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The DWmegawad Club plays: (Ultimate) DOOM

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Final thoughts...

Stats by episode:
E1: two secrets missed, 17 deaths
E2: one secret missed, 20 deaths
E3: two secrets missed, 7 deaths
E4: five secrets missed, 87 deaths

(Yeah, I'd say E4 is the hardest by a fair margin)

Having done a lot of work for Switcheroom recently, which involved a lot of playing through many of the old IWAD maps and going over them with a fine toothed comb, there weren't a ton of surprises that there might be for some. Definitely some secrets I "found" that I didn't know about a year ago. Still, it was a decent trip down memory lane in a lot of respects. E1 is what I expected, though it's interesting to note that it's not as nearly interconnected as everyone remembers it being. E2 has a lot more Tom Hall than I expected - lots of winding hallways. E3 has more crazy ideas than I expected, with E3M5's teleporter nonsense, E3M6's open sandbox layout and E3M7's blood teleporters. E4 of course, is E4... definitely more polished in many respects and higher quality of maps overall, though some feel unfinished with poor texture choices (I'm looking at you, E4M3 and E4M4) as well as more experimentation.

The real new experience for me was playing on -fast. Pretty much every monster in the game gets a kick in the pants, though the increase in difficulty isn't evenly applied. Hitscanners obviously fire much more often (and quickly if they get the drop on you), but are still easily dispatched. Imps have faster fireballs, but this is only really a pain when they're sniping at you from across the level and you're working on something else. Demons/spectres? Now THOSE are threats now. They're somewhat of a joke in normal play unless you get surrounded, even if they get in your face their slow attack animation means you can back up before they actually hit you. They're ridiculously fast on -fast and will be in your face and chewing it up before you can do anything about it. If we were balancing Doom today, I'd definitely recommend the demons get a bit faster (not as much as -fast, but closer than normal). Lost Souls are a bit of a mixed bag - their super-fast attack means if they reach you, they'll tear you apart, but it also means they can no longer go around corners if they see the player and will often kill themselves in packs before the player. Cacodemons can be very dangerous since they fire so fast (and tend to get in more surprising sniper positions than imps do) but their general usage in the IWAD weakens them. Barons aren't that much better (slightly faster fireballs) and the boss monsters aren't changed at all.

The shotgun definitely takes a downward trend in usefulness, since the reload speed is now much slower in relation to firing hitscanners and charging demons than before. On normal, you can lock down a caco fairly easily with the shotgun, not so on -fast. The chaingun thus becomes a lot more useful, but there's a paucity of bullets across all four episodes. Thankfully, there's lots of plasma if you need it.

I doubt I'll ever play on -fast again, but it was definitely an interesting experience.

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I'll have January's thread up sometime tomorrow, presumably after my eventual hangover subsides.

E4M7: A sneaky map. It’s alright all around, having some good traps and enemy placement, although the crusher in the basement is garbage to run into (died to it twice).

E4M8: Always felt that this was a strange boss map, having only “half” of a level and a cluttered finale. Running to pick up the weapons while the mastermind goes bananas was kinda fun, but it was a swift cleanup afterwards.

Overall: (Ultimate) Doom has always been tough for me to judge since I’ve known it since I was a kid, playing it on my parents’ blocky IBM work laptop. There were some neat things I had forgotten about here but it’s still the same game I know and love in the end. Really miss the Doom2 SSG and monsters however, as the game feels much more like a slow crawl without them. In episode preference I’d be tempted to say E2 > E4 > E3 > E1, although I liked the visual flair of E3 the most (I can appreciate E1 bad damn do I hate its repetitive use of 4.5 monster types).

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E4M1 – Hell Beneath. Kills – 93, Items – 90, Secret – 0. Time 9:23. End Health – 40, Armor – 6. Death Count – 3

Ah, the first map of E4, as I continue playing UV continuous. This map sets the “look” that I and many others associate with E4 – Gstone, Metal/Support3 and that awesome orange sky, my favorite sky by far from the IWADs, and I would have to say that the E4 look, overall, is my favorite as well.

