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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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Kristian Ronge said:

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... ...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).

I fucking knew it! What is it even doing as an option if it was never used though? Seems far too specific an option to just have been created on a whim. Could it have been originally intended as some sort of 'survive this nonsense' mechanism for a boss map before 666 tags were used?

I knew about the 30-seconds-close type, and really I think it's just as much of a lump of shit as the 5-minutes deal. Admittedly the one time it's used is easy to access before time runs out (unless you have 10 thumbs), but there's still something about it which doesn't sit right as a map option.

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Nearly midday on the 10th here, so ...

I have to admit, my strongest memory of Shores of Hell is the crate maze in e2m2, so seeing this level start out with some crates was a welcome touch. I also liked the simple puzzle to get to the box of shotgun shells. Not that you'd need them, as the level is swimming in ammo, but it was a fun little bit.

I also like the obvious first secret: a differently colored wall, just as in E1M1 of this wad. Access to it was a bit less gimmicky this time. On the other hand, activating the switch makes it looks like the gargoyle is winking, which amused me.

As in episode 1, enemies continue to be placed in a fairly basic "right in front of you" pattern in most cases. A couple of minor traps were an exception to this, but they were minor, and pretty easy to see coming, as well. Not that I expected this to be tough – it’s the start of a new episode after all – but the enemies are still a bit on the trivial side. There's not even a Caco, which we did get in the original game's e2m1. We do get Lost Souls in this, though.

Speaking of the Souls, I had avoided picking up the box of shells in front of the switch that releases them (because I had something like 49 shells at the time), and was thus able to completely exploit their inability to charge over items, and kill them all with impunity. Then I picked up the shells, since I used quite a few killing the Souls :)

I found the computer map secret at the end, which allowed me to get three other secrets (I missed the berserk, which I didn't need anyway, and the supercharge, which I completely forgot was in the level. Oops!)

Looks-wise, it was fine, though it felt a lot less "hellish" than e1m8, which seemed a bit odd.

Well, it seems Chris Hansen has chosen to turn up the difficulty a notch. This level features more in the way of surprises and ambushes than we've really seen to date, and even the odd cross-fire situation. This is good to see.

The level itself is an eclectic mix of styles and architectures. It's pretty linear in its play, with the progression not being difficult to follow, but it wraps back on itself, and you revisit areas often enough, that it doesn't seem so "single track" as you play it. It also feels a lot more hellish than the last did, and a lot more "Shores of Hell" in its design.

Health seems relatively tight; it's far from hard, but this level is noticeably less generous than any that have come before it. It didn't help that I missed the supercharge last level and didn't find the blue armor secret in this one, of course.

My only real complaint would be the exit room; the double switch exit annoyed me (see: gimmick, stupid). There are no monsters in the final chamber, so this is pointless busy work, and I don't understand why it was done (except possibly to troll keyboard-only players like SteveD). Throw a couple of barons in the final room (so that the double switch is a way to force you to fight them), and I would be much more tolerant of it.

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Okay, so I was drunk by the time I got to this map, so memories are somewhat sketchy.

And now you know why I take so many screenshots.

Okay so here we g-.. ah, the hub thing's back. Hmmmmm, this is getting a bit silly. Once, maybe twice per episode this would be a fine setup, but three times? Just seems a bit uncreative to make us run back and forth between a central room so often. Whatever. Let's see what this new hub o' doors brings to us... other than yet more key fetch quests, I mean. There's a neat little trick involving magically-appearing Armour Bonuses (and some Imps), but aside from being quite a novelty in a vanilla map it's not really worth much.

So a few minutes in, and I see this.


Okay, so we can certainly see it now, but generally speaking, who would realise/remember that this thing is even here by the time they get within 'reach' of it? Probably not many. This is one of those secrets that works by exploiting how triggers in Doom work; by some oversight or technical decision, all line triggers can be activated regardless of relative player position on the Z axis. Woah, 3D stuff... duuuuude. Anyway, it results in some arguably dumb shit like this. Doomguy can't jump, but since he can hit switches provided that he's in some sort of X/Y proximity to them, regardless of how high/low they are, who cares?

And so we go on further, and then this jarringly simple, ugly hallway appears. It's like the author forgot to do anything with these hallways after simply constructing them. I know that over-detailing is a bad thing too, but this is a shocking case of under-detail. It just seems so bland and out of place given the average detail in almost every other location so far.

I suppose that some sort of time-travel Twilight Zone episode reference goes here. Good god, I can almost taste the 1994 present in this area.

It's worth mentioning that another dumb secret is close to this point, but it's at least possible to notice if you check the automap (more on that in a moment). But what we're really after is a Keycard, and guess what? Another really shit ambush is attempting to guard it.

Well I did say 'attempting'.

Details from that point to this point are blurred (because it was just a case of shooting whatever ran in front of me without having to check my flanks), but apparently this sort of thing was supposed to be an obstacle after grabbing another Keycard:

You know you're doing something wrong when your traps are neutralised by some drunk idiot swinging a Chaingun around.

Right, remember that secret earlier? Well, if you want to know how to access it, here's the Computer Map. But by now you're also at the exit, and since this is pretty much the end of the episode, will the contents of that secret really be worth it?

No, they won't. Take my word for it, unless you're a completionist.

Surprisingly, there are a pair of Barons Of Hell by this exit. In a way this works well to catch you off guard, but at the same time I'm not so sure about it. They take away the 'tradition' of saving the Baron Of Hell solely for the special encounter of E1M8. It's a trivial matter, but considering how the rest of the maps have managed to stick with the conventional use of the KDITD line-up and nothing else, it's somewhat awkward to see them appear now. Or not, I don't know.

I'm not a completionist though. Honest.

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So here we are, on the 9001st re-imagining of sorts of the Phobos Anomaly. By which I mean there's some easily destroyed stuff that makes a feeble attempt to end your life before you go forth to fight some Barons Of Hell. So here goes...

Do I have the raw skill required to survive? Do I have enough ammo? Of course I fucking do, I got here more than easily enough, and just look at those numbers!!

