Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Requiem (REQUIEM.WAD)


Most of these authors should look familiar to you. Requiem gathered some of the greatest "star" power when it came to megaWAD authors of the time. Some of the names you may recognize from Memento Mori / MM2, and others from STRAIN and Dystopia 3. And, of course, there are a few new faces, as always seems to be the case with these community projects. The show-stealers for this particular project appear to be Iikka Keranen and Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka who together might as well have released Dystopia 4 in disguise. Adam Windsor contributes a fair number of maps as well, but all but one of them are short but sweet affairs, singled out by some as filler speedmaps made to push Requiem to release (given an apparently troubled development, not unlike STRAIN and The Talosian Incident).

The reality is that Requiem had stalled. The authors responsible for MAP20, 25, 26 and 32 had vanished in presence and declined to reply to their emails. Windsor had three finished maps for the final episode of his Demonfear project - 26, 27, and 28 - and offered them to compiler Chris Thornton, along with a quickly mapped level now known as "Bitter Herb". His assumption was that the Demonfear-plus levels would find their way into earlier map slots, but Thornton simply dropped them in to the vacancies, leaving us with the megaWAD we know today. Maybe not the Requiem that could have been, but a classic nonetheless.

I'm sure Requiem pays some lip service to a story; the text file has plot-like descriptions for many (but not all) of its entries. Unfortunately, the Requiem infopack (where I imagine I'd find the relevant information) won't play nice with my x64 OS, and I can't be bothered to get it working. I'm sure whatever the framework is, it resembles Memento Mori's series of missions in order to tie the largely unrelated offerings together. At least, that's the impression I got from the accompanying .TXT. If anyone cares to parse the infopack with a compatible OS, it's probably loaded with interesting stuff.


Requiem looks for the most part distinctly better than its predecessors, MM & MM2. Lighting and detailing are immaculate and many maps have excellent flow and cohesion, jettisoning the lack of balance the earlier projects seemed to carry. Of course, when you throw Windsor's maps into the mix, the whole set may seem to wobble, but his offerings give you the occasional breather that help to move the WAD along. They're fun, lightweight, and do have a challenge or two in store for the unwary. Along with the stock Doom II textures, a new assortment of custom textures were added. Refreshingly, I can't recall seeing most of them before. The medieval ones in particular are used to great effect in many of these maps. There's also an arsenal of special effects to experience, like swinging (and sliding!) doors, faux 3D-bridges, and textures made specifically to imitate features like arches or features belonging to even more specific niches. Us audiophiles are treated to a fantastic soundtrack by Klem, Tolwyn, and J. Doyle, a name I'm not familiar with. It kicks ass, though, as usual.


Requiem's playstyle is about as cohesive as you'd expect from such a variety of authors. You have your Windsor and Flaharty maps, which are smaller, simpler and focus on using Doom's lighter monsters, and you have your Keranen and Czerwonka maps, which lean toward tougher encounters with heavies, often in cramped quarters. On top of that, you have mappers like Worch and Sambach who focus more on assaulting the player with dastardly traps. There's something for everyone, from vast complexes to bite-sized morsels of action. The only real complaint one could level at this assortment of maps is a lack of cohesion, which is bound to affect any community project coordinated in such a manner, but it's not something that bothers me.


Requiem has it all; looks, fame, and the love of a fabulous mapping community. I can see where the attraction comes from - it feels like the logical conclusion of four years of user-created maps. Granted, the community has moved on for fourteen years as of my writing this, but after playing so much work from 1994 to 1997, this feels like the capstone to an era, punctuated with the release of id's Quake. Really, you couldn't have done much better gathering a group of authors to close it out. Well, besides some other fantastic assemblies from the same year, like Eternal Doom, STRAIN, Hell Revealed, et cetera. Really, Doom didn't end with Requiem, regardless of what the tagline may imply ("Welcome to the Doom2 Requiem"). It's more alive than any comparatively venerable computer game can expect to be. Please; enjoy Requiem. Or don't. There are only about fifteen thousand other WADs for you to play around with.