As we all know, these maps are more difficult than the earlier episodes, but are they also more fun?

For me, the answer is “Definitely not” with this map. Small, cramped, with a ridiculous torch/switch for the NIN secret, and the Jagoff move of having monsters firing through walls – one of my deaths came from that -- this map has a lot of annoyances for its small size. To my way of looking at it, there’s a Good Jagoff/Bad Jagoff kinda move when it comes to making maps difficult, and every player will view this differently. For me, monsters firing through walls is Bad Jagoff, putting a switch action on a torch is also Bad Jagoff, not to mention a secret that earns you nothing except the fun of being stuck in a small space with 4 barons, plus Spectres and Imps, in a map with low ammo, no Chainsaw, and no Zerk!

Well, that didn’t happen to me. I’ve avoided this map for years because it kicked my ass so bad back in the day, and to me, it wasn’t fun back then, either. ;D This time, I found it easier than expected. I really liked getting jumped by teleporting Sergeants at the start, and aside from a couple annoying problems, mainly having a Spectre in the red key area’s lava moat as auto-aim bait (yes, that’s Bad Jagoff!!!!), it's a generally tough but not too-tough map. Without question, the toughest intro map in all the IWADs

Luckily for me, I failed to find any secrets except for the non-secret RL. I did activate the Spectre/Imp teleport in the blue key room, but I was able to scoot out of there and kill them outside without taking a hit. So I guess the way I played this map, it isn’t so bad, though it seemed I did a lot more door-camping than I like. And I knew that leaving this map at 40% health would mean extreme pain in Perfect Hatred, but I thought having the Chainguin and Rocket Launcher would be worth it. I was right. ;)

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I feel like posting some episode summations, too.

E1 -- Knee Deep in the Dead - Probably the most popular span of levels in all of the Doom universe, Romero's first episode is both a fitting introduction to the game and a textbook on the basics of satisfying map composition. Indeed, it has been elevated more or less to deific status, and like most things that reach that level of acclaim, the reality doesn't quite live up to the legend. As many of the club players observed, the layouts are flowing and interconnect well, but generally not as freeflowing as most odes to the episode seem to hold; indeed, most of the maps progress in a very basic, linear path (esp. in comparison to some of the later episodes), with only the secret areas representing major diversions. The same holds with most other accolades commonly attributed to the episode: it uses height variation consistently, but seldom in a way that makes a huge impact on the way players fight and traverse the installations; it pays more attention to texture composition than the other episodes, but is hardly a tour de force in cleanliness/thoroughness, etc. etc. Of course, the major drawback is that it's essentially zombies, imps, and demons the whole way--there's only so much you can do with such a limited toolset, no matter how nuanced your designs. All that being said, due to the internal consistency and strong identity in its construction and creative vision, KDiTD still holds up fairly well even to modern eyes, whereas the other episodes all have at least a map or two that appear rather dated in the here and now; while it's seldom little more than an appetizer these days, KDiTD is almost always palatable, never a chore. Of the game's three/four episodes, it has never been and is probably never going to be my favorite simply because it is so elementary (and it also represents one of the themes I am least interested in seeing new interpretations of, given that it is already one of the most-imitated styles in the history of PWADing), but playing it always serves as a reminder of many of the fundamental aspects of idtech1 architecture/setting that make games running on the engine (and Doom in particular, of course!) so compelling.

