CapnClever

Members
  • Content count

    142
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

123 Good

10 Followers

About CapnClever

  • Rank
    Junior Member
  1. I see it now. Figures: it's hard to search for secrets when you're avoiding killing enemies on account of worrying if you'll have enough ammo to finish the level (a very justified worry given the scarcity in the level proper). I didn't even explore that section on the outside because it would've meant potentially dealing with another 3 mancubi. Good to know the level is quite maxable from pistol start tho'.
  2. Time to play a little catch-up! Forgive the length: I will try to be more frequent from here on. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP31: Chaingun Alley displays a pattern of one steps forward, two steps back, but counters it with brevity. The level as a whole is effectively divided into five sections, each their own challenge, and the resources ramp up over time alongside. Though it's on the relatively small side, each section requires careful management to progress through unharmed, and many of the elements found in previous maps are in full force. In most cases, completion of either entering the next area or opening the way to it will produce a fresh set of enemies from an earlier area, which ought to be backtracked to avoid chaos. Finding progression is more straight-forward than usual, and the automap outright explains what is to be done, though only expect this possibility when heading back to fight the latest retro-horde. As with Plutonia, the map directly transfers from the super-secret. A lot of turrets here, but since the level's extremely linear at least you can focus on them. Pretty cool action in the start (even if the turrets there exhibit the usual frustration) but slows down fast. Chocolate Doom / UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP32: After-Effect is an obvious retelling of Go 2 It, though swapping out the original's bombastic narration for something more tangential. There are some additional references (Doom1 E1M2 and Plutonia MAP01, though I'm pretty sure there are more), and the level plays relatively simple with progression so as to allow the player to focus on combat. All weapons are immediately available, but ammo is tight throughout and the same can be said of health and armor. "Relentless" would be appropriate to sum up the overall encounters, as each key-grab introduces its own wrench into the gearworks, resurrecting corpses amidst the spewing of fresh bodies. It takes quite a bit of time and patience to clear up new situations as they appear, and the last challenge is different only in that there's room to breathe between enemies. I ended up skipping the other difficulties when I realized that progression was probably just "kill enemies and then find the switch", and also when I noticed that HNTR was providing less ammo than UV at the start, so not much point in scouting it out. One too many baron blobs in this map, I think: most of the fighting was a combination of sticking it out in a couple useful holes (there's one near the blue door, monster-blocking linedef and all) and getting the infights to propagate. Final major fight was pretty cool, even if I was upset at just how many layers were poised after it. ("Just let me finish the map already!") Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP16: Rehab takes on the appearance of TNT's Habitat, though it is significantly less habitable (for the player, anyway). Non-linearity is the name of the game here, as the map introduces two completely different routes to exit; unlocking the barrier on the exit itself is a shared requirement and sends the player hunting across the whole regardless. Getting started is exceptionally difficult, and knowing how to proceed harder still, especially with monsters filling each crevice to the brim. Those who are familiar with the density of the original Habitat will find this iteration much more hostile, and usage of plasma can be early but must be sought out. While the level can be explored at leisure when fully equipped (and there are many places to explore, here) the exit is available rather quickly once a route is established. They really didn't want me getting that super shotty early, but by golly I did it anyway: map's just way too slow to start without it (and not enough rockets to satisfy big damage for a while). I think my UV attempt ended with 47% kills, and all-time low% for Urania! Some of the monster globs were annoying, but the freedom in path-taking made them a lot more tolerable. Of note: the HNTR attempt involved no plasma gun for the entire map, with even the BFG gathered first. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP17: Coffins Inc. (Damned Parlours on the automap) explores a specific concept here and there but piles on filler in between. The layout is incredibly compact and expects mobile cover gameplay most of the time, with the general progression straight-forward if only because of very little room to hide it. The display piece, from what I gather, is the use of archviles dangerously resurrecting, and so several rooms must be handled to circumvent this possibility: because of the ammo scarcity, allowing more than 100% of monsters to exist is simply not an option. By contrast, the final room's setup practically forces this upon the player, though some careful strategy leads to victory. Unfortunately, these set pieces are layered between heavy quantities of typical Urania thoroughness, and so much of the conveyance is lost. I honestly don't know what's expected when the southwest room descends: virtually no way to hit the arch-vile from above, absolutely zero cover once inside. I suppose you could tackle it aggressively with a BFG, but from a pistol start I had no choice but to skip the non-Cacodemon group entirely. Doesn't help that the sheer volume makes it hard to even go down there in the first place (infinite height an' all that). Getting outside was pretty cool, but the extra placement of enemies was unwelcome. