20/07/2013 @14:17:54 ^14:57:11

Obviously fixing the site had no effect on my desire to write new posts for it.

Plutonia on UV

Finally I can say I have beaten every level of Plutonia. (Beaten means 100% kills from a pistol start; anything less isn't doing it properly, in my opinion.)

This has been a long time coming; I've had the Plutonia IWAD for over 10 years, but apart from the first map I hadn't played any of it properly until doing the infamous MAP32 ("GO 2 IT") around 2007. Then on a couple of occasions since, I've started a random level of the wad and managed to beat it purely by chance. One of these was the city map, MAP29, "Odyssey of Noises", which became one of my favourite maps, one which I've since played a lot.

Having marked it off the list I fell into a process of trying to finish all of them. I developed a novel way of not getting frustrated by one map, by putting all the maps I hadn't done in a list and writing a script to start the game on a random element of this list. If I died, I restarted on a different random level; if I won, I removed the level from the list. (I need to do this with Jenesis, or I'll be stuck on its secret levels until the world ends... but, I digress)

For historical reasons, one particularly memorable one was MAP11, "Hunted". Before I even had a copy of Plutonia, I had read the intermission message following MAP11 in the game source which described the level as "the deadly Arch-Vile labyrinth", and that had made me dread it. But it's not that bad, especially once you know the layout; it turned out that there are only twelve monsters that teleport out at the start, plus two others waiting already in the maze, which is quite large. You can't put a foot wrong, though. Your only weapon is a super shotgun, and there's no health, so you can only afford to get blown up once. Of course the walls offer plenty of cover but the map is set up so the viles attack you in pairs. Finally, it's one map which is really spoiled by using the automap cheat. Usually, using the map cheat makes the game easier but doesn't ruin it, but with Plutonia MAP11, it just ruins it.

Finally, now knowing the maps the most noticable thing about Plutonia is how influential it has been: the number of maps that are remakes of, or tributes to, Plutonia maps is enormous. Not just explicit ones like Plutonia 2 or the Plutonia Revisited Community Project but classics like Hell Revealed or Scythe, and indeed, Slayer, or Skepland, or many maps in the Kaiser_ series, and so on and so on. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more Plutonia tribute maps than Doom2 tribute maps, although not as many as there are Doom episode one tribute maps, of course.