SGS Man

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  1. Seems I’m a little late to the proceedings… MAP13 – “Slaughter Zone” by Paul Corfiatis This map is quick bout much like the previous map. It gives you a Super Shotgun at the start and follows it up with some fairly intense action. You are surrounded by Sergeants, Imps, Demon, Cacodemons, Revenants and Arachnotrons as you try to find your way through the map. The blood here is damaging in contrast with some previous maps, although there are plenty of Radiation shielding suits. You make your way to the Rocket Launcher and face a Baron of Hell and a Mancubus ambush. This is followed by another ambush by Revenants. You now pick the red-key up and unleash a swarm of Cacodemons and Pain Elementals. After cleaning the mess up, you proceed to the red door. This section is fairly mild at the start, employing a few monster closets, but picks up when several monsters teleport in. This section, just before the blue-key, employs a better teleportation trap than the Hell Knight trap in MAP10. You are surrounded and not given an easy way out. However, the cramped area does result in a fair bit of infighting, weakening the trap slightly. You rush to get the blue-key and deal with another swarm of teleporting enemies. The next section is quite fun, with the Baron of Hell, Demons and Revenant ambush. However, if you cleared most of the enemies before this, it is far too easy to rush to the exit, even with the two Arch-viles resurrecting everything that used to move. Regardless, this is a short and enjoyable closure to the map. The map has some fun architecture and is intense throughout. It feels like MAP05 and MAP10 in terms of filler but isn’t dragged down as much because of its intensity. Also, Demon-punching makes a return here, although not as extreme as MAP02. The secrets here are fairly useful, especially the Plasma Rifle and Megaarmor, which pretty much trivializes the rest of the map. As a whole, the map is short and fun. MAP14 – “Undertaker” by Phobus This map is quite the rush after the fairly mellow prior maps! The opening is rather tricky as it’s really easy to get caught and get punched or chowed down to death. The map throws almost every weapon at you and expects you to survive a barrage of Revenants and Demons. There’s a Rocket Launcher available to speed things up, but the cramped opening area modifies the challenge a bit. There are some Arch-viles and Chaingunners here that facilitate constant movement. Also, there are some clever monster closets with Spectres and Revenants here. The next area requires some careful movement to handle the Revenants, Arachnotrons, Cacodemons and Pain Elementals. It opens up to an interesting teleporter setup. There is a bridge to the other side of this area but two teleporters across it. You take the first teleporter to a giant chamber packed with monsters and rush to the other side to get to another teleporter that takes you to the other side of the bridge. The only problem I have with this setup is that it’s far too easy to run past everything! Since the chamber has a low monster-to-area ratio, it isn’t lethal enough to prevent rushing. Anyway, you get to the other side and can enter two doors. Both use ambushes in cramped areas giving some interesting moments. The Megasphere here is rather excessive though. You return to the to the chamber, where all hell must have broken loose, and it is still not lethal enough. You open the yellow door to a few monsters that are easy to dispatch given your supplies by this point. You can now proceed to the exit, which has a rather poor Chaingunner and Arch-vile ambush setup. I actually entered the exit just before the Arch-vile showed up. A noticeable problem this map suffers from is the ease of rushing past everything combined with the lack of incentive to not do so. Without this issue, it could have been a pretty strong map. The secrets are pretty useful. I found the Computer Area Map to be quite enjoyable to see. Not many maps use that. All in all, the map starts off strong but is dragged down by the general non-lethality of the following encounters. Now onto MAP15…
  2. MAP12 – “Velocity” by Kira This map is a clear homage to “Speed”, from the aesthetics and gameplay to the map title and MIDI. Unlike a few previous maps, this map flaunts its inheritance and puts it to good use simultaneously. The opening is a hitscan fest. The Sergeants and Chaingunners can tear through your health if you aren’t fast enough, while the Imps and Cacodemons move about trying to block your every move. You can rush to towards the Spider Mastermind, or take a small detour for the Rocket Launcher and Megaarmor. There are several hitscanners here but they can potentially be bypassed with the help of the Partial Invisibility Powerup. Interestingly enough, the Spider Mastermind gets herself into infighting consistently. That usually leads to her demise (or close to it). You then pick up several rockets and a Plasma Rifle before the next section. This area of the map is a fantastic upgrade to the corresponding section of “Speed”. It has two Cyberdemons unleashing salvos of rockets, some Revenants blocking your path, and plenty of flying monsters to use for infighting. It has the usual telefrag to eliminate the Cyberdemons. Although the Revenant ambush here was quite crafty. The next area demands frequent cover usage as you have to deal with Chaingunners and Arch-viles. If you have enough health, an Arch-vile jump across the gap is certainly possible. After this, you proceed to that final section of the map, where you deal with a host of monsters that teleport in, although you can skip this section quite easily. This map is short and sweet. It takes “Speed’s” template and shakes a few things up to good effect. As a homage, it’s satisfactory because it doesn’t tamper with the "Speed's" gameplay too much, although I feel it played it too safe. As a map, it doesn’t fall flat on its face like some previous maps, although it doesn’t stand out compared to the others. Regarding the secrets, the Soulsphere is fairly useful while the BFG-9000 is almost useless if you used the Plasma Rifle for anything. Pretty fun map as a whole though.
