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The DWmegawad Club plays: (Ultimate) DOOM

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E3M6: Mt. Erebus
100% kills, 4/4 secrets, 0 deaths

The fun one! The only real "open air" outside level in the first Doom, definitely stands out. It's another one of Petersen's Texture-O-Rama levels, but it works. Definitely a sandbox approach to figure out how to get to each building. If you know that you need to rocket into the secret exit, it's actually easier to find the secret exit than the normal one - the blue key requires a bit of a secret/blind jump to reach, and the blue door is hidden away in a little alcove (no wonder a comp map is provided!). Not too tough even on -fast, as long as you make sure to check your flanks and not get ambushed by one of the caco traps. The one exception is after teleporting into the blue key building, as there's nowhere to manuever but plenty of imps and cacos tossing fireballs your way.

E3M9: Warrens
100% kills, 1/1 secret, 0 deaths

My favorite secret level! I always enjoyed the deja vu concept, only to have the player unwittingly walk into a showdown with a cyberdemon and then go back through the level, finding what new changes have been unleashed. I'm sure it seems quaint by today's standards, but back in the day it was what a secret level should be.

One thing I want to note at the start is... this isn't exactly the same as Hell Keep. The building entrance has a higher ceiling, and the texture in the secret imp hallway after the shotgun bridge is different. The height on the door to the demon hallway is different... and no rocket launcher in the secret before the "exit." Hmm. I wonder if these differences are intentional, or just happened after the fact due to using different versions of E3M1.

Ah well, enough of that. Nothing much else to note here... the invuln spheres and BFG make the fights pretty easy.

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It's like it's just me and Magnusblitz now.

E3M5 Unholy Cathedral

Ah, I remember trying to get out of that central area the first time I've played this. It's always the NW teleporter, yet I forget often.

My continuous run got fucked up by me forgetting the berserk, didn't happen on my pistol start run that's for sure. Continuous saw repetitive plasma gun usage and some berserk action too, whilst the pistol start, again, was brass knuckles all the way through. Didn't really like this level as a whole to be honest. Worse yet, I don't know if it's a bug with Beautiful Doom or what it is, but enemies in the BFG trap aren't teleporting again! Just like in E1M9!

Honestly, I preferred the monster closets in the PSX version.

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Might as well finish this up. Seems everyone else but Hurricyclone is gone anyways. :P

E3M7: Limbo
100% kills, 4/4 secrets, 0 deaths

Hmm. Somewhat of an interesting choice for a penultimate level, this one feels a lot like E2M4 in that its a rather large yet empty map, going for a more atmospheric feel. Even on UV, it's only got 47 monsters. The start is a bit hectic, as is the unleashing of demons from the west (only because of how scary they are on -fast, on normal it's a cinch). The rest is pretty dang easy, rarely having more than one enemy at a time. The heavy amount of blood floors in this level can be a pain, but once one finds the bevy of radsuits in the maze it's not so bad. Interesting concept with the red door teleports going all over the place, but by the time you reach it most of the enemies are gone and it feels a bit lonely.

E3M8: Dis

Even back in 1993, I think I realized this was the weakest of the boss fights. Part of the problem of course is that the Spider Mastermind is a relative push-over health wise, one point-blank BFG blast is enough to kill it (back in the day, at range, it was supposed to take 3, while the Cyberdemon took 4). The chaingun, while it can whittle you down, isn't as impressive as the Cyberdemon's rocket launcher. If you come into this level fully stocked up on continuous, it's a cakewalk.

The level is a bit more fun if you pistol start and just use the rocket launcher, but even then, it's not that tough. And it's definitely not as atmospheric as E1M8 or E2M8. All in all, a bit of a disappointing ending for the base game.

Off to E4, that'll be fun on -fast...

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Still trudging, although at a slower pace.

E3M6 Mt. Erebus

This is the third time the ExM6 disappointed me.

Others like this map a lot; I fucking hate it. The FIREBLU made me quite nauseous. Leaky suits and cacos made me angry >:(. What's worse is that I'm fighting imps, shotgun guys, and then the cacos and lost souls come to take my attention away. In my pistol start run, I think I let them all loose too soon, which meant hunting for flying stragglers. Not fun! If that isn't already a nightmare, getting 100% items is tedious. Most items I found were in lost soul/caco closets, others are just dotted around. At least there were two invulnerabilities that helped, not to mention a berserk in the central zombie shack and a plasma gun in an incredibly easy secret. As for berserk action, I didn't get too much of it, though I tried my best with punching the cacos and lost souls, with much damage and close calls (fucking leaky suits!). And I TOTALLY straferunned to the secret exit :).

E3M9 Warrens

Probably my favorite secret level too. Nice trolling with the cyb reveal. Too bad my BFG and invulnerability got in his way. I use it to kill the cacos and barons and lost souls afterwards. Then, berserk the spectres, grab the next invuln, BFG the next three cacos, BFG some more, and duke it out with the sargeants while invulnerability still intact. For my pistol start, I handled it much like my Hell Keep run, even punching the cacos at the beginning. I didn't grab the first invulnerability until I was done with the cyber, as I wanted to save it for the next monsters. It of course took more time to kill cybie with only the rocket launcher, but I survive. I would then grab the next invuln where the spectres were located, ignore the cacos guarding the plasma gun, make a beeline for the (hidden) BFG, and once again, trying to kill as many sargeants whilst invulnerable. A very nicely concocted plan if I say so myself. Of course, I wouldn't forget the barons, or the three cacos either.

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OK, finished up E2 playing with a normal control scheme. Certainly a lot easier this way, but enjoyable nonetheless.

E2M6: Well, mostly enjoyable. I don't like this level at all, and dying so often trying to do it Dobu-Challenge style didn't help any. It's quite flat, the texturing is bad (check out the GREY2 vent texture just plastered in that hallway) and seems almost random in places, and there's that ultra-dick-move crusher. The poorly-lit areas do serve to create some tension, unless you find the light visors, in which case they just look kind of ugly. Oh well, moving on.

E2M7: In contrast, I love this level, and think it's up there with E2M4 in terms of this episode. Some great use of tech texturing in here, the whole computery yellow key area is great. Lots of demons to berserk punch as always. Two invulnerabilities, both of which seem pretty unnecessary except to let you safely punch out Barons I guess? Still quite fun.

