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Demon of the Well

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About Demon of the Well

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  1. Nice Ava, luv it <3

    1. Demon of the Well

      Demon of the Well

      Credit to Jaws in Space, he's the one who made it. :)

    2. Jaws In Space

      Jaws In Space


  2. The DWIronman League dies to: Coffee Break

    Shit, really? Time flies, eh?
  3. The DWIronman League dies to: Coffee Break

    Very poor (last minute) result from me this time, died in m09. D'oh. Trying to go too fast at the wrong time, got sloppy, got flanked, got dead. Pretty embarrassing. Might've been able to take the top spot if I hadn't choked (m10's the easiest in the second half and m11 is sort of conceptually 'broken' by continuous play), made very good time in the first half or so, although was definitely flagging in the meatier second half. This was category 2, played this a number of times before, probably moreso than most WADs, actually--it seems to be one of those that just keeps popping up socially (i.e. most recently in DWMC, etc.) through one means or another, presumably speaking to its popularity. Not its hugest fan, but where it's good it's good and holds up pretty well even with all of the pinkies (m05, m10, m11 are my favorites). Not off to a good start this year! Edit: unholy shit the default forum avatar is ugly.
  4. Oh, shit. I think I played the whole thing on -cl 9 too, probably read the comment in the textfile about m08 only working right at that setting (and it still doesn't quite work right due to mounting spawns in congested spaces, it must be admitted) and so overgeneralized from there.
  5. Best episode in TUD?

