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Sui Generis

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About Sui Generis

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  1. Sui Generis

    What was the first custom wads you have played?

    I found it was possible to make Doom levels after it seeing being highlighted on the TV show, Bad Influence, back in the 90s. However the earliest pwads I played were limited to ones with batch files, because I think I only had Doom 2 and I mustn't have known how to use the command line or the appropriate command in dos to load the wads. As such the earliest pwads I played after repeated searches and finding the idgames archive, were a slightly weird trio of levels called the Altair series, and more prominently, Dimensions of Time. They aren't that great (particularly the Altair levels) but as they were among the first I played, and playing totally new doom levels seemed absolutely amazing, I loved them. Later I had Final Doom and was able to use Doom95 to load pwads. I therefore also tried this oddball set by Malcolm Sailor, Realm of Chaos and The Twilight Zone, the former of which I still quite like. I was aware of Doomworld at the time and the forum, but was not particularly interested in 'putting my face out' and preferred to just play Doom levels. Also it meant I still did not know about source ports and boom, so this meant some of the pwads I found weren't playable. Finally after intermittently playing pwads in this fashion I decided to look again into Doom around the time when I went to university in 2004ish - I found the Doomworld top 100 and learned about source ports, and then later started noticing newstuff, and it went from there. Oh and for fun, here is the TV show clip I mentioned showing Doom level editing (starting @ 1min 40 seconds)
  2. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP07 - Unfeeling - 0/0 Secrets This is not a Dead simple clone, but to me it feels as though it may aswell be. The successive manc, then arachnotron wave trope may not be strictly in play here, but the principle of arena based combats is still intact, and there's only a limited 'Unwelcome' type twist with the teleporting monsters in the first arena. The rest is quite conventional, with some good uses of arch-viles and revenants to get the player moving. The final arena leading to the return to start/'The deed is done' switch is quite crowded and @galileo31dos01 mentioned previously, infighting in MBF/comp 11 isn't as effective as the monsters revert to targeting the player if too many target another monster. Nonetheless I held off from firing for a time as I tried to get the mancs to damage the knights, and even though I found it ok to dodge around the crowd, this wasn't very effective at thinning them out like it would be in vanilla infighting compatibility. The last release of archies is ok but has less scope for resurrections than you might have feared - I agree with @galileo31dos01 that door-camping when returning to the starting area trivialises many of them. It's an ok non-map07 style map07 I suppose. MAP08 - Unwelcome - 1/5 Secrets initially, subsequently found all 5. Whew, this is an epic final map, with vast open space between the playable areas and an almost hypnotic kinetic ballet of raining distant caco projectiles from the tower turrets. Unlike TheOrganGrinder I didn't make much of an attempt at thinning out the caco towers as I presumed it would be too costly to be practical and also felt as though they were intentionally not meant to be shot. Other than the odd sheltered breathing spot, you pretty much need to stay constantly on the move. The progression in the map is mostly quite simple, albeit long. I approached the red key first, and found the revenant trap to be very well (too well?) signposted - with the shrieking emanating from the big door-less structures and the lone innocuous switch I cannot see who wouldn't be - and when it came the trap was less effective than expected due to the limited amount of access points opening to permit them to egress. I naturally strafe-ran back to the sheltered part and found that only some of the revvies were able to come out, so after they were dealt with the remainder could be dealt with piecemeal, defraying the danger of the trap. The subsequent archie trap was far more damaging however. Strangely, the blue key quest is very short and simple, with some mancs that cannot shoot you over some low walls/rocks but you can happily camp and corner snipe or shoot over the top with impunity. The large interior beyond the key switches is fun, with a sweeping corridor with a revenant horde which was great fun rocketing and forcing me to concentrate more intensely. The one secret I initially discovered round here with the invulnerability was used up naively before I got to this point - incidentally the visual effect really messes up the players vision whilst in operation, as you'd expect. The other secrets I found later, and agree with @galileo31dos01 that they are pointless: the revenant health potions and nearby rocket box I had already seen but ignored as I didn't want to have to slime run to a teleporter to get back up - quite a bizarre false economy, imo. Finally, the concluding area with the icon of sin is a great use of low-light levels and non-mapping areas a la map04, in keeping with the wad's theme of eyes and of vision being degraded. The transition from the bright, blue first part of the map to the dark red latter section really helps also. In spite of the non-mapping, I still found the automap helpful for marking switches to try and make clearer to me once I'd done a circuit and to know if I might have missed something, though I guess simple wall following ought to work too. The use of this whilst the icon is busy spawning distractions is a great use of a monster that is difficult to use originally and something that deserves plaudits in it's own right. Overall this is a good and satisfying conclusion to the wad, albeit a tiring one. The lack of an ending text is not normally an issue in a random level set, though in something more polished with such a strong theme like this is more noticeable and I personally think might have been fitting. However I'm sympathetic to @TheOrganGrinder's view that it leaves you wondering what happened. Certainly starting off in regular Doom 2 Map09 but with the palette and no music is a slightly disorienting twist on the familiar - something the map set holds as it's stock in trade, which I guess is fitting.
