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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: 2002: A Doom Odyssey (My God... it's full of imps!)

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Another day, another barrel, another selection of visceral bits and pieces smeared all over the wall.

An easy runaround, and an experience marred only by those nukage tunnels; while there's a Backpack at the end for anyone wanting to take an unconventional bath in radioactive green crap, the loss of health incurred here by having Spectres dancing around blocking the pathways can probably be fatal if you're held up for too long -- a few Health Bonuses won't make up for it. This is even more of a problem if you don't have a Chaingun, but there's one that can be acquired very early on in a secret.

Then there was this, and for a brief moment I was wearing my least-impressed face:

"FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU--... oh wait, I can just walk to the side and avoid it."

The Soulsphere is also easy to find, if you check your Automap. The 'door' is clearly marked as a big fuck-off suspicious yellow line, so there should be no complaints from anyone about that. Onward, to the exit, with a whole stack of ammo to shoot whatever else in the face for E1M3.

These times are, quite frankly, abhorrently shit. Even with my slower-than-usual style. What the fuck's wrong with me?

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Ok here goes, UV pistol starting all the way, saving when scared of dying.

E1M1 The Entry by Paul Corfiatis

Good old doom techbase start, nicely signposted secrets (although the arrow on the floor made me guffaw) and plenty of bad guys - though mostly at eye-level. A couple of pinky ambushes which seems a bit hardcore for first map of doom. Come to think of it were there any pinkies in the first map of doom? One thing I liked about the original game is the way it introduced the monsters quite gradually, and here we have 4 of the 10 doom monsters appearing in the first map...

E1M2 Helicopter Bay by Kristian Aro

Another shortish techbase. Nice mix of indoor and outdoor sections. I'm damn glad I noticed the soulsphere secret on the automap, because I made the mistake of diving down into the nukage and bumping into 2 spectres in a green corridor of pain.

E1M3 The Doomed Lab by Paul Corfiatis

This one feels a bit more convaluted in layout and is a bit of a switch hunt - I found myself checking automap a few times here - one thing I would say though, I seem to remember the original doom maps having a bit more in the way of optional areas, whereas here you are pretty much led through the most of the map in order to progress. Its still not too bad but I do miss that sense of exploration. That secret exit was a bit obscure, I guess there were a few clues that there was something there, but I don't think I would have found it without playing the map several times. I guess thats the thing with secret levels though, there are still some in the original doom that I'm not sure how to find.

Secret map! oh no wait its
E1M4 Substation 537A by Kristian Aro
because I have 'nextmap' on a keybind and always press it after finishing so I can pistol start the next one...

This was a more interesting map than the previous ones, with some quirky rooms and a couple of nasty traps. The yellow key one killed me, those shotgun guys are lethal at close range, and the barrel trap also finished me off, though they did make me laugh exploding out of the solid walls.

I'm interested to see how this wad progresses.

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I really like the setup at the start (having the shotgunners behind the player), as it rewards the careful player who looks around instead of just unloading on the poor zombie saps. Fun level, with lots of parts I liked. It also has one of my favorite secrets - the jump out the window. At first it just looks like scenery, but the enterprising player will say to himself "I can make that jump" and the minimap shows the steps out. Takes a few tries, but doable. On the other hand, I hate the BFG secret - or at least the "wait five minutes" aspect, especially since it closes off permanently if you go do other stuff and take too long to come back. But that's really the only black mark on this otherwise good level.

Oh, and the music seemed broken for me - long periods of silence with only a few parts where it actually played. Not sure if that happens to anyone else.


I find it somewhat amazing that I remember aspects of E1M3 and E1M9 clearly but completely forgot about the barrel trap. And it's kinda a BS one too - maybe some windows (even just on the minimap) to give a bit of a visual warning might help. Apart from that the map is fun, I liked the blue key trap (shotgunners behind, then other enemies streaming in from the next room). Didn't find either of the secrets this time, though.

Now that people have mentioned it, I have started noticing the placement of monsters isn't the best - especially the penchant for using demons/spectres in pointless places, such as at the bottom of slime pits, staircases where they can't go up/down to the player, or behind windows. In this room in E1M4, the player can even chainsaw the spectres from the other side of the window without fear of reprisal. Kinda boring.

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-Not very difficult, but lots of mob control at the same time.
-Don't walk to far in if you feel like shooting barrels right as you open the yellow door. Oh dear that was silly.

-A bit more difficult, but mainly zombie spam that the chaingun easily dealt with.
-Both this and the last level had the "central hub for all the key doors" theme. Need something different.

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Demon of the Well said:

Steve, I generally agree with your summation of the action in the WAD thus far, although some of this is assuredly a result of the continuous playstyle you've adopted, to the point where you're probably coming into each map with enough ammo for any given weapon to kill all or most of the new map's entire occupancy twice over.

:D Yes, you're right. I enter each level with max or close to max on shells and bullets. But the problem of dealing with continuous players is the designer's, not mine. And I am playing on UV, which, as someone on these forums memorably observed, is "For players who want to be murdered." Woe betide the mapper who ignores this. ;) I'm also, as I said, a mediocre player. In part, that's deliberate. By not using the mouse, I make every level a bit more difficult than it is for better players. That way, I don't have to play slaughter maps to have fun. And while I'm not in the market for easy maps per se, some combination of looks, flow, beauty and battle go into my considerations. For example, my favorite mapset of all time is the notoriously easy Fava Beans, but every time I play it -- which is often -- I'm still staggered by the sheer genius of the designs, the fun gameplay, the brilliant secrets. OTOH, another of my all-time Top Ten mapsets is Double Impact, which is far more difficult -- 602 monsters in the glorious E1M7! As you can see, I'm an E1 fanboy, a zealot, even. And it somehow doesn't surprise me that deathmatchers like Sean Birkel, Ralphis and RottKing "get" the essence of E1 so superbly well. I say this as someone who's never played deathmatch. ;)

You did a great job analyzing pcorf's and Kristian's styles. But I have faith in pcorf, as I said. I'm a fan of his, and he's knocked the snot out of me in several maps. And, as it happens, I stand in opposition to the other commentators when it comes to E1M5 . . .

