Hear the drummer get wicked
Another back-dated article, written during the time I was rebuilding my site. I don't know how many of these there'll be. If I write too much nobody'll read all of it if/when I put it back up. Oh well.
The Classic Episode is an full replacement for Episode 2 of Doom, and if you haven't played it, you should. There are two versions; the one above is version 2, released mid-2002, and Classic Episode Original hosted by Doom2.net or Classic Episode Original hosted by Compet-n is the first version, released end of 2000.
The differences are mainly that the re-release is easier. The compet-n version is considerably more difficult on certain maps, due mainly to lack of health. It only still exists because lots of people had made demos for it by the time the rerelease was made. There's a changelog document in the rerelease zip file. In fact that's the point. Something recently inspired me to get both versions and play them side-by-side to examine the differences.
- map 2 moves the backpack out of its secret area and into normal space. While it was a very easy secret to begin with I didn't like that for some reason. Now it's just sitting there. Backpacks should be on a pedestal, especially when they're the first one you get. Furthermore the area around the backpack was redesigned and the teleporter which used to be in a nice booth is now just sitting there on the ground.
- map 2 also switched its computer map for a rocket launcher. I guess when you know the map really well you don't need a computer map and otherwise you wouldn't get rockets until map 4, but still I prefer maps to have a computer map than not... I guess that's quite a personal preference though
- Speaking of map 4 the changelog says "sped up blue key teleporter trap" but frankly they didn't speed it up enough, okay the monsters come out faster once they start coming out but it's still very easy to run past the trap point before anything appears.
- Also map 4 has a lot of secrets that aren't marked as such. It still did after the rerelease. One of those pseudosecrets was marked, however. Previously it had been so obscure I didn't even realise there was a way into it.
- map 9 was a lot easier, which was very welcome as previously there were about four boxes of health on the entire thing and unless you were amazingly lucky you'd die. Also the crusher corridor was redesigned considerably and it makes the hordes of barons much more tractable.
- map 6, the so-called "lost map from dawn of the dead" was made easier at the start by moving the shotgun to the bottom of the lift. Before you'd have to let the lift ascend which wouldn't happen because a load of monsters blocked it. Anyway I found it easier to run to where I knew a chainsaw was hidden and use that.
- I felt the area where you pick up the yellow key in map 6 didn't work half so well, though, you can't get the baron fighting the cacodemons because now it just sits on the key, and the 30-second door close triggered by picking the key up will happen after you've cleared the area out, so it doesn't present any new danger, it just forces you to do the following section of map from one direction (there's two doors, you could pick your route before, this sort of choice is always preferable, nobody wants to feel like a rat being led through a maze)
- map 8 was largely unchanged except for the addition of a few bits of health, but I will mention it anyway as it is a wonderful example of a map that I initilally believed to be almost impossible, until I a) improved b) spotted the trick and pulled it off. Fortune favours the bold.
Those are the ones that I can remember. Anyway, enough babbling, the point is you should play this wad right now!
Hell Revealed on skill 2
I got into doing Hell Revealed on a lower skill level, again. I can now claim I've done all but a few of the maps, even if I have to whisper "on HNTR" afterwards.
- I got started with map 13, which turned out to be surprisingly easy on HNTR. The opposition is somewhat underwhelming, and the usual problem of only having a shotgun at the start is mitigated by lack of resistance. The blue key cage is still a major hazard but it is at least manageable due to lack of chaingunners.
- map 14 was similarly surprisingly easy. Here you have to fight your way into at least one of the monster-infested buildings to get any weapon better than a pistol. In fact this map annoys me because most of the weapons are way too hard to get. In particular the plasma gun is on a pedestal at the top of the map, and you can see it there the whole time but you can't get it until you know about 90% of the map is done. It's a shotgun and rocket launcher map for the most part. The hardest part is the cyberdemon that appears when you get the blue key and chaingun.
- map 11 was pleasantly trivial. Nearly all the difficult monsters were taken out, in particular the start area, usually riddled with monsters against you with nothing more than a nearly empty shotgun, was largely devoid of resistance.
- map 18 took many attempts, not because it was particularly difficult but because there was this one bit that I kept screwing up. My impatience made me try to get the bfg from under a cyberdemon's nose. I thought having the bfg would counter both the cyberdemon and the triggered population of the eight surrounding archvile towers. I was wrong, repeatedly.
- map 22 is a blast-fest totally stuffed with monsters and ammunition. You get all the guns at the start. It is extremely fun but I found it impossible on a normal skill level. It's just about doable if you don't horribly screw up on HNTR. Beating this map on any skill level at all made me very happy.
- map 28 is quintissential Hell Revealed for me. Huge ceilings, massive architecture, lots of monsters. Except on HNTR where it's almost empty.
The maps I still have yet to do on HNTR are 23, 24, 25, 26 and 30
- 30 is right out because it's an Icon of Sin map and I loathe those
- 23 might be possible, but it's far too long and there's a couple of places that always kill me, for example the the blue key where you teleport onto a descending tower into a room full of chaingunners and get ripped to shreds. And it takes about half an hour to get that far, it's too frustrating.
- 24 is the hardest map in Hell Revealed and I just can't be bothered fighting hordes of monsters while running round a dark cavern filled with poisonous blood
- 26 is similarly way too hard and full of annoying bits, even though it looks pretty amazing, starting in a skybox as it does. But it's just too much.
25 seemed the most probable, but it turns out it's hardly any different from the UV version, and hadn't been toned down at all. No wait, there's two differences, on easy and medium skills you get a BFG at the start and on easy skill there's an invulnerability replacing a partial invisibility at the far end of the map. I found this not to be enough. Map 25 consists of a sequence of very nasty traps and frankly one invulnerability wasn't enough for me. I could have done with at least four.
To compare, I've done 1-8, 10, and 12, on a proper skill level. Of the others I think 9 might be possible if I got really good with the berserk box, and 21 might be possible because the entire level's weapons and ammunition supply is at the start. (The problem with many of the levels is not that they're impossible but they're impossible without already having an arsenal at your disposal on entry to the level)
Hell Revealed is one of those perennial WADs, but I've got sick of it again so I'm done now.