REQUIEM
by assorted authors

The GatewayMAP01
by Orin Flaharty
A small techbase set into the ground with a lot of gore and corpses hanging around. It's very linear, but with a few traps to set the pace, like the limited supply of zombimen at the beginning or a few predictable but no less alarming reveals further down the line. Things understandably pick up when you grab the shotgun, about halfway through the map.

MAP02Sacrificium
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka and Florian Helmberger
Small and speedy level (twenty monsters!) that's mostly underground but with a memorable outdoor section that includes a mini-Stonehenge type structure. The sacrificium itself is stained with splattered blood. Combat is pretty light with the demons you bump into seemingly unable to see you, even after waking them up, but the bit with the pain elemental could get out of hand pretty quickly.

Poison ProcessingMAP03
by Iikka Keranen
Tough sewer level, mainly due to restricted health. The poison tunnels are well-constructed, with detailing shining in certain bits, mainly when you exit the drink through the blood portal. Note the meticulously detailed arches, especially in the roof, or the swinging doors spilling out into the cavern with the skylights. Except for the wide-open beginning, combat is up close and personal with mobility somewhat hampered by the threat of death by toxicity. You'll be surprised on a number of occasions by beasties teleporting into the already-cramped quarters. Standout encounter for me is at the aforementioned blood portal.

MAP04Fireworks
by Matthias Worch
Worch gives us a nice, lava-bound castle filled with a number of brutal encounters, especially the SSG sequence. He really gets all the mileage he can out of those hell knights. While the castle's facade may look somewhat plain, the interior has some more ornate detailing that really shows off the new textures that debut here. I'll note the cross-lattice on the roof of the SSG switch room. The southern cavern is another memorable bit, putting you into somewhat of a crossfire while you sort out your multiple aggressors. Finally, there are several instances of cacodemons emerging from the embers surrounding you, a great touch.

The CanyonMAP05
by Bill McClendon
A nice Hellish fortress installed in a mountainside. Each of the three wings (east, west and north) are built around a damage floor of some time. The north is toxic and has a tricky perilous ledge fight. The east is loaded with blood, with a few cool bits like cacodemons coming out of a blood waterfall. The west wing is all outdoors and involves a gated walkway and a supremely obnoxious imp crossfire while attempting to dispatch all manner of trash on the main bridge. Of course, if you managed to find the secret yellow key, this whole scenario is more deftly handled, granting access to the rocket launcher (after a brutal ambush) as well as giving access to some other choice powerups. Not so fun without the special key. Still, some gorgeous architecture and great fights.

MAP06Natas Ot EtubirT
by Thomas Moeller
Nice, large mixture of concrete techbase and Hell castle. Action begins on an island fortress isolated by a toxic moat; you raise bridges, enter the annexes on the other side, and slowly explore counter-clockwise until you've ousted all your opposition. Players take note – there's a hidden SSG early on that should greatly ease the map's pace. Moeller has stuffed this place full of all kinds of neat sequences and traps, like hordes of cacodemons or the chaingunner / pit to the southwest, or the old standard, a berserk followed up with a horde of demons. I can't help but smirk at that final jab, which might end a few first runs in frustration. A nice sendoff for a vanilla master.

Hell's GiftMAP07
by Jens Nielsen and Matthias Worch
A tricky, short map (some kind of simple fortress) for Nielsen's parting shot. It makes use of the usual tag, but that comes at the end. The first half emphasizes a bit of artful dodging and very light puzzle-solving with a few traps to look out for. The second has you clearing a compound full of mancubuses (with some sneaky resistance outside) before the inevitable storm of arachnotrons, where it pays to have saved your precious few rockets. Then it's back to dodging obstacles while you clear the bastards out. Fun, if kind of plain.

MAP08The Reactor
by Iikka Keranen
If you've played Dystopia 3, this should all seem eerily familiar to you. You begin in a jail cell, fight your way through some kind of outer compound, and then push into a tiered mine. The techbase parts are textbook Keranen while the very shaft itself is evocative of his mine shaft in DYST3.WAD's MAP08, except less diabolical, and I daresay more appealing (dig that elevator on floor 1!). Gameplay is as a result claustrophobic and punchy with tougher monsters (especially revenants) gumming up the works. There's plenty of health and armor to go around, however (and a few zerker packs). Just don't miss the secret SSG or the elevators won't be the only thing slowing you down.

