118. Korax Must Die Again
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Wad for Hexen. Consists of 9 levels (given that the hub occupies 1 of 9 slots and 1 is taken by a secret level). The main emphasis was placed on relatively large-scale maps, a large number of enemies, protracted skirmishes with such and numerous complex puzzles, which in places can easily give odds to the original Hexen. New varieties of enemies, unique textures (with the exception of one), or some other similar elements are not take a place here - a purely "vanilla" / default set is used.
Settings and features
* GzDoom 4.10.0, difficulty 4/5.
* It takes ~ 9 hours to complete the passage.
* The counter of secrets is disabled. There are many secrets and finding a number of them is not easy.
* Difficulty can be rated as high one.
The main task is to find 4 red gems to open the door in the hub leading to the final level. There are slots for 2 more gems, one of which can be found on the "Spire of Frost" and the second on the "Forsaken Catacomb", which can initially be accessed through the ice level.
(?). Apparently it is impossible to get one of the gems without using cheat codes - the second magic platform on the "Forsaken Catacomb" is placed too high and it is not possible to jump on it.
https://www.old-games.ru/forum/attachme ... ng.278019/
(?). An alternative potential solution lies in the fact that you can try to get a helmet for flying in secret at the last level, but I did not find how to get close to it - it is located too high, and there is teleports that might lead there.
(?). What influences the insertion of all 6 is not clear, but presumably, by analogy with points 5 and 11, it makes Corax ever more weaker. One way or another, some secrets that could be affected are not noticeable either in the hub or in general.
You will have to wander back and forth quite a lot, some of the levels are primarily available only through others and not through the hub, there are many switches. Due to the combination of these reasons I will focus only on important subtleties. For everything else watch the videos.
https://www.old-games.ru/forum/attachme ... ng.277865/
1. In the hub, which is also the first level, there are hidden switches, I counted four of them. Whether this affects access to the secret level or something else, I do not know for sure, but it is quite possible to find one, if you look around carefully. On the map the entrance to secret level is marked with an arrow with number one. Also an additional entrance will appear during the transition.
2. In the swamp level, "Endless Mire", which is covered by fog, there is a section where you can put green gems. At least 5 are randomly scattered around this location. 1 more can be found in one of the following levels. To open access to two segments you need to find 4 gems. Inserting more will give green mana. The vision-impairing fog, but not teleporting one, can be temporarily removed by activating the torch.
3. Boots for acceleration and items to return to the beginning of the level should be saved for use - they might can come in handy during the passage more then just ounce.
4. To access the crypt of the warrior, located on "Endless Mire", you need to make all the torches nearby to be lit. For this you will need to properly examine the level for torshes that standing alone and not lit. Light one such torch - one will lit next to the crypt. Inside, however, there is nothing of particular value.
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5. By clearing the specified sector of the secret level from enemies you can weaken Corax.
6. Along the way you can find two gears, one of them is hidden in a cave on the icy "Forsaken Catacomb" level. Also at level where there is a library, there is a complex puzzle. By solving it you can get a book with the letter "O". Both things, gears and book, can be applied at the secret level.
https://www.old-games.ru/forum/attachme ... ng.277987/
The screenshot shows the application point of the book. At the same level there are two parts of the fourth weapon can be found.
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7. Dungeon key, which can be useful on the secret level if you are interested in additional items, is carefully hidden in the "Yawning Chasm" volcanic level. In the tower, which you will need to get into along the way, there is a bookcase. To the left of it is a switch that pushes it away. Behind you can find several items. There is a switch in the same room. If you press it the platform will go down - climbing the narrow steps under the ceiling,you can find a barely noticeable key.
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8. Swamp key can also come in handy at the secret level. Located in the swamps, "Endless Mire" level. If you open the map then in the north you can see a kind of snake. If you "step" on its tail a message will appear and the lights will light up. After following the "body" of the snake, you will run into a stone wall, which in this case will open. If you just approach it, ignoring the figure, then nothing will happen.
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9. On the "Serpent Oasis" level you can see an object in a small tower, around which there is a lattice, which in fact is only a decoration. You can pick it up right away, then use it in the south, where it is possible to take another one of the same - it will come in handy already at the secret level.
10. Gears instead of a secret level can also be used on the last, "Winnowing Halls" level, which in theory should make it easier to pass the puzzle at the entrance. Otherwise, you will need to match the symbols several times. Moreover, with some probability, it will be indispensable here without invulnerability and an object for a teleportation.
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There is also a point of application for a book with an "O" symbol.