E2 -- The Shores of Hell - This is still probably the episode that is most difficult for me to make up my mind about. It has several of my favorite maps from the game (E2M2, E2M4, E2M6), but these tend to alternate with some of its biggest misfires (E2M1, E2M3), and of course E2M9 is perhaps the least well-aged map in the game. In truth, this seasawing rhythm between intrigue and disinterest doesn't seem as troublesome to me as it used to, as I've come to think of internal inconsistency as being a hallmark of the Deimos atmosphere, which I've come to appreciate much more over the years (I suppose it might be worse if it were entirely inconsistent, but it's not; this being the Tom Hall-isode lends it some semblance of cohesion in design). It occurs to me that this episode is also probably the most low-key from a combat perspective (at least as regards monster population relative to map size), which would likely be an issue for me in a modern PWAD, but the original game is just so easy throughout to begin with that it doesn't seem disproportionately simple to me, and I'm able to ignore the uneventfulness and just focus on the atmosphere of maps like Deimos Lab or Containment Area. I suppose I could say that while it's easy for me to see that E2 is heavily flawed in some ways (and recall that my initial assessment of it was fairly unkind), its virtues have become much more apparent to me as my tastes have changed over the years.

E3 -- Inferno - E3 has usually been my favorite part of the game, and indeed it is currently (and probably will remain so indefinitely at this point); both back when I first played the episode, and just now at the tail end of 2013, I found it easy to appreciate how this episode is both heavily internally varied and yet still cohesive as an overall experience. Each map in E3 is starkly different from the one that came before it, and in most cases, from all of the maps in the rest of the game (though E3M3 does feel a LOT like E2M5 to me, as mentioned earlier in the playthrough), and yet it hangs together well thematically, a testament to there being method in Sandy's freewheeling sort of madness. Gameplay in this episode still holds up reasonably well--to modern sensibilities it's not at all a difficult trek (and in fact it's the easiest in the game on Nightmare! mode), with its lower numbers of hitscanners reducing the attrition affect, but while it's not difficult to win the battles here they still manage to feel violent through simple volume, in the same way that the best parts of E1 do. It also occurs to me that E3 has by far the most tactically interesting selection of pistol-starts in the original game, which compensate to some degree for even very sedate levels like E3M7. While hardly comprehensive, I feel that E3 represents the largest and most varied selection of all the many different tools--and things that can be made with them--that Doom offers, and for that reason alone it has always had a special mystique for me, similar to what many folks attribute to E1. Also, it's Hell! I love Hell, particularly the general Doomy conception of it, and 'Inferno' is a solid representation of one of Hell's thematic strengths--again, it is quite thematically varied, with House of Pain seeming vastly different in mood and decor from Pandemonium or Mt. Erebus, and yet all of these different sub-themes sit fairly well next to another. A mistake that modern PWADs often make in dealing with Hell is not to take advantage of the opportunity it affords to nonchalantly cram a bunch of starkly different themes into one episode (rather than having to be stuck with a lava/blackrock theme the whole time, for example); Sandy's relatively short attention span vis-a-vis aesthetic motifs hardly holds Inferno back, indeed, it seems natural here.

E4 -- Thy Flesh Consumed - At one point fairly early in my Doom career, I went through a phase where I categorically referred to this episode as my favorite from the game, simply because the combat within it, which is comparatively more challenging than that of the other episodes, kept me on my toes better than the already-memorized setups of the older episodes. In broad form that's still true, of course, but in all of the years since that time, I've come to feel that combat isn't everything (though it's still often the main thing!), and if it's going to try to be, it needs to be pitched at a much higher/tighter level than most of what's here to capture my imagination in the same way that this one used to (incidentally, I feel like my taste in gameplay is now much more defined/settled than it was back then, somewhat ironic in that I'm now probably a lot less picky and more well-rounded in terms of the types of situations I can deal with). You might say that of all the episodes, this is the one that has aged least gracefully--it is the most internally inconsistent of the episodes both in terms of thematics/aesthetics and in terms of gameplay, of course a natural consequence to some degree of its much more varied authorship. Some of the maps here are still very compelling and stand as game highlights (e.g. E4M1, E4M6), but some of them feel like they're flat-out filler (esp. E4M4), which is a charge I generally don't feel like leveling even at the worst maps earlier in the game. This somewhat tackier, jerkier progression is probably emphasized by the episode's glitchier, less polished nature in comparison to its forbears, e.g. the unreachable secrets in E4M3/E4M7, the numerous small (but very obvious) errors in E4M4, and so on and so forth, all topped off by the 'fuck it we really don't care' ending. Ironically, despite my early infatuation, I would now say that I find this to be the low point of the original game, perhaps a testament to the importance of small, less immediately pressing details in design.

