17/03/2009 @15:47:16 ^18:26:54

A selection of maps by Eternal

Eternal (remain1, epic, freak4) continues to release a large number of excellent wads. Here are some more:

XXXI CyberSky

Replacing map31*, this is a giant slaughter map, part gothic castle, part lava cavern. It's extremely large and cannot really avoid dividing itself up into separate sections, but that kind of disjointness can't be avoided in maps over a certain size. Architecturally it's pretty much flawless.

It has over 2000 monsters on UV and was far too hard for me that way. However I found it really fun to run through with my various "beef up the player" dehacked patches, and I would say it was probably my favourite map of 2008.

Cybersky feels somewhat like a refined version of bbb.wad (see below) but then it's often the case that maps by the same author have a similar feel to them.

* It also has both normal and secret exits, despite being only a single-map wad. I am told this is because it was originally intended to be the first secret level in the upcoming sequel to Kama Sutra, but had to be taken out because it got so big it broke the sidedef limit (I suppose the ksutra authors want to make another vanilla-compatible megawad)


Two rather unique maps, based around the idea of playing with upper textures and sky ceilings. We are mostly outside, on grass, under a bright blue sky - it's positively spring-like, an effect enhanced by all the structure casting believable shadows.

The first map is kind of like a small town, the second, the remains of a fortress. Weirdness comes into play with many apparently unsupported floating structures hanging in the sky.

Gameplay is light. There's hardly any monsters and difficulty is low. While sometimes it throws quite a lot of monsters at you, the amount of space you have to run away removes nearly all threat.

Despite the high-density modern architecture the maps as a whole feel rather oldschool. Not sure why this is. Modern maps are often highly sanitised and you don't often see physically impossible architecture. Or maybe it's the sky texture, there's something inexplicably nostalgic about the light blue sky texture.

32 Inch Nails

Seven maps, mostly what I'd call survival horror (low monster count but with a tendency to surprise the hell out of the player) The gimmick here is like that of Grid32, that is everything is made with a coarse grid setting. Also a deliberate restriction to the IWAD textures.

Now I'm not much of a fan of low-ammo horror maps. I can appreciate the architecture and layout, but I would really like a lot more ammunition and to stop having invisible monsters teleported in right next to me. It's worth even cheating your way through the maps though, as there's some really impressive Dehacked work going on here.

In contrast however, map05 is another enormous slaughterfest. It actually doesn't really fit in with the rest of the wad, but it's by far my favourite map of the set. Set mostly in a huge cavern, it's unrestricted - you can run pretty much anywhere - but you will die quickly. There's a lot of jumping between pillars to do as well. It was a huge triumph when I found the quick way back up to the start (teleport from cavern floor, jump to cyberdemon tower, jump to hidden alcove in wall, teleport again)

Eternal showing his range, he can do survival horror maps just as well as huge slaughterfests.

Belial's Bad Brain

Another huge slaughter map. This is instantly recognisable as a remake of the final map in the One Week Megawad although there are also parts obviously inspired by Deus Vult. It also has a lot in common with Cybersky, notably the "jump to key on descending pillar" motif (this is hard to describe, just play them both, you'll know) and the same disjointness which makes it feel like a number of smaller levels joined together (but which as I said is hard to avoid in very large maps)

Interestingly it has a strange bug on ITYTD. Consider the Boom conveyor belt trick to activate more than one linedef at once. BBB tries to do the vanilla version - knocking a voodoo doll over linedefs with a barrel explosion, and giving the player health to compensate. However in ITYTD you only take half damage, which means half impulse, which means the voodoo doll doesn't get knocked far enough for the linedefs to be activated!

Also the sequence in which you get the keys, and press the switches the keys unlock, seems out of order.

  1. Get the blue key, come back to the start, find the blue switch has revealed itself.
  2. Press that, go back to where the key was and through the bars, do the area beyond, teleport back to the centre, and find the red switch has revealed itself.
  3. Then you can go and get the red key, and return to find the fourth corner with the secret armour has revealed itself.
  4. Finally go through the red door, grab the yellow key off its pedestal and do the (excessively long) yellow key section, eventually returning to the start to find the yellow switch has revealed itself, and this opens the exit.

You have to do the bit after the blue bars before you can do the bit that leads to the red key, so I think getting the red key should reveal the red switch, and doing the previous bit after the blue bars should reveal the corner that doesn't have a key switch in it.