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP18: BBQ HQ is a short map featuring a complex encounter. In fact, therein contains nearly 100% turret enemies, but with the double-layered positioning and frantic action required this isn't a point against it. Progression is simply a matter of clearing the inner turrets, finding the switches, and grabbing the one key needed to end the map. While taking down the innermost group is not easy with the intermittent threat of the outer one, it can be done either patiently or aggressively, and with the level this short either case doesn't take all that long. Certainly, this level is a handy breather (and what do you know, another nine levels later). I would've preferred less spongey enemies blocking switches (perhaps switches could be pressed in order and cause new blockers to teleport in) but overall this one played quite enjoyably from start to finish. It's a map that knows what it wants and does it in a quick sentence's worth of space. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP19: Seedling Consortium is a complicated play on TNT's Dead Zone, and aside from the occasional spam it flows rather well. The start is just a dash of Tricks and Traps, with a number of progression doors and worrisome others, though once one gets started it's easy to realize that nothing is particularly safe anyway (hint: a mad dash to NE might save your life). Finding keys is at the luxurious pace of killing a ton of enemies until found, and avoiding the outside is a safe bet most of the time, if necessary at other times. The exit is blocked off by a trifecta of barricades and removed per-key, so everything will eventually have to be completed, although collecting the rocket launcher following the red key is certainly helpful for the rest. HNTR threw me a curveball by placing a megasphere atop a teleport location, and I'd assumed in my HMP playthrough that it'd be there, but nope! Not that anyone else would ever run into that, just thought it was amusing. Also at one point I'd gained a pair of archviles I absolutely wasn't expecting, so that was nice. A few corridors sans health and I'd say this one fits among the most playful of the set.
  3. Played these a few days back at this point but I'll try my best to review: Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP14: AVC Zone has some interesting ideas at play, but the general procession of the mapset overshadows them for the most part. The beginning is especially odd as a stopgap to entice the player with a gimmick that then is entirely ignored: I liked it and wish there'd been more. (That AVC apparently stands for "Arch-Vile Crusher" makes it all the odder.) Progression is interesting in that quite a bit of the map can be handled in different ways, and the duplicate weapons make this fairly reliable to do even from a pistol start, though the final blue switch is fairly awkward. The major setpiece here is the section leading to the red key, involving a complicated array of monster entries through a compact but not-quite squished arena: it's challenging, especially to tackle early, but well-orchestrated. The same cannot quite be said of the rest of fights, with primarily static placement to get through in due time, though the teleporters near the yellow key at least keep the player on guard. The ending is simply a wall to get through and the trap doesn't quite deliver on urgency. Really shouldn't have, but it took me a good 15-20 minutes to find (or re-find, since I likely saw it at the beginning) that dang blue switch. It's cool how levels interweave their entirety, but sometimes it does make it awfully difficult to remember where everything is. (Keeping in mind that Chocolate Doom's automap doesn't let you mark keyed linedefs, of course.) Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP15: Haunt of Eater is probably the first map to really push the player forward, but the path is as mired as ever. Gathering together a launch pad is where the level really shines, as the level scatters materials around in a frenetic chaos from which the player must keep their wits to begin through the progression itself. Speaking of, getting through the map from there is holed up in side areas and is significantly less chaotic, returning to the more straight-forward and measured approach seen in this mapset (though still containing some powerful opposition). The final ambush is quite difficult, though it can be handled from a different angle to simplify matters. The secret exit is a difficult timing but pretty easy to figure out (perhaps easier than most progression in other maps). Pretty fun, all things considered, though the blue key section is a little too forceful. Took a little time to realize that, yes, the red switches have nothing to do with a red key. Urania Retrospective: First Half If I had to sum up my experience thus in one word, it'd probably be "exhausting". In a sentence, it'd be more like "meticulous and careful play is encouraged". Trying to dig deep into a level early is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, and so the general pace of levels is slow