After an extensive co-op run with my brother, I can say that this is overall a really, really solid mapset. Multiple thumbs up, several gold stars and numerous big fluffy cuddles.
Seriously, this mapset is, technically, a feat and a half. There is a clear amount of heart and soul shining through these maps - lots of care put into making them visually a little bit different (the occasional mixing of D1 textures with D2's, along with the new skies help this along), and detailed juuust the right amount. I really have to admire this project for that.
When I first fired up the full beta, MAP17 was the first map I had to have a proper go at because I was blown away by how huge it was. And then the rest of the maps I played from that point onward delivered exactly the same sense of epic scale. There were only a few that seemed to outstay their welcome by dragging a bit in the middle, and I got hopelessly lost a few times, but I've come to expect that of my (and my brother's, heh) own terrible navigational skills. But geez the size of the maps, they're frighteningly big. MAP14 and MAP16 are city-like in every sense of the word, and MAP29 is like walking into Mordor (which, as has been well-established by now, one does not simply).
MAP18 and MAP19 are by far my favorite of the whole set. Amazing-looking tributes to E1 and E2 of Doom, which when combined with D2's monsters and light smatterings of D2's textures throughout, make for a really, really interesting play. Shame we got so lost in MAP19 that we couldn't finish it. :S MAP24 is also an absolutely fantastic-looking level.
I also love the subtle little nods to other games you snuck in. How MAP09 is basically DN3D's The Abyss (MAP24 also had some Flood Zone stuff going on), and MAP21 is clearly the opening to Hell from Doom 3.
I only found a few things throughout that should likely be addressed as they seemed buggish in nature.
http://imgur.com/Fw37Vzo MAP14. This light is missing its gradient.
http://imgur.com/opVXhQs MAP14. The SSG pedestal has the incorrect light level.
http://imgur.com/PkmmKTk MAP17. Misalignment.
http://imgur.com/XXjx2ua MAP20. There are techlamps here that are set to appear on hard skill only. Might be worth making sure this isn't the case on any of the other maps by making a Thing filter in DB2 and then doing some mass edits.
http://imgur.com/mr4cagX MAP27. I couldn't figure out how to get the shells that were between these marble pedestals.
http://imgur.com/3KNCJuV MAP32. This door can't be opened more than once by the switch (which is open-stay), but the door is an open-wait-close on the other side, so there's the possibility of being stuck outside it once it closes.
Along with these reports, here are my honest critiques on the whole set:
Needs to be balanced better for co-op. Even on HMP my brother and I often found ourselves rather strapped for ammo, and this made the experience a bit frustrating.
Layouts are at times confusing. My bro and I started to get a feeling for how large and complex the maps were going to be by MAP02, which is so very open and multicursal that we ended up going back on ourselves multiple times. Then we got supremely lost in MAP19 and MAP25. The former we didn't even manage to finish, but the latter had a teleporter we had to go through in order to proceed that was very non-obvious.
Lots of samey, obviously copy-pasted hallways that do get repetitive after a while. I think the map most guilty of this is MAP12 - the TEKBRON maze at the end can be a bit of a nightmare to endure. MAP17 also has some questionable copy-paste going on in the first few hallways, which are very stringy as a result of all the repetition, and oddly detailed with these tiny lights.
Staircases that aren't fun to fight on. Well, usually they're not, but particularly here, there were a number of fights on descending staircases, like in MAP14 and MAP28, where this can be problematic as the monsters can see you, but you can't see them below your gun.
Teleporters that lead to dead ends. Very frustrating in the larger maps like MAP17 - this one near the end of the map takes you back to somewhere in the middle, in the starport itself. But then going back through that one takes you to this one right at the start of the map. The heck? MAP19 is also guilty of this but to an even greater extent, and the teleporter layout of that one is mightily confusing.
Use of windows. The TNT window texture is used a lot in the techbase/urban maps. On top of the fact that there isn't really a way of having shootable or blocking glass windows in Doom that don't look terribly cartoony, but they're used with inconsistent purpose, particularly on MAP14. In that map there are windows which are shootable, others that are not, and in one bizarre instance that had me raging quite hard, blacked-out windows that can be shot through - with chaingunners behind them that tear you to bits because you can't see them. Wouldn't be so bad if the texture used (BLAKWALL) wasn't the same texture used on the rest of the walls.
Overdetailing or use of border-detailing. Sometimes the detailing seems either visually invasive or superfluous, like the numerous switch-lights on MAP12. Sometimes it even gets in the way of the player's progression, like these caged pipes which border this walkway that the player has to hug on MAP11. As for border-detailing, this is most evident on MAP28: The Black Citadel (and I feel I should add that this is probably the weakest map in the set on account of its complete symmetry, slightly confusing layout and problematic starting area), as well as MAP32. MAP29's overdetailing has already been mentioned, but it caused latency problems in me and my brother's LAN game, so it's definitely an issue.
All that said, I'd have to give this mapset nine out of ten overall. Only bits of it weren't my personal cup of tea, but the rest of it was a deliciously sugar-sweet, milk-rich mug of boiling hot delightfulness. Most well done, Z86, and cheers. :)
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Last edited by Jimmy on Nov 27 2013 at 16:21