The DWmegawad Club plays: STRAIN



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?
Whatever day of the month it is, is the upper limit for the map you can post on. So if it's the 6th, you may discuss up to MAP06.

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.

When do we vote on the next month’s megawad?
Voting begins on the 25th of the current month.

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>>>DOWNLOAD STRAIN<<<

STRAIN is a partial conversion by the Alpha Dog Alliance, finished in 1997 and (thankfully) repackaged by The Green Herring (so all you need to play it is the wad and deh files). It features new enemies, new weapons, new music, and… puzzles! STRAIN should hopefully provide you a fresh new Doom experience if you’ve never played it before!

Author and maplist for STRAIN:

MAP01 - “Barracks” by Bill McClendon
MAP02 - "Outskirts” by Bjorn Hermans
MAP03 - "Downtown” by Florian Helmberger
MAP04 - "Industrial Zone” by Adam Windsor
MAP05 - "Depot” by Jon Landis
MAP06 - "Launch Control” by Jon Landis
MAP07 - "En Route” by Anthony Czerwonka
MAP08 - "Hangar” by Rich Johnston
MAP09 - "Cargo Bay” by Anthony Czerwonka
MAP10 - "Entryway” by Charlie Patterson
MAP11 - "Command Control” by Bill McClendon
MAP12 - "Power Station” by Bill McClendon
MAP13 - “Ruins” by David Rotramel
MAP14 - “Engineering” by David Graves, Anthony Czerwonka, Rich Johnston, and Arthur Chang
MAP15 - "Subsidiary Power” by Chainsaw

MAP31 - "Secret” by Jon Landis
MAP32 - "Super-Secret” by Holger Nathrath and Anthony Czerwonka

MAP16 - "Living Quarters” by Charlie Patterson and Eric Roberts
MAP17 - "Promenade” by Holder Nathrath and Arthur Chang
MAP18 - "Relay Station” by David Rotramel
MAP19 - "Waste Processing” by Darrell Esau
MAP20 - "Reactor” by David Davidson
MAP21 - "Maintenance” by Anthony Czerwonka and Arthur Chang
MAP22 - “Specimen Storage” by Anthony Czerwonka
MAP23 - "Dispensary Alpha” by Anthony Czerwonka
MAP24 - “Sub-Laboratory” by Anthony Czerwonka
MAP25 - "Main Laboratory” by Arthur Chang
MAP26 - "Main Laboratory II” by Holger Nathrath, Charlie Patterson, and Eric Roberts
MAP27 - "Dispensary Beta” by Andy Badorek
MAP28 - “Unknown” by Bjorn Hermans
MAP29 - "Self-Destruct” by Ron Allen
MAP30 - "Boss” by Jon Landis and Rich Johnston


BONUS CONTENT
Doomwiki
DSDA archives
Kmxexii’s review
Suitepee's playthrough: 1 2
an_mutt's playthrough: 1 2
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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
Rylayeh & Crimson Canyon & Azagthoth
Serenity & Eternity & Infinity
Resurgence
Requiem
ConC.E.R.N.ed & Draft Excluder
Doom 2 Reloaded
Valiant
Scythe 2
NOVA II

----------


(sponsored by CoolClips.com™®©)

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Oh yes! A 3rd replay of this will be perfect with my current 3rd replay of Eternal.

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Ooh, ooh! I had started to replay this just a year or two ago, but I only made it to map 3 or 4 before getting distracted. I am so in.

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Well it's the 1st here :)

PrBoom+. HMP, continuous, frequent saving, no music.

I'm not a huge fan of STRAIN's monster and weapon changes. I'll discuss them when we meet them. I'm also not a fan of its mostly puzzle-based gameplay, but I have finished it before so I expect I can do so again.


Map01
Bill McClendon was the one who brought me onto the STRAIN team. He provides us with a gentle enough opening level. Nothing too challenging here: just pistol-whipping a few troopers and imps, really. You can punch some of them out if you want – I just did the first imp that way – but that's about it for combat options. The double-punch is quite decent and I suspect a lot of folks will enjoy it with the berserk. The fact that you start with no ammo in STRAIN doesn't have to factor much though ... you can just head straight inside and grab ammo clips.