And so, on the flick (press) of a switch (spacebar), the Barons Of Hell pour forth. For an E1M8 map that doesn't go to ludicrous lengths in making things difficult, the Baron count is reasonably high... in fact, I don't think any 'serious' E1M8 map has had this many at all. Whatever, I have a Rocket Launcher and 100 Rockets, so this is only going to end one way.

BANG! And what looks to be the last Baron is soon to break and spill his guts.

Onward through the exit so that we can discover what the cause of all thi-... Oh, right. There's always one though, isn't there? What random linedefs held you up?

Special treatment for the 'special' Hellspawn.

With everything now toasted, it's time to go through here, and wave goodbye to this episode... and all those supplies.

This does look surprisingly foreboding for such a humble teleporter though. Although that may be because I know what is waiting for me.

And then I get viciously assaulted by all sorts of Hellspawn from all sides while I sit there and BLAST WHAT I CAN WITH ROCKETS. I still 'die', of course, probably faster than if I'd just stood there.

Sadly, the attempt at a story seems to fall flat thanks to some, uh, wickedly use of English. I could understand such mistakes with the original release from 2002, but ten years later and you didn't think to check these things for errors? Eeehhhhhhh... if you're going for a story-driven (haha) PWAD, then there's more to immersion with this sort of thing than some pretty level design and engaging combat. How you tell that story does actually matter somewhat!

Oh Jesus Christ! What..?!

SO THEN. An entertaining, if trivial-for-difficulty episode. I'm not going to give much of a toss regarding challenge though; it's only the first episode after all, and this WAD does attempt to keep a similar difficulty curve to The Ultimate Doom. Admittedly KDITD is probably harder over the course of the episode, but it's a fractional difference. What will Episode 2 bring?

Hillbillies, if the music is anything to go by.

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Dude, I have been howling over your hilarious comments through the whole episode. It was worth joining the DWMegawad team just for that!

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Let me remind you Baron, that in the 2002readme

- Fixed spelling mistakes and grammar in the Dehacked.

Just let that sink in ;)

E2M1: I'm enjoying the atmosphere in the second episode a lot more than the first. I actually like it more than Doom1's E2 since this feels like a great blend of hell/occult and techbase while D1's E2 just felt... strange. Corfiatis delivers yet another linear level but this time it has a bit more teeth, willing to put monsters right up in the player's face. Still a touch too easy to exit with loads of ammo/goodies, but part of the charm of the original Doom is stocking up quite an arsenal to take on the legions in the later levels. Overall I enjoyed this level.

E2M2: Chris Hansen joins the team and delivers probably my favorite map so far. It's steeped in atmosphere, a twisting layout, and filled with some nasty traps that I enjoyed. The slow teleporters worked to his advantage here as I was never sure whether I was done with an encounter and would get sniped in the back a couple of times. The enclosed caco fight after the yellow key was definitely my favorite, followed by the elevator finale. Neat end puzzle too. I just wish this level wasn't so fickle with the health, as there's like a 80% health recovery total for over 100 monsters... and giving me the RL seems a bit premature.

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SteveD said:

Dude, I have been howling over your hilarious comments through the whole episode. It was worth joining the DWMegawad team just for that!

I can't say it's planned in any way, I just hit the keyboard and stuff happens. Thanks anyway though, it's nice to know that all my inane nonsense is actually being read.

dobugabumaru said:

Let me remind you Baron, that in the 2002readme

"- Fixed spelling mistakes and grammar in the Dehacked."

Just let that sink in ;)

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E2M1 - Station Alpha by PCorf
Not much to say here, pretty straightforward. On UV there are a couple of cacos btw Capellan :)
Bit of hellishness here and there and a few scenes which look similar to Episode 2 of doom.
One thing which will become apparent is the much more solid mixing of hell and tech in this compared to doom. Kind of taking the episode 4 aesthetic but putting it into the other episodes. Anyway easy level relatively though speedrunning requires the use of the fist quite a lot.
I think the music here is a bit too cheesy for my liking.

E2M2 - Station Beta by Chris Hanson
Much harder level though I completely cheated one of the traps by releasing the first horde of enemies when approaching the red key, grabbing the armour secret then deciding instead of using the conventional method of grabbing the red key which would mean I had to kill all the monsters I decide to simply grab the key from underneath giving time for all the monsters to be crushed :P
I was punished though by a stray spectre who took a large chunk of health. There is a nod to the orginal E2M2 in the crusher area. The map looks good but is a bit light on health. Get used to it in Chris Hanson maps trust me ;)
Good map overall.

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Here we go again, let's start another epi--... wait, what the fuck is this music?!

Even Doomguy can't believe what he's hearing here.

Oh my god, what the hell am I listening to? It's a coherent enough melody, sure, but... it sounds like I've just walked into some sort of barnyard orgy. Yeesh. This doesn't really suit the subject of wandering demon-infested hallways on some moonbase. I feel like I should be armed with a bottle of moonshine and a pitchfork while searching a cornfield for possessed scarecrows.

Nothing much to report on this one though. Much like you'd expect from an episode starter, the action's spread out between only a few enemies, and few of them are posing a threat because you can nab a Shotgun almost immediately. Looks like I'm going to have to cause myself some problems if I'm going to make this interesting. And the opportunity soon presents itself with the acquisition of Berserk. Somewhat typically, I find some Lite-Amp Visors after I've done all that's necessary in a dark area. But at least I get to see what minor destruction I've caused here.

Would have preferred to see just what I was shooting at while I was actually shooting at it, but this will have to do.

Now seeing as I have some sort of stupid habit of getting as much use as I can from Berserk pickups, I roam around with the intent of beating the shit out of whatever turns up next. And it's this.


Nope, that's not happening. Out comes the Shotgun again, and I'm vaguely disappointed that I'm unable to go around punching stuff in the face. The next bundle of enemies though are definitely getting beaten into mulch. Come Hell or high water, it's slapping time. Even if i-... well, fuck. Shotgun Guys. This is going to hurt everyone in all parties involved.


Ah well, I survived. And then to finish all fighty-type things here, punched a Cacodemon's teeth down into whatever organs it possesses in that bloated fat spiky head it consists of. Time to hunt some secrets, some health, and just leave.

Another staggeringly crap time. Plenty of ammo for the next map though. And probably the one after that.