E2M8: No doubt one of the most iconic levels in Doom. I actually tried playing this with Challenge of Dobu restrictions and found it both tedious and terrifying. The cyberdemon is quite fearsome this way, but a lot of the level is spent trying to maneuver him into a good spot for you to shoot a couple of rockets out, and then run away.

This is the kind of boss fight that was appropriate back in 1993. These days, for an experienced player using with a modern control scheme, there's not much to this level. A lone cyberdemon is only difficult when the environment makes him so, and with such a wide open space, it's not hard to take him down. It's still not a bad level though, just you and Doom's hardest monster, one-on-one. Oh except for those lost souls I guess, but they're dealt with easily enough.

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And now onto Inferno...

E3M1: For some reason Inferno gets a bad rap from some people. I like it, I think this is a great level and makes you really feel like you're somewhere completely different than E1 or E2. The paper-thin entrance at the start is a little funny looking, but other than that I think it's a fine map. I don't remember having problems with the walk-through wall ever, though maybe I don't remember my first ever playthrough of this map well enough.

E3M2: Another level I feel people are too hard on. The fact that the map is shaped like a hand is cute, maybe a bit cheesy, but I don't see how that makes it a bad level automatically. From pistol start the first half of the map is spent just trying to hold on to enough ammo to fight off all the enemies that lurk around each corner. Later on it's back to berserk-punching a lot of things, but that's not so bad.

E3M3: Quite hectic from pistol start, there's a lot of enemies and not much ammo for the pistol. A shotgun isn't too far off but if you don't know it, the demons in close quarters might scare you off.

Notably this level is the first to feature the almighty BFG9000, though there's not really a good target to use it on. I just shot it a Baron to get rid of him quickly.

It's kind of an ugly level, as people have noted already, but it has it's moments too. The imps in the grate in front of the skull texture is something I've always liked.

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I'd play catchup, but I've hurt my hand and can't operate a mouse well enough to Doom with. Sorry, guys.

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Hurricyclone said:

Where did everybody go?

My excuse is that at the last minute I decided to make a map for the DW Mega-Project. 7 days and a cloud of dust later, I'm back! :D

E2M5 – Command Center. Kills- 99, Items – 100, Secret – 40. Time 27:53. End Health – 1, Armor 200. Death Count – 4

Oh God, The Meat Game! I guess Sandy Petersen invented The Meat Game. Lots of Pinkies, Imps, a few Cacos and Barons, and hitscanners mostly confined to groups of shooting-gallery targets. Not my cup of tea, really. Oh, and let’s hide vital ammo in secret areas for that “Cheap Difficulty” effect. Yay. And how about we make the map baboon-ass ugly, too? Double-Yay. And let’s not forget fiddly detail for players to get stuck on while dodging. Triple-Yay!!!!!

I didn’t much like this map. Pretty much a Wolfensteiny-flat maze, with stairs mainly being used to traverse from one Wolfensteiny area to another, although the double-staircases were a nice gameplay touch that allowed for roamers in spite of the switch-doors which, as DoTW noted, prevented this from happening elsewhere. The only architecturally ambitious areas are the E1M7-like opening and the outdoor area where Barons drop down on pillars. Still, it’s not the worst, or the ugliest, map I’ve ever seen or played, and hey, what about that ending stat – 1% Health and 200% armor. You don’t see that one every day! ;D

Once again, we have rockets in a map without a rocket launcher, further proof that continuous play was the goal. At least I found the Plasma Gun, and knowing what’s ahead, I considered switching to continuous play because I don’t like The Meat Game, so why not carry some ammo and weapons into future maps to avoid being slaughtered by waves of Pinkies? Well, maybe next time, because starting the next map at 1% health is probably a bad idea given that rough starts are the norm in these levels.

Two of my deaths came at the start, after I'd been killed by Pinkie bite when I ran out of ammo in some Gray area, and tried punching it to death before I found the Zerk. I then forgot that I had saved a game at a good spot and replayed the opening – which I survived on the first try – but because I had seen enough to realize I dislike this map, I didn’t have my normal juice and died twice in a row. :D My fourth death came when I found one of the secret shellbox areas at the start, while running away from a Baron (low ammo), and he cornered me in there.

And I did not find the secret exit. I feel like such a dumbass, since that's supposed to be easy to find!!!! :D

BTW, I've noticed that punching/chainsawing Pinkies on stairs and in between obstacles is much more dangerous than doing it in open spaces. Anyone know what's up with that?

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Hurray! People! Might as well finish up E3 too.

E3M7 Gate To Limbo

Where others hate this, I loved it. Now, I managed to speed through this one quite well, as there's plenty of room to maneuver. It allowed me to go across damaging slime without too much fear. But there happens to be TWO straferun shortcuts I took. One, when I teleport to the ledge that would supposedly reach the key once I pressed something somewhere, I straferunned to get the key, and, from there, straferunned to the plasma gun secret! Wooo! There's another straferun shortcut with the yellow door, but I didn't bother too much. Yes, there's that red maze in the north that's tedious, but they give so many radsuits and a BFG it's hardly a big deal. As for my pistol start run, I let a lot of demons and cacodemons live, then try to use the BFG, rocket launcher, and plasma gun on them when I get the respective weapons. It got frantic, but it's lots of fun. I like this level a lot.

E3M8 Dis

Well, it's quite anticlimatic that a single BFG shot can bring the big spidey down. I did notice that Beautiful Doom did enhance spidey's chaingun so it fires really fast now, noticed how quickly he shredded the baron, heh. I only fought the two cacos while those two fought, and then stocked a stuffing of BFG right in his face to end it all. And for pistol start, well, I know what to do anyways, so that's about it. Well, one more episode to contend with anyhow.

One more thing, that endgame screen really freaks me out.

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E3M3 -- Pandemonium - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
It's often said that this is one of the weakest maps in Inferno, and that's true to some degree. E3's greatest strength, I think, is that each of its maps differs vastly from the others in the episode, and in most cases, also from most other maps in the game regardless of episode. Pandemonium doesn't seem quite as distinct because it resembles 'Command Center' from E2 in both look and feel, which is of course a natural consequence of Tom Hall's influence, for better or worse (e.g. the crappy upstairs maze). I think it still manages to be a solid map, though, better than the similar E2 map by a country mile for a number of reasons, chief amongst these being much greater potential monster mobility--the hellspawn can chase you all around this map once you wake them up, with the only potential safe havens being fairly inconvenient to reach (e.g. the upstairs overlook near the northwestern Baron). It's vastly better on pistol-start, incidentally, where you have to hit the ground running or else be cornered by a pinkie (doesn't sound that bad to us now in 2013, but it was potentially disastrous to fresh players in days of yore); the map can play out in all sorts of different ways depending on which way you run at the start, and how aggressive you attempt to be with your initially limited ammo/weaponry. On a continuous playthrough, well....yeah, then it's not much chop, just a lot of lightly-populated hallways. Very ugly hallways, at that.....while this is certainly not the least interesting map in the game from a structural standpoint, it's very arguably the ugliest map in the game from a texturing standpoint, almost seems like it was done at random in some places. That scrolling hexagonal tiling, my lack of goodness....

