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About Cipher

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  1. Haven't played either yet. Vendetta's on the list sometime after finish Scythe and Plutonia 2. I've heard relatively good things about its caverns, for what it's worth. I've played the four-level "Phobos" wad from the '90s, and it doesn't get much more dark-caverny than that. I can take them in small doses, or when there's good stuff surrounding them, though I still don't think they're ever super good for gameplay. I think it's notable that, as far as I recall, Plutonia doesn't feature a single one. I guess they're not that backtracking-heavy; it probably just felt that way because of the amount of tunnel-crawling you do. I played 20-27 in two long sessions, so those levels probably blur a bit in my mind. "Pharoah" definitely has backtracking, but it's punctuated by relatively well-constructed encounters, so that's probably why it doesn't feel as tedious. (Though it's also why I prefer "Caribbean." It's not a level I love; just one that comes out feeling better than most of TNT.) The worst one for me in that regard was definitely "Ballistyx," with its multiple back-and-forths through long hallways to retrieve and use keys from opposite sides of the map, without many distinct encounters in between. I think it comes down to a difference in placement. Plutonia's version of "Chaingunner hell" mostly has them positioned as turrets and traps in very specific ways, with consistent strategies to get around them. Targeted cruelty. Evilution's version just has them walking around huge rooms, teleporting in at random moments, etc. It's a lot less designed and consistent, and coupled with all its other wandering hitscanners and huge levels, that can feel more frustrating. It was certainly more frustrating to die to. At least that's my take. I guess I can see someone preferring things the other way around. I need to remind myself there are people who genuinely like incidental combat. Then again, I don't think I hate it when it's done differently, as I like most levels in the original Doom and Doom 64 quite a bit. Re: Above: "Deepest Reaches" is a level I found both atmospheric and pretty fun. It definitely never felt boring.
  2. I leave it on because that's the way the game was designed. If I played more heavy slaughtermaps or something where I was likely to take constant hits and that was clearly outside the parameters of the vanilla engine anyway, I'd consider turning it off for playability though.
  3. One more Evilution diary bump: Now up to level 28. Hole E. Shit, episode three is terrible. I'd heard it was the worst part of the game coming in, but I wasn't ready. "Central Processing"-"Mt. Pain" is such a slog. I can't believe the number of times I found myself asking, "How could anyone find this fun?" So much backtracking, so many caverns (why oh why), so much more arbitrary hitscanner placement. Dying in these levels is painful, because early portions are so tedious and dull. (A random Chaingunner teleporting in behind you after you've gotten to the outdoor area of "Administration Center"? Have fun!). I swear the aesthetics become more amateurish as well for a stretch of levels in there, probably as a result of the community-project nature of the game. I actually rewatched the second half of the "Evolution of the WAD" episode on Evilution after playing these, and one of the guests said something I thought was particularly astute: "It's like they wanted to make these levels hard, but they didn't really know how." That's ... exactly what it feels like. Make levels long, make them backtracking-heavy, fill rooms and hallways with hitscanners. Again, I have no idea how Plutonia gets the "hitscanner hell" rap over Evilution, except that its placement is more thoughtful and therein maybe more memorable. But in Evilution, Chaingunners, Shotgunners, and even basic Zombiemen (!) are milling around wide-open rooms from the first level until the last few, because for some reason the designers seem consistently allergic to designing encounters around higher-tier monsters. I've heard good things about levels 28 and 29, and 28 is a Milo Casali level, so it's probably smooth sailing from here on out. Standouts so far: The first three levels ("Wormhole" is cool, but I can't get over the fact that it doesn't reward you for exploring its second half at all, especially for continuous play) Prison Redemption Storage Facility Nukage Processing The Dead Zone (really fun!) Pharoah Caribbean (really fun!) Mill Shipping/Respawning Though a lot of those are just decently fun or have gameplay that doesn't interrupt the setpiece design team TNT seemed to be interested in. Can't stand: Metal Stronghold Steel Works Central Processing Administration Center Habitat Baron's Den Ballistyx And "Lunar Mining Project" and "Quarry" both feel more aggravating than they are, because they're two more unremarkable backtracking + dark cavern levels sandwiched into a bunch of them for absolutely no reason I can fathom. Not godawful, but I can't imagine who could possibly find them fun, and that makes that stretch of levels feel like an absolute chore. EDIT -- Sorry if TNT is your favorite wad. This came out as a bit more of a rant than I'd intended. It just really doesn't do it for me as a gameplay-first player.