  3. Oh yeah, I loved those maps. I played Valiant and Vanguard way before attempting Plutonia seriously, so I saw those maps before playing "Hunted". Yet even after playing them I somehow find "Hunted" to carry a unique atmosphere. I know all this talk about 'atmosphere' is very subjective though. I'll try to explain my thoughts better. I think "Hunted" sticks out in my mind because of how self-contained it feels. All the other Arch-vile based maps I've played seem well paced in their mapsets, while "Hunted" is such a jarring map that it doesn't really fit in any mapset I can think of, yet it would improve any mapset it is placed in. I don't even think "Hunted" fits all that well in Plutonia, yet Plutonia would be worse off without it.
  4. MAP11 – “Will you be my NME?” by Darkwave000 This map occupies the map position of Plutonia’s “Hunted”. However, it is clearly inspired by Plutonia 2’s “Arch-Violence” (and, apparently, Speed of Doom’s “Vile Pain”, although I haven’t played Speed of Doom yet). Regardless of the source of inspiration, this map is probably the best map so far. One noticeable difference is that this map replaces “Arch-Violence’s” labyrinthine design with architecture akin to that of a citadel. The map is downright ruthless for pistol-starts. There’s just enough ammunition to go around though. The opening, where you get some weapons, constantly uses ambushes against you. I found the Chaingunner and Revenant ambush near the Chaingun, Super Shotgun and Backpack area to be quite fun. The Chaingun is ideal to eliminate the Chaingunners, while the Super Shotgun helps clear the Revenants out faster. Whichever one you pick, you have to move quickly to grab the other one (the backpack is not required immediately, but helps in the long run). You proceed to obtain a Soulsphere where you are ambushed by a Mancubus and Chaingunners (and Revenants off in the distance). You push your way to the blue-key area, clearing all the Revenants and Chaingunners that stand in your way. When you pick the blue-key up, the first batch of Arch-viles is released into the citadel. You push your way back out, clearing the first few Arch-viles, and you proceed to enter the rest of the map. The map opens up immensely and is fairly non-linear (although not as much as MAP06). Gameplay-wise, most of the blood-filled areas follow a similar structure. If you see a useful pick-up (say a Soulsphere or a Plasma Rifle), expect to be ambushed by Revenants, Chaingunners and Mancubi (and Arch-viles). If you are finding your way through the sprawling complex, expect to be ambushed by Revenants, Chaingunners and Mancubi (and Arch-viles). If you pick either remaining key up, expect to be ambushed by Revenants, Chaingunners and Mancubi (and Arch-viles). However, despite the similar army compositions, the map manages to make these encounters engaging by employing enjoyable monster placement. In one of my many attempts, I had to punch an Arch-vile to death! After you survive the key-grabs, you proceed to the final section of the map, which basically swarms all areas with Arachnotrons. The Arch-vile usage here is quite interesting as there is a long corridor leading to the exit with limited cover and plenty of Arch-viles to blast you. The exit greets you with one of the better placements of Spider Masterminds I have seen. You have to use the Imps as meat-shields and try to force infighting as the Mastermind blocks the switch giving you access to the exit. This map has several fantastic attributes. One notable trait is the sheer grandeur of the Arch-vile introductions compared to “Hunted” and “Arch-Violence”. This map opens up “Arch-Violence” and allows the Arch-viles to use the rest of their skillset by adding legions of other monsters. Regarding the secrets, they were quite helpful, although the Rocket Launcher might have been better as a non-secret weapon. As a whole, I feel that the map is easily one of the most ambitious of this mapset, rivaling the maps in Plutonia 2. There is, however, one comment I must make regarding how “Hunted” influenced “Arch-Violence” and “Will you be my NME?”. In terms of gameplay and aesthetics, both maps hold up remarkably well in those regards. However, I find the atmosphere of the two maps to be noticeably different from that of “Hunted”. The MIDIs used in both maps evoke a sense of dread, while the MIDIs for “Hunted” (Both “Sweet Little Dead Bunny” from the official release and “Always Watching” from the Plutonia Midi Pack) evoke a sense of urgency and absurdity. The mere fact that a level in DOOM (a game that combines Hell and Science Fiction) manages to feel so refreshingly absurd makes me find “Hunted” to be one of the most memorable maps I have played. With that said, I wish there were more maps that were inspired by “Hunted’s” absurdity while maintaining its tight gameplay.