Couple of glitches here that the playtesting really should have picked up: the main one is that there are only two secrets, but three sectors marked as such. There are also a number of texture alignment issues, and some ugly mis-tiling of the computer flat in the double-switch room.

A couple of elements that seem odd in single-player; the pillar/lift to nowhere in the courtyard, and the teleporter to the imp cubbyhole; are for deathmatch play (they give access to the BFG and SSG respectively).

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oh shitasses, I need to get involved in this month's playthrough, stat. I love me some STRAIN.

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Suitepee said:

I'll think about playing this after I finish NOVA 2.

What? Hesitation? This is a revenant-less mega-WAD!!

I'll be writing my mini-reviews from memory, I know these maps very well, maybe maps 31,32,24,25...30 will need to be replayed.

MAP01. This is... not so good. No excitement whatsoever. This map author can do much better, as we'll see in a few days...

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BTW, note that the DEH is not included in the WAD, so you will either need to explicitly load it as well, or merge it into the wad with a tool like SLADE (which is what I did).

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MAP01: Barrrrracks

Hella simple start to the wad, but it does its job fairly well, with a fisticuffs start and a sped-up pistol priming the wad's "hey, this is different" point. It's a MAP01, in a nutshell. :P

The highlight of course is nabbing the super-speedy sawed-off shotgun and blasting away. Love that firing sound for some reason, despite its lo-fi-ness. Hooray nineties.

It's hella weird that the double-fist animation makes it look like you're punching your other hand, though. :P

Just a tiny write-up for today so I don't get burned out. The more interesting maps-worth-critiquing are still to come.

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Capellan said:

BTW, note that the DEH is not included in the WAD, so you will either need to explicitly load it as well, or merge it into the wad with a tool like SLADE (which is what I did).

For what it's worth, the majority of modern source ports in widespread use do not require you to do anything special to load a DEH patch anymore, unlike Boom. You can load it the same way you would load a WAD file. Only Chocolate Doom still requires you to use "-deh" to load a DEH patch. Most ports also have "drag and drop" functionality, so you can select both STRAIN.WAD and STRAIN.DEH and drag them onto your port EXE or shortcut to play them. PrBoom+ is among the modern source ports with both features. And that's not getting into launchers like ZDL which, once set up, allow you to load any number of files in any order with whichever port or IWAD you want.

The repackaging of STRAIN was simply the unmodified contents of the original split archive not just for historical reasons, but to prevent problems in multiplayer ports which expect everyone to use the same files, with (at least) ZDaemon (I think) even using file hashes to ensure this. Inserting the DEH in the WAD would require modifying the file, thus changing its hash, and thus causing problems when ZDaemon expects one hash and gets another.

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That's still explicitly loading the DEH though :)

My point is you can't just drag the WAD by itself to your port of choice and have it work as STRAINtended.

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Never played STRAIN before simply because I didn't know the voodoo necessary to get it into a simple WAD file, so TGH's fix is greatly appreciated. UV, pistol starting (crossing my fingers I won't regret this with Czerwonka's maps), saves aplenty.

MAP01: A pretty middling opener. Layout and ammo starvation are both pluses, but the map never really does anything with its enemies... you kinda just have pistol duels with them. It can be dangerous if you're playing a bit recklessly (like me) but it's not really exciting nor does it require any thought. A pretty poor MAP01, but I have played plenty worse.

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Alright this one looks like it'll be fun I review the first level once it hits midnight. I'll be doing 100% Kills and Secrets as always.

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Guess I'll have a go at It, I'll probably just post a Review of It on my Tumblr after I'm finished with It.

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Oh hey, a heads up from the wiki for map07:

"MAP07: En Route is impossible to complete in ports based on old versions (prior to 2.3.0) of ZDoom, as the level relies on the occurrence of a spechits overflow in order for the exit to work. Recent versions of ZDoom identify the map and automatically apply the required compatibility flag."

I had trouble with it in PrBoom+ 2.5.1.3

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Capellan said:

Oh hey, a heads up from the wiki for map07:

"MAP07: En Route is impossible to complete in ports based on old versions (prior to 2.3.0) of ZDoom, as the level relies on the occurrence of a spechits overflow in order for the exit to work. Recent versions of ZDoom identify the map and automatically apply the required compatibility flag."

