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Did Death Row kill DN3D's momentum?

#1

Weird title, I know. But this is something I'm thinking about for a while.

I've talked to several people who happened to play DN3D, and most of them have given up on the game around Death Row. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fantastic level, very well designed, has a great atmosphere.... but wasn't it too early to put players into this kind of oppression/difficulty in the third level of the game? Even as an experienced player, I think it's a harder map than most stuff in episode 3 (harder navigation wise, and probably harder gunplay wise, due to the lack of ammo early on, and the abuse of hitscanner pigs everywhere). It's a steep curve in every aspect after the memes of Red Ligh District (gunplay wise even that one was harsh a bit, but at least it was easy to navigate, there was lots of ammo/health, and has a "fun" theme). In fact, I also almost gave up back then, when I was playing DR, but continued, probably because I wasn't afraid of using cheat codes as a kid. It took time when I truly started appreciating the merits of this level, and the subsequent ones in LA Meltdown (also Lunar Apocalypse), which is now my favourite part of the game. But I'm and we're here are the exception, while the rule, the average player stopped caring when such a hard level comes in, after the Duke trademark meme stuff. The biggest issue with DR is not even the gunfight or the oppressive nature, but the navigation itself, despite being trivial in hindsight. I think many didn't find the way out to the sewers, and that was the point when people gave up on Duke back then.

IMHO the devs made a mistake with this. They should have added several city and lighter levels before throwing you in the pits of DR, Abyss, and then Lunar Apocalypse. They also made a huge mistake with that Shawshank type exit, because most people simply couldn't figure that out. IMHO levels like Rabid Transit (better than the final half-baked final one), LA Rumble or even the less player-friendly Flood Zone should have been parts of episode 1, and should have prepared the players for the darker levels. Also, Lunar Apocalypse should have been the real final episode in the game (at least the vanilla 1.3D version). Going back to meme-ism after stuff like Occupied Territory or Dark Side makes little sense to be honest.

A good transition would be like Hollywood > Red Light District (less pigcops) > LA Rumble > Flood Zone (with rain and lightning effect) > Rabid Transit (with the pig cop trap) > Death Row (without that Shawshank part, or at least a more obvious way of using it) > Toxic Dump > Abyss. And then Lunar Apocalypse with less levels (no more than 6 are necessary for this theme, but I would have used some player friendly parts and real life areas, like moon bars etc. at least early on). The third episode would have been the Alien inspired Birth episode with more city levels but with harder enemies, like the Newbeast, and more story focused, and of course as an add-on, not vanilla experience.

Overall, I think Death Row is a great level, but eventually it might be the main culprit as well that turned many player down.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 14 June 2022 - 12:41 AM

3

User is offline   ck3D 

#2

Very quick reply, but I think that's a yes, thinking about it the contrast with the first two levels in terms of openness and the (albeit simple) layout of hallways may be what's frustrating to the player for just long enough that it takes for them to make it back into the open, and even then when they get there, it's a pretty small area. I like the general idea and the electric chair scene, then taking command of the controls and struggling a bit to escape the place really works as something cinematic, but maybe the execution could have been a bit better, or maybe not with 1996 restrictions in mind I don't know. In general it feels like from that point onwards in the episode, the next couple of levels at least feel way more akin to traditional, maybe slightly glorified Doom maps and that contrasts a bit with the urban momentum E1L1 and E1L2 had initiated only to leave the player desperate for more of that. And then at the same time, maybe E1L1 and E1L2 wouldn't be so memorable had they been diluted into a different sequencing - the contrast also helps those stand out all the more. I'm not going to argue whether or not Death Row as E1L3 was a bad choice (it definitely was a make-or-break moment to a lot of people, but a lot of others also enjoyed it because of the original excitement in the exploration aspect), but I can totally see why E1L1 and E1L2 were put first as the introduction to the game and a first taste of what's to come later in E3, especially with the old shareware model in mind that's actually really smart.

