The DWmegawad Club plays: Rylayeh & Crimson Canyon & Azagthoth



What is the DWmegawad Club?
This is a place where we settle down, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice) and take a month to play through a megawad on our own, together! Any keen observations, criticisms, or frustrated ranting about it goes here in the discussion. As long as you want to say something about what you've played, feel free to speak your mind.

Can I join?
Sure. The only rule is that you have to play at least some of the levels in our monthly megawad to contribute, but you're generally encouraged to finish the whole thing, even if you've played it before.

What levels am I allowed to post about?
We are playing Rylayeh first, then Crimson Canyon, then Azagthoth. One map per day.

Do I have to post an entry every day?
Nope, not at all. This is only for our more enthusiastic members. As long as you play through it with us you’re part of the club.

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The wad we are currently playing through is Crimson Canyon

>>>DOWNLOAD RYLAYEH HERE<<<

>>>DOWNLOAD CRIMSON CANYON HERE<<<

>>>DOWNLOAD AZAGTHOTH HERE<<<

(Or you can download all three in a single folder here)

Another triple threat this month! Ryleh, Crimson Canyon, and Azagthoth come from the twisted mind of J. S. Graham, and we're going to be exploring them in that order. Get ready for some gritty textures and Eldritch horrors!

Maplist for Rylayeh:

MAP01 - "The Dock"
MAP02 - "Aberratia"
MAP03 - "Octagony"
MAP04 - "Irkallia"
MAP05 - "Old One's Tombs"
MAP06 - "Quadragoth"
MAP07 - "Blood Yard"
MAP08 - "Keen Eyes"
MAP09 - "Kthulhu"
MAP10 - "The Return"

Maplist for Crimson Canyon:

MAP01 - "Power Station"
MAP02 - "The Forum"
MAP03 - "Acid Base"
MAP04 - "Colosseum"
MAP05 - "Crimson Canyon"
MAP06 - "Cylinder of Sin"
MAP07 - "Shrine of Quorthon"
MAP08 - "Roscinante"
MAP09 - "Fresh Error"
MAP10 - "Transmaniacon"
MAP11 - "Monday Morning"
MAP12 - "House of Shadows"

BONUS CONTENT
Suitepee plays: Rylayeh | Crimson Canyon | Azagthoth
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OLD THREADS
BF_THUD!
Community Chest 4
Jenesis
MAYhem 2012
Memento Mori
Interception
2002: A Doom Odyssey
Hadephobia
Coffee Break & Fava Beans & Double Impact
HYMN
Stardate 20X6 & Monochrome Mapping Project
Realm of Chaos
Back to Saturn X E1 & Favillesco E1
Kama Sutra
Unholy Realms & Zone 300
Vile Flesh
Ultimate Doom
Whitemare & Sacrament
Scythe
Epic 2
Whitemare 2
Sunder & Countdown to Extinction
Doom 2 the Way id Did
MAYhem2048
Stomper
Back to Saturn X E2
Going Down

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Nice picks!! I never did finish rylylelhlehlheh and I've never played crimson canyon or azagthoth before

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I confess that I don't remember hearing about these wads, ever. I'm going to give them a try. Playing with Zandronum, UV, pistol starts (maybe I'll change it during playthrough), casual game, liberal use of resurrect cheat. :P

Rylayeh MAP01 - "The Dock"

Wow, such a big map. It's got a pretty surreal atmosphere, thanks to the new content (textures, monsters and the blood). It made me accept the map's slow gameplay easier. I particularly like what happened to the Nazi. Also, all the vine and bar textures look great.

Thoroughly nice, unified visuals. "Rotated orthogonality" works, as different parts of the map are rotated variously. It looks good on the automap and can be relatively well navigated around, too. On the other hand, I've been getting slightly lost in the map after pressing certain switches, even despite the arrows on the floor. Nothing serious, I've always found my way sooner or later.