E3M4 -- House of Pain - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
This is another of my favorites from the original DooM. As someone else mentioned, it has the simplest mapflow of anything in E3 (well, except for Hell Keep, I guess); while there are still some kooky Sandyesque diversions here and there (e.g. the wacky 8-switch/2-pillar room or the weird door-trigger puzzle), these are presented in a very Point A to Point B fashion, each an obstacle directly in your path which must be overcome. Furthermore, rather than seeming bewildering and only incidentally hostile like a lot of the Inferno maps do, it is very straightforward and seems like it is actively trying to kill you personally, perhaps Sandy's early idea of what we now might call a 'challenge map'. It's one of the most violent maps in the game, both in terms of overall bodycount and in terms of the number of hellspawn it's willing to pit you against simultaneously (often at nearly point-blank range) in each encounter, and from a pistol-start it can be extremely tight on ammo until you get a good ways in; whereas in E2 the berserk pack was often something like a fun bonus weapon for people that felt like using it, in this map it's more actively important, although miser-savvy players can still find ways to do without.

While it's true that all of this bloody combat is at root very simple corridor-based frontal assault stuff, it just seems to work in context of the surroundings. Another of the game's more atmospheric maps, it depicts a creepier side of Hell, a vast antediluvian marble temple to suffering and degradation stuffed to the gills with the tormented flesh of untold aeons worth of mortal victims. It strikes a nice counterpoint to the more fiery landscape-based Hell of several of the other maps, and is a good pairing thematically with the map that follows it. Some have referred to this as being extremely ugly like E3M3 was, but I don't agree--while unorthodox (if you'll pardon the inappropriateness of the term, considering that this is a map from the original game), I think a lot of the strange texture combinations--e.g. tech against marble, utilitarian against flesh, etc.--work pretty well for it, giving it a distinct feel. To the extent that it looks a bit shoddy in places, I think this is more often a consequence of poor (read: nonexistent/uniformly bright) lighting choices than any underlying thematic failure. I'll also always appreciate this map for housing the most notable forbear of what I've taken to calling the 'diorama' approach to detailing, in the form of the large, inaccessible crucifixion chamber west of the moody marble 'E' corridor, which communicates the idea that the House of Pain is an expansive structure of which we experience only a portion. Devices like this work wonders as far as establishing a sense of place goes, and this has become one of my favorite styles of aesthetic window-dressing over the years. Sandy may not have had a great head for aesthetics, but man was he on to something in this map.

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E3M5 -- Unholy Cathedral - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Something about the entrance area of this austere marble structure makes it seem very ominous indeed, as though the shit's really going to start hitting the fan here. On paper, that may seem like it's going to be true--there are five Barons here (more than any other map in the original 3-episode game), and the bonepit teleporter attack near the BFG is the largest (in terms of bodycount) fight of its kind in the episode, for example--but in actuality it's not really a combat-centric map. During conventional play you likely end up facing off against the Barons singly out in the central cloister where there's tons of running room (though of course experienced players will have a better time turning everything loose at once), and by this point in the game most players are probably getting at least a little more comfortable dealing with them. In terms of fights, the rest of the map plays very much like a toned-down version of the optional BFG wing in House of Pain, e.g. groups of weaker monsters inhabiting little nooks and crannies in some stuffy low-ceiled rooms.

No, the real opponent here is the puzzle aspect of the progression. The first time I ever played this map I remember that I haplessly sailed right through it out of sheer luck, getting the blue key early and stumbling through the blue door and into the exit in short order. The second time I played, I was stuck for quite a while, because my previous visit had been too short for me to develop any kind of real understanding of the map's internal logic--took me what felt like forever to realize that the tacit goal in fully completing the level (as opposed to just exiting it) is to activate 3 of the 4 ethereal gates from the 'inside', which can only be done by using the 4th/northwestern gate. It's a map that's a lot more fun to play once you understand how it works, and I reckon that most folks' opinion of it is probably colored by just how much of an ordeal it was for them while they were first learning it. Supposing you end up spending a long time here, at least its main areas are mostly decent to look at, although it suffers a little in that it's yet another map in this IWAD that I remember as being much darker than it actually is (IWAD-style aesthetics generally look best in neutral/dimmer lighting, I think).

As an aside, this map is hilarious fun played either in Nightmare! or, even moreso, in fast/pacifist mode--it may seem like you can lose a lot of the monsters in the central cloister, but once a lot of them become active out there, they can start trolling you by entering into the corridors through doorways that the marine simply can't use--when a monster passes the threshold of one of the 4 gates from the cloister side, it normally beams back to the center just like the marine, but with a lot of monsters out there, the center will often have a monster clogging it up. Monsters of course can't telefrag at all in the original DooM, and so they essentially get to freely pass over the gates and come through the twin doors, which can have you shitting yourself when a speedballing Baron comes up and gooses you from an angle that initially seems should be impossible.

E3M6 -- Mt. Erebus - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Probably the most popular map in E3, and it's not difficult to see why: this is the first true free-roam outdoor sandbox map, a staple of DooM over all the years of its considerable life. This map really is rather ugly, with its high-noon lighting, jagged building shapes and carefree potpourri of most of the textures characteristic of E3 (and some from outside of it) making it look a lot like fingerpaintings many of us probably did in kindergarten; it's the big blue-fire buildings that take the cake, though, arguably the gaudiest things in the original game.