    E3 is my favorite, it has a whimsical quality to its concepts married to a mordant mood that stands the test of time, and as with many of Sandy's levels quite a few of the maps can be played in different ways, though this is naturally more true of some than others (i.e. E3M1 and E3M4 are both very linear any way you slice it), and of course not nearly as pronounced in this regard as his Doom II levels would eventually be. E2 has also grown on me a great deal over the years, again largely a question of atmosphere, and the episode's penchant for horror that Cynical mentioned. Considering how the IWAD content is pitched and balanced, granted, I would almost certainly be numb to this if I were playing E2 for the first time today, but the fact of the matter is that I first played it as a kid in the 90s, and have had an ongoing relationship with it (and the rest of the game) over the years as my perspective has changed. All that being said, I think it's difficult to argue against the notion that E1 is the most polished, refined and deliberately paced and framed of the original episodes from an 'objective' standpoint, whether we adopt the mores of our current time, those of 199x when Doom was the hot new thing, or of any period in between. We might say that it's a more 'ideal' first episode than The Shores of Hell is an ideal E2 or Inferno is an ideal E3, if it helps to think of it that way. Regardless, the capriciousness, mood, and sheer variety of the Sandy/Tom stuff just simply suits me better than Romero's more focused/singleminded vision (and more than McGee's, later); to this day I can still have a surprising discovery or experience in one of Sandy's maps, whereas John's for the most part all play more or less the same every time. As for E4, well.......when I was a younger player I went through a phase where the most important thing to me in Doom (and in most other games as well) was challenge, and so during that time I probably would've said E4 was my favorite. No longer....these days it always reads to me as a lot more awkward, and it has been difficult to maintain that fondness for it, even though it presents a more thematically focused/coherent experience (i.e. dusky gothic marble + tougher action), ala E1, but with much more advanced gameplay in general. Part of this is probably due to its wider roster of authors giving it a more drastically up-and-down quality. As it stands, I'm still fond of E4M1 and E4M6 ( the oft-cited E4M2 has lost some of its shine for me, probably a result of pure incidental overexposure in my case) and find E4M5 conceptually fascinating as well, but other levels fare less well. When DWMC played the original Doom I said that I think E2M3 is the worst level in that game, and while I stand by that, if we include E4 as well then it is soundly trounced in that regard by E4M4, which is bad enough both in and out of the context of the episode it appears in that it sort of represents for me how much better E4 could've been if id had had the time/inclination to give just a little bit more of a shit than they evidently did when making it. :D
  6. TN Map 10 -- Umbreion Nils -- 103% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA, 3 deaths. Ah, but death is so seldom truly the end in the realms of Doom, eh? Wouldn't have it any other way. "Umbreion Nils" is in a sense the Omega to m07's Alpha, a crypt drifting aimlessly through the existential nether housing a series of intense setpiece fights, each more frantic than the last. There is a mild element of non-linearity in that you can choose whether to undertake the fight for the blue key proper or the fight which grants access to the blue-locked door itself first, though each of these (as well as the level's other fights) is basically completely self-contained and so this is mostly for flavor rather than a particularly important element of strategy. The real heart of the matter is that in all of the major fights save the first, the rocket launcher is the marquee weapon, with the SSG acting as a sidearm--there are no cell weapons, no chaingun, no pump-action shotgun, and a secret chainsaw which is basically a token of defiance rather than a credible means of such. For the record, the rocket launcher is my personal favorite weapon in Doom; apart from being powerful and versatile (but not a do-all--nobody really likes a do-all, do they?), I think it's the most satisfying to use really well, particularly under pressure, considering wielding it effectively involves the impetus to try to squeeze rounds into the midst of groups rather than necessarily simply hitting the closest or most available target. And, of course, there is its thrilling element of self-endangerment, this being the usability quirk that slightly edges it out over the more esoteric might of the BFG in my affections. Each of these fights riffs on these elements and more in a variety of ways, making the map something like a love letter to the RL, and I couldn't be more pleased. The BK fight proper puts space management front and center, with a strong element of target prioritization to force you to make snap decisions about when/where to move and what to shoot. Hesitation is death, vacillation moreso. I think my initial success here in the FDA is largely a matter of luck, replaying the map again today for fun, this was the fight that killed me (on two attempts in succession, at that), rather than the one later on that bested me a few times on that first run. I prefer to clear the perched viles and mancubi (which realistically involves tanking some damage in exchange for uninterrupted DPS) first before turning to beat back the horde spilling out past the central partition, but today experimented with trying to hold the other half of the room instead (ignoring the viles), which I was pleased to find is also tricky, but doable, casting light on the pair of mancubi really being the fight's lynchpin, rather than the viles as one might reasonably surmise. The big 'croissant' fight, by contrast, doesn't as immediately press you for floorspace (though losing too much momentum here is probably even surer a death-knell than losing it in the other fights), instead challenging you to focus on using your weapon efficiently to kill as quickly as possible while also requiring you to think/plan ahead about when it's time to reload, heal and/or re-position, as the stream of evil has enough density and enough longevity to make a pure holdout impossible, even at the room's theoretically strongest/most defensible position (i.e. the southern end, where you land when you first drop down). My gut strategy here was largely the same to what Wilou himself describes above, but again, it's always fun to see in big fights like this that alternative strategies can be effective as well, ala rdwpa's maxdemo. The final fight past the blue door probably has an even stronger "oh shit!" factor than the BK fight, and is thus a delightfully visceral note to end on. This one crushed me a couple of times in the FDA. The first time I don't feel so bad about--what's going to happen there is harder to read than in some of the earlier fights until it's actually happening IMO (i.e. the startling entrance of the cyberdemon tornado tag-team), and there's relatively little margin for error. The second time is just "okay you got me, nice shot. Dick." The third and final death was definitely some facepalm material, though....just call me "Demon Carradine." :D Got it right after that, ultimately I think the fight's not quite as scary as it initially seems provided you stay cool. I mostly hung out on the west side in order to maximize potential for having the battery of revenants piss off everything else in the room; I've found the issue of the cybies tends to almost always resolve itself while you're not looking, provided you stay on your toes when you occasionally need to rub elbows with one of them. Great stuff. The icing on the cake is that the level has a great mood, too, with a well-chosen HR2 track and a breathable sense of space with tall, vaulted ceilings that nevertheless manages to occasionally feel oppressive and claustrophobic by dint of the encounter design. Not quite as shadowy as I might've surmised, with a sort of odd neutral luminescence to most things, and at this point I'm pretty over the 'orange' angle, but the textures themselves are great, particularly the many different deathshead motifs. Hope to see a lot of these assets again in later projects. ....when's Necromantic Thirst, by the way? ;)