Gameplay was rather slow and tedious at times, specially the Hell Knight fights. Little direct challenge (but I already died anyway), no real addrenaline pumping moments - but once I got "reconciled" with this kind of gameplay, it wasn't a problem at all. The map was interesting to explore for me, and that motivated me to continue when the combat itself didn't (I've found 3/5 secrets). In fact, the map reminded me of my own map, MAP19 of D2INO. A huge fortress with coherent texture theme and Heretic-like gameplay, not very fast paced for most of the time. Not exactly what should be considered a good map, but I wanted to say that I simply know that this kind of gameplay "works well enough" to provide some playability.

I guess that the rest of maps will be a similar experience. Well, we'll see.

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the usual config.

Rylayeh MAP01 The Dock

why does this remind me of Shadow Port?

anyways, we have custom sprites for the demon and imp, starting off with an off-kilter ambush from the demons, kinda cool. nazis and the blue key were also changed too. okay. getting that first shotgun was a pain in the butt due to falling down alot. the level's large, and the demons/spectres in the water kinda felt tacked on. secrets were hard to find as well. the arrows didn't help me too much, also the hellknights were annoying when you don't have the SSG, but at if you're good with berserk they're not much.

the red sky really complements this well I believe.

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UV, pistol starts with glboom+.

Rylayeh - Map01: The Dock

Oh my, that was rather grindtastic unfortunately. So many Spectres and Pinkies (or are the Greenies now?) to mow through it's ridiculous, especially considering the fact that whether it's one or ten you have to go through makes absolutely no difference regarding the difficulty of the situation. The Hell Knights were the epitome of ammo sinks as well as they really pose no real threat if you just opt to gun them away. I did too die once because I thought I'd save some ammo and berserk punch the aforementioned HKs to oblivion but that didn't work out so great in the end. The layout is interesting enough (the maze part not so much though) and the visual theme is definitely intriguing and pretty novel. The moody custom music fit the theme pretty nicely too. The standard techbase lever-switches and buttons seemed a bit out of place in what seemed to depict an ancient fortress though. There was one pentagram-ish switch used late in the level that could've been used more for example. Found three out of five secrets and of course the ones I missed were the most rewarding (Mega-armor and Soulsphere). How I managed to NOT find the Mega is beyond me, now that I checked it out... Also noticed in the txt-file of the wad that "some secret areas are only accessible by jumping"... so that kind of sucks because I don't use that feature. Hopefully those secrets don't contain any gamechanging items at least.

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rylaeh01 - zdoomisms everywhere (floating things, blocking hanging corpses, trying to jump over enemies), boring action (shotgun vs many monsters with little threat, no variety in monster usage), unpleasant texturing for me (and it's the same graphic theme throughout the whole level so no hope to find at least something visually appealing except these cool green demons), didn't like the music (maybe kinda atmospheric but not fun to listen to at all)... I might check out the next level.

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Cool, never heard of these map sets. UV pistol starting..

MAP01 - "The Dock"

I like the way the submarine sinks into the sea at the start. The rest of the map is very monotone in both texture and gameplay (and music), starting off with more demons than I think it is reasonable to expect someone to chainsaw through without it getting a bit stale. Maybe the idea is to push people inside the building, which is what I did (and those demons are still out there for all I know, I never did feel like going back to finish them off). There follows plenty of switch hunting and shotgunning - though I was lucky enough to read the text file before playing which says that jumping is necessary for some secrets, so that gave me a chaingun for a little bit of variety. There are arrows on the ground, which is never a good sign. I think they wouldn't have been needed if the design had a bit more visual variety and detailing. But its ok I guess.

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MAP01 - Everything sucks here, from gameplay to music.
Gameplay is repetitive shotgun and chainsaw action with boring monster placement (demons on high edges and in big hordes)
Texturing, the ship's blue flats are missaligned, it's using boring textures (Grey marbles and grey outdoor graphics not in a good way)
Layout, there's no layout it's just a big outdoor area and a whole bunch of hallways with higher up hallways to tease you, not always bad, but it's mostly bad.
Music is just an annoying and boring organ song, never was a fan of those in a MIDI form.

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I'll consider joining in with the Club on this one after I tackle Alien Vendetta for the first time, because Lovecraft x Doom sounds right up my alley!

