My 2 Cent Take on CBPandemonium
CBPandemonium - Matt "cannonball" Powell
DooM - Solo Play - 92278 bytes
.: OverviewThis is a single-player map for Episode 3 of The Ultimate DooM, that the author "made to recreate the magic that was Sandy Peterson's Pandemonium map from Doom".
.: ThemesThe author designed the map to emulate the look and feel of E3M3 of The Ultimate DooM (even though this mod plays on E3M1). In this regard, I'd have to say that the author accomplished his objectives. The visual themes and texturing are consistent with those of Pandemonium, the original designed by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen. This mod uses a variety of texture sets, as does the original; by and large it is pulled off well, and the map has an old-school appeal. The music, however, is new (from Heretic). The architecture and detailing are nicely done, but the map can still be played without a source port.
.: Map DesignThe map is even more non-linear than Pandemonium, with multiple paths presenting themselves right at the start. Each path then splits further, offering the player a variety of options for proceeding. In my opinion, this lends itself to replayability, although some would argue that it makes the map confusing. I'll admit that the first time I played the map I was, indeed, confused at times; however, the second time it was much less so. With the computer map relatively easy to find in the secret area, the map ought to be easier to navigate. There are six secrets in all, some more difficult to discover than others, but all have audio or visual clues.
.: GameplayThe gameplay is much like you'd expect an Episode 3 map to be. There's a goodly assortment of the bestiary generally found in E3, and with the exception of the cyberdemon and spider demon you'll encounter all the denizens of that inhospitable world. You'll rely on your shotgun and chaingun, but a berserk pack will give you the opportunity to mix things up a bit. The rocket launcher and BFG are in secret areas, and are entirely unnecessary in this map. The plasma rifle is tucked away (not in an area marked as secret), but is a cinch to score for the intrepid explorers among you. There's plenty of ammo, health, and armor strewn about the map, so that you'll rarely feel like you're on the edge. There is a generous distribution of powerups as well, most of which I found to be redundant and didn't use. Overall, however, I found the map to be refreshingly free of stress, and quite an enjoyable romp (even at UV skill).
.: Wrap UpThis is a well-made map that remains faithful to the atmosphere of the original. As a bonus, it is playable in vanilla (or chocolate) DooM.