  7. TN Map 07 -- Goetia -- 105% Kills / 90% Secrets - FDA As was the case with almost everyone else, this one took me quite a while--70+ minutes IIRC--but I did end up unraveling it almost in its entirety. I believe the secret I neglected is the berserk pack situated above the yellow pool and below the pentacle terrace in the large southeastern chamber....pretty minor, in the scheme of things. Not very well played on my part otherwise (managed to very nearly die two or three times over the course of the level, always to really poor play or dumb decisions), but then, it's the nature of the Göetia to eventually grant great power to those willing to bleed to uncover its secrets, isn't it? Set in a network of underground temples and caverns which seem to overlook the Abyss itself, this map differs from all others in the set in that its primary focus is on free exploration, with several layers of intrigue at play to tempt the curious. Cryptic musings in the form of free-floating text hovering about near a number of altars or ritual sites provide clues for unlocking the many hidden areas of the complex, though in truth this entire string of subquests is almost entirely optional. Indeed, there's never really a clear sense of what you're actually trying to accomplish until you're quite a ways in, and seldom any real way to tell mandatory progression steps from optional ones. I really don't see this as a problem, though; the crux of a map like this one is to just get stuck in and let things come together however they will. I found it convincingly immersive, and that I was playing an m07 (read: a map with 666/667 tags) never dawned on me until very near the end, almost always a good sign in a map in this slot. ;) In strictly material terms, the ultimate rewards of the major chain of secrets--the scarlet key, the chapel of the dark chryst, the spider-void, the hunt for the Gluttonous which ties into them all--are an early plasma rifle and, ultimately, the level's sole BFG, but I like to think that evaluating optional riddles/challenges in this way often misses the forest for the trees; the real reward is the trip itself, the seeing of sights seldom seen, the fulfilled sense of inquiry. Being very accessible on the whole (i.e. the puzzles and secrets aren't too obscure for the most part, and the mainline balance of the level is such that the way it plays/flows is seldom markedly impacted by which secrets you've found), I reckon this might be a great map to open a few eyes about the merits of this kind of design and this aspect of gameplay, away from everything being all fights all the time or the notion that merely reaching the exit is all it takes to truly 'win.' By way of criticism and all above aside, I did think that the level could've stood to reach a slightly more resounding climax than it does (never mind that I managed to nearly die in the climax which does exist, all part of The Plan (TM) ), although in retrospect this really has less to do with the way any of the fights are designed and more with the role of the green key in progression. Moreso than any other piece of mandatory progression, the GK's bit feels like an optional aside (and is actually my favorite fight in the level, incidentally), and the positively absurd trove of goodies it unlocks in the northwest cave skews the balance (and thus the possibilities of approach) in the final hub-fight(s) so much that it really felt like this should've been one of the secret rewards instead, or that the final-hub fight should've been much less neatly segmented to make said trove a little more justified in its extravagance, especially when factoring in the relatively simple V-sphere secret as well (again, never mind that I utterly squandered this in the FDA). Also, I would've liked a more convenient lift out of the pit with the rising wooden pylons near the RK to be available from the start, but small potatoes, that. Excellent work, Roofi, may there be more to come in future. TN Map 08 -- Pandemonium -- 137% Kills / 50% Secrets - FDA Lovely conclusion, just what I like to see in an IoS-style map--grandeur, catharsis.....memories! The opening shot and the first emergence into the great chasm lined with gibbets with the vast subterranean cathedral at the opposite side are both incredibly striking, and the sense of spectacle only continues to escalate from there, with the Doomguy blitzing his way through hordes of enemies to the summit beyond as dusk descends on all. Like most maps with an Icon-type boss as their focal point, the playstyle here is not really meant to flow in the conventional sense (i.e. you're not realistically supposed to concern yourself with maxing it, though I'm sure this is a possibility that has been taken into account by the designers for those players who might insist); just charge in, grit your teeth, reach the top. You never have to worry about ammo or supplies, just keep killing your way up that hill until the last light dies. Lovely, like I say, a good way to wind down the set in a bubble of serenity amidst much sound and fury and wanton bloodshed. Aside from the spawn locations being almost guaranteed to malfunction at some point (not a whole lot to be practically done about this, I reckon), if there's a misstep here I'd say it's probably that the (first) BFG just simply should not have been secret, probably switching places with the plasma rifle at the foot of the great mural in the chapel. Playing the level with the BFG as the primary weapon is by far the most fun and, I would argue, natural way to do it, and having it purpose-placed in the open so that all players would have the chance to massacre the literal army of cultists in the chapel seems like it would have been a good guide for how to proceed with the rest of the level in turn. All my talk about rewarding curiosity and observation and such aside, sometimes you just want an open invitation to say 'fuck it' and have a good time, y'know? TN Map 09 -- Credits -- Nothing to kill / 100% Secrets - FDA (for sake of completeness) R. I. P. Subject119.
  8. * A Machine From TN Map 06 -- The Forgotten Land -- 110% Kills / 66% Secrets - FDA Wow, Eris. Another superb track here, and in a style that has always struck me as difficult to do really well. Bit of an odd choice for the level on JCD's part (or whoever's), I thought, though--it sort of fits with the name of the map as one imagine it sight unseen, but is wildly out of step with the actual level's actual content. Quite the lively romp, this, incidentally. Monster count balloons noticeably here, and the level is perhaps a bit longer than those which preceded it in the running order, but it's more an escalation in spectacle than in difficulty or anything like that, offering lots of monsters to kill, lots of big scary implements of destruction to kill them with, and lots of space to frolic around in whilst you kill them, while never feeling particularly taxing or severe. Progression here is just as linear as in m05 just prior (and indeed, it even loops around on itself in a similar way) but the overall impression is quite different, I thought. If "Orange Juice" could be likened to a rail/cart thrill ride, "Forgotten Land" is more like a safari park tour, where you've the privilege of being your own armed guide. Emphasis is squarely on a series of fights (most of them individually larger than anything seen in earlier maps), progression per se taking the form of simple switch/barricade combos to conveniently shepherd you around the various yards (and later, caves) just in time for each pack of beasties to assault you. A powerful arsenal + backpack is easily acquired very early on, with healing and armor top-ups generally widely available between