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  1. Hah, sorry. I decided to take the month off to play some other stuff and take a break to enjoy some fall weather before it gets miserable out. Besides, I'm not the biggest Plutonia fan so this seemed like a good time to kick back.
  2. MAP31 - “Hopscotch” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Crazy colorful chaos with a dark quiet corner or two mixed in. That sums this one up to me. A series of sticky situations but nothing really long winded or over the top. The beginning was the hardest to me though the damage floor timed event (with the stylish entrance) was rough as hell. To me, the starting ammo situation was a real quandary. I spent more time running around trying to decide who lives and who dies so that I could make it to the next area before I empty out completely and died trying to punch Revs in the face. As always, I liked all of the spacey architecture. Kind of a organized mess of strobe lights, poles, lines and steps. Everything went along well with the upbeat electronic music. Stuff was kind of blinking or flashing which gives you a weird feeling if you decided to sit still anywhere. The ending with the awesome looking exit and a purple suited human was funny. How the heck did he get there?! MAP32 - “Issai Perfect” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Jeezus H… Uuuugh. Not for me. This was just silly. I mean, come onnnn man. The ceiling crushing gimmick looked cool but I dunno. Who has the patience for this kind of thing? Not me. I liked the end with the purple suited guys worshiping the purple crystal. Glad these last two aren't a part of the proper maps. The main 9 is legit. These few secret maps where kind of meh for me. Final Thoughts What can I say? This and Crumpets deserves 5 stars pretty easily to me. The presentation. The design. The music. The gameplay. etc etc. Outstanding stuff. Top notch quality even when I didn't enjoy one or two maps as much as the others.
  3. OMG, lol. Thanks! I never even came close to putting that together. Makes sense looking back as that was A LOT of enemies I save scummed my way through. Hahaha, crazy.
  4. MAP09 - “Do You Believe?” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Bring it home, baby. Wow. Talk about a finale. Shit gets crazy multiple times over when you expected things to have ended already. The atmospheric environment before the jump down was haunting with it’s slick red detailing and pulsing purple walls. Cyberdemon to start things off again. Yikes. Don’t run to the left right away either! Fun trick to use when you first start out is to not fire a single bullet for as long as you can. This keeps you from alerting everyone and allows you to avoid being pincered in by imps and revs right away. Makes grabbing the megasphere easier. Nice. I managed to get a spider and two commandos to stunlock that cyberdemon. It was fun to watch him squirm and fail to get a rocket through. I loved the giant architectural hell maw he sits in. Looks wicked. Both from the outside and within. There was a switch puzzle that threw me off involving rising and lowering timed columns. Took a long time for me to figure out and felt really halting pace wise. Some of the more quite areas are really enjoyable spaces to pause and catch your breath though. Was shocked to find one of the scariest secrets I’ve come across in a long time. “Ahhh!” Getting the keys seemed the main focus until the end challenges. I liked the vertical stairs to the purple key. That was a neat reward for surviving the harrowing battle in the dark. There’s also an importance given to certain health potions that was kind of neat. Not sure what the purpose was, but seemed cool. I know I had two secret health and ammo stocks appear at the beginning area somehow. Not sure how I even did that but it was welcome. Getting through to the end is quite the experience. Strap on those slaughter boots on and get to BFG spamming! Then you come upon the amazing pyramid entrance but don’t forget to stock up first. The final part of this map confused me a bit. There is a timer that starts counting down from 10 after you shoot a switch. The countdown resets and goes from 10 to 0 again and again until it’s red. I can only assume that the 10 count indicates the coming of the next wave until reaching the last. Very neat idea and hard as hell to get through. Anything that avoids the tired old IoS ending, is great. However, what confused me was the four switches that don’t seem to do anything. They are so predominately displayed and covered by walls on three sides, you would think they are important. But all they did was disappear after the clock struck red zeroes. *Head scratch* In any case, great set up for a survival encounter as once the clock hits red zeroes, a small wall section drops open allowing you to scramble for the last switch to open up the exit. The end crystal is, like most things in this wad, visually striking. Unique and awesome. Too bad it uses the same IoS sound when you shoot it instead of having it’s own thing. Ah well. Very cool none the less. MAP10 - “Thanks for Playing!” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Another weird “TY” from the author. But hey, why not? No real ending per say, just a small collection of awesome maps and a hug at the finish line. \o/ No sir, thank you.
