Salt-Man Z

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  1. MAP16: Dark Zone 20:34 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 66% Secrets So here you start in a small room and there's like a million different paths. I definitely chose a different order last time, but this time I wound up doing that little stretch of highway or whatever; probably the most deadly section of the level, what with all the meat at one end and a commando squad sniping you from above. I was more-or-less ready for it this time, just hugging the left wall and pumping rockets down the road. Lots of fun a little areas that thankfully didn't drag too long. (The other deadly trap--that actually killed me once--was that one ambush by a vile and his gang of heavies. The secrets, man, I am not a fan of VF's philosophy on secrets (at least in this WAD) where every switch is so obscure, and even the existence of secrets is usually hidden away entirely. The soulsphere had that tiny little camouflaged switch that I only barely noticed on the way out. The blue armor was even more ridiculous: some usable wall detailing (which was plastered all over that area) which briefly lowers an otherwise-innocuous wall? C'mon. No idea where the third secret even might have been. I am disappointed that there wasn't available down in the water (unless I overlooked it.) Decent map. MAP17: Fatality 18:19 | 100% Kills | 66% Items | 50% Secrets Oh, this one was fun! Easily one of my favorites from the WAD. Just running through canyons guns blazing, taking care around corners. Just...I dunno. I love this level. Oh, except for those color-coded switches that give access to their key, instead of requiring the key as God intended. I can't stand those; they trip me up every single time. MAP18: Sleeping Spirits 100% Kills | 92% Items | 50% Secrets This one's memorable mainly for two reasons: the animated rain, and ghost imps. The rain is a cool effect, though it really needs some ambient sounds for the full effect. And the ghost imps really seem like an afterthought, since there's so few of them. (Maybe a dozen, tops?) Otherwise this is a fun, cramped little mansion crawl with an oddly-large and underpopulated ending area. (Surely one of the secrets I missed was in there?) And the yellow key battle was terribly easy to cheese by just running back to the teleporter. (And then cleanup consisted of teleporting in, firing at everyone clustered in one corner, and teleporting back out ad nauseam. Still, I'm a sucker for non-linear wood-panel-themed house levels.
  2. MAP15: Blade Runner 1:00:04 | 98% Kills | 98% Items | 50% Secrets I may have put off playing this for a while due to this map. Last time it was definitely one of the major "what the heck do I do now?" levels for me. I fared much better this time, with fairly minimal running around between buildings wondering where to go next. This one definitely doesn't do any hand-holding. I think the only death I suffered was the chaingunner trap at the top of the elevator in the southeastern building. I did get down to single-digit health a couple of times as well, but thankfully there was a lot of health laying around; a couple of berserks and soulspheres that I rarely needed at the time, so I kept them in the back of my mind (or marked them on the automap) until I needed them. The building interiors themselves were all mostly straightforward, barring the central building that was by far the most interesting to play. (And where I amused myself by SSGing the vile hiding behind the crate early on that would have otherwise been the surprise end to that path. The two big memorable battles were at the switch that lowers the blue bars, and at the end with the whole mob just getting released everywhere. I sorely missed having a BFG, whose secret I never discovered (and only know about thanks to the wiki.) I did get the secret exit, but not by finding the secret switch to lower the crate; rather, I pressed the switch inside the crate from outside. Totes not cheating, I swear. MAP31: Metal Mansion 1:07 | 0% Everything This one gave me absolute fits before, to the point where I gave up for like a year before attempting a continuation. Eventually I just gave up entirely, switched to a new update of GZDoom, and pistol-started MAP32 to start a new game. (And of all the levels to pistol start, I picked that one? Blah.) Anyway, this time I simply said screw it, made sure to grab all the ammo I could (since the finale of MAP15 left me pretty dry) and just booked it for the normal (weenie) exit.
  3. If you liked DTWID, be sure to give DTWID: Lost Levels a try. There's so much great stuff that didn't make the final project.
  4. MAP14: Tyranny 16:39 | 100% Everything Mostly fun, if a bit forgettable. (Though the blue key ambush definitely something I remembered from my last play.) The first half is pretty much a big SSG grind corridor, not too exciting. But the interior has a handful of short but punchy encounters. The sole (ha!) secret was where I figured/half-remembered it to be, though actually getting there took half a dozen attempts (and some admitted save abuse.) A nice breather map between the epic sprawls of 13 and 15.
