Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cyberdreams (CYBER110.WAD)

Prèsage (the duo of Gonzalo Pèrez de la Ossa and Albert Valls) released Cyberdreams for vanilla Doom II in 1998. Their intent was to create a way of playing Doom that had not been done before. At least, not on a scale as great as this; certainly, a precedent for such action had been set in earlier levels, most popularly in Sverre Kvernmo's "Bad Dream", the hidden map in TEETH. Regardless, Pèrez and Valls crafted a thirty-two level megaWAD where the object of every level is to slay any and all Cyberdemons (well, with the exception of one). You won't accomplish this with your standard arsenal, however. Your rocket-firing friends must be brought low via telefrags and crushers.

If I had to compare Cyberdreams to anything, it would be single-state platformers like Super Meat Boy, except the action takes place in three dimensions. The architecture is abstract, primarily serving the gameplay. You will notice some definite texture themes (beige metal plates seem to be the big one) but the levels show a broad variety of schemes. Your biggest threats are the Cyberdemons' chief projectiles. You have some leeway when it comes to splash damage, but you can't take a solid hit. You use Doomguy's superior speed to outmaneuver Cyberdemon rockets while you solve the puzzles that result in Cyberdeath. The pistol is a puzzle-solving powerup. When using the .DEH file, you start with no bullets. If a puzzle involves your pea-shooter, they'll give you the bullets.

The Cyberdreams .DEH file makes some other important changes, like the really cool credits sequence, which reads as a callback to the arcade games it takes inspiration from, and has some words from the developers. It also removes all of the original Doom's hard-coded cheats. An important note: Cyberdreams breaks in a number of ports in various ways. In terms of ease, I had the simplest time just loading the WAD and DEH into the Eternity Engine, which worked fantastically. ZDoom broke in a big way in MAP14, where the Cyberdemons were incapable of retaliating due to the confined space that they occupied. I had a lot of trouble with the crushing floors; you will want to use a port where they will damage monsters.

Cyberdreams is really good, but it's very much unlike Doom. I heartily recommend it to fans of lightspeed noggin-scratchers; fans of classic Doom II-style gameplay might want to consider what they want out of their gaming experience before they settle down and try to bully their way through this unusual megaWAD. It's basically a new game using the Doom engine and should be treated as such. Or was it a game in the Doom engine that was just waiting to be found? In the end, I think it's a fantastic offering, one of those mapsets that will stand the test of time if only through its unique gameplay alone.

by Prèsage aka
Gonzalo Pèrez de la Ossa
and Albert Valls

Warm Up: One on OneMAP01
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Telefrag map. Already gets the brain flowing as you're under fire, you can't just hit the switch (you'll be trapped), and the teleporters to telefrag aren't immediately apparent. The room has a very solid color scheme with little to get in your way while you're dodging rockets, trying to bump off ol' Cybie. Very good introduction.

MAP02The S-2 Factor
by Albert Valls
Simple telefrag map which is all about dodging rockets in a confined space. The two Cyberdemons overlook ankle-high mazes which restrict your movement but not that of the rockets. You have to weave your way through the labyrinths, which mirror each other, to a teleporter at the Cyberdemons' feet, which warps you to the portal used to telefrag them. Just make sure you don't teleport back in front of a rocket you've already dodged...

The Bridge BetweenMAP03
by Albert Valls
Crusher puzzle with the same color scheme as MAP01 that's all about dodging rockets, though Valls gives you some leeway with a combat armor located on the opposite end of the room. You have to cross the bridge a number of times, hitting switches on both sides. The crusher activation requires daring leaps toward the Cyberdemon cages. Once it's done, though, you can find the safe spot and wait out their eventual deaths.

MAP04Come On In
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Very easy map. The Cyberdemon is in a cage. To teleport him to the disposal area and raise the exit stairs, you have to climb an uneven staircase rising out of a toxic pit upon which a few barrels have been placed. It's simply a matter of using your friend to clear the detritus before passing through the activation gate.

