Alien Vendetta - Valley of Echoes

I don't know if this has been discussed for a long time or not, but I feel I should bring this up. Alien Vendetta is no doubt one of the greatest vanilla-compatible megawads for Doom 2 to this day, with well-designed and thought out levels, stunning visuals, and addictive gameplay, but it's a bummer that Anders Johnsen discarded his entry "Valley of Echoes" for the final release.



Tatsurd-cacocaco's UV-max run of this map really shows it as a fun and furious level with all the top-notch aesthetics associated with Alien Vendetta. It really makes me wonder why Anders would lay it off for the final version. Don't get me wrong, Clandestine Complex is a neat and enjoyable map, and anyone could go download the old version of Alien Vendetta to give this one a try, but for some who have the final version would consider it a waste of space to download the old version. If anything, Anders should have released Valley of Echoes as a standalone wad, possibly requiring the Alien Vendetta resources in the same way Adelusion released his add-on map requiring Dystopia 3.

I respect Anders's opinion if he hated it for whatever the reason, but damn, that map is pretty amazing, given that he's made other fantastic levels for the set (pretty much all of his offerings). It would also be more convenient for those who have the final version of Alien Vendetta as they won't have to bother downloading an 8MB zipfile that has the same mapset as the other just for one map. Besides, Alien Vendetta has been released since 2002, so it would be something to commemorate its 12th anniversary by releasing Valley of Echoes as an add-on for the megawad. Well, that's all I have to say on the subject. Hope it's something worth pointing out and a good suggestion.

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During development I was a big fan of Valley of Echoes, but after the first release I wasn't active with the project, so when the second release came it was as much a shock to me as the next guy.

I think the reasoning was a combination of the map representing Johnsen's early style (we're all embarassed by our early efforts), and that he prioritized the inclusion of new blood, over "25 maps by Andy, and a few other guys helped a bit". This is a powerful concept to me, because most of my maps for the project I think are quite inferior to Johnsen's, yet he wanted them included to replace his own.

tl;dr Valley of Echoes is fucking great

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Never actually played that level, looks kinda neat.
Reminds me of a plutonia map.

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It should be fairly simple to use SLADE and a ZDoom MAPINFO file to construct your own "Ultimate AV" WAD and slot "Valley of Echoes" back in, right? (Maybe?)

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Yeah, you can put maps on MAP33, 34, and 35, and access them with -warp or IDCLEV.

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Bastardly as it is, I still subconsciously hold a low view of Clandestine Complex despite it being a nice map. I will never be able to not think of it as "the map that replaced Valley of Echoes." D:

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plums said:

Yeah, you can put maps on MAP33, 34, and 35, and access them with -warp or IDCLEV.

I don't think CLEVing works for those.

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So as I never played anything but v2 Alien Vendetta, I decided to fire up v1 and play Valley of Echoes. Yeah I'm not upset this got replaced. It's a poor man's Twilight/Abandoned Mines that goes on for far too long, has a really, really bad layout and way too much "hold down Mouse 1 on the monsters in front of me". Also it's ugly as shit, as was a good bit of Alien Vendetta v1 before it got touched up.

You can clev to 33, 34, and 35 in Boom and above I don't know about proper vanilla.

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I remember being super-impressed by the scale of it way back in the day -- it was probably the single physically-largest scale of any map I'd ever played at the time, which in the pixelated 'nilla engine was a real brainmelter. I'm sure there's plenty of rose-tinting in my memory since I haven't played the map in years -- might be interesting to go back and see how it measures up.

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Well CLEVing on 33+ doesn't work in prboom-plus 2513 at least. Dunno if that's a bug or not.

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The scale is impressive but all the big areas are mono-textured and monolight level and most of the gameplay consists of just killing monsters directly in front of you on ledges wide enough to dodge while most projectiles from the ground just slam into the cliff side.

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Tarnsman said:

most of the gameplay consists of just killing monsters directly in front of you


Yes a map should be an artistic statement of individuality in order to be enjoyed ;-P

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Vorpal said:

Yes a map should be an artistic statement of individuality in order to be enjoyed ;-P


No but being pressured solely from one avenue of attack for a long map is really tedious and boring and a big problem with the majority of Anders' maps in Alien Vendetta (which are long hallways of nothingness that are more or less straight lines connecting the interesting parts of the map). In fact I'd say Anders has more bad maps than good maps in AV and if not for the early E2 filler would probably have some of the worst maps in AV.

