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Discussion of the original Duke3D episodes and levels?  "Where is it?"

User is offline   VGA 

  • 5

#1

I would be interested in reading people's opinions on which levels were their favourite and which were the least favourite. I tried to search the forum but didn't find anything, any links?
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User is online   Nancsi 

  • 307

#2

I prefer maps with big height variations (Speceport, Fusion Station, Flood Zone, LA Rumble, Freeway) and epic journeys (Death Row, Toxic Dump, The Abyss - also a map with massive height variations, Dark Side, Derelict, Mirage Barrage, Golden Carnage). I also love Sewer, which is non official map, but made by Levelord and was cut from final release for a reason I don't know. If I have to pick one favourite level it would be a tossup between Dark Side and Golden Carnage, with Derelict third behind them.

Honestly, I never understood the city fetish by some people. Some of those are the most repetitive levels for the game, while the more abstract levels had much better atmosphere, creativity, height and effects. At least IMHO. Sure there are some city masterpieces, but they were overplayed in the game.

Overall, I prefer Allen Blum's mapping style. Levelord did some awesome job for the game, but he had a much larger miss ratio in the original episodes (half of E3 are just rushed work IMHO as actually confirmed by TX on the Discord channel), and in Alien World Order his maps looked like some userlevel style clusterfuck with overdetailing and departing the classic style. Allen meanwhile was consistently good, using strict texture choices (usually he didn't use too much textures per map, and went for stylized realism and conceptual grandness), robust layouts, smart enemy placement (ie. he very rarely mixed Pigcops and Enforcers per map, and the same goes for the other enemies).

I don't care much about Pitchford, although It's Impossible is not a bad map, the thunderstorm really made the atmosphere there. It could have been more classic looking though.

My least favourite maps are mostly from Levelord (his secret levels suck big time), although Allen had a few hiccups as well (Babe Land, I'm looking at you). Also most boss levels are just meh, in fact, the only good one was The Abyss.

This post has been edited by Nancsi: 10 March 2018 - 12:58 AM

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User is offline   axl 

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#3

As with all these older FPS games (Doom, Blood, Quake, ...) , the first episode (shareware version) is always the pinnacle of the game.

- LA Meltdown is just extremely well designed and has no low lowpoints. Favorite map: Death Row.
- Lunar Apocalypse: very solid, but has, due to the theme, less level variety. Favorite map: Dark Side.
- Shrapnel City: a mixed bag. The first 4 levels are really good. But the second half (Movie Set, Rabid Transit and Fahrenheit) feels very rushed. Hotel Hell and Freeway are classics though. It also has the worst level in the game: Tier Drops. Favorite level: Flood Zone.
- The Birth: more of a map set of levels than a true episode. There are some really good levels: Duke Burger, Shop N Bag, Area 51 and some bad levels (Babe Land). Favorite level: Duke Burger.
- Alien World Order: a great comeback of the original mappers. Favorite level: Red Ruckus.

Edit: found another thread on this subject: https://forums.duke4...rst-of-duke-3d/

This post has been edited by axl: 10 March 2018 - 01:26 AM

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User is online   Phredreeke 

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#4

I love how much variety there is to Smithsonian Terror. My preference in general is for the urban levels. Hollywood Holocaust/Red Light District are iconic for the game

I really enjoy the DN64 versions of the episode 3 levels. In particular I prefer that game's version of Rabid Transit.

My least favourite levels: The Queen, The Backdoor (Nuclear Winter), Brown Water (DC). I dislike sewer levels in general, and that goes for other Build games as well.
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User is online   Nancsi 

  • 307

#5

Considering DN64 levels, I don't like any maps which were made by more than one author (I also don't like CBPs for the same reason). People have different visions of their maps, and if someone else finishes it up, it usually turns out to be some kind of a weird torso. Tom Hall's Doom levels along with various Shadow Warrior and Blood levels truly suffer from the same. Also The Birth episode with the departing Levelord had this problem, and those maps are really not that good. Broussard made a terrible hackwork on Shop-N-Bag for example.

I'm not sure if any of the original 3 episode maps had work by both Levelord and Blum... Warp Factor looks like a map started by Blum with it's layout, but designed by Levelord after that.