  5. MAP08 - “Grand Ballroom” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves These last two maps are filled with crazy awesome shit and are very similar in structure and style with a key hunt and their beginning hub areas. So many great ideas with small touches and good looking stuff to move through that you spend very little time in. (Fun with freeze mode: ZIP ZIP Explode!) Skipping from one piece to the next before you get a firm grip on what you should be working for. Couple of sneaky tricks here and there but for the most part I like to think I did okay getting through them. The impressive looking area before the exit was easily the highlight. Visually, that is. I didn’t much enjoy the cat and mouse game with the Cybes and AV’s from one switch to the next and back again for the exit. The are felt too small and a bit silly running around. I prefer a good fight which is why I enjoyed the imp horde waiting above before the wall drops and unloads on your face with the next bevy of baddies. Doubly fun was the cacoswarm with the Cyberdemon in the water. Speaking of, lots of cybies to be found in these maps. Was fun getting to telefrag the one behind you at the beginning. Get it!
  6. MAP07 - “Lotus Keep” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Fantastic little abstract base map. I really dig the starry sky texture. It fits so well with the crazy designs and colors of this wad. Not to mention the music which again is killing it here. SoE with the flute and harp together? Fantastic! I need to revisit that game’s OST. The opening entrance alone is snazzy not to mention the rest of the map. I can’t heap enough praise on some of this stuff. Every frame in still shot is like a work of art. Even passing views outside the windows are spectacular. On the whole, the level of difficulty in these maps can be a bit much for some but really I think average joes should play Ribbiks maps on lowest level of difficulty, just so they can take in the visuals. They are truly stunning sometimes when you slow down and take it in. Other maps more so than this one perhaps but still. The main hub, of sorts, that first traps you in but later opens up after finally saving enough ammo to take on the barons was great. I had a really fun time getting to that point. Going from feelings of helplessness to awesomeness. The little cinematic moment with the zombie and dead marine before the black key was a nice touch as well. I like little story moments like that where you can imagine some sort of drama or story taking place.
  7. MAP06 - “The Other Side” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Good map. Enjoyed the slick looking distant castle (made the exit view look great as well) and the interesting torches around the starting area. Never figured out how to get down to those IV spheres though I suspect it had something to do with the barons in their sweet shrine perch. So without a hidden invulnerability to help somewhere, there was a lot of save scumming here, grrr. Fun battles though. Lots of PE’s mixed in to make things a touch more challenging/frustrating. The climb up the stairs with a RL as the horde works it’s way down to you was a really cool concept and probably the highlight of the map for me. I would enjoy an entire level like that. Just one long stair case you have to work your way up, horde by horde. Just a really good design that fit perfectly for a small change of pace in this one. The secret cyberdemon battle was kind of awesome as well. Though I don’t know if a little more ammo and a soulsphere is worth all that work, hah. Quite a pickle to get out of there with that megasphere % boost. However I suppose you could get the RL early that way. Huh… Interesting. I found it way too late to be useful but I wonder how that secret early on might change things. Perhaps try it on an UV run… there we go. Nice. I think it lets you skip through some of the map too because I was able to reach the exit without even going through the upper area with baddies on raised platforms followed by the stairway segment. Great choice of music! Loved it. Secret of Evermore got a bad wrap for being sub par but it has some gems hidden in there.