It'll probably be a few years before I return to this IWAD again (a few individual maps from it notwithstanding), but it was good to reacquaint myself with it, and to see how other players feel about it.

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E4M2 without pistol-start isn't E4M2.

That map is the best id-made map, for certain. There's some kinda dumb shit in it (the drop into the Chainsaw caves is a bit bullshit with infinite tallness, and there's the completely extraneous room that has no purpose other than to hide one secret and to probably kill you if you fell into the lava near the Plasma Rifle and couldn't catch the rising ledge back up), but overall, this is the best IWAD map that isn't a part of Plutonia.

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E4M2 – Perfect Hatred. Kills – 98, Items – 90, Secret – 0. Time 15:06. End Health – 200, Armor – 86. Death Count – 14

I sure got my face peeled back in this one. 4 deaths right at the start, 2 from coming in continuous, and 2 when I switched to pistol-start, before going back to continuous for my 5th try. I suffered badly from not having played this in years and years, so I had no idea about that radsuit at the start. Probably could have eliminated 6 deaths if I’d found it sooner!

The map starts out sorta like a scrunched version of, IMO, the most impressive map in Doom 2, Romero’s own The Living End, and a couple Medikits at the start were much appreciated by this continuous player. After numerous deaths, I ended up saving a game on the switch platform in the PG room’s lava pool, which was a most unfortunate thing for me to do, as my health was low and I kept failing to save at good points thereafter. For example, the dickish rising floor that allows access to the PG/yellow key platform is something I navigated very nicely on the first try, and on top of that, I killed the damned Baron guard, and the other Barons that appeared, all on the first try. But I didn’t save the game, and soon died trying to climb the stairs to the Baron/Sergeant room, and after that, it took about 8 tries to again accomplish what I’d accomplished the first time! I was so fuckin’ pissed! :D

This nightmarish section actually made me sweat and spew curses, all the moreso since, if I’m not mistaken, the fight in the Baron/Sergeant room is optional. But once I prevailed, the rest of the map was fairly easy. I died once by Caco swarm at the exit when I fled screaming from the Cyb and got surrounded. Then I ran all the way back to the starting platform and rocketed the whole swarm as they closed in. At 200% health, I got cocky and decided to kill the Cyb with plasma, but I wisely saved my game first, and when I took a hit that dropped me down to 100% just before polishing off Cybie, I decided to open a saved game and let goatfoot live in favor of entering the next map at 200%.

This map is one I can recognize as brilliant even though I’ll probably never play it again. It’s not the kind of tough play I greatly enjoy, since it relies on restricting player movement with damaging floors and uses high-HP monsters to chokepoint you. It’s really tough and clever, but just not super-fun for me.

Apologies to Cynical for not pistol-starting. I could do it, though. ;)

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E4M3 – Sever The Wicked. Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secret – 90. Time 18:54. End Health – 158, Armor – 91. Death Count – Zero

This is a nice map, but id really fucked up the continuous game here. Did they test continuous at all? There’s enough ammo in this map to kill 3 times its monster population. I didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth, so I took as much as I could, and still left a fuck-ton of ammo behind.

I dreaded this map back in the day, and while the high population of hitscanners offers a challenge for pistol-starters, I’d have no worries about pistol-starting this puppy and likely conquering it without a single death. Coming in continuous, it was almost beyond easy.

The map has mistakes here and there, for example, once you get down to the red key area, you’ll find an Imp stuck in the Support3 wall in the lava moat. And of course, there’s the infamous E4M3 Stairs Mistake, where each stair in a secret area is a secret itself – a mistake I unwittingly repeated in Map23 of Realm of Chaos, so for that reason I have a certain affection for this map. The layout is really good, but as others have noted, the unrelenting Wood theme is a bit much. At least you can have fun strafe-jumping across the lava gap, but I must say I was a bit disappointed by the action. It’s a good map, but could have been so much better.

