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About Capellan

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  1. MAP06 This is more like it. There's still a lot of trap based gameplay but the level switches up the tempo and the stratagems a lot more than map05 did. I liked both the archvile encounters, as they provided a good mix of cover options and riff-raff for the vile to rez. Heck, I even liked the revenant ambush, and revenant ambushes are about the most overdone thing in PWADs. I also liked that depending how you progressed through the level, you had genuine chances to bushwhack monsters, rather than the other way 'round. Map looks great, but that's pretty much to be expected at this point in the WAD. There's an area in the eastern part of the map that has been fully detailed, but isn't actually accessible by the player. Jan has employed it as a source of teleporting monsters, but given the attention to texturing and layout, I figured there must be a juicy story behind it. And then I started map07 and realised that it's from that map, so it's just for transition purposes. Not so juicy after all! :)
  2. MAP05 Not as much a fan of this one. Lots of teleport-trap based gameplay, which for me tended to choke up the flow as it seemed better to advance cautiously, constantly checking behind me. Looks-wise, it is another nice map, though perhaps a bit too corridor heavy. It felt like I spent almost all my time in 128-wide spaces and even when we did get rooms, many of them were only 256 or so across (or had movement constraints that kept them more narrow in gameplay than they look on the map). Having a few more open spaces and a few less hallways would probably have helped.
  3. It's 10 armor bonuses, for the record :)
  4. MAP04 Some of the progression in this map is a bit more obtuse than I generally like, but I somehow never actually found myself getting stuck. It was always fairly intuitive that "oh I climb on those boxes now" or "somehow I think I need to use that computer there". It does get some negative points for the unmarked key door though. Naughty map maker! This is a gorgeously intricate place, with many moments where you find yourself with a fresh view of a previous location, or stumble into a place you glimpsed earlier. The texturing is rock solid, the outdoor vistas are swell ... basically it's a place that I can enjoy simply walking around in, in game, even when I am not shooting hellspawn. Gameplay-wise it is solid, if not quite as deserving of accolades as the visuals. I do think the combat tends to be a little too direct, and the SSG+backpack feels like it really ought to have been delivered with a lot more fanfare than just being tucked away in a closet like it is. That's something we should have had to fight off at least a small fight of cacos for, or at least had a revenant guarding it.
  5. MAP03 I got involved in Darkening 2 pretty late, after returning from one of my semi-regular breaks from Doom. Most of the levels were largely done by the time I even knew the project existed. I was impressed by what I saw from the map makers, and signed up to participate. Neither ammo nor health starvation is likely to be a problem for anyone on this map. There are plenty of bullets and shells to pick up from the enemies, and lots of stim packs scattered around. Difficulty is pretty light all around, really. Unless you get yourself mobbed at the base of the big slow lift, you probably won't even break a sweat. Certainly 2-3 revs or a trio of HKs aren't going to present much challenge to the average modern player (though many of you may prefer to skip the tedium of dealing with the HKs, and I can't say I would blame you). Even today, I am happy with the way this map looks. There are a few things I would do differently today; mostly in sprucing up the outdoor areas to have more structures of different heights; but it overall looks nice. I like the vertical lights mounted on the walls, and the various beams and columns of rusty metal. The latter are a bit reminiscent of Requiem map11's "pipes" maybe, but I like them anyway. Like my MM2 map (and unlike all the Demonfear maps), this level was designed organically. I started from the mental picture of the water channels with rusty arches over them, and then just kind of fleshed things out as I went. Not sure why I decided that a bunch of slow, switch-activated lifts were a good idea, but apparently I did. I also don't remember if the key locations were inspired by having played Ola's map01 or not, but I'd say it was pretty likely, even if it wasn't conscious. The placement behind crates and being accessible by ledges are pretty similar, after all. Man, I like the Darkening 2 textures. They're awesome.
  6. MAP02 Another nice looking tech base. I particularly liked the 'ladder'. Feels rather small after the surprisingly sprawling map01, but packs a much more up tempo brigade of baddies in its halls. I suspect a little aggression is warranted in pistol start, as you are really going to want that chaingun. Health scarcity is a major component of the challenge here, and efficient handling of the hitscanners is important. The bigger enemies later are much more easily dealt with, as the layout is relatively cover-friendly. Got stuck for a minute or two with the yellow key, before I thought to just try 'using' the post on which it was placed :)
  7. PrBoom+, HMP, Continuous, Frequent Saves, No Music. I played this WAD when it first came out, and then at least once again later, so I have much more concrete (heh) memories of its overall style and gameplay than I do the first. MAP01 Not your usual map01. Ola's offering has a lot more real estate than the norm, and employs all three keys. Which may be one more than it really needed, to be honest. It's not a map to hold your hand in terms of the monsters, either. Ammo is tight overall, and in the opening section you're frankly much better off ignoring the imps until you've been inside the base and geared up a little. Conversely, Ola does do a pretty good job of giving you non-verbal instructions on how to find the keys. Old Yellow is concealed behind a crate at first, but plainly visible once you get to a more distant walkway. "Look behind crates" is the message here, and it's one to which you really better listen. The map looks great, though if I recall correctly this is the tech-basiest level set this side of BTSX E1, so you may get tired of the Quake 2-esque corridors and rooms by the time we are done. The double-switch exit with caco is probably the only real bum note in this map, for my tastes. It's an exercise in tediously pistol-whipping the old flying tomato monster through the briefly appearing gaps, while it harmlessly spits fireballs into the remaining parts of the barrier.