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Map 01:
DNF; died to traps in secrets twice and said "fuck it, I'm not playing that start again." Seriously, that start is about 50 kinds of awful; when I first saw it, I figured "oh, he wants to push me into the building"... except the infinite tallness blocks you, so you HAVE to chainsaw every last one of them. Ugh.

The chain of secrets that leads to the Soulsphere... why?!?! There's no way you won't lose more than 100 health in the process of getting it, with the multiple forced damage floor romps, and that's assuming you figure out how to get across the gap to grab it, anyways (I wasn't able to). Ugh.

I had remembered the first few maps of this one being kinda bad (map 03 is almost Mock 2 worthy, and is probably the single worst map I've ever played in a "serious" project), but I had forgotten just how aggravating this opener is.

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MAP01:

I think the biggest complaint I had was that there was simply not enough ammo and too much chainsawing.

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I'm really big on playing things in chronological order, but we're going through Graham's stuff in reverse order just so we can start with the "better maps", rather than scaring people off with the less refined stuff. Anyway, usual playstyle of UV, pistol starts, keyboard, & saves aplenty. Never played or heard of these maps before, so it should be interesting.

MAP01: Well, some maps like to throw a berserk-based affair at you, but it can be surprising to encounter a chainsaw-based one. Graham's best feature so far is his use of diagonals in his architecture, and how his rooms interlock. Unfortunately it can be a bit switch-hunty, and the chainsaw stuff slows down the pace of the map by some amount.

Also, the color palette used here is... interesting. It reminds me a lot of Wolfenstein 3D E2—the green and grey mixture—and I wouldn't exactly say the custom textures and enemy palettes remind me of Lovecraft, but it's at least nice to have a change pace.

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HMP, continuous play with GZDoom. Saving occasionally

Rylayeh - Map01: The Dock

Finished the level on:

40 (or was it 70?) Health

No Armour

Kills 82%
Items 53%
Secrets 20%

Time: 14:03


The level looked good, but felt somewhat lacking in ammunition. I'm not a fan of mappers putting monsters high up on ledges, especially when I'm ending up using the pistol for quite a while. The sinking submarine was a nice start but I think the mapper should have done a bit more to bring it to the player's attention, since I only just caught it. I can understand why Getsune Fune is reminded of Shadow Port. This map could have done with better monster placement and more interesting fights.

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Don't have time to write at the moment, but an important thing to note is that, IIRC, the bit in Rylayeh's text file about needing to jump in order to reach some secrets is simply a (very) poor choice of words on the author's part. What he means by 'jumping' is the classic Doom definition of jumping, that is, 'falling athletically.'

When I play later I'll see if I can max map 01, maybe post a (slow-ass) max-demo. It's been years since I've played it so I might not remember everything, but I know I've gotten 100/100/100 in it before (without z-axis jumping).

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It's November the 2nd here in middle Europe, and I'm going to continue.

MAP02 - "Aberratia"

The beginning was actually a little uneasy from pistol start, but I've figured it out eventually. Then I didn't have any more problems managing the map's difficulty, until I eventually died near the exit. Funnily, it weren't the Barons or Hell Knights who killed me, I was able to fight these successfully. I died because I've badly jumped across a ledge and fallen into a lava pit with demons. :/

Theme, aesthetics and gameplay were very similar to the previous map, but I could bear it. It felt as a slight improvement to me, even. Now the map's layout consisted of various non-orthogonal angles, forming an excellent whole to look at on the automap. I was relatively comfortable with fights, as I've accepted them as "legit" - except Hell Knights. There was fewer of them than in MAP01, but I would remove them completely. If only there was a custom DEHACKED to replace them with a monster with HP of a pinky demon at maximum... This my feeling changed after I got the SSG, it drastically helped to improve the map's pace.

There were some minor challenging surprises on the way, culminating near the exit. I liked this. I'll see what will come next.

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Hello, Rylayeh.

