Friday, October 7, 2016

Mutiny (MUTINY.WAD)


40oz had a dream, a dream of making a megaWAD with a dystopian Cyberpunk theme that leveraged the gimmick of collaboration. It was a great idea, and Vail obviously had his expectations dialed back early since he was looking to compile sixteen levels. However, while bromancing levels worked pretty well for his and Super Jamie's UAC Ultra, I feel that the vast majority of Doom authors are more inclined to tag-team megaWADs a la Speed of Doom than trust their artistry to a complete stranger. I can only assume that this issue was compounded by people perhaps taking up slots and then having others too skittish to follow. The end result is that Mutiny took longer than 40oz really expected, releasing more than a year later in 2016. It's still pretty fuckin' cool, though.


Mutiny actually has a plot, and while it's not quite as detailed as Hacx or S.T.R.A.I.N., it's about on par with Dystopia 3. In this iteration, the now-familiar daemons are actually cybernetic mutants that have been waging war on Earth for some time. You're part of the UAC's defense force, a squad of meta-humans that puts the boot in when it's not busy ensuring that there's a population to oppress. On this particular occasion, your helicopter is shot down in New Orleans - by UAC rebels, of course - during one of the earlier-mentioned invasions from the cyber realm. It's lights out until a nearby EMP explosion plays "Kickstart My Heart" after which you are suddenly, inexplicably filled with the same MUTINOUS urge. It isn't until later that you find out where the mutants are REALLY coming from, but you'll have to find that part for yourself!


I mentioned Hacx, STRAIN, and Dystopia 3 because 40oz was pretty up-front about his influences in the .TXT and during development. Dystopia 3 feels like an especially apt comparison, given the prevalence of the ubiquitous caution striping, but there's also a great deal of  grimy metal, neon green, and bright red accents. I'm completely ignorant of the look of Nimrod, but I think that I can see some textures that might be derived from Perdition's Gate, though it has little if anything to do with the dystopian cyberpunk aesthetic that 40oz tries to court. Given 40oz's love of PERDGATE, I'm curious to know what else he attempted to bring from it to Mutiny.


Jon took his chosen theme, stripped the limits, and then tried to get people to work together on levels. I'm very intrigued by the hybridized design. It appears to lend itself to relatively large maps with intricate layouts, barring some exceptions like the AD_79 / Breezeep joint, "The Firewall", which has a much tighter focus. While things were starting to look like a bunch of 40oz collabs, I'm pleasantly surprised by pairings like MrGlide and Ribbiks, producing the fascinatingly irregular "Crossbug". dt_ emerges as the dark horse of the project, with the only solo level besides 40oz's - the fantastic, urban "Slums" - and an indelible stamp on four other levels.


It also helps that Mutiny has such a dynamite opener. "Surface" is a huge, action-packed level with tons of world-building going on in the map's periphery. The mirrored, realistic geometry of the covered docks is a deliciously concrete piece of level design; I was a little sad to see few DoomCute moments in the maps that followed, but they're there, like the ship gate in "Shipyard", whose prevalent snipers and high-HP final wave come as quite a shock in the MAP02 slot. There's also that kooky platform-button staircase at the end of "Warzone", a fun bit of sector machinery that has nothing to do with killing demo-- I mean, daemons, and everything to do with navigation of the level itself as an obstacle, which MAP04 has in spades with all the vertical leaps.


"Compactor" is another standout adventure, bringing to my mind a mix of Pavera's "Boiler" from Doom 2 the Way id Did and jmickle's own bit of vaporware, Orange is the New STARTAN. The run from "Generator" to "Firewall" is pretty much solid gold, with some more naturalistic touches in "Furnaces" and "Wildcard" and kicking out one last epic in the complex "Laboratory". "Faceless Corporation" is almost there, but is more about packing together a bunch of huge, cool-looking rooms, "Construction Site", conversely, occurs almost entirely outdoors. While "Unknown" tries to mine the novelty of Cyberspace, it's a little underwhelming after the massive maps that have gone before. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much of the digital, cyberpunk world.