This post has been edited by Nancsi: 10 March 2018 - 02:55 AM

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User is online   Phredreeke 

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#6

I must disagree on that as my favourite levels (Dark Carnival, Overlooked Hotel and The Haunting) in Blood have shared authorship
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User is offline   axl 

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#7

View PostPhredreeke, on 10 March 2018 - 03:21 AM, said:

I must disagree on that as my favourite levels (Dark Carnival, Overlooked Hotel and The Haunting) in Blood have shared authorship


Yes. Like The Siege and The Sick Ward (both also have shared authorship). The only levels I don't really like in Blood are the ones from the 4th episode (except for Mall of the Dead).

This post has been edited by axl: 10 March 2018 - 04:42 AM

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User is offline   spessu_sb 

  • 92

#8

Duke3D is a classic and it actually happens to be my all time favorite videogame ever. If I was at a desert island and had to choose one game I could pick with me, it would be Duke3D without even slightest hesitation. I first met this game back in 96 when I was just a kid and.. it instantly made me adore the game. Eversince I've loved the game. We used to play Dukematch and coop so much back in the day on Duke Nukem 64 and it never got old. Funny thing is that eventhough this is my all time favorite game ever, I don't consider any of the single versions to be perfect.

Duke Nukem 64

This imo has the best map design because it includes the originals + added extensions to the same maps making them even more awesome. That building forexample that was added into Flood Zone, the one you have to dive up really long time until you get to it. I remember looking really long time at the teasing transparent window from which you could see inside and wondering how the heck do I get there? :D Duke64 also comes with entirely new exclusive guns such as the Grenade Launcher, Dual Weilded SMGs, dumdum bullets for Pistol as alt ammo and more. It also includes day theme on all of the maps that would otherwise display the L.A night theme. Plus there are actual true 3D effects in the game such as explosions or the Cycloid Emperor boss. But the lacking things in this version compared to others are missing music, zero nudity and episode selection not present. Menu music is the only music in the game and every bit of erotica has been replaced with guns and violence (which is still nice considering it was a Nintendo family system game afterall) and only way to play forexample the second episode is to first beat the first episode.

Total Meltdown

This has the best soundtrack because PC version to me is just too dark Doom like generic stuff for the most part. Mark Knight did such great job as composer for TM because he not only did justice to one of the only few actual good songs in PC version but he also made some completely new ones that are wonderful and couldn't fit the atmosphere any better making them perfect. And then there's the PSX exclusive episode 4 which is just plain awesome.

Duke 3D PC

This version has the best visuals, performance and includes nudity like the PSX version and includes music unlike the 64 one. But the music is just so horror themed that I don't feel most the songs fit the setting or make you pumped at all really because it doesn't fit the pacing.

View Postaxl, on 10 March 2018 - 01:22 AM, said:

It also has the worst level in the game: Tier Drops.

I don't feel the same way. Particularly for multiplayer I think Tier Drops is an extremely fun map to play because I've played it countless times with alot of folks and it can be just so completely wacky fun. I feel same way about Lunatic Fringe also. Though I would probably say that Lunatic Fringe translates better into multiplayer and singleplayer map while I feel Tier Drops is fantastic multiplayer map but not so amazing singleplayer one.
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User is offline   Zaxx 

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#9

View Postaxl, on 10 March 2018 - 04:41 AM, said:

Yes. Like The Siege and The Sick Ward (both also have shared authorship). The only levels I don't really like in Blood are the ones from the 4th episode (except for Mall of the Dead).

I don't want to derail the thread as it's about Duke 3D but I have to ask: why the 4th episode? I always though that the second half of the 3rd episode is where Blood noticeably takes a bit of a nose dive in level design but I pretty much love the 4th one. The first and the second maps are well designed and have this twisted laboratory feel to them, you have stuff like Crystal Lake and the single most disturbing - and funny - map in the game, In the Flesh which feels like it takes place in the Devil's asshole on top of being a nice throwback to Doom's abstract level design. The 4th episode is great, it's just a bit "out there".
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User is offline   axl 

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#10

View PostZaxx, on 10 March 2018 - 06:28 AM, said:

I don't want to derail the thread as it's about Duke 3D but I have to ask: why the 4th episode? I always though that the second half of the 3rd episode is where Blood noticeably takes a bit of a nose dive in level design but I pretty much love the 4th one. The first and the second maps are well designed and have this twisted laboratory feel to them, you have stuff like Crystal Lake and the single most disturbing - and funny - map in the game, In the Flesh which feels like it takes place in the Devil's asshole on top of being a nice throwback to Doom's abstract level design. The 4th episode is great, it's just a bit "out there".