  5. MAP13: Stronghold Earth 48:27 | 100% Everything This always stuck out to me as my favorite from my first play. It gets to maintain that accolade. Wow. Just one big sprawling adventure. Very little bad to say about this one, really: it is pretty switch-hunt-y, so if you overlook a switch or clue (easy enough to do with the almost-nonstop combat) you're going to be lost until you backtrack and find what you missed. In my case, I missed the blue key for the longest time (never saw it raised up on its pillar, and only stumbled across while wandering around wondering what to do next) and after that I still hadn't lowered the red bars on account of running away from the barons that appeared in the cybie alcove. And speaking of which, that cyber was my least favorite part of the level, easily: there are few things in Doom I hate more than trying to take on a cyber without a BFG, and taking on a cyber without a BFG in a narrow hallway with a door at your back is right up there. I spent no fewer than 25 saves trying to tackle him, but it was always ended with either one rocket to face (death) or three splash damages from the narrow walls (also death). And does anything seem to take longer than trying to kill a cyber with a plasma gun? I think watching water boil goes by faster. Anyway, I eventually gave up and lured him outside to the point that the door closed behind him and I was able to get into his alcove and hit the switch, which released the barons that I had to flee from, and I tried to get cybie and barons to infight, but ended up just locking them all together in the same hall with the switch I hadn't seen yet and didn't know I needed until after I'd gotten the blue key, and well, now we're back where I started. ANYWAY. Love the little boat ride out to Revvie Monolith Island (I especially <3 the lovely touch where the oars are ready for the trip out, and then set in the bottom of the boat once you arrive.) Just a fantastic level all around, and I don't see anything else in this WAD topping it.
  6. MAP10: The Tech Towers 59:08 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 66% Secrets Ah, this map. I didn't particularly like it the first time; I'm kinda torn on it now. On the one hand, it is pretty cool. On the other hand: soooo much wandering around wondering, "What do I do now?" On the gripping hand, I think I fared a lot better this time around, even though I didn't really remember any of the particulars. It seems pretty clear to me (and has for a while, but this map really brings it home) that even though this is billed as a vanilla WAD, it really is intended to use freelook. Nowhere is that clearer than the northeastern tower complex, which practically requires looking at your toes to navigate (or even notice) the various descending levels. And there's a lot of mandatory stuff tucked away in obscure corners, some of it signposted by the ridiculous floor-arrows, but much that's not. And when you get lost, or lose your footing and fall, there's a lot of floor to cover to make your way back to an elevator or teleporter (or at the least the one you want.) I did like the thought behind the bank of teleporters to take you to the keyed doors, but it would have been better in, say, the center of the map, not tucked away in the farthest corner (particularly difficult to reach once you've raised the x-shaped walkways.) I'm trying to come up with a part of the level that I really enjoyed, but all I can think to do is find fault with just about every bit. (The most obnoxious part was easily the yellow keycard arena, which killed me soooo many times.) And that's too bad; I do think that on the whole I liked it, but let's just say that playing this one two times in five years seems like enough. MAP11: Hello, Cybie! 13:14 | 100% Everything This one is a lot of fun, though. Barring the cybie(s!), who atomized me the very first split-second I opened their door. Everything up 'til then was a blast, though. A compact base full of tricksy little rooms stuffed with mostly lower-tier dudes ripe for just blasting through. Great stuff. MAP12: Armageddon Valley 17:11 | 100% Kills | 96% Items | 83% Secrets Hunh. I didn't remember this at all when I first ventured out of my crashed ship (those hanging security monitors might be the coolest bit of the WAD), but once I got into the caves I remembered this one. It's weird, that part at least feels like something that came out of Icarus or Requiem, and the crashed ship puts me in mind of something...Dystopia 3, maybe? Anyway, this isn't the first map in this set where VF does the thing with branching corridors where a random switch opens a previous dead-end in a distant tunnel (heck, the entire blue key hunt in MAP10 was that, writ large.) Not a fan of that style of play, certainly not when used to excess. Otherwise, this one's pretty fun, though those early chaingunners tried to ruin it for me right off the bat. (Peek my head outside = suddenly down to 40% health!) I did miss one secret, no idea where. The last one I found was entirely pointless, being nothing more than a shortcut to an empty cliff overlooking the final area. (Okay, looking at the wiki, apparently it telefrags a monster there if you haven't already killed it. Still: Lame.) And the exit room is like the weirdest decision of all: a pitch black little box with apparently only one wall that ends the level? What was the idea there? I was going to say I won't complain much, but, uh, I just wrote all that ^ doing so... But I did enjoy this more than not. The next map is what I remember being one of my favorites from last time. Can't wait.
  7. I like Icarus's level exit templates; they're kind of comforting in a way. I like how they tell you what's coming up next, story-wise: Teleporting down to a planet? Heading back up to the ship? Stepping into the simultaor? Also, in an era when signposting the exit wasn't always done, it's nice to have it made so clear. (Indeed, MAP25 starts out with the exit teleporter box right in front of you, but elevated so that you have to find your way to it.) Once you're done, you can check out Eternal's ICAR2015, which is a fun 11-map love letter to the original.
  8. Haven't decided whether I'ma do a "WADs to Play in 2018" list yet, but in the meantime I'll keep a list here of what I end up playing.