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E2M3: Another linear level follows in suit, this time one with a straight and consistent techbase theme. The difficulty drops back down for this one, becoming more of a room-by-room battle as you clean each of the laboratories. The monster traps help spice up the parts where you have to backtrack, but overall the level doesn't really feature any stellar design or interesting battles. I did however like the water treatment in the basement and the rad room where you must clear out all the baddies before your suit expires. Pretty neat ideas there.

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Ok, here we go with episode 2. After finishing episode 1 I went through the entire original doom again to try and get a sense of where this wad was going wrong, generally it was too linear, underpopulated, unconnected and economical with the exploration. So I'm interested to see how it progresses as we go on.

E2M1 Station Alpha by Paul Corfiatis

Wow, what is going on with the comedy music? Yet again its a set path from a to b to c rescuing keys along the way. Each room is its own little world where a bunch of monsters live in isolation waiting patiently for you to come and wipe them out. There are a few ambushes but they are fairly toothless (spectres in a brightly lit room?) and a bunch of redundant secrets that you get to go and retrieve once you are given the computer map at the end.

E2M2 Station Beta by Chris Hansen

This map upped the difficulty, mainly by having no health kits for the first half. Also the space is more claustrophobic which makes dodging more tricky, but still most of the encounters come head on and most of the battle is having enough ammo to mow everything down. There is some nice connective backtracking to ease the flow, but again its so linear - every time I see a choice of 2 doors to go through one of them turns out to be locked, and inevitably the switch to unlock it is behind the other door. The blue key was kind of laughably round the corner from the blue door, there was a switch next to a bridge that opened a door behind you that presented a switch to raise the bridge (i guess keys can't raise bridges but still..), and the final room had some kind of pointless pushing the switch and running to the door test. Highlight was the room of lots of monsters to mow down from the safety of round the corner. Still it provided some interesting visuals and varied locations.

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Right, on to episode 2.

E2M1 -- Alpha Station - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Heh, this map is impossible to forget if you've ever played it before, but that's got nothing to do with the fights and architecture and everything to do with the bizarre music track. It's not the kind of thing one generally expects to hear in a Doom map, but I actually quite like it, and wish it had been used in a bigger map (maybe I'll IDMUS to it later if one of the later tracks ends up bugging me). As aforesaid, the architecture here is pretty plain with a lot of flat, austere corridors (although the WAD's first use of any appreciable degree of darkness makes the red key area stand out somewhat), and the fights here are very basic as well, despite the (expected) introduction of lost souls and cacodemons. Alpha Station's real draw are its secrets: while there are a couple of basic pushwall secrets (including another of those end-of-level computer area maps), the opening secret with the security armor and the method for opening the blatantly discolored patch of wall shortly thereafter are both charmingly clever, and the method for accessing the soulsphere is so straight-facedly simple that several players will probably overthink the issue when they first notice it (I distinctly remember I did when I first played the WAD many years ago, anyway). Interesting start to the episode, not to be faulted too much for simplistic combat, as it is the first map, after all.

E2M2 -- Beta Station - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Now, here's a change of pace. Hansen's style quickly distinguishes itself from Corfiatis' and Aro's. This is probably the first map in the WAD where combat starts to have the potential to put a little pressure on you, although in this case that's not so much a function of trap design or dangerous placement as it is of attrition--medical supplies are quite scarce here, to the point where I took a nasty hit from one of the shotgunners in the raised switchbox early in the map and so walked around wounded for a good deal of the rest of the map. From a pistol start, the ammo balance is noticeably tighter (particularly where shells are concerned) than in previous maps, as well, meaning that you're seldom overarmed respective to the amount of opposition. Much of said opposition is still placed in front of you, but the generally much more constricted environs require faster reactions to these foes to avoid significant harm, and Hansen does mix things up a little with a few trickle-speed teleporter ambushes, which are generally easy to 'chokepoint', but might get out of hand if you don't get a lid on them quickly (particularly in the final elevator). Visually, I liked the looks of this. The classic E2 theme of a research base gradually merging with the fabric of Hell comes off pretty well here. Hansen doesn't accomplish this simply by juxtaposing flesh and vines with tech, but also by illustrating structural damage to the base as a result of this collision of realities, as in the claustrophobic, vine-ridden nukage corridor explained a little further down the line by a ruptured outflow pipe, complete with dead marine in front of it (a technician trying to contain the disaster before something snuck up on him, perhaps?). About that, I'm also seeing more dead bodies and similar props here than in past maps, which also helps the verisimilitude/immersion. I was happy for the change of pace, and look forward to Hansen's other maps later in the set.

E2M3 -- Lost Labs - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Hot on the heels of Hansen's 2002ADO debut comes another, by one Rory Habich. Unlike the other three authors so far, I don't think I recall seeing any maps by Habich outside of this WAD. Purely in terms of structure, aesthetics, and basic map progression, I think most will agree that this underground(?) lab complex doesn't represent a very interesting layout--it's mostly a lot of flat, well-lit corridors connecting often symmetrical groups of equally flat square or rectangular rooms. The dominant texture scheme is hefty grey brick with a few computer screens and such set into it--not an unreasonable theme, but I reckon it'd look better under different lighting conditions. Most rooms are very plain, with the main form of detail that appears being of the representational type--that is, attempts to render heavy equipment in sectors, like the pumping machinery the yellow card sits on top of, or the large water/waste purification apparatus in the southeast corner of the facility. A lot of the combat is basic room-clearing, although to his credit Habich is the first author in the set to offer a map which consistently remembers to throw new fights (sometimes fairly large new fights) at you while you backtrack through previous areas, courtesy of a generous helping of monster closets. The battle in the radioactive core is also a change of pace, coming as it does with a one radsuit time-limit, encouraging efficient rocket use. On the other hand, there are no interesting secrets here--just some Wolf3D-style wall-humpers and a few supply closets that open in previous areas as you make progress. I'd say most of these secrets are crudely overpowered, as well. Overall, it feels like a map that tries a lot of things to compensate for its general lack of height variation, with limited success.

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Another distinctly un-hellish level. This could quite easily have fit into E1, were it not for the use of E2 monsters and the presence of the plasma gun. We're running around a base once more, and if E1's startan has given way to more grays and blues, there's also not a sign of the signature E2 'vine' textures. It's also a bit on the flat side for my tastes, both as a level as a whole, and within the rooms. You're not often dealing with enemies at a different height from you, and the lack of ledges and drops tends to make it feel less dynamic than it should, I think.