E1M5 - Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secrets – 80 Time: 33:35, End Health 100, Armor 27

Well, finally! I loved this map. Yes, it has yet another central room leading to all the colored doors, but this time it actually has decent fights and some really cool environments. The map has some nice touches, for example the diagonal hallway in Sector 9 with lighting on the 64 grid for an offset effect. This led to some typically okey-doke traps, no real threat, but it all leads to a nice open nukage/SLADWALL area, which is when I finally recognized the level. However, it’s been long enough since I played it that I forgot almost all the fights and secrets. Almost. ;) For example, I noticed that tunnels could be accessed from the nukage, so I jumped down, grabbed a radsuit, and looked for secrets, but the tunnels only hid the teleporter. So I got back up, got the blue key and killed everything with great ease.

Back at the central area, I decided to let the teleporting monsters get a few shots off on me to drop my health because it's just ridiculous, I’ve left a trail of Medikts and Stimpacks behind me. This was almost a fatal mistake, because beyond the blue door is the coolest part of the map, and some good fights. First, you’re up on a walkway looking through BRNBIGC into a central courtyard with a Soulsphere on a high platform. There should have been more monsters up on the walkway shooting at me, and too many were down below, so I took a lot less damage than I could have. You then go down into a really nice PIPE2 area, where monsters actually shoot at you from cross-connecting corridors. Yeah, some real E1-style architecture. I loved it! This leads to a huge room overlooking the coolest part of the map, a nukage river that goes into tunnels and on the other side a bunch of Imps fireballing you, and it looks really awesome in the latest version of Risen3D. Before you get down there, you trigger a descending-platform trap that opens up behind you. I almost danced a jig over that. Yeah, I took some hits, and Paul is finally trying to hurt me. Sweet!

At this point, I know the game is effectively almost over, because I’ve beaten this map from a pistol-start and I know the Plasma Gun is down there in a super-tricky secret area. But I know how to work the secret and nothing’s gonna stop me from getting that thing. First, you have to kill the flesh wall of Spectres in the river that prevents you from shotgunning all the Imps on the other side. While doing this, an Imp landed a fireball on a barrel right next to me and I was dropped to 45% health. That’s what I meant when I said letting monsters shoot me was almost a fatal mistake. But killing me wasn’t in the cards. I went all the way back to the first outdoor nukage area, grabbed the green armor, got myself back to 100% health, and then got the Backpack and Soulsphere, killed everything and got the Plasma Gun and like 480 cells. The game is over now. There is no way, except possibly in E1M8, that I’m gonna get killed. You had your chance, guys, but it’s all over now. I Am Death Incarnate! I am invincible!!!

Just the same, there’s enough combat, and enough running on nukage, to drop my health and armor quite a lot. I mean, Paul has a Pinkie/Spectre fetish and he really unloads on you here. I wanted 100% kills, so I took the damage in order to achieve that. When I played on a pistol-start, I left the Spectres behind.

From here, you have to grab the red key, which sets off a weak teleport and Imp trap. I shotgunned everything without taking a hit, but it’s the thought that counts. ;D Then there’s a weak trap at the yellow key, and I was thinking, “You’re kidding me, right? I have the Plasma Gun!” I didn't take a hit. So it can be said that the map is anticlimactic after you get the Plasma Gun. Even if you didn’t have it, these traps would still be easy.

The good news here is that this map is pretty damned cool, has 209 monsters to kill on UV, looks great and has fantastic lighting. BTW, the secret I missed was the Blue Armor. Nice job.

Obviously, the other players disagreed with me. I say, look at my numbers. I walked into this at 148% Health and 137% Armor, and left at 100 Health and 27 Armor, and I found the Soulsphere in here. That means there were fights that actually hurt me, for the very first time! To me, that's a win, folks!

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SteveD said:
I stand in opposition to the other commentators when it comes to E1M5

Only most of them. I liked it too :)

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I would add despite saying it's the weakest of the first episode maps, I do like the map. Just the times of maxing this map has left a sour taste due to slow teleporters.

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E1M4 -- Substation 537A - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Yeah, from the moment I saw the soulsphere on the pillar in the key-door hub, I remembered this one, as well (which means no death by barrel for me). Something about the aforementioned soulsphere room looks kind of garish, somehow, but the rest looks fine to me, as Aro uses a lot more of the greens and greys (which I find easy on the eyes) in contrast to Corfiatis' emphasis on tans and browns. There are also some nice low-key views of very simple environmental detail or other parts of the substation out of more of those high windows at various points, an authentically 'E1' feature. Gameplay remains trivially easy, with most of the monsters placed in ways that render them little more than fodder, with the possible exception of the security detail of shotgunners near the yellow card (lowering down on its little pillar inset in the wall is a nice detail, by the way).....but they can be disposed of in the blink of an eye with a dart up the stairs and a well-placed rocket or two, assuming you've found the easy rocket launcher secret in the same room. About that, apart from a completely gratuitous unhidden combat armor rendering you essentially bulletproof for the last half of the map, I think that ammo balance/weapon placement were a bit better here than in the previous non-secret maps; this was the first time I possessed a weapon larger than the chaingun while there was still some good use left for it in the map. Apart from the aforementioned sergeant squad, the wave that pours through the chokepoint when you take the red (?) key represents a juicy RL target, making the last real fight here feel a bit more satisfying than those from earlier entries.

E1M5 -- Combat Station - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Another one I (mostly) remembered. There are some things I quite like about this map, and an equal number of things that I don't....which makes it a pretty good posterchild for how I generally feel about a lot of Corfiatis' mapping, I guess. A prime example of this is the room with the right-angled walkways over ooze where the blue card is found: this room is, to be frank, ass-ugly, in terms of texture use, structure, color coordination (<-partially a function of the lack of any real lighting detail), you name it. The rad suits down in the drink, coupled with the various slime tunnel openings that can be seen, also represent quite the red herring/waste of time, in that there is literally nothing of value to be gained by exploring down there. And yet, for all this, I can't bring myself to truly dislike this room, since it's so damned much fun to use the barrels up on the walkways to send ruptured monster corpses hurtling into the ooze, particularly that one you can use to neutralize most of the sergeant trap. A similar case would be the roughly oval-shaped room at the southwestern extreme of the map, which features some pretty poor monster placement (a large number of harmless specters to tediously shoot from the platform; distant imp cluster trapped in a tiny space behind a monster-nocross line such that only one of them can actually attack at a time, etc.), but also that nested triple-secret which culminates in a momentary massacre-via-plasma that adds a lot of interest to the area. There are some neat outside views again, especially the one near the aforementioned oval slime area where you can see the edge of the cupola that had the chaingun in it in the soulsphere room, and then there are also all of the oddly artificial-feeling symmetrical rooms that seem almost like afterthoughts, like the yellow key room. And on and on and on.....Overall I'd hardly say that I hated the map, but where it succeeds in entertaining me, I feel like it's often doing so in spite of itself, I guess.