  5. MAP10 – “Bloodbath” by JC This map is a short and fun romp compared to the previous two maps. The major issue with it is probably its placement in the mapset. It’s far too easy to be placed here. It opens with a bit of a grind with the Super Shotgun (and Shotgun, just in case), but provides you with a Rocket Launcher and plenty of ammunition to boot. You clear the outside area and occasionally jump down to get more ammunition. After you raise the platform to the other side, you make your way to the blue-key area. This was an interesting section as Revenants and Hell Knights ambush you in a cramped section with an inescapable pit. You take the blue key and proceed to open the blue door where a (rather poorly) hidden Arch-vile lurks about. You can now try taking the yellow-key. This section was disappointing at first, with a pretty poor Hell Knight ambush, but is immediately followed by a fun barrage of Chaingunners, attacking you from multiple directions and heights. Taking the yellow-key unleashes a small army on the other building. However, this section is trivialized by the flurry of rockets and shells you can unleash from the starting building. Proceeding to take the red-key reveals another poorly placed Arch-vile. What is so disappointing is that the ambush after you pick the red-key would have been improved if the Arch-vile was a part of it. You are given so much plasma that you can basically repeat the previous process by rushing to the starting building and unleash a flurry of rockets, shells and plasma at the hapless horde. You have a few Arachnotrons here, but you can take them out if you’re fast enough. You open the red-door to another poorly placed Arch-vile. You can now proceed to the exit, and be greeted by an army of Revenants (and a poorly placed Arch-vile), that stands no chance given your supplies by this point. This map is, frankly, quite well-made. However, it suffers from poor map placement as a whole. When compared to the preceding and succeeding maps it again feels a lot like MAP05 in terms of filler. That being said, I think the first third of the mapset would be better as a whole if this map (or a similar map) replaced MAP05. Regarding the secrets, they make an already easy map trivial. This is the opposite of what some previous maps suffered from. They had secrets that were borderline necessary, while this map has secrets that are pretty much useless. The low difficulty and poor map placement bring this map down, even though it has relatively few faults of its own.