I don't quite know what to think of 40oz's two solo offerings. "Bunker Base" is an incredibly harsh outing with quite a sucker punch to finish and gameplay that feels something like a Hell Revealed-lite with its wide Hell knight monster closets and arch-vile invasion. "Brain" dials this all the way to a newschool slaughter, filling the finale with frenetic gameplay that includes dirty dancing with Cyberdemons and a mean, green BFG frenzy that you can still fuck up if you blow all your cell ammo before clearing the fatsos and baby spiders out of the way. Vail still has his hands on four other levels, though I'm wondering if any of them were by necessity. Mainly, I guess my idea of his authorship - almost entirely derived from UAC Ultra - needs some fine-tuning.


Another thing that surprised me: we've apparently gotten to the point where Doom WADs can have the title of musical director. Mutiny's is none other than Doomworld Forum superstar Alfonzo, presumably picking tracks for map slots that the authors did not supply themselves as happened with Doomkid, Jmickle, and KevinHEZ. Most of these ended up being selections from fellow Doomworld Forum superstar Jimmy, who himself is an aficionado of the classic tracks Doom musicians were supplying back in the 90s. The end result sounds pretty appropriate for something that professes a lot of inspiration from the golden age of Doom PWADs.


I love the look of Mutiny and I hope that more authors attempt to expound on its texture set further down the line. I'm also pleasantly surprised by how many of the levels turned into colossal adventures, though I was pretty beat myself after about half a megaWAD's worth. I think that the sixteen-level format has a lot of potential, especially if authors are willing to embrace the sort of Zternity bonuses that Skillsaw has worked into Valiant and Ancient Aliens. And maybe, God willing, we'll meet again in Mutiny 2: The Search For More Maps. Thanks, Mutineers! It's been a blast.







MUTINY
by assorted authors

SurfaceMAP01
by "Fonze", James "Jimmy" Paddock, and Jon "40oz" Vail
"Entryway" style openers are cute, but this is my favorite way to begin a megaWAD, a medium-length piece that sets the scene with tons of cool stuff building the world outside the bounds of the map with the ruined buildings, underwater tunnel, and docks / cargo area. You can also tackle this level in two different ways, bypassing either the east or west routes. Thorough players will opt to visit both. The action is pretty light featuring Doom II trash with a couple of hardbodies but a lot of the action is assisted with barrels, something you'll have to be wary of. The commando trap at the end will likely be the shocker moment for most players, but blowing myself up with the ordinance lined up around the mancubus was my only real foible. The western path with its grand ledge staircase is just as cool as the underwater viewing gallery to the east.

MAP02Shipyard
by "Pinchy" and Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
The opening, so sedate. An imp, a zombie. Then you step outside and see monsters perched everywhere. That's why there's a blur sphere available from the get-go, but you have to be quick and decisive to get the most use out of it, and standing still will still get you wanged by buggers like the revenant snipers or arachnotron. When you finally thin the herd out, there's one moderately oppressive ambush in the southern area that starts out between a rock and a hard place and then finishes with a six-way commando shoot-em-up. The teleport wave to close is much nastier, though. Ammo is beyond tight at that point, and the switch wave does a great job of forcing you onto the ground, so you'll have to orchestrate some infighting between the revenants, mancubuses, and cacodemons before clearing the victors (the luftballoons). Quite a sucker punch! The locale is great, though, with several ships docked and a little ship gate. If I'm not mistaken, the large tanker is actually a deathmatch annex, which is a very clever touch.

