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ironicmoustache

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  1. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP30 I've been critical about some of the music choices, so I feel it's only fair to start out by saying that "Painkiller" is perfect for this level. The drum intro complements the somewhat-intimidating huge tower we start in, and that main riff fits the masses of enemies that flood in with each stop, and the requisite slaughter, perfectly. Just when I thought the map was going to let up a bit, we get revenant staircases topped by cyberdemons. The staircases were a lot of fun to blast through and the cyberdemons were probably the most threatening ones in the WAD given the relatively tight confines (at least, if one is trying to be efficient). I messed up dodging one of the cyberdemon rockets and had to take the second one, and the masterminds down, with 18 health or so, which was a bit of a thrill. Unfortunately, the masterminds are almost entirely trivial and pointless; a bit of popping in and out of sight on the steps takes care of both of them without much difficulty. Had one—or both?—of them been mobile it would have been a bit more intense and fit the map's theme of a constantly escalating challenge. As it is, after the cyberdemons, the final area is very much a damp squib. I had enough fun with the rest of the map that I didn't mind it, but I couldn't help but entertain a "what if?" question or two in my head. Like @Demon of the Well, I had some issues with the final gunswitches. I don't know whether it was a brainfart on my part or just that they weren't very intuitive. If you ask me (and I know nobody's asking, but hey), if the solution has to be spelt out explicitly in an accompanying text file, there's probably a better way to go about things. But maybe that's just me. Overall thoughts I really enjoyed my time with this WAD. It has some standout moments and is generally of high quality. Even its lesser moments aren’t all that bad—barring MAP07, really, which is just a wee bit pointless—and I never felt like I wasn't enjoying myself. Some of the progression can be either fuzzy or outright obscure, and I was annoyed by some elements that arose from the WAD’s conceit of having to use every line/sector action at least once, but these weren't deal-breakers at all. I thought it was a good, and occasionally great, set of maps. Good job @Phobus! Top 5 favourites in order of appearance, based on haphazard and possibly inconsistent criteria (or just, you know, "feel"): MAP14 - Water Treatment MAP17 - Entrance Made MAP18 - Meat Grinder MAP25 - Middle Management MAP30 - Final Test
  2. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP29 This is more like it. Immediately liked the texturing and mood much more here compared to the previous two maps. I kinda agree with @TheOrganGrinder, there's definitely a not-insignificant Doom II vibe here, which isn't unwelcome. I did like the progression here, with the branching paths and overall structure doing well to create the feeling of some sort of industrial complex. Guess the name makes sense then. I liked the process of raising the platforms to reach the exit, too. The combat does indeed have some spice to it. Monster selection isn't necessarily as threatening as the previous map but I thought the positioning of the enemies felt more dangerous and meant that I couldn't just zone out and blast through the map (at least, not all the parts). I liked the dark maze behind the red map, although I feel like the way to progress that particular maze section could have been made slightly more obvious. Maybe with a more noticeable visual indicator? But I guess more thorough players would’ve found it at the first attempt, I'm just a bit of a slacker haha. The archvile was a nice surprise but also not really threatening, given the amount of cover available. I couldn’t quite figure out the yellow key secret, although I did at least correctly guess where it was. I had the BFG anyway, so yeah. Truthfully, I wasn’t in the mood to spend too much time figuring it out, being the penultimate level and all; was somewhat excited to see what MAP30 had in store and to end the WAD.
  3. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP28 After a string of small maps that I enjoyed quite a bit and a gimmicky map that at least offered a talking point I feel like Broundry 3 is a bit, I dunno, “eh”? I’m not necessarily one for the brown foundry aesthetic, so maybe that plays a role, but I didn’t feel like this map was particularly memorable or characterful. The combat, at least, is meaty and I can see how it could get very out of hand with bad luck/pistol starts, especially given the number of archviles present, but the walkways are long enough that rocket spam is pretty safe. The corner structures allow the player to break the archviles' line of sight too, so yeah. The possibility for things getting hairy is definitely there, but I thought the combat was generally quite easy to handle. The Mastermind in the open-air area was a bit pointless challenge-wise, since it’s possible to just keep peeking out and sending some rockets/plasma/BFG shots its way. It's not a particularly interesting area aesthetically either. It’s not a bad map at all; the progression and ways the combat encounters are kicked off are kinda interesting and it still offers up a solid chunk of shooting. It's just not as memorable—either positively or negatively—as the previous maps.