  3. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    So I really dropped off the radar with this one - real life intervened as I was at a friend's wedding last weekend, and that probably did for my motivation, even though Map03 encouraged me to think I could keep pace owing to it being quite trivial. I do want to make a bigger bite into Unwelcome than just the first three maps though - sooo here comes the wall of text! MAP03 - Unhuman - 1/2 Secrets This is quite a short and rather less interesting map than before - essentially just a pair of brief side key quests followed by a progressive monster warp in concluded by a cyb. The red door quest is straightforwards but includes a secret I missed - backtracking is prevented so I couldn't clear the level and find it on my continuous playthrough (though I found it when pistol starting). The blue key has a trap with revvies and chaingunners, but is most remarkable to me for the pillar hopping puzzle, although puzzle is the wrong term since it's immediately apparent what to do, just a bit of a pain as my timing/jumping was off, so I took a long time to pass it on the first playthrough. The final warp in can be as simple as staying alive till the exit opens, by circling to dodge projectiles whilst picking off the hitscanners and then leaving the cyb. Or if 100% is sought, then there is sufficient ammunition to do so, though I sought to use infighting to help with this. It's a lot more like a standard doom level, only less substantial and sadly more gimmicky than conceptual. The bichrome theme doesn't seem to be up to very much. MAP04 - Unbound - 3/3 Secrets I broadly agree with @TheOrganGrinder that this map mainly seems like a shortish conventional map with a funky palette rather than a part of a concept wad - like the last map. The dark part after the switch with the revvies and hell nobles was quite different though as the pressure to move and dodge the revvie fire really makes the obstruction of the hell nobles more relevant, although with hindsight I might simply have just gone more aggressively after one of the revvie towers and then the others can be rocketed/chaingunned as needed and you are safe from the nobles. One of them had a light amp too. The blue key archie trap can catch you out a little first time if you blunder into it and don't scrupulously take out the nearby cacos and spectre before grabbing it. Not a terrible map, but I'm not seeing much to it beyond the novelty palette. MAP05 - Unspeakable - 1/2 Secrets This map also lacks the puzzley element of the first two levels. I quite liked the initial opening vista with the somewhat creepy pair of eyes showing the way to proceed (or at least seeming to.) The rest of the map is a kind of odd mixture of cavern/hell/tech and it is quite non-orthogonal, with a sort of central hub area that the layout revolves itself around (it does put me quite in mind of Witness of Time, in fact), and a nearby trap area with several teleport ins too. Most of the teleport traps weren't too bad - I found the drop into the revenants, knights and cacos on pillars with the soulsphere to be rather more nasty. The archie after that area is quite tame as there is plenty of cover and the concluding trap after opening the blue key door gifts the player with the plasma rifle if it wasn't already available, so the AV there can be fairly painlessly neutered. There are some good contrasts between dark, muted areas and the bright flesh area with the blue key, or the manc water area, as TheOrganGrinder also noted. I found the switch closet secret to be quite apparent, but have not spotted the other one. MAP06 - Undying - 2/2 Secrets So this is the reason why I've been playing this wad! Now so far, other than the first two levels of the set, I have felt the maps have been rather desultory, conventional affairs with a funky palette rather than anything particularly conceptual. Other than the ending of map04 they haven't been exceptionally remarkable either as puzzle/concept levels or as conventional ones - I was unsure whether I felt like continuing with the wad. This map however really makes up for the others. Feeling like some kind of bizarre cross between Gotcha, Industrial Zone and perhaps The Living End (or a scaled up E4M2) in a slightly Monti-esque texture scheme, this is a great and relatively epic open map, with plenty of exposed areas that (initially) put you in sight of lots of incoming fire from multiple angles - there is the central cyb, mancs and the balletic plasma streams of distant arachnotrons all there to add to the fun. It demands that you get moving and look for safer areas with cover, quickly - but of course on initially playing then you don't know where the safer areas are and just have to run and improvise as best as you can, at least for a short while at the start. I like this sort of pressure to dive into the map, as it makes harder to be too methodical in playing and adds a little bit of excitement. It did start to cool down quite quickly once I hit the blue key switch, as the cyb then became free to be lured into infighting the hell nobles and then some of the arachnotrons so it could then be dispatched fairly promptly thereafter. Once the initial cohort of unfriendlies hits the dust the map becomes a lot more settled. This is by no means a bad thing, as even though I liked the dangerous crossfire of the start it's good and satisfying to earn yourself a breather; however I do feel that a monster repopulation part way through wouldn't have gone amiss. As I took the blue key fairly late (I like to explore what I can before using rad suits) I didn't come to the combination puzzle until I had visited much of the map already. As others mentioned figuring out what the clues are as you progress is half the battle, and I at first was a bit slow as I initially expected the main map to change a la map02. I did subsequently make the connection between the colour coded clues and the puzzle though and then backtracked round the level to the obvious clues, but by that point it had been some time since I picked up the red key and I had forgotten that two of the clues where other there. As that section was marked not to map for some reason then I didn't see return to them for awhile, leaving me with just 6 out of 8 parts of the sequence, though I did ultimately find them. It's a great puzzle and very satisfying once you do finally crack it. The reward of the BFG swiftly finds use, although I paid for my reticence in using it when the archie came in. Overall this is a fun and clever map that works well as both a conventional and puzzle level and for me is definitely the highlight of the wad thus far. Two thumbs up for this one.
  4. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP02 - Unknowable - 2/2 Secrets So this map feels slightly more conventional and more recognisably Doomy compared with the last one, except of course for the shootable switch puzzle theme running through it. The two colours of Unknown are employed in double doors that must be gunfire-switched by firing from the other side to flip them and permit passage. It's a pretty clever idea and is satisfying to puzzle through. Normally I'm a bit sceptical of puzzle maps, as sometimes they tend to be (in my opinion) a cover for inscrutable, poorly discernible progression, but this case is entirely the opposite. It requires thought but is unlikely to pose a problem for many people - it's just good, well thought out fun. Combat is generally small scale, with there being little in the way of incidental fighting, which is to be expected in a concept wad. However some of the fights can catch you off guard, for example the two revenant welcoming party early on which pistol starters must fight with the berserk, and like @TheOrganGrinder I also lost unnecessary extra health at the pain elemental/sergeants/lost souls section - damn those dratted PEs. There are also a few revvies along the way with attendant risk of a health smashing accident if you're dodging goes wrong and the RNG plays hard ball. There is a useful secret plasma rifle although it's only available late in the level. At the exit switch the blocking cyb is near a crusher which I noted is in the general direction of the secret plasma rifle room. I assumed this wasn't a coincidence and there must be a puzzley solution, so instead of fighting it I woke the monsters and then took the cowards conservative way out and teleported back to the plasma rifle room, and went for a cup of tea whilst waiting for the cyb to be squished! I like to presume that was intentional and a designed solution though, as otherwise I would feel shamefully cheesy. Still I got to keep all the plasma and armour for the next level though. It was actually quite relaxing really what with the soothing music, notwithstanding the angry mechanical stomping and occasional agonised screams of the cyb, of course. Fun, clever map!
  5. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    Now on to Unwelcome. I think we're all actually a bit behind schedule now if it was supposed to start on the 20th? Not that it matters. I guess this way does cut down on the dead period at the end of the month. I play UV continuous with saves in PRBoom+ MAP01 - Unforgiven - 4/4 Secrets I'm slightly bewildered - this is a rather unusual and very conceptual episode. The new palette turns down the colour to virtually monotone levels, but pumps up and lightens the blues and reds. This is immediately highlighted in the starting room with it's greyed out concrete textures, all familiar in the mind from their many years of play and yet wrong. These are juxtaposed against the suddenly vibrant fireblu. It's undoubtedly a unique aesthetic. As you progress out into the level. the usual kinds of things I think I like in a map seem to matter less - the relevance of texturing drops, it looks as though as the map would look quite simple in normal circumstances, but with the volume turned down, then instead lighting and contrast with the highlights comes to the fore. The gentle music reinforces this and adds to the surreal quality of the map. The gameplay is more familiar, but potentially quite top-heavy and ammo starved initially - at one point I had used up most of my shells on a hell knight and had to resort to chainsawing a revenant. However I also respect @TheOrganGrinder's take, that it's fitting for the player's initial steps to be subject to some confusion and difficulty; however a bit like the fog of tiredness lifting after one awakens from sleep things do start to come together, weapons and ammo are found, and the progression method with floor switches raising stairs becomes apparent and intuitive (thanks to the first being so nearby). Most of the map is indoors, but the one small outdoor view of the sky and the river is a colour explosion after all the drabness and takes a moment for the eyes to adjust - naturally this is flanked by a pair of open eyes. There's also an amusing secret involving 2 keys, whose pay-off is a single health potion(!) - I had the feeling that the map was toying with me. Finally, the exit switch as already described by TheOrganGrinder is essentially a gimmick, but in the context of this wads style, it was perfectly appropriate, until I was then forced back into briefly wandering around in confusion again until I stumbled on the actual exit.