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E4M4 – Unruly Evil. Kills – 95, Items – 95, Secret – 0. Time 9:38. End Health – 195, Armor – 62. Death Count – Zero

I won’t go so far as to say this map sucks, but it comes pretty damned close. I pistol-started this a few months ago for some reason and had no major problem. The layout is a bit boring and, as others have noted, Brownhug everywhere is a rather dull choice, and on top of that, the textures are offset all over the place for no apparent reason, causing me to do a lot of pointless wall-humping. Then there’s the issue of Caco traps with stuck Cacos. The secrets were also astonishingly obtuse, but I didn't care enough to really search for them.

Really, the only thing I liked about this mess was the opening, reminiscent of better maps like E1M7, E2M5, and Map17 of Doom 2 (broad similarities), and the drop-down areas in the first open room. Other than that, I’d say this is a total misfire.

Edit: It also bugs me that they wasted the awesome "Suspense" on this map.

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E4M5 – They Will Repent. Kills – 90, Items – 68, Secret – 50. Time 18:04. End Health – 100, Armor – 100. Death Count – Zero

I love this map. This is the first of 2 very impressive maps by Tim Willitts, and according to Doom Wiki, this one was laid out by his sister, Theresa Chasar. On the basis of this map, she needed to do a lot more layouts!

One thing I especially love about this map is how its wild, looping layout beautifully complements “Waltz of The Demons,” one of my absolute fave Doom tracks, previously heard in E2M7 and E3M7, maps which failed to do the song justice. In this wonderful, flowy map, moving through it really does feel like a dance, so it meshes perfectly.

This is not a difficult map on continuous, and is no special challenge on pistol-start, if memory serves. It’s more an issue of finding the right paths before you die on toxic floors or get pecked to death by a Lost Soul, IMO the most intimidating monster in this map. But thanks to good height variation, you will find yourself sniped from above and below often enough to grit your teeth.

This map could use more detail to really shine, but nonetheless it’s a good-looking environment.

I did okay on this run, though I failed to get the BFG, but I guarantee you that I enjoyed every minute of this adventure.

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E4M6 – Against Thee Wickedly. Kills – 97, Items – 50, Secret – 33. Time 21:54. End Health – 82, Armor – 0. Death Count – 4

This map is AWESOME!!!!! If I had to pick one map that perfectly represents what I think E4 stands for in both appearance and gameplay, this would be the map. It is stunning to look at, with good use of gradient lighting and a Gstone/Marble/Midgrate theme which, as DoTW noted, has been widely imitated.

This map is a PITA to play, with a fair number of Jagoff moves, but apart from one Sergeant firing through a wall to draw attention to a secret area, it’s all Good Jagoff stuff that enhances gameplay and leads to a lot of fun, at least for me.

Figuring out the trickbox of how to proceed in this map and gather supplies for the final battle against Herr Cyb is at least as tough as dealing with the many pitched battles you’ll encounter. This map kept me tense and alert throughout. As we can see by my Death Count, this is not the hardest map in the episode, though the waterfall of ammo in E4M3 has something to do with that. But while it’s not the hardest, it may be the cleverest and the best-looking, and the way it all blends together makes it the best E4 map to me, and one of the very best in the IWADs.

Of my 4 deaths, 3 were foolish deaths to the Cyb while I was on lava waiting to ride a lift to the central teleporter. The other time I just died on the lava when I stayed down there too long, but I had many near-death experiences mixed with several major losses of health.

All in all, I rate this one a true masterpiece.