Despite this, the gameplay is okay. Pretty straightforward, on the whole, but there are at least a few times where the monsters come from your left and your right, rather than just from in front of you. The three-stage radiation room battle is probably the highlight of the map, action-wise. Everything else is over pretty quickly. There's one example of demons being released into an area where they can't reach you, but at least there are some ranged monsters with them, so you get sniped at a bit. I guess you could say the demons are meant as meatshields for the other monsters, but I'm not sure if that was actually the case or not.

One advantage of this episode is that the maps show a bit more variety than in E1; I suspect this is due to a wider variety of mappers being involved. Even though this is another base level, it feels different from both the two previous maps, in a way that the E1 maps did not.

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E2M4 -- Shotgun Blues - 100% kills / 100% secrets
More of Corfiatis' practical aesthetic sense--this is something like a very E2-looking military training complex recessed into the moon's surface (are we even on Deimos here?). It's simple-looking but quite adequate, and I liked the recurring theme of marble demonface slabs dourly staring down on the outdoor playing areas. The reason for this map's name becomes apparent within a few seconds of leaving the starting room (a good example of why I always check any door directly behind the start point, by the way)--it's full of zombie sergeants that blink behind you (sometimes from a considerable distance away) and open fire as you enter most new areas. While it can hurt the first couple of times it happens, it's something you'll likely quickly become attuned to. At a certain point I was actually turning around instantly after triggering doors just to beat the teleporting zombies to the draw--worked pretty well, most of the time. Paul springs more teleporting monster assaults over the course of this map than in all of his other maps thus far in the set combined (again, with sergeants featuring prominently)--most can be easily chokepointed and are thus easily subdued, but it makes a nice change from the general tendency of previous maps to have all of the monsters placed directly in your path. Oh, yeah, I hope you haven't forgotten E1M4's dirty trick, either...you'll know what I mean when you come to it. As far as progression goes, I'm sure we'll all remember the main motif from the first episode: yes, it's another central hub full of keyed doors securing disparate wings that the player visits in sequence. As is typical of Paul's maps in the set thus far, each of these wings is pretty different from the others, with the ledge crawl over the dark subterranean crevasse being the most striking. Indeed, I reckon his tendency to build things around discrete set-pieces probably goes a fair way towards explaining why he uses the central keydoor hubs so much. The secrets are more of Corfiatis' typically involved fare (this is certainly one of the strongest aspects of his mapping); about half of them are tied up in the route to unlocking the extra secret map (one of them features a '4th wall' -breaking tacky portrait). This subquest did get a bit switch-hunty after a point, so I spent a while playing this one.

E5M1/Secret Bonus Map #1 -- Surfing the Mighty Green - 100% kills / no secrets
Just as the WAD's text file (and the little sign on the wall in-game) indicates, the secret exit teleporter in E2M4 will only take you here if you're using ZDooM (I tried it in Eternity and was taken to E2M9 instead). However, in Eternity, at least, you can still warp to it and play it normally/completely, although the automap will incorrectly indicate that it's E4M1, and the game will default to the music track from that map, as well (in ZDooM you get a silly surf-rock track). Frankly, I can see why it's just a bonus map, as it's, well....stupid. Gameplay consists of using a chaingun in the starting room and blocks of clips found in most rooms to take down 39 cacodemons, singly or in small groups, spread out through a simplistic fortress composed entirely of green marble that's floating in a large lava lake. Near the end the cyberdemon himself makes an appearance in one of the early rooms, which is hardly the ideal environment for fighting him, but the free BFG and bulk cells make it a manageable proposition. Then it's over. Yeah, you're not really missing much if you skip this one. In fact, the chaingun-based gameplay in this map is probably effectively broken if you happen to enter it as part of a consecutive playthrough with ZDooM, and the way it just gives you the BFG and has the cyberdemon appear several maps early would also tend to ruin the feeling of progression in the rest of E2, as well. Really, I've gotta say I don't think Corfiatis made the right choice in even including it at all, at least not as something that could be accessed from one of the main maps. Oh, well.

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E2M3 The Lost Labs by Rory Habich
Whilst being a bit bland looking. I like the sterile feeling given by using the grey brick texture. In fact I made a map with a similar style for my episode 1 wad a while back. The layout is fine with areas reused pretty well with monster closets. Of course this map would have suited episode 1 fine, on the other hand episode one has always been remembered for the use of startan textures and this doesn't really have them.
The gameplay here is pretty easy, but a lot of heavy weapons and ammo availability make speedrunning one hell of a fun ride. This map is the most demoed map in 2002ado for this very reason. All weapons (at least in the 2002 version) are available and well you can destroy this map in under 4 fast and furious minutes. Just awesome though perhaps from a balance view not overly great.
It's a different design and I think this map is very fun if a bit bland and unbalanced.

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The sort of map that makes you think you're wearing a straitjacket.

Okay, maybe not. Combat is generally set in narrow hallways, although you're rarely left with no room to dodge incoming projectiles. What's that? Sounds familiar? Well, yeah. It is. The real difference is that the 'monster closets' we've all been stuck with so far are swapped out for some teleporting enemies! Unfortunately though, the three biggest ambushes are far too easy to crush -- stuff comes rushing in through some teleports, and you just obliterate it with one hand. Why are they so easy? Because there's only one teleport destination for each of these attempted assaults. With no real way for the enemies to surround or even attempt to flank you (not to mention they just end up hitting each other when several do manage to arrive before the previous is shot down - the drawback of trying traps in tighter spaces), this was invariably going to be the end result every time:

Strike 1!

Strike 2!

Strike 3! You're dead!

Everything else was pretty much the usual shenanigans. See stuff, shoot it, feel good about yourself. While the use of Demons is somewhat better than every other attempt so far, they're still employed in a way that's just too simple to deal with; they get in each other's way, all attack from one side, and generally get sandwiched between crossfire. But never mind that, because this map gave me a Mega-Armour for shooting a wall. Yep.

But that dual-switch exit was some stupid crap.