battles, and so despite the much greater number of creatures now attacking the gameplay doesn't really demand mechanical perfection or acute strategizing, instead reveling in the simpler joys of fire and movement and large explosions for their own sakes. On a first/blind run these escalate pretty credibly in size (in actual threat, perhaps not so much) and convey a solid amount of variety considering they are mostly all more or less the same type of fight. Better still, the nature of the layout, where separations between areas of travel tend to elide from relatively small height changes rather than solid walls, and where major areas are thus often used at different points for more than one encounter, seems to offer a lot of potential for combining different fights into even larger riots (and thus, greater joie de vivre) on repeat playthroughs. Indeed, the secret V-sphere in the cave section (which I missed in the FDA) seems placed for just such a purpose. One criticism that many other players (of many different tastes, I might add) had, and which I fully agree with, concerns the fight in the final area. I've just finished saying how the map is much more delightfully big and loud than it is actually hard, and so criticizing a fight in it for being easy is perhaps shortsighted, but....this fight's too easy. The unusual structure of the arena seems to suggest something more is going to happen, but as it stands it's quite the anticlimax and has a marked feeling of wasted/squandered space. Interesting to see comments saying that this fight has actually been buffed since the beta version, too....I can only surmise that whatever its original incarnation was must've been so aggravating to testers at the time that it ended up being violently neutered before any of us laid eyes on it, heh. Anyway, while I certainly wouldn't say it's offensive (indeed, it's inoffensive to a fault, perhaps), it certainly ends things here with a whimper rather than the Bay-esque bang the rest of the map might've suggested. Still a fun outing on the whole, nevertheless.
  9. TN Map 05 -- Orange Juice -- 103% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Just about crapped myself during the pinky-pincers trap, I reckon. Nicely done there, Chaos/Yugi. "Orange Juice" is something like a theme park track-ride, a strictly linear trip with lots to look at along the way and a few carefully planned/timed scares, which ultimately ends up just where it began. In terms of overall structure and layout, I reckon this is probably more similar to m02's underground cave system (or whatever it was) than to anything else, though the overall impression is quite a bit different, and I daresay the presentation is significantly more elegant on the whole. Not as vivid as many of the other maps in terms of texture usage, the primary materials here are black iron and black stone, with the requisite orange element mostly carried by the outdoor terrain and by carefully placed plates of tangerine marble trim and orange glow-lights. It's not a particularly flashy suite of materials (esp. considering that players' eyes have probably gotten more accustomed and perhaps slightly numb to the whole "Look! It's orange!!!" thing at this point), but I'd contest that it's still an aesthetically attractive map. Much like m04, the feel of the place arises from its structure and framing more than from its wallpaper, reading like a demonic bunker of sorts (complete with pillboxes and defiles and such) entrenched into the side of a mountain. As with m02, the tightly knotted layout means that different parts of the path connect with each other visually in many places, though here in a generally richer way given the greater variety in heights and shapes used in the building's form. I like the unabashedly dusky contrast lighting as well, seems like whatever nethecelestial body illuminating the scene is hanging low on the horizon. The path is generally pretty cramped (baldfacedly linear too), as others have said, though for the most part I feel like the map owns this and frames its action to follow suit, rather than it being a trait hampering 'something that might've been' or the like. You end up pretty heavily armed before the end (earlier if you find the RL secret), and most of the moment-to-moment action is light incidental stuff of no particular remark, lent most of its moment by always taking place in close quarters. The map's party pieces are its staged traps: the first two work well as "oh shit!" moments but definitely have more bark than bite, while the third is legitimately dangerous, especially since the RL is somewhat risky to use under the circumstances. Cybie is more like a parting gesture--your $17.99 3x5 of your ride earlier, if you like--though if you're feeling sporting he can still offer a nice little dance in the starting/ending cataract before the exit (cool reveal there, incidentally).
  10. TN Map 03 -- Rain of Embers -- 105% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Again, a collab map with a piece by Datacore as the base. I think that "Rain of Embers" is a fair bit better than m02 before it, although many of the same general criticisms of combat apply--lots of straightforward fights in corridors and through doorways/thresholds, with the vast majority of the work done with the SSG. Bullets for the chaingun are conspicuously rare, and while this is hardly a problem for the viability of the balance, it does leave me curious about what the weapon's 'moment in the spotlight' for the level is intended to be, since there's not enough ammo for it to take a general-use role, and it's not as suited for chewing through most of the enemy clots as the SSG is, especially since it appears after the earlier groups which are comprised of imps and pinkies ('rojos?') and other low-level fodder. As aforesaid, a lot of the action involves butting heads with concentrations of enemies as they try to pass through some key door or checkpoint towards you. While we tend to romanticize these days about the virtues of multi-directional pressure and forcing player movement and all that, I think this kind of encounter certainly has its place, and if used well is good for emphasizing a sense of infestation, and the bloody work of clearing one out. The pile of enemies which spills out of the set of six mirrored chambers at the north of the complex was something that worked well, precisely because it's somewhat disarming just how many enemies (of several different types, at that) are jam-packed into what appears to be a small/unassuming space. On the other hand, again I found the fight before the exit somewhat inelegant, with perched monsters defending a narrow threshold which doesn't offer a good angle of attack for the player, so you end up having to pick away at the defenses one piece at a time, bogging down the pace for a few significant moments. Rockets or bullets(!) would've smoothed the process significantly, esp. versus the 'trons at the awkward angle down in the orange goo (I didn't want to jump down because the first secret area led me to believe the goo would be damaging, but apparently it's not in this spot..?), but I had very little of either to hand at the point. A chunky group of mancubi guard the exit proper, curious because they push you back, but by that point there's nothing to be pushed back into, so....why? All that aside, the action in general's more engaging on the whole because the environment is more interesting, more like m01 than m02's set of anonymous tunnels, with more open space, more vertical scale (though again most actual combat happens on only one plane), and a variety of different textures and room shapes on display (I'm still drinking in, and quite enjoying, the sort of continental-satanic flavor to the assets and such at this point). Looks like there's also more than one sequence of progression one could opt to take in the vicinity of the central hub, with none obviously better than the others, a small but significant compliment to straightforward action of this type. TN Map 04 -- Bile Noire -- 106% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Odd