Recently I saw that post by TerminX (I think?) making it obvious that the outside section actually had been repurposed from a beta island type of map, maybe that's where they fucked up (if anywhere), come to think of it the design of that area in general is 100% practical but also simplistic and relatively uninspired, maybe could have done with an actual courtyard instead in the style of E1L1/E1L2 and so what would be to blame there literally is lack of originality.

Fun fact: I know a lot of players hate it and think it's bad level design (probably is), but personally I never had a problem with the whole poster masking a hole thing. If anything I think it's pretty mindblowing and bold and cool that two levels and a half into their game, the devs would basically choose to give some comfortable advantage only to a certain portion of players based on them having either seen or missed a certain movie that they liked.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 14 June 2022 - 01:00 AM

3

User is offline   Sanek 

#3

I agree and disagree at the same time.

That's right that this level is much harder than the previous ones and the unexpierenced player would be overwhelmed by the 'confusing' layout.

But remember - 90s was a different era of gaming, and the players was accustomed to stuff that's considered hardcore now. And there was a good amount of FPS that was hard from the navigational point of view.

I don't think that the the 3rd level being hard kill the momentum or makes DN3D a lesser game. Like, in the game Hexen i never got past the second level back when i was a kid - didn't stop me from thinking what a great game it is.

Oh, and if you can't get past the level in one episode, why don't you just pick another one? :rolleyes:
6

User is online   Danukem 

  • Duke Plus Developer

#4

View PostSanek, on 14 June 2022 - 01:22 AM, said:

I agree and disagree at the same time.

That's right that this level is much harder than the previous ones and the unexpierenced player would be overwhelmed by the 'confusing' layout.

But remember - 90s was a different era of gaming, and the players was accustomed to stuff that's considered hardcore now. And there was a good amount of FPS that was hard from the navigational point of view.

I don't think that the the 3rd level being hard kill the momentum or makes DN3D a lesser game. Like, in the game Hexen i never got past the second level back when i was a kid - didn't stop me from thinking what a great game it is.

Oh, and if you can't get past the level in one episode, why don't you just pick another one? :rolleyes:


These are some good points. Speaking as an older gamer (I'm going to turn 50 in less than two months) I can attest that attitudes towards difficulty and difficulty spikes were different back then. We grew up playing arcade games that were designed to take your money as quickly as possible; you would get maybe 30 seconds of reasonably easy gameplay and then you would get crushed very quickly after that unless you had mastered the game (that's a generalization that doesn't applly to all old arcade games but it is true enough). Just being able to play games at home without spending more money on each try still seemed like a novelty for a lot of us. If a level suddenly got hard and you had to really work at it to get through, most of us were willing to persevere. I'm not sure who these people are who gave up at Death Row, but I wonder if they were outliers OR people who played the game after it was old.

Apart from having our expectations being set by arcade games, there were some other differences in gaming culture back when Duke 3D came out that made it more acceptable to have a level like Death Row early on. Mainly, we just didn't have that many games to choose from. Yes, there were far more games being released than there had been in the previous decade, but if you look at each genre, the number of games available was miniscule compared to what it is now. There were only a handful of decent 3D shooters released at that time, so if you liked that kind of game then you had a good reason to keep trying. Finally, while gaming was becoming mainstream, it wasn't quite there yet, at least not in the PC market. Mario was mainstream, but 3D accelerated games on your PC was for more of a select crowd. The kind of person who would be playing a 3D game on their PC in 1996 was probably very into computers, which correlates with being more puzzle savvy.
4

User is offline   MrFlibble 

#5

I remember playing E1 for the first time back in the late 90s (on Let's Rock I think). E1L3 was sure a jump in difficulty but certainly nothing to put me off. I think I had to do a few tries before getting out of the first room, and it was not a walk in the park after that, but the level was interesting to explore and it felt rewarding to progress. The scariest part for me back then was the room with giant gears where you need to time your jumps or fall into a bottomless pit, but that's where quicksaves come in handy. Also I believe that I thought it to be a generally very clever twist to have Duke captured at the end of the previous level and stripped of all weapons, because by that point I had accumulated a surplus of ammo and had most weapons in my possession (although I did miss many secrets), so playing was becoming a bit easy on Let's Rock.

