Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

TheOrganGrinder

Members
  • Content count

    903
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About TheOrganGrinder

  • Rank
    Forum Regular

Recent Profile Visitors

518 profile views
  1. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP15: Teleportation Delta Oh, wow, 471 enemies? So the lion's share of those arrive in a gigantic multi-stage arena battle to round out the level and the episode, pitting the player against wave upon wave of progressively tougher enemies in an encounter that, given my recent playing habits, I can't help but compare to the optional 'Final Countdown' area of Valiant's MAP27. Compared to the relatively free-roaming levels that I've come to think of as Struggle's own signature style, the very orchestrated nature of this one is a change of pace, with the player's most significant choice being which of the two "units" priot to the fake-out exit they want to tackle first. I didn't aim for 100% kills here, just scrambled to the exit under fire as by that point I'd let the monster population get out of hand to a point where infighting just wasn't a great enough friend for me to pull off a max.
  2. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP14: A Ticket From Inferno There's a sense at this point that the maps are getting smaller even as their populations rise, leading to cramped battles in uncomfortable spaces; here, often enough, it's not walls or corners penning you in, but precipitous drops into the deep but narrow channels of a toxic sludge reservoir above which the whole map is constructed. The visually "busy" layout combines with the presence of enemies launching their attacks from every angle and elevation to create a sense that the player is being constantly harried, never in a safe spot, never able to stand still and catch a breath. I found this map to be an exhausting one, and the layout to be one that discourages the usual end-of-level ammo-scraping and secret-scouring that's a part of continuous play.
  3. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP13: Military Base This is another level in which I feel the player is quite free to explore the greater part of its real estate and confront the lion's share of its monster population before committing to much in the way of progress - certainly if that is measured purely in terms of keys and their corresponding locked doors, there's a lot of ground that the player is given the freedom to cover. Is this part of a signature Struggle style, this tendency toward large explorable areas and complex interactions of multiple small effects that create a sense that no single switch represents a choke point in the same way that a locked and coloured door might? I don't know that there's anything here that's terrifically new otherwise; I'm not getting bored, but this level one isn't one that stands out exceptionally in my mind. It's solid but it's unremarkable.
  4. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP12: Into the Danger There's a subtle shift in atmosphere, away from ruination and urban grunge to a much more grey-white and "clean" type of techbase, less brick and more metal; and there's also a not-so-subtle shift upward in monster numbers and density, a sense that the episode transition has brought with it a deliberate stepping-up of the opposition the player is expected to overcome. In particular, we're introduced to a new type of trooper here, wearing a snazzy blue uniform and toting around a plasma gun, though the fact that its appearance is based on the heavy weapons trooper means that most players will mark it as a priority right from the start, before getting any kind of sense of the damage it can deal or the genuine threat it can pose. The relatively small footprint of this map contributes to its crowded nature and tendency toward slow gameplay, with monsters cramming themselves into small spaces and choking the hallways with their bodies, to be dispatched by the player in a relatively static fashion. I wouldn't describe its progression as obtuse, but there was certainly a point where I was struggling to figure out where to go next, having failed to realise that the switch that opened a set of panels in the western room opened a matching set of shutters in the east. Is the big teleporter that drops you into the middle of the room with the black shutters even necessary, then, or is that whole scrambling encounter an optional one? Something for me to investigate on a later playthrough.
  5. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP11: The Indomitable Mastermind ...Oh that is the opposite of a name that bodes well. The vivid blues certainly represent the invading monstrous reality, a counterpart to the Hell-themed textures, areas, and levels of vanilla Doom, but so far it's less of a battleground and more of an interstitial space, a subsection theme that appears at the end of one level or the start of the next but where these isn't a whole lot of gameplay to be found. Here, the blue chambers offer the player a quick breather and a chance to secure weapons, ammunition, and health before proceeding to a crater-like environment in which the last remnants of a sundered techbase smoulder, the ruins dominated by a pair of Spider Masterminds hooked up to a resurrection device that must be deactivated before its protected charges can be defeated and the player can penetrate this final layer of the laboratory's defences. Honestly I'm not so much a fan of this very cluttered style of environment, where it's easy to get tangled up on small ground/wall details that get lost and go unnoticed in the too-busy visual style; the perception of depth suffers through a combination of texture similarity and the generally high (and even) light level. Especially when facing down the repeated waves of reinforcements, there's a temptation to find a safe spot and hunker down not because the enemy forces are overwhelming but simply to avoid the annoyance of getting snagged on a step, ledge, or fragment of broken wall was wasn't evident enough to be readily avoided. The ruined base itself isn't so appealing an environment that it's fun to face wave after wave of monsters as they flood in after every step you take toward progress; there was a point at which I was no longer engaged and instead just wanted things to be over.
  6. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP10: Cerulean Ophidians So the setting has changed indeed, the familiar techbase elements completely absent from this level to be replaced by twisting caverns, sinister shrines, and a climactic battle in a grandiose temple carved and polished from azure stone. Again there's something of a hub at play here, not a sewer but a partially flooded chasm/cavern area right in the middle of the map, home to perched snipers, agile cacodemons, and a throng of lesser rabble sloshing their way through the murky and ankle-deep waters of the cavern floor, with waves of reinforcements appearing in that central space to punctuate the player's progress from one wing of the map to the next. For all that the hub is a rather large space, it's cluttered and almost claustrophobic, and the tunnels that sprawl off from it in all directions are definitely on the tight side, denying the player much room to manoeuvre and enhancing the threat posed by the faster-moving, faster-firing monster variations to be found within.