  6. MAP09 – “Ruined Kingdom” by Tatsurd-CacoCaco Unlike the previous map, this one modifies the original scenarios from The Plutonia Experiment rather than combine them. The opening is very reminiscent of “Realm”. Instead of the pool of water descending to some monsters, you take a lift to the top. You are greeted by an army of Imps, Sergeants, Chaingunners and a Hell Knight. This is followed by a couple of Mancubi and Sergeants, where you obtain a Super Shotgun. The next area is probably the most interesting of the map. It takes the two descending Barons of Hell from “Realm” and replaces them with Arch-viles. You are given enough cover, but you cannot afford to make an error. You rise to face a group of monsters against the classic exit backdrop of “Realm”. There is an ambush as you approach the Rocket Launcher. You then proceed to the next section of the map. Similar to some maps in Plutonia (especially “Speed”), you have a combination of Revenants and Chaingunners, except, in this case, the Revenants are used as turrets, while the Chaingunners meander about on the ground. This section reveals this map’s tendency to take set-pieces from Plutonia and flip the monster placement. Unfortunately, this approach backfires as it often ignores the idea behind the design of the original encounters. The combination of Revenants and Chaingunner-turrets worked wonders in Plutonia, because the Chaingunners would rip through your health if you moved out of cover, while the Revenants would tear through you if you stayed in one place. This forced a ‘dance’ as you moved in-and-out of cover to maximize the chances of your survival. On the other hand, Revenant-turrets don’t make much use of the speed Revenants have while moving and scattered Chaingunners remove most of the danger they pose by removing most of their line-of-sight. The corridor through here has some monsters for you to eliminate, namely Demons, Cacodemons, Imps, Sergeants, Chaingunners and an Arch-vile. The hitscanner-closets were rather interesting additions. The next section is clearly inspired by “Baron’s Lair” (and “Impossible Mission”). However, the mere flipping of monster placement ruins the intended design. In “Baron’s Lair”, you were ambushed by Arachnotrons as they could rip through you in a matter of seconds. But, they were used instead of Chaingunners so that you have an opportunity to react (and recover). Similarly, Mancubi were used in the tunnels of “Impossible Mission” because of their erratic fire. This forced you to move in and out of cover, but you could always try dodging your way through. However, in this map, you are ambushed by Mancubi, which, frankly, aren’t all that great as an ambush (unless you are surrounded by them, like in “The Crypt”). Following this are the Arachnotron tunnels, which is basically a game of hide-and-shoot, due to their ferocious accuracy. You finally obtain the blue-key with which the first half of the map is over! You can now pick a Plasma Rifle up and then be ambushed by Revenants. After clearing the army beyond the blue-door, consisting of Hell Nobles, Cacodemons, Imps and Pain Elementals (and Lost Souls), you drop down a chute to another fun section of the map. You need to activate four switches to access the red-key. Unfortunately, they are guarded by Hell Knights, Cacodemons and Chaingunners. You must eliminate them while being extremely conservative with your ammo (even with the “secret” stash). You then face a barrage of Revenants, Arch-viles, Mancubi and an Arachnotron, as you desperately try to escape. Then the final section of the map begins in all its glory. In an almost comical exaggeration of the end of “Realm”, you face an onslaught of Revenants, Mancubi and Archviles. This ending, despite being conceptually easier than the ending of “Realm” due to all of the cover available, is particularly lethal due to the ammunition starvation you face till this point. One of my biggest issues with this map is the sheer lack of powerful ammunition coupled with the abundance of hefty monsters. Even with the secrets, I found myself having extremely low ammunition by the end. My successful run through this level had me conserve all my rockets and plasma so that I could survive the final encounter. You are basically required to use the Super Shotgun for most of the early scenarios. Since the scenarios after you get the Rocket Launcher are tedious even with it, this forced ammunition conservation really hampers the overall experience. Interestingly enough, I think most of the scenarios of the map are easier than their Plutonia counterparts, but their difficulty is ramped up because of the forced Super Shotgun usage. To say the secrets were essential is selling them short. Frankly, I think this is one of Tatsurd-CacoCaco’s weakest maps (given that I thoroughly enjoyed his maps in the Japanese Community Project, clearly due to his additional experience as a mapper). While I do think this map is a better homage than MAP03, it still has multiple shortcomings that really ruined it for me.