It's also worth noting that a map of this scope and complexity probably should have been absolutely awesome to most players back when the game came out. There was no reason not to show off this kind of stuff. One might argue that the level progression could be more optimized -- although I think this would call for some very well-crafted arguments to present this point -- but calling E1L3 developer's mistake is a huge stretch and completely groundless IMO.
4

User is offline   ck3D 

#6

View PostDanukem, on 14 June 2022 - 01:59 AM, said:

These are some good points. Speaking as an older gamer (I'm going to turn 50 in less than two months) I can attest that attitudes towards difficulty and difficulty spikes were different back then. We grew up playing arcade games that were designed to take your money as quickly as possible; you would get maybe 30 seconds of reasonably easy gameplay and then you would get crushed very quickly after that unless you had mastered the game (that's a generalization that doesn't applly to all old arcade games but it is true enough). Just being able to play games at home without spending more money on each try still seemed like a novelty for a lot of us. If a level suddenly got hard and you had to really work at it to get through, most of us were willing to persevere. I'm not sure who these people are who gave up at Death Row, but I wonder if they were outliers OR people who played the game after it was old.

Apart from having our expectations being set by arcade games, there were some other differences in gaming culture back when Duke 3D came out that made it more acceptable to have a level like Death Row early on. Mainly, we just didn't have that many games to choose from. Yes, there were far more games being released than there had been in the previous decade, but if you look at each genre, the number of games available was miniscule compared to what it is now. There were only a handful of decent 3D shooters released at that time, so if you liked that kind of game then you had a good reason to keep trying. Finally, while gaming was becoming mainstream, it wasn't quite there yet, at least not in the PC market. Mario was mainstream, but 3D accelerated games on your PC was for more of a select crowd. The kind of person who would be playing a 3D game on their PC in 1996 was probably very into computers, which correlates with being more puzzle savvy.


Takes me back to what I was thinking just two nights ago when watching this:



Commentary on the level design makes it really obvious how much about difficulty at the time really could be and usually was to a degree a by-product of length padding, and now I'm thinking it's the concept as a whole that's usually tackled completely differently nowadays. At the time, you felt good as a player for pretty much beating the devs at their own bullshit, as if that were the true game all along, winning by identifying and calling all the traps. It wasn't just the game's antagonist who was trying to hold you back but there was actual human effort. Whereas nowadays difficulty seems to involve respecting the player (and/or their intelligence) a little more by making sure most every obstacle is intended within principles and in-universe rules mostly dictated by the design. This is probably attributable to a variety of reasons such as the raise of competition then globalization of the market coinciding with the acceleration of everyone's attention span via the Internet, in general I feel like newer generations approach time management very differently and could tend to feel insulted by a game they paid for that's supposed to be enjoyable instead wasting their time in a manner that would feel more arbitrary.

Personally I don't mind mean level design in spite of how most of the time and ironically enough, these days I can barely find time for it. Feeling human intent in the design is akin to exploring someone else's tortuous mind path and thought process as casually as on a visit to the museum, just sometimes there's Pig Cops.

Re: 'developer's mistake', from many different perspectives, Death Row as E1L3 clearly wasn't one. But it also clearly was a reorientation of the game which may be more fair to refer it to as. A new chapter into its development, also with different aesthetics and codes. It's pretty great how that can be felt almost universally to varying extents.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 14 June 2022 - 03:35 AM

1

User is offline   DNSKILL420 

  • Honored Donor

#7

I would say no. That sounds like these people just suck at the game if they’re giving up once they reach Death Row. Having the player get captured like that, was an awesome experience, especially the first time you witness it. You get back your arsenal fairly quickly in this level anyways. The levels that follow get harder than this one too, but by the time you reach toxic dump you should have all the weapons and items to get you through. So no, I don’t think it killed the momentum in the slightest, unless you’re just not good at shooters to begin with.