  4. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continous. MAP27 I don’t quite know how to feel about this one. As something of a gimmick map, it has its charms, but I’m not sure how strong of a gimmick it is. That said, I did admire what I interpreted as an attempt to confound the player with the last set of Baron doors with the big battle outside; if the player hasn’t been paying attention and reflexively rushes to the switch in order to stop any Barons from entering the fray, expecting the doors to open “automatically” (like I did the first time around), then that act of rushing in pretty much guarantees their doom. Granted, it only worked on me once (or twice haha) but I thought it was clever. So maybe that one touch makes up for it not being the strongest gimmick individually? I thought the crusher control room was somewhat unintuitive, and, honestly, a pain. I think it’s possible for the player to softlock themselves here if one makes the mistake of raising the floor instead of lowering the crusher. You think it’d work since you do hear some pain sounds, but there’s no way to lower the floor even though that switch can be used multiple times. It also took me a while to figure out that it was possible to crush the Barons in the centre without raising the floor since the first few times I tried it I raised the floor before I used the crusher switch. Granted, I was a dummy and didn’t put two and two together after hearing all the Baron pain sounds, but I don’t think I’m the only one that made that mistake, and will make that mistake. I also have no idea what the switch next to the door did, and why it disabled the floor control switch after being used. I get that it’s probably, again, part of the WAD’s conceit, but I felt it was a real pain and really brought to mind crane/etc sequences/puzzles in videogames, almost all of which I dislike. I kinda like some of it, kinda dislike some of it, and kinda appreciated one little touch. As ever, I find a way to be equivocal about a map that seems to engender very strong opinions, but hey. Story of my life.
  5. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    If only I'd have known/remembered this earlier... hahaha!
  6. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP26 I can see a something of a theme here: the exit visible from the start of the map, yet rendered inaccessible by some Doom mechanic (a teleport in MAP24, blue key in MAP25, a closing door in this map). Another tight, enjoyable map and another not-unwelcome use of the "make a whole loop around to return to the start" trope that Phobus makes use of so adeptly. I didn't quite like it as much as the previous two, though. I think part of it is just that I'm not quite as much a fan of heavy brown usage as I thought I was (although the choice of textures makes perfect sense as a continuation of the corporate journey into hell)? Progression and combat are fine though. I particularly remember the surprise drop-down wall that put the player directly face to face with a mancubus. Fun trap. The final room was a fun fight and a good reminder of why chaingunners need to be disposed of immediately lest they shred you to pieces. Nothing spectacular here, but overall a good, solid way to end a solid map. My not liking it as much as the last two maps isn't necessarily a knock on this map, but rather a reflection of how much I enjoyed the last two. I am curious about the “difficulty-based filter”, so I might retry it on a lower difficulty to see how things change.
  7. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP25 My initial reaction was “oh, another exit’s right in front of you, but here’s a surprise!” map, but while I was correct, those thoughts were quickly swept from my mind by the nature of said surprise. Another fun, hectic start, with the placement of the imps and revenants raining death from above adding some welcome spice to the mix. I liked the architecture in the lava rooms, although I did feel somewhat unsure about how the lava and rock fit in with the rest of the architecture. It makes sense looking back and in the context of the following levels though. And, hell, I guess it can be read as a metaphor for the gradual hellification of one’s experience climbing the corporate ladder... But, really, this map is all about that fight after the dropdown. It might be my favourite fight in the whole WAD so far, or at least definitely in the top 5. Great room layout, with the curving corridors giving you some room to dodge the revenant rockets, while pinkies close the distance, pain elementals spawn lost souls, and imps chuck fireballs from the raised walkways. And, of course, there’s a pesky archvile hanging out in the open area, too. After that, the final double AV threat felt a bit tame in comparison. Was there a monster blocking line stopping the hell knights and non-teleporting AV from leaving the exit ‘room’? Might've been more of a challenge had both AVs been able to roam around and resurrect monsters. Good map though, also a highlight of the WAD for me. As far as voting for next month's megawad, mine has to go to: +++ Three Is a Crowd