indeed. This isn't by itself a point against the mapset, but when it's combined with expansive layouts the result is that each level is its own massive wall to overcome, making it a very grueling experience to attempt all at once. If anything, the DWMC's schedule to roughly handle maps one-per-day probably helps this playthrough, as there's plenty of time to rest up in-between: by contrast, going through levels one after another in quick succession would likely cause undue stress and fatigue to most players expecting the usual fare. There's a obvious challenge-minded approach to both the encounters and the progression at work in Urania, though it's at a lateral distinction from, say, slaughtermaps or puzzle maps. The setpieces are relatively few, and the differences between hub and spoke are often abolished: instead, everything kind of flows into itself, leading to a somewhat uniform but uniquely interwoven form. This often leads to situations where much of levels can be completed before beginning progression, though if one knows what one is doing it can be handled in the opposite manner. No matter the exact circumstance, however, it's important to take each battle carefully, and examine each room just as carefully, or else the map will take much longer than it ought to. Personally, this isn't my cup of tea. I tend to like having a definite sense of accomplishment as I go, whether that be the result of finishing a section of a map or the map itself. Urania, on the other hand, gives off the impression of each map acting as its own jigsaw puzzle: the first piece is as important as the last, and many have to be correctly assembled (sometimes disconnected from each other) before you get a sense of the bigger picture, until at last everything comes together. It's a very different way to go about playing Doom, one I'm not used to: this said, I'm not so sure it's being handled that well even for those who might like it, and there are a number of repetitive themes at work. Still got another half to get through, however, and a lot can change between now and then.
  4. All these things. You can watch the video in that link and it'll give you the general rundown. EDIT: If you're wondering why people use it instead of something even more advanced, you can skim through this thread :
  5. Wrong? No. Given the choice between "safe and sniping" and "frantic and on-the-fly"? I myself will always pick the latter. The reason for this is that the safe and sniping approach, to me, means precisely one thought process: inch forward, find an enemy, shoot enemy until it dies, and repeat inch-by-inch. Sometimes you have to inch forward a good many inches to find an enemy, only to retreat to the safe zone in order to snipe it appropriately, but the way in which the player acts remains much the same. In a frantic and on-the-fly approach, I can't explain the thought process because it depends on way too many variables: Is there any cover? How permanent is cover if it's available? Are there enemies that can be used as cover? What types of attacks have to be avoided? Arachnotrons, Revenants, Mancubi, hitscanners, Archviles, standard projectiles (e.g., Barons), and Lost Souls all have to be accounted for individually. What weapons are available? Rockets, plasma, SSG, BFG, and chaingun all have potential use cases (and chainsaw/berserk/shotgun if weaponry is limited) How are the enemies moving around? Is there room to move around them, or do some have to be cleared out before that's the case? Is there a means of escaping the encounter? Would it be worth checking or should another layer of the encounter be expected? None of the above factors come into play when you're sniping, because cover is the basis of sniping, all projectiles are negated in said cover, weapons only vary by amounts of damage and timing (so as to not rocket yourself in the face, for example), and if enemy motion is non-trivial then you're no longer simply sniping. Yes, open-ended gameplay can easily devolve into a few well-known tropes (circlestrafing around a massive horde, as one example), but it is the responsibility of the mapper to account for repetition and avoid it when possible: the typical player will search for and act on the easiest solution to a given problem. Ultimately the issue I take with maps that allow or even enforce sniper-like gameplay in a majority of fights is that I'm not being asked to think about how I proceed, rather to perform a task of which I already know the outcome. If Doom were a game where searching for targets and finding ways to defeat them discreetly involved a more critical thought process (freelook, grenades, remote distractions, clever AI) then I would be more open to the approach, but it's just not there. To return to the topic of Urania: I don't think the mapset is solely dedicated to sniper-like play, but it does lean on its usage a lot. Of course, in Urania, safe is a relative term, so it can quite difficult to snipe, but it's still necessary all the same. This is why I've enjoyed combat in MAP09 and MAP13 the most, where the turret count is fairly low and I'm given room to stretch my legs after all the camping in-between. There are levels thus far that did sniping pretty well (MAP04, for example) but it's too frequent to enjoy it overall. I really would like to understand what makes meticulous, corner-shooting play alluring to some, because I only see it as a means to success: valuing the completion of a level over the journey taken to get to that point. I could be missing something crucial, and if anyone can enlighten me, please do so.