Also… I never had an issue finding the secret escape tunnel. Maybe it’s because I had seen Shawshank Redemption before I played Duke Nukem 3D, maybe it’s because I saw the secret “behind the babe” message with the night vision goggles, or it could just be because if you look inside each cell, that’s the only one with such a poster and the first instinct for me was hmm that must be a secret. So I think people that miss it just don’t like playing games that don’t point things out to them directly, because that was a fairly easy thing for me even for the first time I played it.

I think it’s interesting how different people have completely different experiences with this game. Some people seem to be put off by difficulty and navigation, while others don’t seem phased by that at all and care more about the quirks like doors crushing them, etc. There’s just a lot of different opinions overall.

This post has been edited by DNSKILL420: 14 June 2022 - 06:04 AM

3

User is offline   Forge 

  • Speaker of the Outhouse

#8

Boomers, Gen-X'ers, Early Millennials: That level was a bit difficult, but I missed a secret. That will not do, I must play that level again and again until I get it 100%.

Late Term Millenials & Zoomers: Where are the bread crumbs? I fell below 75% health. This is too hard and I can't find my way on my own. I quit.

This post has been edited by Forge: 14 June 2022 - 06:13 AM

2

User is offline   TerminX 

  • el fundador

  #9

If the hardly visible escape tunnel in Death Row can be said to have "killed the momentum", what do you call the hunt for the red keycard in Red Light District? It's the exact same thing: the route out of the map is mostly obscured, and it's up to the player to notice the out of place bit in order to progress. Any sense of momentum there exists only due to you having prior level knowledge. Puzzle rooms based on your observational skills (or lack thereof) are just a part of the game.
1

User is offline   Mike Norvak 

  • Music Producer

#10

I think that's kind of the point, the shareware version was designed so you would like to play more levels, so if you enjoyed E1L1 and E1L2 but you couldn't advance through E1L3 you should buy the game and try the other episodes! Well that's what I have always though.

This post has been edited by Mike Norvak: 14 June 2022 - 06:47 PM

1

User is online   Danukem 

  • Duke Plus Developer

#11

View PostMrFlibble, on 14 June 2022 - 02:55 AM, said:

. The scariest part for me back then was the room with giant gears where you need to time your jumps or fall into a bottomless pit, but that's where quicksaves come in handy.


Yes, and the reason it was scary was poor mouse control or using keyboard only. With keyboard only which I used at that time, you really did have to time the jumps because your turning rate wasn't fast enough to compensate for the gear turning rate.
1

User is online   Phredreeke 

#12

View PostTerminX, on 14 June 2022 - 04:16 PM, said:

If the hardly visible escape tunnel in Death Row can be said to have "killed the momentum", what do you call the hunt for the red keycard in Red Light District? It's the exact same thing: the route out of the map is mostly obscured, and it's up to the player to notice the out of place bit in order to progress. Any sense of momentum there exists only due to you having prior level knowledge. Puzzle rooms based on your observational skills (or lack thereof) are just a part of the game.


Not to mention, there is a clue elsewhere in the level (though it pretty much requires classic renderer to be able to read it, due to it taking advantage as how transparencies work)
1

#13

It seems most of you disagree with me. However, bear in mind that we're part of the hardcore community, who are talking about unused sprites, and earlier Lee Jackson tracks (just see the iceberg thread), and we percieve things about this game differently to average Joes. Even if we include all the LAN players, or the crapmap makers of the 90s as part of the community, we're still just a barely visible fragment of the people who actually tried the shareware. TX is right about the red key, I had a problem with that too, but you know, there were cheat codes back then, that can be very easily overran by players (and cheat codes were widely known even by average Joe's). Also, RLD up to that point is an easy to navigate level, wtth a linear design (for all the wrong reasons, IMHO the whole bar layout is poor, but that's a different topic), so the red key is still somewhat easier even without DNSTUFF on, and the rewards were high with the strippers inside.