It was easy, but I still wear the Dunce Hat for taking so long.

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There's something appealing about the sterile appearance of this place. Plain grey concrete walls, that weird blue floor, and almost uniform lighting. It's arguably bland, but for some mysterious reason it works for a map titled 'The Lost Lab'. Oh wait, that's not mysterious.

Anyway, this one used to be a death trap in Survival co-op... or at least that was the case if you were stupid. See this?

One Radsuit. That means one guy goes in and cleans up while the rest wait outside and play Janken; DO NOT FOLLOW HIM!

Well you always do get one impatient fool who wants to get the highest kill percentage for some reason. But back to the current run...

One welcome feature of this map is that backtracking isn't just a dull routine of going back down previously cleared areas while whistling tunelessly; monster closets open up on several occasions, and while there's no immediate danger (not with all this firepower being handed out like pizza coupons), it's a refreshing change to have a few fights that aren't either the initial obstacles, or the immediate 'surprises' for picking something up. This map also features a Berserk, so from this point on I just rushed around the remaining areas while swinging my fist and shouting "slappidy dappidy!" at everything. It works, but that's more to do with my ability to actually hit things without being cut/shot down or eaten, rather than stumbling upon some magic words that give me special powers. That's just silly.

Of course, using Berserk does also require the use of brains every so often. Pictures can't tell you what was going on behind this door, but let me say that there was a lot of shooting and screaming. I do love it when infighting does the hard work for me.

"Fuck that noise. You can sort yourselves out for a moment while I stand here and try to look important."

And then we get this bullshit. See this wall? Yeah, nothing special about it. No difference in texture to the nearby walls, and the Automap says that it's just a plain old wall. Do you know what this means? Yes!


It's a fucking secret! It's another one of these fucking pot-luck moments which rewards spastic MMF-MMF-MMF'ing your way around instead of actually looking for and discovering any subtle hints on how to open it. And it contains...

Oh for fu-... really? E2M3 and you're already out to throw this thing at me?

All in all, not a bad map. An unbelievably dumb secret (it's too early to be dishing out ultimate weapons like that, especially when we only just acquired the Plasma Rifle), but there were at least some fresh (for this WAD) situations to encounter, even if everything was mown down in the blink of an eye. Or savagely punched into next week.

I can explain this slow time. It was be-... oh who am I kidding?

Maybe the difficulty will pick up soon? Because I am going to be very disappointed with that early BFG if I don't have a good excuse to use it.

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E2M4: Corfiatis ratchets up the difficulty for us keyboard players, constructing an entire level around this nasty shotgunner gimmick. And I mean "nasty" in a positive way, as it was pretty difficult and made each encounter interesting, making me play a bit more vigilant and restrained as opposed to the mindless strafe-fest throughout most of E1. However I did feel like a couple of the shotgunner traps were unfair, specifically if you're still equipped with the shotgun, as the pumping animation leaves you particularly vulnerable to retaliation (I'm looking at you, elevator trap). And the blue key ambush cornered me on the first try.

Visually it continues the tech/hellbase theme nicely with marble faces scattered throughout, and my favorite part by far was the creative and ingenious cavern that forced you to walk a thin line with gunners in the front, imps to your side, and a pair of wandering cacos harassing from behind. Probably the best "fight/arena" in the whole megawad so far.

So far I'm pretty pleased with E2.

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It would seem pcorf was enamored of the 'teleport a sergeant behind them' trick when he made this level; to the point that every time I opened a door, I sprinted backward from it so as not to get caught. I guess that trap is the story behind the level's name.

This is a (marginally disguised) return to the 'three key doors and one non-key door leading off a central hub' that we saw so often in E1. The disguise comes because the hub is separated into a couple of annexes, while the non-key route doesn't have a door :). It's still very much the same thing though, with the linear progress that entails.

Most of the action in this is quite manageable. Monsters – except the teleporting sergeants – generally come from the same direction (or at least, the same 90 degree arc) and allow you to mow them down pretty easily. The demon trap on the blue key gets nerfed by a block monster line at the top of the stairs, allowing a player to calmly pick them off without risk. However, there is one nice gameplay surprise with the caco that's released in the chasm after you grab the yellow key. That has the potential to be a nasty shock as you come down the lift.

Speaking of the chasm, we do see some real hellishness creeping in here; while there are plenty of areas that would be perfectly at home in an E1 map, there are also plenty that wouldn't. Still not enough in the way of vines, though. E2 was all about the vines! :)

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E2M1 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 100, Items – 94, Secrets – 83. Time 18:27. End Health 172, Armor 100

Circumstances forced me to start E2 at 4:00 AM on Sunday. I thought maybe playing on the fine edge of a coma would give the beasties a better chance.

Not so in the first map. Even with 3 Cacos and a bunch of Lost Souls, combat was easy thanks to Deaf Monster Syndrome and no-flow mapping techniques. Mouldy said it well in his description. There was also the matter of music, and I can’t possibly top Baron’s hilarious rant, so suffice to say, I found the music so objectionable in this map and the next, that I muted it, as I had previously done on E1M4.

Paul is in full-on Sandy Petersen mode with his wiggy secrets, although we see nothing like the torture he’ll inflict on us (or me, at least) in E2M4. I figured out the oddball “different-colored wall” secret with surprising ease. The Soulsphere came to me as well, mostly through luck. I saved the Berserk for the end and exited the level the first time in 11:36, but with only 33% secrets. So I opened a saved game and went back, finally figured out the Green Armor and Light Amplification secrets, and left again, this time with 83%. I’ve learned to accept such crappy numbers in pcorf maps. If only I’d found the computer map!

The map looked okay, but nothing special.

E2M2 – Chris Hansen – Kills – 97, Items – 96, Secrets – 0. Time 22:03. End Health 68, Armor 31. Death Count – 1

After 10 maps of 2002:ADO I’m thinking maybe I was wrong about being a mediocre player. Maybe I’m a Doom God after all. But – oops! – now I’m in a Chris Hansen map, and he reacquaints me, painfully, with my limitations.

