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About Peckles

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  1. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    09 - Castle Gardens This one looks fantastic, and it's fun, but it feels like it tends to stutter forward rather than flow forward cohesively. By that, I guess I mean that combat-wise it just feels like a series of engagements that don't really add up to more beyond the sum of their parts. Then again, maybe I just feel that way because many of the packs consist of a single enemy, giving each battle a "discrete" feel. But the fights were still fun, and so was exploring the map. 10 - Toxic Touch This one, on the other hand, was immensely satisfying as a cohesive, immersive experience. I generally don't look forward to sewer levels, but the general absence of lengthy jaunts into damaging floors meant I could just enjoy the atmosphere and the gunplay. This map has a few of the most gorgeous rooms/locales I've ever seen in a wad. 11 - Nemesis Mixed feelings about this one. I like everything up until the last cavern bit. The castle section was fun, particularly the exterior bits on the ledges around it; I enjoyed cleaning house and then watching the cybie and MM duke it out--it's probably a stale trope for most Doomers, but given my lack of PWAD exposure, it's a lot of fun for me. The labyrinthine cavern section that closes the map, though...it's really an assault on the eyes. I had lots of trouble with depth perception and finding my way around, and I just got sick as hell of looking at a screenful of brown. But while you never want a map to end on a down note, I had plenty of fun before that. 12 - Entropy It was kind of jarring, jumping back to techbase all of a sudden; one of the things I admire about AV so far is the sense of progression engendered by the arrangement of maps. But I liked this one. It's a two-phase map, and while the first area is solid in its own right, the yellow key/door area really kicks things up, and it's a lot of fun (here's a map that ends on a high note). Crazy traps are sorta the dominant motif of that second area--some of them would make Plutonia blush (though I guess the traps here and in Plutonia are probably considered tame as hell these days). A couple of minor complaints. There really don't need to be nearly as many secrets as there are; many of them aren't especially rewarding and they're just unapologetically there to kick up the secret count. I wonder if the intent is to make players say "to hell with it" and stop hunting for them, which I did, so that they'd miss the BFG secret, which I did. A kind of way of rewarding players who stick to it, maybe. I wish I'd found the BFG secret, though, because I love it (the secret, I mean, but certainly the BFG too)--another example of using a secret as not *only* a pile of goodies, but also as a means for the player to leverage a tactical advantage over the enemies--clearing out the chaingunners makes the YK trap a LOT less vicious, obviously (I think the BFG secret is actually separate, but yeah). The second minor issue I had was that the texturing can get kind of unrestrained at times. It was Hillside Siege that made me marvel at how well its rooms made use of many textures; here, not so much. Though to be fair I'm only thinking about one room in particular, the trap room immediately beyond the yellow door. The texture use in the alcoves after the trap triggers is...not judicious, to say the least. Solid map though.
  2. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    07 - Showdown Yep. Not bad by any means, just nothing particularly compelling. Looks fine, plays fine, but yeah, pretty forgettable. 08 - Beast Island There's probably a lot more to be said for the atmosphere than the gameplay, but I did enjoy exploring this one. The map relies on that atmosphere, which I thought was strong enough to carry the bland-ish gameplay well enough to make it a fun experience (I feel like I'm putting one of these HMP disclaimers in every post, but yeah, it's probably a bit more tedious on UV). The effects of primacy and recency help 08 out a lot, too--for me, the middle section was the least remarkable, and the opening and closing bits were the strongest. I love the mood of the dilapidated village at the start, and though the castle was kind of underwhelming once I got inside it, the cyberdemon fight was fun. So far, as a Doomer, my favorite maps are atmospheric ones like this that pull you into an interesting locale, so I can forgive the gameplay being a little flat. One near-death experience with the archie that pops out when you snatch the soul sphere back at the village--I wasn't expecting a trap, least of all an AV spawning right on top of me, and I actually missed the sphere. He got a good blast in before I could dive behind cover. That said, it's not really a challenging map overall. The last rev (or 2? I forget) that open up with the exit do complicate the cybie fight, but hell, I had the BFG.