In DR there were no such things, but turrets, laser tripwires, scary holograms and such. And the level is sprawling, there was the main door closed (DNCLIP can't be used there with V1.3D), many cell rooms, other areas around, it's very easy to get confused, especially if you are not following the actual gameplay traits, ie. what was the last button you pushed. The whole place is trivial by now, but back then, it wasn't. And I still think it turned down many people. I know actually quite a lot of them. The funny thing I found the tunnel pretty easily, but didn't notice the cracks inside. Maybe I looked at it as another grafitti. Also, it was a mandatory crack blow, it didn't happen earlier in the game, and I guess most people didn't realize it's function even if they managed to blow up the cinema screen or the room next to the entry door in Hollywood.

Again, I love DR, it's a great level, just maybe it was thrown into your face too early. Doom for example didn't had such a thing in the shareware, Central Processing was somewhat hard to figure out, but it's not even close to DR, also it was the 6th level in the shareware episode. Doom 2 had the Pit, but Doom 2 was a sequel, most people played through the whole of Doom 1 before trying it. BTW Romero said 1% of the shareware players will buy Doom's retail version, I think the answer to my OP question might be 3DRealms statistic of the same in Duke3D.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 15 June 2022 - 01:09 AM

2

User is offline   Aleks 

#14

I could probably say the same thing about the cinema in Hollywood Holocaust, which is where probably more people have ended their adventure with Duke 3D, getting killed by more than 1 trooper at once and calling it quits :P Also, it's highly dependent on when someone starts playing the game - if I show it to my friends who have never played it now, they just comment on the crappy graphics or that they get nausea from the movement.

Well, most people have said it already here, back in the 90s there weren't that many games to choose from, when I started playing Duke, I've also had Settlers (which was a strategy, so booooring for an 8 year old), first GTA (which I'd only play with cheats for guns to cause mayhem, cause I didn't even understand the instructions for missions really and when my brother told me what to do, I'd fail anyway - plus you were actually able to kill innocent bystanders, so my parents weren't too happy with me playing the game) and a bunch of other older titles, which all looked pale in comparison with Duke. Now the more I got out of it, the better, even with having limited time on the computer to like 1 or 2 hours per day, I didn't mind grinding the shit out of one single puzzle for that whole time, trying to pass a level (and then thinking about what else could I do in the meantime). Moreover, we pretty quickly got the 2 other episodes, so we were playing them all bits by bits until getting stuck at something. I'm not sure how much of the puzzles in the whole game we ended up figuring out by ourselves and how much of that was due to my sister getting the info from her friends who were more experienced, but I don't particularly remember the poster thing being that difficult. Probably finding the way out of the strip club through the vent (and a mandatory secret place!) took us more time, then Toxic Dump was completely insane (yeah if the gears in E1L3 got you scared, then how about the underwater ones here that miss a single tooth each where you must time it perfectly not to get squished?).

But then again, as soon as I've finished the game, I started just playing each and every user map I would get my hands on, no matter how utter crap some of that was - and was still happy that I have more content for my favourite game.
1

#15

Actually, the progression in Toxic Dump and Abyss weren't any easier than that of Death Row. TD was rather scary with the sudden presence of octabrains, especially underwater, the shrinker puzzle was also frustrating at first, not to mention the underwater gears and that platform puzzle. Abyss had a sprawling design too, I didn't trigger one important explosion, and left wandering aimlessly for hours. But after DR, that makes sense. In fact, the disappointment from the retail game came from this: the harder, darker, cooler puzzles were replaced by simpler and shorter levels, where the difficulty comes only from the hitscanner guns and the loud noise of the drones. Episode 3 especially lacked this, and often levels felt like something of a bonus adventure, not something part of the core storyline.