  7. MAP08 – “Rules of Death” by FranckFRAG Alright then, this map hits hard. It’s the first noticeable difficulty spike in the mapset, and, frankly, I welcome it. There are several homages here, but unlike in MAP03, they are used as backdrops for different scenarios. The beginning is a quick bout with a few Imps and Sergeants. This is followed by a group of Imps, backed by Chaingunner-turrets. This was rather fun, although the vine usage here comes off as contrived. The Plutonia Experiment occasionally used vines to hide deadly enemies, while in this map, mere Imps receive that privilege. I found this start to be very reminiscent of “Speed”, with its Imp ambush. There is another excellently placed homage to “Speed” later in the map. What follows is a combination of the invisible bridge from “Aztec” and the hitscaner-pillars from “The Omen”. This section had several ‘solutions’. My approach was to dash across the bridge and proceed to clear the Revenants and Arachnotrons. This provided some additional cover. Also, the Pain Elementals can either be eliminated early or used as infighting targets. The following section is a fun and quick battle with an Arch-vile. The cover is very limited here though, forcing you to rush. Again, this section has multiple approaches. You could use the Rocket Launcher, Super Shotgun or fall off the ledge to face more manageable foes. The last option allows you to get the Plasma Rifle. After eliminating the Arch-vile, you proceed to get the yellow-key. The next act of the map is a joy to play through. After eliminating the lone Hell Knight beyond the yellow-door, you face an army of Hell Knights. Much like the previous encounters, this section can be tackled in a variety of ways. You can rush to the final section of the map and attempt to get the secret BFG-9000, or spam shells, rockets and plasma, while hoping for the best. The first option also gives an excellent vantage point to pick the Hell Knights off. My only complaint about this section is the rather finicky linedef used to lower the Hell Knights. However, that aspect was a minor annoyance, since most of the Hell Knights teleport out anyway. Clearing the mess up allows you to face the final challenge, a combination of the Cyberdemon-turret from “Speed” and the hidden army from a lot of The Plutonia Experiement’s maps (although I was reminded of “Genesis” in particular, possibly due to the similar army composition and path structure). The biggest threat is the Cyberdemon, and you could either rush to the teleporter and return to the Hell Knight chamber, or try pushing towards the army. You could also get the BFG-9000 and simplify this encounter. One noticeable difference from "Speed" is the absence of architecture that blocks the Cyberdemon's rockets. You then take the blue-key and proceed to the exit. Also, no exit Arch-vile! This map is a fantastic example of an homage. Unlike MAP03 which was almost a perfect copy of its predecessor, this map takes scenarios from multiple maps from The Plutonia Experiment and combines them, offering a fresh set of encounters. Also, this only covers the sections which were homages. The map has its fair share of unique scenarios too. The secrets here were useful, although I'd argue that the BFG-9000 was almost essential. Regardless, the map is my second favorite as of now, right after MAP06.
  8. I always thought Doomguy would a futuristic version of Guts (from Berserk) without any personality...
  9. MAP07 – “Caughtisle” by Joshy This map is a simple clone of a “Dead Simple” clone. The Plutonia Experiment’s “Caughtyard”, just took the template of DOOM 2’s “Dead Simple” and stuffed in some Plutonian tropes. The Mancubi were supported by Chaingunners, and once you cleared them out, you had to handle the Revenants and Barons of Hell (and Arch-viles) before the Arachnotrons. This map shakes these elements up to some pretty good effect. First off, the dual Cyberdemon fight was a blast! You’re given plenty of health, armor, weapons and ammunition at the start, much like MAP04. But, unlike that map, this start is a third of all the map has to offer, so it never feels annoying to repeat. You have to maximize infighting here. Potential targets include Mancubi, Cacodemons, Revenants and Hell Knights. When you kill a Cyberdemon, a Mancubus pops up in its place. Clearing them out allows the Arachnotrons (and Arch-viles) to teleport in. I was half expecting a couple of Spider Masterminds to show up and use the same gimmick as the Cyberdemons. I thought it would be rather fitting. Instead, you have an onslaught of Arachnotrons, supported by Arch-viles. This third of the map is also quite fun and requires you to use the limited cover wisely. After clearing them out, you head to the Hell Knight area and rush to the yellow-key. The final bout begins as a group of Revenants teleport in and ambush you. This map has few monsters but is relentless with their usage. The short and very punchy nature of the map led to it being pretty fun and engaging. The secret contained borderline essential items, although it was extremely easy to locate. I actually enjoyed this clone of “Caughtyard” way more than “Enemy Caught” from Plutonia 2. This map is a good example of improving an idea, rather than rehashing it (although, this is a simple clone of a “Dead Simple” clone, so ‘improving’ and 'rehashing' are subjective).
  10. I lurked around Doomworld for nearly two years before I joined. So I'm not part of the DOOM 2016 crowd (I've never played it).