  6. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP12: Odontolith sticks with low-tier enemies and, with them, remains a low-key experience. The level is occupied with only hitscanners, imps, and demons/spectres, though it still manages to put them into places that cause the level to play quite slowly. Combat generally focuses around inching through, spying for turrets (and boy are there turrets) and carefully entering each new room. Progression is occasionally mysterious, with the activation of one thing leading to unexpected motion in another, though at least the map is fairly small to avoid gross backtracking. The ending is entirely without incident. Possibly intended to be a breather map, but it's still a slog to get through: if anything, the lack of higher-tier enemies means you aren't satisfied with the kills and so it's just shot after shot, spectre after spectre, chaingunner after chaingunner. There were some incredibly annoying turret windows here where I couldn't even see the enemy shooting and just had to guess that they were there. Among my least favorites in this first half. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP13: Journey of Voices is a big map with a big setup, and it does manage to pay off in places, but not quite enough for its size. Finding weaponry isn't too difficult here, and there's plenty of room to roam and search: I would call it city-esque in its approach, though with the constant need to be above ground level it's more difficult to investigate in the face of combat. The combat itself is certainly incidental in the bulk, and even later groups brought in have less to do with strict tactics and more about keeping a safe distance and using supplies carefully. Progression is perhaps the most convoluted yet, with a lot of rigamarole for relatively small steps: fortunately the encounter usage is paced in tandem, so there aren't too many points of only running around. I skipped HMP here, as I knew after HNTR that UV would still take a very long time (and it did: ~41min not including save-time). There were definitely some good points to this map, like the central battle after the blue key, but most of the progression feels padded. It's a pretty cool map to play once you already know what you're doing, but the blind run gets to be a chore, especially hunting down the red switches. I said I would write up a retrospective earlier: gonna save that for midway I guess, already messed up the timing to do it in thirds.
  7. More Urania! twitch.tv/capnclever

  8. Played through this recently, figure I should give feedback. For the record: I played this in Eternity Engine (Bifrost primarily, then Heimdal), UV, pistol starts, and few saves (I think zero until MAP20). The exit on MAP29 refused to work, and the switch that starts the final encounter in MAP30 simply won't press. Everything else seemed to work as intended (insomuch that I could complete the rest of the levels and access/complete MAP33). The changes in weapons take a little time to get used to but play well and give the set a fresh flavor. Most of them have an increased rate of fire (if ever-so-slightly) which successfully improves the pacing of most levels. Rocket launcher's projectile seems faster, which is good until the final boss completely destroys ingrained timing (this is a good thing, I'd say). BFG replacement is the one that stands out as unfitting, solely due to its friendly fire: these levels are already quite small, and having a weapon that can potentially kill you in most places you'd actually want to use it is off-putting. Of the monsters SFX changes, the revenant firing sound is one that threw me off the most. Changing around weapon SFX is one thing (feedback to adapt is ever-present) but when you adjust enemy noises, it can really change how you can deal with the enemy. Most of these were subtle enough to fit (the gibbing, and therefore archvile rez, noise is probably an improvement over the original) but the revenant's attack doesn't stand out nearly as much, making it an even greater overall threat. Just something to consider. Although I was told by rf` that each level was tested assuming infinite-height actors, I can't recommend playing with it (and kmxexii appears to agree). While I certainly appreciate the more vertically-oriented levels, some simply do not play fluidly because of invisible blockers. Here are notable cases: Spectre horde in MAP08 MAP16 in general Flyers in MAP22, and the freaking torches at the end MAP26 archvile fight MAP33 final archvile fight As you can see, it's really only a few levels, but they're incredibly annoying because of it. Might be a couple other places too, but the aforementioned are the most stand-out. Here are some general notes on progression/scaling of maps: I agree with an_mutt that the first five maps are pretty bland: more than being easier, they altogether lack the punchy, hard-hitting attitude of the rest of the set. MAP03 is enough of a keeper if you adjust the teleport points to wedge the player in better, and in general they'd probably just play better by replacing HKs/Barons with less spongey enemies. (I did like the trap in MAP02, though.) If you're considering the possibility of significantly altering maps, I would suggest using the first level as a primer for the player to become comfortable with the pistol and shotgun as better weapons (due to their upped speed), then machinegun in level two. MAP09 is where the set really gets into the groove with the maps, all filled with exciting, excellently-crafted gameplay, and that more or less continues all the way through MAP21. MAP20 is a bit of a pace-breaker: it's here that I had the most difficulty understanding the existence of the BFG replacement. The level is