  3. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    06 - Hillside Siege Great visuals and skillful use of space, both vertical and horizontal, throughout. At the start, the disquieting row of hanging corpses, along with the "layered" architecture, help establish that theme of how well the map will use space. For much of the early going, low walls partially obstruct the player's view of the surroundings. This obstruction is a brilliant touch that teases the player and builds suspense; we can see ledges and mancubi and the tops of buildings, but *not* what's waiting for us when we *get* to those areas. We can hear it, though--the sounds of archies laughing and spiders clink-clanking around get the player's hackles up. More broadly, the map is beautiful to look at, both in terms of architecture and detailing. Rooms comfortably accomodate many different textures. The slime falls flowing past withered trees so caught my attention that I had to stop to admire it for a moment. The secret soul sphere room, with the steps, looks great too, but I especially like the functionality of it as a secret area, with the exit window from which you can attack the baddies from a more advantageous angle. I can't immediately recall another instance of a map using a secret area that way--as a tactical advantage, not just a pile of goodies. I'm sure it's been done before, but in any case it's a very nice touch. Getting to the red key includes some very light platforming; I like it when maps include platforming without getting silly with it. Good, fun arena action in the cyberdemon area, though I made a total slopjob of the pack of HKs on the other side of the area, and ended up sub-20 in health and armor both. I was fretting about how I'd take out the cyberdemon, until I stumbled across the telefrag/BFG secret (huzzah). Though I guess the presence of the invuln sphere means the player is normally expected to BFG the cybie, so I probably just got really lucky with the telefrag. I was too cocky with the archie hanging around the yellow door (when you come back to it) and was lucky to survive him. That makes for two near-death experiences on this map, and the first two in the set for me (on HMP, granted). These two close calls owed mostly to my sloppiness, but this is definitely the most challenging map so far. Spatially, the flow of the map is cyclical, bringing you back to the start where the map has repopulated the earlier areas. I thought it was neat that you have to lower bars to re-access the yellow door, which is basically gated twice in the map. The structure serves to wring as much extra gameplay out of the map as possible, which is nice to have given how fantastic this map is. I really can't say enough good things about it. Visually it's an A+, the gameplay is top-notch, the filler doesn't feel like filler. The atmosphere and sense of place is very strong, and when I finished the map, I had a palpable sense of having adventured through it. I get the feeling I like 06 a lot more than everyone else, and I guess I'd chalk that up to my relative inexperience with PWADs. But there have honestly been very few maps, IWADs or PWADs, that I've enjoyed as much as this one. It's probably in my top ten. This is the kind of map I'd want to make if I made maps.
  4. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    04 - Seclusion This one marks a slight step up in difficulty (and monster count--248 on HMP). The first trap is potentially pretty nasty, but I remembered it from my UV attempt a few months ago, so I was quick to retreat to safety. I love the sense of continuity these maps create by linking the start to the previous map's exit, as with the rails here. The exterior locations look great, with the cave at the start and the second outside area, both of which make use of verticality--imps in the cave, revs outside the yellow door. I thought the interior detailing was fantastic, though that's quickly becoming a given in AV. I don't have much to say about the gameplay, because it's very simple and well-executed. In terms of map flow, it has the tried-and-true feel of the IWADs. Maybe I'm thinking of the gating in particular, and how the map uses the keys to split the map into distinct segments, each with their own flavor. The map does a very good job creating, and taking advantage of, the illusion of verticality. I wish I had more to say about this one, because it was my favorite map up until 06. 05 - Crimson Tide This is the first map in the set for which I didn't jot down any comments as I played. The gameplay is solid, no complaints there, but the...building did feel kind of empty on account of the open layout combined with the modest (on HMP) monster count. 05 dispenses with the representationalism; I would guess it's a hellish church of some sort but it does feel like the most abstract map so far (I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this isn't the same author as those of 02-04). Visually, though, it's fantastic, particularly the interiors. It's not as tough as 04, but this is one I'd definitely like to replay on UV, which probably makes for an entirely different and less leisurely experience. I did appreciate the revs that showed up. Fun map. Can't wait to talk about 06. I think I took about as many notes on it as I did for the entire set up to this point.
  5. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    03 - Cargo Depot The gameplay here is merely solid, but here's a beautiful map. Looking at the automap, only like 10-15 percent of the map is playable space, the bulk of it being devoted to eye candy: the buildings across the street and outside the window in the shutter room, then of course the ship. It suggests a degree of passion for the project on the authors' part that really makes me look forward to seeing what's in store later in the set. It's very much a representationalist map (you could argue that it goes beyond rep-ism and aims for downright realism, with the seemingly pointless shutter). If my memory serves me right, Romero has said that the team tried for rep'ism early in Doom's development, but ultimately tended more toward abstraction because the former necessitated more confined spaces, while abstraction allowed for the openness that lends itself so well to the uber-fast, dodge-and-shoot gameplay. So it stands to reason that mappers need to balance rep'ism with design that meshes with Doom's gameplay, rather than clashes with it. And based on these first few maps, I think AV straddles that line quite nicely. 03 is pretty claustrophobic too, but it never feels excessively so. I'm definitely gonna watch for how that theme develops as the maps progress. (And now that I'm about to post this, I see that Demon of the Well has already made these same observations, and with clearer, more deft prose, at that!) I don't have much to say about the gameplay, but one more comment on the visuals--I really love the yellow key room, which engenders a bit of environmental contrast between the naturalistic cave and the primary warehousey theme (and exterior city theme even). Contrast between rooms always makes a map more interesting, and it seems like that's something else I've heard Romero say. 04 has a little bit of that contrast between naturalism and techbase-ness too. What's interesting about that yellow key room is that, given the map's realistic leanings, one figures the author had some kind of logical justification, a "backstory" of sorts, for the warehouse adjoining an underground waterfall. It makes you feel like, just possibly, there's some kind of narrative subtext here. Ultimately, that's all beyond the player's ken, but the room definitely enhances the map's already-strong atmosphere. I don't have much at all to say about the gameplay except that it's a step back from 02. But if this is the closest the set's gameplay gets to actual blandness, then it's going to be an amazing set.