Well for starters, I love connectivity between the different levels. Like for example in Duke 3D where you can see a part of Bank Roll at the end of Raw Meat. In Blood, I always had the same feeling in the first 3 episodes: that I was going somewhere. In the 4th episode, there seems to be connectivity between the first 3 levels and suddenly I'm in Crystal Lake, then Fire and Brimstone and Ganglion Depths. This transition seems weird to me.

Secondly the maps in the 4th episode have also an "older", sort of "alpha-feeling" towards them. I could be mistaken, but I reckon these maps to made in the early development of the game (like some of the maps from the Plasma Pak).

Off course, I'm a bit nitpicking here. They are not awful, they just seem inferior, in my opinion, in comparison with the extremely high quality of the maps in episode 1-3. The fourth episode has a rushed feeling over it, like it was quickly put together from some older maps that they had lying around.

This post has been edited by axl: 10 March 2018 - 07:00 AM

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User is online   Nancsi 

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#11

View PostPhredreeke, on 10 March 2018 - 03:21 AM, said:

I must disagree on that as my favourite levels (Dark Carnival, Overlooked Hotel and The Haunting) in Blood have shared authorship


Well, The Overlooked Hotel and Dark Carnival are definately the highlights of Blood indeed (The Haunting is good for its music, and the lack of stupid monks, although it's more like an inferior version of OH)... I'm not much into that leveldesign though. However I still think Doom/Duke/SW are all better with single authorship.
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User is online   Phredreeke 

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#12

View Postspessu_sb, on 10 March 2018 - 05:06 AM, said:

Funny thing is that eventhough this is my all time favorite game ever, I don't consider any of the single versions to be perfect.

Duke Nukem 64

This imo has the best map design because it includes the originals + added extensions to the same maps making them even more awesome.


IMO giving up Spin Cycle and Tier Drops for Dukeburger and Area 51 was a good trade.

View Postspessu_sb, on 10 March 2018 - 05:06 AM, said:

And then there's the PSX exclusive episode 4 which is just plain awesome.


...but if we count Plug n Pray for PSX shouldn't we count the Plutonium Pak for the PC version?

Have you played the Saturn version of Duke? While it's running on a completely different engine and is lacking much of the bells and whistles of the original levels (although mirrors are present in places not in the PS1 version) I really like its soundtrack.
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User is offline   Fox 

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#13

View PostNancsi, on 10 March 2018 - 02:55 AM, said:

Considering DN64 levels, I don't like any maps which were made by more than one author (I also don't like CBPs for the same reason). People have different visions of their maps, and if someone else finishes it up, it usually turns out to be some kind of a weird torso. Tom Hall's Doom levels along with various Shadow Warrior and Blood levels truly suffer from the same. Also The Birth episode with the departing Levelord had this problem, and those maps are really not that good. Broussard made a terrible hackwork on Shop-N-Bag for example.

I'm not sure if any of the original 3 episode maps had work by both Levelord and Blum... Warp Factor looks like a map started by Blum with it's layout, but designed by Levelord after that.

Warp Factor went through many revisions, odds are it's not the work of single author.
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User is online   Nancsi 

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#14

View PostFox, on 10 March 2018 - 10:45 AM, said:

Warp Factor went through many revisions, odds are it's not the work of single author.


The strange thing about that map is that the layout is much closer to levels like Dark Side. There is a main hub area with two wings, one is closed (exploded) the other is available with blue key. You hop a space shuttle and enter the other wing, grab the yellow key, and backtrack. That's exactly the same concept we saw in Dark Side. Levelord's maps have simpler layouts, for example I'm pretty sure Incubator is all by himself. Or basically everything from E3. Not sure about The Abyss though.
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User is online   Phredreeke 

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#15

and if you play the Saturn version, you're playing a third person's remake of a map started by Allen Blum and finished by Levelord :lol:
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User is offline   Newken 

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#16

1. L.A. Meltdown
2. Shrapnel City
3. Lunar Apocalypse
4. Alien World Order
5. The Birth
6. Plug 'N' Pray

:dukecheese:
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User is offline   Micky C 

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#17

View PostVGA, on 09 March 2018 - 04:54 PM, said:

I would be interested in reading people's opinions on which levels were their favourite and which were the least favourite. I tried to search the forum but didn't find anything, any links?


FYI there have been many threads on this over the years. A simple search for "favorite level" found 2 pretty easily for example.

https://forums.duke4...uke3d-episodes/
https://forums.duke4...vel-in-duke-3d/

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User is offline   spessu_sb 

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#18

View PostPhredreeke, on 10 March 2018 - 09:49 AM, said:

IMO giving up Spin Cycle and Tier Drops for Dukeburger and Area 51 was a good trade.