  6. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    E2M7 - “Hunt ‘em Highnlow” 3/3 Secrets I haven't played the High/Low series which this map belongs to (I probably should) but straight-away the gimmick of contrasting high and low places comes out, and recurs through the level. Anyway, this map came across to me as a sort of 'junior' and lower ambition version of the previous map. As before it consists of a good few medium-smallish rooms, with the odd slightly larger area mixed in, but with nothing like M5. You rarely get the run of any of the larger spaces though, as they tend to have nukage in, so in effect they are functionally still like small areas - in general this map is pretty constrained and gated. E2M6 was generally smoother flowing and easier to pass through the differing map areas, with more ways of getting around due to non-linearity and routes being a little less tight and more free-wheeling. The layout is quite clever though, as you consistently find that after collecting a key a map part opens up and deposits you neatly near to the relevant key door. A hiccup occurred for me with the blue key switch though as that was slightly less blatantly obvious and it's location wasn't salient enough to stick in my mind upon initial visit, so I went off in the wrong direction for awhile. But that's arguably more my fault than that of the level. Combat is also reminiscent of the last level, but seems more of a steady drip-feed, with fewer stand out traps and moments, although my continuous arsenal probably will have affected that perception. Traps in general seem more contained and gentle, with nothing like the big pinkie charge from the last map. Also, few of the traps had as much of the close quarter danger and intensity of the fights in E2M2 either. The second teleporting baron is a good exception and it surprised me (as it did for @Magnusblitz) - so the tight choreography works well for that, and the invulnerability berserk punch-up was fun too. The secrets are neat as always, and the megaarmour was for me the cleverest, as my initial presumption was that it must be accessible by Doom parkour, but it wasn't. So a good subversion of expectations. Overall, I'm sympathetic to @TheOrganGrinder's suggestion that this level is perhaps a little bit too designed and maybe even stilted for it's own good. Like a less free-flowing version of E2M6, but less epic in ambition and the showcase fights being less remarkable, or less intense than E2M2. However recall I do like E2M6 so perhaps that's just my preferences rather than anything with the level. Either way it's still a fundamentally fun level of course. E2M8 - “Domain of Evil” 0/0 Secrets After a brief panic moment at the start we go into a boss level stock up room (TM) with in fairness what is a pretty spectacular initial reveal of the boss arena structure. I won't comment too much about 4 cyb fight, as TheOrganGrinder and Magnus have it covered other than to note it's interesting that you get the choice to decide when/if to release the cybs from their vantage points. I personally elected to release fairly early (after lobbing a good few rockets at the imps), as the cyb release platforms themselves actually make a pretty good hideaway that you can teleport between. After doing that a few times (having already led the cybs to hit some of the cacos first) the monsters kept getting caught in crossfires and had largely been finished off by infighting. That neatly left the 4 cybs to be BFG'd. It's a pretty fair boss map as far as they go, with variation on a theme rather than a revolution. Personally I like boss fights that cap a big normal map, like the last level of Nihility, from the club's June playthrough, doing particularly well in my book. My position is that a boss level appended to a good finale living end type normal level has scope to be more interesting and enjoyable. After all, most levels doomers play are non-boss, non-map07 types, so why not make use of the last map slot of a wad accordingly? Some brief overall thoughts on Monument It's been nice to play through an E2 set with the club that is of such consistently good quality and looks throughout, although that consistency also applies to the mapping style too. I find it notable that everyone seems to have particularly liked E2M5 - Chasm Control as it provided such a change from the other maps and for me was refreshingly open. I personally would like to see a few more larger spaces mixed into future maps by the author, and perhaps try sometimes painting with broad brush strokes. With maps like E2M7 in particular I found that map generally tight, but also the texturing was at times quite busy, with things like vines near sladwalls for example. I can't help but wonder if a dash of minimalism here and there might help the more richly detailed parts, by helping them to stand out. Secrets and gameplay in the episode have both been well done throughout and this combined with the new palette really does show this episode as a pretty damn professional and solid 'product', which I've had fun with.