Cybers and HolesMAP05
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Now here's something more tricky. There are three Cyberdemons to take down, a feat accomplished by triggering the crushing ceiling that has three holes cut into it. The object, then, is to dodge rockets until they are painlocked and you can safely take your place on one of the three crusher-free platforms.

MAP06John's Lament
by Albert Valls
Switch-based crusher map more in the vein of MAP03, except while you run circles around the two Cyberdemons at the map's core, you've got to contend with a fast crusher ceiling. The most dangerous moment will likely be running into the upper cubby to eliminate the two middle Cyberdemons. The third may come as a bit of a shock. The clip in the western alcove hints at the solution, which may escape some depending on how caught up in the action they are.

Unusual FriendshipMAP07
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
This very simple map depends on monster infighting. You have to use the Cyberdemon to kill your special friends – first, a group of three mancubuses, followed by a squad of five arachnotrons. The mancubuses involve some tricky timing, but a lot can go wrong with the spiders. In one instance, the arachnotrons managed to off the Cyberdemon on their own as the Cyber managed to aggro all of them and was pain-stunned to death.

MAP08Happy End?
by Albert Valls
This map is a little stale. The same Cyberdemon telefrag scenario gets played out four times in a row. Run through the tunnel, flip the switch to access the teleporter, and then do the deed. The only wrinkle is the final Cyber, who oversees a toxic pit with an ominous medikit and soul sphere. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that if you take too much rocket shrapnel, you won't be able to make it out alive.

Double DuplexMAP09
by Albert Valls
Again, I'm not exactly fond of this scenario where the same puzzle gets repeated four times. Cyberdemons are guarding the switches that activate their crushers. You have to make a ballsy switch hit, wait out the crusher, and then press the button behind them, which opens up another switch that raises the floor to the next Cyber. Whether or not they fire on you as you round the corner is essentially luck-based; at least, I couldn't find any way to avoid the rockets 100% without surprising a dormant Cybie. I'm sure there's some subtle element I'm missing.

MAP10Escape From the Hidden Trinity
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
The opening is pretty laborious, with a ton of repetitive switch hitting before the main event, with you on a narrow three-way channel between three Cyberdemons. The megasphere gives you some room for error on your escape, after which it's a standard telefrag affair, where you might catch a stray rocket during the telefrag freeze. I'm not sure – it didn't happen to me.

Sequential MovementsMAP11
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Obstacle course level in a confined metal box. The switches you flip slowly build the staircase to the Cyber crusher button. Dodging rockets is actually kind of tricky, especially around the second switch flipped, where you're likely to eat some splash damage if not explosive death entirely. The final pillar run is another potential trouble spot, though my personal bottleneck was the aforementioned second switch.

MAP12Lord of the Ring
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Gonzalo kicks it up a notch with this slow elevator ride from Hell. You're put in a ring-shaped shaft with two Cyberdemons and must shoot a series of switches – they come in pairs – which raises the ground level up to the next. Dodging rocket fire is paramount, especially in the narrow space afforded. In the end you have to physically hit the final switch that puts the Cyberdemons on lockdown. A nice, grueling challenge.

After the RingMAP13
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Short and simple crusher map that is a new take on the concept explored in MAP05. You have to flip five switches while under duress from the combined rocket fire of three Cyberdemons. This starts the crushers that kill the Cybers... But it also triggers the crusher in the main chamber. To avoid it, you'll have to climb on top of the central platform and dodge rockets in a tight space before the Cyber crushers kick in and painstun them so you can take a breather. Repeat once more and you're home free. Cool puzzle.

