Does Doom 1 have better level design than it's sequel Doom 2?

Does Doom 1 have better level design than it's sequel Doom 2?

In my opinion, Doom 1 had better levels than Doom 2. Some of the Maps from Doom 2 seemed like they were half-assed, such as MAP 15, MAP 20, and MAP 21.

I want to get other people's opinions if they feel like Doom 1 had better level design than Doom 2.

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I thought Map 15 and 20 were some of the good ones. 21 though....yeah.

Doom has the worst map ever made by id though, Hell Keep, so I would say their around even. I dislike very few Doom 2 maps.

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I consider a map badly designed only when it is unfair and by "unfair" I mean bugged or progressing illogically, which eventually might lead to getting stuck.

Since we're talking only about UD and D2 (no "master levels" or "Final Doom", though they have their share of screw ups) I have to say that I consider UD more "fair". I managed to complete all maps myself and I can remember getting stuck for a while only on E3M5 (Unholy Cathedral), until I figured out its teleport system and the fact that it actually makes a difference from which direction you enter them.

As for Doom 2, I initially had my beef with MAP15, because it took me ages before I discovered that you had to step BACK into the teleport you've just emerged from in order to get the red key. The construction of the map suggested I had to do something else, go further etc. Now that I know it, I really like the map, but the memories of running around in frustration... ugh...

However, in my opinion THE most unfair map in all official IWADs is MAP19 (The Citadel) and Sandy Petersen should be ashamed for making a joke so cruel. When I first played the map, I had no Internet access yet so there was no way to check a walkthrough etc. After doing everything there was to be done I was stuck. I tried different doors, different switches, nothing made me progress and I needed to find a key. There was this one wall I often passed. I'm talking about this one:

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1483/qt0f.png

So I looked at the wall and figured "okay... it's just a wall, but it's between those two vertical, metal bars so maybe it's some sort of a door" I pressed on the wall a couple of times and nothing happened. I shrugged and ran elsewhere, but most of you know where this story is going.

I eventually got so frustrated that I left the game and never touched it for the next couple of years. When I finally got Internet access I decided to check the walkthrough online, and what do you know. I was one texture away from finding the solution, because you have to open the wall NEXT to the one between metal bars:

http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/6262/6d5v.png

NOTHING indicates that this wall is actually a hidden door, save probably for some details only a really experienced player would see, like a weird wall texture. It's a goddamn SECRET place and you HAVE TO access the SECRET place to COMPLETE the level the way it was meant to!

No such bullshit occurred in "The Ultimate Doom" to my knowledge.

By the way - why is MAP21 so despised? Is it beacause of its small size for a map so far into the game?

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I like most things about Doom 1 better than Doom 2, including level design. I think part of that comes from strong themes in each episode (excluding E4, sort of) and generally a better sense of atmosphere.

I don't want to be known as some sort of Doom 2 hater though, it was a good game, I just preferred the first overall.

Hell Keep (E3M1) isn't bad, I don't mind Nirvana (MAP21) either. I also kind of like The Chasm (MAP24), another oft-hated map. My least favourite from UD is probably E3M5. No Doom 2 maps really stick out to me as being really terrible but a few are kind of underwhelming and frustrating. The Cathedral is a nice concept and has some cool parts like the red brick building, but overall I agree it's based too much around nonsensical progression and secret finding.

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I definetly prefer Doom 2's maps to Doom 1'.

E1 is great. E2 is OK. But the majority of E3 is pretty bad, including E3M1, E3M2, E3M3, E3M4.

Stuff like E3M7 is nice and atmospheric, but it's one empty map. There's almost no monsters around. Kinda weird for a penultimate challenge. It's no "The Living End"... E3M6 is the only E3 map I really like.

But then there's of course stuff like E2M2, which is just great. But overall, Sandy Petersen is not my favorite mapper. Which is why E1 and E4 are my favorite episodes.

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Doom 2 had some great maps, but levels like tricks and traps or gotcha! I thought were kinda cheap, I personally just prefer doom's maps better than doom 2

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40oz said:

Oh great here come the D2TWID experts.

Your passive-aggressive forum habits haven't gone unnoticed. Lose the snide attitude, please.

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dew said:



Hell no.


OK, I never noticed the middle finger fingering...well, whatever it is that's it's fingering. Satan's asshole? No wonder it's a "Slough of Despair".

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Maes said:

Satan's asshole?

Obviously. I mean, is there even any other possibility? No, there isn't. You can trust me, I'm experts.

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At first, I didn't notice it was mandatory. It looked like a secret cliché and simply pressed it, found the lift and continued the map like if nothing happened. It took me a while to find the MAP28's exit. I circled the map multiple times for ½h until I accidentally shot line573.

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Overall, yes I think Doom 1 has better level design. I just find them a lot more enjoyable and atmospheric. For me, Doom 2 is good, up until the city levels which I hate. They're too large, overly complex and drag on forever. And the hell levels aren't that great either. Personally, I'd take E3 of Doom 1 anyday over the hell levels of Doom 2. At least they had a distinct feel and didn't drag on for too long.

