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About Poncho1

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    Giallo enthusiast

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  1. Poncho1

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Solar Struggle

    Sorry that I've been quite absent from this. Trying to get back into my writing, so for once, I may abandon this month's WAD. Apologies.
  2. Poncho1

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Solar Struggle

    E2M1: Piazzi Spaceport Author: Michal Kurowski (Lorenzo) A darker, more brooding intro level. I like it. Difficulty-wise, I suppose it's a little harder than Episode 1's starting map, but only by a hair. The Chaingun is your biggest ally here. There are a surprising amount of Pinkies which makes the opposition seem more beefy because of the limited weaponry, though combining them with a load of Zombiemen, Imps and the occasional Cacodemon makes the combat feel just right. A few Pinkies are hiding in the Plasma Gun secret, the latter being useful against some of the Cacos. Bear in mind that these hidden-away enemies will become a recurring, often-annoying theme in this episode. E2M2: Storage Complex Author: Wavy Containment Area may be a good map from the original game, but I don't know what pretenders didn't understand about it. I suppose, being made later and with more advancements in level design that we all feel the need to make crate mazes either a confusing, jumbled mess, or turn them into platforming challenges that are more chores than legitimately difficult. This map goes for the latter option. Also, the multiple enemies that easily hide among the crates is a bother, mostly since they'll either never be found (in which case, why place them if they do practically no harm?) or are the complete opposite and can come across as cheap. The backtracking towards the end with the Yellow Key feels awkward and looks like the mapper was running out of ideas by the end. Also, stupid enemies in that super-obscure Supercharge secret (the one accessed in the snake-like pathway by the Yellow door) feels unnecessary. The attention to detail's kinda nice, and the merging of tech and the growing vegetation is pure Episode 2 goodness, but the progression isn't what I'd call fun. E2M3: Stock Exchange Author: DFF A hectic beginning by shooting the security button involves a load of Pinkies, Imps and Shotgunners in a confined area. Such restricted combat feels like it's the name of the game with this map, but you can also cheese a lot of the fights. Speaking of, the combat doesn't feel organic because of such cheese methods. The Rocket Launcher chamber can be dealt with by just backtracking and killing the Baron and the few Shotgunners at the entrance. Speaking of this room, I wished that the Barons and Cacos on the pillars could've been designed in a way that made them join the Pinkies on the ground floor. Maybe it would've been too harsh a difficulty spike, especially with all the Lost Souls joining the fray, but it would've been a lot more interesting - and a lot quicker to clean up. Some of my frustration with this map came from unlucky high-damage roles, and also, again, from the secrets. I had to noclip to get the Berserk secret next to the main circular chamber in order to kill the remaining Pinkies because I simply couldn't find how to access it. I know it's a "secret", but Christ... [Continuing to the point I left off, since as previously mentioned, I won't be able to play any Doom for a little while] E2M4: Air Filtration Plant Author: Weird Sandwich In spite of its relatively smaller size, this level can be a little complicated to navigate; however, my recent playthrough of it was rather problem-free, so I guess I got lucky. I enjoy the compact gameplay, the Duke Nukem-esque tunnels (with nicely-telegraphed secrets, thank you) and the early Zombieman massacre. The ending with the four Barons is kinda bullshit, not least since the Pinkies in the tiny tunnels preceding entry into the Baron corners can block you and get you damaged by those pink bastards, but the rest is perfectly acceptable fare. E2M5: Abandoned Tunnels Author: ViolentBeetle Quite a quick map that takes a break from the techbase shenanigans in favour of some spooky crypts. I like the difference in aesthetics, and the smaller enemy count compensates for more deadly encounters, usually involving Cacodemons. The ending amidst the crates can be lethal to non-attentive players, though pushing through and killing the Shotgunners in the back to create some space seems to be the best option. The secrets aren't too badly thought out, besides the one with the Medkits, and the secret exit isn't insanely obscure. It's actually easier finding that exit than that dumb Supercharge secret in E2M2. What gives? E2M9: Artifact Storage Author: Hitboi Starting with a carried-over inventory probably makes this secret map a non-issue, especially if you're as stingey with Rocket and Plasma usage as I am. I suppose that this is a case where Pistol-starting would've definitely given the map the difficult edge it needed, but hey. I try not to save mid-map, so that's my personal incentive to increase the difficulty. Anyway, about the map itself: I don't quite see how it has "secret-map" credentials. The body count's very low, for one thing. Maybe it's the vignette-structure, with completely different areas offering different challenges, but regardless, any half-decent player should get through with breaking a sweat. The abundance of Rocket ammo in particular makes the ending piss-easy. Both secrets are easy to find, not least since they're right next to each other. I guess the mapmakers wanted to give secret-hunters a break after all the obscurities of the past few levels. Good, but oddly placed.
  3. Poncho1