MAP14Satyrs, Gargoyles, Lions and Suffering
by Albert Valls
Well, here's something different. Valls submits you to a sequential switch hunt as the panels of several monuments raise, revealing your objectives. All the while, Cyberdemons are laying down suppressing fire. Oh, and it's on a toxic floor, so you have to complete each puzzle sequence before the rad suit runs out. It's pretty challenging, not the least because I kept getting hung up on the switch panels themselves. The second puzzle is a bit more taxing, as the switch panels are timed. Slip up and you have to start the whole thing over again. Overall, a very cool map.

Four Leaf CloverMAP15
by Albert Valls
Actually, this is a pretty easy map. The main challenge is the use of lighting to create the appearance of a void. I initially thought there was a trick to killing the Cyberdemons, but you just have to do some ballsy rushing. Just be careful or you'll completely pass by the secret exit switch. And, uh, take care. They gave you some bullets for a reason.

MAP31With a Little Help...
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Okay, here's something I wasn't expecting. Gonzalo gives you a voodoo doll, some bullets, and two invulnerability spheres. You have to push your little buddy along the track taking care not to get him hit by a cyber rocket (it's not lethal, it's just a waste of bullets) before letting the Cyber knock him between the goal posts, resulting in Cybercide. But that's not all! Use your remaining bullets to push your buddy to the edge of the Cyber's pillar and you'll open up the cool-looking teleporter to the secret level, courtesy of your buddy. Fantastic puzzle.

From My Friend.MAP32
by Albert Valls
I'm not 100% fond of the floating spiral staircase – several times I fell between two of the columns after getting hung up on some geometry – but it's got a nice, easy start before moving onto the main event, where you have to use a Cyberdemon to carefully knock out fifteen Keens. It's a bit of a pill, not only because the Keens can block your own movement, but also, the Cyberdemon seems bound by some invisible track of his own, which makes coaxing his aid a difficult task. When you get that done, make sure you let the Cyberdemon take the teleporter first... The final room's powerup flair looks great and is a nice reward from your marine buddy. Great fun.

by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
You share a very cramped space with two Cyberdemons. There's a Cyberdreams gate in the center, but it doesn't do anything for you. You have to lure your friends into both sides of the gate, sending them off to the adjacent cells, before you run into the exit cubby. Simple, but satisfying.

by Albert Valls
Brings to mind what is perhaps the star encounter of Hell Revealed's "Hard Attack", where you must telefrag a Cyberdemon that teleports between a number of platforms. Valls makes things considerably more difficult by making the access pad pretty small, so hitting the Cybie before he moves on can be tricky (though not a fatal mistake). The second and third rooms use the same setup, except with the second it's two Cyberdemons blinking around, and in the third you just have to use the teleporter to hit the switches to crush the Cybies guarding the exit buttons. Nice little map.

MAP18The Blocked Way to Arch-Itecture
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
This is basically just a nerves of steel map. Take the lift up to a narrow catwalk you have to cross to get the blue key. You'll have to dodge rockets from six Cyberdemons, but once you grab the key, the crushers start and you can just wait it out in the entrance to the lift cage. The level design is pretty cool, though. It's got that abstract, hanging in space look.

by Albert Valls
Well, this is a little uninspired. The arch-vile blasts you into a teleporter, warping you to the upper platform, where you have to dodge Cyber rockets until the switch that triggers a raising floor crusher is available. Not what I was expecting.

by Albert Valls
Booooring. The design is kind of cool, but it's really hard to mess up. Just run the figure-eight track counter-clockwise, hitting switches and dodging the occasional rocket, and the four Cyberdemons will be ground into a fine paste. I will say that it's one of the nicer looking levels, with neat little stands for the floating, glowing Hell rocks.

Bleeding WoodsMAP21
by Albert Valls
Wow, they weren't kidding! This deadly arena is cast in wood and consists of two, nearly-identical encounters. You punch a button and wake up two squads of three Cyberdemons that well teleport into the main event with you. They're bound behind cage bars you have to navigate to hit the crushers switch to take out each side. From there, you can either hang out and dodge rockets until they die (stupid) or just take the teleporter back to the start and wait them out (smart). The second wave comes with a minor wrinkle – the switch to kill them is guarded by the crusher you used to take out the first wave of Cybies.