I had trouble with it in PrBoom+ 2.5.1.3


Using It In Skulltag, but Thanks for the Headsup!

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Alright, let's get started. For this wad, I'll be playing from a pistol start on every level until it gets too hard for me. In his review, KME warns that the wad doesn't play very well like this. I want to test its limits. I'll also take demos.

MAP01's purpose is to introduce the double punch and the faster pistol. That's why the shotgun ammo's so tight. Too bad the secret comes after I've killed everything. There IS a beserk pack secret that counts for 2, in fact you can see me push against where I know it is in the demo, but I don't know how to open it.

Also, some questions about demos. Why is PrBoom+ the usual choice for taking demos? I normally play in GzDoom, but all the demos I see are done in PrBoom+. The doom wiki says zdoom's demo format is different. Does that affect anything? I'll need to play map07 in another port, but I'm just wondering about that.

MAP01 demo (play with PrBoom+ and the STRAIN deh and wad together): http://www.mediafire.com/download/mpdf9mmcnwxxbfw/strain_map01.lmp

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back to playing continuous on a low difficulty with STRAIN. this ought to be oughtful.

MAP01 Barracks

Welcoming myself to STRAIN once again, and I got myself a faster pistol. cool, but then again, that's really all I have for this map. Mind you, that's not a bad thing at all, and combat is light as expected. Didn't find a shotgun at all and didn't use the double fists. Easy peasy.

Spoiler

the secret requires you to shoot a computer near the start. Rather frustrating in how it's something you never really think of doing but then again, that's the very nature of a secret.

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Playing this on UV, pistol starts, using saves as well. On every map you start with 0 ammo if you go for pistol starts. The double fist is quite useful, and the berserk pack is really fun to get.

MAP01 - Barracks

Kills: 100% | Items: 100% | Secrets: 100%

A short map where most of the action is on simple pistol fights. A nice introduction of the basic weapons. There's nothing so much to say, a fair first map.

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So here I go: GZDoom/continuous/keyboard-only/frequent saves. I'll be playing on UV for the first time. My guess is, my previous playthrough (6-7 years ago) was on HNTR.

MAP01: Barracks
10:47, 100% everything
This map never really did anything for me (I've actually played it a handful of times, making sure things were set up properly every time I moved to a new computer or source port.) Anyway, the new pistol and punch are great. And the early shotgun is a nice gift for higher difficulties, though I didn't come across the box-of-shells secret until everyone was dead (but it sets me up for next level nicely.) Not a terrible map, but it's easy to just run in a circle wondering where to go next (done that a few times.) I spent a lot of time hunting for that final secret(s), but eventually just gave up and headed for the exit—and there it was sitting right in front of me.

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MAP01 Barracks:

Alright here we go, I always love starting a wad because I know that the first level is going to be easy and short. And it was short but I'd be lying if I said it was easy. I had a lot of close to death experiences here. There are a lot of hitscanners that snipe you through the side windows. I like the room with a computer in it that you can open the windows and look out into the courtyard. I didn't like how the berserk secret had 2 tags in it making it a double secret but I can overlook that. Pretty fun map next!

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MAP01: Barracks

Pretty easy and Interesting map, though I think there should've at least been a Shotgun at the start Infront of You since It would've been cool, but that's a minor complaint. Maybe there should've been more ammo laying around, but overall, a pretty good straight forward Map.

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Right, I'm back and I'm in for this month. Strain is a pwad I've not gotten round to playing before (one of many in truth) so it will be interesting to see how it is. Props are in order to The Green Herring for the repackage saving the need to fool around in Dosbox. I've just read the story prior to firing it up and already it's a change to have something that doesn't simply intend to be a Doom level for it's own sake.

I play with PrBoom+ on skill 4 continuous saving freely.

Capellan said:

Oh hey, a heads up from the wiki for map07:

"MAP07: En Route is impossible to complete in ports based on old versions (prior to 2.3.0) of ZDoom, as the level relies on the occurrence of a spechits overflow in order for the exit to work. Recent versions of ZDoom identify the map and automatically apply the required compatibility flag."