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Seems I am getting really sloppy when I am hitting less than 20 HP more than once. Some ambushes were tough, some had cover, some didn't (like the blue key area, when you were supposed to open door.) Though, there is some lame ambushes. The teleporter traps. One monster in the line for being shot, please! And even easier, when you snag up Plasma rifle... If you have the chance.
Level design is rather unpleasant. Go there, snatch that key, go there, hit THAT switch and snag up that key... Really limited freedom of choice how to go.
Map itself in looks... Eh. Some parts I like, some... Not really. Like that place where you get blue key. Not really for my eyesight.
100% kills, items and secrets.

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@ Capellan - I might have known you'd appreciate the fightingest map of the set. ;D

@ Cannonball - I can sort of appreciate your speedrunner's perspective, although I'm not nearly good enough to try speedrunning. I really enjoy your maps, i.e. CBspeed which, IMO, is a killer E1 mapset, so our tastes can't be too far apart. BTW, I enjoy watching speedruns of my maps, which have mostly all been done by the Russian Masters Heretic and Sav88. Sav88 did a staggeringly awesome UV-Fast of my Map 19 in Realm of Chaos in 2:27. Heretic was able to UV-Max my Map23 in Realm of Chaos in 13:18 -- there are 312 monsters in that one. He also did a great strafe jump into a very hard to reach secret area. My hat's off to him!

E1M6 – Kristian Aro – Kills – 99, Items – 68, Secrets – 100. Time: 40:54, End Health 100, Armor 165

Well, it’s back to super-easy gameplay. This map is so easy on UV that I’d have to be playing blind drunk to get killed. Only 158 monsters on UV. Still, I was disappointed with my stats. I left at 100% health only because I failed to find the Soulsphere, yet incredibly, I was credited with 100% secrets. It seems that Kristian failed to tag 2 secret sectors, an understandable mistake. One contained the Soulsphere and the other contained Blue Armor. Further, the Soulsphere room contained the Pinkie that I failed to kill, making this the first map where I didn’t get 100%. Gad! My time sucked, too, because apparently I ate a bottle of Dumbass Pills before I started, and wandered around trying to find a switch to open a door in the Sector 170 room, only to find it was a fake door. I was so pissed-off when I found that out examining the map in DB2. God, I hate it when mappers do that!!!! Doors are not “detail” or “decoration,” they are doors! What a waste of my time!

The other dumbass thing I did was failing to see the switch for the lift in Sector 93. This is a dark area and Kristian decided to be sneaky by using a SW1STARG texture on a STARG wall. In a way, he deserves to be hated for that, but I gotta give him his props instead. Mappers try every desperate trick to defeat and/or frustrate players, and I’ve done way worse than this, as in 2 different maps requiring the player to find a secret door to finish. So failing to see the switch is obviously my fault for not being observant enough. Kristian got the best of me on this one and added at least 5 minutes to my time.

The only thing I’m proud of in this map is finding the Blue Armor in an unmarked secret area. That was pure luck. I just decided to wall-hump an area and there it was! I found the other Blue Armor, part of a very obtuse secret, but didn’t pick it up. I got secret credit by walking through the sector.

As for the map itself, the opening area is a nice outdoor spot that needs at least 15 more monsters in it. There are some nice-looking giant rooms in Sectors 223, 262 and 156, that all need about 4 times as many monsters as they have. I mean, I’m just losing my mind. If it was me, Sector 223 would have a Cyberdemon in it. Maybe two, but all it has are two Demons. That’s right, two Demons! You gotta be kidding me! Sector 156 would have Cacos rising out of the nukage vats. And so on. But I have to say this is Kristian’s best-looking map so far, with a lot of clever construction and some nice lighting. I guess I’m just butthurt by the experience of wandering around like a tard looking for switches that didn’t exist, and failing to see a very important one that did.

There’s no way I’d ever play this map again on a continuous play-through, it would have to be a pistol-start. In continuous play, this map is a complete waste of time, because I left in more or less exactly the shape I came in, except for more armor. There was not a single fun battle or interesting secret. And while there were enormous outdoor areas seen through windows, you couldn’t reach them. For me, in terms of gameplay, this is definitely the worst map of the set.

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E1M6 - Toxic Treatment Plant by Kristian Aro
Award for worst placed enemies ever goes to..... the imps behind the yellow door which are almost out of reach without free look. Killed myself once trying to hit them with rockets and the rockets plowing straight into the crate :P
Kick ass music makes you want to blaze through this map. Combo of barrels and chaingun make this very possible. Speedrun route does not really utilise the rocket launcher much. It's not really needed. This map could have been made more of a challenge to be honest.

E1M7 - Service Base by PCorf
Not much to say here, it's a central hub with key doors off the hub map. Linear but fun with a few troublesome traps. Due to stupidity and poor monster/weapon co-operation I finished off the final monster with 1% health :P so had to track back and get some for the final map of the episode.

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E1M7 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 100, Items – 97, Secret – 50 Time: 30:40 End Health, 164, Armor 200

This is Paul’s “puzzle spamming” map. Getting the blue key was, for me, the most entertaining part because it was so involved and had so much clever construction. The red key puzzle was also very fun and weird. Along the way to each key there were some little battles and traps, and I found myself chuckling, and thinking, “You’ll have to do better than that, boy-o. I laugh at your wimpy little traps. After all, I have the Plasma Gun!” By which I mean to say, every map after E1M5 should have been designed to deal with Plasma Gun players, who are otherwise completely unkillable in the maps as designed. Really, the big mistake was giving 480 cells with the Plasma Gun. It should have been 100, max, but I digress.