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Solar Struggle

    A bit late here, but I'll try my best to keep up. I'll be gone for a week, so if I jump ahead of everybody else, apologies, but it can't be helped. As for my personal rules: continuous run, Ultra-Violence, 100% kills where possible and as many secrets within an acceptable time range (so I won't go for super-obscure ones, say). E1M1: Detention Facility Author: Alex Decker (myolden) Super-easy map that allows just about everybody to ease their way into the WAD. Nothing should realistically kill you, but then again, it's the first map. Very short and snappy, the way I like my "first-few-levels". The secret with the four Imps by the exit feels a little obscure, especially taking into consideration my "kill-them-all" rule, but besides that, I found it perfectly acceptable. E1M2: Admin Offices Author: Peccatum Mihzamiz Difficulty-wise, it's about on par with the first level. Well, maybe slightly more challenging, but the difference is marginal. I think I neglected to pick up the Chaingun for a good chunk of the level, so I suppose I accidentally set myself a challenge, but as said before, still wasn't too tough. I do like the attention to detail in the office block itself to the west, with details such as computer mice, mugs and water coolers. Nice stuff. The ending gives you a teleport trap by the YK, though it mostly consists either of low-grade demon fodder or Zombiemen, so it goes by easily. Personally, I like quick, easy maps like this, since you can breeze through them whilst feeling like an absolute god. E1M3: Barracks Author: Doomlust A somewhat linear slugfest that I personally found to be one of the episode's weaker offerings. There's little that I remember from it. Nothing egregious, but also nothing terribly noteworthy. I like the deformed star symbol at the secret Rocket Launcher, and there's a slightly interesting fight with the Rad Suit, but that's it. Spoilers: the way to get to the secret exit isn't terribly cryptic, and I kinda liked it. Somewhat lacklustre, overall. E1M9: Excavation Site Author: Late Night Person Cacodemons in my Episode 1? Yes indeed. Really enjoyed the gameplay for this one: the rather-obvious Rad Suit secret makes the brief nukage tunnels a non-issue, the hordes of enemies make for fine borderline-slaughter gameplay (if you have the Rocket Launcher, that is), the difficulty progression feels just right (though the map stays on the easy side), and the large teleport trap, while easily circle-strafe-able, is a fun little encounter. The very ending is a bit of a letdown coming off of the heels of the teleport ambush, but eh. When there's this much fun to be had, I can't complain too badly. E1M4: Mineral Processing Author: Death Bear Here's a map that encourages more exploration and non-linear progression than the previous levels. It's a criss-crossing landscape of buildings high above mostly-nukage wastelands that requires some careful movements. The snipers aren't obnoxious (probably thanks to the original Doom's lack of Revenants, for example), and the many secrets are mostly pretty simple to find. I was a little perplexed about how to get the YK, but it just means backtracking to a previously-skipped Blue door. That's what I get for being a numpty. The final trap feels like it could've been harder, but the abundance of cover and Rockets makes it a cakewalk. The atmosphere and the difference in progression are what make this map stand out from the rest. E1M5: Mining Complex Author: RataUnderground Mixed feelings for this one: without taking into consideration getting the secrets, it's a pretty strong outing: the combat is a lot more confined and challenging than anything seen so far - the rush after taking the teleporter to the Imp-infested nukage tunnels is a case in point. I also dig the mix of industrial and water-refinery design. However, getting the last few kills is a pain, mostly since one of the secrets is ridiculously obscure, to the point