  4. I like that Doom, while being an amazingly well-designed set of mechanics, feels like the product of its developers. You know exactly what these guys were into at the time --metal and fantasy and programming -- and the joy they have/had for making the game is infectious. That's something that's missing from a lot of games, and while it isn't essential to admire the final product or have fun, it's always nice.
  5. The Mancubus' surprisingly convincing folding into a pile of goop or the Revenant's satisfying click.
  6. Why are JRPGs looked down upon?
  7. People above have chimed in with really good comments, so perhaps I should have amended my earlier post to say, "Treat saves only as tools to practice for a single saveless run." That way you still need to get to the point where encounters can be passed effectively and consistently, rather than just scraped through once. Basically, do what you need to do to learn a challenging map, but don't consider it done until you can execute the whole thing in one run. The skills that demands will be very different from the skills needed to just complete each encounter in isolation.
  8. It puts more pressure on surviving, and forces you to improve at earlier portions of a level rather than just scraping by them once. Often times there's a lot of room for improvement in earlier encounters, and forcing yourself to replay them and become better at them to save resources for encounters ahead can be really helpful. For particularly challenging or long (the latter of which I'm generally not a fan of) levels, I think learning them with a save or two can be fine, but it's still going to be good practice to put it all together in a single run afterward. At any rate, I think a good and totally reasonable goal is to be able to get through all four iwads completely without mid-level saves, if you haven't done so already. (Or at least 1, 2 and Plutonia). Re: Above: Agreed. Pick levels that are just one step too hard for you, so you can actually figure them out and overcome them, rather than ones that are fifteen steps too hard for you and are completely inscrutable. That's how you get better at basically anything. Incremental challenges; you still need to give yourself a foothold.
  9. Play without saves, memorize enemy behaviors, always try to pick up some harder levels than the ones you last beat.
  10. That's totally fair. I was just wondering if it was genuinely impossible for reasons I wasn't clear on, or if you simply weren't doing it for fidelity to the way that was most common to play at the time. That's coming from someone who plays all the iwads on DOSBox, thought I do edit the configs and add novert to change the controls within '90s possibility (if not probability or popularity). My post wasn't meant to be accusatory; I get where you're coming from. I was just genuinely unclear, since it read like changing controls in a DOS environment was impossible.
  11. Just a question on that paragraph about playing on a Dos machine -- could you really not edit config files and add Novert to set up modern shooter-styled controls?
  12. I take it all back. Every style of Doom levels sucks: Dungeon-crawler: Walk endlessly through boring hallways looking for switches until the map lets you win Knockabout arcade: Memorize a bunch of chaingunner and Revenant locations through trial-and-error until you win Slaughtermap: Circle-strafe and cause infighting until you win Boring game.
  13. It actually low-key bothers me that Mancubi can shoot through corners and thin walls. I'm really bad at judging when that's going to happen.
  14. I wouldn't enjoy eating a bowl of soup just because it's hot, but that's also because eating soup isn't a game. If my primary pleasure in eating soup was derived from the challenge of pouring increasingly hot liquids down my throat, I might enjoy the result of someone working really hard to produce a particularly hot bowl of soup. Welcome to a discussion on slowdermaps.
  15. I'm ... not sure this is true. I've seen several Sunlust videos that display very slaughter-ish maps where the key doesn't largely seem to be infighting, but navigating clusters of enemies to get to targets like Arch-Viles, positioning groups for certain weapons, etc. If anything infighting was one of the smallest parts.