  7. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    Yeah, I thought that that early caves part had a hint of early map to it. I'm quite surprised that my other hunch though about the spiral shaped lava channel in the south west of the initial area was wrong. Also the eastern slime tunnel and blue skull key area look quite similar in the original version. It's really quite interesting to see the two side-by-side in the editor shot though - there's definitely several of the same structures in there but I can make out from the editor view that they have noticeably changed. Thanks for sharing! E2M9 - “The End?” 1/1 Secrets Here be your Fortress of Mystery remake right here - the map is naturally more interesting, as would be the case with practically any remake of that map, though it doesn't go in with the big geometric shapes like the original. This makes the concept more substantive by having multiple waves of monster releases which build up fairly nicely. Of these, I found the second wave (on the promontory containing the plasma rifle) to actually be quite frustrating, as in addition to having to deal with the lost souls and cacos, there are several sniping sergeants that warp in behind which kept taxing my health several times each time I would strafe which caused me to die initially. With hindsight I might simply have ran ahead off of the promontory and just manoeuvred in relative safety around the opposite end of the map near the megaarmour, as @galileo31dos01 did. Similarly, teleporting sergeants were the source of most damage (albeit to a far smaller degree) in the first wave too shortly after you immediately enter the arena - luckily once that's done you can at least take out the bombarding imps on ledges and the like, making tackling the rest of the map waves piece-wise more simple. I did quite like the last release with the lost souls cacoswarm, as that offered a pure opportunity to mix it up with the monsters and foment a bit of infighting with the barons, once the lost souls are chaingunned, plus you can gather up the cacos for everyone's favourite pastime of rocketing cacoswarms. Otherwise, I agree pretty much entirely with what @TheOrganGrinder said - it's a moderately diverting, but somewhat desultory map, the type of which I wouldn't get excited about replaying. It does however provide a good opportunity for a continuous restock with the megaarmour and soulsphere though. E2M6 - “Smash It!” 5/5 Secrets And this would be the second map from rip it, tear it, smash it - a personal favourite of mine which I remember well. In it's original release, this followed on from E2M1 of this set, and although the balance has been adjusted, I still think that there is a more noticeable build up in opposition, from lower-level monsters to gradually more difficult encounters, which it retains from it's roots as a kind of finale map to a mini episode. Although the map is among the earlier constructed ones in the set, it seems to be at a transitional stage in Chris Hansen's mapping, between the 2002 ADO based E2M2 and the more recent wailing halls maps (M3 and M4), as although it is still quite rooms and corridors based, there is more of a mixture of larger spaces brought in, eg. the red key room and the latter slime walkway areas. This map is quite non-linear too, with the three paths to take at the start letting you choose the order and angle from which you approach fights. And with the well woven interconnections and overlooks as noted by @TheOrganGrinder you do get some windows to pick off several monsters remotely. I feel that this map is a little bit more ambitious in some ways than some of the other maps, and for me gave some more memorable moments. The big teleport in of demons in the south after you first obtain the chaingun (if pistol starting) comes to mind as pretty cool - I love the whole back to the wall, grit your teeth chaingun overheating, desperate defence type of sentiment there. I could have used my continuous chainsaw (I initially missed the berserk secret) but I figured I'd get into the spirit of the map a bit more. Also the ending battle and the monster closets with lost souls dotted about which open after collecting the red key, was a pretty atmospheric way of hinting that the level has taken a more evil turn. Indeed, although none of these are necessarily super deadly traps, I really like the sense of atmosphere in this level, with the constantly moody and contrasting lighting, the progression from techy elements through the marble area near the yellow key bars, then seeing more flesh/tech near the red door and then that rather cool guts/warped area, to the part of the techbase which appears to be dimensionally ruptured altogether, with the no access sign being a rather understated why of suggesting to the player that that is a very fucked up part of the level as though this is perhaps where the UAC's teleportation experiments originally occurred, and went wrong (and the appropriate consequences of venturing past it). Really, sticking with the point of atmosphere I think the music on this map, although good in and of itself, is misplaced. If I recall in it's first release this map used something like iwad E2M2 music - this is the kind of level which I think profits vastly more from a creepy, suspenseful track than a more driving, quick one as is employed here. I do respect that monument isn't simply a repackaging of old levels and the author wanted to put a fresh stamp on the maps, but that's one thing which I think would have been better leaving as is. Anyway after all of these things the player finally traverses the marble and vine walkways over slime, with good use of warping snipers, cacos (although in both cases you can run back, and the snipers are fairly slow to teleport and come as a drip feed, rendering them more a time sink than a danger). The final battle with the barons in close quarters where, absent that precious Doom2 SSG you have to be careful not to get cornered before you can waste them, is cool. In particular if you use the rocket launcher then that part becomes much more interesting. I can't recall if the original release of this omitted the BFG/Plasma rifle but I seem to remember finding the last battle much harder back then. Maybe I was just worse at Doom. Anyway, great level with some excellent design, interconnections, good aesthetic throughout and fun gameplay. Tl;dr - I really liked Rip it, tear it, smash it back in the day.
  8. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    E2M4 - “Hive of the Horde” 7/7 Secrets This is a pretty fun and well laid out map. The chaingun opening wall around the yellow key was clearly going to be a trap, so when it instead opened into the whole upper room and all the monsters started pelting at me it was a good twist which I like. The sheer number of imp fireballs can really hurt if you're not careful as @Magnusblitz said, but the cacos and hitscanners demand your attention more, making the risk of a mishap greater. More noteworthy as the traps go is the one with the timed door and big unveiling of flanking imps, with warping in monsters and cacos, that stands out as a good trap. I also like how it toys with you a little before it kicks in. As you enter it immediately throws you off balance somewhat by short-range teleporting you into the middle of the room, facing the opposite way - I then knew something was afoot, so attempted to retreat through the door by which I first entered only to have it close in front of me and then the trap commenced in earnest. Then when you pick up the key it's followed up by a further trap with more cacos and lost souls - that was all in fun. The layout of the map is pretty cool, with the exit near the start and the area reuse is good: in particular the larger slime area slightly before the return to the exit which gives a temporary change from some of the tighter areas. I'm a little bit unsure why the yellow key needs to be on a lower pillar than all the others, as I think it makes it needlessly less clear so I didn't immediately see it. Perhaps that's just me being faintly dumb though, as it and I cannot see that anyone else had any issue. I guess it didn't particularly cause me any problem really, but it's just a decision that doesn't make sense to me. There are some powerful secrets here, although some I don't know how I triggered. The plasma rife, I cannot recall what I did to make it accessible, and the early berserk secret I mistook for another part of the level and didn't even realise it was a secret that had opened! I'm relieved to see that other people struggled with the BFG secret, as I got really trolled by it - I had cleared the level and found all other secrets, including the two component switches that lower the way, but must've spent the better part of 10 minutes being irritated that I couldn't find it but yet must be so close, haha. In the end persistence paid off and I departed this level very well equipped. I sincerely hope that after all that there won't simply be a BFG freely given in the next level! E2M5 - “Chasm Control” 6/7 Secrets Fortunately for me there wasn't - the BFG on this level was secret. So this map apparently utilises the oldest map base used in this wad, with the original being from 1998. It's interesting as even with the map being apparently massively revamped it does seem to have strokes of cruder mapping still left in. The early caves come across to me a little that way, and particularly the curling promontory in the lava at the initial plateau. I haven't seen the original base map, so I cannot be certain if the parts I perceive as crude really are original, but it does seem that way. @Chris Hansen I'd be curious to know what things are least changed in this map. I was not frustrated by the lava crossings, as I was able to time my run to cross without taking damage. This map is very different to the last ones in that it is so much more open, more like a city map, or Mt Erebus as per @galileo31dos01. The series of small to medium orthogonal rooms of E2M2 is gone and you have the option of first clearing the overlooking imps on ledges, or of simply leaving them to be dealt with as the player clears each building. To an E2 purist, this map is arguably less E2 themed as (with the exception of E2M8) no maps in that episode were set predominantly outdoors, and the closest one comes to such large areas were the mysterious, cavernous interiors of E2M4. But equally, I don't care about that, as there is no E2 standards police and the map is fun and a great change from the earlier ones as is. Indeed it's good to have a level that breaks the style in a wad, as per the comments of @Magnusblitz and The Organ Grinder, and I really appreciated the different buildings and how they all linked together. In some ways, it feels a little more like Doom 2's The Living End, only with a shallow, non-damaging pit, rather than a city map, as the way in which one approaches the buildings is more linear, and the buildings are less self-contained and more interlinked. In particular the teleport to the north east corner blursphere, from whence one accesses a hideaway teleporter back to the raised building and the secret BFG stuck out to me as cool in the way it all interlinked and used the space of the map. I found it surprising how easily accessible the secret exit was, which is not to say that it is highly obvious - indeed I would not have noticed it were it not for the automap - but in principle you can quit the map without having cleared much of it's population, as @TheOrganGrinder (and others) also noted (EDIT: Apparently a switch had to be pressed to open it - still, it remains that you can exit the map easily). I do not hold this against the map though, as the playing of the rest of the map is fun in and of itself rather than simply exiting as swiftly as possible. I found most of the secrets with only the early chaingun one eluding me. I think overall this is a good and enjoyable map, which goes to show that a mapper's earlier, weaker work can still be of value for re-working, but also lending variety in forcing the mapper to adopt a style of mapping they may well have move away from. Also good comment by @galileo31dos01 with the reference to the initial vista - I agree it works great with the new E2 sky.