  11. MAP06 – “Stony Halls”, by Matt Tropiano This map is probably my favorite map of the set so far! It appears to have a grindy start at first, with a Baron of Hell ambushing you, but subverts that by opening up multiple routes for you to take. I chose to rush towards the Super Shotgun area. You are surrounded by hitscanners, so getting better weapons is a priority. The Hell Knight trap around the Super Shotgun is quick and fun. I made my way through the blue-switch room and then, to the red-key room. The map has a tendency to use monsters (mostly hitscanners) on corner ledges. This has the interesting consequence of pushing you towards the columns of the rooms rather than the walls. After obtaining the red-key, guarded by a group of Chaingunners, you make your way to a large area with the red-door. You have engaging monster placement here. Cacodemons move to strike you down, Imps and Hell Knights pummel you with projectiles, Mancubi and Revenants snipe you from their almost turret-like placement, while you deal with the Arachnotrons on the ground. You might have to make a mad dash to get the Rocket Launcher (and Berserk Pack, if necessary) After you clean the mess up, you enter the red-door, clear the room, and take the blue-key. This has a fun ambush where Cacodemons, Demons and an Arachnotron attack you, although the cramped area does lead to a bit of infighting. One interesting aspect of the map is its repeated use of the central corridor. Both the red-key and blue-key rooms use it as an escape route. You proceed to the blue-switch room, where a short ambush awaits you. After obtaining the yellow key, you return to the yellow door. This final portion of the map is ruthless but has fantastic monster placement. You have to kill a few Chaingunners, Mancubi and Revenants, only to release an Arch-vile into the room. This area is cramped and you have to handle the Arch-vile and his resurrected army. Meanwhile, another Arch-vile tries to blast you from the exit room. This map was fantastic. It had fun and engaging monster placement, along with copious amounts of non-linearity. The map architecture was elegant and not frustrating like in MAP05. The secrets were slightly easy to locate, but they were pretty useful when I got them. All in all, this is MAP05 done right.
  12. MAP05 – “That Flooded Place” by Keeper of Jericho One particularly annoying trope of the mapset so far is its obsession with grindy starts. Most starts either cripple the player’s supplies and throw a higher-tier monster, accompanied by a small army of fodder enemies, or give the player tons of supplies, but swarm the area with bullet sponges. In either case you are left with barely any health, ammunition or both. Granted, this may be a consequence of pistol-starting the mapset, but playing continuous would allow the player to crush most of the early maps. After all, you do get a BFG-9000 in MAP04. So, you are left with a third of the mapset that is grindy for pistol-starts and imbalanced for continuous. Now my thoughts on the map. It opens by throwing dozens of Imps and a Revenant at you. You have a few stimpacks in the opening room and you best use them wisely. After the chaos subsides, you can locate the secret Super Shotgun, which I recommend. You do have some options here, but they all involve corridor shooting and some peek-and-shoot gameplay. I chose to clear the room with the Mancubus and Chaingunners. One of the areas following this is an interesting section where you can either carefully pick off the Imps and Chaingunners one by one while observing the Revenants or make a mad dash to the Rocket Launcher to speed things up. The next area has the non-secret Super Shotgun guarded by a pair of Mancubi (and a bunch of Chaingunners). However, getting all the way here without the secret Super Shotgun is a slow grind. The next area doesn’t offer much except Hell Knights, Revenants and a lone Pain Elemental. This leads to a bunch of corridors with Sergeants and a Baron of Hell that connect back to the first area. You then reach the yellow-key area, which reminded me of “NME”. This has a fun ambush where you are attacked in four different directions by Hell Knights. Then you have a long and boring corridor full of Chaingunners. The blue-key area has an easy fight with Demons, Cacodemons and a Pain Elemental, followed by a Revenant ambush. The red-key area has a few Barons of Hell and an Arch-vile ambush, although the Arch-vile placement was rather poor. This map feels like filler. It’s filled with encounters that slow the pacing a bit too much. You will have to use the Super Shotgun almost exclusively and hide in the corridors that connect the rooms with the interesting bits. The map does have some non-linearity but the map architecture goes out of its way to mess you up. All the corridor shooting is neither threatening nor engaging. The secret Super Shotgun changes the map from annoying tedium to boring tedium. The Soulsphere secret was pretty nice though. The map does have a few good moments but ultimately feels rather mediocre.