  6. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    02 - Rusty Rage Still a walk in the park, at least on HMP, but this one starts to hint at tougher things to come. The SSG trap was well done, given the cramped room. It's a rev on HMP, which isn't quite as fearsome as the archie on UV. But in any case it demonstrates the authors' awareness of space (and the lack thereof) in the context of combat. The next couple of maps develop that idea further, so I'll probably have something more substantial to say then, but based on what I've seen so far the authors like to keep things a little claustrophobic. (Refreshing, after mostly playing Hell Revealed lately >_>) Not much point to the rocket launcher on HMP. I got to Map 04 on my first attempt at AV, an abortive UV playthrough, and I do remember the traps in 02 being much nastier than they were this time. So I'm sure the RL gets plenty of mileage on UV. Here, though, I just saved the rockets. Overall, so far so good. Rusty Rage is a fun map. Again, it's pretty easy on HMP, but it still kept me honest--it felt like I would've taken a lot of damage if I'd taken a sloppy approach. The gameplay is tight and fluid, not a lot of filler, and like the other maps I've played, it looks fantastic, too. The sheer professionalism of the mapset has been mentioned already, in terms of its look and feel, and yeah, based on what I've seen so far this could have easily been an official release. Can't wait to see where the set goes from here.
  7. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    Thanks Capellan, Paul977 and T-Rex for the helpful comments regarding AV's difficulty. Based on those, and AV's obscene (to me anyway) monster counts, I'm gonna give it a go on HMP. I regret taking a max-kills approach to HR and I've got a case of monster-count fatigue. AV's .txt also compares HMP to Plutonia on UV, which suited me perfectly well (and remains my favorite megawad experience so far). Continuous, no saves. Or, more realistically, no saves until I really need 'em. 01 - Sunset Granted, I haven't played many PWADs, so I don't have a ton of 01s under my belt, but this was one of the better ones. It's nicely atmospheric, which isn't something I'd say about many 01s. I'm not sure what I'd attribute that to. Probably just the fact that the IWADs are my main frame of reference, and the architecture here is very different. I do like the warm color scheme, which is comparable to Plutonia save for the great sky texture here. I liked that they held back on the armor until the final (and only tricky) secret. Feels like a nice prize to carry into the next level, and even though the map never makes you sweat, having to play through most of it naked did make me feel a little vulnerable, which mitigated the lack of challenge. None of the interesting enemies appear, sadly, though that's not something I ought to complain about, playing on HMP. I would've liked to have seen a rev or an archie at the end, but I'm guessing things are going to ramp up pretty quick.
  8. Peckles

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Alien Vendetta

    I played the first handful of maps a month or two ago, while I was still very green as a Doomer, but I'd love to give it another go. AV is one that always shows up on everyone's "best megawads ever" list, so I think it'd be a great one to pop my MWC cherry. A question, though -- how does AV's difficulty compare to that of Hell Revealed? At the moment I'm nearly through HR. UV, pistol starts, max kills. That was biting off way more than I could chew, so to that formula I added "save liberally" and "shamelessly follow Megasonic023's playthrough." In pure quantitative terms, is AV harder or easier than HR? How do they differ in the nature of the difficulty? i.e., HR is about dying a whole lot until you figure out an early-map strategy that lets you carve out a foothold from which to work. How would one characterize AV's difficulty? For any of you gents kind enough to provide some insight, what difficulty did you play during your first AV run? Apologies for cluttering up the topic with likely tiresome questions about difficulty, but I'd much appreciate some veteran Doomer opinions and I didn't think the questions merited their own topic. Many thanks in advance. Hopefully I'll be able to share some half-interesting thoughts on the maps, from the perspective of a first-time player without many PWADs under his belt.