I had trouble with it in PrBoom+ 2.5.1.3

I'd have thought PrBoom+ would be set to try and emulate the spechits overflow by default? I assume that's all that's necessary to resolve the issue.

EDIT: fooling around in Dosbox would not have been enough, as per the wiki...

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PrBoom+, UV as long as I can, KB&M (thanks to Capellan for the idea to merge the deh patches into the wad, very handy!)


MAP01: Barracks
100% everything

Now this is different! Double fisting action and a pistol resembling an MP40, it's Wolf-3D meets BDSM dungeon. The pain face reminds me quite a bit of Starcraft's menu renders for the various races, very sci-fi.

After the first imp I didn't really fist anyone due to a fastidious desire to conserve health and armour. The machine pistol is bloody brilliant, it really compensates for the somewhat sparse shotgun ammo.

I love the overall layout of the map, it's definitely an archetype that appeals to me. Close combat, outside areas within reach; a good amount of exploration. The real 'gotcha' with this map for me was the infuriating second (and third) secret. I was hopelessly spamming walls all around the map for far too long before I gave up and checked the rest of thread. Ok, I only had one secret left not two owing to a bug, that's something. Still had to check a playthrough to find the last one. Bastard.

Overall a simple, fun MAP01 with a catch for 100%ers.

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Sui Generis said:

I'd have thought PrBoom+ would be set to try and emulate the spechits overflow by default?


"Try" may be the operative word there. For me at least (complevel 9 and emulate spechits = Yes) it did not work.

vadrig4r said:

Overall a simple, fun MAP01 with a catch for 100%ers.


Some of the later levels will make this one look easy when it comes to 100%ing.


Map02
This map introduces us to the red demon, which I don't much care for. Recolouring a pinkie and giving it more hit points is not interesting either visually or in gameplay terms. It feels like it was an attempt to nerf the SSG a little by making it much harder to one-shot demons with it, but in practice it just makes for more meat slogging.

The sawn-off shotgun also makes an appearance. It's fine I guess. The slightly faster firing rate makes it pretty good for dealing with hitscanners.

The map ... ehh, it sets the tone for the mapset really in my opinion: switch-hunty and puzzle-focused. That's not something I'm a big fan of so STRAIN is never going to be a favourite of mine. It looks OK on the whole, though some of the structures feel very 'arcade game' in nature (like the pillar/door over the teleporter in the external area). The progression in this map is occasionally quite obtuse: "teleport to the southern area and wander around for a while ... you'll eventually activate an unmarked walkover line that opens a door in the northern area". Get used to that.

Gameplay remains simple enough on the whole. The ultra-dark cubbies with monsters in them are a bit irksome, but apart from that there's nothing really to threaten you. The monster teleport lines in the eastern area are a weird mechanism for little gain as far as I can see. Not sure why he chose to fill the "must shoot" cubby that way.

The use of changing floor height is quite clever from a design perspective, but I don't much like this on the whole.

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As usual: ZDoom, Hurt Me Plenty, saving freely.

MAP01: Barracks

Short map, courtyard and corridors, player gets a chance to fool around a bit with the alternate fists and pistol before opposition gets too serious? I'll review in more depths when there's more to review.

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SoundofDoomDoors said:

Also, some questions about demos. Why is PrBoom+ the usual choice for taking demos? I normally play in GzDoom, but all the demos I see are done in PrBoom+. The doom wiki says zdoom's demo format is different. Does that affect anything? I'll need to play map07 in another port, but I'm just wondering about that.


zdoom demos often require the version of zdoom recorded on to accurately playback demos, otherwise the demo will often desync. Demos recorded in (pr)boom are always compatible with new versions, and is a feature of the port.

I intend on doing a stream of as many maps as I can tonight and tomorrow night because I'm going to be on vacation the 3rd to 15th. Should be fun!

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MAP01:
A simple starter map that introduces STRAIN.DEH to you - those double fists with weird animation and speedy pistol. Hurray, finally I can make use of a pistol! I had to run around the entire map to find some switch or door, and it made me feel that the entire wad is going be just a goddamn labyrinth. Overally, the map is pretty good - not too long or difficult for a MAP01, decent design and gameplay. I even could find the secrets.

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