Saturday, June 28, 2014

Secret Doom: Disrepair (DISRPAIR.PK3)

Cyberdemon531 debuts on the Doom scene with Secretdoom: Disrepair, a ten-map Doom II episode for GZDoom released in 2014. Well, there's a little more to it, but not that much. The mapset has nine normal levels and one secret, plus seven rearrangements of earlier works for a survival-oriented horde mode. There isn't really anything to it storywise. It's got an ending blurb but it looks like your typical "Doomguy fights off Hell" thing.

Disrepair is very much a beginner's Doom project. All of the 3D geometry in the world doesn't mean much when you aren't great at creating interesting architecture or sensible detailing. A lot of the texturing and other choices feel just plain messy when they aren't feeling incredibly basic. MAP01 isn't the best intro since it looks and play unlike pretty much everything else, but it does lower the bar for what follows. It feels like C531 does her best work when she's playing with base facades and large, outdoor areas, a la MAP03, MAP06, and MAP09. At least, these were the maps that I felt had the best mixture of combat, layout, and visuals.

Combat has a few switch-ups in the form of custom monsters from R667. Suicide bombers are one of the more numerous inclusions, but you'll also fight blood demons, blood fiends, cyber fiends, enhanced cacodemons, cracko demons, Skulltag imps, imp abominations, void imps, volacubi, and daedabi. Oh, and while playing with the horde mode - which I'll talk about soon - I ran into a double chaingunner. The nice thing is, none of these guys have enough HP to be a serious timesink, the only downside being that they often don't last long enough to truly feel how they function as game-changers, especially with levels that are this short. Another strike is that a few levels have pointless zombie slaughters on par with The Innocent Crew's early works, which just pads the monster count.

One thing I did like - some of these levels have been converted into survival-style horde maps. The layouts have been tweaked and supplies laid out, and there are some limited "objectives" in the vein of unlocking some upgrades if you find the right switches. Try to live as long as you can with the limited supplies, except for something like the occasional respawning Doomsphere, which makes your chaingun a pretty handy ammo-saver. It's rudimentary, but I might have had more fun fucking off in the horde mode stuff, just because I actually felt threatened and the fighting tended to last a lot longer.

Anyway, while it's beginner stuff, I can see Cyberdemon531 already improving within the context of this set. I hope that she keeps mapping, practicing, and maybe takes a look at other mapsets to keep her work from looking like boxes with random tile stuff. It won't knock your pants off, but if you like simple, fast levels with some R667 beasties, you might want to give Disrepair a shot.

by "Cyberdemon531"

First BloodMAP01
A very rudimentary tech level in a switch / arena style. Flip a switch, kill some monsters. Go into the new alcove, repeat. It's claustrophobic so there's at least some pressure on the player, and there is a doomsphere for the one major battle. Mowing down imps and demons with the chaingun is just kind of bleh, especially when they are single-file.

MAP02Strange Outpost
This feels more like a proper opener map. It's short at 40 monsters but is less blunt about putting the player in combat. I don't like the opening fight, which has a kamikaze dude when you're only packing a pistol, and there's still a ton of chaingun combat against head-on opponents, but there are a couple of window snipers for you to think about. The lost soul closet is about as nasty as this map gets.

Canyon of ChaosMAP03
A little canyon that's housing a ton of crates. The opening is pretty action-packed, what with all the hitscanners and imps on the ridges while a few cacodemons start sidling up from afar. After you get past that, though, it's business as usual. Suicide troopers on an upper level (toward the end) seem like unusually boneheaded monster placement since they can easily be picked off from below. The secret exit is kind of reachable but you need a rad suit to do it, and you won't get one if you miss the secret shootable switch.

MAP10The Stone Fort
A couple of techbase sections linked by a few outdoor areas. This map is just too insubstantial, in spite of making you do a lot of your work with the pea shooter. If you don't have a weapon when you face the red key imps, you might be in trouble, but if you're any good at all you shouldn't worry.

Alpha SectorMAP04
A small techbase roughly in line with "Strange Outpost" but with a few more monsters and at least one deadly ambush which lines some suicide zombies up right next to you. The monster density makes it a slightly more action-packed level and the detailing isn't quite so random, though there are a few pools of hexagon tiles laid on top of a floor of square tiles, some of which are also breaking up, which just looks weird. The ambush once you kill the pair of Hell knights was a nice surprise.

MAP05Storage Sector Eight
The end of the comically short rail car is an indoors crate base staffed with a pretty underwhelming monster selection. Two new guys make their debut, but the tri-shot cacodemon is the only threat of the two, and I think he's even less durable than the regular caco. It looks like CD531 is getting better at reusing space with some of the backtracking you'll be doing and the flow isn't that bad, plus she throws a few monsters your way to keep you fighting all the way to the end. There is a Wolf3D-style secret you're liable to miss that has a plasma rifle, which is the first of the set, I think.

CD531 is starting to bring things together. This is a pretty fun blast-a-thon level with some aspects of "Canyon of Chaos" (mostly the indoor vs. outdoor sections, though both are more substantial). A few more monsters debut, both of which are nice surprises, though the latter one doesn't really last. At least the mech-demons feel more like a threat when the player is gated in with them. Halfway through you almost run out of ammo but when it's time to kick it up again you should have enough rockets to make it. Still some really ugly detailing, though, like that horrible hexagon-tile ceiling in the northern compound.

MAP07The Distant Base
Another indoor techbase, but slightly darker. The monster count looks promising at first, but pretty soon you see that the author squanders it on a pair of pretty braindead slaughter scenarios that leave you flush with ammo, especially shotgun shells. On the plus side, the pistol start with the arch-vile is kind of interesting, since you have to dart out to grab some weapons and then make it back to your safe house while ducking its blasts.

The combat is actually pretty decent for this base level, outside of another TiC-style zombie slaughter with a pack of sergeants. The SSG makes its long-overdue debut, not that it really excels in situations like these, where CD531 sends packs of monsters at you. There's nothing remarkable about the layout, just a bunch of rectangular-ish rooms (and I guess a few huge crushers). The author is starting to send enemies at you from multiple angles, though, which makes things much more interesting.

A neat blast-a-thon featuring almost all of the custom monsters the author has thrown at you, plus one more. This time, they're thrown at you in capable slaughter-like arrangements that force you to move around in the beginning with the occasional interjection from forces that teleport in. The exit guardian, an ordinary Cyberdemon, seems pretty toned-down in comparison to the other monsters, especially when you factor in the Doomsphere.


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