Deep Down BelowMAP09
by Matthias Worch
AKA MAP06 of The Trooper's Playground, with some alterations. It's an underground fortress with a dash of tech that's pretty representative of Worch's style. It's based around trap after trap, introducing monsters at a steady pace such that the player rarely feels overwhelmed while simultaneously keeping the action constant. For a map that feels medium-size, it's remarkably compact, due to the way Worch uses the spaces between other sectors (which is usually another sector!). The true standout moment of this level is the red key sequence, a game of keep away, though the central western room can get your heart going if you neglected to scour the sewer for ammunition.

MAP10The Black Gate
by Orin Flaharty
Flaharty does what he does best in a short, fun level featuring raised walkways (not as much as usual) with tons of excellent green marble sections and more fireworks than is customary, including a Cyberdemon showdown. The main theme of this map is teleporting from section to section, the parts inaccessible via other methods of locomotion. Fighting is actually a bit tough for a Flaharty map, with my personal standout encounter being the madcap opening. The rest is just as great, though.

Rats in the WallsMAP11
by Adam Windsor
Windsor delivers a small, quick techbase stuffed with secrets and more monsters than you'd think. Its particular design peculiarity involves ankle-high lines throughout much of the southeastern base area, resembling something like piping. The big highlight of the map occurs after the red key grab, which lets loose a few hordes of monsters into the base, which you'll have to locate and confront with some care. Detailing and lighting are very nice, with my favorite bits being the westernmost and easternmost parts of the complex.

MAP12Militant Reprisal
by Ian Quick
Quick's sole contribution is a gargantuan fusion of Hell fortress, techbase, underground, and other sensibilities. Visually it's pretty busy, switching styles from room to room, and sometimes kind of grating when the lack of texture alignment is apparent. Gameplay isn't too tough, leaning more toward attrition and lesser monsters, though there's a definite lack of health. At least, normally. In reality, the map is packed tight with 23 secrets, all marked, and finding even a few of them is generally enough to tip the balance in your favor. The amateurish texture job isn't so bad; detailing is pretty good, all things considered, and some areas like the poison waterfalls or that little revenant / waterfall pocket room are quite striking. Really, it's a great map that could have used a little more polish, and maybe a bit more consistency.

Town of the DeadMAP13
by Iikka Keranen
Honestly, like MAP08, this could just as well have been in Dystopia 3. It's a wonderfully winding series of rural buildings set in a canyon overlooking a cliff using pseudo-3D bridges and lifts to take the player criss-crossing through several elevations as he / she navigates the municipal morass. Difficulty is on par with Keranen's other works, with enough soul spheres and berserker packs to keep you moving through the revenants, mancubuses and barons / hell knights. The architecture is a real treat, most notably an instance where a pseudo-bridge overlays another bridge (masterful!) though the final segment is the most distinct, with a graveyard of demonic statues that come to life and that final marble crawl with imps lurking around every corner. Excellent stuff.

MAP14The Portal
by Eric Sambach
The Portal is the map's end goal, but most of the action takes place in one of the most well-manicured mines I've traversed. The new textures really look great here. Sambach keeps the action pumping from the beginning to the end, steadily unleashing monsters upon you, with some true shootouts like the outdoor toxic room that houses the rocket launcher, the blue key room (chock full of weapons fodder and some strategically placed arch-viles), and the final fight, with four homing turrets and a revenant. Detailing in some of the places, like the green / gray marble tile hallway, look kind of plain, but the gameplay and concessions made toward lighting more than make up for it.

Last ResortMAP15
by Matthias Worch
Worch's final entry in Requiem is a massive fortress, the centerpiece of which is a pair of courtyards surrounded by marble battlements. It's everything you'd expect from him, with a host of traps, some of which cover new ground, like enemies in semi-secret closets you can just barely see, or some relatively obscure puzzles (thinking of the northern section here), and the secret exit, which involves an arch-vile jump. The two most memorable encounters actually use demons, one of which is a real snag if you don't exploit teleport mechanics, the other of which is more visually stunning than anything. All told, a fine send-off for Worch.