It's easy to forgive (or even come to love) its questionable looks, though, considering it's so much fun to play. For a first-time player, this probably ends up seeming like a one-man stand of legendary proportions, with shit constantly wandering over and attacking you pretty much no matter where you go, perhaps prompting you to hole up in one of the various buildings before beginning to stem the tide. As with Unholy Cathedral, players that know the map can delight in running around and largely ignoring the monsters until such time as they see fit, so it's a pretty flexible outing in that regard, successfully sustained no matter the player's approach by periodic release of new monsters (usually cacos) over the course of the playtime. About that, one of the things that's occurred to me while replaying these episodes is that the cacodemon and to a lesser extent the lost soul, for the most part, really aren't used very well in the original game, usually appearing in situations where their flight powers (or the souls' unique mode of attack) are irrelevant, but not so here--precisely because of their flight power, the cacos can follow you everywhere and can attack even when you're holed up in the buildings by gliding up to the windows and belching projectiles through them, and the lost souls can periodically blindside you from halfway across the map if you're not careful, all of which adds to the more action-intense feel of the map.

For my part, I did, in fact, figure out how to reach the secret exit without consulting a FAQ or whatnot--though it took me quite a few plays before the idea occurred to me. This highly clever meta-puzzle is just one more thing that makes Mt. Erebus wildly memorable; the half-assery of the secret exit in E2M5 looks all the worse in comparison.

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E2M6 – Halls of The Damned. Kills- 91, Items – 67, Secret – 66. Time 28:01. End Health – 170, Armor - 84. Death Count – 2

Halls of The Damned? How about Halls of The Bored? Ha, couldn’t resist. ;D

Actually, this isn’t a bad map, but it is, yet again, a flat maze, in this case with a few really long corridors. It is overall very boring to look at, IMO, but the ominous music track and the tight ammo/health balance – at points – kept the tension up, especially in the dark wood/star-texture maze.

TBH, I feared pistol-starting map because my only memory of it was of one failed noob attempt back in the last Ice Age, and how I freaked when Barons were released and began wandering down those angled Ickwall4 hallways. It seemed like an army of them, and now I find it was exactly . . . two? And Sector 158 is the one where the Pinkies are stuck together on UV, and it’s fun to watch the Baron slime his way through them to get at you. ;D I suppose one could mock this as highly unprofessional design work, which it is, but I choose to view it as a charming idiosyncracy from what must have been a high-pressure “Just finish these maps in time for release” environment.

Which is not to say that I like this map. It’s another okey-doke ugly E2 maze to me, and shockingly easy for all that I feared the “legions of Pinkies” Dobu referred to. There was a fair few, sure, but I had no trouble shotgunning and punching them to death, except for that switch room leading to the crusher, where I might have been killed by the Pinkies funneling in from those straight, symmetrical hallways. Yes, once again rectangles and symmetry prove their value! I’m not being facetious here. I’ve heard many complaints about symmetry, but I like a well-tuned symmetrical fight because of the funneling effect that can be achieved. Here, there’s only 2 Pinkies, but it felt like 8!

I did die for certain at the crusher, and it put a smile on my face, because it took advantage of my first instinct when presented with Doom critters – advance to the rear while unloading buckshot as fast as you can, and – splat! Pretty fuckin’ hilarious, I thought.

Another thing I enjoyed was the fake exit, a real frantic, nice fight there, which I survived rather easily despite taking some damage. And the real exit was charming enough, too. If only this map wasn’t so damned boring to look at, I might like it better. Oh, well.

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E2M7 – Spawning Vats (continuous). Kills- 100, Items – 74, Secret – 66. Time 27:06. End Health – 100, Armor - 180. Death Count – 1

What a great start this one had. Like Jaws In Space said, watching a Pinkie run across the screen against an SP_Rock background, with good lighting, was so cool. One of the cinematic highlights of the entire game so far.

I decided to play this one continuous because I was tired of searching for ammo/Zerk to deal with Pinkies, and that long silver corridor anchored by a Baron seemed to justify my resort to cowardice, or laziness. But it soon became clear that this map was going to be easy and that maybe I made a mistake. Indeed, had I grabbed any of the Invulns, I could have had a blast punching half the enemies to death, but because I had plenty of health and ammo, I left them alone.

At least it was cool-looking in places, like the Rockred3 area, which unfortunately has a second-chop take on the E2M4 exit. There were also some cool-looking tech areas featuring nice computer-station design work that would’ve looked great in E1.

My only death occurred in the outdoor secret area where you get the PG and Chainsaw. I got spooked by a Pinkie behind me and ran forward into the jaws and fireballs of death. I also nearly died in the damned crate room where I kamikazed my way in – OK, in reality, I just ran in there stupidly heedless of my surroundings, and suddenly there’s a battalion of Pinkies all around me and I’m going, “Holy shit! I’m in trouble now!” Yet somehow, I survived in spite of being cornered, and wala! – there was a Zerk to heal me up after all the Pinkies were dead. ;D IMO, that was the most exciting fight in the map, proving again that playing very badly can enhance your appreciation of Doom.

All in all this isn’t a great map, IMO. It goes on too long for me and is again nonlinear and confusing in its layout. This is one of those maps which has just enough good bits amongst the flat dullness of it all that I edge just a touch to almost liking it.

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E2M8 – Tower of Babel (continuous). Kills- 100, Items – 50, Secret – 0. Time 4:26. End Health – N/A, Armor – N/A. Death Count – Zero

I agree with Magnus, this is a nice-looking Sandy Petersen map. Very nicely staged entrance with the dead Baron textures, as others have noted. The demonic columns outside create a nice sense of foreboding for this all-important first encounter with the most badass monster of all, the Cyberdemon.

Even by the standards of the time, old Cybie couldn’t have been the baddest boss around, but how cinematic he is! First, there’s that wonderful roar that can make you want to wet your pants in the right situation. Following that is the wonderful sound of his mechanical movements and those big, thumping hooves. My first memory of a Cyb is from Sandy’s masterpiece, Tricks ‘n Traps, when I cowered along a wall listening to that thump-thump-thump of the prowling Cyb, and I was literally sweating in terror, wondering, “How the fuck does anyone get through this?” and for the first time in Doom, I felt genuinely hunted, like the Cyb had something personal against me, and he was coming to exact vengeance, searching and searching to pick up the scent. And then, when you see him, he seems a mile tall, the way that boss in Serious Sam literally was. And then, noob that you are, you soon hear your scream as the rocket gets you.

Okay, a lot of melodrama there, but true enough. Here, we see the kinder, gentler approach to confronting a Cyb. My biggest problem today was the Lost Souls. Ah, mobility! They were everywhere and had to be killed first for safe rocket use. Don’t worry, I pistol-started this map not long ago and had an easy time of it.