little map that looks bigger than it is; memorable, eclectic. Maps 01, 02, and 03 are all understated in a way that's more or less timeless, but "Bile Noire" gives me the impression in look and feel that its primary author is a fan of stuff from the mid/late 00s of PWADing in particular, particularly in its main chamber, with layers of somewhat austere yet dignified-looking colonnaded terraces overlooking a canal or sluiceway below. Between this general style, capricious little structural curiosities like the mini-maze over by the soulsphere lift, and the serenely blank black void just beyond the ramparts, there's something very 'modern HR' about this (and I mean that as a compliment in this case), although the thing placement style perhaps doesn't quite bear that comparison out. Of the maps so far, I'd say it's definitely the first one where the look and feel is defined more by the actual architecture than by the texture set or aesthetic window-dressing (though it is of course as aggressively orange as one might expect at this point), and indeed some of the cosmetic details, such as the ornate floor grates along the opening areas, give the impression of having been added as afterthoughts to address what would've otherwise been a noticeably spartan decor. Liked the music, which also gives that old-fashioned impression of not obviously belonging in Doom yet oddly fitting the mood somehow, regardless. Given the more complex structure, clearing this out is naturally a little more involved than in previous maps, the most defining feature perhaps being that the player is tasked with circuitously climbing up to the top terrace in the main chamber before acquiring the SSG. The RL is readily visible from the outset, but can't be reached until quite a ways in, framing overall progression as something other than a key-hunt, in contrast to earlier maps. Progression itself is also rather quirky at points--particularly the impact-switch device granting egress from the eastern cupola or the rather inconspicuous (or so I thought) switch raising the lift to the upper terraces--again underscoring that slightly vintage feel. Not terribly difficult (though I did manage to very nearly die at one point by totally dropping the ball in the RK trap, IIRC), all told, but action is certainly a bit livelier and more varied than in previous levels, from navigating a rain of projectiles from above in the early going to battling some cheeky close-range traps later in progression. Nothing too demanding, generally--you can pretty much always retreat if you react quickly, and there's usually little downside to doing so--but it's nice to wake up a bit, and to see the RL challenge the SSG as the level's marquee weapon for a change of pace. I imagine that if you have a very stolidly stodgy playstyle the opening minutes may not be very much fun--feels like you have enough ammo to snipe everything above away with shotgun if you want, and some might argue the balance doesn't do enough to preclude this--but I don't really see this as a problem. Salute to rocket-pounding catharsis at the end, not the last time in the playthrough I'll manage to screw that up, mark my words...
  11. Hello all, been awhile. TN Map 01 -- Sombre Venue -- 100% Kills / 50% Secrets - FDA (skill 4) Vivid orangeness aside, this is indeed a very conventional m01 outing in the modern style, just as the textfile says, offering as opposition mostly small groups of weaker guards to casually take apart with the pump-action shotgun. A few mid-tier enforcers crop up here and there, but other than the pair of revenants who tumble out of their broom-closets to try to keep you from making off with the green skull, these are mostly momentary bumps in the road who stick to particular posts rather than trying to really muscle in on your space. Indeed, it does strike me that the majority of the creatures stationed here can not only be taken out from beyond a point of separation if you like (i.e. my tossing 9mm spitballs at the zombies through the outpost windows), but in many cases also actually cannot approach or move much since they're positioned in this or that sniping point or on the strange pumping pistons along the inner moat or whatnot. This kind of placement in a more substantial map tends to bug me a bit--sort of like trying to work around chastity underwear, if you will--though in the context of a casual, scene-setting m01 I find I don't really mind much, somehow. What the level does do quite well, on that note, is set the scene. Yes, as advertised it's orange, or several rich mottled shades of it, and presumably much work was done on the colormap to make it read as naturally as does. What really pleasantly surprised me, though, was finding that the mapset doesn't really have the light/silly/holiday tone I had initially assumed it would (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that sort of thing, but it's generally not to my personal preference). The scene here is indeed somber, in its unusual way, with portentous twilight lighting and a grim dose of pig-iron and black basalt carvings to contrast the brighter orange tones of the 'natural terrain.' From the outset we also appear to be largely eschewing the common tech/sci-fi element of the Doom canvas in favor of something more inclined towards the occult, with zombies reskinned to look more like infernal parishioners than undead PMCs and the setting itself leaping straight into 'Hell' territory instead of futzing about with the usual easy/early = techbase conflation. Fine by me! I guess I somehow failed to trigger the blursphere secret? TN Map 02 -- Molten Desolation -- 107% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Like m01, this also reads as pretty standard early-game fare (though reasonably escalated over m01 given the set's compact 10-map length), though I don't think it acquits itself as well either visually or in terms of gameplay. Even more luridly orange than its predecessor, and with a few other macabre assets making their debut (particularly dig the unsettling dead face mascarons--weird and creepy!), the overall impression is less striking, the whole sort of settling into a largely nondescript network of short, squat bunker-style corridors and low-ceiling caves. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the level began life as a much more conventional techbase design, and if one stops to take in the surroundings with anything more than the lightest of perusals, that's really what it looks like--an ordinary techbase with its Halloween decorations up. Nothing inherently wrong with techbases, of course, but I guess what I'm driving at here is that the modesty and relative plainness of setting in this case doesn't really sell me past some similarly plain action. Mid-tiers feature more prominently (IIRC there might not be any zombies at all in this one?), and given the nature of the layout there's not a lot to do other than work through them face-to-face as you meet them, mostly with the SSG, natch (I used the chainsaw a bit for some extra flavor). The level's short enough that it's hard to accuse this of ever really feeling like 'a grind', but it's not very memorable stuff regardless, other than perhaps the group of monsters guarding the exit, which struck me as being a bit too drawn out with respect to their actual effectiveness, which is limited to say the least. To its credit, the layout does its best to jump through hoops to wring some flavorful progression out of its modest collection of hallways and little chambers, sending you rattling to and fro and through and around its few structural keystones in between major progression points at different heights (such as it is). This does at least make the space feel well-used, and lends extra emphasis to the otherwise unassuming visual element of layers of cut-through sectors in the inner reaches, though none of this is really a strong substitute for the much more striking sense of place of m01, IMO.
  12. E1M8. None of my usual lengthy exposition, because there's absolutely no contest.
  13. The DWIronman League dies to: Combat Shock 2