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It annoyed me ever since I first found about it, because for the longest time, I didnt know where to get this lost map.

Could anyone tell me how to get it out of the old av mapset, into the new one, with a mapinfo that lets me play all 33 maps in ZDoom without level warping trickery?

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Do you just want it to go from like say Clandestine Complex -> Valley of Echoes -> Demonic Hordes? Or just have VoE be in map 33?

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The former. I only pistol start during playtesting, I get far more fun out of a continuous journey

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Xaser said:

Bastardly as it is, I still subconsciously hold a low view of Clandestine Complex despite it being a nice map. I will never be able to not think of it as "the map that replaced Valley of Echoes." D:

Yeah, I reckon I feel more or less the same way. Clandestine Complex is a sound enough map on its own, but it doesn't fit in very well either thematically/aesthetically or in gameplay terms to the part of the megaWAD it was eventually inserted into. Despite some awkward flow aspects, Valley of Echoes was/is an interesting map not simply in spite of but in part because of its idiosyncrasies, and it lent more overall variety to the lineup than CC ultimately did, despite not being authored by Anders.

Incidentally, if he really insisted on replacing one of those later-game maps for quality reasons, it totally should have been 'One Flew Over the Caco's Nest.'

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Honestly, I've always felt like AV Episode 3 is the weakest part of the wad, aside from Dark Dome and Stench of Evil, so having a break from that style is certainly OK with me. And while I'd agree that "Caco's Nest" is probably a bit worse than VoE, it's not like VoE really fits in AV's third episode well either.

Really, though, pretty much anything from AV's third episode could have been replaced with Clandestine Complex and I'd have been fine with it. Blood Sacrifice is Malde's worst map in the wad, Caco's Nest sucks, Rubicon is so bland as to be barely possible to remember, Demonic Hordes is the prototypical "bad slaughter map" (endless circlestrafing around a blob of infighting enemies, here we come!), Whispering Shadows sucks, Fire Walk with Me has two cool encounters (the first open area and the famous "Revenant Curve"), but then devolves into a boring slog through an admittedly cool looking hell castle, and Point Dreadful truly is dreadful. I always say that AV is my second favorite wad ever, and it is, but damn does it drop the ball in episode 3 (aside from 26 and 27, which are probably the two best maps in the whole wad).

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Hm, Whispering Shadows sucks?... I'm also not a fan of MAP>=21, but this was an exception for me. Pretty low monster count produced a very classical-feel impression on me which I always adore.

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The map has a terrible flow, IMO. Super-cramped areas everywhere, loads of platforming, most of the health and armor is in secrets that require even more ridiculous platforming off of elevators and crap. And then most of the fights are "Cyberdemon in a cramped area".

No thank you.

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Cynical said:

Honestly, I've always felt like AV Episode 3 is the weakest part of the wad, aside from Dark Dome and Stench of Evil, so having a break from that style is certainly OK with me. And while I'd agree that "Caco's Nest" is probably a bit worse than VoE, it's not like VoE really fits in AV's third episode well either.

Really, though, pretty much anything from AV's third episode could have been replaced with Clandestine Complex and I'd have been fine with it. Blood Sacrifice is Malde's worst map in the wad, Caco's Nest sucks, Rubicon is so bland as to be barely possible to remember, Demonic Hordes is the prototypical "bad slaughter map" (endless circlestrafing around a blob of infighting enemies, here we come!), Whispering Shadows sucks, Fire Walk with Me has two cool encounters (the first open area and the famous "Revenant Curve"), but then devolves into a boring slog through an admittedly cool looking hell castle, and Point Dreadful truly is dreadful. I always say that AV is my second favorite wad ever, and it is, but damn does it drop the ball in episode 3 (aside from 26 and 27, which are probably the two best maps in the whole wad).