The yellow key adventure was bloodier. You go down into a cool-looking, dark nukage/SLADWALL area with high windows allowing a sky view, very nicely done. But soon you’re attacked from behind by – shock! – Spectres. I decided to mimic speedrunners and try running past everything in front of me. This took me to a STONE2 room where Sergeants were hiding behind columns, and unlike the speedrunners, I took a lot of hits. But I killed everything, got the yellow key, and ran into an army of Pinkies and Spectres. I dealt with them easily since I had the firepower of a full rifle company.

At the exit I encountered a teleporting Baron and thought, “Ha-ha, you can’t kill me. I have the Plasma Gun!” But instead, I used the rocket launcher. Then there was another Baron, who received the same treatment. I had finished the map in 21:34 but only had 25% secrets, so I opened a saved game and went looking for more. I managed to find a room full of health bonuses that led to a super-secret room filled with boxes of rockets. It took almost 10 minutes of wall-humping to achieve this. After that, I had had enough and settled for 50%.

I thought this was a cool-looking map and, for once, I really enjoyed all the puzzles. The fights weren’t bad, even though the map had a mere 138 monsters. I could have had some trouble in here on a pistol start. Still, my death count for the entire mapset so far is – Zero! Just the same, I liked this one.

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E1M8 – Kristian Aro – Kills – 62, Items – 100, Secret – 0. Time: 9:12, End Health 2, Armor 19

This is a very nice-looking boss map. Hellish textures, close quarters, architecture in the centers of rooms for visual interest, and exceptional texture alignment work on STONEGARG, which is always a challenge.

To be honest, my heart sank a bit when I recognized the map, because the last time I played it, I didn’t have the Plasma Gun and it was just brutal. Suffice to say that there’s nothing like a small room loaded with Barons to make me go all wobbly. But, ha-ha, I have the Plasma Gun! I’m, er, invincible!

I didn’t do a good job herding the Barons, so they caught me behind a column and slimed me down to almost nothing before I could break away. I ran into a side corridor, ran out of plasma, and unholstered the rocket launcher to finish them off, leaving me at 2% health. But I thought, “I have done it! The whole mapset without being killed once! Ha-ha, I Am Death Incarnate!!!!” At that time, I took my hands off the keyboard to write down my end health and armor, when lo and behold, a Baron walked around the corner and knocked my dead carcass right through the window. I thought I could hear him saying, “You know where you can shove that Plasma Gun, buddy!”

Thus ended my perfect run. Ah, well. Gotta say, this is an excellent boss map, and a fine capper to the mapset. Touche!

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Nothing of any major concern; a very straightforward mission, and one with all sorts of retarded monster placement or inexplicable 'Block Monster' flags. I mean, look:

They cannot even begin to approach me. It's a relaxing open season on this overly-territorial cluster of fools.

Accessing the secret is bullshit though. Absolutely no visual hint, and it's not even noticeable on the Automap. If not for remembering this nonsense and bollocks from the original release, I'd probably still be roaming the map like a spastic, looking for a cleverly-hidden secret switch blended in somewhere with the surrounding textures. Or just looking in DB2 to avoid that scenario. It's awfully shitty though, whichever way you look at it.

Anyway, that was that. Easy pickings, little to no resistance throughout.

Oh what the fuck, my time for this map is almost half of my total?

Speaking of the secret area, this seems to be where the biggest change in scenery occurs:

Original Release

Anniversary Edition

Whatever. NEXT.

Okay, so now things start trying to get tricky. While it's almost overwhelmingly tempting to decimate the trio of Zombieman plebs with their backs to you, it pays to look around first; their slapheaded superiors are behind you, and will only be too happy to introduce you to a painful scattering. Or they would if they didn't have such atrociously shit aim. Still, the next room provides plenty of fun:

"Some lame comment about explosive introductions could probably go here. Oh, wait."

If this giant shape on the floor is anything to go by, the UAC has probably been funded by Nazi gold at some point, with a really bad attempt at covering up their way of saying 'thanks'. Oh dear.

Heil Space Hitler and his marvellous logo-redesigning PR team!

Of course, there was also... that. Yes, I'm one of the increasing crew of daring adventurers who didn't get the BFG. Constantly occupying myself with the fight towards the exit, I completely forgot that it's acquired by taking notice of what is quite possibly the most random sector property in Doom. A door that opens after exactly five minutes, then closes again forever if you miss it. What the fuck is this shit? Is this even used anywhere in an IWAD? Because I don't recall it. Fair enough that the ADO team found a use, but fuck me sideways if it isn't one of the most specific map options ever.

I did try running under the crusher, but nearly got my skull smashed open for it during the very first gametic that I moved forward. 50% health gone in the space of a second. An exceptional tactic in some mysterious parallel universe where cracked heads are the best thing ever perhaps, but in this universe it just made me look and feel like a fucking idiot for trying something that I knew wouldn't ever work.

Other than that, everything opposing me just fell apart before I even had time to even think about the best reaction to any given situation. I suppose it was a nice little diversion with rewards for my efforts in finding this place... it's just a shame that I was unable to reap the biggest reward of them all.

Fucking BFG secret, you've ruined my 100% run and I'm not even halfway through. You BASTARD.

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-Another easy map, made slightly harder by the "you shall not escape until you got key!" thing.
-It looks pretty though.
-And the slime wasn't horrifying.

-Central Hub again? Bah.
-Barons in an E1M7!? At the end, anyway. First time I bothered using the rocket launcher so far.
-Imps prefer to swim in slime baths. You're not invited.

-Nice infested base theme.
-I probably hurt myself more than the barons hurt me, but good fight nonetheless.

I'm tempted to run on UV Fast for E2.