CrossbugMAP03
by "MrGlide" and Zach "Ribbiks" Stephens
A torturous tangle of rusted metal and volcanic machinery that stands out in my mind for its unusual progression and exacting monster placement. The floors look like lava, but they're a red herring; best to think of this map as some kind of virtual reality wasteland. There are optional quests to snag the combat shotgun and the blue key which, though inessential, will prepare you for the final firefight, even if you do have to slay three arch-viles in a tricky cramped encounter in order to claim your prizes. The end is a treacherous battle due to the use of shadow, with Hell noble presence largely only indicated when their silhouettes cut across the red cracks in the ground and the central pillar, complicated by a pair of pain elementals that teleport away at the beginning. I love the abuse of the kinetics of Doom, like the staggered metal beam staircase near the middle of the level.

MAP04Warzone
by Ilya "joe-ilya" Lazarev, Brayden "AD_79" Hart, and Jon "40oz" Vail
A trek through a vaguely old-world style city with very tall buildings and what feels like very little health. I love the layout, but it's definitely occupied territory with very thick monster placement in parts. You really can't afford to take any stray shots, either, which makes the layered snipers that much worse. There's quite a bit of faux-3D action as you move around in and jump from building complex to building complex, making for really cool level progression, particularly as you weave through the northern portion with the bifurcated cistern. The open architecture also leaves you feeling exposed until it's time to bust into the true warzone, the level's southern half. Making progress is like pulling teeth, though, the excruciating monster placement turning the action into a cover shooter the further your health dwindles. The main ambush is just a huge gallery of mixed nobles and zombies teleporting onto the tier that joins the exit building to the blue key platforms. Lots of action, but some more health and armor would go a very long way.

SlumsMAP05
by Daniel "dt_" Trim
Whoa! dt_ provides the first solo venture, and what an adventure. "Slums" is pretty accurate, though there's a sense of scale and urban nightmare woven into a complex layout whose action is largely linear but opens up side-passages and elevators to allow for easier navigation. While the combat is largely incidental with a few imp and commando snipers here and there, there are a few choice ambushes that ratchet up the action factor. The smallest is a pachinko Doom segment with a couple revenants and an arch-vile bouncing toward you through some pillars. Immediately afterward you have a big fight you're meant to be slinging rockets at with a sizable ground crew and an aerial squad plus a late-release skeleton sniper. It's a little tricky, to say the least, but you at least begin with the high ground. The big brawl with the Cyberdemon has less room to play with and has an arch-vile thrown in for good measure plus a bunch of Hell nobles and other things... and the pain / caco cloud, of course. The architecture is very cool, particularly the ruined northeastern section.

MAP06Faceless Corporation
by "Angry Saint", "Corsair", and Daniel "dt_" Trim
Cavernous architecture and derelict machinery abounds in this base level. The scope / design of some of these rooms is really impressive; I especially like the eastern toxic cistern / winding staircase room that has you fighting on the way up as well as back down. Monster positioning is pretty treacherous, with some curved hallways and things making for some tricky revenant fights. That combat shotgun ambush will be an early killer. You're pretty much swimming in ammo, though, be it shells, rockets, or plasma, so smoke if you got 'em. There's a good slice of ruined metropolis in the southeastern section and plenty of areas with indiscernible walls of technology and bright lights of blue, red, and green.

Bunker BaseMAP07
by Jon "40oz" Vail
This grimy, forgotten hideout is pretty straightforward and full of meaty action with a pretty nasty series of encounters. The Baron / imp / demon brigade is a taste of the kind of pressure you can expect, with more torturous placement in the open areas like the major courtyard with the commando snipers, imps, and mancubuses in the center. The real heartache begins with the red key catwalk fight, though, which isn't really bad on its own but the Hell knight ambush that will likely follow lures you into spending your rockets (supposing you found the secret) since it's just so darn convenient compared to working it out with the combat shotgun. The pain elementals sort of do the same thing. And then, when you thought it was over, four arch-viles teleport back into the level to create something of a funnel of death in that lovely courtyard, where you'll want every rocket you can get.