The Cyb went down mostly from rockets, but a little plasma blast was added at the end to take his ass out. Good fun map, I say, easy as it is.

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E2M9 – Fortress of Misery. Kills- 100, Items – 100, Secret – 100. Time 4:22. End Health – 180, Armor – 181. Death Count – Zero

Back to pistol-start since I failed to find the secret exit in E2M6, so this is the final E2 map for me.

Once again I had bitter, frightening memories of this from back in the day, when noob play saw me turned into a grease stain on the floor.

Not so this time. Indeed, I’m a bit embarrassed that I took a hit in the end and failed to finish at 200/200.

The basic E2 theme continues. It’s like in the days of the old Ford Model T when Ford said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” Here, it’s, “You can have any map you want, as long as it’s flat.”

So it’s an early example of a High Concept map, all about infighting. Very easy even with my limited skill, but kinda fun. The Barons won on my playthrough, quite handily.

Final Thoughts on Episode 2:The Shores of Hell

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I’m no E2 enthusiast. In common with E1, the design style and gameplay were repetitive. E1 had techbases loaded with hitscanners and Pinkies. E2 had mazes loaded with Pinkies and a few other monsters. The difference to me is that E1 is so much better-looking, because height variation is visually interesting to me. Romero is also much more gifted than Hall or Petersen when it comes to eye-appeal architecture. OTOH, it was the E2 maps which contained non-linear design and, at their best, a fair number of roamers, whereas the E1 maps were far more linear than I’d remembered. Reality trumps nostalgia, in this case.

In my view, the E2 maps got worse as they went along. E2M1 was a nice starting map, and IMO, E2M2 was the highlight of the set. There was more fun to be had here and there for me, but I prefer a more balanced game in terms of the hitscanner/meat mix, and these maps were far too meat-oriented for my taste. Pinkies, Pinkies and more Pinkies, and some Imps, Cacos and Barons for spice.

It sure seems that Tom Hall was obsessed with building mazes. And flatness, Hall loved his flatness. But Sandy Petersen did equally flat maps on his own, so I guess I’ll remember E2, which I’m unlikely to ever revisit, as a pancake topped with Pinkie syrup. The only map I’m likely to play again is E2M2 for the awesome atmosphere.

I guess one question I can ask, and hope that someone knows the answer, is, “What was Romero doing at this time?” Maybe coding? After the triumph of Knee Deep In The Dead, he didn’t do another map until Doom 2!

Favorite maps:

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Usually about ten days left in the month is a good time to start thinking, so how about January? I think it should be a contemporary wad (there hasn't been one since October). Maybe D2TWID? Or also Concerned. The later isn't quite long enough so Swim with the Wales, 900 Deep in the Dead, Visions of Eternity, or Dark Side of Deimos (all except SwtW at two maps per day) would be good to go with it.

Or if it's Concerned + another Doom I episode it could be just like this month - one episode per week. Maybe SwtW as well the remaining three days (get a taste of Doom II stuff in!).

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E3M9 -- Warrens - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
The quintessential secret map from the original game, this is probably the map that solidified the idea that a secret map should be strange, gimmicky, or heavily conceptual in some way. 'Fortress of Mystery' is of course also a heavily conceptual map, but in all honesty is mostly just a little novelty fragment, and its overarching concept can be comfortably ignored entirely on a continuous playthrough (which seemed to be the norm in the game's early life). I don't personally find it objectionable when a WAD's secret maps are essentially just 'regular' maps (or indeed, when an author makes them part of mandatory progression in order to give himself another mapslot or two to work with), but I do usually look for them in hopes that they'll be a bit oddball in some way, and that began with Warrens. It's perhaps difficult for a more recent audience to conceive of the map's potential impact, since understanding of how secret maps work/where they're positioned is generally common knowledge now, but back in the day this was a pretty cheeky move on id's part.

I've fought so far into Hell and overcome so much, so why am I back in Hell Keep again? Is my game glitched? Is this some kind of cruel joke? Do I really have to fight all the way back through Hell again? At least I still have my weapons...wait...

The first time you see it it's easy to miss the little differences that indicate that it's not, in fact, exactly the same map as E3M1 (incidentally, I wonder if it might've been better if it were an exact one-to-one copy up to the halfway point...I can see arguments both for and against this). One's liable to wander through what is by all appearances Hell Keep all over again with a steadily mounting sense of dread (not necessarily of imminent player death, but rather that something has gone horribly awry with the episode in general), and then the big room after what was the exit teleporter is quite a shock. That is, a shock simply by virtue of existing in the first place, and even more of a shock because OHFUCK CYBERDEMON!! It lives! Never mind that the cyberdemon's pretty easy to beat here, it's a moment I'll always remember. Same with the rest of the stuff behind the facade in Warrens, really--pretty hammy combat (though the surprise teleport into the combtooth area with the cacos and many shotgunners is kind of cool), nothing very deep, but it's that initial shock that matters.

E3M7 -- Gate to Limbo - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Ah, Limbo, bit of a soft touch. A fairly quiet, sedate map as far as combat goes, this is another of those maps which favors atmosphere over fast action, although in this case I suspect that's more because the concept underlying the map didn't leave a lot of room for bloody setpieces. This is just fine, I think--Limbo (and its alleged Gate) seems like a place that would be rather dreary and languid rather than full of sound and fury, after all. Like Unholy Cathedral before it, the real obstacle here isn't demons but rather the puzzle presented by the map itself. Some seem to feel that having two maps centered on teleporter puzzles rather than action so close together in the back half of the episode makes Inferno feel imbalanced and too much of a departure from the rest of the game, but I've never shared that view--the more 'supernatural' bent of the progression in the E3 maps fits the overarching theme quite well, I think, and Limbo has never felt terribly similar to Unholy Cathedral in terms of how it plays, to me. Incidentally, I think the first time I ever played Limbo it did take me a while to work out how to reach the exit, but it's never given me problems since then. It's really not terribly obtuse, and there are so damned many radsuits down in that red maze that most players should be able to brute-force through it, just trying teleporters blindly until they hit the exit, if all else fails.