  8. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP23 A huge inverted cross cut into a wall is the perfect way to start a map. This is a pretty tight and challenging level, with the challenge coming from monster placement, tricks/traps, and space constraints. The polar opposite of the previous map in a sense, and a bit more in my wheelhouse. Conceptually, I’m not necessarily a fan of having to go through a level twice, but the way that the second loop was refreshed with monsters via opened-up walls/cubbies was a good way to go about it. Especially so given that the new enemies did pose a threat and weren’t just fodder to mow down. (The two revenants after the lift were, while not life-threatening, a bit of a rough surprise.) On a conceptual level, I prefer this “opening up” approach to repopulating a level than simply teleporting enemies in. Functionally I guess they’re the same, but it’s interesting to see how the architecture of the map is built around accommodating for that. And hey, it’s nice to have the chance to restock and heal up with items revealed in the new rooms/cubbies/etc. It’s a fun map. Good use of intentionally limited space, a solid sense of threat and urgency, and a good introduction to the more tricks-and-traps-focused philosophy of the next few maps. MAP24 Nice hectic start after the surprise teleporter. I thought it was a good example of architecture/layout, set-up, and enemy placement (and numbers) used to make lower-tier enemies feel more threatening than they perhaps really are. For a while, it felt like there was always a threat around me (often an enemy that had ambled into the room I was in behind my back) and it kept me on my toes even if I was never in real danger of dying. I wasn’t sure what that switch in the hell knight room even did, which, again, is a thing I quite dislike. At least it's a small map, so backtracking once I figured out what it was for wasn't a pain, but still... The blue key courtyard felt ominous and my hunch was proven right. I enjoyed the fight; having the BFG made it easier but in no way trivialised it. Would be interesting to pistol start this map too. Another drumless MIDI track here, unfortunately. At least it didn't draw my attention/distract me as much as the last drumless MIDI.
  9. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP22 Nothing much to say about this one. It's short and linear and almost entirely focused on mowing down hordes of lower-tier enemies, with some boss monsters in the final room. Playing continuous made it a bit more efficient since I had the BFG, but the map does give players a plasma rifle and a lot of ammo so the enemies probably wouldn't put up much more resistance for pistol starters (or those who skipped playing the secret levels). I didn’t really pay that much attention to the layout and design, which is something of a compliment I guess; nothing particularly wrong about either element that could have distracted me from the slaughter. I thought the final room was a bit dull aesthetically, but that's not a big deal. The two Masterminds could have been used in more threatening ways: the cover and plasma ammo meant they were pretty handily dispatched. The Cyberdemon and Revenants weren't all that much more difficult either, although I did reload a few times just to polish up my Cyberdemon BFG two-shotting (which is/was, as I found out, quite rusty).
  10. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, UV, continuous. MAP21 I'll get the good out of the way first. I really enjoyed the combat. The map offers up a few different types of challenge and flows mostly seamlessly from the beginning, which is focused heavily on attrition from lower-tier enemies—I was reminded a bit of Double Impact here—to full-on AV mania at the end. I really liked how the opening skirmish felt like it was never-ending, with all the enemies trickling in from different parts of the open central area, sniping the player from the windows, and coming out from the circular structures. The enemies themselves aren't super threatening—glad you didn't go chaingunner crazy here—but the sheer numbers really work well to chip away at the player's resources. The combat lets up a bit from there, with some nasty rooms (chaingunner window room, I'm looking at you) but generally offering the welcome satisfaction of clearing out rooms without having to worry too much about a constant stream of enemies. I thought the four mancubi in the exit door switch room (lol) were a decent sting in the tail, but then came archvile mania. That was quite a challenge, given how they spawn out of the player's view and have a lot of fodder to resurrect to serve as meat shields. Some will make a beeline towards the player's location, but there seemed to always be one or two that would hang back and resurrect a metric tonne of enemies that I had to mow through all over again. A nice challenge. Nasty, but not insurmountable. Just the right sort of difficulty spike for the WAD, I think: definitely challenging, but not too out of step from what the player has had to deal with previously. I have a few misgivings, though. Some probably due to me being a dummy, some a bit of accumulated burnout from the use of line/sector specials. Firstly, it took me maybe a minute or two to figure out how to open the doors. That's on me since the eye switch is super obvious and located at the exact height for shooting. So that's fine. But, once inside those circular structures, I was a bit annoyed by all the extra switches used to open the main door, re-open doors that open and close on separate linedefs, etc. It's nothing deal-breaking, but I did feel the accumulation of 21 maps of line/sector frippery boil over a bit here, and I groaned a bit. I've also never been quite keen on switches that don't trigger something immediately obvious—within eye- or earshot—and the final switches in the circular buildings were all like that. Again, not a deal-breaker but just one of those things that I felt compelled to mention. Progression definitely felt a bit fuzzy initially, but I thought it cleared up once I got the first key. It's not the best-looking map and had some things that annoyed me for sure, but overall the combat makes up for everything else I think. Great opening, challenging end, and most of the shooting in the middle was satisfying and fun too (if not quite as memorable).