  9. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    E2M3 - “The Wailing Halls” - 2/3 Secrets (3rd found on replay) This map is more spacious and less rectangular than before - given that M2 was based on an older map you can see the change in mapping style already. The big close quarter traps are gone (well, there's a smaller trap near the beginning but that's it.) and between the central slime hallway that much of the map plays around and the large-ish L-shaped outdoor area, the average room size of the map is bigger too. As a result, I found the gameplay more sedate and easier. That's not to be confused with boring by any stretch, but just there was a lower pressure overall. @Magnusblitz is on point about the hitscanners at the beginning though. The biggest release of monsters (by the switch which raises the crossing to the blue key area) seems flawed - a good number of monsters warp in but you are in ready made cover with the two tech pillars and can quite casually camp out there and handle it with the chaingun or shotty. Other than the odd flanking lost soul you are then basically set and the trap is largely defanged as the majority of monsters file through the narrow entries. That said, a map certainly doesn't need to be difficult or pressure the player to be fun and I did still enjoy that part. I also quite liked the release of shotgunners and cacos in the rock section after the blue armour/lost soul ambush - a little bit of level transformation (even as insignificant as a few pillars lowering) makes the map that little bit more dynamic and helps keep it interesting. The platform hopping crushers section with the troopers was a bit odd and different but ok - it does make that section a little more eerie though if you revisit it after the crushers stop, as I kept getting paranoid whilst hopping across that they would restart and be done for. The secret chainsaw was fairly intuitive and easy to find, but is only available a good way into the map, so it's value to pistol starters is more limited. The blur and energy cell secret I also found, albeit perhaps more by chance/intuition than by my observational skills. I really have to applaud @Chris Hansen though for the soulsphere secret, which eluded me on my continuous playthrough, but on replaying I discovered- a nice clever yet satisfying to find secret there and some good secret hiding by the author. As stated I replayed this map from pistol start after passing continuously and overall I found I enjoyed it more on replaying - the areas to the side of the big(gish) central slime hall were a little bit samey first time around but on replaying I think the map generally flows quite nicely - the author has a habit of if not quite making clear precisely that you've done what you needed to progress, but still guiding you to the point you need to be at (I'm thinking of the aforementioned pillar-crossing switch to the blue key area again) and then you can usually figure out what to do as if you knew what you were doing in the first place. Perhaps given that I am only saying this on a replay it suggests the flow could be more intuitive or better telegraphed though. I sympathise with @Deadwing when saying you are lost, but still making progress!
  10. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    So on to Monument now - it's also good to see others have joined, and that @Steve D will be dying with us. As before, I play UV continuous with saves in PRBoom plus, and as @Chris Hansen has been kind enough to iron out any boom or zdoomisms, I'll be playing CL 3. E2M1 - “Rip and Tear” - 2/2 Secrets This would be the first level from Rip it, Tear it, Smash it, which I recall from the Doomworld top 100 from back in the day. The level is pretty much identical to how I remember it, which is a small, compact and competently made initial level. I always liked how the vertical space in the starting area varied with the snaking double height space looping across and outside of the starting area. Elsewhere we see a gentle, E2M1 homage, where the player runs around an overlooking platform a la the area after the first teleport in the iwad original albeit in smaller scale. It does seem quite a bit more square now on replaying it, but this is probably more noticeable to me than normal because of the 'Nicolas Monti effect'. Gameplay is really simple of course, but competent and slick with the initial wall lowering 'trap' (of sorts) being a neat touch to alter the play dynamic for a moment early on. Thereafter it's pretty gentle, with several little bunches of low level monsters are briskly presented for the player's shotgunning pleasure, generally in procession of course but it's an episode starter map so that's all in order. I agree with @TheOrganGrinder that an earlier placement of the berserk pack may have made sense given the name, but then I guess the name is a reference to the map pack it came with. These are all things that are familiar from previously playing it years ago, however the new palette and sky give it a new set of clothes. In line with @ Magnus @ I'm actually a little ambivalent about the new palette as it seems a little muted, but perhaps that's down to my having played this before and therefore expecting the more gaudy original palette. Certainly a darker look for an E2 theme is far from inappropriate. But yeah, the map was good on first release and is still retains it's charm now - I appreciate the re-use of the starting area (good to make extra use of a part with good architecture) and also the charming little 'press switch to progress' mechanic with the stepping stones to the exit - the kind of simple trope that is pretty trivial and yet satisfying. E2M2 - “Beta Station” - 3/5 Secrets (found all 5 subsequently) This map is far more substantive, but also not that long. The map is mostly rooms and hall-based, with some of the larger rooms acting as focal points. I particularly liked the sort of anteroom containing the yellow key protected door across the slime pit, which stuck out more due to it's size and was a helpful reference point. The decor is nice and E2 ish, with a crusher corridor a la iwad E2M2 and the positioning of the blue key was reminiscent of spawning vats, but otherwise the map broadly does it's own thing and is pretty compact overall. It also feels like it ought to be non-linear, with the choice of whether to go to the slime corridor part early on or not, but it doesn't seem to make too much difference. Although there are plenty of encounters where the monsters are just in front of you, there are several traps which really mix things up a bit, and also a few monsters teleporting behind the player at various points too, so I pretty consistently found myself losing health - that's not to say that there isn't enough, but I first exited having used nearly all of it and still not being 100% so that's a sign of good balance (or poor play by me!). The reveals of monsters in the areas past the yellow door are fun, but also so is the smaller marble room with the red blood round two of the edges prior to the yellow key. I agree with @ Magnus @ about the blue key reveal being a bit unobvious, but also I think that doesn't matter since there's only a limited number of ways to go before you drop down into the slime chamber and lower the monsters, which is generally a good indication that you're doing the right thing. Arguably having the three traps in a row after the yellow key activated door is a little bit much, and might have been better to vary, but this is also a minor (and debatable) point - I suppose it is also fitting to have a tougher build up to the level exit. As with the last map, this is also quite a squarish level, and particularly a lot of the rooms are rectangular and look a bit grid-like on the automap, but no-biggie. I initially found 3 of the 5 secrets but discovered the other two on replaying. The last one I found (the automap one) in particular I shook my head at myself for failing to realise it was accessible before, but it was fun to finally uncover them so thumbs up. Decent, squarish map with nice looks - good job.