MAP31Doorway to Quake
by Iikka Keranen
Excepting the fact that it's got Doom's gameplay, this is a fairly accurate remake of Quake's E1M6 (The Door to Cthon), the other major exception being that it's much better lit. All the fun bits are there, from the portals to the crazy walkways to a gorgeous (faked) sliding door. It's all too short, sadly, but I assume Keranen could only cram so much detail into this thing before the engine threw its hands up. Definitely worth a play, whether you go through the rest of Requiem or not.

Bitter HerbMAP32
by Adam Windsor
A short but sweet arena-style map from Windsor based around two encounters. The first is a shootout with a dozen or so cacodemons. The second involves a pair of arch-viles heralded by a pack of demons while imps fire at you from above. Just take care that the second fight doesn't get out of hand or you'll be taking the last few thugs out with a chainsaw.

MAP16Escape From Chaos
by Iikka Keranen
A surprising departure from Keranen's usual aesthetic style, giving us a densely-packed journey through a Hellish fortress with both rivers of nukage and lakes of embers. Combat is similar to his other works, with an emphasis on claustrophobic fights and putting the player in scenarios they can't readily retreat from. That first shootout inside the building is perhaps the standout encounter, putting the enemies on several tiers while the only route of progress involves a blind lift putting you face to face with some hitscanners, and a daring weapon grab will leave you with an awkward armament if you rush blindly ahead. There's also a fair amount of ledge-humping. Finally, that reveal with the escape shuttle at the end is fantastic.

Dens of IniquityMAP17
by Michael Rapp
Rapp releases this sprawling, almost entirely underground adventure. Like most maps this size, the gameplay tends toward scads of smaller monsters while slowly feeding health to the player. Some highlights: the surprise revenant in the first elevator; the pain elemental corridor; and the cacodemons that boil out of the yellow key trap. The encounters are rarely overwhelming, though, as you're given more than enough room to dodge around your foes, excepting (possibly) a certain hell knight. Very nice, although I was a bit weary by the end of it.

MAP18Base of Thorn
by Eric Sambach
Sambach, absent from Memento Mori II, follows up his "House of Thorn" with this map, a strange base in wood with some stony annexes. It's a particularly brutal map with encounters like the plasma gun room, where you can end up boxed in by hordes of hitscanners and barons, and a Hellish basement plunge that demands either patience or precognition lest you end up with a bolt of baron plasma to the back of your skull. It takes advantage of its settings, particularly the nukage corridor and its nearly invisible spectres. Detailing is pretty snazzy, yet understated, with its small skylights (and nice bits like that yellow key door frame). I can't help but wonder about those tech columns, though...

Skinny PuppyMAP19
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Short but very intense challenge-based techbase map. It's divided into four wings, and a fifth "wing" you have to clear in order to access the exit. It's got some neat bits like moving machinery and is just detailed excellently in general, but the true star are the fights, like the arch-vile / chaingunner mash-up, hall of mancubuses, or the arachnotron swarm. They're all potentially deadly in their own particular ways. The fifth area, which features a series of gated encounters you unleash with switch flips, isn't quite so dangerous (except maybe the revenant wave). Actually, reaching that particular area was kind of a stumper, as it's a directional teleport issue I'd managed to bypass during exploration. All in all, challenging and quite fun.

MAP20The Forsaken Hall
by Adam Windsor
Short, spartan house map from Windsor. The only real major encounter happens in the nice-looking marble hall that houses the yellow key. It's a free-for-all with various monster types but you should be packing some heat, so not to worry. A few handy secrets scattered around, but nothing that makes or breaks the action.

Den of the SkullMAP21
by Anthony Galica
Another great map with a broad variety in encounters and texture themes, as well as a few neat tricks. Galica uses teleporters to send you off to the map's distinct locales, but its most distinctive gimmick is the skull itself, visible on the automap from the beginning. It looks pretty awesome and comes with a potentially nasty encounter. There's really a lot of awesome sights to see, particularly in the later part of the level with the sewers and the canyon segment. There's also a neat section that takes place in a void of pure Hell. Another neat touch has a gargoyle face that's half and half on a corner. Really, just play this map!

