Apparently, my experience with this set of 15 maps was somewhat
different than what zorah experienced. This is a 15 level set of
maps that is a work in progress, so expect some changes
(hopefully - lol).
unlike zorah, i actually found this entire set of maps to be
pretty easy with the caveat that (like zorah noted) the author
springs and overwhelming abundance of traps on you that are
guaranteed to catch you off guard and leave you for dead - so
use that quicksave button frequently!!! On the other hand, if
you're a masochist and don't want to save the game - have at,
but I don't think this set of maps can be completed without
saving and there are enought tricks and traps involved that you
will get really, really, pissed off if you just cleared out half
a level and then suddenly (and unexpectedly) find yourself
surrounded by half a dozen hellknights or worse yet - a bunch of
demons and a goddam archvile - i hate those damn things!
on the upside - once you've seen the trap - it is generally
easily overcome on your next attempt. the only places where i
truly had issues were in later maps where he used dark spaces
with spectres. that can be a real pain in the, um, (excuse the
what generally makes these maps easy though (in my
opinion) is that the maps are absolutely drenched in bonuses -
health bonuses, armor bonuses, weapons, etc... At one point (The
mansion map) I found myself virtually loaded for bear with all
my weapons plus 100% health, etc... and when I got to the next
level - yup, more bonuses. pretty much after every major
battle you can expect to pick up a ton of ammo and health and in
some cases, you are just like looking at it all and wondering -
wtf? then you hit the next big battle and you know why it was
Monster placement: 4
I've never actually used this particular metric before when
reviewing a map (or maps) but in this case, I felt that it was
absolutely crucial to add this to the review. and I hope it is
something that the author fixes in the final product.
monster placement in this set of maps - end to end - is
i'm not complaining about heavy weapon dudes being placed
at long range where you can barely see them (if you can see
them) or anything like that - i'm talking about using what
should be incredibly difficult monsters in situations where they
are really nothing more than target practice for your shotgun.
there were alot of monsters in all of these maps - many of the
situations required nothing more from me than to just lay back
and let the monsters decimate their own ranks - fun at times but
hardly challenging - you just mop up the few survivors aftewards
and move on. one of my most consistent notes as i was going
through the maps was this - barons and hellknights are not
frightening in open areas and as it turns out - in tight areas
either for the most part, if you have any room to maneuver
at all. and there are plenty of them in the maps - sometimes
anywhere from 3 to 6 or more would be unleashed at a time but
when you rarely if ever run low on ammo to the point where
chewing it up isn't even a concern - well, they just don't have
the same effect. also - cacodemons are about as scary as the
tooth fairy - slow, stupid and pretty much useless. the pain
elementals are more of a challenge because they spit out lost
souls but even then - with tons of ammo - a spray of death from
your plasma gun dispatches them and their little minions in a
hot minute. in many situations I also saw revenants, which I
normally can't stand but i rarely saw them in close quarters
which made dodging their attacks and counter attacking much
easier and when I did see them in close quarters and
consequently got my ass flattened, i just loaded the plasma gun
on the next go round and wasted them before they could attack -
so there we are back at the problem with far too much health and
ammo in the maps again.
one other note of interest - there were portions of several maps
that literally did not need to be there - the battles i fought
brought nothing in terms of moving the player along to the final
goal of exiting the map or in providing him with anything of any
real use. There weren't many like this but one of the more
unremarkable sections involved hitting a switch and then all
four surrounding walls opened up and i was inundated with cacos
and all manner of demons. after my initial failure I simply ran
the hell out of the room and let the monsters fight it out.
after mopping up, i discovered that there was nothing there
worth fighting for anyway. i have no idea what that switch did (i'm
sure it opened something i needed besides those walls) but the
rest was completely pointless - it was just a giant trap that
failed to move the game along.
one final note on monster placement - the traps were well hidden
but many of the non trap battles were very predictable and while
this is probably personal choice - when i was approaching a big
gain in the map - a key or something like that, the big battle
happened before gaining the key but generally absolutely nothing
happened after the picking up of the key, which was
somewhat disappointing really. alot of this monster placement
detail also has an impact on the design score
i actually give this set of maps high marks except for one
(we'll discuss that in a moment). The initial levels - 1 through
8 were pretty basic doom2 type levels (and as zorah noted - they
definitely do not require a port, as I loaded the wad into my
dos machine and confirmed that they work with vanilla doom 2.
Regardless, they were well constructed with only a few minor
texture alignments that i noted early on. the design was
especially good, however, in later levels (or the middle levels
really), when the author used some really nice design to create
an environment that was truly impressive. in the last couple or
three maps, however - when he got to designing "city" maps, he
sort of lost it again with some areas of the maps being quite
good but large chunks of them being somewhat bland and to be
honest - too large.
ONe of the upsides (or downsides as Zorah saw it) was the
plethora of traps. the author really unleashed the demons of
hell in this one. I'm telling you - save frequently or you'll
regret it. the surprise attacks come frequently and in many
cases from directions you wouldn't suspect.
personally, i enjoyed these maps very much with the exception of
map 7 which zorah and i both agree was just a waste of a map. it
offered nothing - was essentially one room with a cyberdemon and
some other badasses involved and the cyberdemon was easy
pickings with plenty of room to maneuver and tons of good
weaponry to choose from - and, of course, once the creatures
started in earnest, they did all the work for me - all i had to
do was mop up the cyberdemon which was far easier than it
ever should be. if i had the time, a second run through
definitely wouldn't be out of the question but (even though it
didn't take 2 weeks as it did zorah) it was a time consuming
affair and i have other reviews to get to.
Overall (Not an Average) and some final thoughts: 6
the author has clearly improved as a mapper over time, as
evidenced by the dramatic difference in the quality of the first
several maps to the ones between 8 or 9 and say 13. 14 was a
great fight but quite large and i did find myself getting bored
at times - that may have had something to do with the lack of
fighting after getting keys, etc....
I didn't keep notes on the first maps but i did start keeping
notes at rip and tear, probably because i was starting to
recognize some patterns - so, some notes:
"rip and tear" map 6
huge - w/pointless battles. that would have been the map i
referenced earlier in the review. finished the map with 200%
health and 200% armor and there was tons of ammo
left rip and tear with all that health and armor and there sits
a megasphere - pointless. also tons of ammo available to pick up
It kind of goes on like that....
"let the monsters do the work"
"cyberdemons and hellknights are not scary when you have this
much health and ammo and room to move"
"revenants suck by die pretty easily"
"caught out on some traps but generally pretty easy"
way too much health and ammo"
the maps get much more difficult towards the end, as the author
notes in his "maps.txt" file. but even then,... good skills beat
these maps fairly handily.
Finally (last thoughts)
This IS a work in progress. i'm certain that the author is
taking this to heart and will be making changes to the levels
with the input he gets here and on doomworld. :-)
I played on uv - should be harder than this but not like
nightmare hard either. lol