I don't want to totally downplay the combat in this map, mind. The actual monster count is rather low, of course, and on a continuous run they hardly register as a factor at all. Quite a different story from pistol-start, though--the surprisingly nasty shotgun greeting can drain your health pretty well when all you have to work with is a pistol, and the ammo balance here is very tight by IWAD standards--there are several cells and the like, sure, but you don't get a plasma rifle until the map's mostly done. You do most of your fighting with the shotgun (there is no chaingun, and little bullet ammo), and shells are rather limited, especially considering that the rocket launcher is heavily guarded and has very little ammo available. Infighting to the rescue, of course; no berserk pack here. Still not very hard (even 'back in the day', I suspect, though I didn't pistol-start this map until years later), but this sort of vaguely underarmed feel to the action also seems to suit the 'Limbo' theme, somehow.

E3M8 -- Dis - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
DooM's much-vaunted anti-climax. The poor spider mastermind isn't much chop on continuous play.....he probably freaks new players out just enough that they A) begin emitting various high-pitched screeches of general disapproval at the sight of him and B) begin discharging BFG rounds at him in a steady stream, which of course kills him in short order even from a distance, given his far-from-indomitable HP. I don't have a negative impression of my first time finishing the game--I distinctly remember being mildly traumatized (<--I mean that in the most heartwarming way possible) by the decidedly downbeat ending--but the actual final battle itself didn't really register with me, other than that the spider had a scary face.

This map really only works well from pistol-start. This is largely because the BFG is not an option in this case, of course, but more generally because the thing placement allows the mastermind a much better chance of winning the battle of attrition against the player; because there are absolutely no health aids, the spider's gatling gun is considerably more formidable, especially since the limited weaponry available precludes the possibility of an early knockout. All that being said, it's still not much harder than the other boss maps. The three other monsters present on UV seem purpose-placed to distract Daddy Longlegs while the player gathers up rockets and gets the plasma rifle and armor from the central enclosure; once you're armed, the battle is essentially won, unless you're hapless enough not to understand the concepts of cover and line-of-sight. So, yeah, it's still kind of anti-climactic even this way, but at least the battle's a little more relevant. Shame the poor mastermind's become a little bit of a laughingstock as far as PWADs go, but he's just not at all versatile, and needs for everything in his environment to be just so in order for him to be anything more than a big meaty nuisance. Some have said he needs a stronger weapon and more HP; for my part, I think what he needed was simply more movement speed and a less comically gargantuan hitbox. But alas, 'twas not to be.

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E3M4: A pretty terrible, long level for me. Pistol start offered no challenge and the switch pillars near the end were aggravating. Some nice visual sense at the start but an overall sleeper.

E3M5: Another nice thematic map with some slow and boring combat.

E3M6: The first proto-slaughtermap is a pretty good one, ambushing the player with a large phalanx of flying balloons. Keeping the outside flush with lava ensures a lot of movement around the middle, maximizing the chaos. It can be a bit confusing at times and keeping the exit out in the boiling goo is a bit of a dick move, but otherwise I’d say this is my favorite from E3.

E3M9: Probably the best bonus map, being a cool twist on the E3 starter. It’s unfortunately a little easy to survive thanks to the generous invul spheres, but it’ll always be memorable.

E3M7: This map is a bit too maze-like for its own good with too few enemies to keep you entertained, but does serve as an alright “puzzle” map before the finale.

E3M8: On continuous this is nothing but a let down, but on pistol start this is easily the hardest map in the episode, with few munitions and no health items in sight. You’re forced to weave out of the central structure and get all three of the mastermind’s goons to infight with her, which can be tricky as she sprays the battlefield in a swath of bullets. It was a neat little challenge I wasn’t expecting.

FTuma said:

Usually about ten days left in the month is a good time to start thinking, so how about January?

Indeed it is time for a modern megawad. D2tWiD would be a great contestant although I burned myself out on some classic Doom design powering through Ultimate. Whitemare could be a good choice and I wouldn't mind it. I don't have a strong feeling one way or another so we're gonna need some clear voting/suggestions.

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Demon of the Well said:

Some have said he needs a stronger weapon and more HP; for my part, I think what he needed was simply more movement speed...

I've always wondered how it would work if a mapper plopped one + a a few buddies in a room with a bunch of silent monster-only teleporters to give him the mobility to really flush the player out of cover, of course with appropriately limited weaponry (i.e. nothing bigger than a Rocket Launcher).

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The Ultimate Doom E3M3: UV, Pistol Start

This map is the oddity of episode 3 because like most of E2 it was started by Tom Hall & finished by Sandy, & just like E1M4 for episode one I think that this map doesn't belong in this episode. This map appears to be Control Center from the Doom bible, it's first appearance was E1M9 in the 0.4 Alpha, it was moved to the E1M5 slot for the 0.5 Alpha. This map like E2M3 is very easy to recognize on the 0.5 Alpha intermission screen.

Here is where my original 1995 playthrough of E3 starts to get fuzzy. For E3M3, E3M4, & E3M5 I remember the intermission screen more than the maps themselves. The flesh maze is the only thing here that seems vaguely familiar.

Well this is my least favorite map of the episode so far, no surprise considering my opinions on the rest of the maps started by Tom Hall. This map is pretty tough from a pistol start, especially if you try to go for the left path at the start. I was able to get a handle on things by running for the berserk pack. This map has a pretty pitiful introduction to the BFG, I forgot it was in this map so I found it after I had already killed everything.

The Ultimate Doom E3M4: UV, Pistol Start

The only thing from this map I remember from my original playthrough is that twitching body at the start of the map & the windows to the area on the east side of the map that can't be reached.

I found this map to only be slightly more enjoyable than the previous one, but there are some things I really don't like about it. The puzzles here can be pretty annoying, some people may enjoy puzzles in Doom, but I am not one of them. Getting the door to open by the water & damaging red floor was the low point of the map for me. Also I find the use of non door textures as doors to be really strange. Still there are some interesting things about this map, the exit area past the damaging floor I found to be pretty well done.

The Ultimate Doom E3M5: UV, Pistol Start

While it didn't appear in any of the Alphas this map did appear in the Press Release Beta.

An now it's time for a story, once upon a time there was a little 5 year old kid watching his dad play Doom. E1 & E2 were behind them & they had just finished playing E3M1, that's when the intermission screen for E3 popped up & that little 5 year old saw the most epic looking building that would soon be played. In the upper left corner of the screen sat a building built into the side of a cliff engulfed in flames with blood poring out into the valley below. The level represented by that building must truly be one of the most epic for it to receive such an awesome look in the intermission screen. Then E3M2 was played, & oh how epic it was "my God" thought the kid that level is supposed to be even more awesome than E3M2 was! E3M3 & E3M4 went by like a blur, & then we were there, we were about to play inside that epic looking building oh E3M5 please be as awesome as you look.....I have no memory of this map.