MAP22Arachnophobia
by Iikka Keranen
Another offering in Keranen's inimitable suburbian style. While the pathing isn't as intricate as, say, MAP13, it's just as action-packed (if not more so) and stuffed to the gills with arachnotrons (thus Arachnophobia). Except for one particular trap (you'll know it when you find it) they're not much of a threat when handled carefully. There's also a run-in with the mastermind, of course, but it's about as easily handled as the rest. As far as architecture goes, there are some cool bits like the grated walkway into the yard in front of the yellow key building, or the end segment, and a strange propeller-like structure with some imps on top of it that I still haven't figured out. Very cool!

HatredMAP23
by Dario Casali
A profoundly entertaining sendoff from Dario, with a grand total of three Cyberdemons (among the other riffraff). Gameplay starts off in a brown / green stone fortress with close-quarters fighting and some nasty traps before busting out into a large outdoor area where the real fighting begins, punctuated with a slightly extended boss shooter fight. Among the tougher encounters are a tricky battle with two Cyberdemons in a fairly constrained playing field (well, for two Cyberdemons, at least) and the notorious "blue nazi fountain" which unleashes a wave of SS Nazi ghosts you'll have to carefully take out in a game of kraut und maus. The outdoor section also has two large monster packs you'll have to tackle at some point, the second being the more difficult to handle as you're liable to be boxed in. Incredible fun or you money back!

MAP24Procrustes Chamber
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
This gothic castle looks astoundingly gorgeous but is a complete pain in the ass to play if you don't know about Adelusion's ammo cave, accessible via an off-color rock on the south wall of the hallway leading to the exit. You still won't have enough ammo to kill every enemy with a firearm, so be ready to get punchy to save some shells (the zerker's kit locked behind a secret). Everything's visually appealing here, but the big standouts to me are the yellow key room (and its claustrophobic fight) and, of course, Adelusion himself, who hangs crucified in his own fantasy world. A great level...provided you can find the ammo.

Chaos ZoneMAP25
by Adam Windsor
Another fast Hell fortress from Windsor. The main gimmick of this map consists of several moments where waves of enemies teleport into sections of the map. Nothing too exotic, just imps and all the varieties of zombimen. This makes the first encounter fairly intense while battling waves of hitscanners in the larger, open room that houses the exit is a tad bit annoying, though Windsor has a curveball or two to keep things fresh.

MAP26Excoriations
by Adam Windsor
A map so short, if you sneeze, you'll miss it! It's a small keep with a lava moat and a few tricky elements to keep you on your toes, like a pain elemental and an arch-vile wandering across the backs of two rooms. Detailing and lighting are nice for such a tiny outing, particularly the room with the hanging corpses.

Cursed KingdomMAP27
by Iikka Keranen
Breaking from his usual style, Iikka gives us a titanic city level to rival all (vanilla) city levels. Thirteen or fourteen larger buildings, most of which have multiple rooms, lightly sprinkled with more than three hundred Hellspawn. Thankfully Keranen has seasoned the map with some ammo as well (cells!), including an early berserk pack if you want to play scavenger. It plays very well, with some brief lulls. You start out in a constrained portion of the map and as you clear the buildings and flip switches the fences start to come down until it's opened up. The trickiest bit for me was the BFG trap, but that's not to glaze over all the great gunplay you'll have, including a nice ol' Cyberdemon fight and plenty of Doom II toughs.

MAP28Fetals' Remains
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Adelusion's final entry is some kind of demonic fortress with a water running criss-cross through it. Most of the fighting takes place on four sections in the corners of the fortress, with an additional jaunt through an underground river, half of which is being polluted, finally ending up at the very nice-looking exit room. Compared to MAP24, it's a much less intense affair, giving you some much-needed breathing room (no running of the revenants) and all the fun bits are out in the open. As with pretty much everything else Adel's done, the map looks stunning, with my favorite bits being the ending (which is quite clever) and the cubbies backlit with torches, which look like animated textures from afar. Standout encounter for me was the cage fight in the map's center.