  7. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP09: Spectre Strikes If there's a particular theme at work in this second episode I suppose it's one of darkness and abandonment, a sense that, while there's a familiarity to these techbases, a similarity to the maps explored in the first episode, they're gloomier, twistier, and more run-down; there are also occasional nuggets of religious architecture and imagery (such as the cathedral/temple area encountered in the north-east of this map) that feel out-of-place in a way that's endearingly reminiscent of The Shores of Hell. As @NuMetalManiak notes there's a hub to this level, a sewer or canal from which the rest of the map sprawls in winding loops, and though it's less formally delineated than the squarish arena of MAP07 it once again serves as a pitched battlefield on multiple occasions, with new waves of enemies appearing every time your progress brings you back to the area, though often from a different vantage point. The invisible cacodemon isn't new but it plays a much more prominent role here, making up a large component of various encounters and waves of reinforcements, the combination of its flight ability and the prevalent gloom making it a rather more fearsome ambusher than the land-locked spectre of vanilla Doom that it replaces. While I've generally been enjoying Struggle, I will say that I liked the transition to a new environment that's hinted-at by the vertiginous end-of-level plummet from the exit walkway of the techbase to the chthonian darkness of the caverns below. After nine levels of mostly techbase environments I'm ready for a change of theme.
  8. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP08: A Forgotten Base Forgotten by whom? Clearly not the monsters, who infest its twisting corridors and gloomy chambers rather thickly; this is a level with significant opposition and frequently not a lot of room to manoeuvre, in a way that feels like it takes the established Struggle aesthetic and cranks it up a notch. That's notable in the monster density and usage, the overall layout, and also in the presence of the one-way doors that I've yet to remark upon but are especially significant here. They're a helpful shorthand for "once you've hit a switch, used a key, or otherwise made progress, your path will bring you back around here," and signal ways in which the level will open up as the player advances, forming a fairly critical part of each map's layout and overall style; they've seen usage in ever level of the WAD so far, but they rise to greater prominence here, with a sense of stumbling across one every twenty-seven feet that borders on the self-parodic and certainly is on the playful side. On the whole, despite the greater number of those evolving interconnections (or reconnections, maybe?) this is a level that feels on the disconnected side to me, built out of discrete subsections, individual challenges, and distinct enounters that, outside of the large-scale repopulation of the map upon the collection of the yellow key, feel like they were assembled, and are most obviously tackled, in a rather piecemeal fashion.
  9. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP07: Point Foxtrot Tango I think the player can be forgiven, upon entering this level, for groaning to themselves, "Oh, for goodness' sake, another Dead Simple clone!" It doesn't take a great many minutes of gameplay to discover that this is absolutely not the case; yes, the central arena at the hub of the level echoes the classic MAP07 layout in a surely deliberate way; yes, you're brought back to that arena at a couple of points to face a first wave of mancubi and a second wave of revenants; yes, the map-specific tags are in full effect here, step by step opening the eventual route toward the exit. But this is so much more than an arena battle in a square room, serving up a delicious helping of the established Struggle aesthetic alonside the expected confrontations and triggers, acknowledging its Doom II roots and invoking them but steadfastly refusing to be bound by them. The whole of it concludes with your first look at the revamped Spider Mastermind, now a plasma-spewing monstrosity that's perhaps less threatening than its vanilla Doom counterpart, falling readily before a well-supplied assault rifle, but still managed to bleed some health from me despite what I felt was a decent show of strafing and dodging; perhaps there's something to its attack mechanics I'm not picking up on?
  10. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP06: Meet the Afriest So this is what the introductory episode has been building up to! Urban grunge and technological sprawl gives way here to a surreal cerulean abyss from which new monsters spring forth, based on Heretic's ophidian and Hexen's dark bishop respectively, though in these incarnaions they're rather tougher and more dangerous, raining deadly projectiles on the invading marine with gay abandon. Prior to that boss encounter the level treads pretty much the same groove as the five that came before, offering up a twisty little techbase that delivers plenty of gameplay for its compact footprint; I don't know if that's something specific to Struggle or a hallmark of @antares031's greater body of work, but it certainly gives the whole thing a distinctive flavour.
  11. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP05: Sewage Treatment The twistiest and certainly the toughst map in the WAD thus far, this one feature all three keys but permits fairly free exploration even before the player has acquired and used any of them. It's a pretty involved environment with a lot of multi-level rooms and abundant toxic slime including a number of one-way transitions as the player passes down slimefalls and drops from ledges; overall, then, the pace of exploration is quite deliberate, lots of moments at which the player is asked "Are you sure you want to do this? Are you quite ready?" before committing to the next area, which provides a nice counterpart to the increasingly frantic pace of combat, almost as though the level is shifting from one discrete tempo to another. The representational nature of the WAD's level design continues, with a signposted armoury giving up the assault rifle which replaces the plasma gun; it's a little odd to see its 'bullets' as little yellow projectiles, even though it's inevitable given the weapon/slot being replaced, but it's certainly an effective tool in your arsenal, great for quickly clearing out rooms or burning down bosses - and oh, look, there's a Cyberdemon guarding the exit, what are the odds of that? One does wonder why the sewage treatment plant needed a dedicated armoury prior to the demonic invasion; maybe to fend off the threat of sewer-dwelling mutants or Rodents Of Unusual Size?
  12. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP04: Local Outpost We've had glimpses of, and brief sojourns through, natural settings before now, but this is the first of the WAD's levels to offer up the great outdoors as a central part of its gameplay; the techbase 'spine' of the map bisects a mountainous river valley that the player is compelled to explore in search of the keys necessary for progression, and despite the linear look of the map's layout you've got quite a bit of freedom in where you go and what order you tackle things in, with the option of clearing out the lion's share of the monster population before popping through the blue door if you so desire. There's a lot to be found as you poke through the cliffs and crevices of the map, though the sheer amount of ammunition that's trickled out as individual clips and paired shotgun shells may start to grate after a while. It's probably the first time you've given spaces and crowds where you can really use the grenade launcher to its full potential, especially during the climactic helipad battle just before the exit; fortunately amidst all the shells and bullets there are no shortage of grenades supplied either.
  13. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Dimension of the Boomed & MAYhem 2016