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E4M7 – And Hell Followed. Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secret – 50. Time 17:44. End Health – 127, Armor – 121. Death Count – 3

Ah, the legendary Dr. Sleep and his cool lighting effects that I’m sure we’ve all adopted in one map or another. This is a very good-looking map, with the blue door room being iconic. This room also displays some of the irritating features of this map, because the blue door is a Marbface texture with no indication that it’s a door, blue or otherwise. The same room has a similarly unmarked yellow door, although in this case you know for sure that it’s actionable owing to similar doors already encountered.

As others have mentioned, this, the penultimate map, hardly has scintillating gameplay. It’s dead easy, though there is enough action to maintain interest. All 3 of my deaths came to the crusher as the result of a series of stupidities on my part. I was never in danger otherwise, though the map would be more difficult on pistol start.

It seems fitting that a map with unmarked key doors should also have an unmarked exit. It closes the “cheap difficulty” loop. Nonetheless, this map holds a special significance by expanding the “E4 Look,” adding a lot of wood to the Gstone/Marble/Support3 theme. Indeed, this map is second only to Against Thee Wickedly when I think of maps that personify E4 the best. It’s a shame the gameplay couldn’t match the beauty.

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E4M8 – Unto The Cruel. Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secret – 0. Time 15:12. End Health – 200, Armor – 200. Death Count – Zero

And so I end the main maps of E4 with a leisurely stroll through this boss level. I played this a few months ago from pistol start and found it almost as easy as this time, though my huge load of plasma at the start helped expedite the deaths of all those pesky Barons.

The info released by John Romero on who designed which levels indicates that this is only the second map Shawn Green ever made, and E4M3 was his first. A prodigy, then.

Anyway, I don’t share Romero’s view that this map represents a major advance over Sever The Wicked. It seems pretty undistinguished to me and I just tore right through it, although that means a fairly slow tear compared to most players. ;D One of the odd but gratifying features was the big platforming area, which you don’t have to platform since all the columns are lifts. A head-scratcher, that one, but a nice way to stock up.

This map continues the Dr. Sleep Gstone/Marble/Wood theme but does it less well. It was especially amusing to see gradient lighting – without any light source – drawing attention to Blue Armor in one of the towers.

All in all, it’s not a bad map, but it’s definitely nothing special.

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E4M9 – Fear (pistol start). Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secret – 50. Time 15:49. End Health – 106, Armor – 172. Death Count – 13

Fear is exactly what I felt for most of this map. I’m not sure if I ever played it before, but I do know that this puppy torched me time after time.

The start is actually a bit like one of my E1 maps, but much nastier. I had terrible luck getting barrels to explode with that damned pistol, and the Pinkies and Cacos herded me very effectively. I also had trouble drawing a bead on Sergeants and, on one dismal occasion, an Imp took 5 shotgun blasts before it died. The RNG hated me, but also, my aim was off because I was so rattled. Then again, shooting at a Sergeant with a Caco over it’s head and a Pinkie to the side is just the thing to produce nightmares with Risen3D’s wacky auto-aim.

So I just died and died again and again, and actually had to despair-quit for an hour before I gathered my wits and was able to win through.

So yes, this is a way-rad map by Tim Willitts. We needed a lot more Tim Willitts maps, IMO. Too bad he only did the 2 maps here. This monster is a textbook example of looping layout with lots of windows equaling extreme pain for players like me. Sheesh, I even died many times after getting the PG. And then, all of a sudden, the map had no pop left, and all that remained was a mop-up operation, or an early exit. I actually exited once having killed 78% of the monsters, but decided to open a saved game to see what else the map had to offer. Not much, I learned. ;D

I’m completely okay with the map’s symmetrical layout and also its E1 texture theme. Definitely the hardest E1-style map from id! All in all, one of my faves.

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Final Thoughts on Thy Flesh Consumed

Thy Flesh Consumed is a mixed bag, containing some of the best IWAD maps and one of the worst. Romero's maps were the most impressive design-wise, IMO, followed closely by Tim Willitts. American McGee's E4M4 was clearly the single worst map, a real shocker considering his outstanding work in Doom 2.

