Demon of the Well
Map 02 -- Voodoo - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
A rather unassuming map, very corridor-centric, without a whole lot to set it apart aside from a vague concept or two and the mildly stealth-flavored start (it's possible to get the hidden shotgun/shells from the stiff without alerting any of the imps in the start room on Ultraviolence skill, as well). As to the aforementioned concepts, the main one at work is that demons start spontaneously phasing into existence near the player at certain key moments--in this still-introductory level, it's usually single revenants, but this is a device that's here to stay for the rest of the mapset (it's more common in the first and third episodes, though). Incidentally, a moment just before the first time this happens, you can hear the pained ululations of many imps reverberating through the dank corridors. Continuing to stand still and listen suggests that they were all simultaneously crushed to death in some nearby inaccessible chamber. I remember the first time I heard this I immediately began steeling myself for some forthcoming ghost-imps (which would have been really cool, actually....), but it seems this is done for no other reason than to provide atmosphere--some daemoniacal concatenation of the damned crying out before the fabric of reality ruptures and lets loose that first phasing revenant, perhaps lending the map its name. Other than this, there's little to report....I personally had not a whisper of ammo shortage, myself, perhaps because I initially ignored the half-dozen imps or so in the start room, only killing them upon returning there later. Well, I suppose I also found all of the secrets (though I didn't use the berserk pack much at all this time), which also present a slight bit of oddity in themselves in that they're all 'concealed' in pretty much the same way as most parts of the mandatory progression in map 01, where there were no official secrets. Oh yes, I do like the game's first arch-vile, as well. I forgot he was there, so he startled me a bit (not that this did him any good when all was said and done).
Odd what Magnusblitz mentioned about certain terrain types not having special fall sound definitions, I could've sworn that ZDooM did that as well. In Eternity, at least, in Epic 2 as in nearly all other WADs, landing on water flats makes a splash sound ala Hexen, and lava flats make an analogous sizzling/searing sound, although for whatever reason nukage/toxin flats always seem to be treated as solid ground.
Map 03 -- Black Magic - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
"Voodoo Plus." This is highly similar in both style and concept to the previous map, simply with an extra layer (albeit a thin one) of complexity; the action highlights still generally involve monsters that manage to suddenly appear right next to you singly or occasionally in pairs, often at an inopportune angle or moment. The most dangerous of these is probably the arch-vile in the fountain area, as he can push you away from meaningful cover from his attacks if you allow him to close in too quickly, but my favorite is the cacodemon twins that hang out in the soulsphere shrine; one bursts out of his closet right in your face as you climb the stairs, and you feel like a grandmaster for all of 1.5 seconds as you deftly straferun by him within centimeters of his diabolically smug mug, only to find yourself being given one hell of a hickey by his sister when she materializes from the aether right on top of you a few steps on. I actually found ammo here to be a lot tighter than in "Voodoo" (although you get more rockets later on in this one) for whatever reason; I was down to two shells after finishing off the pair of revenants in the alcoves near the combat shotgun, but still never fully ran out. Decently entertaining and more substantial than map 02, but Epic 2 hasn't even begun to really get started at this point. Oh yes, one rather petty (but nevertheless valid) complaint here, that actually applies to a lot of the maps in this set--the exit room is really bland/boring visually, somehow leaves a slight flavor of anticlimax at the end.
I suppose I should weigh in on the resource replacements, myself--as I've said previously, I generally quite like the textures/flats as I am disposed towards this general 'Egyptian tomb' theme; for the most part, I don't mind the sounds at all--not even the way the zombies have theirs mixed from two games--with one major exception, that being the horrible nails-on-chalkboard sound the lost souls make when they attack. What few sprite replacements/modifications there are are just fine with me as well, from Powerslave's flamethrower replacing the rocket launcher to the black imps from Rylayeh (which, incidentally, is a tremendously fun 10+ level mapset that we really ought to play sometime); there's some other things I could comment on at this point as well, but they'd essentially constitute spoilers, however small.
Last edited by Demon of the Well on Mar 3 2014 at 06:10