16/11/2006 @07:54:38 ^09:59:49

your choice

High/Low 1

A more recent map from the guy who brought us CH_RETRO. Replaces E1M1, looks like an episode 1 wad for the most part. Wonderfully complex layout, every area seems to have several entrances and exits. Plenty of windows, glimpses of future areas. (the lack of this kind of thing was what I was complaining about in those Hellcore maps) Texturing feels a little off for a pure E1 level, it has hints of E2 as well. I think this is because it uses more stone than "star" (i.e. startan3 and so on)

Gameplay is between easy and tricky - you can lose too much health in the early stages, and never recover. I have tried to run it more aggressively and not been successful. You may also find you need to conserve ammunition, and, as ever, I think his monster teleporters could be better designed and go off a little faster. At least there aren't any broken ones.

So aside from a few small niggles this is another of the maps of the year. Go and play it.

Relive the Nightmare

There was one particular scene in highlow1 that tripped my memory. I had been here before - or rather, I had been in a very similar place in another wad. It took me a day or so to make the link between mental image and a name, Phobos - Relive the Nightmare. So I fetched it, and also all the other wads by the same author, Torment, Slugfest, and Doom City - I'd played all of them five or six years ago.

Several things all the wads have in common:

They are easy by today's standards and even an average player should have no trouble carrying ammunition forward through each wad; doing each map from a pistol start is a bit trickier, but possible.

Phobos, as the name suggests, is a reinterpretation of Doom's episode 1 for Doom 2. The maps all have the same names as the originals, follow on from each other, and a few have features corresponding to the name - Hangar has some kind of a landing pad, for example - but there's very little overall similarity, the maps aren't even in the same order. The best one is probably Military Base which is a large nonlinear map filled with monsters and ammunition. It can also be finished in only a few seconds if you're good at strafejumps.

Torment is 6 maps in a grey/wood/water theme. The theme is very consistent, which coupled with some of the levels following directly on, makes it feel in a way like one giant map. Map02 is the best one, being large, complex and having several ways to do it. Map01 has some impressive height variation but suffers horribly from top-heaviness.

Doom City is a small town invaded by monsters. The thing to notice is the texturing, which is realistic and highly colourful, in fact this is probably the most colourful map I've ever seen. There is a petrol station, drive-through restaurant, bank, supermarket, church, library, bar, ... all underneath a beautiful twilight sky. I have a thing about dark blue sky textures. Anyway you have to see this map.

Slugfest - 10 maps in a variety of themes. Brick and stone fortresses, bases including a remix of the start of E1M2, and a boss map consisting of a giant picture of the author's face that shouts "AH! AM NEEJIL!" and fires rockets at you.

And of course it's that Slugfest, the one with map09, the brightly lit pathway, surrounded by pillars, suspended in the giant black cavern, that inspired my first attempt at making a proper map with an editor. I never did finish it; it became too large, causing problems with node building.

26 maps, all very much worth playing.