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E1M3 Toxin Refinery
Deaths: Demon bite, a few other monsters during the first room/Kills 91% Items 80% Secrets 100%
Surprisingly, this one was not as much of a headache to pistol-start as I remembered it to be. The beginning area as you open the starting door is really the most challenging part of the whole experience, as monsters of various types gather into the small starting room. But if you're careful to lead the sergeants into the room and get the shotgun early, taking on the rest of the monsters isn't too bad. Just take your time with this level.
Even getting to the secret exit isn't too hard. What you really have to watch out for in this level is windows looking down to rooms with hitscanners in them (there are a lot of imps, too, but they aren't so bad as you can stand far away enough from the windows that they can't hit you.) Also, be careful not to fall into the open nukage pit in the main hub. Other than that, Toxin Refinery was not too hard.
Still, it was more of a challenge than its predecessors, only due to a tougher arrangement of monsters.
E1M3 Toxin Refinery difficulty rating:3/10 (unbelievably, the difficulty ratings have thus far corresponded with the level numbers. That's definitely not going to be the case for long.)
E1M9 (secret level) Military Base
Deaths: not many/ Kills 99% Items 82% Secrets 100%
As the first secret map within the game, I used to think this one was really difficult.
And in a way, it is. But not as much as I used to remember.
E1M9 Military Base difficulty rating:4/10
Overall, despite the sheer number of sergeants mulling about this map, I actually had a much easier time getting through it than I anticipated.
Still, it's definitely not to be underestimated. There's few ammo for your Rocket Launcher once you receive it, and the multiple staircases all leading to conjoining areas can sometimes make for a surprise attack by a wandering enemy, especially when the enemy happens to be a hitscanner.
Rest assured, the rest of the map is pretty simple, very simple once you find the berserk pack. It makes fighting the crowds of demons even easier (the demons can't reach into most of the lower rooms, and thus you can punch them out on the stairs. Quite entertaining, actually.)
E1M4 Command Control
Deaths: A few from various monsters, until I figured out what to do in the beginning/Kills 108% Items 88% Secrets 100%
I'm surprised by this one's score. It became spectacularly easier once I found out the correct strategy. That is: don't shoot or attack until you make it to the upper floors of the map.
Yes, this map starts out with ledges overlooking the room you're in. I used to shoot the barrels next to the Sergeants in order to kill them first. Protip: Don't bother shooting them from here; you'll wake up all the monsters in the two, small conjoining hallways, and this is usually where my deaths came from. Getting past the flurry of Demons and hitscanners is very difficult without getting cornered or shot at from multiple directions. If you simply run past the monsters in these rooms without waking them up beforehand, you have a lot more time to escape and safely make it up to the upper floors.
From then on, it's surprisingly simple. Even the dark maze section (with Pain Elementals, no less) is easier to deal with than the one in E1M2. You can lead the monsters to easier places to shoot them down at, there are no hitscanners this time, and there are far less barrels which you or an enemy can cause a accidental explosion closeby.
E1M4 Command Control difficulty rating: 2/10
Yesiree, this turned out easier than the last level, which I'm kind of glad about.
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Too bad it's almost guaranteed E1M7 is going to break that record.
Indeed it has.
E1M7 Computer Station
Deaths: Many, from all around/ Kills 100%/ Items 97% / Secrets 100%
Ooh boy, was this one tricky.
If you thought the Sergeants were bad in the last level, Computer Station takes it to a whole new league.
Add in the fact that this map begins with a huge assortment of monsters all ready to tear you to pieces, along with plenty of places for hitscanners and imps to snipe at you, and you have a nightmare waiting to happen.
E1M7 Computer Station difficulty rating: 9/10
This one stays difficult throughout, especially when you're on a pistol start.
The reason it doesn't get a full 10 is that it does get a little easier once you find the chaingun (surprisingly, there are no chaingunners in the level, so you have to find the lone chaingun lying around the map.)
Even then, it's tough. Very, very tough.
E1M8 Phobos Anomaly
Deaths: None, but some demons surprised me/ Kills 100%/ Items 100%/ Secrets 100%
The Bruiser brothers make their first appearance! And although it's iconic, it doesn't mean it's difficult.
E1M8 Phobos Anomaly difficulty rating: 2/10
Yeah, this was definitely a break from level 7, that's for certain. Phobos Anomaly is incredibly short.
The majority of enemies are demons and their specter brethren. But you can easily control which and how many of them come your way at a time, and you have more than enough ammo with the weapons you're given to worry about losing them.
As for the Barons of Hell, they're intimidating, but not so bad. You can fight one of them at a time by just keeping to the sides of the building they are inclosed in. Dodging them isn't hard in the open space of the arena anyways.
Overall, it's a good map, which, if you take a little time fighting the demons in small groups, doesn't present much of a challenge. Especially compared to the beast of a level before it.
E2M1 Deimos Anomaly
Deaths: Imp, Former Human/ 100% everything
I was expecting this one to be easier than it actually turned out.
This is the first appearance of the Cacodemons, which is an interesting note about this level. It would also be the first appearance of lost souls without the company of a Pain Elemental.
What I have to say is this level, though taking very little time to beat, still got me a few times. Mainly, it's getting through the barrage of Former Humans and Imps within the first two rooms until you can make it to the shotgun. Even then, unlike the levels before it, Deimos Anomaly really squeezes the amount of ammo you get.
For me, I had no shells left once I completed the level.
There's also the matter of the room containing the plasma gun. It's so dark, you're bound to get hit by some monster, at least. I had my TV on the most vivid setting, and I still couldn't see anything beyond the warp!
E2M1 Deimos Anomaly difficulty rating: 4/10
This is about right. Overall, it's not like it's really hard to beat. The monsters are few and there is plenty of health and armor. But it does make you careful about your ammo consumption, and enemies, even the seemingly weak ones, can still surprise you.
E2M2 Containment Area
Deaths: none, but I missed a few secrets the first time around/
Low and behold, box-land!
Yes, Containment Area starts you out in a warehouse full of crates, an iconic staple of Doom's architecture.
Just like a real warehouse might, this map is a bit confusing at first glance. There are lot of imps (plus a dab of Revenants) roaming around, but they don't cause as much trouble as you'd expect.
Part of this was due to the Berserk you get early on. I was able to punch out a lot of the enemies practically unscathed.
The level isn't nearly as mazey or confusing as its layout first suggest. In fact, it's quite linear, and there's an abundance of armor and health, so it isn't difficult.
Even in the areas after the crate-maze, there's not much at stake. The enemies are simple, the ammo is abundant (especially if you Tyson-punch enemies throughout), and it's not very big. The majority of secrets are easy to find, too.
The only thing annoying bit is that one of the secrets only triggers once, so if you forget about that during your playthrough, you may end up not being able to get 100%.
E2M2 Containment Area difficulty rating: 1/10
This one was very easy, but fun as well.