     

    Previous lists:

    2017

    2016

    2015

    1. Salt-Man Z

      Salt-Man Z

      ► Reverie (UV) (replay)

      ► 2002: A Doom Odyssey (Anniversary Edition) (UV)

  9. Yeah, okay, I guess. I mean, it's still a ride-this-lift-to-the-right-floors-in-the-right-order thing. (Granted, the right order is generally, well, in order.) But my perception of it is definitely colored by my first encounter with it years ago, when I thought it would be more puzzle-y than it ended up being. MAP09: Fracture 14:03 | 100% Everything Now this sure is a map, yep. Fun to blaze through on continuous; doubt I would have enjoyed myself much on pistol-start (which is why I don't!) I actually was a bit irritated with all those exit doors in a row, like stop faking me out dude, but then it actually ended suddenly on a nondescript little staircase and I'm like, "That's it?" I will say that the titular fracture across the green armor room looked pretty rad--when I could see it; I could really have done without the headache-inducing strobe effect there. I actually found the exit at the 9 minute mark, the other 5 was secret-hunting (including unleashing a secret pack of pinkies and revvies what)
  10. GZDoom presumably wouldn't use the colormaps (in favor of GL lighting), but would still use the palette.
  11. MAP08: Triplet II 50:34 | 100% Kills | 83% Items | 54% Secrets I remember disliking this one, and now that I hear it's a Jim Flynn homage, that explains quite a lot. (I absolutely loathe Jim Flynn levels.) It's not as bad as I remembered, probably because I vaguely remembered a number of the puzzles. I went blue->yellow->red. The blue teleporter puzzle is the main thing I recalled, though the mechanism by which the puzzle is "solved" (quite clever, actually) took me a minute to figure out. The yellow key elevator puzzle probably gave me the most trouble the last time, but went pretty smoothly this time. (In general, I still hate elevator puzzles.) The part that stumped me for the longest here was actually getting out of the blue key area. WTF. Took me probably 5 minutes of wandering around humping every wall in sight, getting ready to ragequit and hit up the wiki, when I noticed the single barrel atop a pillar. Ridiculous. Favorite part of the map? The yellow key staircase is very cool to see, and fun to march up guns blazing. (I took out the overhead baron early on by sniping him from fairly low on the steps.) Also I feel I should mention the MIDI was highly irritating; getting frustrated with puzzles, and that driving beat did not help at all.
  12. MAP05: Substance 12:28 | 100% Everything This one was fun. Just run around mopping up hordes of former humans (always a blast) and then the end area honestly felt tacked on, but whatevs. It was short and sprightly enough that it can't help but be inoffensive. MAP06: Sledgehammer 21:57 | 100% Kills | 61% Items | 60% Secrets A step up again, here. I liked all the vines obscuring switches and making combat interesting. Secrets were pretty obscure, and I missed one (the one in the teleporter room, I guess.) Layout was a bit strange in that it starts looking like it's going to be a 3-key hub map, but then you pick up all three keys in one linear journey and just use them each to do a single switch? Okay. I also remember that I was lost for a long time during my first play, not realizing that the final switch had raised the step to get over the outer ledge. (Reverie is often a little too subtle for its own good, is my general feeling.) The archie here felt rather superfluous and stupidly easy to take out. (I'm sure that will change!) And I didn't realize it was named for the shape of the map