MAP22Hot Dog
by Albert Valls
A more simple, "Hot Dog" shaped level that relies on disorientation. You start out on one end of a long hallway with blinking lights, with a Cyberdemon on the other end. As he moves, he will teleport from sector to sector, closer and closer until he eventually ends up under the crusher at the center of the hallway. The challenge lies in keeping your bearings as he warps back and forth and taking care to dodge rockets from potentially two sides at the same time. Fun scenario.

Hard Descent, Harder ClimbingsMAP23
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
This is a neat rocket Hell map that feels like a different take on the elevator type map. You stand on a platform and have to run through U-shaped alcoves in order to raise it to the next level, all the while Cyberdemons are firing rockets at you. At the very top, you have to go through a teleporter correctly to nail the two Cyberdemons at the top, after which you have a long elevator ride down. Activate the turret crushers and don't mess up your final ascent...

MAP24Sorry, 66% Maximum
by Albert Valls
Pretty simple map, though dodging rockets on the track might be a little difficult. You'll have to make little pit stops to flip the switches that kill two of the Cyberdemons. I'm guessing the real challenge is shaving time off. At the end, you can only get 66% as you have to use the remaining Cyber to off Romero's head.

Pure BloodMAP25
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Ingenious solo battle with a Cyber that combines some of the previous concepts. The ceiling is slowly lowering to crush you and the Cyber is safe behind his little wall, taking potshots at you. Hit the switches in sequence to lower his protection and then lure him out of the center, making sure you're standing there when the crusher hits the ground. Then it's close range rocket dodging until you repeat the cat and mouse game for a second time, after which you're done. Very cool.

MAP26The Tough Twins
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Another diabolical map where you flip a number of switches while under duress from Cyberdemon rockets. First, though, you have to run through a lengthy, ankle-high maze, as showcased in MAP02. Afterward you're hitting buttons in a round room. Success kills the first Cyber and then introduces an until now unexplored concept. Rather than having to hit all of the switches that arose out of the floor, you only have to hit the correct one to open up the exit hallway. Good luck!

You See Me, You Don'tMAP27
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa
Another elevator-based excursion. After a mad dash over poison to the switch that raises it, you have to dodge rockets from three separate Cybies, who will appear in their own porthole. It's a grueling climb, and one misstep will send you back to the beginning. At the end, it's a quick circle sprint to telefrag the last Cyberdemon, then down to the ground floor, where you can activate the crushers for the other two. Nice level.

MAP28The Floatin' Conspiracy
by Albert Valls
Short and brutal void-based level. You start out at one point of a four-point cross, with Cyberdemons in each corner. At the other tips of the platform you'll find switches; hit them in order to open up the central chamber, a safe zone with a soul sphere. Run inside for some shelter and to kill your Cyberdemon friends. Not much else to say. It's intense, but quick.

The Way to God's MannaMAP29
by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa and Albert Valls
Here's a seriously cool level that essentially boils down to three laps around a race track in space. The Cyberdemon rockets are threatening, but mostly due to the hazard of the course. If you get hung up on something, you'll be turfed, but if you have the course down, it's pretty easy stuff. That elevator effect at the course end is very cool, a surprise after the already neat-looking transparent trackway. Amazing little map. Love the ending bit!

by Gonzalo Pérez de la Ossa and Albert Valls
The finale has a fitting 128 Cyberdemon salute. The space on which you float requires you to traverse a series of tricky timed platforms to trigger the deaths of all your enemies. You're not left twisting in the wind, but venturing out to the platform's exterior will expose you to rocket fire where you are otherwise protected. When you finish the deed, the exit floats on down from the heavens, signalling the end of this excellent mapset.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1998

Gothic DM 2Cyberdreams
VenomTantrum 2
DICKIE10Run Buddy

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