MAP08Compactor
by Walker "Pavera" Wright and "jmickle6666666"
A very cool and very orange waste disposal facility with tons of crushers and a bunch of red-orange muck that the authors have been nice enough to label as NOT POISON, which is great, because at first glance I was wondering how many enviro suits I had. I like the twisty, platform-laden layout that eventually culminates in the slightly cleaner "compactor control" area with a Cyberdemon that's just ripe for some plasma gun hose, though the provided ammo says rockets are right. A surprising number of the monsters are lowly zombimen with one of the latter sections involving a blend of shotgun guys and imps that's still a straightforward slaughter given how many rockets these guys force into your pockets. Very fun; I especially like all the sector machinery.

Construction SiteMAP09
by Chris "Impboy4" Harriman, Adam "Doomkid" Post, and Daniel "dt_" Trim
Going for a pretty different feel with a relatively open outdoor area that features some major verticality, the main buildings connected via a raised pathway. "Site" has a lot of space but the authors avoided cramming monsters into much of it, most notably the southeastern yard that may serve as a battleground of sorts toward the level's end but is otherwise bereft of monsters. Said ambush comes at the level's major turning point, beginning with a Spiderdemon plus other monsters fight that you can easily exploit, even turning arachnomomma on monsters in the outside area, including a handful of cacodemons and some isolated arachnotron snipers. It's a nice way to break up all of the larger, rougher levels and keep driving the urban theme.

MAP10Generator
by "scifista42", Norbert "NoneeLlama" Dávid, and Daniel "dt_" Trim
A wicked-ass industrial complex centered around a structure that's supposed to be the titular generator, I guess. It's a twisty layout with tons of rooms that you can feel out at your own pace with a pretty cool opening gimmick, picking between the combat shotgun and rocket launcher, only able to pick up the other once you've made your way back to the beginning area. My opinion? Go with the launcher. There are a bunch of sweet fights to muscle your way through, like the barrel-laden finale which puts skeletons at your back, the northwest mixer featuring skeletons and goatmen, or the southern-central section which is deceptively spacious. There's a great red herring in the northeastern winding staircase room with the slowly increasing in power monster closets that swerves in an entirely different direction on grabbing the red key. There's even an outdoor-ish cargo section that starts off with a handful of snipers. A fun, cool outing.

The FurnacesMAP11
by Brayden "AD_79" Hart and Jon "40oz" Vail
A ball-buster with a nasty welcoming that might go by a bit better if you grab the berserk fist and save all of your rockets so that you can pick off one of the first pair of arch-viles. Otherwise, you'll have to punch through zombies to some more rockets and then hope that between that and the SSG, you'll take the heat off your ass and let you wildman the eastern area. AD and 40 barely let up, either. The plasma gun ambush is pretty easy to cheese, but you'll need to know the exact safe crevice you can slip behind in the revenant gallery / arch-vile overwatch room to the west so you can pop out from relative safety and wax the sorcerer who is more than happy to snipe you if you try to deal with the skeletons first. The big ambush in wait that comes immediately prior is a nice, more straightforward relief with a high body count. I love the dark metal and burning red aesthetic that the authors have going on, evoking a sort of smothering heat.

MAP12Wildcard
by Chris "purist" Bourke and Travers "traversd" Dunne
I'm not nearly as good at seeing purist's style in this, but traversd is readily identifiable, with some elements feeling like a super-grimy take on his BTSX E1 levels. It's another rusty base but with a healthy mix of earthy indoor and outdoor areas. The big indoor pillar room serves as a sort of nexus that slowly opens up as you progress but some sections - namely the western canyon - aren't quite as interconnected. It's a nice adventure on its own, though. There's a cute, cheeky moment really early in the map where you can open up a room full of revenants and then slam the door shut on them, saving them until after you've snagged the red key. I'm sure it presents an interesting opportunity for speed runners. The southern outdoor area is one of my favorites since you can really let loose while its stepped outcrops make maneuvering complicated particularly once all those cacodemons get involved. Tons of action and tons of secrets; the early rocket grab to the northwest is especially appreciated.