until it was remarked upon above. Hunh. MAP07: Lazarus 16:03 | 100% Everything The level name made me worry there were going to be a bunch of viles here. (Phew!) Anyway, it's a weird map. Very corridor-crawly to begin (boo overhead chaingunners!) and then it just tosses you into the most interesting part of the map. I was weak (I think I had taken a dumb rocket hit from an earlier revvie) and when I found my self facing a manc I bolted--right into a row of shotgunners and a knight. Eep! Keep running: another batch of the same! Keep running: ditto. I was down to 10% health at this point, and ended up just running circles around the outside track potshotting the mancs and HKs until things were clear. Headed into the center and recognized the arena from my previous play years ago, whereby I retreated again. Found the megasphere secret, allowing me to clear out at least one platform, but then I played poorly and lost half of that taking out the other rev/manc turrets. Boo. And speaking of boo, the final section was booooring: just zapping a few walls of spiders? (At least I made it interesting/stupid by deciding to SSG them. Oops.) Anyway, not a great map, but that central arena is at least memorable. The last 6+ minutes were spent hunting for that final secret, which, once I had finally given up, I randomly discovered...right at the exit. #Facepalm
  13. Replaying Reverie (on UV for the first time) for the DWMC. Also, last night I started in on 2002: A Doom Odyssey (Anniversary Edition), which is a lot of fun, but man. A lot of secrets seem to be of the unmarked wall-humping variety, most egregious thus far being the secret exit from E1M3, which I only found via IDDT.
  14. MAP04: Divine Judgement 37:53 | 100% Kills | 66% Items | 71% Secrets A sprawling adventure appears! Doomguy used SSG! It's super effective! Sadly, this Doomguy did not find the SSG (or RL) until secret-hunting after clearing all the baddies out. The backpacks were nice to get, though. Otherwise it was all shotgun/chaingun action, plus the occasional chainsawing of a pinkie to conserve. Ammo was pretty tight; I would alternate between guns as my shells or bullets began running low. And the pace was frenetic from the get-go. I was running for my life early on, and at one point was down to 9% health, sneaking around corners and trying to snipe monsters before I could get got. Fun times. Those secrets tho! I am seriously having Metal Mansion PTSD flashbacks over here. I missed two. One was the start area berserk (I hate you for not letting me go back into the starting area once leaving it, VF) and the other? No clue. But I got the near-invisible switch installed inside the back of a pillar! >:( And lot of "hit a switch and run around the corner and up the stairs and through the door"-style secrets (or, in the case of the yellow key, mandatory progression!) which I absolutely loathe, because as a pure keyboarder those are just so difficult. I do have to confess I loved the teleporter secret near the yellow key, once I figured it out: hit the switch, run up the stairs, sit on the YK wall so it stays lowered, open the door and get back to the YK wall, then dash back out and down the hall to the teleporter. Just a bunch of shotguns for all that work, but I have a feeling I'll need the shells later on!
  15. MAP03: Cup of Wrath 11:23 | 100% Everything Yep, pretty much a linear romp. Fun, though. My time is as high as it is simply because I would go in guns blazing, take some potshots, and then backtrack to refill health and ammo. The copy/paste bridges were a little weird, but at least didn't occur enough to be tiresome. And the marked two-way teleporters are a neat thing.