    Almost didn't do anything for this one--other things I really ought to have been doing (read: horridly mundane IRL stuff)!--but didn't want to be a spoilsport, so here I am. Died on m04, same place as Scotty. Category is 2, I've played the WAD through before at least a couple of times in the past, but haven't seen it in years, and didn't have time to watch others' streams or the like this time, so was operating purely on memory/instinct. This is an absolutely textbook case of death ensuing from a nasty case of "Too Good to Use Syndrome." That fight's really not that hard, in hindsight, but I guess in the moment I felt compelled to NOT fire my ultra-powerful weapon of relentless evaporative death for.....reasons? Trying to be more ammo-efficient? Trying to leverage infighting more? Trying for a more aesthetically pleasing show, so help me? Whatever the case, I got what I deserved. Don't have the time available for retries on lower skills atm, but I'm glad that's there as an option in the future. Requisite shout-outs to Zzul and Krypto, natch....Shock2 is not the hardest mapset in this genre, it's true, but I think it's also certainly more dangerous (esp. without detailed intel) than Zzul has recently given it credit for, particularly maps 05 and 06 (m07 is more of a "don't choke, don't choke!" sort of deal). More than that, I'm very pleased to see so many give something in a genre with a reputation (not entirely deserved...?) for being inaccessible a try, and hope to see you all back again next time Alfonzo gets saucy and picks something in this general vein.
  14. The DWIronman League dies to: Doom The Way id Did