I must be one of those who had no complaints about the third episode of AV. However, I do agree that One Flew Over the Caco's Nest was a pretty weak start, being a short, overly linear map after those extremely huge maps of the second episode, most notably Misri Halek. That's not to say that it sucks, it's pretty cool, but the third episode deserved a better starter. Rubicon was okay, but I've seen better of Vorpal's entries (Suicidal Tendencies and Overwhelming Odds were his best). I liked Blood Sacrfice, another Malde map that shows him as a master of atmosphere and architecture, and Clandestine Complex, while a fun map, seemed misplaced in the Map 24 slot as it is techbase opposed to the hellish maps of the episode. Whispering Shadows and Fire Walk With Me, in my opinion, were just as good as the rest of AV, but I agree about Point Dreadful cause it is unforgiving towards players who can't straferun due to that first elevator.

In all fairness, Anders Johnsen made such excellent maps. My guess is that during early development of AV, his maps were experimental, and as time went on and he got better at mapping, he was dissatisfied with most of them save for the ones that made it for the old and final versions. Despite what some thought of Valley of Echoes, I think it is worth releasing it as a standalone wad for those who want more of Anders Johnsen and AV, and for me, it displays homages to some of my favourite classic Doom maps. Pistol start ought to play well as Tatsurd-cacocaco's video shows it.

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Personally I'd keep "Clandestine Complex" and "Valley of Echoes", and toss "Demonic Hordes", but that's not the worst thing about Alien Vendetta. The worst thing about it is that awful lava cascade animation. Stop recycling it, WAD makers!

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I really like Valley of Echoes. More than Clandestine Complex. I understand alot of the complaints about AV E3, but for me it doesnt matter. It's not all about gameplay IMO. The maps have such great visuals and atmosphere.

AV contains two bad maps IMO. Cacos Nest (super linear, over detailed, cramped) and Point Dreadful (IOS...baaah).

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I remember not liking Valley Of Echoes while playing the first release, for reasons similar to those discussed above. I will however say that most of Anders Johnsen's maps for AV are superb, and among my favourite maps for vanilla doom ever. Personally, I think his biggest "stinker" in AV is map 16 or wichever one it is, the one with a caged Cyberdemon in the starting area.

I've been playing AV a lot lately, especially maps 25 & 26, but I remember liking all of the maps in Ep 3, well maybe except for those gameplay issues with One Flew.. and Rubicon (still nice maps though).

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Uncle 80 said:

Personally, I think his biggest "stinker" in AV is map 16 or wichever one it is, the one with a caged Cyberdemon in the starting area.


aaaaah I think that's the only map in the wad I won't play from a pistol start.

I wanna give valley of echoes a try though because I too watched this uvmax video on YouTube a while ago, not recognizing the map and idclevving all over the map twenties to find it and had no such luck. I was unaware that av had different versions.

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Oh yeah, I forgot about 'Nukefall.' That probably is his worst map in the set, I think--kind of a jumbled group of discrete rooms that don't really add up to much of anything together. It's not entirely without merit, mind, as it does have a rather interesting pistol-start. 'Rubicon' is probably his weakest in E3, I think it's fair to say that it is pretty much a textbook filler map, albeit a fairly nice-looking one.

You should try Valley of Echoes, 40oz, it's fun. Or at least it can be, depending on how one plays it.

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Nukefall is pretty fun to speedrun through if you ask me, not really that weak of a map.

I though Rubicon was made by Brad Spencer and not Anders? it's an okay map but forgettable, except for the double archies at the end.

Valley of Echoes, eh, flows shitty. really wanted to enjoy it when I first played, now I never want to play it again.

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Nope, you're right, Rubicon is indeed a Vorpal map, my bad. Guess I associate him so much with his larger, bloodier maps in E2 that I mentally glossed over the actual authorship of map 22, which does kind of feel like an Anders map in layout.

Guess that means I don't have a particularly pronounced dislike for any of Anders' E3 maps, though I will say that 'Dark Dome' does seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest in most respects.

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Nukefall would have been great if those Revenants actually worked correctly, instead of being able to shoot them through the bars. As it is, it's still certainly not bad. I'd rate it above any of E3 aside from maps 26 and 27. Nearly impossible if you are playing in a port that doesn't have vanilla infighting behavior, though.

Dark Dome is always the map I think of first when I think of Alien Vendetta. I still don't dare do the optional final fight.

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