  11. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP08 - Taioron - 10/11 Secrets Whew! You guys were serious when you said this was a long map! The map is a little bit overwhelming, both in the quantity of level (ie. the area it covers) but also the scale of many of the areas and structures, with the cavernous corridor areas in the initial building being particularly prominent - they put me in mind of Michael Krause's maps. These areas do not prevail universally, and are contrasted with several comparatively cramped areas. I'm quite grateful for @TheOrganGrinder's precis of the level in the three distinct sections which is a pretty good summary, as otherwise it's a little tough to digest. These areas where the cyb battles take place stood out to me most though, and I will join in @Magnus in complimenting the design of the cyb fight in the yellow key area with the archies - that is an excellent use of monsters to compliment their strengths and complicate dealing with them. I believe the music is tubular bells and I agree with @Magnusblitz that it's atmospheric, although I think this is always going to be limited in a brightly themed mapset like this with such a busy and well-populated map. This map counters my criticism of the previous map about 'gatekeeper' bosses that aren't able to roam or have built-in, easy cover. Here the three cybs do still have cover but are all able to roam their respective areas whilst presenting you with other monsters to deal with - the result is far more interesting than Map07's encounters so well done to Mr Monti for being quick to confound me. It's not all big boss battles though and the quieter, cramped moments in the maze for example or in the side areas in the southern building give a nice variety to play, even if the map is so big they did start to blend into one for me a little bit. The map naturally encourages exploring the slime channel (particularly with the many hidden secrets in Monti's maps), and it struck me after just a little bit of exploration that this would be the key to many of the map's secrets, as indeed it was. Also the teleporters that throw you around the level are also disorientating, but helpful for getting past and then dealing with the spider mastermind on the long catwalk when you have the BFG. Although that brought out in it's own issues in then needing to deal with the Cyb and accomplices near the exit. I don't think I can get this far without having to applaud the epic scope and ambition of this map, although I'm glad that they aren't all present like this as it is a lot. I also appreciate the number and hiding methods of the secrets to hunt for, as by now Monti's methods are becoming more familiar. Good map, although it is a slog, and I wouldn't want to play maps of this length every day. MAP09 - Tears in Caelo - 0/1 Secrets And in contrast to the last map, we have this conclusion, which in spite of the monsterless areas is still quite brief. I respect @TheOrganGrinder's comments about how bizarre the atmosphere is in comparison to most other Doom wads, but I'm starting to think that contrast, and a disregard for convention are Nicolas Monti hallmarks, with contrast in: texture choice; architecture (with the vast coupled with the small) and; the more rocket launcher focused gameplay (in partial rejection of the usual bread and butter shotgun action). Instead of monsters in the earlier parts, we instead get a show case of architecture, with the external two tech towers across the void and (for me) the tall veranda pillars area with the BFG being particularly good looking, although other parts are varied and visually interesting too. The one area of combat prior to the final arena with the zombiemen can actually take a surprisingly significant portion of your health, particularly if you are slow to chaingun your way to the switch; getting your back to the wall and using the alcove of the walls to cut the line of sight for the hitscanners is the most important thing, whereas I made the (essentially irrelevant) mistake of just trying to chaingun a bunch from the centre where you are more exposed. The final fight is a matter of loosening one's BFG trigger finger after the first few riff-raff teleport in and then prioritise the arch-viles and then pain elementals. For me the concern was less so much the resurrections which due to the rate at which fresh enemies were teleporting in resulted in comparatively few additional monsters being added to become BFG'd/victims of infighting but rather the archies' unavoidable attack. It's good to try and stay close to the central pillar as it is quite crucial for breaking line of sight and replenishing the player's health, and being close permits a swift circumnavigation, but it quickly gets crowded so I did tend to take a few AV burns. Probably I needed to be more aggressive with the BFG, really. I didn't hang around too long trying to find the one secret in this map (even though with there being only one then it adds to the desire to find it and gain another 100%) -- after having located the secret in an editor after finishing, I think this was the right choice as I doubt I would have found it. This was an architecturally good looking map, and in some ways a neat send-off, though I agree with @Magnus that the monsterless part was an interesting idea that seemed as though it was trying to portray something, but didn't.