MAP01 - The Dock

I thought I'd create a savegame after about 15 minutes of fighting green demons with a chainsaw, but decided to wait. Died in a silent slow crusher inside a secret area about 15 seconds later. Good bye, Rylayeh!

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Alright, Rylayeh. I like this one a lot. Haven't played it in a long time, but I feel like I can remember a great deal of it (except for 'Blood Yard', looking at the maplist I'm drawing a total blank on that one). Thematically, it rigorously sticks to one overarching theme, but there are many different shades and spins and angles on that theme over the course of the mapset, to the point where each map does seem quite distinct from, yet kindred with, its compatriots. It's also very bloody, although by no means a harshly difficult WAD--the high bodycount is in most cases comprised mainly of imps, zombies, pigs, and other such riffraff.

May be worth noting that while its format is simply 'limit-removing', from a playability standpoint, those using ZDoom or Eternity or a similar 'advanced' port will probably have the best experience, as the mapset does suffer noticeably from ZDoomisms such as blocking decorations, floating items, etc. (although none actually break the game that I'm aware of, note), something of a 'sign of the times' in this WAD's case. For my part, the main playthrough I'm using Eternity, on UV, pistol-starts, etc., although I did use prBoom+ to make the map 01 walkthrough demo. So, without further adieu...

Map 01 -- The Docks - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Heh, I knew this one would be controversial (wait 'til you guys see map 03...)--it not only plays 'against type' in regards to many of the classic map 01 tropes and commits at least one popular taboo (a literal deathtrap without warning), but is also a bit of an outlier in terms of the nature and pace of its action in comparison to the rest of the mapset, something that's actually not uncommon in Psyren's mapsets, as we shall see later on. The map is fairly large (although you can get through it really quickly if you know what you're doing), especially by map 01 standards, and dispenses with any formalities of making a first impression via a fast/straightforward arcade-style layout--you will have to explore and take mental notes of landmarks in your surroundings in order to make progress, and some little-telegraphed backtracking is required. Most of the progression milestones here involve switches and triggers rather than acquiring keys for locked doors per se, something that is characteristic of the mapset at large. Taken together, all of these things give the nature of the game-path in Rylayeh something of a 'classic' 90s feel....of the iconic reference mapsets, I'd say it most often reminds me of the original Memento Mori in this regard, although in terms of objective realization it's generally less complicated/elaborate than the really switch-heavy stuff from that mapset (read: Jens Nielsen's maps); although it can sometimes seem bewildering and labyrinthine, I think this is largely a product of the highly abstract and often deceptively vertically complex layouts rather than as a result of being framed as a puzzler or a 'spot the tiny switch' adventure WAD. There actually is a lot of switch-camouflagery going on, mind you, but this is almost always done to hide switches/optional areas rather than mandatory parts of the progression. ;)

Anyway, I digress. 'The Docks' is quite bloody by map 01 standards, as aforesaid, fielding over 200 monsters on ultra-violence. These are not really spread out in a trickle over the course of the map, but tend to appear in sizable pockets and clusters here and there; the single largest group of enemies is in fact the very first one you encounter, that being a small herd of demons that essentially triples in size as soon as you make a peep. The first weapon you get is a chainsaw (how often does that happen), which you can use to whittle down the herd, but I imagine most folks won't have the patience for this and will instead flee into the foreboding geometry of the freshly-risen city, which seems to be the intent. You can get a shotgun early on (probably not early enough to stop some players from tediously plinking the tower imps to death with the pistol, though), and perhaps an incidental chaingun off of a corpse if you explore thoroughly enough, but that's it--no SSG, no rockets, bit of an unusual decision considering the relative density of opposition faced....makes the map feel like it's for the original Doom, really, despite the odd commando and the reskinned nazis here and there.