The deep rise in the difficulty was just DR. And that's why I said, maybe a few transitional levels would have worked between RLD and DR. Maybe a map like Sewer, which really had the feel of episode 1. A dark one, with low-end puzzling, and some legit darkness, but still something from a city. I said Flood Zone yesterday, but that's probably a no, because it would render TD's novelties useless. Flood Zone would have been more ideal for a true thunderstorm level in the PP.... but again, that's a bit different topic.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 15 June 2022 - 03:33 AM

1

User is offline   Forge 

  • Speaker of the Outhouse

#16

View PostDanukem, on 14 June 2022 - 08:54 PM, said:

Yes, and the reason it was scary was poor mouse control or using keyboard only. With keyboard only which I used at that time, you really did have to time the jumps because your turning rate wasn't fast enough to compensate for the gear turning rate.

Most of the people I knew back in 97-99 who played the game complained about this and only this, but not enough to make them quit and never try again. (Except for maybe that one guy who went on and on about Doom being the greatest game ever made and already had his mind made up before he installed Duke3d)
2

User is offline   Hank 

#17

If anything, this level made me feel proud when I first passed it. Not even a pistol for starters and escaped to new adventures. Not to forget, I discovered in this level my weaponless abilities to kill the enemy. :)
3

User is offline   ck3D 

#18

View PostForge, on 14 June 2022 - 06:12 AM, said:

Boomers, Gen-X'ers, Early Millennials: That level was a bit difficult, but I missed a secret. That will not do, I must play that level again and again until I get it 100%.

Late Term Millenials & Zoomers: Where are the bread crumbs? I fell below 75% health. This is too hard and I can't find my way on my own. I quit.


Speedrunners: I wonder which exact value in the matrix of this entire universe pressing 'duck' is altering, professionals obviously suck so remind me again, what's a wall but conceptually?

This post has been edited by ck3D: 15 June 2022 - 07:55 AM

2

User is offline   Fox 

  • Fraka kaka kaka kaka-kow!

#19

View PostTerminX, on 14 June 2022 - 04:16 PM, said:

If the hardly visible escape tunnel in Death Row can be said to have "killed the momentum", what do you call the hunt for the red keycard in Red Light District? It's the exact same thing: the route out of the map is mostly obscured, and it's up to the player to notice the out of place bit in order to progress. Any sense of momentum there exists only due to you having prior level knowledge. Puzzle rooms based on your observational skills (or lack thereof) are just a part of the game.

Ahhhh, I remember back then being stuck on E1L2

And Nightmare Zone of course
1

User is online   Phredreeke 

#20

It’s weird that Watchtower finds Death Row’s passageway behind the babe poster too cryptic, while Nightmare Zone is a masterpiece and we just need to git gud.
2

User is offline   Mike Norvak 

  • Music Producer

#21

 Aleks, on 15 June 2022 - 01:29 AM, said:

Probably finding the way out of the strip club through the vent (and a mandatory secret place!) took us more time, then Toxic Dump was completely insane (yeah if the gears in E1L3 got you scared, then how about the underwater ones here that miss a single tooth each where you must time it perfectly not to get squished?).



If you ask me that's exactly why I said that there were designed on purpose, I mean the first episode was the last one I finished back in the days when I was a kid. It was due wondering what I needed to do next in Dead Row and then in Toxic Dump's underwater gears... Probably if something like that was made in an user level some reviewers would complain. Correct me if I'm wrong
but I don't remember I had spend so much time wandering around searching for clues or missing stuff in any of the maps of the next two episodes...
1

User is offline   slacker1 

#22

E1M3 onward are probably my least favorite levels in the game. I remember back in the day playing Duke Match with my friends we would usually play E3 levels mostly with some E1M1, E1M2 and E2 levels thrown in. The other levels in E1 we usually skipped. (Though I guess arguing that a single player level sucks for DM is sort of a pointless argument :) ).