that I needed Doom Wiki to figure it out. The enormous Lost Soul cavern is also a massive drag, since they get in the way of killing the Spectres, and the exit consists of a super-slow lift. Oy... Pretty good if you neglect going for 100% of anything. E1M6: Visitor Center Author: Peter Blacha (Shawny) Uh, it's actually "centre". Silly spelling aside, looking at the automap, I'd swear that this looked kinda like a skillsaw level. Throw in a few Mancubi snipers, Revs and the odd Archie and it'd definitely look like something he'd make. Of course, those enemies don't appear in an original Doom WAD, but the results are still very entertaining. Non-linear in that you can get some of the keys in any order, I enjoyed the map for its constant action and for it embracing a freedom of routing choice for the player. Due to the small size of each room (and corridor), the enemy congregation makes for ideal situations to let rip with the Rocket Launcher. Though a step-down in difficulty from the previous couple of maps, here's another "god-rush" type of map that I always enjoy. E1M7: Traffic Control Author: LoreCaco37 Episode 1's penultimate map has the episode's highest monster count. It can come across as a little repetitive due to its extremely symmetrical design, and once again it isn't particularly difficult, since the Rocket Launcher - and even the Chaingun - can make mince-meat of the enemy roster. The only annoying part is when one has to ascend a pair of lifts to rooms filled with Shotgunners. Kinda cheap, in my opinion. The only times where symmetry is abandoned are the rooms in the large western and eastern courtyards, though the differences are somewhat marginal. I do like the emphasis on shredding large hordes with the Rocket Launcher, though thinking about it after playing it, the map's flaws do come into sharper focus. Kinda fun, but could've been more. E1M8: Huygens Spaceport Author: Violent Beetle The umpteenth Baron of Hell showdown to end the episode. Much like the original game, the level focuses on building the tension by way of mood: the smallish skirmishs before the big, final encounter set the tone, and the multitude of littered corpses certainly add to the increasing dread. Of course, the final fight itself is a rather routine Baron battle that is admittedly functional because of the room's layout. Only the Lost Souls will screw you over. A decent E1M8 replacement, even if it sticks to the book.
  4. If I'm honest, not many people. Even confined to the gaming community, idolatry is, for me, a daft path to take. That's not arrogance on my part (I mean, I can't map at all, for one thing), it's just something I've never agreed with.
  5. I don't know about the level design, but if you look around the Scythe X development thread, for one thing, Revenants were to appear at the Map14 mark. Also, it's obvious that people playtested at least the unfinished Ep. 3 maps, so they do technically exist. However, to most of us who didn't playtest them, we won't know a thing.
  6. Bravo. This must've been more stressy than revision.
  7. Pretty late to the party, but my take is simply: make the maps - secrets or not - the way you want. Don't feel like you should alter anything, even if you feel like you're being, well, "bullied" - unintentional/unintended as it may be on their parts - by the opinions of Doom's most prominent online figures.
  8. E2M5 UV-Max in 4:42 r2h5-442.zip Only a very slight improvement. Uggh...
  9. Map09 UV-Speed in 0:34 tn09-034.zip Went for all secrets last time (I think), so realistically it's a UV-Max. Oh well, here's a UV-Speed. Maybe 4shockblast could do this in 25 seconds flat, or something...
  10. RtH E2 E2M2 UV-Max in 2:55 E2M4 UV-Max in 4:59 E2M5 UV-Max in 4:49 r2h2-255.zip r2h4-459.zip r2h5-449.zip M4 and M5 maxes aren't what I'd call superb, so consider them table-fillers. Also, looking through the comments, @BoxY you might as well submit those E1 demos. Also also, belated Ep. 3 link, blah blah blah. RtH E3
  11. Poncho1