I found the map claustrophobic and not especially likable. The layout managed to be linear yet complicated and confusing. Even so, Hansen had some neat details with intestine and blood floors bordering other flats, and overall, I found the design rather clever. I was less pleased with the switch-hunt aspects of the map, and agree with mouldy that having a switch open a door behind you to reveal a switch to raise a bridge by the first switch is just asinine.

I began playing this map with my lip curled in the same sneering contempt with which I approached all the other threat-free maps. However, it soon became clear that shit was getting serious. The fights were nothing special, but they were noticeably harder than in previous maps, especially the teleport-trickle traps, at least in the cases where I ran away at the sound of teleporting monsters and failed to cover the spawn point. Hansen was ready for players like me, and in one case thoughtfully supplied a central structure which allowed Pinkies to attack me from two sides. I soon noticed that my health was fading and that I hadn’t seen any Medikits or Stimpacks in a long time. Ammo was also a bit tight, especially bullets. As a keyboard player, I lean heavily on the chaingun when it comes to mowing down Pinkies and Spectres, but I was forced to use the shotgun more than I wanted because there weren’t enough bullets for me, and took damage as a result.

I was at 22% health when I rode the final elevator and got surprised by another teleport trap. I was hit from behind before I knew what was happening, which led to my first and only death in the map. When I rode it again, I was ready and waiting at the spawn point.

The final room was nice-looking but had that stupid two-switch nonsense which, as Capellan predicted, was frustrating to me. This is what I call a real jagoff move, done purely to frustrate the player. Of course, like most jagoff moves in Doom, I’ve been guilty of something similar myself. Specifically, Map 23, Realm of Chaos, where after you’ve finally killed all 90,000 monsters, you flip a switch that opens an exit door halfway across the Atlantic, and you have to run at warp speed before it closes. I thought nothing of it, because in those days I played on Turbo, which means I was able to dodge monsters at Mach 2.5, and incidentally, perform spectacular, unplanned aerials into nukage pits! Nowadays, I play at a walking pace. With Hansen’s trick, after 4 failed attempts I was going to clip through, but instead I turned on Always Run and made it.

When I saw my count of 0 Secrets and only 97% Kills, I was really pissed off at myself, so I opened a saved game and clipped around to see what I missed. I coulda used that Blue Armor. Overall, a solid map that managed to humble me.

E2M3 – Rory Habich – Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secrets – 75. Time 27:14. End Health 200, Armor 200. Death Count 4.

This Wolfensteiny map is all flat corridors, but somehow I kinda liked it. Rory did good work with the piston trick at the yellow key and in the big nukage pumping room. The gameplay was a bit weird down there, but at this point I was happy to have easy fights and restore my health. My sneering contempt was on the way back when I encountered the infamous red key fight on the damaging floor. This is where I was killed 4 times. The first 2 times it was because I was stubborn and thought I could shotgun my way through. I realized this was impossible, so out came the rocket launcher. The first time I lost track of a Spectre and killed myself with blast damage, the second I was shocked out of my wits by the final trap and got hemmed in, but still killed everything only to die from floor damage two steps from freedom. I almost died the final time while I dithered over what to do after killing everything. Some nice monster-mobbing happened after that, but now I had the Plasma Gun!!!! Woo Hoo, I Am Death Incarnate again! Ah, but this time I didn’t get 480 cells like in E1M5, so soon I was back to shotgunning.

I give Rory credit for keeping the pressure up. And I learned that this is a map where it really pays to backtrack! I only wish I had Baron’s wall-penetrating radar, because I did not find the BFG.

E2M4 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 98, Items – 74, Secrets – 40. Time 45:03. End Health 148, Armor 148. Death Count – 2

What got into Paul Corfiatis? He finally gets on the warpath here in what I think is the most entertaining map so far. He got me many times with his teleporting sergeant trick, even though I came to expect it. Keyboard players turn slowly, after all. Then he showed teleporting Cacos and combat from multiple angles. Hear-hear! There was also one instance where the player gets teleported in a disorienting way.

I thought the map looked great -- Paul excels at the hellish tech base theme -- although there were too many blinking lights, as in E1M3. And this time the fights overall were pretty good. Even when Paul threw critters at you from the front, he sometimes used enough of them to drain your ammo and cause a little concern.

My first death occurred in the underground section. I was backing away from teleporting Spectres when I fell off the zigzag ledge and into the lava. I was killed a second time at the nasty Baron-Lost Soul trap. This one's a real shocker and, of course, it put a big smile on my masochistic face. One thing that annoyed me was the Imps in the underground section. I was going for 100% kills and they were often so far below me that it took a ton of shots to kill them all. I wonder how speedrunners feel about that?

The secrets in this map are positively diabolical. I finished my first run in 41:18 with only 30% secrets, so I went back in for a few minutes and came out with only 40%. Luckily, I figured out the Soulsphere and Blue Armor/Plasma Gun secrets, the latter of which is pretty fiendish, but I gave up on the others. As is often the case in pcorf maps, sectors are triggered by distant linedefs hidden somewhere in Passaic, New Jersey, and because I had a massive headache I just wasn’t up to the search. But overall, I had great fun in this map.

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SteveD said:
The final room was nice-looking but had that stupid two-switch nonsense which, as Capellan predicted, was frustrating to me. This is what I call a real jagoff move, done purely to frustrate the player.

I'm not sure what the idea here was, to be honest. With mouse turning and always run on, it's easy to get to the switch. It seems like its only purpose is to troll keyboard players.

On the other hand, at least it's not the stupid double switch in CC4 map30. I'm pretty sure that's flat out impossible if you play keyboard only, unless you use hacks like a 180 turn hotkey.

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Oh, great. Fucking great. One of the more aggravating maps in the episode, because it dreams up a gimmick and runs with it. And runs, and runs, and runs... good thing I have 200/200 right now, because if memory is anything to go by then I am going to wind up in deep shit at some point. Such is my luck with enemy attack chances...

I'm saving this for later.

So, what's this gimmick that's taken to excess? Well if the title wasn't enough for you to guess, this map loves Shotgun Guys. And I mean loves them -- you can't go anywhere without some bald-headed bastard going "grawwwgh" and proceeding with the sole objective of turning you into a lead-filled beanbag.

Big deal, you scoff.