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E1M6 -- Toxic Treatment Plant - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Another map by Aro, again with a relatively high degree of verisimilitude (by DooM standards, of course) as far as resembling a toxic treatment plant goes. Nice music track, again. Like his other maps in the set so far, it's built out of a lot of green and gray, and features simple but smooth lighting, including a couple of instances of more complex sector-based lighting. Highly linear, though it does feel like a bit of a change of pace in that it's less obvious in its application of this episode's theme of a central hub full of locked stuff that the player returns to at various points. I noticed that it employed access doors requiring one color of key to open from one side, and a different color of key to open from the other....didn't really see the point, here, as the route is very plain, and it's not like there's anything terribly dangerous behind any of these doors that a player might feel the urge to run from. About that, I actually played this map twice, because I made a command line typo and only played on HMP the first time around; unfortunately, the difference between HMP and UV is almost negligible in practical terms. While there are around 40 extra monsters or so on UV, their placement negates any additional danger they might've posed (e.g. "oh look, now there are TWO specters down in the toxic pool that can't reach me, instead of one" or "golly gee whiz, now there are FOUR oblivious zombies with their backs turned to me behind this door, instead of two"). Generally speaking, as far as combat goes it plays a lot like Aro's E1M4--standard E1 fare with occasional brief exercises in using the rocket launcher to efficiently wipe out zombie-closets--albeit less trappy, but with a higher bodycount to compensate. Despite the general lack of resistance, my time on the first play was pretty dire, as I spent quite some time wandering around forlornly before figuring out how to open the door leading to the second secret combat armor. As far as the first combat armor and the hidden soulsphere go, if this were an early version of the WAD I'd be inclined to conclude that their not being tagged secret was a bug/mistake.....but this is the 10th anniversary edition of a fairly well-known WAD, and so maybe it's intentional? If so, I still don't get it, though, especially since the soulsphere room has a demon in it that UV-maxers will want to kill....

E1M7 -- Service Base - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Yet again, we're presented with the motif of a central hub featuring a number of keyed access doors, indubitably the single most prominent progression feature of E1 (the soulsphere out of reach but prominently visible on a central pillar in the hub also being a repeated idea, of course). Despite this shared feature with several other maps in this episode, however, this one certainly has its own feel, distinct from all that came before it. In terms of textures it's another generalized Phobos mishmash, and lighting is again pretty simplistic, meaning that it doesn't look as good as Aro's maps.....but, it's far and away the most structurally complex map in the episode, replete with lifts, rising bridges, and layered pathways, making the installation seem more dynamic. There are also more of those characteristic nested secrets--the secret rocket launcher accessed by way of a little hidden 'firing range' in the chainsaw secret is particularly entertaining. In contrast to secrets like this or the cleverly-hidden switches to access the combat armor/backpack/soulsphere, there are also a few secrets straight out of Wolf3D. The presence of these pure wall-humpers leads one to fall back on the old trick of looking for empty spaces on the automap bounded on all sides by playable area--doing this, I found the computer area map at the exit, which revealed the two-deep pushwall secret back in the yellow key area. If I haven't said much about the combat, it's because it is again pretty rote, though I liked the demon trap that springs halfway along the raised pathway circuit beyond the blue door, and a chance to put the secret chainsaw to good use against another demon horde after returning from the yellow key area. The two barons at the end were a bit of a surprise, but easily handled with rockets. Solid map....kind of a daffy music track, though.

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I agree with Cannonball that this feels like the weakest map so far. While most Doom maps are linear, this one feels extremely linear - see three colored doors, go through uncolored one, get blue key, blue key door, get red key, red key door, get yellow key, yellow door exit, with nothing else to really do off the path provided. The monster placement was also pretty bland (lots of one enemy type by themselves - I know it's hard to create variety with just zombies, shotgunners, imps and demons/spectres, but mix 'em up a little more!). And I've always hated monsters teleporting in.


This one was better, though it still has its little flaws (such as the demon at the start that can't go down the staircase to the player). Still a plain linear route, but makes things a bit more interesting in area design and having a few extra areas to explore. Also, lots of great barrel placement - definitely a few places you can splatter a whole mess of monsters with one nice shot.

Overall I'm finding it hard to come up with more comments as I usually do; the levels are all very similar (being E1-style episodes by the same authors) and easy to blast through so it's hard to say much.

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So, it is almost same, open the locked doors in some sort hub. No problem. Level itself looks pleasant. As for enemy placement... Didn't had troubles with that. Barrel placement in this map has been quite good. Overall, not that remarkable for me.

And stats.
93% kills, 81% items and 0% secrets. OH WHAT THE FU-*****

I found soulsphere, mega armor... It was that door in rocket launcher ledge area, was it? I thought I humped every console and wall. Not gonna look good in my record...

DEATHS: 1 (Somehow I fucked up the start, first getting good chunk of health off from shotgun guy, and pelted by imps afar.)

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E1M8 Paradox by Kristian Aro
Linear finish to the episode in a nice hell-tech level which has a much better look than the original E1M8
It plays well too with a mild skirmish before the big baron fight. On pistol starting the ammo balance is pretty much perfect with rockets doing just enough if you are lucky in bunching the barons up.
Good map.
So episode 1, what is there to say. It feels as classic as the original episode 1 of doom, but differs as the gameplay and layout style is definitely Paul and Kristians typical style. It's a fun episode to just blast through, not difficult but still engaging and fun.
The later episodes have other mappers as well as Paul and Kristian so there is more variety in level design and gameplay.

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E1M4 -- Substation 537A
Another smallish techbase, you quickly reach a central hub and have to collect all three keys to get to the nearby exit. SteveD calls the fights dreadful; I admit I was expecting the difficulty to start ramping up by now but I dunno, you're still thrown enough monsters to keep you interested. Some situations are slightly bizarre though, as has been pointed out (the spectres in the red key room? the spectres in the ooze? the imps near the lift which are very harmless?). The yellow key trap was fun, and a bit of a challenge as well, especially since I as a pistol starter had no armour there yet. The blue key trap was also fine but could have easily been made more intense. The layout benefits the player and not the monsters. As for the barrel trap, meh, it's like the MM map 22 setup, slightly bullshit as Adam says, but I was fortunate enough to survive it without remembering it (I have insta-shoot-barrel syndrome so I shot at them right away and didn't have time to walk into the trap. Overall, decent enough but no masterpiece. --3/5

E1M5 -- Combat Station
I thoroughly enjoyed this one, contrary to most(?) other players. It's based around the same idea as E1M4 but this one is larger and executed with a definite aplomb. Although the monster count is fairly high I'd worked my way through about a third of the monsters only a couple minutes in. Yes, most of the fights are predictable and you can see the traps coming a mile away, but they're still very entertaining (perhaps apart from a slightly slow teleporter at the red key). As D.o.t.W. notes, there are some setups which may well have been designed deliberately to let the player play around with the monsters; I think that's just lovely. Pacing is excellent, progression is very linear but not stupid, and the red key switch area is wonderful with its secret-within-a-secret-within-a-secret. The secret which starts the cascade isn't marked but somehow I sensed there might be.. *something* down there... I don't know if that is Paul's doing or if I have good instincts. Maybe a little from column A, and a little from column B. The map looks a bit plain in places but I was kept so busy with all the fights I hardly noticed. Great old-school stuff. --5/5

E1M6 -- Toxic Treatment Plant
An E1 nukeage base, medium sized. Feels unfinished for me in many ways. Lots of areas are almost arena-like and feel oversized and nearly empty in terms of decoration and monsters. When you pick up the blue key, you have to run back through empty chambers to the BK door, wherein lies a small and distinctly clashing warehouse section, in which you pick up the red key, which only serves the purpose of letting you open up some nearby bars giving you access to a switch which opens the exit, at the other side of the map, so back you go through those empty chambers. Silly. Why not have the exit past the BK door? Or at least past the RK bars.

