23/11/2014 @07:30:40 ^08:43:52

Palenque A replacement map01 for Plutonia. Almost a remake - if you squint you can sort of see the same areas, but all mixed up. It is smaller, more compact, and has more intricate architecture than the original - by compact, I mean, does that thing where you revisit areas from different angles when bridges have raised; the route crosses over itself. Difficulty is probably about the same as well. There's more teleporting monsters, including a couple of archviles, but they were fairly obvious to anticipate. You still have the "get rocket launcher, mobbed by revenants" part, which was the only place I died, and it was my own fault.

I Give Up On Trying to Map 1* A sequence of tiny rooms with a lot of detail. Nukage base theme. Quite cramped, feels like a 1024 map, although it is not. I always like the "fight your way to a key, fight your way back through repopulated areas" mapping trope, but it is a bit too small, and too overdetailed.

* I am sure I have posted about igiveup.wad before, but apparently not? The name is very familiar, and I know I have played it before because I remembered the first secret. Perhaps I decided I could not be bothered to write any reviews that day, and so did not finish it.

Hangar 2001 - Ultimate E1M1 Remix A faithful recreation of E1M1, with only minor differences in layout from the original, but retextured like a Quake level (it's brown). Some additional secrets and a lot of crates. You would be forgiven for thinking that it is a derived work but it claims to be from scratch. Worth a look, but also feels rather pointless; not the author's best work (that would still be Containment Area)

Ring of Death An ancient map consisting of inner and outer "rings" and a central core. The inner octagonal ring, which is earthy and open to the sky, has too many tree stumps. They get in the way. The outer ring is square and more technological. Larger monsters, but also bigger weapons, can be found at the corners. The central core has the highest monster density, powerful items on pillars, and the exit key in the very centre. You can bypass the need for the key with co-operation from a second player - and also with strafe50, but I am sure the author wasn't aware of that in 1994.

Lost maps 20-odd maps that seem straight out of the mid-nineties. Most are small and not too hard. An exception is map15 which is an enormous switch-hunt, smothered in monsters, with a shortage of ammunition and desperately little health. I had to thoroughly abuse savegames to get anywhere on it, unfortunately. Some remakes of Doom2 IWAD levels, but in completely different styles. I didn't hate this wad as much as some people do, but then I tend to like mediocre mid-nineties stuff and will happily play through shovelware CDs...

13/11/2014 @20:24:22 ^07:47:51

The Tiger Den

That distinct style of nineties Doom 2 mapping: a sequence of rooms and areas, each in a different theme, chosen apparently at random. For example beyond the red door you have green bricks and blood then computer tech and superheated water. I did like the open courtyard with the overlooking windows and towers.

Plus, it just gives you plenty of ammunition and health, and then throws monsters at you, so it was a lot of fun. There were very few annoying slow or cramped parts. As for bugs: there were one or two monsters stuck in walls, an inaccessible secret (thin sector before step up), and it's possible (but unlikely) to get yourself locked in the red key room.


Three maps: E1M1 is a circular arena with a dozen or two monsters, including all the Doom bosses. E1M8 is Doom's E1M8 modified in the same way that Doom's E3M1 became Doom's E3M9.

The highlight (as it were) is E1M2, which is in two parts, a grey base-style area and a large outdoor arena. The whole thing is stuffed with densely-packed monsters and ridiculous amounts of ammunition, but health can be hard to find. There is also a pillar-hopping and ledge-walking sequence, so it's just like a modern slaughter map!

Only joking. I did rather enjoy E1M2 and played it several times, although it can be tedious having to watch your health, and also because the blue key monster teleporter is badly designed and takes forever to deploy fully.

Shalom, welcome or farewell?

Six simple maps that comprise a mini-episode. For some reason they're distributed as six separate uploads. You can load them all at once if you renumber shalom02 from MAP01 to MAP02, the rest are numbered correctly.

Blood of the Damned

A very old Doom 1 episode essentially composed of thin mazes. Not very inspiring. Some look "okay-ish" (ignoring the tedium of maze traversal) but others are noticably plain even by the rest of the wad's own standard (e.g. M4).

Secret level is a copy of original Doom's E1M1 and the exit to it is on M7. Best ignored I think, you don't want to have to play M4-M7 again. M8 is probably meant to have ammunition carried onto it, otherwise the spiderdemon is a difficult proposition to deal with (and the route to the secret exit on M7 gives you a large cache of rockets).

Megadoom.wad (for Doom 2)

A single map intended for deathmatch, but has monsters for solo. I don't think it would work very well for deathmatch, it's too large and also has an automapless 64-wide maze in it. The other two main areas weren't bad though. The large open plain with the slime river looked good. But what was he thinking with the mile-long twisty corridor of WolfSSes?

The Infected Tower lvl.1

A trek through grey fog. Well, ASHWALL2 is some kind of rock, but all the walls are invisible on the automap. This is not because they've been marked as such, but because they're two-sided. Every sector is unclosed. The most remarkable thing about this one is its relative lack of gameplay bugs given such a basic misunderstanding of map-making...

21/10/2014 @07:27:51 ^11:11:05

Impure Offering

This is a... well, it's not really anything in particular, there's elements of temple, wood house, rock canyon, water, but really it's just a monster arena, a map designed with gameplay first. It is also very hard, although skill 2 is quite manageable.