Well that's not the gimmick. The gimmick is that most of these abhorrent fuckers will teleport out of view the moment that you alert them, usually behind you. And once this sort of shit happens enough times, it starts to become pretty fucking painful no matter how you try and prepare for it. They will get shots off, and given the average distance it's going to hit you. Constantly.

Tempting to just go mad and smack stuff around, but I'm saving you too in case I need major healing.

This serves as a major source of irritation, and almost instantly I could feel my ability to focus take a massive dive. And this map was apparently set up to make the most of this lapse in concentration by punishing me further.

...aw, shit.

You motherfucker.

It does lay off the constant buckshot bullshit every now and then, but also kicks you in the dick with the most tedious walkway imaginable. Imps start chucking shit at you from afar, Zombies litter the path ahead, a quartet of Spectres appear on two occasions (hurrah for pointless ammo sinks!), and a pair of Cacodemons decide to float up silently and attempt to block your way back.

Ready to have fun? Look elsewhere, this bit sucks.

There's a secret area with a Mega-Armour, a Plasma Rifle, and some other stuff. You know what this means? It means I heard a door open and I'm getting that fucking BFG equipped. Good thing too, because what was waiting for me on the return through a teleporter was nothing short of vicious. The Plasma Rifle's a good weapon, but probably wouldn't have been enough to flatten the 'surprise' before it inflicted some horrendous (possily fatal) injuries; even with the mighty BFG on-hand, I still got battered around the head by a couple of fireballs. See what I mean about enemy attack frequencies?

Some random adventuring around the map while collecting keys results in the acquisition of various goodies, the opening of secret areas, a seemingly endless run of Shotgun Guys (resulting in a delicious resupply of Shells), and I think it's time to move on. This place is dead, everything seems clear. Let's get to the exit and go ho-...


What. The. Fuck?

Turns out that I was already well on the way to uncovering the secret exit. Ohhhh, goddamnit. Now I have to go and run around looking for random switches and whatever else may trigger the next step in this painfully awkward series of triggers. Sure enough though, I got there in the end. And the secret exit decided to shout at me to make sure I didn't do anything stupid.


Good thing I'm using ZDoom. And I know what map's coming up next.

Took long enough, but when you see whatever the fuck that thing on the wall was you're likely to take a time-out.

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Okay, here comes one of the stupidest secret maps ever. It's pretty unremarkable in every way, and plays like some sort of vaguely modified OBLIGE map; you get a Chaingun at the start, and a whole bunch of ammo for it arranged in neat little blocks throughout the rest of the way. Now go forth and puncture some Cacoballoons while this ridiculous surfer music plays. Listen out for the boss of this level, because he's listening out for you!


Okay well done on that short task, here's a prize.

Well that pretty much removes any threat from the imminent Cyberdemon encounter.

Keep puncturing Cacode-... oh fuck it. MOVE. NOW.

Fuck that noise. Get out of my way you inflatable bastards.

A few minutes later, and it's obvious that the one other lifeform that isn't fat, red and floaty has arrived.

Oh, here he comes, late to the party once most of the other guests are dead. You can't see him, but you can hear him.

Son of a bitch managed to score a hit on me by immediately firing a second volley as I moved in to try and get the most from a BFG blast; I shouted "CUNT!!" as the screen went bright red and next door's baby started crying. Get used to it kid, you're going to hear that a lot while you live next door to me.

Hurrah! A time that isn't complete shit! Now that we're done with this jokemap, let's go back to normal stuff.

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E2M3 The Lost Labs by Rory Habich

This is a very rectangular map, everything seems to be organised at 90 degree angles. Still it has its moments of interest, the slime purification room (if thats what it was) for example. Proceedings are tightly conducted again, although I was shocked to find corridors with more than one unlocked door. The doors were all just single rooms though, out of boredom I tried opening them all to see if I could get a decent swarm of enemies going, but they took some persuasion to leave their comfy cubicles and go wandering. Then I died because I went in a poisonous room without a rad suit on. I guess it was signposted pretty clearly but I didn't expect the door to lock behind me as I dipped in a toe. There was a destinct lack of cacos throughout, but they made up for it with a tricky room at the end.

E2M4 Shotgun Blues by Paul Corfiatis

Wow, is this the same wad I'm playing? Suddenly the difficulty has shot right up and the map is a sprawling creative bastard, with excellent and varied locations, devious traps and convaluted secrets. The first thing I have to say is ENOUGH WITH THE SHOTGUN GUYS TELEPORTING BEHIND ME ok thanks. Once was amusing, twice was ok I get it now, but every single door you open? It felt like a cheap way to up the difficulty, considering they will mostly always get a shot at you. Then you have to contend with monsters teleporting randomly around which is a kind of gimmicky way of making fights more interesting. That said, this did have some decent fighting and really tough moments, its the first map so far where I felt the need to save regularly. First off the ammo was very tight, practically the only shells you got were from dead bodies, which meant leaving stuff alive to come back and haunt you later. I'm damn glad I found the chaingun secret, seems a bit much really to hide it.. The plasma gun was a bit of a joke, you use up all the ammo you get for it on the trap that comes right after picking it up. And the bfg was kind of redundant, but nice to see it at last. The highlight of this map was definitely the journey, going from base to outdoors to hell-castle to underground cavern, it felt like someone decided to have fun with it and chuck in a bit of everything. Great fun finding all the secrets too, especially the cheeky photo.

And I found a secret exit, though it goes to E5M1??

E5M1 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes


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Capellan said:

I'm not sure what the idea here was, to be honest. With mouse turning and always run on, it's easy to get to the switch. It seems like its only purpose is to troll keyboard players.

On the other hand, at least it's not the stupid double switch in CC4 map30. I'm pretty sure that's flat out impossible if you play keyboard only, unless you use hacks like a 180 turn hotkey.