Only one secret, but it's an entire small section of the map, complete with fights. I didn't even realize it was a secret until I looked at the automap afterwards. I just assumed the switch I found behind the lowerable crate did something else because there was no indication that I'd accomplished anything. I also did the RL section late, so I hadn't seen the door to the secret area closed. I just thought it was a dead-end with a powerup at the end. :-)

There are two imps placed in the warehouse section where they are (or seem to me to be) practically unreachable -- I killed them with rocket blast radius damage. Progression from the first open area is through the least plausible exit possibility, jumping into the ooze. As has been said, there's a hidden room with goodies not marked as secret. Strange map. Action up until getting the blue key was decent though, and it looks okay. --3/5

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Well, it's another "start in room with three colored doors, get the switches in order" map, but unlike E1M5, the various areas are much more interesting, and so makes for a much better level despite the lineality. Unfortunately, the most boring area (yellow key) is at the end, but the blue and red key areas are interestingly designed. I think the weakness of this map is its lighting; this map really screams for some darker areas, IMO.

Also, Baron ending is a bit of a surprise - in fact, it almost feels kinda out of nowhere, as if maybe starting E1M8's "hell taking over" theme for the last couple rooms would've helped (though also give it away).


Nicely detailed level, the "hell taking over" theme really comes in, and it's interesting to see the techbase mesh with the green marble, intestine floors and demon faces. The last fight is certainly tougher than the original E1M8, but I feel like having the "wings" (where the barrels are) makes it too easy to stand in a corner and punch rockets into the Baron horde. Eliminate those, and it'd be quite a fun game of hide-and-seek, constantly ducking around the columns... also, the ending teleport is a little anti-climatic (sure doesn't sell it the way a giant demon head teleporter after a giant star does!) but still, good map.

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E1M9 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 100, Items – 73, Secret – 75. Time: 28:15, End Health 190, Armor 100

Ah, what a sweet map! DoTW made a great prediction about my reaction to this one. This map is freakin’ gorgeous! Masterful use of textures, awesome lighting, great room design. This was, in fact, the most E1-style map in terms of construction, as opposed to simply aping the texture scheme. Absolutely my fave map in the set.

I did this one from a pistol start, and as a result, my death count was . . . ZERO! Muhaha, you can’t kill me, I have the pistol!!!! The toughest fight for me was right at the start. I knew about the Sergeants from a previous play, but just the same, a little bit of doofus fingerwork on the keyboard saw me reduced to 35% health in the first room! Jeez, this is like one of my maps! And that was the best Paul managed, actually, as within a couple rooms I was back near 100. However, the pace of combat was good enough to keep me entertained and I always took a few hits here and there to keep me honest.

Of course, much of my love for this map is because of the way it looks. It looks like an E1-style map but still doesn’t really play like one. The reasons are fairly obvious. First, almost all the monsters are deaf. This leads to combat set-pieces. In Romero’s E1, monsters in various parts of the map can hear you, and they start hunting you, and because of cross-connecting corridors and low stairs, they can get at you, and they’ll do so at unpredictable times and places. That is the magic of Knee Deep In The Dead. There’s also the matter of snipers in high or low windows. In other words, steps were taken to give the weak E1 monsters the best chance to hurt you before you could kill them. As one example, I recently did a pistol start of Romero’s E1M7 and got killed in a side passage right at the start, because monsters that heard me were coming in numbers from all points of the compass. Paul does not follow that course and as a result, this map is very easy.

Then there is the occasional retarded trap. My fave of these is the red key trap. What a laugher! I’ve been playing Doom since ’95, and you ain’t getting me with one of these! Talk about telegraphed. And as usual, too many Pinkies that you could simply slaughter through a window. Sean Birkel never would have done this. Compare this to the classic red key trap in Romero’s E1M6. But I gotta tip my hat at the sheer number of monsters Paul threw into this hopeless effort to kill an experienced Doomer. I used up a lot of ammo killing everything.

One good fight for me was at the swastika. I didn’t have the chaingun, so I did it all with my trusty shotgun. But there were so many Sergeants and Imps that I took several hits.

I got the jumping secret and even the computer map, but I failed to find the BFG. I knew where it had to be, but I couldn’t figure out how to open the doors.

In summary, this whole mapset was good-looking, sometimes great-looking, but mostly a big disappointment in gameplay. The authors deserve credit for sticking to the original E1 menagerie. The classic E1 replacements, Fava Beans and Double Impact, and strong contenders like Cannonball’s CBspeed, used a more or less complete Doom bestiary, and thus, were more challenging. Yes, even Birkel had Lost Souls, Cacos and Barons in E1M5 of Fava. Challenging the player with just the E1 monsters is a major problem for mappers, especially if they don’t use the Romero design techniques. That said, these maps were clearly done by talented and skillful designers. I look forward to the next episode, where they’ll have the big monsters to play with.