DownerMAP29
by Adam Williamson
Williamson ends the normal single-player maps with a giant underground Hell using the classic red rock walls as its core feature. Gameplay isn't that tough but it has its moments, like the arch-vile perched in the center of the room outside the red key door, or that ridiculous crossfire on a tall walkway in the northwestern area. It's also got plenty of features to thrill, like some nice lighting, detailing (particularly that outdoor canyon loaded with slaughtered marines) and the blood fountain to the northeast. It's also got a nice tricky finale as Williamson's offered cover isn't quite enough to hamstring your ultimate opponent.

MAP30Nevermore
by Adam Windsor
Windsor's finale is a pretty straightforward boss shooter with a couple surprise fights before, mainly that rocket launcher teleporter ambush (my standout encounter). After that it's a quick bit with an exposed bossbrain you can splash to death without working too hard, though the position of the spawners means all the enemies are up in your face.

LACRIMOSA DIES ILLA,
QUA RESURGET EX FAVILLA
JUDICANDUS HOMO REUS.
HUIC ERGO PARCE, DEUS:
PIE JESU DOMINE,
DONA EIS REQUIEM. AMEN.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1997

RequiemEternal Doom
Gothic DMSTRAIN
MordethThe Talosian Incident
Dawn of the DeadHell Revealed
Hell's EventideCHORD_NG

16 comments:

  1. I found a glitch in the review: In last map "Nevermore", it still says "MAP29" but it's MAP30.

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    1. Fixed, thanks! There are bound to be a bunch of typos after switching my review format, but most of them have been dealt with.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I have no idea what this comment said or who deleted it.

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    2. I said that MAP05 screenshot is very similar to the one from Memento Mori. Anyway what the hell happened with my anonymous comment?

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    3. Fixed, thanks for the heads up.

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    4. Another weird oversight: MAP29 and MAP30 have same description.

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    5. Whoops! That apparently didn't survive the transition between review formats. I wrote a new descriptor.

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  3. I tried this wad with Chocolate Doom just to see the fucking demos and they desynch! WTF? The second and third demos desync for no reason. Maybe because of revenants, I don't know because last time when fights a revenant, the demo gets desynched and starts shooting at walls. Does it happen to you?

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  4. OK, I just finished this. It was awesome! Maps 01-20 (including secret levels) were so easy but maps 21, 23 and 24 were hardest, including map 23 which took me 4-5 tries to finish. I mentioned these maps because I died in them, the rest other maps I didn't die, maybe I was just lucky but I liked the action in general. The megawad was well balanced (the only map I FUCKING HATED was 23 because of 3 cyberdemons (well, in AEOD they were different bosses) and an IOS boss fight, WTF?)
    I even experienced lag in that map, I don't know why and I was so angry that I thought it crashed or something. And I used ZDoom 2.6.1, not GZDoom that lags the game even more. Oh well, still one of the best megawads! And the music was cool too! Too bad I wanted to try this in Chocolate Doom but I don't like how demos desync when the player sees a revenant, I don't know what's going on.

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  5. Requiem was pretty amazing for the most part. Could've done with larger maps than what we got as 20 and 26. 25 probably could've been earlier in the wad, and 30 and 32 left a lot to be desired. Other than that, Mostly holds up to the likes of the MMs, Eternal Doom, Icarus, and Final Doom.

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    1. Requiem probably would have never been released if Windsor hadn't have donated his final Demonfear episode to the project, but he wasn't responsible for where they got placed in the megaWAD. They do feel really out of place next to all of the much larger levels, but so it goes.

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  6. I've got the infopack running under Wine. It opens a small window with four buttons: "Requiem Info", "Author Info", "Credits" and "Exit". The first button opens a window in which basic information (Title, Author, E-Mail, Screenshot and Description) can be found for each of the 32 maps; it is incomplete for some maps, though. The second button opens a window in which short information about the authors and an additional "Thank You!" button can be found. The third button opens a single text page containing exactly what it promised. You already guessed what the fourth button does.

    Sadly, no story, no plot, no further backgrond information. :(

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    1. This is one assumption I'm sad to see clarified.

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  7. MAP14: "four homing turrets and a revenant."
    I think you meant an arch-vile there.

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  8. Another good megawad with lots of new textures and details. Very enjoyable for the most parts. There were many monsters badly placed and many non intuitive secrets that had me constantly "hitting" walls to find them. The music was good too. Overall, a 7,5/10 for me

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