. While you have to ride up the tower in the south section of the map in order to locate the yellow key, going back down will prove to be somewhat tedious as the elevators rise up fast but lower down slowly. Finally, after getting the red key, you have the ending which takes you to an underground red cavern with baddies. Across the silver hallway, stay on guard as the sides will open revealing snipers. The level is pretty lacklustre as the design is just rectangular hallways and circular rooms. Map04: The Chapel (John Bye) 100% kills, 0% items, 100% secrets Time: 04:56 This is a pretty short catacomb map, and there are a lot of neat lighting and considerate attention to detail. The start is a bit tricky since you got all these gunners and imps coming at you as soon as you enter the playing field. The caverns look nice and the chapel area has some beautiful architecture. There's a couple of fights with the nastier monsters, like there's a hell knight with some pinkies and imps guarding the yellow key at the west section, and a revenant with imps and shotgunners guarding the red key at the east. The ending, you'll be facing a bunch of shotgunners and chaingunners and then some pinkies in the blood river cavern. Watch out for the sniper chaingunners near the end. Fun, short map that goes by quickly. Map05: The Fort - I (John Bye) 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 13:06 The first half of a pretty big level, since John Bye has divided The Fort into two parts. This part is entirely underground, and although it's an inoffensive level, there is unfortunately a lot of backtracking involving, and the theme gets quite repetitive quickly since the majority of it uses the same texture scheme, albeit for a few parts that use different textures, especially the ending where it's techbase. The fights are nothing too memorable, with only a few big fights with some of the heavyweight enemies flanked by lighter ones. You get a couple of those with mancubi, barons, hell knights, and arch-viles, which are thankfully easy to dispose of. You can also use the doors as cover from their attacks, but with some, you do need to rush forward once you cleared out the hitscanners as it would be hard to dodge their attacks from the hallways. The ending portion of the map has you destroying a computer guarded by imps and a mancubus. Not a terrible map, but the theme and switch sequences can be repetitive. Map06: The Fort - II (John Bye) 101% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 10:32 Second half of The Fort which starts at where you destroyed the computer and you retrace your steps to find some parts of the map with new monsters and certain areas sealed off. But, the northern section of the map is extended as the door is accessible. The theme is pretty much the same as the previous, but thankfully there's no painful backtracking, except for when you have to go to the blue door after obtaining the blue key. Also not much of those switch sequences. Monster fights are almost just like Map05, and enemy prioritising is the way to go in order to survive, including those crossfire battles with the barons and mancubi and the arch-vile fights. While this level feels a lot like the last one, it seems to be a bit better in the gameplay department, and the lighting, detail and architecture sure keeps it looking as pleasant as possible. Right, that should do for now. Will continue tomorrow. See you guys again.
  25. Three more maps, and I'm done with The Trooper's Playground. Let's go! Map07: Three 'O Matic 102% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 19:14 Now here is perhaps the toughest map in this wad. It's very interesting to note that while the music for the wad is unchanged, using Doom's soundtrack, Matthias Worch has swapped two tracks around, with this one playing Into Sandy's City. Anyway, this is another map where you can choose whichever path since you have to do all three of them in order to exit. The first path has you searching for the blue key, which you need to access the hallway beyond the blue door. Be careful, as you make your way beyond, though, for a pair of arch-viles will spawn in and revived the enemies you telefragged. In fact, almost everything you do here triggers a trap or ambush. The second section leading the yellow key has a trap where grabbing the berserk pack awakens two chaingunners, and then when you hit the switch after riding up an elevator where you'll find a radiation suit, two evil troopers will be awakened, and of course, grabbing the radiation suit which you need to jump on the slime and hit the switch to lower the yellow key platform causes two revenants to spawn. Beyond the yellow door is a cavern with some fairly treacherous encounters. Lastly, the third path, best strategy is to take out the arachnotrons from one side systematically and then the other before you rush in, and you'll be doing some switch hitting which culminates into a fight against the mancubus with no cover. Completing all three paths and you're set for the exit, where you have tons of rocket ammo for a showdown against the only cyberdemon in the wad. It's advisable to also use your plasma rifle action as although there's plenty of rockets, the cyberdemon of course doesn't get full damage from them. Just when you think it's all over once the cyberdemon's dead, you've got one more obstacle in the shape of some imps, zombies, cacodemons and pain elementals guarding the exit. A hard map that is relentless from start to finish. Map08: Star Control 100% kills, 100% items, 100% secrets Time: 16:05 Oh, boy, this is absolutely my most favourite map of the set. It's a large techbase with so many interesting quirks and gimmicks. Monster encounter is mostly easy enemies, but be on your guard as there are some of the nastier ones roaming about. The central hub has an elevator where once you get up, the bridges raise up. You'll be doing a lot of switch hunting as you search for the yellow key. There's a nice touch where once you reach the higher platform in the central hub, you check out a room with multiple doors which contain teleporters that can warp you back to areas that are now inaccessible. There's also the invisible floor trick, which also makes the red key inaccessible until much later. Afterwards, you reach the end, but you'll be greeted by some zombies and imps, and eventually a couple of evil troopers that spawn in. Awesome map with great architecture and it's a lot of fun. There's some clever homages to some of the Episode 1 maps of Ultimate Doom. Map09: Deliverence? 600% kills, 100% items, 0% secrets Time: 01:04 Final map of the wad. Since Map07 used Into Sandy's City, Matthias Worch decided Map09 should play Shawn's Got the Shotgun. Just your typical Icon of Sin map with a twist, which STRAIN would use for its final map. Collect the rockets and fire away out the window to any level of the barred windows (I prefer taking the highest level) to waste Romero's head inside. Be mindful of the spawning enemies that can attack you while you're distracted. Starting point is set in a way that co-op players will start at different angles and they'll teleport to different levels of the main area, which is a nice touch. So that's The Trooper's Playground. In conclusion, this is a really great wad and one of my favourites to play through. Very interesting and fun scenarios, some challenging parts here and there, especially Map07, and you get to see a nice variety of themes. The new evil trooper monster definitely keeps you on your toes, but thankfully they are rare and usually appear by themselves on in groups of two. It really feels like a follow-up to Obituary, both thematically and gameplay-wise. My favourite map in the set is of course Star Control, but there are others I enjoyed as well, like Going Down and Underground Temple, including Deep Down Below which was of course in Requiem as Map09. The bonus map is also fun to play through. Matthias Worch established himself as a talented mapper which got him into being in the gaming industry. For more of Matthias Worch, there's Memento Mori II, Requiem, and his Quake episode Beyond Belief. Highly recommended. Okay, that should do for now. See you all tomorrow where I'll play The Talosian Incident.