  8. MAP05 - “Sphinx Rising” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Wow. Where do I even start with this one? So I was pretty angry at the last map. Not the case here. The opening shot is gorgeous and I really appreciated a slower paced start with a brooding music track to go with the dark lighting. There is a sort of ominous feeling as you drop down in to the first halls of this dark dungeon where evil awaits (and escapes!) and transforms a bit later on. The lighting is spectacular too. I was won over pretty early on and am glad the rest of the map holds up. It’s visually outstanding in almost every way. Very impressive stuff all over with many angles providing interesting visual goodies. The red and purple work really well together, especially during the end melee where you basically have to ration all your gifted ammo and health for the waves of Arch-Viles while surviving the squeeze from the rest. I’m not sure but the I think the color pattern before it was some kind of sequence hint as the colors changed once you become trapped inside. Not sure. The exit was amazing in motion too. That texture is trippy along with the flashing walls. Cool view looking down as well. I guess the use of red from the exit crushers during the last map is expounded upon here and it’s especially effective when the color is removed to let a little bit of gray show as well. With just a hint of either red or purple, but not both. Especially evident during the hallway with the hanging asian lamps. There seems to be a dark vortex that pulls you into a hellish alternate dimension which is cool as hell. Nice place for a black key. Underneath 3 PE’s and in front of a horde of baddies flanked by revs. Loved the extra violent decor as well. Helped make the transition back that much more effective. Fun spot for the YK in the caves and blood waterfalls area. Lots of surprise revs after grabbing the RL and nobles coming up from the below after that. Coupled both with a cac swarm and a big cyberdemon and you have one giant shitstorm. JEE-yee-zuz! I was very surprised there was no invulnerability sphere. Just a hidden blue armor. I save scummed like crazy to get through that nonsense. It seems insanely unfair. I liked the switch station at the dead end later. I managed to steal the PG from the revs, which was fun. However, I never figured out how to get that purple skull key for the BFG to fight it’s guards as well. Oh well. Always fun finding a secret megasphere. I think one of the welcome common staples of a Ribbiks maps is having those ornate modern art pieces off in the distance, just cause. I noclipped over there for a closer view. Awesome. Another impressive set piece was the lowering floor and it’s column containing barons at the bottom to destroy your world along with a cyberdemon for back up. Hot damn! Lot of fun being able to run around with more room than usually offered with these kinds of deals in this wad. Retreating up top was only slightly better. Heh. Thematic ending with finding the black skull key. Amazing. Very cool stuff. Bravo.
  9. MAP03 - “Amethyst III” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Nice spacey map floating in a black void. Neat neon purple steps. Starting with the two mancs behind you and no cover is enough to get you running for cover immediately. Which of course leads you to one crazy fight after the next while hoping to grab a weapon and deal with it. Some of the encounter spaces are as always, very groovy looking. I found the first few minutes to be the hardest. Trying to figure out when you can turn around and deal with the enemies as opposed to just running your ass off. Beyond that, lots of interesting challenges to be found. Especially the secret cyberdemon battle. Weird exit out in the front kind of hiding in plain sight. I’m a huge fan of chiptunes so this music track works for me. MAP04 - “Velvet Blood Mission” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves I had to give up on this one. Not sure what’s going on but not a whole lot of it made any sense to me. The map looks great and all but what the hell? Is this even Doom? I have a black and purple key and the only thing the black key does is lower the lift up to nowhere really. I can see an area beyond these bars but no idea how to get back there. Used the purple key to grab a RL and get over to kill the flying purple monster and his buddies but have no hint as to what I’m supposed to do after that with the weird red crushers and the floor that slows you down. Fail. I can see there’s stuff out of reach beyond some other bars. How to get back there and check out some of the other floating stuff? No clue. Then there is the SSG trap which is asinine. How the hell are you even supposed to survive that? Pinched in, with no cover. 2 AV's , a PE, two imps and two HK’s. Good luck with that. Thankfully I didn’t need that SSG... because I fought 4 friggin’ AV's for one already!! You’ve got a weird neon lighted floating and disappearing platform puzzle to get over on and into a weird insta teleporting darkly lit negative zone with a manc. A teleporting item vending machine that damages you via sending you through a red portal tube. A switch with a lighted power line to a platform that connects to some square centerpiece, which does nothing. What… in… the… whatever. Fuck this shit. I’m moving on.