I don't think it's the concept of the level that's bad at all. The idea of escaping the electric chair, busting out of prison, hijacking a sub just to somehow crash it like it fell out of the sky in the next level is pretty damn cool. I also don't really fault the poster puzzle. I just find the whole level to not really be fun to look at or play. The gear section sucked with the original keyboard controls. It's even worse if you're playing on a console instead of a PC. (Though with Eduke using WASD and mouse, it's a piece of cake now). That room just seems like such an after thought, I wonder if it was just placed there to teach the spinning gears game mechanic. Sort of like a "hey these exist, you'll see some underwater soon!".

It would be interesting to see a re-imagined E1M3 that kept the same start / end ideas but revamped the prison complex layout.

This post has been edited by slacker1: 15 June 2022 - 12:23 PM

2

#23

View PostPhredreeke, on 15 June 2022 - 09:56 AM, said:

It’s weird that Watchtower finds Death Row’s passageway behind the babe poster too cryptic, while Nightmare Zone is a masterpiece and we just need to git gud.


I gave this useless troll post a negative vote, because you clearly don't want to understand (and emphasis is on the want) what I've been talking about, instead started gaslighting on me and using straw men arguments. Never said NZ is a masterpiece, but even if I have had so, there would have been utterly nothing wrong with it, because it's well constructed, and has a very interesting layout and secrets. I said zillion times NZ was a terrible choice for episode opener, because of it's sprawling design and hard to navigate puzzles. It's clearly two steps above Death Row in this regard. I think that map would have worked much better as a penultimate experience in the episode (or swapped with Duke Royale, which is more suitable for an opener).

Also, I love DR and loved it even as a kid, the City Streets is my favourite track in the game, and when I finally beat the level, it was indeed an accomplishment. What you and some seem to not understand here, I wasn't talking about myself, my experience, but more about the generic experience. The level's difficulty and puzzles were probably harsh for a 3rd level, and that may have turned people off, or at least I have a speculation about this because of this vast experience in 1996, and even nowadays when we talk about the game. Maybe, maybe not. I just wanted a discussion about this, but it seems nobody agrees with me on this, which is fine, as long as it's a civil discussion.
1

#24

View PostMike Norvak, on 15 June 2022 - 10:06 AM, said:

If you ask me that's exactly why I said that there were designed on purpose, I mean the first episode was the last one I finished back in the days when I was a kid. It was due wondering what I needed to do next in Dead Row and then in Toxic Dump's underwater gears... Probably if something like that was made in an user level some reviewers would complain. Correct me if I'm wrong
but I don't remember I had spend so much time wandering around searching for clues or missing stuff in any of the maps of the next two episodes...


It's kinda strange how episode 1 has full of these cerebral moments and then they're almost completely gone for the rest of the game. Very few levels reach the same amount of polish, Fusion Station, Lunar Reactor, Dark Side and Derelict might be the only ones, which reached episode 1 merits, but even then, as much as I love Derelict, it has the same problem as DR, many people weren't happy with it's "unfriendly" nature and hard to navigate design. I disagree completely, but that's 1 person out the millions who played the game. And yes, Nightmare Zone in DN:TM is in similar shoes. Derelict (unlike NZ and DR has the benefit of being a very late game level, so it's more acceptable to have something like that there).

Usually, the shareware levels were bigger and better because the devs wanted to give away the game's capabilities early, Shadow Warrior's 4 level demo episode also looked better than the retail episode, but it's still strange that in the 3DRealms camp that means harder puzzles and more traps built in the levels themselves. Compare that to Doom, where episode 1 also has a superior quality, but it's significantly easier and player-friendly as well.

This post has been edited by The Watchtower: 15 June 2022 - 06:37 PM

1

User is offline   slacker1 

#25

View PostThe Watchtower, on 15 June 2022 - 06:03 PM, said:

Compare that to Doom, where episode 1 also has a superior quality, but it's significantly easier and player-friendly as well.