  9. Some of the earlier maps felt a lot cheaper to me than Hunted. It was definitely a trial but it didn't unmercifully kick my ass over and over like a couple of the earlier maps. I guess it probably comes down to how the player feels about AVs. Hunted might be my favorite map so far, along with Ghost Town and maybe Onslaught. The 3-4 maps after Hunted didn't really blow me away, they were solid though. I did like the two secret levels. m31 is a neat idea on paper but gets kind of stale, it was fun though. Go 2 It, though, damn. All I knew going in was that it's apparently the proto-slaughtermap and that the HR sort of wads (none of which I've ever played) are descendants of it. It was my first experience with slaughtermaps and it was tons of fun but it's definitely not the kinda map I'd want to play all the time. Just in terms of layout I think it's really, really clever how they expanded on D2's m01, realizing that was a fun moment. The intermission screens said the two secret maps were the two hardest in Plutonia, but I don't think they're even among the hardest in the first half of the wad. 31 was pretty easy aside from a really mean AV trap, fighting one Cyberdemon at a time in a wide open space is kind of a basic Doom skill. Go 2 It was much harder but I took it super slow and let the monsters mostly kill each other, plus there were all the megaspheres. Caughtyard, m07 I think, has probably been the hardest for me so far. I imagine the last 15 maps get pretty damn silly though, we'll see.
  10. Wow. Plutonia has gotten back to feeling a *little* too cheap for me, but happily, not so much that I haven't been really enjoying myself. m07, Caughtyard, gave me some fits (to hell with that teleporting AV), as did some of the seriously mean-spirited traps in m09 and m10, but challenge aside, they're pretty fun maps. Hunted is the one that made me wanna post about it though, hot damn. I'd never have thought that a plain old maze (with the ultra-tedious way the doors work, at that) could be that f'ing awesome. Specifically, nervously going through the maze while listening to all the AVs constantly chuckle over each other--that was tense as hell, and a clever use of the sound. Then the heartbreak of realizing the switch you hit doesn't open the bars in front of you, and you have to go around and get through a whole 'nother section of the maze to escape. Really well done. Mean, but well done. Felt like my GI tract liquefied a bit at the beginning when the wall opens to reveal the whole damn tribe of AVs sitting there. That was a cool moment 'cuz one of the few PWADs I've played was Vanguard (the first 4 or so levels at least). I liked the AV level in that, and realized playing Hunted that the disappearing AV trick in 13 Angry AVs was an homage to Hunted. (Off-topic, but probably ought to finish Vanguard after Plutonia. Really, really enjoyed the few maps of it I played). Anyway, I can't even begin to imagine how crazy Plutonia'll get from here on. A third of the way through and it's already been quite an experience to say the least.
  11. Haha, just finished it and was coming back here to say "yeah, spoke too soon!" Even on HMP, things got pretty hairy a few times. I liked it though, especially the flocks and flocks of imps at the beginning area, and mowing them down like grass with the SSG. I liked the way the theme kind of shifted around, standard indoor stuff at first, then the parapet walk around the perimeter outside, finally that last crazy room (left out the nukage spiral cuz that part honestly kinda sucked). Really loved all the action going on in the background, around the map's actual edge where you couldn't get to. Really neat visuals. Man, that exit room though. two rocky pillars, revs/manc/AV trying to blast you at the door and you have to be careful about backing up because too far and you'll be in the lava. Even with just that handful of baddies that room gave me fits, I was at 7 health when I got there so I'm ashamed to say I had to make a save there and reload it twice before I got through--can't imagine what all's in that room on UV. I did die very early on at first though, so at least I managed to get through the map on a pistol start without needing to reload til the very end. Pretty fun in any case Not sure what was up with the end of the level though. Into the tele-pit in the exit room, then you're on a hill on the edge of the map where all the crazy stuff is happening, you try to move and end up picking up a medkit before triggering the finish screen. Almost made the map feel out-of-context with the rest of TNT EDIT: Okay, so I finished TNT (thought it was fantastic). Clenched my teeth and started Plutonia. I've heard a few casual/inexperienced players like me say they have to get through it on HNTR or even ITYTD, but I'm gonna at least give HMP a fair shot. The first three levels were all total chores, IMO, but I'd heard folks say the same thing and that it picks up after those first ones. m04 (Caged) was neat, thought it did a couple of interesting things, but it didn't blow me away. Not really a fan of cramped maps (the fast, open combat is what keeps me coming back to Doom), but it wasn't bad. m05 though, Ghost Town, wow. Just got through this one and it absolutely floored me. It looks great, for one. Dispenses with all the brown. The courtyard is beautiful, and the stairway flanked by all the impaled zombies made me laugh out loud, really loved that. But the combat is what really impressed me. Seeing the SMM flanked by 6 or 8 chaingunners was quite an experience. Dealing with that, getting the blue key and immediately triggering an ambush of 4-6 revs, front and back, well, damn. Not to mention your instinct pulls you back into the open area where all those chaingunners have been replenished. Just crazy. Then right after *that* there's the AVs and barons at the end. That map was a blast -- pretty tough, but while it was cheap at times, it didn't feel like it *relied* on cheapness, which is the impression the first couple of maps gave me. If most of the wad is more like this map, I can definitely see why people like it so much, and I think I will too, even though I'm sure I'll be tempted to sling my laptop at the wall on a few occasions.