  10. Stardate 20X7 MAP01 - “Sun/Moon/Stars” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves I remember playing this in it’s beta form. Had forgotten all about it. Finally released eh? Wow. It’s just as beautiful as I remember it. LOVE the use of purple. Such a cool change in motif from Crumpets mint chocolate colored stuff. These are the truly remarkable types of modern designs that first drew me to Ribbiks’ work. The kind of stuff I discovered in Sunlust that brought me back to playing Doom wads. Really unique and stylistic work. Both visually and gameplay wise with it’s set ups. Lots of hard traps and situations to get stuck in. Always appreciate a great looking exit and I love the spacy intermission screen as well. Excellent. MAP02 - “Eastern Sun” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Confusion. That sums this one up for me. I really had a hard time figuring out where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do. Lots of fun locations though. Like the berserk pickup area with the lost/abandoned tech equipment guarded by two commandos. There was a nice looking temple with a Manc and a SSG that came out of nowhere too. Didn’t expect that kind of set piece. Sweet. Lots of little tricky jumps and switches with cramped vertically designed areas interwoven together in between really tough arena fights. My favorite being the drop down in the dark to dance with imps while two teams of AV’s flame you from above. Some of the others were really hard, the worst being the 6 AV’s locking you in with a cyberdemon and tons of cacs/HKs. That seemed a bit much without a BFG or PG. Overall though I did enjoy struggling to find the keys which leads you to the next area. It felt like a good bit of work to achieve the ending with a stop through this weird purple lighting shutes before the odd floaty feeling room that opens up the possibility to then jump through the circular drop in to another dark sequence. Very neat idea with the snarky hint. Visually great and hair raising sneaking through before having to go toe to toe with more AV’s two more times to move on to the spectacular purple cave waterfalls and then up to the artsy looking exit. Cool stuff. Fun conveyor belt exit through the lights too. Tons of awesome stuff in this map once you got past the initial befuddlement at the beginning. Took me a long time to take this one in and get things done. Enjoyed it though. I’m so busy clinging on to the last days of summer. Not sure if I can catch up this month. There is a lot to take in with these maps!
  11. MAP08 - “Shamu” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Nasty at first but pretty fun moments overall. Lots of challenging situations from start to finish but with plenty of armor and a health afterwards if you make it through them. Also, you can get the PG right away which is awesome. I liked the use of brown water just kind of all over the place. The use of liquid in all of these maps is really well done. The notable Cyberdemon centerpiece next to the rev pillars with a gang of nobles across the way was enjoyable. Infighting aplenty. MAP09 - “Crackerjack” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Some really nice architectural designs on display here. Large massive structures in the distance for decoration as well as the giant tower structure open to explore. Excellent use of the SMM’s and playing visual tricks with the distance and size by having a smaller arachnotron on a platform by the YK. I actually made it through this map without too much trouble. Lots of tricky AV’s to deal with but overall things were doable with the PG/CG combo I stumbled upon right away. I was very happy to have invisibility spheres readily available for a change. I missed all of the secrets but the most obvious one with the megasphere. Yikes. I went back later and found the telepads for the telefrags. Hah, wish I’d have found those earlier. I just ran for the exit as soon as I could. No way in hell I was going to stick around with all of the PE s and Lost Souls flying about. Yeesh. Sad there wasn’t something a bit more substantial to force me to stick around in this well crafted space for a bit longer. As is, the 4 switches for the exit are easily attainable. There’s no end? MAP10 - “Thanks for Playing!” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Heh, well that’s that I guess. I don’t know what to say. You're welcome? This doesn’t feel like a complete wad really. Just a handful of well done maps. I guess that’s why it’s called crumpets. Not a main course by any means. Not even really an appetizer. Just kind of there for your enjoyment in little bite sized moments.