  13. MAP04 – “Emerald Pools” by C30N9 and Joshy After the disappointment that was MAP03, “Emerald Pools” certainly delivers! It opens with quite the rush, throwing higher-tier monsters at you. Unlike the previous maps, it gives you a lot of weapons and ammunition at the start. However, the monsters here are basically bullet sponges. Their placement isn't all that threatening but, it still takes quite some time to clear them out. Failure means you have to repeat this grind again. The area near the nukage pools has some fun moments. The Cacodemons float in and are easily dispatched, while your mere presence causes some infighting outside. The first switch is followed by a quick fight with a few Revenants that forces you to traverse the nukage while picking them off. Clearly inspired by the map title, this scenario of cramped fights amidst nukage pools is one of the most noticeable tropes this map uses. The draining nukage pool after the second switch uses a pretty standard Cacodemon and Pain Elemental combination. After you take the yellow-key, you are greeted with an ambush which is pretty manageable with all the space available. Finally, the best portion of the map! You are given a BFG-9000 here, which does seem rather excessive. This, I think, seals how the maps are balanced for Pistol Starts (You pretty much get the full arsenal in this map alone). The Cyberdemon adds constant pressure as you scramble to eliminate him or to get to the blue-key. The teleporter room is cramped, has a Hell Knight and is filled with nukage. You are teleported to the blue-key chamber, where an ambush awaits you as soon as you pick the key up. Revenants and Hell Knights swarm into the small chamber, and you either have a punchy fight with them within the confines of the chamber or manoeuver your way to the teleporter to gain some breathing room. You have a similar fight, with a few Arch-viles added in, as you take the red key. However, the escape from here is a lot easier. You can now proceed to the exit and/or deal with the Cyberdemon if he’s still alive. This map stands out in both gameplay and aesthetics when compared to the previous maps. I thought the nukage pool theme was done quite well and most encounters were fun rather than tedious. The cramped sections were engaging and not overwrought like in some of the 1024 mapsets. The secret was simple and useful and there was plenty of ammunition to help you cut through the hordes. The midi was a cool remix of “Demons on the Prey”, one of my favorites from The Ultimate Doom. Despite the monotonous start, the map redeems itself.
  14. Yeah, I should have been clearer with that sentence. I meant that having Pain Elementals instead of Lost Souls could have made for a more interesting experience. That statement was just one thought I had while playing this map. I felt that placing one Pain Elemental in the open courtyard, the Spider Mastermind room and the final area instead of all the Lost Souls would have been way more enjoyable. These Pain Elementals would produce a steady stream of Lost Souls, rather than release all of them at once, giving the player time to respond to the situation. Simultaneously, I think Pain Elementals are fantastic infighting targets because their constant barrage of Lost Souls at other monsters creates more infighting targets for those monsters to deal with. That is why I thought their addition might have fixed some of the complaints I had with the map.
  15. MAP03 – “Escape from Ghost Town” by Lorenzo "Ghost Town" is a map that I truly enjoy. Its memorable architecture and meticulous gameplay added a sense of constant progression. This new version, however, adds too few elements to its predecessor to truly stand out. You are tossed into the action at the start. The Cacodemons hovering around your area can pin you down as you try to eliminate the Chaingunners and Sergeants. This, I think, is the biggest difference. While “Ghost Town” eased you into the fights, this map forces you to move fast. This was the most enjoyable portion of the map, as most scenarios after this follow “Ghost Town” to a fault and the elements that are added feel more annoying than interesting. Most of the ingredients of its predecessor are present. The first area you go to has the Chaingunner turrets, the Spider Mastermind guarding the blue-key and a few higher-tier enemies (Revenants and Mancubi) as potential infighting targets. This area is rather obnoxious with some trial-and-error gameplay. Also, the infighting scenario here seems to be luck-based as I was unable to force infighting consistently. Following this is the flesh staircase that with the Chaingunner and Arch-vile ambush. The final confrontation has the Arch-vile and Baron of Hell combo, with a few Hell Knights, Cacodemons and Lost Souls thrown in. One notable difference is the abundance of Lost Souls during the various sections of the map. While they occasionally can push you out of cover, they fail to be anything more than a minor nuisance and ultimately, they don’t add much to the combat. It might have been more interesting had there been a couple of Pain Elementals instead, and this is coming from a person who hates them with a passion! In terms of aesthetics, the map is almost exactly the same as its predecessor. The secrets were pretty useful, but were not borderline essential like in the previous map, so that was a plus point for the map. Despite the enjoyable start, the map is rather underwhelming as a whole. I found certain maps from Plutonia 2, like “Collider Complex”, “Arch-Violence” and “Cybernation”, to be new and improved versions of their Plutonia counterparts (“Baron’s Lair”, “Hunted” and “Cyberden”, respectively). This map on the other hand, in both appearance and gameplay, mirrors “Ghost Town” a bit too much and somehow manages to make it boring and tedious.