  11. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    I hadn't thought of it that way, but now that you mention it, it's hard to shake the thought. The aesthetic similarities to The Crusher's initial lift stopped me from making any more connections to IWAD levels I guess, haha.
  12. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    MAP20 I really liked the aesthetics. The initial overview of the level was a reasonably impressive sight. I also liked the slow lift descent—a nice homage to MAP06—and how it gradually revealed more and more of the level, and more enemies (although I was expecting more of a shock at the bottom than zombiemen). It took me a couple of tries to figure out the switch puzzle to raise the walkway, but that was because I thought the walkway was still too low to step onto the second switch platform. Simple puzzle otherwise. I thought the final area was reasonably fun, and the AV in the switch cubby was a nice surprise. Playing hide and seek with the Cyberdemon around the pillars was also fun, if completely unessential for progression. That said, I didn’t appreciate how easy it was to fall back into the pit if I wasn’t careful; I couldn’t be bothered to hit the switches and head back up so I would always just reload. But I guess that’s the whole idea: it being so easy to fall back into the pit means the player needs to constantly be aware of their position in relation to the edge while dealing with enemies in relatively close quarters? Not the best playing map in the WAD, but that initial view did stick with me. Nice to hear more In Flames too.
  13. Looks amazing, immediately slotted this pretty high up in my "to play" queue. Excited to give it a whirl!
  14. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Crispy, continuous, UV. MAP19 Short and sweet but packs a punch. Good dank sewer texturing. I liked the compact layout and the flow of the level. The enemy combo in the yellow key room definitely caught me with my trousers down. The doors/panels that open up behind the player to reveal shotgunners, like at the start and in that descending box stairway, were a nice touch; nasty enough if one’s unlucky with RNG but not too nasty as to feel unfair. The archvile encounter after returning to the central area was a bit predictable and not too hard to deal with since it's possible to just stay in the stairway, but I guess I did get lucky with the AV’s RNG movement decisions giving me clean shots without having to expose myself too much. The exit switch room was a bit of a nasty surprise. Definitely didn't impress me as much as the last two maps, but still a fun map.
  15. ironicmoustache

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    MAP18 Cool mutated factory setting: clanking machines, crushing ceilings, dirty metal, bloody flesh. Looking back, the map felt pretty nonlinear, and I did feel a bit of confusion initially since the level seemed to offer more than one option regarding my choice of path, but I settled into it soon enough. I enjoyed progressing through the map, crisscrossing over the map taking out enemies and grabbing the keys. The central fleshy room with the mancubi and revenants up high was probably my favourite part of the level aesthetically. Good thing since you do revisit it a few times. The most memorable encounter for me might be the fight in the red key room, with the added threat of the crushing walls. It's not all that hard—and the ambush was super telegraphed—but I thought the room was characterful and the crushers reinforced the factory feel. I enjoyed most of the combat through the rest of the level, too, but since I've played a bit ahead of this map I'm struggling to remember specific encounters beyond generally thinking that the incidental combat was of very high quality. Loved the architecture and texturing, and the relatively large size of the map and its nonlinearity definitely makes it stick out. On balance possibly my favourite map of the WAD so far. And, since I've been critical of some of the music choices in previous maps, I'll say that I thought the music was pretty fitting on a conceptual/thematic level (Fear Factory is pretty much the perfect band name for a map such as this). Works pretty good was a map MIDI too, I'd say.
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