An opaque '90s dungeon crawl map with kid's gloves on (meaning it's probably a good intro if you want to try that map out). Despite the really bizarre progression and more doors being unmarked walls than having actual door textures, I never got remotely lost because of the tight scale, the intuitive "try humping walls because otherwise I'm stuck" moments, and the automap pickup midway through. Lighting is really well done for the time, lots of darkness and even some directional work giving it a spooky mood. It starts out with a KDITD feel and then branches out to other themes, which feels like a very 1994 thing. The lateral thinking in figuring out how to get around was pretty engaging.
There will be high variance in how much people like this, and I'm not an expert on this era, but I enjoyed it.
Serious improvement from Serenity.
Eternity doesn't play easy on you at all. From the get go we have really amazing architectures to look at and some nasty enemy traps. The map design also has a great improvement on layout as there are a lot of interesting things to look, sector trickery and a lot more of height variations than on the previous episode.
Most maps has a lot of monsters closet and quite a good amount of demons to kill, so the fun and the challenge is assured.
The music plays a nice role in here, as it adds to the atmosphere quite a lot, specially the Vangellis Theme from Bladerunner.
Also, Moanin' is one of my favourite jazz songs ever, so this mapset was really nice to play.
Even when it comes kinda as cheesy and silly, it feels really cool.
Great visuals and great encounters.
For real, these two authors really knew what they were doing by now, and they showed it!
Next episode surely will be beven better :)
Thanks to both, Bjorn Hermans and Holger Nathrath, as this plays amazing for sure.
...Now, to the Infinity...
I was of course familiar with Alberto Barsella's work, with his original DEADBASE.WAD being perhaps the first PWAD I ever played, way back in 1994. I had also played the sequel, Mountain Of Fire, but it never occurred to me that a third map existed in the series (and I who wondered why it was called the "Wasteland Series" with just two maps....heh).
In any case, this is a large (for 1994 standards at least), quite open map, with the interesting twist that remaining exposed in the sun, out of the shade, damages you just as if you were walking on lava. No sunscreen on whatever shithole planet this is taking place on, it seems....this adds an interesting mechanic to the gameplay, also because the monsters themselves (at least those that are initially placed in the shade) also seem reluctant to wander away from the shade. Not so for those that teleport later on directly under the scorching sun. OK, I get it, some uncrossable sector trickery at work. In any case, this case be exploited to force monsters into a line of attack and thin their own ranks themselves, as much as possible, and trust me, you're gonna need to do that as much as possible.
Speaking of which, this is a quite ammo and health-scarce map, but that's to be expected. Nobody expected something called "Wasteland" and "Sands of Death" to be a plentiful cornucopia of Doom goodies, amiirite? It IS possible (though by no means necessary) to kill every single monster on this map, but you'd better hone those Tysoning skills and put that Berserk pack to good use. Many times you'll have to ponder: use one (often two) shells to kill an Imp, or risk landing in a punch? How about a Pinky then, where you could even use three or four shells sometimes?). Finish those cacos with a well-placed punch or two, or use precious shells on them? Ah, decisions, decisions. If you're not good at Tysoning, this is a great map to start practicing ;-)
Overall this is an engaging map, and under its plain exterior there's surprising depth, some clever puzzles, plenty of cool tidbits here and there (such as raisable 3D bridges), and a few cool secrets (now, why ammo and weapon caches should be marked as secret, that's anybody's guess).
The negatives? For a map that plays on the "don't wander aimlessy" element so heavily, it's not 100% clear from the start what the proper progression is, as well as which buildings you can enter immediately and which ones you can't. I can't imagine anybody getting it right the absolute first time, on a "first death" attempt. TBQH I'm not sure if multiple progressions are possible, but FWIW I started from the black building with the berserk pack in it, and considering how much you'll need that (and a shotgun), perhaps that's the best/intended strategy.
I admit however that I got seriously stuck at the point where you had to exit the first silo through the walkway bridge. I couldn't figure out how to activate the (shootable, as I found out) switch that opened the door to the walkway. It was not immediately obvious to me that it was a separate switch from the one forming the stairs, and I didn't realize that you had to somehow shoot it. Initially, I thought the map was bugged (at least in ZDoom) but no, Chocolate didn't solve it either. So what was the trick? Well, you're supposed to use the Baron's platform by raising it and then shooting the switch a-la Icon Of Sin. Or, alternatively, shoot it from the room above it through a narrow opening at a very specific angle and avoid the Baron room entirely. Not sure the latter would be possible/obvious in Vanilla, with low resolution.
Oh and BTW that red key building is nothing but a decoy...
This is a "trick" level where you need to save pretty often to avoid "failing" puzzles and dying or getting stuck. It contains mandatory use of Wings of Wrath and Chaos Devices. Otherwise, it's not badly designed or even unfair, though it may be too tough on Black Plague. At some early point there's a crusher trap. It should be solvable intelligently, not by trial and error.