I hate this map, to me this is the single worst map from any of the Doom games. When I bought Doom again in 2007 I remembered how much I hated this map from that original playthrough. I didn't remember a single thing about it, only that I had a pure hatred for it. So when I decided to give it another shot in 2007 it had a really bad reputation to live up to, & boy did it ever live up to it.

I did attempt to play through this map for the club, but I just can't stand it so I didn't. I wasn't even doing bad when I quit, I just got irritated that I was even playing this level & I just quit.

The Ultimate Doom E3M6: UV, Pistol Start

If I remember correctly this is the level that got Sandy the job to work on Doom.

This map is the one from Doom that I remember every detail from my original playthrough. The beating heart on the green pillar when you open the first door, the wooden building off in the middle of the lava, & the secret exit were all highlights from when I first played this map.

This is my second favorite level from Doom, I am a big fan of the open sandbox style maps. My only complaint about this map is that the buildings aren't a little more complex on the inside, except for the first building they are all pretty much a single room or hallway. Also the non secret exit is somewhat hard to find if you've never played the map before.

The Ultimate Doom E3M9: UV, Pistol Start

Now this was a map that confused me in 1995, we had just made it through the secret exit & were now suddenly back to E3M1! I got mad at my dad & told him to quit using cheats because I knew there wasn't a plasma gun on E3M1. Needless to say I was pretty shocked when we got to the exit & then the whole map opened up.

I really like this map, though from pistol start it's almost as annoying as E3M1, but everything gets better after the map opens up.

The Ultimate Doom E3M7: UV, Pistol Start

Here we have the last map that was started by Tom Hall & finished by Sandy. This one fits the episode because it originally appeared as E2M1 in the 0.5 Alpha. The opening room & large circular area was the only thing finished, the blue ceiling textures were added by Tom.

I don't remember this map from my original playthrough.

This was another map centered around teleporters just like E2M1 & E3M5, so I am not really a fan of this map it took me awhile to find which one takes you to the exit. The lack of monsters in this here is rather strange, especially for the 2nd to last in the episode. The damaging floor throughout the level was more dangerous than the monsters themselves. The plasma weapons come too late in the map to really make a difference.

The Ultimate Doom E3M8: UV, Pistol Start

This map I remember well from my original playthrough. I vaguely recall a glitch that caused the rocket launcher slowly disappear every time I got hit by the Spider Mastermind. Not sure if that was an actual glitch related to the Mac port, or if my memory is just making stuff up.

I had a weird experience playing this map for the club. I had gone around the whole map & collected all of the rockets & was about to direct my attention toward a Baron & Cacodemon when suddenly the game ended. It appears that a lone Cacodemon took on the Spider Mastermind & won.

I love the ending screen for the episode. For the longest time I thought that the bunny head was being held by a hand of a zombie that had crawled it's way to the surface from Hell.

Overall I liked E3 more than E2, & now that I've played it so close together I find that I don't like E3 as much as E1. While E3 does have some of my favorite levels from Doom E1 is overall more consistently good. Here is how I would rank the levels from my favorite to least favorite.

E3M2 4/4
E3M6 4/4
E3M9 3/4
E3M8 2/4
E3M1 2/4
E3M4 2/4
E3M3 2/4
E3M7 1/4
E3M5 0/4

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Final Thoughts: Inferno

The last episode of original Doom has its ups and downs, definitely. It's of course supposed to be harder with more difficult encounters and it shows right from the first level. Much of this episode has me punching enemies with berserk again which is always a lot of fun. It's too bad the spiderdemon boss is the biggest flop out of all the boss fights, at least we can have a "rematch" in the "ultimate" episode. While it can be fun I still think both of the previous episodes are much better.

My favorite maps are E3M2, E3M4, and E3M7. <--(straferun shortcuts FTW!)

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E3M4: A strange level, but in a way that mostly works. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore, with rewards ranging from a few shells to a BFG. Two invulnerabilities, the first one is mostly unneeded but it did make it easy for me to get the berserk pack, after which I could punch out most of the monsters in this level, which is nice because ammo is often a bit low. The second one gets you through that weird end sequence, the low point of the map. All in all a fun little romp.

E3M5: It's a shame, there are things about this level that are good, and the architecture is quite good in parts. But the ridiculous teleport system and lack of direction just makes it bad. I don't think I really have much to say about this level that hasn't been said already. At least you can get the blue key and exit the level quickly if you know how.

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E3M6: What a change compared to the last level. Still quite non-linear, but a lot of fun. Visually it's quite intense, the blinking FIREBLU walls everywhere and generally bright light levels are a stark change from some of the previous levels. A few invulnerabilities again, though here they're meant to serve the player to get to the secret level. Too bad strafe-running wasn't anticipated.

E3M9: A gimmicky level, but fun anyhow. I'm sure most people were quite confused upon playing it for the first time; I certainly was. The cyberdemon was quite a surprise, having seen one only as a boss before now. He's also extremely avoidable though. I remember the last section with all the shotgunners being quite hard on -fast mode, but in normal play it's quite easy to mow them all down.

E3M7: The last "real" level of the original doom. It's a bit harsh with the damaging blood floors everywhere, and a little confusing with so many teleports, but there's ample health around. Ammo is a problem at the start of the level, until you can get to the plasma gun. The maze with the radsuits is a classic area, and one that inspired many similar areas in pwads - though often far more punishing, for better or worse. All in all a nice level but I don't like it as much as some others because of the heavy teleporting.

E3M8: Well, the Spider Mastermind certainly looks tough, but even from pistol start it's just a matter of getting some infighting going while you collect ammo, and then unloading it all as fast as you can. A bit of a letdown.

Overall Inferno was pretty good, though perhaps the weakest of all the episodes. One thing I didn't remember was just how short most of these levels are. There's also quite a lot of non-linearity, which is always fun.