I feel the same way. Dukeburger is hell alot more creative than Tier Drops even if TD is still a fun map.

View PostPhredreeke, on 10 March 2018 - 09:49 AM, said:

...but if we count Plug n Pray for PSX shouldn't we count the Plutonium Pak for the PC version?

I guess I kinda left it out because it wasn't there originally and because I don't like it that much. There's some good maps in it ofc but I recall also alot of bad maps, maps that I didn't like such as first map "It's Impossible" or something like that.

View PostPhredreeke, on 10 March 2018 - 09:49 AM, said:

Have you played the Saturn version of Duke? While it's running on a completely different engine and is lacking much of the bells and whistles of the original levels (although mirrors are present in places not in the PS1 version) I really like its soundtrack.


I have never played the Sega version of DN3D but what I've seen vods from it, I don't really like it because the way its on that entirely different engine. Also how it uses different textures/sounds at times. I recall forexample l1e1 having some space episode textures/sounds eventhough PC, PSX nor N64 versions had.
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User is offline   Sanek 

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#19

I really like Lunar Apocalypse, I think it's the most underrated episode of the game. Most people dismiss this episode because it have little to no variety in terms of visuals. However, what I like about EP2 (and space themed maps in general) is that you can't rely on pretty textures here. Instead, you have to rely on gameplay and layout/architechture. It shows your skill as mapper, as you can make a masterpiece of level design even with a limited set of textures. It's really close to Doom maps in that regard.
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User is online   Nancsi 

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#20

Indeed. It introduced a lot of new and interesting door sounds, ambients sounds, that alone add a lot of extra atmosphere. Also 2 way shuttles, rotate rise bridges (which not just rotate but rise as well), exploding reactors, extreme number of slopes, you barely see them in the other episodes.
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User is offline   Commando Nukem 

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#21

Back in the 90s, Lunar Apocalypse did have a very strong atmosphere. Levels like Dark Side are still pretty potent for it, but where Duke has always shined is with the near future urban combat crawls. They always get the juices flowing and the imagination running.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#22

Yesterday I realised that It's Impossible is probably my favourite level from the Plutonium Pak.

For a very long while, I played vanilla Duke3D v1.3d, and only had a vague idea about the add-on episode. Playing the original levels over and over again made the novelty wear off quite a bit, so when I finally got around to the Atomic Edition starting the new episode was an amazing experience. It was like 1996 all over again. The first level is fun, pretty challenging for a pistol start level and encouraging exploration, and literally crammed with secrets and references. The subsequent levels were also fun mostly, but didn't make the same kind of impression as It's Impossible.
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

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#23

I've always liked Area 51, personally.

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User is offline   Commando Nukem 

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#24

Area 51, It's Impossible and Duke Burger would be my personal favorites from Episode 4.

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User is online   Phredreeke 

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#25

Ok, since the subject of Plutonium Pak came up, here are my thoughts on its levels.

It's Impossible: I like how it's shock full of references. May be a bit complicated for a starting level.
Duke Burger: Great level, Eurocom made a good choice in replacing Spin Cycle with this.
Shop n Bag: Kinda mediocre.
Babeland: I love the concept, but other games have pulled this off better (Mr Splashy's in Caribbean, Dark Carnival in Blood) Eurocom salvaged the best part for a multiplayer level in Duke 64.
Pigsty: Once again I love the references found in the level, including Dirty Harry's desk. Don't forget to take the secret exit to...
Area 51: Once again Eurocom made a great pick for the N64 version, this time replacing Tier Drops. The level is pretty complex
Going Postal: Yeah I'm just not feeling it with this one. Cool soundtrack though, which ended up remixed for both PS1 and Saturn versions despite neither having the level.
XXX-Stacy: Alright, this time it feels like they had two half finished levels and spliced them together. Disappointing because I like the concept. Good music though, which ended up on the Saturn soundtrack as well.
Critical Mass: A departure from previous levels, with the level self-destructing as you progress through it. Better than Shop n Bag and the two previous levels. Stylistically, I don't think it would have felt out of place in Lunar Apocalypse as long as you changed the start and end areas.
Derelict: Personally I find this level kind of dark and dreary. It makes for a good penultimate level though, which leads to,..
The Queen: ARRRGGH... this level is such a slog. It feels like they took the worst parts of Lunar Apocalypse and merged them into a new level.
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