One additional comment about Doom E1 being better than Duke's E1 (which I agree) is that Carmack and Romero had experience with Wolf3d setting up a first episode for shareware before Doom's release. On the Duke team, I don't think(?) there were any other FPS "veterans" on the team then. There was Rise of the Triad before by Apogee but that was a different set of programmers. I might be wrong on all accounts though, it's late and I should probably be in bed instead of posting. :)
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User is online   Phredreeke 

#26

Ok, Watchtower finding NZ a masterpiece was hyperbole, not an attempt at gaslighting. Now if we disregard the babe poster and the tunnel behind it, the suggestion of moving LA Rumble, Flood Zone and Movie Set to ep 1 leaves ep 3 with just six levels not counting the secret ones. And while moving from Movie Set to Fahrenheit makes sense, going from Bank Roll to Movie Set isn’t as easily explained. I guess the fix would be to put a helicopter for Duke to ride on top of the bank?

Or maybe ditch Shrapnel City altogether and replace it with Duke it out in DC :P
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User is offline   Aleks 

#27

Not sure if it's the fact it's been a bit overplayed by me, but I personally find E1 to be the weakest of all 3 (perhaps also smaller enemy and weapon rooster adds to this). As for moving another city map before Death Row, again I'm not sure it would be a good idea as it would be 3 city maps in a row for the beginning of the game and more variety is always more welcome at this point. I think Death Row being the 3rd level makes perfect change for a consistent and logical change of the theme/tone and showing more of the game capabilities while still enticing the players about purchasing the full version.

BTW, back in the 90s I knew only a single guy who had bought the original game (and it was Kill-A-Ton, which I guess makes more sense too), everyone played it, but it was 99% of times pirated anyway. Not sure if Romero had taken this into account when talking about 1% of people who played the shareware buying the full version or how much of a common practice pirating the games was in the USA back then (again might be fact the games were probably relatively much more expensive in Europe back then and more cumbersome to obtain due to shipping etc.).
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#28

View Postslacker1, on 15 June 2022 - 10:07 PM, said:

One additional comment about Doom E1 being better than Duke's E1 (which I agree) is that Carmack and Romero had experience with Wolf3d setting up a first episode for shareware before Doom's release. On the Duke team, I don't think(?) there were any other FPS "veterans" on the team then. There was Rise of the Triad before by Apogee but that was a different set of programmers. I might be wrong on all accounts though, it's late and I should probably be in bed instead of posting. :)


I would pick LA Meltdown over Knee Deep any day, because it has variery and epicness. But well, Knee Deep is the one that is more suitable for beginners.
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#29

View PostAleks, on 16 June 2022 - 07:34 AM, said:

Not sure if it's the fact it's been a bit overplayed by me, but I personally find E1 to be the weakest of all 3 (perhaps also smaller enemy and weapon rooster adds to this). As for moving another city map before Death Row, again I'm not sure it would be a good idea as it would be 3 city maps in a row for the beginning of the game and more variety is always more welcome at this point. I think Death Row being the 3rd level makes perfect change for a consistent and logical change of the theme/tone and showing more of the game capabilities while still enticing the players about purchasing the full version.

BTW, back in the 90s I knew only a single guy who had bought the original game (and it was Kill-A-Ton, which I guess makes more sense too), everyone played it, but it was 99% of times pirated anyway. Not sure if Romero had taken this into account when talking about 1% of people who played the shareware buying the full version or how much of a common practice pirating the games was in the USA back then (again might be fact the games were probably relatively much more expensive in Europe back then and more cumbersome to obtain due to shipping etc.).


I'm not lying, I played both games in a pirated way (the legendary Doom 95, did anyone else remember that? :P). I think I only bought Duke when the Atomic Edition came out. I only bought Doom and Doom 2 much later at GOG. In fact it started interest me again around Romero making new levels. I think it was definitely taken into account.

As for more city levels, I always said I prefer others over city levels by now, but as a kid, I was truly disappointed that we leave the city so early. A 3rd or 4th level with a different theme would have worked easily as long as interesting locations are there.
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