  12. Yeah, that's about what I figured. Thanks for responding More thoughts on TNT as I get closer to finishing it... m24/Quarry was a fun little map, kind of weirdly short though, given how late in the set it comes. Baron's Den was kind of a slog, I zoned out a few times playing it. Those mean-spirited fake exits were great though. Aggravating but clever. Not entirely arbitrary either, I kept wondering "where's this baron's den?" all through the map, so I should've seen it coming at the end. m26/Ballistyx was a quirky but pretty fun map. I guess my ultimate opinion on TNT will be informed by the last 4 levels coming up, but so far I think it gets way too much hate. Lots of maps that aren't really remarkable but the handful of great ones have been a ton of fun. People say it's a kick up in difficulty from Doom/Doom 2, but I haven't noticed that; it's felt about on par with Doom 2 for me. Again, still gotta finish the damn thing, so maybe I should knock on wood.
  13. I've been playing the IWADs + Master Levels over the last couple of months. I consider myself a noob to Doom and the modding community--I played Doom and Doom 2 a ton as a child but I'm really getting into them now. I'm actually on Final Doom now. I don't have much to say about Plutonia yet; beat the first level and decided to just stick with TNT:E for now =p Of course I've heard that Plutonia is much better and much harder, and seeing an AV on Plutonia's m01 (along with traps where chaingunner closets open behind you...) definitely confirms the "harder" part. I'm looking forward to the challenge of Plutonia, I just really hope the challenge is well-crafted. From what I hear, it seems like lot of the challenge is from cheap stuff like the chaingunner traps. Hoping that's not the case. I consider myself an average, casual player and I've been playing everything on HMP; I'd like to think I won't have to play Plutonia on HNTR, but I will if I end up having to, I s'pose. Anyway, TNT:E. A little over 2/3 through it. I know it doesn't have the best reputation among Doomers today, but... I think it's pretty spiffy. Maybe it's just because I've only lightly sampled a few of the big PWADs, so my brain is still calibrated for early/mid-90s Doom level design. *shrug* More than a few of the maps are unremarkable, yeah. But a handful have been a lot of fun. I loved the central conceit in Wormhole. I thought the two secret levels were fun as hell, m31 especially had a lot of nice atmosphere and a strong sense of place. Really liked The Mill, m18 I think, it had a couple of really neat set pieces. One where you're stuck with an AV in a tiny room with 4 teleporters, and you gotta time using the teleporters to dodge his attack. Then a big room with 8 revs in cages, and a bunch of skinny pillars you can use to block their missiles. I dig the big fights that expect you to use the environment to your advantage. Habitat is apparently pretty infamous, and yeah, the sewer bits...uggh. But that level has one of the nicest-looking areas I've ever seen in a map so far. The very end, you pop out of this metal opening in a hill, and you're at a river/creek. Just a very simple, understated, lush green river bank, to contrast with the metal thing you came out of. To contrast with all the grimy sewer themes that came before actually. Really makes you feel like you've escaped from somewhere. Too bad the level is so tedious otherwise. Semi-related question... after I finish TNT, I'm either gonna start back with Plutonia or run through Ultimate Doom on UV. Difficulty-wise, how would Plutonia on HMP compare with Doom on UV? Maybe with and without Thy Flesh Consumed, since that might change the answer, ha. Based on just the first map in Plutonia...I'm thinking it might still be harder. xd
  14. Peckles

    Shotty vs SSG

    I'm new to Doom & the modding community (for all intents and purposes--dicked around a lot with iddqd when I was 7 or so, skipping around various maps), and I gotta say, threads like this are always interesting to read, on top of just being helpful. Myself, I never really considered the utility of the SG once you get the SSG. I've mostly been using the latter, probably because it's so damn fun to shoot, but I switch to the SG when I come across just one or two zombies/imps. Gonna start using it more often though, at medium distances the tighter spread probably makes for much cleaner encounters.