It's difficult to tell just how principled the apparent commitment to melee play is in this map--there's a lot of shell ammo (few bullets, though), probably enough to kill most of the map with the shotgun as long as you make economical use of the shell pickups and don't miss very much, but putting away the droves of demons in this fashion is something of a slow prospect. There is a fairly early berserk pack which greatly enlivens the speed of play for those willing to use it, but while it is not particularly hard to find if you're making a genuine effort to explore the environment, it is also easily missed and doesn't actually count as an official 'secret.' I think one can fairly criticize this balance choice (again, given how anomalous this all is for a map 01) because making the action feel like it runs smoothly seems to require either a fair bit of foreknowledge or perhaps a taste for a starkly OG Doom-flavored experience, but assuming you have that foreknowledge, it does work fairly well. For my part, I think the author intended this to play fast and bloody rather than slow and methodically--consider the courtyard maze packed with zombies, which quickly reaches that distinctly Romeroan 'kill 1.5 zombies every second for minutes at a stretch' action-hero pace, something that's only going to escalate as we get further in. I will agree the hell knight groups are probably not the best choice given the weapon situation, but the berserk pack makes these battles easier to swallow, and the first one against the group of three near the blood-channel is even kind of fun fought Streets of Rage -style.

Aesthetically, this is a fairly simple presentation in terms of fine-grain detail, but it's fairly striking if you stop to really look at it, I think. The combination of custom and stock textures is a little odd at first, but the different assets end up melding fairly well as things progress (particularly where light levels are lower), partially a function of how consistently the overall theme is applied. The really distinctive thing about the look and feel of the architecture, though, is the odd slant that the whole map has--it's not the kind of thing that's communicated in a discrete screencap, but the strange angles make quite an impact in the long run, where you end up constantly moving and turning in ways you may not be used to in the course of dealing with what are otherwise rather simple encounters, and even in regards to monster-pathing. The fairly broad/open scale of the outdoor areas is also a pleasant departure from the usual 'average/moderate' scale of map 01 space, and I even like the music as well--it's somewhat distant and laid back, which suits the more exploratory nature of these maps (although there is one shockingly poor midi in this set that I'm sure many of us will end up remarking upon).

Definitely not going to be to everyone's taste, but I like what Psyren does here...rather than futzing about with the standard 'warmup/intro' level, he gets right into what his mapset is about, both stylistically and thematically. Later levels are much less melee-oriented and more in tune with Doom II-style action than this one is, but the overall blueprint is already laid out at this early stage: highly abstract, exploratory levels that offer a disarmingly high level of killin' compared to what one may be used to seeing in maps with a similar progression style.

Oh yes, and here's that demo I pulled out of my ass, for the bored. Takes me a minute to remember how to get the soulsphere secret (no damage whatsoever necessary to get it, incidentally ;) ), but I end up getting everything by the end. My favorite part is when I perfectly bowl that imp carcass through that drainage slat at about 6:35, wish I could say that was intentional.

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Demon of the Well said:

(no damage whatsoever necessary to get it, incidentally ;)

Huh, that actually kind of surprises me; how on earth would you get the rad suit secret without either clearing out the blood trench Greenies prematurely without it, or blowing the whole thing (and then some...) when they block your jump back across the trench?

(I actually did go back and finish map 01, and then felt really bitter about the fact that the death trap in the secret that killed me was a literally worthless secret, since by the time that secret is opened, I already had access to the exit. Ugh, this map. And I won't be seeing map 03 again, roflmao; one trip through that eight years ago was more than enough).

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You actually don't need the radsuit at all to avoid damage, it's just there as a convenience. If you really must, you can hug the tiny lip around the edges down in the trench and never take a spot of damage if you mind your transitions and don't get spooked off by the demons. That aside, you can kite the demons away and make the jump, which is what I did. My kiting was half-assed and so I risked a bite (which didn't actually happen), but if you're determined you can totally preclude the possibility even without killing them first. That being said, I don't think Psyren really planned for infinitely-tall things in the mapset (again, largely a product of the times), so sometimes it does rear its ugly head and requires a bit of a workaround, as in this case.

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Jumping into this, even though I still need to actually beat the end of Going Down as opposed to cheating my way through it.

MAP01: The Docks
90% kills, 3/5 secrets

Hoo boy. I had taken a quick skim through the maps before since Plums kept recommending it, as well as Demon of the Well also mentioning it positively. I usually find myself agreeing with their opinions, but... not in this case.