    Doom 2 level design is very gimmicky

    Why has the label "gimmick" become such a pejorative? Maps *should* be more gimmicky. Gives a jolt of energy and individuality to a lot of them.
  12. Poncho1

    Community Chest Series Demos [-complevel 9]

    CC2 Map27 UV-Max in 11:56 c227-1156.zip
  13. Poncho1

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Community Chest 2

    Map30: In Threes Author: Mike Watson (Cyb) Well, our final map is certainly better looking than the same author's Hell Revealed II entries, but plays about as well. The first half is a woefully unexciting, repetitive switch-press/key-grab gimmick that only gets riveting at the end when Arch-viles come out of the woodwork. BFG dealt with them rather swiftly. Before entering the Icon of Sin room, I accidentally skipped the bulk cells, so I went in with maybe 2 BFG shots worth of cell ammo... not that it mattered, because the final boss here is pathetically easy. All you do is grab the remaining keys from the all-key switch platforms, then go round again and press them all, after which the boss will spontaneously combust. *Almost* as easy as van der Velden's final map from last time, only here it feels anticlimactic, seeing as how this WAD's Map29 wasn't insanely challenging. Bah. Final Thoughts Well, Community Chest 2 is very similar to the first entry in the series: it has its ups and downs, and a massive variety of mapping styles that don't gel together (given as the order can go from Boom-trickery, highly-detailed works like The Flange Peddler's To Hell and Back to Gene Bird's fun but highly-underdetailed The Pit). There are also many stretches of levels that I personally didn't enjoy much: Map32 to about Map22 was, for the most part, quite underwhelming - Map17 being an exception - and made for some depressing playthroughs. With the exceptions of Gene Bird and The Flange Peddler, just about every other map was a unique entry from a single author (Lutrov could be lumped with the first two as he kinda co-made Map22), so we have a plethra of unique voices, which is nice on one hand, but having to resort to fall back on Gene's Blind Alley series once again showed that, just with the first Community Chest, the development leaders either didn't give authors enough time to make more than one map, or were simply just inexperienced and thought that that was the only way to reach the 32-map limit. As such, as with that 8 map stretch I mentioned, good chunks of the WAD can be a massive slog, which isn't helped by some of the individual levels being quite lengthy, which is an issue that plagued the first entry. It's not quite as bad as with the first (no level takes 2 hours like Magikal's magnum opus), though it seems to be a recurring theme in the series to have maps that take well over 10 minutes to beat, even UV-Max speedrunning them. That said, some of these levels are genuinely good. The Ultimate DooMer absolutely redeemed himself for his shocking Pistol Panic last time around with City Heat, one of my favourite city maps of all time; Andy Leaver proves to once again be adept with his combat as well as his competent visuals, cementing himself as the go-to Map17 guy; psyren's semi-slaughter tech rampage managed to set itself apart from most of the WAD's other levels with its fast-paced gameplay; Gene Bird, in spite of a few hiccups this time around, still delivered the unpretentious goods when needed, and thus never deserved to become Doomworld's habitual punching bag; Use3D, like DooMer, redeemed himself with Gethsemane, a very fun adventure map that was neither too confusing nor annoying, and focused on being a fun big-weapons raunch of a time; Lutrov, considering he was quite young making his maps, proved to also be a shining newcomer; The Flange Peddler's first two levels were competent techbase shootouts that used Boom wizardry in fun ways; and, of course, B.P.R.D. left an undeniably influential mark on the community at large with his infamous The Mucus Flow that, though flawed, still won me over with its intense combat and perfect atmosphere. It's thus a little sad that some contributors never returned either to the series or to mapmaking in general since Community Chest 2's release: Gene Bird hasn't touched a Doom editor since, it seems; B.P.R.D. made a handful of other maps before abandoning the community to focus on Commander Keen mods; though I didn't like his map, Draconio also vanished off the face of Doomworld; The Flange Peddler indeed returned for the third entry, but disappeared right after, too. It's almost as if Community Chest 2 put a curse on some of these mappers that obliged them to never touch a map editor again (or at least less frequently). Which is a shame, since I can't be the only person who'd like to see what a modern B.P.R.D. or Gene Bird map would look like today. Only time will tell... Best Level: Map15 (City Heat) Honourable Mentions: Map13 (Annihilation Invention); Map27 (Gethsemane); Map24 (The Mucus Flow) Worst Level: Map28 (No Room) Dishonourable Mentions: Map21 (Undead Nation); Map05 (Elixir); Map18 (Internal Reaches 3)/Map32 (Sodding Death) So, first 2 entries down, the last 2 to go. I've only gone through the first third of Community Chest 3 before giving up, and about half of Community Chest 4 (before accidentally overriding my save file with another WAD years ago); since the fourth entry was this club's very first covered WAD, I suppose Cchest3 might be in the future, and I hear it's leagues better in terms of quality over the first two. We shall see...
  14. Noice! I always knew a sub-6 was possible, but I'm quite lazy as a speedrunner, so I never went for it years ago. Well done.
  15. Poncho1

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Community Chest 2

    Map29: Event Horizon Author: Boris Iwanski Huh... here we have what could be considered a remake to The Flange Peddler's Map07 of the same WAD: the gist is that the player has to traverse a complex, highly-detailed techbase and find a bunch of keys, visit Hell and battle a load of demons, come back and then leave. As such, both maps pretty remarkably similar, as if the guys at Cchest2 headquarters were *really* struggling to reach 32 maps. With that said, much like the Peddler's map, this one isn't too bad, either. It benefits from the aforementioned details (I mean, check out those ceiling fans, the fleshy monster that's burrowing into the base, and that moment when the floor turns to blood), and all things considered, it isn't that confusing once you memorise the key (ha) locations. The most fun fight has to be at the top floor of the Hellish tower, though a couple of BFG blasts and rocket spam should be enough to calm the rabid crowd down. The sudden pair of Cyberdemons is a nice shock, too. The majority of the combat however is fairely standard corridor shooting: precise enemy placement and all, but not too difficult, either. As such, Iwanski's version of the penultimate map is miles easier than the one we got in the original Community Chest, but then again, given how ruthless Magikal's map was, I shouldn't complain too much. The secrets warrant mentioning too, since they're rather cleverly hidden without being overly annoying... with the exception of the Yellow Key. I didn't check if you can spot it by looking around the crates, but I just iddt-ed to find out where it was to get 100% secrets after losing my patience. I do like the "Boris was here" graffiti, though. The way to get the secret Supercharge is pretty cool, too. About on the same level as the Peddler's map: good, though a little flawed.