    In at the end as usual: Parallel universe Doom, wherein the story revolves chiefly around the lone marine's mad rush to a restroom which cannot be found. Survived all episodes + all secret levels, final time is 1 hour 28 minutes 49 seconds if my mental math is correct. Category is 2 or 3 depending on your philosophy on the matter: played the mapset a couple of times in the past, also watched the first part of the Suitepee VOD before beginning (more because I wanted to see him go fast than to gather intel, but intel was nevertheless assuredly gathered). My E1 and E3 both felt pretty good, but E2 didn't go so well, got lost there more than once, mostly in the E2M9-endgame stretch. What on earth Deimos do those pinky demons which teleport away as you meet them do, Alfonzo? Decent set, though I think that its successor is both significantly more 'authentic' and (more importantly) more consistently entertaining wholesale. It feels to me like the entire set is significantly more congested overall than the source IWAD, and that most of the levels are longer (even some which seem to cover less real estate than the id maps) due to some more protracted door/key/switch progression sequences, though the generally higher monster density (which also contributes to time spent, of course) is appreciated. I think E3 is probably the highlight (E3 also being my favorite from the original game, to whit), whereas E2 seems to be all over the board, with some interesting maps with lots of character (the reimagining of the 'creepy' angle for E2M4, the 'realistic' Tom Hall features in E2M3, the more kinetic structure of E2M6) alongside some downright stinkers, particularly E2M9. E1 is KDitD popcorn, no real comment there, though I do like E1M7. And E1M9 is fun to run through!
  15. Cacowards 2017 discussion (24 years)

    Yeah, bit of a mea culpa from me vis-a-vis Inquisitor 3, I was multitasking playing a bunch of other stuff during the lead-up at the same time, and I didn't get very far in the 2-3 hours I spent with it, seems fair to say that it's a rather slow starter, all else being equal. This isn't necessarily much of an issue for me in and of itself, mind (and now that the rush is over I'll definitely pick it back up and finish it), but some of the other panelists spent a lot more time with it than I did and still found the going slow and kinda sloggy, so things went how they went. End Point and Travelling to the Moon were both 2016-period WADs, incidentally (the cutoff point for each year is realistically sometime in mid-November for practical reasons). Haven't played the latter yet, but am a big Eternal fan for my part, and supposing they had come out for the 2017 period I guess all I can say is that they'd have had some really tough competition.