So, we open up with The Docks, checking in at 220+ monsters... already a bad sign. And the first monsters seen is a pack of about 15 (green) demons in a wide-open area, so it's not just gonna be stomping through hordes of zombiemen. As an aside, the sinking cruiser at the start is pretty cool, though the effect is destroyed by letting the player walk right up to it - couldn't put some blocking lines in place?

In any event, the initial battle with the demons portends well the gameplay of this map - lots of monotonous chewing through hordes that pose little threat. It's really not that difficult to just back up to one of the cubbyholes sides of the castle and chainsaw the demons from safety, out of reach of the imp snipers, and then take care of the imps when you've scaled to the top and grabbed the shotgun. From then on, it's a fairly linear ride, with plenty of little helpful red and green arrows on the ground to tell the player where to go. Now, I'm glad they're there, but this probably should've been a sign to the map designer that, hey, progression isn't exactly intuitive. Placing arrows everywhere is the lazy way out and breaks immersion.

At least there's a bit of variety in where we go... some of it is regular castle battlements, some of it is scaling across maze-like walls, some is jumping across blood pits, or going into tombs. Unfortunately, the green and grey color scheme gets old quick, especially since the architecture is pretty blocky. It's not BAD, but it lacks the nice detailed touches I've come to enjoy in more recent stuff. And the color scheme is pretty consistent across all ten maps if I recall, which further wears it out quickly.

Combat is also a bit of a grind, as the player never progresses beyond the single shotgun (except for the chaingun secret near the end) and shells are often hard to come by. I found myself running past a lot of the hell knights or imp snipers, for example, simply because it wasn't worth the shells. Combat never really has any crescendo, it's all just a steady stream of clumps of a few zombies, or imps, or demons, or some hell knights in a room, with the occasional demon teleporting in. My favorite part is probably the silent blue armor crusher, but this is 1) in a secret and 2) worthless because it's at the end of the map. The reskinned nazi also feels like a pointless addition.

It's somewhat interesting that the map is pretty to look at from the minimap... nice angles, lots of clean lines, but when actually playing the level, it feels blocky and doesn't really click for me. Almost as if this level is more fun to enjoy looking at it in DB2 than actually playing it in Doom.

So yeah, not impressed, if this is supposed to be the more refined stuff, I might end up bowing out this month (on purpose, not due to getting busy as often happens...)

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Magnus -- I'd say that if you didn't like what you saw so far, jump in on map 4 or 5. Rylayeh has a couple stinkers at the start (I don't even remember map 02, but maps 01 and 03 are both pretty bad), but it gets a lot better later on.

EDIT: Also, I'm really considering playing future maps from this one in GZDooM instead of PrBoom+, since it was never really conceived as a "speedrun/challenge/hard" wad, and isn't using infinite tallness in a "deliberate" way. Or maybe I'll make DotW excited and finally download Eternity ;-)

DOUBLE EDIT: I personally *really* love the gray and green thing, though. Gives the wad a nice, appropriate gloomy tone.

M-M-M-MONSTER EDIT: Just played Map 02 in GZDoom. Now THAT'S more like it. Awesome map; bloody as hell, great atmosphere, good pacing, neat layout. I only found 2 of the 9 secrets, and one of those was a switch that I couldn't figure out what it did... obviously, I need to requisition a DotW brand secret radar.

As much as I hate Mondays, I'll still look forward to this one to see what the poor fools who suffer through map 03 have to say about that... thing. I actually played about 30 seconds of it, enough to hear two bars of the worst MIDI in the history of the universe (in possibly the worst map in the history of the universe -- it's in competition with "The Pits" from Vile Flesh, at any rate) and say "NOPE!"