  8. One reason I'm glad we are unlikely to do Demonfear for the club is how many maps there'd be where my commentary was "well, this kinda sucks" :)
  9. MAP11 Oh hey, it's my map. Looks-wise, I'm pretty happy with it. Not sure the "the secrets are done in tech while the rest of the place is medieval" idea works all that way, but I like the gimmicky unveiling of the megasphere, the compred details, and some of the other little visual touches. As far as gameplay goes, it certainly has its issues. The linearity I can live with, since it's not of a kind that requires a lot of backtracking. I even quite like that it asks you to do a quick hop across the main hall to get to the red door, since that's a reminder of the main hall right before you are teleported back for the final battle. On the other hand a lot of the combat's a bit meh. Turreted barons and HKs isn't exactly dynamic, especially given how long you wait for the SSG and RL. I do like the loop around and leap to the red key, though. Hopefully the player has spotted the key earlier and has an "aha!" moment there. The cyberdemon is laughably easy to cheese, especially on continuous, and that's exactly what I did. I'd forgotten the final monster in the exit room, but let's face it, he's just there as a road block to make it harder for the player to just skip ol' cyb.
  10. MAP10 I like some of the cacodemon use in this, as their ability to drift down from above or behind and give you a surprise is employed. It's also a technically slick map, with the Quake-ish lifts and the use of fake ceilings to create light effects that only apply at ground level. That exit, though ... it's rather abrupt and unmarked. Not a fan of that.
  11. MAP09 Big black mark for the rocket launcher sort-of-secret, which is nonsense. Just slap a support3 texture on the lift, or put the teleporter at an accessible level to begin with, and it'd be fine, but as is: just awful. Other than that, it's a decent little "corrupted tech base" map. I liked how the slits in the walls make the blind nukage run not actually blind: it gives you some idea of the layout and what you're aiming for. The baron and caco fights are also pretty good fun, with the close quarters applying more pressure than you'd normally get from those beasties. It's interesting, actually, how minimally the new Doom 2 monsters tend to be used in The Darkening. Apart from a couple of arachnotrons and chaingunners, this could easily be an OG Doom map, and quite a lot of the levels we've played so far have been similarly oriented toward the classic monster palette. Map07 is obviously something of an exception, but even then it's comparatively restrained.
  12. I love line limit restrictions because you have to really think about how and why you layout your map. I don't use fancy tricks like unclosed sectors though. I'm too vanilla for that :)
  13. Well there you go! Now we just need traversd and NiGHTMARE to pop by and we'll have an almost complete project reunion :)
  14. MAP08 It's not too hard to pick that this by the same guy as map03. The unnecessary fascination with 64-wide corridors is in full effect once more, for one thing. In fact, the whole map feels like it's full of unnecessary corridors of varying widths. You're constantly mowing down hordes as they come wandering around corners in front of you, or jamming up at doorways in front of you, etcetera. There is nice use of Archviles again, as there was in map03, but they're about the only monsters that get used well. The tedious meat wall of demons with the AVs, for instance, is kind of pointless. Having a few of them and a few spectres and a mix of roaming imps or troopers would make combat in that area more dynamic. I'm a bit leery of the use of computer banks as switches these days, at least for mandatory progression. I'd much rather an actual switch. Also, that is some awful crate climb design that this map has. It's way finicky and also looks like ass.
  15. MAP07 Despite the unpromising map name, this is a rather less cloney Dead Simple clone than the average. We've got a much more base-like layout, and a variety of other monsters to mix up the mancubus and arachnotron battles. Sometimes said other enemies are actually very handy for obstructing the "main course" monsters, in fact. Visually this is probably the most un-Darkening map so far, with a fair amount of brown1 around the place to give it a much more techbase feel than the average level in the wad. There are some engine tricks at play to give the impression of true 3d in places, too. I'm not sure they were really worth the effort. Found all the secrets in this map, but one of them wouldn't register for some reason. I think it was the one that's not really a secret, when you grab the red key. Speaking of exits, the final act of this one – grab the red key, go upstairs to flick a switch, return downstairs to kill the final boss monster – is a weak effort. I'm especially amused to see in DB2 that the 'easy' difficulty enemy is a revenant, when on HMP I got a hell knight. I'd suggest that a much more substantial enemy count was needed for this final fling. Not sure what the point of the switch to close you inside the chaingun secret was.