Monday, December 22, 2014

Mayan Mishap (T-MAYA.WAD)


When he's not a jetsetting playboy fighting Nazis and curing cancer, Doomworld Forum superstar Tango messes around with Doom, and on rare occasions he actually finishes Doom maps. Mayan Mishap isn't just a collection of Doom II levels, though. Released in 2014, it's both the rare instance of a complete Tango project in the wild plus an attempt at a new yet familiar take on classic gameplay. The end product spans MAP01-04 plus MAP31 and is targeted at BooMBF ports but had the MBF BEX code converted to DECORATE so that it would run in stuff like Zandronum. As far as story goes, well, there isn't one. You don't really need an excuse to slaughter demons in a vaguely Mayan environment, though.


I'll be up front. Tango has made a lot of visual changes to the rogue's gallery, pulling from mods like Demonicron, Demon Eclipse, and UAC Ultra, but the most important changes are in enemy behavior. As far as I can tell, everything has the same health, but all of the fireballs travel much faster now, and I think the demons move faster, too. The baron receives a major upgrade, and throws out pairs of plasma fire in sequence, plus he can shoot rockets, now. The other major change is the greater mancubus, another aerial monster with a similar but distinctly different attack pattern than its lesser brethren. I'm not sure about weapon behavior across the board, but I do know that the chaingun fires faster and your bullet capacity has been upped to 600, not that you'll be using it a whole lot.


With all these changes that add to the difficulty, you'd think that Tango would ease you in. Well, that's what lower difficulties are for. UV starts you off like you've always been dodging doublespeed fireballs and watching out for floating fatasses with the enemy layout resembling what I'd think of as full of "advanced" setups. In fact, that's the only thing MAP04 has, just a handful of near-death arenas you have to fight your way out of. The nicest intro you're going to get is probably the secret level, "Crystal Basin", which feels more like a typical Doom level and not slaughter-lite, though it's still got some teeth.


As mentioned, the setting is vaguely Mesoamerican, but the cultural iconography is pretty toned down compared to, say, Temple of the Lizard Men, which was also pretty bad about conflating other ancient civilizations like Egypt, and I'm sure things both Mayan and Aztec. Tango's ruins are architecturally stunning, but they're kind of lacking in character. A few badass frescoes or wall carvings would have gone a long way toward making these battlegrounds really pop. As it stands, the clean design and abundance of weathered brick leaves me with an empty feeling. Thankfully, you'll be too busy running from the demons to really dig in and take in the scenery.


Be that as it may, it's really cool to see a solo Tango project in 2014 and I hope he takes this theme / gameplay styling further with more levels and possibly more tweaks, like with Obituary and STRAIN. Maybe he could make this part of a Scythe-like series of small episodes...? Haha, yeah, like that's gonna happen. Thanks for the maps, dude, hope you make more of them!





MAYAN MISHAP
by Alican John "Tango" Oksasoglu

Mayan MishapMAP01
A very big monster-laden intro that's sink or swim as you are forcefully introduced to most of Tango's balance changes. At the very least, the author gives you plenty of ground to cover in this mostly outdoorsy level. The open air won't mean much if you can't adjust to the speed of the projectiles, though. The new stuff instills a sense of panic in just about every firefight but the teleport ambush in the southernmost region is one of the best instances of having to keep the hordes at bay. The canyon immediately adjacent is also pretty fun to drop in to, especially with those flying mancubuses.

MAP02Sacrificial Scramble
In spite of the appearance of the Cyberdemon, this feels like a kinder, gentler approach excepting a few fights. There is still a bunch of outdoor landscaping to trek through but "Scramble"'s layout is less intimidating due to its essentially linear approach, which dumps you off at the beginning after viewing pretty much the whole enchilada. The only problem is the pointless dead air once you make the round. The outdoor area that dominates the map's eastern side is my favorite, starting off with a pretty varied set of enemies that's later followed up by a three-pronged revenant assault and a wave of those floating bloats.

Demon DancingMAP03
Another cool map; this one's more concise and based around a set of battlements that you'll have to fight to and across, plus all the monsters milling about on the ground. At its most hectic, you have to strongarm two Cyberdemons into infighting a pack of revenants and strategically placed arachnotron pillars, with your only escape route a potential dead end, back the way you came. The difficulty lightens up a lot after all that madness, the only other surprise being a big wave of flittering fatsos toward the end. The pack of enemies in the pit that forms near the beginning are... not much of a threat.

MAP04Temple Terrors
First, you deal with the mancubus cage match. Then, you move onto the temple proper, where you have to survive three different arena battles where the damage floor is a factor you'll have to manage if you want to survive. I started out on the one with the plasma rifle since the layout was less intimidating at first glance. After you do some crowd control with the imps, you have to very quickly slay four arch-viles before the combined masses overwhelm you. The other two have each of Doom's big bads providing control fire in a crowded living space, but there is plenty of room to run around, striking at the most bothersome enemies and letting infighting do the rest. You're more likely to die from attrition vs. the Spiderdemon.

Crystal BasinMAP31
Tango's bonus level is quite the change in scenery, opting for a gorgeous grotto filled with flowing water... and monsters. It's probably the slowest-pace level of the set, and the more relaxed music track only complements the atmosphere. It's got a braided layout with a Gothic ruin nexus and the whole thing opens up at several points so that it feels more like an enormous cavern complex. Most of the gunplay is a combat shotgun crawl but there are a few good teleport ambushes to put some pressure on the player. I think that the final mancubus / cacodemon battle goes on a bit too long with the fatso drip feed overstaying its welcome. The scenery is just beautiful, though, and Tango keeps a moderate level of action throughout with all the skirmishing.



This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2014 Cacowards

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Mayan MishapMockawardDecomposition
Urban Brawl: Dead of WinterBrutalist Doom
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4 comments:

  1. This looks really interesting. I have if UV is too hard, then HMP is easier but is still a challenge.

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  2. Looks really neat! The Mancubus looks like something out of a H.P. Lovcraft book. Scary!

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  3. Made it through on UV. Was difficult, especially on map 4 but manage to do it. Gotta move fast and wise :) Very good. Very nice too.

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  4. Really cool layouts in this wad, and a unique rarely used Mayan theme. Was kind of hoping to see more Indiana jonesish puzzles and traps than just the crushers in map01, but still quite fun.

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