pretty good, but I'd have much preferred other weapons. MAP22-28 brings about an immediate jump in difficulty, though in a few cases I wouldn't call it in line with the overall pace of the set: MAP23 felt a little luck-based with all the barrels. Sometimes the second room went well and sometimes it didn't (and in the latter case that effectively meant restarting the level). MAP25's height differences are just plain mean, forcing camping more often than that. Not necessarily bad for a map of this length, but it's a big pace-breaker compared to the rest of the set. MAP27's start is exceptionally aggravating. You're expected to zerk-punch a cacodemon but it keeps trying to climb over a wall, thereby avoiding line of sight, and you don't exactly have time to waste doing this. The infinite height problems noted above. MAP29 is a really odd drop in difficulty. I understand the homage, but this level feels like it'd fit better around MAP06 or so. The bosses work, primarily as novelty, and the decision to keep them isolated from the rest of the set is good judgment. There are a LOT of archvile rez fights, up to and beyond the point where it goes from interesting to repetitive. I understand it's really hard to build compelling encounters under these conditions, nevermind a decent difficulty curve, but replacing even 2-3 of the archvile encounters would do wonders to keep the player guessing. Keep in mind that all of this was tested under EE, and so the goods and bad I noticed might well be significantly different compared to GZDoom: when the fights are this constrained, it's easy for slight engine quirks to cause major disturbances in balance.
  9. When I want to create an MP3 out of a MIDI file (or MUS or any number of old music filetypes), I first use Winamp to output a raw WAV file (or straight to MP3), then throw that into Audacity to fix it up when necessary. The second step is mostly to build a seamless loop and have it trail off after a loop or two, kinda like making a "preview" out of the song. It's an intensive process but it gets the job done and I'm satisfied with the results. For the Winamp part: Open up Preferences (Ctrl-P) Plug-ins > Output Select "Nullsoft Disk Writer" Double-click the disk writer option for some settings: If you find that the output is fine for you without altering it, you can also immediately convert it to MP3 by adjusting the "Conversion" settings. For this I've learned to use LAME MP3 encoder, 44.1kHz, CBR Stereo @ 192kBit/s (192 is probably overkill for most MIDI but I got the disk space). Set the "Output File Location" directory to wherever you want the file to go. The rest of the settings underneath that determine the filename, though you can easily do that later. Simply play the file back and it usually does so at a super-speed: when it's done the converted file is ready to use. (And if you happen to use Winamp to listen to the file you made, don't forget to switch the Output back to "Nullsoft DirectSound Output".) The Audacity side (that is, editing) gets more complicated and depends on the specifications of your desired file, so I won't explain it here. There are some really handy tools in that program like "Fade Out" and it's very easy to splice the audio as well. Even got some high-quality Raptor MP3s thanks to this method! I've included the Apogee Fanfare from that game as an attachment. (It is impossible to find a simple OPL version for this soundtrack, I swear.) Raptor Apogee Fanfare.zip
  10. You could grab a bunch of WADs (esp. the ones mentioned here) and run them through WadWhat/WadSpy. It has this interesting statistic called the "difficulty ratio", which takes the amount of damage available through ammo and divides it by the total HP of enemies in the level. It's not perfect (doesn't include BFG tracer damage, for instance) but it's a decent measure for precisely what you're seeking. I will say that, if this isn't already assumed, you'll want to approach everything with pistol start in mind. Even one level that destroy careful ammo balance in a mapset when played continuously.
  11. I've been trying this in my DWMC playthrough of Urania (clearing HNTR, then HMP, then UV in immediate sequence) and it's having a positive effect on the experience. I could use -nomonsters to learn progression, but having a general understanding of where monsters are (and therefore where to expect them on harder difficulties) is similarly useful information. Of course, if you don't trust the difficulty scaling to be remotely close then it's not going to help, but when you're struggling on UV I would at least give it a shot. (And most obviously, this works best with pistol starts in the first place, though if you don't mind tracking two or three different sets of saves...) On another point, I find that overusing saves depreciates the experience. What this constitutes will vary from player to player, but my threshold of abuse is saving in the middle of an encounter. (Usually. Sometimes encounters last forever, so coming up with a reasonable mid-point is the best compromise.) In general, if you're learning your encounter (that has resulted from a particular arrangement and would be difficult to replicate) and not the encounter, that's unhelpful to learning the level as a whole. As a rule of thumb I suggest keeping your save usage in check, as it can become a very slippery slope without conscious effort: always strive to not save, but if your frustration peaks then consider a checkpoint. Anyway, the biggest takeaway is that no amount of playing will necessarily prepare you for an unknown challenge, and the best way to become better is to actively seek improvement. Sometimes your experience can carry you through, and sometimes you just gotta learn the level.
