Demon of the Well
Okay, so it's Whitemare II. This will be the first WAD in a while the Club has featured that I've never played before, so it'll be as new to me as to most of you. I liked a lot of the maps in the original Whitemare (though there were also a handful of duds), and I'm anticipating more of the same here. Veinen's got the FDAs covered, so I'll just be doing a normal leisure playthrough, which for me means Eternity, UV, pistol-starts, no saves unless the maps start getting really long (and I hope at least a few of them do!), no infinitely-tall things, 'chivalrous' mouselook (with you on that one, Salt-Man), etc. etc. etc. Without further ado...
Map 01 -- Entry Gate - 100% Kills / No secrets
Ah, Slavius, he of a certain astronomically energy-inefficient cottage that some of us may recall. 'Entry Gate' is marginally improved over his map from the original Whitemare, but is visibly by the same author--the same oddly squashed vertical scale, smallscale representationalist sector-detailing, flat lighting, etc. The depth of scene is a bit improved here, at least, with a slushy road leading away behind a fence, etc. Playing it sort of reminded me of the first map of ZPack somehow (which is not entirely a good thing), probably has something to do with the very first fight being shooting at some weaklings loafing around outside through the windows of the garage where you start (or at least it seemed like a garage to me). The chaingunners on the wall a bit further on don't work very well--the particular dimensions of the rampart means they can only hit the player when s/he is very far away from them, and autoaim tends to throw rounds into the rampart when the player tries to hit them, as well. Something about the exit pad looks horribly garish to me, as well. Not a great start, definitely a strict speedmap.
Map 02 -- Hall King - 100% Kills / No secrets
Another weak map, probably weaker than the first. Presumably the titular monarch is that mancubus? At first I thought he was perched up on a throne in the middle of the storage sh...uh, I mean, "secret base" (the new computer readout/display textures look quite bad here), but closer examination reveals that he apparently fell through the roof, unsurprising given his great girth in combination with the fact that the roof suspiciously appears to be paper-thin (oh those zany UAC bean-counters). Gameplay is pretty damned dire; after the opening, which requires some basic target prioritization skills, it's just a very short series of basic doorway-fights. I guess there's some vague interest in that the ammo balance actually seemed very tight--I ran entirely out of shells at one point--but the fights were so small this hardly mattered. If I hadn't played this a few minutes ago I probably would've already forgotten it.
Map 03 -- Snowbox Ascension - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
This is more interesting, although I can't say I actually enjoyed it much. The idea is simply to parkour your way up some bits of snowdrift, ruined wall, rock formations, and other convenient incrementally-graded bits of terrain to reach a strange blue obelisk atop the tallest rock, so that you can melt a barricade of ice pillars and leave. The platforming itself is easy-peasy--the little trip over to the rocket launcher looks like it might require some kung-fu montage polerunning, but just running straight ahead will clear the gap if you're aimed right--and sort of peters out halfway up the climb, where you suddenly encounter a convenient (if awkwardly engineered) elevator-contraption. No, the rub here is the scads of bothersome monsters perched all along your route like so many overgrown infernal pigeons. Because you have to climb a third of the way up and take a detour to get the rocket launcher, you're left with little recourse but to either pick a lot of them off from the ground or gently nudge them out of your way with buckshot as you go (guess which one I picked), which is all well and good, except for the revenants on the tallest rock. Unholy shit, those bony bastards had me channeling my inner SuitePee--the number of times I had to abandon my climb in order to not be hit by the approximately 4.7 fucking million tracking missiles they were launching per second got old fast, let me tell you...for what was such a tiny map where I suffered no deaths, I spent an embarrasing amount of time playing this, suffice to say. The exit scene is pretty cool, but apparently there are missing textures (probably HOM in PrBooM-plus) on that otherwise intriguing structure in the distance...?
The early going here hasn't made a very good impression on me, to be honest, but there's no telling how much good stuff I'd have missed out on over the course of my Dooming career if I'd have let a few early duds deter me...