It uses afrits (those flying barons from Scythe 2) instead of cyberdemons; there is only one of the latter. This is probably because the level has an open design and uses height differences instead of walls to guide the player where it wants him to go next, but wants to allow monsters to freely traverse the arena. There are more flying monsters than on a usual map, a large group of cacodemons early on, and lost souls (which are upgraded to an absolute horde of pain elementals on skill 4 - I have no idea how anyone is meant to deal with this, given the map is explicitly designed for Boom compatibility which has no lost soul limit).

It is quite top-heavy (on skill 2) - once you clear out the imp trap you can retreat to the wood house there (the defensible location as I referred to it mentally) and fight things as they float in.

This map requires CC4-tex, which doesn't seem to have a separate download but I believe is distributed inside the Community Chest 4 zip.

MAYhem 2013

This thing on the other hand has CC4-tex statically linked, so it's a huge file and a waste of space if you already have CC4-tex. There's really no good solution...

Eleven maps of the "advanced Boom" variety. I'm not a fan of maps with too much Boom stuff in them, especially the more fragile exotic features. (Impure Offering, while requiring Boom complevel, still played mostly like a Doom map.)

This also has a gimmick of two monsters per map. I didn't realise this at first but managed to play six or so levels before spotting the pattern. Not unsurprisingly, archviles often feature as one of the choices.

  1. Unit 731 (troopers/archviles) - a laboratory studying captured aliens, that suffers a catastrophe. Requires punching archviles. Final trap is rather vicious (fight three archviles with only your fists!) but doable by learning where the monsters will appear and hiding in a corner.
  2. From The Sky (chaingunners/archviles) - rooftop assault. Both you and monsters often drop down from ceilings. You start being thrown from a helicopter that looks like a saucepan. I couldn't finish this map due to a very strange bug which is worthy of further analysis (see below)
  3. Shooting with Imps (sergeants/imps) - I think there's a base under here somewhere, but mainly it just exists to use every different colour variation of each texture in one go. Nostalgia for CC4 testing.
  4. Orange Night (imps/mancubi) - large city-style map with great height variation to start and ends with a big fight in a car park. CC4-tex lends itself towards garishly-coloured maps. Good fun though, gives you shells and later rockets and throws monsters at you. Seems incomplete, there is a whole section of well-crafted architecture beyond the unmarked exit line.
  5. Eternity's Hatred (pain elementals/archviles) A hellish temple featuring mostly archviles and a ghost pain elemental (you need to play it on the correct compatibility level). Needs archvile jumps for secrets.
  6. Pool of the Spiders (cacodemons/barons) - a trek through caves and canyons. Spacious and plentiful in rockets/plasma makes for fun gameplay. A pity the monster teleporter is badly designed and takes forever to deploy fully. No spiders to be seen.
  7. Casing Lake (sergeants/arachnotrons) - typical ArmouredBlood "Give Me All The Demons" map with much copypaste, massive amounts of ammunition, and numbers of monsters. Prepare to shoot from cover at hordes of teleporting sergeants.
  8. The Demon Rush (chaingunners/demons) - you are chased through a maze by about 500 demons. A few chaingunners appear to hinder you at times. This is not about killing monsters, you have to keep moving through various obstacles before you are surrounded. I liked this map, it's clever and well set-up. At the end, if you feel like waiting you can make all the monsters run into a giant crusher.
  9. Leviathan (barons/archviles) - two or three (depending on skill level) symmetrically (over)detailed monster arenas. Theme of being surrounded by barons (outside a fence, so you can't herd them into a crowd) then adding archviles one at a time, and removing pillars you can use for cover.
  10. Onyx (chaingunners/revenants) - Ribbiks map (Stardate, SWTW). Starts with a forced pillar jumping sequence. Give me a break. This put me off the rest of the map, which is obnoxiously hard, even on HNTR. Not his best effort.
  11. The Stone Spinneret (arachnotrons/spiderdemons) - similar idea to map 9 (same author); highly detailed monster arenas, using the same teleporter skill flags trick. Framerate-harming amounts of masked 2-sided middle textures. I found skill 2 pretty fun. On skill 4 in the second arena there seem to be some arachnotrons that don't wake up, preventing 100% kills.

Analysis of sudden death bug in From The Sky (MAYhem13 map02)

Bug: After approximately 7 minutes of playing, you die. Unceremoniously, and without warning, the screen goes red and you fall to the floor. Therefore you have only 7 minutes to finish the whole map. This happens regardless of skill level or any other relevant setting.

Explanation: There is a group of control sectors containing conveyor floors and voodoo dolls, for Boom linedef scripting purposes. Some of these voodoo dolls move forward (north in this case) constantly, and are continually teleported back to their start position, in a loop. In this map, silent line-to-line teleporters are used to do this. These position the teleported mobj such that its distance along the teleport linedef is preserved at the destination.

Now, as anyone who has tried to record a demo featuring a glide through a 32-width gap knows, Doom's angle tables are not exact. In particular, an object moving north suffers a very slight motion east. Using a silent line-to-line teleporter preserves this slight horizontal aberration, which slowly accumulates.

After 7 minutes, one particular voodoo doll (thing #85) has drifted sufficiently eastwards to impinge upon a second voodoo doll (thing #192) in the control sector area. Telefragging occurs. You die.