    Having taken a stab at MAP31 myself I think I'm going to throw in the towel here and focus on July's playthrough of Struggle; I've seen what I hope is a representative enough sample of MAYhem 2016 by this point.
  14. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Struggle

    MAP03: 3rd Supply Depot Larger in scope than the preceding maps and somewhat bigger in scale, with more decent-sized rooms and long lines of sight which allow you to break out the grenade launcher should you so desire - not that it's really necessary, with all the small fry that's crowding the map almost eager to be shredded by your choice of shotguns or dual pistols. One thing about swapping the chaingun for dual pistols, replacing the rocket launcher with a grenade launcher, and tweaking the player's ammunition capacity is that so far there is a reduced emphasis on high-tech environments and elements compared to regular Doom and a greater sense of the player as a modern action movie protagonist of more human capabilities, wielding more familiar weapons; and yet these weapons are so potent that all the zombies and demons and other awful monsters the WAD can throw at you are just wheat before your gunmental scythe. Overall it's a good, solid level, though I found that I didn't care for the way the secrets are hidden (one seemed to have no 'tell' at all, the other could be said to have a 'tell' but the same texture was used elsewhere, earlier, as simple wall decoration).
  15. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Dimension of the Boomed & MAYhem 2016

    MAP15: Klockwerk This one offers up an odd juxtaposition of very rectilinear architecture with a layout that loops, spirals, changes elevation constantly in a fashion that feels authentic to Quake but not by any means imitative; rather, there is a sense here that if the inspiration and thematic intent behind Quake had struck without the more advanced 3D engine to support it, this is what a Doom-technology iteration of Quake might have looked and played like. Encounters are fairly modest in scale, with the toughest of them probably being the one that follows the teleporter after the blue key, and that's mostly to do with the relatively tight confines of the room and the way you're plunked down right in a revenant's sights. This is a satisfying level to play through, not fantastically ornate, not grandiose in scale, but self-assured in doing what it sets out to do, in its pacing and its construction. I appreciate not having to hunt high and low for the route to the secret level, too, even if the preceding level's elaborate optional route/backstage arena continues to feel like it has its genesis in a secret level hunt.
×