I agree with DoTW insofar as my opinion of E4 is lower after this playthrough than it was before. I suppose I remembered E4M6 best, because to me it is so incredibly brilliant, and forgot about the others, some of which I may never have beaten before (E4M1) or never played at all (E4M9).

It's also true that I never liked E4M1 and was never crazy about E4M2, though I recognize its excellence. I guess the real shocker is the degree to which I thought E4M3 and E4M7 were just okey-doke maps, though E4M7 was a very good-looking one. Same goes for E4M8.

My fave maps on this playthrough, in order of perceived excellence, are;


Oh, for more of Willitts!!!!!

Final Thoughts on Ultimate Doom

In the end, nothing changed in my house as far as favorite episode is concerned. The Champ is still Knee Deep In The Dead. Beauty is its own reward and, as DoTW said, "hard isn't everything." E1 has a consistent style theme, for the most part brilliantly and tastefullly executed. By comparison, E2 and E3 look like Amateur Hour, maps that often have little or no sense of place and tend to be corridor and maze-centric, with repetitive Meat Game combat.

E1 was also the most harrowing platythrough, since I chose to pistol-start these maps on -fast, leading to a full-episode Death Count of 54, assuming I counted right, though much of that was the 23 deaths I suffered by playing E1M4 incorrectly. A subsequent playthrough resulted in Zero deaths, and if that had been the official playthrough, my Death Count would drop to 31. By contrast, playing E2 on normal UV pistol start, I suffered 10 deaths. Playing E3 and E4 on UV continuous, I suffered 2 and 37 deaths respectively. Nonetheless, I rank E3 and E4 as roughly co-equals, because even though E3 was much easier, I found it consistently more entertaining and with a stronger "vibe." E4, on the other hand, had the sheer power of E4M6 on its side, and strong comrades in E4M5 and E4M9.

That said, on this playthrough I found myself viewing Knee Deep and Fava Beans as much closer in quality than before . . .

Also worth noting is Magnus's observation about the paucity of Chaingun ammo. As Jayextee suggested, id was clearly aware of the power of the Chaingun against this monster set. I'm sure they deliberately kept Chaingun ammo low for that reason. E4 was especially lacking, a surprise given all the rockets and plasma they throw at you.

Ultimate Doom is a great game. My two favorite maps, after all this time, are these;

First Runner-Up: E4M6 Against Thee Wickedly

Duh Winnuh: E1M3 Toxin Refinery

The more things change . . . ;)

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Well I fell behind way too much to ever catch up, so here are a few random opinions:

E2M1: Gets too much hate. It introduces teleporters as a game mechanic and it's clear Tom Hall was trying to emulate Romero's mapping style (and I think he pulls it off, personally).

E2M2: Crate job, Sandy! I've made it no secret that I hate crates as a detail element in Doom, but Tom's warehouse theme works really good here. It was Sandy that stopped it from being an obnoxious maze, though, and I really appreciate that even if Tom didn't. I prefer the more hellish texture theme the second half of the map had in the pre-beta over reusing CEMENT textures.

E2M7: I love the way this map looks in Jaguar Doom. They also cut out a ton of the map, which actually makes it play better. Unfortunately, in cutting it down they left a pretty useless route through the map, where most of the gameplay is...they should've reworked how you got the yellow key. PSX Doom adds Mancubi, and the map really isn't complete without them to me.

E3M5: This is my favorite Sandy map in terms of aesthetics. I just love this one, the dark lighting, the glowing runes cut into the walls, the architecture... When I think of Doom hell, this is the map that comes to mind. Which makes the PSX version of this map incredibly disappointing. For being the "dark" version of Doom, they sure wrecked the moodiness this map originally had with the bright outdoor sections.

E4M2: Might be my current favorite Doom map. I like how it restricts your movement but doesn't feel particularly frustrating. This makes the Doom monsters into an actual threat, which they really weren't anymore after Doom 2. I do prefer the PSX version of this map, though, with Hell Knights instead of Barons. Meat walls just aren't fun, and it doesn't make the map that much easier removing them.

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