  12. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP10: Stuffed involves quite a bit of stuff, just as Hunted involves quite a bit of hunt. The level is an obvious throwback to Plutonia's MAP11, and while there's enough variation to be its own map, it doesn't quite carry the same weight as its predecessor. The maze portion involves a mass of revenants accompanied by a small group of archviles, and rather than player-activated doors they just kind of open when they feel like it (mostly intermittent). It's relatively easy to hunker down and dispatch a great majority of enemies in the right avenues, though it is also necessary to search for ammo on occasion: trying to finish the maze quickly, even when the route is known, would prove quite the challenge. The final section is a trial of endurance, and resources are tight: I would call it more interesting overall than what came before. If the doors were player-activated (maybe even monster-activated) then this could be a really precise challenge of a map: as it stood I could camp through one of the shootable walls and take out a good three-quarters of the opposition. A neat change-up to the idea but I don't think it panned out very well. Last bit was nice, though! Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP11: Ejection of Energy certainly has the aforementioned burst, though it takes times to get there. The start immediately sets you under fire and into a short but awkward fence maze, and from there the level can begin in earnest. Progression begins very slow, though weapons are on-path and handed out at the right times. Once the player reaches the major sections of the map, the combat becomes a lot more interesting and varied: however, due to the pacing of certain areas, it is important, if not vital, to follow a particular progression through the map or be horribly lost in an unapproachable scenario. This could be seen as its own puzzle, as there's absolutely no reason to try another route once the optimal path is understood. Some final progression is obscure but thankfully optional, and the ending is a good capper. I think this is the first map that could be a whole lot better with one basic change: cut out everything leading up to the rooms entered via door from the start. It's a slog up to that point, but once you get into the main attraction it's engaging and exciting. I myself would recommend that the red key path also by mandated as first, since it's ridiculous to expect the player to get through the blue/yellow key section without necessary supplies (at least on UV). I'd call it a good map overall, just that the beginning leaves a bitter taste. Having played through each difficulty, I was surprised to learn that the player was warped to different locations depending on difficulty! Oddly enough, HMP seemed like the ideal warp point, with HNTR being very out of the way and UV requiring a cut through the horde. I'm gonna write up a little retrospective on the first eleven maps later today: figure it'll help to spread out the mapset thoughts rather than try to summarize (and recall) everything at the end.
  13. Finishing up rf_1024.wad, then Urania MAP11! twitch.tv/capnclever

  14. I believe the word you're looking for is manic, as what you're describing has more to do with energetic expression rather than a particular emotion. Often this word is used to describe people dealing with mania, but in my experience you can get the same thing from, say, a extra-large dose of caffeine after crankily waking up.
  15. Chocolate Doom / HNTR|HMP|UV / Pistol Start / Saves MAP09: Metal Mayhem finally shows to us a new approach to combat in this mapset, a true breath of fresh air. It does this by allowing the player enough room to navigate through the many enemies given, and by making weaponry available rather easily from the start. (There are even two separate SSGs depending on which route you take first!) Combat focuses primarily on large groups with arenas spacious and covered enough to fight as you like: the main area from which you begin is overwhelming and forces you to retreat, but the enemies slowly roll in from there, providing an extra layer of complexity. Progression is mercifully straightforward, if a little back-and-forth between areas, but this is an excellent coupling with the enemy placement. Finishing the level is a bit of a brain teaser, but I found it amusing. Really, this is the pace-breaker I needed in the mapset. Just wish there had been a couple more by now! A lot of levels thus far can cause significant map fatigue, as the general pacing tends to be very slow relative to the size of the level and making progress in clearing out enemies often feels like pushing a giant boulder up a hill. Here, the level gives you just enough leeway through space and resources to just run around and figure out what to do without being annihilated by the opposition. I'm not saying every level should do this (that would defeat the point about repetition) but I'm hoping there are more levels with this opportunity.