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MAP02 - "Aberratia"

A bit of a painful experience. First thing I noticed was the grey marble everywhere, and while there are other textures dotted around those grey walls really dominate everything with their bright clean cartoonish appearence. I lost a lot of health to hitscan at the start as they filter their way through the labyrinthine corridors to find you. After that though most of the enemies are on shelves or packed tightly into the cramped spaces. I did like how random the layout is, loops and staircases to dead ends, though the arrows on the floor return to break the 4th wall. Despite all the ammo dropped by enemies I found myself running out quite a bit, the rocket launcher was virtually useless in those tight corridors. The one place that I did break it out ended up killing me thanks to some demons down below. There were a few other instances where monsters were too high or low to deal with, but I think the biggest annoyances were the lack of space and the grinding nature of the gameplay, methodically clearing out tunnels and picking off snipers. There were tons of secrets that I missed, given that I wasn't actually meant to jump in the previous map I don't think I would have found many there either.

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MAP02 Aberratia

compact terror most likely. reminded me of MAP03 of Sacrament. I find my SSG, rocket launcher, and plasma gun here. more enemies than the previous but most were fodder until near the end. did die alot from carelessness with imps. that one demon trap in the lava can fuck right off too.

also, those Keen replacements...?

took a peek at MAP03 since Cynical keeps talking about it. ooh, it's like TEETH gone bad. will have to wait a bit more though.

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Figured I'd join in this time, since I hadn't heard of these WADs before. Playing everything from pistol start, ultra violence, with saves.

MAP 01

I'm all for classic Doom gameplay, but this got dull really fast. Somewhere there is someone who enjoys chainsawing through a ton of imps and demons, but it ain't me. I think if I had been able to get a chaingun I would have had a better time. The architecture of the level was rather nice, however, and the sinking submarine setpiece was a cool thing to see right off the bat. It gave me some pretty high hopes, which quickly went away.

Luckily there weren't too many areas to get lost in, but there were some moments when I would hit a switch and just think "Well this probably did something somewhere." Not my favorite kind of gameplay.

The room with the blue key was probably my favorite part. I'm a sucker for the green marble + lava color scheme.

MAP 02

What a rough start, tons of hitscanners and hell knights thrown in the mix. Chaingun helps out a lot, but there wasn't much ammo for it. There wasn't much ammo for anything, which led to me mostly running scared from things. There were a lot of cramped hallways stuffed with demons and imps, nullifying the rocket launcher's usefulness through most of the map. The best rooms were the ones with the cool cracked floors with lava underneath. Mostly cool architecture that ended up feeling kind of bland due to a ton of monotexturing.

I enjoyed the midi and the visuals weren't awful, but the claustrophobic and linear gameplay were big turnoffs.

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MAP02: Wow was the first map a stinker compared to this one. I haven't been hassled this badly by low tier enemies since Double Impact! Of course it's thanks to the really sneaky layout here, hiding a variety of enemies in its nooks when you least expect it. I'm really digging Graham's architecture, though I kinda wish the arrows weren't there on the floor as it ruins the atmosphere, making it feel more authored than authentic. Also I hope I can stop chainsawing pinkies soon because its not really that fun :/ Otherwise cool map.

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MAP02: Aberratia
90% kills, 3/9 secrets

Well, it's a lot better than the first map, I'll give it that - no tedious chainsawing (aside from one room), and ammo is still short but never to the point where I needed to run past anything. More lower-tier monsters here, especially imps and zombies, so even though this map has 319 enemies on UV, it doesn't feel like as much as a drag as the first one. The start is pretty fun, and really does put the player in a number of dangerous situations with enemies coming at him from both sides... the part that gave me the most trouble was the one-way comp map secret, since I ended up with three chaingunners milling around where I couldn't shoot them until I dropped into their sights. After that section, the map becomes a pretty linear affair. The red arrows are still all over the place, despite not being necessary on this map.

Architecture is still somewhat blocky, but I think the main problem is the texturing - it feels like walls are just sort of randomly assigned a texture from a set of a few (grey skull marble, green skull marble, sladwall, and the new grey brick... which is a bit too bright/clean) and these textures will often meet up with each other without any sort of separating texture, which looks amateurish. I also can't say I'm really feeling any sort of Lovecraftian atmosphere or vibe here... there's some nice doodad replacements, but they're very few and far between, and the random flesh wall here or demon head here doesn't really distinguish from regular Doom in any sense.