LaboratoryMAP13
by Jeff "Egregor" King and Jon "40oz" Vail
"Laboratory" has a few dirty tricks, but it's a bit more relaxed than the previous few levels, set as some sort of science facility tucked away in what is no doubt the slums of New Orleans. It's a huge, gorgeous map with tons of eye candy and sweet architecture that is rarely overwhelming and more awkward than anything. Some of the stranger moments include a cell of cacodemons powered by an arch-vile moving around on the bottom and the ever-unfurling blue key room, accessed via three different routes but only exited through one of them. The big teleport ambush that occurs in the western yellow key door room is a cool moment, if completely crushed with rocket power. The sewage section that links up to the end is a great final leg to an action-packed journey, though I imagine some players will be miffed if they managed to skip either the red or blue keys. I myself got a little lost trying to open the blast door leading to the southern section, but only because the elevator texture is so unassuming. Nice stuff.

MAP14The Firewall
by Brayden "AD_79" Hart and Justin "Breezeep" Kelly
A tight level from best buddies AD_79 and Breezeep, most of which appears to occur in a void in cyberspace. Will you be a digital dummy? The layout is actually a piled-on track that winds back and below itself several times with some nasty monsters to punch through, including copious revenants. The inner track has oversight from your good friend Cyberdemon; if you're feeling ballsy, you can try to turn him on the earliest troublesome wave, encountered on your way back west before crossing back over to drop down to the lower, outer tier. That's the tricky one, though, since there are two squads of fliers coming from the sides, skeletons at your back, imps and Hell knights before you, and a BFG on a pillar guarded by a cadre of commandos. If you get all that sorted out, the rest should be a cinch since you'll be tripping over cell ammo. I enjoyed the punchy but precise monster placement, and the red / green makes for a nice contrast.

Breaching the UnknownMAP15
by Kevin "KevinHEZ" Martins and Daniel "dt_" Trim
Interesting that the penultimate level has a relatively simple layout, though the parts exposed to the void have some pretty cool side-areas to look at. The unknown is mainly another grimy techbase, but there are a few sojourns to stranger things like the super shotgun platform just north of the start. The authors have placed a few arrows on the level; they're handy hints that direct you to a few not-quite-secrets, like the BFG, as well as the earliest rocket launcher pickup which should make areas like the southeastern outdoors much easier to clear out. Most of the action is pretty unremarkable except for the final area, starting out with a big mob of monsters you'll want to find a safe spot for in order to lay down the rocket suppression. The arch-viles and Cyberdemon that wind things down, not so threatening.

MAP31The Brain
by Jon "40oz" Vail
40oz puts the pedal to the metal. taking things into a full-on slaughter finish that begins with an elevator threesome with two Cyberdemons and a plasma gun before moving to a massive, indoor bullet Hell that features another two Cyberdemons and requires a few switch presses before you can link up the indoor area with the outdoor yard. Maybe you can trick those Cybs into killing the cavalcade of revenants that follows before conducting the lengthy mop-up. The outdoor area has a few dangerous Spiderdemons that are still easily killed; the main challenge is a belt-fed BFG slaughter that has imps down the center lane, arachnotrons and mancubuses to the sides, and four pillars of replenishing revenants that will need to be blown down with the rocket launcher. When the timer is over, you can get a cool visual as the brain witnessed from the onset dies on the inside, thereafter moving to your well-deserved exit. The Cyberdome is a pretty cool setting, though I suppose some sort of rippling neon light would look more appropriate on those giant teleport towers.

BILLY BUDDY DACOTE

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2016 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Tech Gone BadAeonDMWarphouse
Ancient Aliens32in24-16THT: Threnody
Nihility: Infinite TeethBest Gameplay ModBloodstain
MutinyDoom 4 DoomStrange Aeons
Absolutely KilledMordeth AwardEchelon
Elf Gets PissedDoom the Way id Did:Shadow of the Wool Ball
ComatoseThe Lost Episodes
MiasmaMockaward
Alpha Accident: Terra NovaLudicrium
Japanese Community ProjectMapper of the Year
Blades of Agony E1Lainos

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