  12. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP06 - Myriads - 6/8 Secrets A much more conventional (in the relative sense) level, being a well designed techbase in a kind of sliced ring doughnut layout. Also contrary to several of Monti's other maps in this wad, there are fewer choices of where to go early on and the map is rather more directed in general - that's not a bad thing necessarily but just a difference I note; it's good to have the variety. Although I respect and agree with @TheOrganGrinder and @Magnusblitz's opinions that the map is E1 style in architecture, though I wasn't specifically getting a Phobos lab vibe from this one. (Indeed I'd be curious to know how TheOrganGrinder saw that). I slightly spoilt the map for myself as I stupidly failed to explore the well-lit chord of the doughnut leading to the yellow key, so I did a few confused laps wondering how to progress - whoops. As with many others, the cyb really caught me by surprise, although that's essentially all it did, as it's easy to back round the corner or drop off the catwalk and you're immediately in cover and ready to start rocketing it at your leisure. Moreover, given the firing angles, the lip of the catwalk often prevents the cyb from being able to hit you, but with the cyb's height, the player is largely able to rocket it with impunity. Surely giving the cyb the run of the larger open area below the catwalk would have made for a better fight, possibly with a few monsters teleporting behind the player on the catwalk to discourage the player from hanging around there. Beyond this I think the map is relatively conventional by Monti's standards - with a few more orthogonal and straight walls, and perhaps a few less interconnecting windows then it could probably have been made by any other mapper as a fairly generic (but competent) E1 map. This is only in the relative sense though and it's still recognisably Monti. Of the secrets I only failed to access the two outdoor areas, with the texture for the earlier one being a bit too non-obvious for me, given the pretty varied texturing in much of this set. The second remained a mystery to me even after looking in an editor, though I see how it would be done now. Good casual map to stand in as a breather. MAP07 - Sol Y Verde - 4/6 Secrets This would be another entry into the bright, open-ish and cheery map style of this set a la Map03 and 5 - this time the map is structured vaguely in a sort of flat-ish reduced scale city style, with much off the map accessible from the outset and a need to search for weapons (if pistol starting), somewhat like map01. It put me more in mind of Mount Erebus though, than any of the more sprawling Doom2 city maps. Monti's signature overlooking windows connecting sectors are present here with the need to systematically extinguish the hit scanners and monsters contained therein before starting to get the keys and proceed with the map. There are a couple of pretty good traps: for example at the switch granting access to the blue key (which as per @Salt-Man Z and @Magnusblitz I visited first), with a warp in of revenants in a tight, slightly curving hallway - dodging their rockets becomes pretty difficult and I had to spam rockets and suffered some damage; similarly the revenant release in the spectre pit was pretty hairy with the chaingun and trying to manoeuvre to keep them close enough to encourage their melee attack, without actually being punched, although with hindsight I probably would have been fine with the plasma gun. Beyond this, the combat actually felt fairly casual and gentle: the arch viles were employed with cover, both in the one in the building and another outside from which the buildings are simple enough to hide behind. The two cybs (and indeed the mastermind) have 'gatekeeper' roles in that they are positioned in fairly constrained ways that force you to deal with them to enter or leave an important area. This makes some sense from a progression point of view, but does cut down on their gameplay role to mere roadblocks as there is generally ample cover, so you can casually corner-camp them at your leisure, but as it's difficult to close them for a BFG double-shot, dealing with them degenerates into a time-consuming grind with rockets. This would be fine, except because of the cover the player isn't in much danger, other than splash damage if the repetition makes the player sloppy. This is more like a drill than a danger and a tad tedious - I am generally much of a fan of letting boss monsters roam, or having other monsters around to complicate the combat. The first cyb in particular forces the player to patiently rocket it, although there is scope to sneak out through the corridor at which point it can be BFG'd. Some of the secrets didn't make sense to me - in particular, the berserk texture did not strike me in retrospect as being marked at all and I only happened on that secret by a mixture intuition ('Oh, this feels like a good place to put a secret switch') and chance. Also, I feel as though the blur artefact was intended to be a secret but not marked as such, given it's slightly obfuscated means of attaining it - certainly non-secret items do not require the same level of puzzle solving to obtain, but equally it might just be that my ego is subconsciously hurting at not getting credit for a secret, given this wads general efficiency at hiding them. I was unable to gain access to the computer area map and the secret near the blue key revenant trap. I really appreciate the fact that Monti left several rad suits to permit backtracking to hunt for additional secrets. This map is an interesting variation on the city style and I appreciate the fresh thinking, and interesting, almost anti-Doom airy feel.
  13. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    I do remember playing and enjoying Rip it, tear it, smash it back in the day so I'm quite keen to get to this. I never played the High-low series or other maps so it will be interesting to see how your style has evolved :) However, before that I want to at least try and make further inroads into Witness of Time: MAP04 - Charon Lab - 6/7 Secrets Whew this was a slog! In contrast to the bright, open spaces of previous maps, here we have a dark and more enclosed playable area, but it is set within several dark and cavernously tall open areas. Due to the aforementioned vanilla doom 2 incompatibility I restarted this one from pistol start and made it needlessly harder for myself by forgetting about the damn SSG at the start, leading to me eventually desperately chainsawing the initial AV and praying for pain states - that may possibly cloud my judgement. This said the whole experience of the vast dark spaces is a memorable one. I sometimes see people commenting on levels that an area is 'too big'; this I find disappointing - large spaces in architecture can be as interesting as highly intricately micro-detailed ones, and the soaring cathedral like voids set this apart, with the emptiness and vastness giving it a cool feel of a darker and more eerie Deimos Lab crossed with E1M7 on steroids (Presumably that is what gives the map it's name?). I agree with @Salt-Man Z that the faintly pulsing mid chasm staircase is especially striking - you simply wouldn't expect to see something so crazy and abstract and yet 'what the hell let's just do it anyway' outside of the 90s. The cyclic chain of four teleporter pads I found fine to navigate, although that's partly because I spent so long in the first half of the map on my first attempt (as I was convinced I was hitting the cyberdemon release switch out of order, as opposed to it simply being broken), but I don't put it purely down to that. I note each telepad was distinctive and the landing areas were dissimilar so a quick hop-in hop-out whilst viewing the automap gives you your bearings. The latter areas of the map I enjoyed more, partly because the stupid switch issue was behind me then, but also as the action starts picking up too. In particular we see some significant traps, such as the revenant and archie release by the red key and yellow key. Also the raised platform area behind the three key doors was quite interesting in an unusual way aswell. After all time I spent on this map being stuck on at sector 76, and then having to replay from pistol start, I really didn't feel like lingering for long looking for all the secrets - ironically I then ended up finding all but the backpack secret. It's a striking map and atmospheric map, with a pity for me about the vanilla incompatibility. MAP05 - After Cefyl - 10/10 Secrets \o/ This was a pretty cool, brisk level. The map is open and superficially resembles Map03 as @Deadwing says, but it's more three dimensional, and the slime plays a more prominent part in directing the flow of the map. We have a nice variety of encounters at different ranges, and I appreciate that the player is forced to proceed using cover and think which monsters you can get close enough to pick off so as to simplify dealing with the others. Although the previous map had taller areas, this one seems more three dimensional in terms of gameplay as the map does see the player repeatedly jumping across the slime channel to progress. In fact the progression mechanics as a whole are pretty clever really - in keeping with the previous maps, any switch needed to move forward is always pressed in view of the thing it opens, but also the trope of visiting the central island, departing it, and then finally returning back into the computer map structure nested inside of it once again is all nicely integrated. There are several arch viles, although I retained the BFG and a few extra cells from the last map (in spite of a continuous restart) so they were not a problem, similarly with the bosses which were generally encountered singularly and in space, although the spider master mind can hurt you a fair bit with the lack of cover before it dies. The number of PEs hanging around encouraged me to go steady with the rocket launcher, which is a good countervailing incentive after all the rockets that are generally given. Finally I discovered all the secrets at last, with 8 being found by the time I reached the exit and then I backtracked and managed to access the remaining two. I like the design of the map.
  14. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    Nb. Looks like Sector 76 in Map04 does not lower in PRBoom+ on complevel 2 - the sector lowers as intended on complevel 9. I'm not sure if this was the issue that was raised at release, and supposedly rectified here: https://www.doomworld.com/forum/post/1785003 If so it would be good if the text file made it clear that CL 9 is needed, although I see now that the release thread did state it was prboom compatible. Unsure if this is relevant to anyone now given most people have moved on, maybe @galileo31dos01? EDIT: Yeah, I wish I'd have seen that post warning about precisely this - d'oh!