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E1M7 -- Service Base
Well, it's another E1 base. Slightly smaller than E1M5 and E1M6, and featuring the same idea... you even start in the hub in this one. Fighting and secrets aplenty await, some secrets are nice but some were just too easy to spot (especially early on), and getting the soulsphere and blue armour almost immediately meant no challenge at all, in spite of some fun traps. The fighting was still pretty cool, but could have been much more challenging, not only because of the tons of health, ammo and powerups scattered all over. I set off the RL secret by complete accident when firing at one of the 3 dozen or so spectres populating this map (what's up with that BTW?). The last, uh, 4(?) secrets are Wolfensteiny wall-hump affairs, yuck. It's not bad but feels like somewhat of a regression after Paul's excellent E1M9 and E1M5. I loved some parts, though, especially how all three dimensions are used in the first parts of the map (behind the first door and blue door) and the Baron teleporting in behind you at the end. --4/5

E1M8 -- Paradox
The episode ends on a high note with an excellently designed boss map. It takes you through some preliminary rooms where the techbase designs you've grown accustomed to flow over into distinctly E2-styled, vine covered chambers. After some cramped fights and a nice surprise trap you hit the main arena, a small courtyard where Barons spring out to tear you to pieces in the most exciting sequence in all of E1. The surroundings make for a hectic battle in which you can easily get cornered if you're careless. You'll also probably be using the RL which makes splash damage a real threat -- nicely executed by the author. After this little skirmish the episode fittingly ends with you teleporting right into the lap of hellish creatures, foreboding what is about to come in the next episode. No secrets. My only (minor) complaint is that it is over all too soon. I quite enjoyed this, bravo! --5/5

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E1M5 Combat Station by Paul Corfiatis

So this was a fairly easy one, I had no fear of death whatsoever, despite a couple of tricksy ambushes - as long as you have a machine gun and ammo it doesnt really matter how many of these low level monsters you face as long as its from one direction. Layout felt a bit large and square and sparse in places, but I noticed that by the end I'd only found 1 secret and about 20 enemies were still hiding somewhere. Wallhumped everywhere but managed to miss the one bit of wall that unlocked all of that. ah well..

E1M6 Toxic Treatment Plant by Kristian Aro

This base seemed a bit more interesting than the last one, still very sparse though - most enemies are at your disadvantage, picked off at a distance or lined up in front of you. Well its still early days yet I guess. I didn't find the secret here either, though there was a door I couldn't open.. *checks doom builder* ...oh. Should have pressed that crate half way across the map, of course.

E1M7 Service Base by Paul Corfiatis

Another base, another locked door key hub thing going on. Seems like a recurring theme now, go along some rooms and corridors, find the key on a platform, flick a few switches and unleash a few monster traps and repeat. The red key trap did make me laugh though, its the only place where I took some appreciable damage. The layout was interesting enough, but does all feel a bit conventional, even compared to the original doom. I'm going to have to play through that after this to compare. Oh whats this, the bruiser brothers have made an early appearance? I'm going to have to see what happens in the last map now..

E1M8 Paradox by Kristian Aro

Baron swarm! Nice to see hell starting to seep through. Now, to defeat the most wickedly beasts that stand upon my path ahead..

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BaronOfStuff said:

A door that opens after exactly five minutes, then closes again forever if you miss it.

oh... man...

After quickly running through the original doom there are some differences in design that jump out - layouts appear to be more abstract and unpredictable, more interconnected and above all more optional in the old doom. Many maps have different routes that you can take through them rather than the lead by the nose getting all the keys through every part of the map business. In fact only 2 of them have all 3 keys to collect, and some of them have entirely optional areas. The fights seem to be a lot more random, enemies tend to have you at the disadvantage by seeing you half way across the map through various openings and they go wandering around looking for you, attacking from multiple directions, through windows where you cant see them very well, in confined spaces. Lighting is used a lot more and enemies are often shooting at you from rooms several corridors away through overlooking windows.

Thats not to say its much harder, but the action does seem more engaging and chaotic and the exploration is less linear. And there are very few instances of pressing a switch without immediately realising what its done.

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E1M8 -- Paradox - ??% kills / no secrets
It seems like many other players have enjoyed this map, but it doesn't really sound the right notes for me. I appreciate the idea behind its aesthetic theme--e.g. the base starts to look more and more "Deimos" the closer you get to the final teleportation gate--but it all seems a bit 'casual' to me. The rooms are all small and square-ish, the lighting is distinctly bright and non-threatening (even as vines and flesh start showing up) the little bits of combat before the baron fight are inconsequential, and the baron fight itself only seems like it'd pose much danger if it happens to catch you napping and you end up being cornered in the little switch/RL cubby, or perhaps if you have the misfortune to be standing near some of the barrels in the wings when they're hit by some errant projectiles. The relatively small size of the battleground plays to the strengths of the rocket launcher, as splash damage has a good chance of impacting many barons at once in these settings. I didn't try it myself, but I'd also be willing to bet that you could probably retreat back up the stairs near the red bars and plink away at the barons in safety, if you wanted to. I don't want to sound like I'm faulting the map just for being easy, though....I mean, how difficult is the Phobos Anomaly, right? No, I reckon that my real problem with the map is that it's simply not grand or atmospheric or (melo)dramatic enough. As I mentioned when I was posting about map 30 in Interception, I think 'boss maps' are a very important part of making a mapset (an episode, in this case) feel complete, and are thus well-served by being made into something of a spectacle or aiming for a different feel from that which preceded them. In the case of the original Phobos Anomaly, the name of the game was an ominous, almost melancholy atmosphere....here, well, it just feels like a quickie with some barons because E1M8 replacements are supposed to have barons. The music track was enjoyable, though.....reminded me of Eternal Doom. And yet, even here, I can't help but feel that the track deserved to be the score to some meatier fighting and/or some more grand scenery.

My overall impressions of "Deep Into the Code" are mixed. Naturally, what characterizes the episode most (uh, apart from central hubs full of keyed doors, that is) is the contrast between Corfiatis' and Aro's mapping styles. From Aro, we see a skillful hand at using all of the different Phobos textures in concert to create maps that not only look good to the eye, but also capture that fleeting sense of 'Doomy verisimilitude', helping to establish a sense of place and thereby effectively disguising the fact that the maps are mostly very linear. Yet, we also see a lot of distractingly tame or even nonsensical monster placement in his maps, meaning that satisfying combats are few and far between. Corfiatis' aesthetic sense, by contrast, seems a lot more scattershot and more purely utilitarian. Most of his areas look just fine, of course, but they don't catch the eye the way Aro's stuff does. Paul's maps here also tend to be just as linear as Kristian's, but I think I noticed the simplistic progression a lot more in Paul's maps, because so many of his areas seem more like collections of standalone, abstract rooms rather than coherent installations, like Kristian's. However, this focus on set-pieces, both in terms of fights and in terms of structure/architecture, is where most of the best/most memorable gameplay scenarios in the episode come from--E1M9's opening battles and secret-hunts, E1M5's secret-laden red key area, E1M7's whole red key section, etc. While the results of Corfiatis' peculiar design sensibilities are not always ideal herein, without them, this whole episode would've been little more than a 9-map room-clearing exercise.