So, getting better, but still not must-play or anything yet.

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Maybe I shouldn't write the wad off simply because it's not very friendly to people who play without saves.

MAP01 - The Dock (take 2)

I liked the visuals, actually. Simple, but pleasant. The textures may not be the most polished custom textures in existence, but they're good enough.

Melee action prevails in this map, and it's getting better upon finding the berserk pack. I think punching stuff is more fun than sawing stuff - you have more control over the situation. I didn't suffer from inappropriately blocking items, because I'm playing in Eternity with infinitely tall objects turned off.


MAP02 - Aberratia

A little too cramped for my taste, but pretty decent action-wise. The layout feels complex and interconnected, with some nice usage of heights. At this point it would be relevant to note that the author's usage of angles is very appropriate for a Lovecraftian setting.

The music track is very nice.


MAP03 - Octagony

BUT WHY? Why would someone do something like this? The horror, the horror.

Seriously though, this map has some nice bits, and the whole "forsaken catacombs of the sleeping god" vibe is strong here. It's the main gimmick that's horrible and unpleasant. Octagony, you say?

The map has other problems too. Probably the most notable is an inescapable pit that looks pretty innocent and doesn't necessarily kill you (although you can commit suicide by melting, if you really want to). Well, unless I'm dumb and there is a way out. And those poles, about 100 of them, rising simultaneously near you; each one of them is a separate sector emitting a sound. The music track would be atmospheric, it it wasn't so annoying.

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Alright, let's do this. Playing on GZDoom for Mac on HMP, continuous play.

MAP 01 - The Dock

Today I learned just how effective chainsaws are on pinkies (greenies here) the hard way. The level itself has a pretty nice design, brought down a bit by the overwhelming use of green (how green got associated with Lovecraft, I'll never know). The music gives me a toothache. Didn't bother trying to find secrets on a level this large, and judging by other people's reactions in this thread, this may have been a wise decision on my part. Came out of the level with 100 health/armor, which was good, considering what was to come.

MAP 02 - Aberratia

Now, in general I hate levels that are primarily made up of monster closets. This it the exception that proves the rule. I think it might have to do, oddly enough, with the relative scarcity of ammo, and the plentiful amounts of health scattered around the level. Kept things tense, while giving me plenty of opportunities to backtrack for health if need be. I feel like the level itself could have been about 5 minutes shorter, as the tight corners and repeated monster closets drove me batty by the end. I ended up rushing past the final Baron encounter instead of trying to take them on (though I might have tried had I found the Plasma Gun secret). Ended up finding about 2 secrets before things were said and done.

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alright, I asked for it.

MAP03 Octagony

oh man, this is by far one of the most unfun maps I've ever played. we have several sections with mostly decent combat, but the hub is the titular octagon divided into four sections with absymally slow lifts that take forever and completely drown out whatever fun the individual sections had. making matters worse were those hellknights who stood in the entrances to these sections, who make you have to wait even longer due to them being sponges and all. when done with a section you'd have to return to the hub, and sometimes you miss the lift taking more than a minute's worth of waiting. no amount of combat can save this from being exquisitely dull. also, that BFG secret was pretty easy to get and there's also a teleporter that is non-functional somehow.

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MAP03 - "Octagony"

Holy balls.. this is a map you don't so much play as endure. Its actually not that bad apart from those damn lifts, but christ. I can't seriously believe whoever made this map ever played it, because no one in their right mind would suffer those eternal elevators if they had the power to do something about it. Ignoring that feature I can live with the rest of it, its switch-hunty for sure, but blatantly so, and the entire map doesn't take up that much area (horizontally at least), so in theory it wouldn't be too painful to rummage around looking for the door that you might have opened. Were it not for those damned lifts. I'm glad I had a cup of tea while I was playing this map. I found quite a few secrets this time, including a BFG of all things. I believe the music is the theme tune to the Black Hole film, but the choice of instruments is a little dodgy. Still, nice bit of nostalgia there.

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