Doom 2 is best during the first 10 or so maps (I'm not a fan of 'Refueling Base') as they're fast paced, action packed and offer a worthy challenge. But it starts to play dirty during the second third of the game which is why I find myself playing through Doom 1 a lot more (Excluding E4). I still like some of the later levels but many are just tedious and too drawn out. I actually think I had more fun playing through Doom 64's maps even though that game had its faults (The puzzles can be really cryptic at times).

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E1 is great, but Doom 2's maps are bigger and try to go to bigger lengths. E2 is alright, and E3, well, I like E3M7 a lot. The rest not so much. It's just that Doom 2 has uglier textures.

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I wouldn't say Doom 2 has uglier textures, just that there is a frankly vulgar amount of brown in a lot of the later maps.

As far as map design goes, I had a habit of preferring Doom over Doom 2, or vice versa, when I was younger. Nowadays, I'd say they're about even. What makes for a quality map is largely subjective, though generally one wants to be able to navigate through a level with ease, but while still being intellectually challenged by interesting traps, obstacles, puzzles and key/switch hunting. The process should be smooth and the layouts memorable. Using that as criteria, I'd say both Dooms accomplish this extremely well, and both have about the same amount of bullshit. Doom 1 has a few E2 and E3 maps that are a bit confusing, while E4 is often so brutal it becomes a chore. Doom 2 has a few stinkers, mostly in the middle and the lackluster secret levels.

I also agree that Doom 64 is highly enjoyable. I would have likely never found the secret maps without a walkthrough, but so much of the game is very well designed and really fun to play through. I'd say that a lot of its maps are superior to Doom/Doom2. Final Doom is not so consistent, but I feel the Master Levels/Final Doom selections for PSX Final Doom are all great selections, and show a variety of different mapping styles that are very satisfying.

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Ultimate Doom has the maps E4M9, E2M3 and E2M2 (My faves)
Doom 2 has Map04, Map07, Map14, Map18, Map27 and Map31 (My faves)

Doom 2 wins my vote I guess?

(However TNT would win if Final Doom was involved)

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DOOM1 is way more consistent across 3 episodes and its levels look like actual places you'd expect from moon bases / Hell.

DOOM2 is all over the place with no consistency whatsoever and completely random architecture.

DOOM levels > DOOM2 levels

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I learned a funny thing about Doom 64 while converting its maps for "Doom 64 in Doom 2" project.

Doom 64 levels are really, really flat. Sometimes you can walk through half the map and not encounter a single floor height change. It made applying different floor textures a challenge. I wish there were "metal beam" flats in Doom 2, they can be very useful to separate materials.

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No such bullshit occurred in "The Ultimate Doom" to my knowledge.


I think my only disagreement here is E3M6 in Ultimate Doom, when you're trying to find the Blue Key on skills 3/4/5. I first played this level on the SNES port, and the SNES port only allows you to play episode 3 on those skill levels. I spent AGES looking for that Blue Key (I had internet access, but there were no walkthroughs on how to find that Blue Key). Getting the Blue Key in this level requires opening a hidden door to find a teleporter, then jumping into some red box.

And I believe I ended up finding the secret exit in this level first before I found the Blue Key.

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Touchdown said:

DOOM1 is way more consistent across 3 episodes and its levels look like actual places you'd expect from moon bases / Hell.

DOOM2 is all over the place with no consistency whatsoever and completely random architecture.

DOOM levels > DOOM2 levels


Seconding this. No problem with abstract levels, but don't name the game "Hell on Earth", then!

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Doom 1 might be more elegant looking with better textures but is a lot more flat and closed in design, almost like Wolfenstein 3D. Only in Doom 2 id really explored the third dimension of the game and vast open areas (Doom 1 had only one such map - E3M6). I think both are well designed for their time and way too different to say which is better.

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peach freak said:

I think my only disagreement here is E3M6 in Ultimate Doom, when you're trying to find the Blue Key on skills 3/4/5.


That's right, I forgot about that one. Still, it's map19 that made me quit the game for years, so obviously I hold grudge against it :P

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esselfortium said:

Your passive-aggressive forum habits haven't gone unnoticed. Lose the snide attitude, please.


On the plus side, dew has a shiny new custom title now :P

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Wow I got a lot of posts in less than 1 day lol It's interesting what people have to say about the levels from Doom 1 amd Doom 2.

I my favorite types of levels are techbases which were found in Doom 1's Knee-Deep in the Dead Episode. Doom 2 had more of a Hell theme in just about all of its levels.

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Memfis said:

Doom 1 might be more elegant looking with better textures but is a lot more flat and closed in design, almost like Wolfenstein 3D. Only in Doom 2 id really explored the third dimension of the game and vast open areas (Doom 1 had only one such map - E3M6). I think both are well designed for their time and way too different to say which is better.


I absolutely agree with you Memfis. Doom 1 was very elegant looking. I wish Doom 2 a bit more of that aspect from Doom 1.

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It's a shame E3M6 is such a BITCH to navigate, because it has some really interesting areas and is one of the more experimental/odd maps in Doom 1.

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