Favorite map from this episode was E1M9, hands down.

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Right, gonna finish Episode 1 now.

Same hub system. W/E. As for fights itself in map... How can come that this map feels boring? I didn't seem to have any kind of problem dealing with monsters. Aside for that yellow key trap, there wasn't any kind of highlights. Not the barons, even. (I just zoomed to that corridor with demons and spectres, for shits and giggles.)
100% in kills, items and secrets.

Shits starting to drift into hell. I like it. In start, it doesn't sting, even with the red key ambush. But when you get to other side... OH dear the amount of hellish nobility! The rockets I snagged wasn't even enough for them. Arena felt rather cramped, but because of the amount of barons, you had to keep moving.
65% kills, 100% items and secrets.

Final thoughts of episode 1?
Basic warm-up episode. Fights weren't that interesting, as a whole, and the architecture wasn't exciting, but there were few neat pieces. Layouts were mostly same hub system bouncing. Get that, come back to hub, fetch that key, get back to hub... It gets eventually numbing experience. But one good mention is the general barrel placement. Most of the time, they were really convenient to the situation, and they weren't just useless decoration.
Next week, Episode 2...

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I, uhh... I don't have much to say about this one as a whole. It's a standard-fare 'hub'-styled map, in which you have to go through areas sequentially to get a key, return to the hub and open a locked door, repeat, then go to the exit and fuck off into space somewh-... oh that's something else. Anyway, it's filled with ridiculous monster placement. I bring you a selection of shots from the glorified shooting galleries:



Jesus fucking Christ, seriously?

Alright, maybe I am being a little harsh on this one, but really, that's about it. Very simple combat in a pseudo-pretty basemap. It's not horrible, but it's far from a memorable experience.

Well that's that over with.

...oh, it's another hub-thingy.

Yep, much like its immediate predecessor, you run around through doors in a particular sequence, slowly unlocking the complex and finding your way out. And the only difference (layout aside, obviously), is that this one is bigger. And there aren't as many stupidly-placed harmless monsters. And it features this walkway stuff to go with it. A nice enough change of scenery I guess, although it's a bit blocky.

There's something very OBLIGE-y about this section.

So, along you go, shooting everything in a very adventure-by-numbers moment, with pretty much everything that opposes you appearing there and then, usually approaching from one angle, ready to get shot dead while you hold down the button and check the TV guide.

Another laughable ambush leading only to infighting and defeat.

Secrets... the less said the better. Three of them are pretty much impossible to find, unless you take up the Wolfenstein 3D method and run around trying to hump the walls to see which ones react to your fetish for concrete and open up. Oh what wording. Did I mention that it's in a load of fucking nukage too? No? I have now. Enjoy trying to decipher this shit without an editor.

The stupidest fucking secret in the history of stupid fucking secrets. It is not marked and requires knowledge from the future.

That aside, it was reasonably fun to just effortlessly murder everything; the fighting was far from anything close to dangerous or even all that engaging, but there's enough of it spaced throughout to keep your attention from drifting off completely onto cooking some pizza rolls or something.

Right, whatever, another crap time. That's what trying to find these fucking super-hidden secrets will result in though.

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Ho, the hub-system thingy designs have stopped for now. I remember this one somehow resulting in ammo shortages for the less-experienced players during my numerous Survival games, but looking at my current stats I really don't know why that was the case or how ammo shortages could even be possible, especially when none of us fell into the abhorrent category of 'useless greedy shit who scarfs everything and then dies' (we were actually co-operative, as it should be). Even half of what I have here would be enough to murder everything several times though. Speaking of which, almost immediately after starting we're greeted by a big pink bullet magnet.

He's big, he's fast, he's reasonably durable. He's also fucked, because he can't descend this staircase.

Oh, how great. It has arrived. Not even through the first episode, and here it is. My nemesis. Mandatory damage.

You motherfucker, I had to run through that.

Oh no, here comes another mini-rant...

Why-oh-why does this keep appearing? Why the fuck should there ever be a moment where damage taken is not only compulsory, but also entirely based on some arbitrary, luck-based gametic bullshit? I'm not asking for a Radsuit every time I so much as catch a glimpse of toxic waste or any other damagesector; just a way to get by without having to swim around in a sea of fucking flesh-eating turds. Give me a narrow walkway, stepping stones, a small ledge around the sides, anything but this fucking cheap lazy shit. I don't care if it's only 3% damage. It's 3% damage that I should be able to avoid taking if I have to take that path just to complete the fucking level.

...and breathe.

Well anyway, at least it doesn't have any dumb shooting ran--- ah fucking hell!!

"This didn't work the last 12 times you tried it. Why do you think it's going to work now when I'm even better-equipped?"

Progress happens with the usual assortment of low-level drones getting splattered and scattered with no real effort on my part, and the barrels are also particularly useful if you're patient enough to look around before making them explode. It makes an already-easy mission even easier, but at least it's an entertaining use of what are now some ridiculously overwhelming resources. Suddenly, there's some nonsense with a crate maze of sorts. Oh joy...

Woah, wait, what? Isn't this an E2 sort of thing?

Thankfully it's remarkably simple to find your way through (it just looks more complex), although these two twats were mildly irritating.

What's that? You can't see them? I know. Can you imagine how much fun shooting (and missing) them was?

More progress through more cannon-fodder minions. Bizarrely, there's only one 'official' secret on this map, and this 'unofficial' secret area contains much more valuable items:

The thing guarding it wasn't worth much though.

All in all, E1M6 is much like everything else so far; generally linear with few optional areas, with the vast majority of enemies attacking from directly in front of you. It's almost like a 'rail shooter' for now, just blasting everything away without really having to check behind you at all.

Oh well. We're out of this place too now, after having cleansed it of useless opposition.

I know I'm getting 100% now, but I'm still bitter about E1M9 to be honest.

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Quick FYI: the open-once-after-5-minutes-then-close door has been discussed previously. From posts made in those threads, it seems it has not been used in any IWAD map.

See these threads:

EDIT: A related sector type, type 10, the is-open-at-start-but-close-after-30-seconds door is used in the IWADs (Doom 2 map 27).

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