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E4M1 -- Hell Beneath - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Haha, everyone who's played Thy Flesh Consumed remembers this one. It's probably one of the most dangerous maps in the game, at least on Ultra-Violence. The first thing you encounter is phasing shotgunners, who are liable to take a lot of health off of you within the first few moments--health which you just simply won't be getting back, since the only healing around is a scant few of those little blue potions. It's a short map, but hitscan attrition plus some close-quarters barons make it a legitimate threat. It's also famous for being a tough map to score maxkills on, on account of the huge chunk of demonic HP represented by the Baron foursome in the (incredibly tacky) Nine Inch Nails secret (incidentally, if you're going for 100% secrets, you've got to be sure to dance all around on the NIN logo, since getting the secret to register is a bit fidgety)--I certainly remember the first time I found this, I just shat myself and ran like hell. Killing them all is imminently doable with some planning, though--on this playthrough, I exited the map with 1 rocket and 30 shells to spare (no bullets left). My strategy was to maximize the power of rocket splash while maintaining personal safety by luring the Barons to the cage bars that look in on the red skull; they clump up quite nicely and are easy pickings this way. Also punched a few specters for insurance, though of course that turned out to have hardly been necessary.

All of the gameplay stuff aside, Hell Beneath is also a good introduction to what most folks remember as the overarching visual theme of E4, that being green marble fortresses with pig-iron trim under that iconic dusk-orange (or is it dawn-orange?) sky. There's a lot of other stuff in E4, of course--wood, blood, SProck, etc.--but E4M1 sets the overall tone, and I would say is probably McGee's best-looking map in the DooM series (arguably his best from a play perspective, too). Good intro, 3 out of 4 strong episode intros (dammit, Tom Hall...) is a pretty good ratio for the game, I'd say.

E4M2 -- Perfect Hatred - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Another map renowned for its difficulty, I personally think this one's bark is a lot worse than its bite. Sure, there are a lot of upper-tier enemies, with particularly strong showings by Barons and cacodemons, but there's a metric crapton of guns and ammo (esp. plasma) to devastate them with, as well. I might theorize that what really makes it seem uncomfortable is the platforming over lava in the main cavern (lots of folks dislike platforming in DooM, of course, though I'm not usually one of them) coupled with the fact that the player starts out under fire. If you keep your cool, though, you have just enough shells and bullets to kill the first wave of cacos and make it over to the left platform with the pile of ammo on it, and from there you can busy yourself with acquiring the plasma gun, which decisively swings momentum in your favor. That's one of this map's strong points, it throws weapons at you right when you need them (although you can largely eschew the rocket launcher if desired), and gives each some spotlight time--this is the first time in the game the plasma rifle really feels essential, and I've always liked the way that chainsaw is great against everything in that gloomy side cave save the Barons.

Barons! This map is also interesting in that it features both some of the best and some of the worst Baron usage in the game--the plasma rifle Barons and the rocket launcher Barons, respectively. The former pressure you from both sides (with the two from the teleporter room effectively blocking the escape route) and present a serious problem if the player didn't have the steel to grab the rifle out from under the first Baron's nose; the latter are just a big immobile clot of HP that usually can't attack particularly effectively and is time-consuming to grind through. If I've not said anything about the cyberdemon, perhaps it's because he doesn't loom very large in my mind--the first time I played I discovered (mostly through dumb luck and/or cowardice borne of fleeing the second cacoswarm!) that he can be easily telefragged, and so he's never been much of an issue for me. Found the secret exit the first time, too, quite an easy one if you use your ears. On that point, I did have to go back and recheck the level before exiting in order to find the berserk pack secret, so I guess the secrets in E4 probably aren't going to be second nature to me in the way that those from the previous three have.

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E4M1: Hell Beneath
59/63 kills, 1/2 secrets, 12 deaths

Ahh, the fun of playing on -fast. This level has roughly zero health on UV, making playing on -fast quite the pain in the ass. Shotgunners get the drop on you, limited room to avoid imp fireballs or spectres, etc. The first part actually isn't too rough as long as you play very carefully, my first death came while trying to grab the red key because some whackjob decided it would be a good idea to hide sergeants behind an impassible, invisible wall - hooray for getting killed from utterly invisible hitscanners! After grabbing the blue key, it's quite possible to run by the last ambush without setting it off, which would've left me at 51 kills. I probably should've, but decided to power through the ambush anyways, leaving me with only 3 health. I couldn't find the NIN secret on my own despite thinking "aren't there barons here?" I shouldn't have bothered, as Demon points out, I didn't have the ammo to deal with them, the sector is a pain to tag, and there's no reward! So after trying and failing to kill them a few times, I decided to just exit with my 3 health and non-maxkills. I'll have to decide if I want to pistol start E4M2, as starting with 3 health might make it impossible.

Aside from the rough time playing on -fast, it's actually a nice level. On normal/UV, it's got a nice challenge without being ridiculous, and it looks good and feels like a very good E4 representative. The NIN secret is dumb, but this doesn't sink the whole level.

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E4M1 Hell Beneath

God, fucking fuck this map to hell. It's a UV-MAX nightmare to the point where I simply punch ANYTHING I can, imps and spectres included. I really was too cautious that I would load everytime I got hit (there's like no health), yet at the same time was precise with the fist of mine. Yep, punching imps and spectres to save ammo for the barons who would drain my scarce rockets and other supplies. And it was fucking annoying for just about every monster. Why so many annoying monster teleport lines to corner and attack from just about everywhere?

There's a good strategy to actually killing the four nobles, lure them until you're where the red key was, and kill them from there. It somewhat worked out for me. I had barely any supplies for E4M2, so I decided to pistol start that to get 50 free bullets :).

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About the WAD for next month, I'm most inclined to vote for D2TWiD because it's the only recent major release I can think of off the top of my head that I haven't played yet (Hellbound is a very cool WAD and I hope the club plays it soon, but I just finished it earlier this month and am not yet ready to do it all over).

I don't have any particular objection to Whitemare--I appreciate most of the Russian Doom community's output to some degree, and it's no different--but another WAD would need to be run with it in order to fill out the month, as it only has 19 maps, one of which is just a non-play outro map, and a handful of which are over in a matter of moments (although there are also a couple that are quite large). If a lot of people end up wanting to play Whitemare, my suggestion for a companion WAD to it is Sacrament, another Russian WAD (with some authorship crossover) from the same year. It has 13 maps (again, one of which is just an outro), so that would get the mapcount about where it needs to be. Other than that, the reason I'm suggesting it is that I think it's a cool WAD, plain and simple, with some highly traditional maps alongside some rather unorthodox ones.

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I'd probably cast a vote for Whitemare/Sacrament or something then; I don't think I could take playing another 1994-styled WAD after playing through Ultimate Doom this month.

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