  12. MAP07 - “Frog and Toad” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Grrrr. Maps like this give me anxiety. Running around room to room without the ammo to handle all the shit that’s waiting for you. It becomes a puzzle of survival where you have to find the next “key” to survival with very little room for error. Not the most fun but as always… very neat looking. Little less so than the last map but still interesting designs. At least there are multiple weapon pick ups so there are options available past the initial brutality. Even the BFG has two different spots. My favorite part of the map was the megasphere trap. A wall of CG’ers and HK’s. AHH!! I did not make it out with better numbers then what I went in with. Hilarious scare. I knew something was coming, but god damn!
  13. MAP06 - “Masquerade” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves Holy hell! I had to double check the difficulty settings before starting this. Quite a scare with 4 barons and a manc staring down at you when starting out on HMP. Crazy start for a crazy little map. Lots of spacial challenges and tricky positioning in tight confined spaces. The sandstone brick with hues of brown looks really good with the spots of red. Good stuff. Getting the BFG at the start is always interesting because you wonder when to use it. Tempting to fire that baby right at the barons right away, but I chose to run around them and save it for the cyberdemon I found later. I appreciated the extra ammo by the exit doorway behind him. Sigh of relief here.
  14. MAP04 - “Bocuma” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves This is more like it. After the initial SSG training session there’s a little bit more room to move around in. All of the rocky walls and steps look superb. Just spectacular stuff. Open spaces are sprinkled with smaller encounters alongside a few restocking points with teleporting enemies and a couple of interesting perches and ledges for snipers while running from surprise revs (the best kind!) and such. The AV/rev in the locked in area before the RK was intense. Wow, deep cut with the FFT character creation track. Fits well. Squaresoft b-sides that work with doom maps. Who would’ve thought? The description from the Crumpets.txt: “First level I made for the set. I originally was just scribbling around trying to hash out texture themes that would eventually become Sunlust map14, but I decided it would be fun to sharpen the old speedmapping claws. Thus "Crumpets" was born, a way for me to entertain myself with some relaxing mapping in between the development of maps for other projects.” It all makes sense now. This wad is a series of Ribbiks speedmapping his way through boredom. This one only took 3 and a half hours total? I’m not a mapper, but that seems nuts to me. I don’t know how you guys work the magic you do. MAP05 - “Mint Chocolate” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves My favorite flavor! Never thought of the particular color scheme as such but hey, it actually works when you think about it. I like that the green toxic water, isn’t damaging. It’s just a good looking design choice. The deepest, darkest part of the map was awesome looking. As is much of the map and it’s outer detailing and sniper perches behind the triple rev ambush. Just a lot of great looking environments that were a joy to fight your way through. The squeeze past the wall of revenants and arch-vile behind them to get to the BFG was really cool and if you’re really good you could possibly save enough plasma for a shot at the end. I unfortunately, was not able to do that. That was crazy.
  15. MAP03 - “Tiramisu” gzDoom - HMP – pistol start/saves This is the type of map that makes me feel like I’m in a puzzle. Boxed in mostly with not much to look at. A puzzle box. A Ribbiks cube, if you will. (I can’t be the first to come up with that joke.) Find the switches, find out what each does and figure out how to get from one point to the next. Rinse repeat. There will be very little exploring and no free flowing multiple paths. Just find out what works from A to B, over and over again. It’s well designed with frantic in your face action and tricky ammo management, but it's not not what I enjoy most. The secret telefrag was really cool though. Always love that king of thing. I tried this on UV… hahaha, no. I don’t think I will be playing these maps twice. HMP is just fine. From the Crumpets.txt readme file, “Tiny map that can be deceptively tough on UV.” Indeed.