  15. Sui Generis

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    Apologies for dropping off the radar a little bit, given that I voted for this - I'll have to be playing catch up for a few days though by the looks of things Witness of Time I play PRBoom+ UV with saves on complevel 2 MAP01 - Hic Et Nunc - 5/6 Secrets I'm grateful to @galileo31dos01 for translating the latin title and saving me the time. Wow - this is a culture shock after playing WoS. This map is proudly non-orthogonal and unaligned. Everything is a glorious warren of irregular 94ish higgledy-piggledy sectors, I quite like it. I did find this map a little unstructured at first, in that on starting you swiftly face imps and tougher monsters at a few junctures with several possible paths to take and nary a more powerful weapon immediately in sight - it's a world away from some more spoon-fed wads. If this kind of thing is not done carefully it can sometimes give me an impression (quite possibly unfairly) of bad design - I just expect not to be facing more than a token imp or so with a pistol - fortunately the shotgun are close by, so it's not too bad. There's a great deal of variety of room shapes and sizes, and everywhere interconnects or overlooks something else - it makes it a little hard to get your head around the 3d space because of the relative complexity and convoluted feel to it. It takes a bit of getting used to but is there undoubtedly order to and deliberate design to the seeming chaos and disorder of the map - We have a kind of looping figure 8 layout, circumnavigating the big exit slime lake with a terminal point in the north and the route to the exit is revealed in full view as soon as the penultimate switch is pressed (always a plus in my book) after a lap round the bottom right of the map. Gameplay-wise, there don't seem to be many traps - rather the level makes use of open fire arcs for chaingunners and similar to force the player to head for cover where necessary. I guess there's time for more traps in larger levels. The lighting and sky (and general feel of the level) is for me a bit too cheery. I suspect this is partly down to the music choice too which I'm not super keen on. Also the alpha textures are present but after their successful employment in Nihility, here they feel more like a gimmick than anything else, along with the doom furniture benches which contribute to a slightly cheesy waiting room feel. I eventually found 5 of the 6 secrets, sadly with the one for the soulsphere eluding me, though the backpack and chainsaw will come in handy as I am a continuous player. But that's not a major issue - I'm more impressed by the misshapenness and complexity. Getting such a relatively rich layout from a simple map is impressive, although I fear I will be hitting up the automap a heck of a lot more in the bigger maps if this is anything to go by! MAP02 - Scurrilous Knave - 4/7 Secrets I also have no idea what the title has to do with the map, although 'Scurrilous Knave' is certainly a fine way of insulting someone if you are English. This map continues the theme of bright, open spaces with unashamedly rough, and the 'noisy', slightly garish texturing (with the 94ish tiling of computer textures, say) from the previous map. The level has the same initially perplexing number of route choices, particularly if you drop down into the slime at the start, or to a lesser degree with the free-form crate strewn room down the lift. Monti's maps are so far linear (in that there is a defined sequence in which some objective destinations must be traversed) and yet feel the opposite, in that later areas can be visited early. It's almost like a city type map, but with a little more direction, which for me is quite unique for a layout style. The large slime pool at the centre forces you to think a bit more carefully about where you go and why and what secrets you look for as per @TheOrganGrinder. Although playing continuous, I also noticed the paucity of shells in this map - something which turns my normal playstyle (of relying on shells as my bread and butter) and conserving other ammunition types more carefully on it's head. It also makes dealing with the monsters a little more tricky as the narrower corridors are risky for splash damage. A couple of archies are used to good effect, with the first being potentially nasty if it starts it's attack from behind before you figure out the angle and can take cover as happened to me. The second one is a little more bullshit in my opinion due to the lack of cover and freely available BFG earlier. It is essentially an "Oh I'm sorry you couldn't switch to the BFG fast enough - health tax please!" type affair. The cyb is a fairly relaxed battle and an opportunity for me to rebalance my ammo once I figured I had a surfeit of rockets and not so much of everything else. I did particularly like the vertically revealed nature of the central slime pool though, with the raised balconies and promenades from the key areas seeing the player go progressively further and further up. However in keeping with the experience of @Salt-Man Z and @Magnusblitz, the switch that lowered the second half of the crate room was not obvious to me, even though with hindsight that corridor overlooks the area I needed to go! Instead I wandered, and spent some time trying to figure out what the secret soulsphere switch actually did, (or indeed whether it was not secret and actually required). Secrets wise, I eventually found 4 before I decided to throw in the towel, with me secrets count being on 3 for most of the level, leading me to think that would be all I'd discover. The upper backpack secret early in the map was the fourth one and was particularly gratifying to me to find, as it was rather sneakily hidden. Otherwise the type I seem to find easier to discover are the remote switch operated door types, where you get a positive indication from the switch that something has happened, and then can usually home in on it by listening to the lift sounds. Overall, I think Monti's maps so far are an acquired taste, but I'm perhaps beginning to acquire (or at least admire) them - it probably helped that the music for the second map is less inappropriate than the first. MAP03 - Tezzi Principle - 6/9 Secrets Google says the map name is something to do with the extinct Tocharian languages of western China...? O_o This map takes the open central area trope of the last map, but instead of having it a slime filled traverse amongst tech textured canyons, we have a large open central area, juxtaposed against the small subway corridors and side areas. This is also interesting: long, repetitious corridors are normally a no-no in modern mapping sensibilities, yet here we are - it's almost as though Monti revels in being an iconoclast. The whole idea of having these nods at semi-realism is a bit weird given the totally abstract central courtyard too, although I guess that's just another aspect being juxtaposed. The gameplay is initially a bit more active due to the large open space with lots of potential for hitscan sniping, although there's nothing more than a few chips to be suffered rather than anything serious. The remaining parts of the map are generally more sedate, particularly those in the subway tunnels where monsters are just encountered in front of you. There is one arch-vile hidden on the corner of a subway station, but unless you rush in you're quite likely to see the edge of it before it sees you, allowing you to prepare. Other notable parts of the map include the cyb encounter and the yellow key trap thereafter. I used the secret invuln to make BFG'ing the cyb easy, and then BFG'd the hell knights. I might have tried conserving ammo but the setup screamed trap. Ammo distribution seemed to be more even than before, although there were certainly more rockets than cells. Bullets and shells are more plentiful this time too. I was broadly ready to exit with around 3 of the secrets, but went back to try and improve this and found a further 3, including the most unhelpful computer map ever, which revealed practically nothing useful. These secrets are fun to find, but they are mostly so well hidden that I'm unlikely to benefit from any other than in a continuous capacity as I don't find too many whilst initially navigating the level. Decent level overall, and it's more gentle imo than Map02 as there's no arch-vile dick moves.
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