I can't speak for Chris Hansen, only for myself, but even from my early days of mapping I was always in a cold sweat that my map just wasn't hard enough, and I needed to do something to make it more difficult. And thus comes the jagoff move, like making players find a secret door to finish, or run at crazy speed near a pit to reach a door. Just one last little thing to piss the player off. Which is a dumb idea, because then the player hates you and doesn't want to play any more of your maps. ;) And this is different than my "Kill the the player in three different places" philosophy, as we've discussed in another thread. I'm not, in my mind, being a jagoff by doing that, because after all, I'm the first to suffer, again and again as I test the map. The idea is to kill them but make them like it because it's a crazy intense and "interesting battle in a cool environment." ;)

Looking at Hansen's room, well, maybe he's a keyboard player, or keyboard and mouse, who plays at a walking pace, or maybe some of the playtesters were. You'll notice the two columns in the nukage that block slow movers like me from dashing across using our shift key. My directional accuracy sucks when shift-key running, so for me, those columns are a big deal. They can cause me to take damage from the floor. Very clever, and obviously intentional. Thus, it's hard to imagine that Hansen wasn't trying to dog us a little bit, and playing percentages. After all, players use different styles. Some run, some walk, some are mousers and some play keyboard. So for the walkers and the keyboarders, I can say that Chris Hansen made us suffer just that little extra bit. ;D

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Shotgun Blues by PCorf
This map is probably the toughest map in episode 2 (perhaps E2M7), but in consecutive play this is all right. The secrets are a bit of an enigma especially the chain of secrets which lead to the secret exit. But there are some little smart secrets scattered around. My memory of this map was needing to punch out a lot of barons in this map due to lack of ammo except for shells. Overall it is fun though but the cavern area is a bitch for autoaim, the imps are too far away and you risk falling in 20 death lava.
Strange and different map, apart from the hub part. Has it's moment and of course the increased difficulty is welcome.

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I like the ending of e2m2, I think that pressing these 2 switches and running to the exit quickly is a lot more fun and challening than a lot of fights in this wad. I'd like to see more unusual stuff like this in Doom levels.

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Memfis said:

I like the ending of e2m2, I think that pressing these 2 switches and running to the exit quickly is a lot more fun and challening than a lot of fights in this wad. I'd like to see more unusual stuff like this in Doom levels.

Which shows that different players have different styles, and tastes.

BTW, I enjoyed your Kuchitsu mapset, even though it was rather easy.

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E2M5 -- Fortress of Fatalities - 100% kills / 100% secrets
This was what I'd call the first legitimately challenging map in 2002:ADO, but--I must stress this--only for pistol-starters; those doing a consecutive playthrough will probably find it to be easier than 'Shotgun Blues.' The reason for this is that this is a map in the ammo-miser style (health aids are fairly limited as well), or what is now sometimes referred to as the 'survivalist' style; it's the sort of map that WAD authors of a bygone day used to put into episodes/megaWADs in order to significantly drain the ammo reserves of players using carryovers. Those coming into the map with armaments from earlier in the episode will probably have no real problems--there are few traps, none of them particularly deadly, and most of the opposition is again placed in a very straightforward manner (whereas the previous map used the teleporting sergeant trick and other high-offense tactics)--although if you get cavalier with the ammo you might leave a bit leaner than you came in. Players starting the map fresh, on the other hand, will be dealing with significant resource scarcity up until near the end (or until finding a certain powerful untelegraphed secret ammo cache), putting the relatively modest number of simply placed monsters in a whole new light. Going for max kills on this without secrets would require the use of some 'austerity' tactics--e.g. punching demons/specters/lost souls/some imps to death with an unberserked fist, placing a greater than normal priority on promoting infighting, ignoring lost souls entirely when you can get away with it, etc. Even this is much less feasible if you don't at least find the important rocket launcher secret, I'd wager. This is one of relatively few maps where the use of monster blocking lines on thresholds adds challenge rather than detracts from it; it certainly makes the monsters more difficult to kite around until you're ready to deal with them. All told, this is hardly the most severe example of the style I've seen--the pressure certainly backs off once you pass the halfway point, and largely dissipates if you find that one secret (I didn't find it until after everything was dead on my first attempt)--but it's a striking contrast with the rest of the other maps in the set thus far, to be sure. Aesthetically it features a greater-than-usual degree of verisimilitude for a Corfiatis map (e.g. it actually looks something like a fortress), and there are a lot of vibrant color contrasts at play (although the central lava room in the fortress proper is probably a mite garish), largely a function of the steadily increasing ratio of Hell to techbase that the maps in E2 are evincing as we go along. Much like in E2M4, there's a sort of small chain of secrets that culminate in the secret exit (which also allows you to leave the map significantly earlier than normal if you're so inclined), but unlike E5M1, E2M9's an entertaining map worth a play, so it's certainly worth searching for....

E2M9 --Dungeon of Hate - 100% kills / 100% secrets
.....speaking of which, here we finally see Paul showing some real teeth, at least in the early going. I imagine the lasting impression that this one will leave with many of the club's players are the series of deathtraps that comprise the first few minutes--first an undead buckshot firing squad, then a bushel of rotten tomatoes jammed into a small space, and then an unavoidable cyberdemon who will necessitate a brief spot of backtracking while you fumble around for something to kill him with. Survive all this and things certainly quiet down more from then on out (though there's still a lot of shotgunning left to do), to the point where you'll probably be in sightseeing mode by the time the end rolls along. I reckon that this once again illustrates Corfiatis' tendency to build stuff around self-contained set-pieces; even after the big opening fight you still run into these on the rest of the (highly linear) trip, e.g. the spiderdemon/cyberdemon pit-fight contrivance. As I've opined before, sometimes this works and sometimes this doesn't, but I liked this map, so I reckon it worked this time. Visually it's kind of blocky/chunky, but the Heretic textures and the altered sky freshen things up a bit, and I like those weird fleshy pits overflowing with carcasses near the aforementioned spider/cyb setup, an interesting detail.

Another general observation I'd have is that I find I'm rather liking a lot of the quirky music selections in this episode more than I did the ones in E1--especially E2M1, E2M4, and E2M5.

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E2M5 Fortress of Fatalities by Paul Corfiatis
Another tough map from pistol start. I rage quit on a fast time when trying to record a demo for this map. SAV88 solved that problem anyway with a great time.
This map is pretty tight on health and ammo and is very hellish though it relents towards the end. It looks really nice in places too. The caged monsters are a pain though but are a blip on an otherwise good difficult level. The secrets yet again sort of chain up together to find the secret exit though it's not as long winded as the previous one. Though some will probably grumble at the fact the secret exit is back at the start point.
Like the last map, the music is good here.

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