11. By analogy with point 5 clearing the specified sector of the last level will further weaken Corax.
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12. Cave key is located in the northwest of the last level. As well as the door, where it is required, it is rather unnoticeable.
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13. In order to be able to break the stained glass windows in the last level you need to pick up 3 items that fall from intermediate bosses and apply them in the section shown on the screenshot.
The developer’s answers dated 26.09.23
to a number of questions that were not clarified on 8.01.23
1. How to get the gem here?
It's possible to jump on first platform, if you have enough patience to try, but not the second, ever with the boots. Guy here
had similar issue. I've found that there is secret with flying helmet exist on the last level, which might solve the issue, might I didn't find a way to get there. Decide that it's a bug and used "noclip" to get one.
...bad news are, it is a broken puzzle.
Longer answer: I broke this particular puzzle in at least *three* places at once while attempting to fix the fourth problem that did go away; two of the critically important bridges are at wrong height (one hardlocks the floor movement because glitter bridges cannot be moved, and the other is too high) and one script command does a softlocking owie. I actually fixed this in July, but then I decided I want to improve everything else anyways; I was much sloppier about texturing back when it was a baby's first wad, and it... drags on since.
The Wings of Wrath on the final level are not accessible. I placed them for... reasons? and then I started to mutilate ceiling heights in Spire of Frost, at which point I decided allowing player to fly is badwrong because they can possibly see unpegged texturing outside level bounds (heh, as if it is actually any worse than the rest). There are actually other problems I don't recall in details which boil down to entering areas without activating mandatory triggers in the process.
All in all, there is no good excuse for not fixing this long ago.
2. What inserting 6/6 gems gives? I see no any effect after and, it seems, no changes in the hub. Does it make Korax weeker? Like it happens if you clean up 2 specific spots, one on the secret level and another on the last level?
The Korax hall in the finale has 6 korax faces displayed, which actually display extra healthbars. Fifth and sixth gem disable one panel each, as does every other action which is accompanied by the "korax is weakened".
Reviewing the code, I think I made a mistake somewhere because it calls disabling script at least four more times than it should on a single panel 71, and it doesn't look like I actually foolproofed this case, so there might be no effect visible from extra gems because the half-baked script already weakens the Korax to minimal strength (he is supposed to have six extra lives' worth of health, barring classic edge cases of Map40-breaking by too high damage per second). I'll have to restest that later, but I am now pretty sure this does not work as intended unless you skip everything by abusing non-obvious shortcuts through the glass section.
3. Regarding castle level. It's require to press four switches in the hub, which I did, or you can enter there no matter of this fact and switches has another purpose?
You can enter with two switches, provided you know where the hidden first entrance is. Four switches open the second portal in the start room. This set of switches has no other effects... unless you count confusing the player by cryptic messages that is.
4. There is no specific reward after fight in the fighter's tomb? I.e. if not count items inside it?
For Fighter the main reward is Quietus piece 3. The other places this piece is found are Fairy Castle and Abode of Night. For other classes, yes, it is just a Krater of Might.
It is not terribly balanced and fair - I am not very happy about this element of Endless Mire; the effort and time spent running in search of every single torch and/or gem lost in the fogs is far in excess of the rewards when you can just visit the Abode of Night, grab a relic, punch a hundred ettins, and get the same items.
To be honest, much of what happens in the hub is optional content anyways with at least two solutions to many puzzles. Even many of the Winnowing Halls puzzle items are not required to finish.
(Also, I am pretty sure crusher puzzle shouldn't require any invulnerability or chaos device to solve, unless I am forgetting how the crusher pattern transition happens and it can misfire somehow. Mage is too slow to walk across, that is, but I tested primarily with Mage. I will be looking into it among other touch-ups)
5. It's not possible to shoot to small switch on the wall on the north part of the secret level. If you are playing as a Cleric at least.
Are you certain about that? I tested in Zdoom 2.8.1 just now and it does trigger for me, shooting from the window down there; somewhat awkward but Serpent Staff weaving helps. Do you mean the red sun SW_EL5 switch on outer wall between NE ruin? It opens a stairs into wall and isn't meant to be accessible from the upper wall anyways.
I will admit I can't recall any other shootable switch being anywhere nearby, but it's been years since I edited this so I may be forgetting something.
6. Section on south-east of the hub seems to be not accessible.
That's the lava-filled 3rd slot room. Yes, normally it is not.
You need to do an extremely unobvious thing and ignore one gold bullswitch (I think it is *two* switches that block access, the script says so) until you pull all four chain switches and then wait a minute until it opens. Otherwise, it is already flooded by lava because some totally unrelated earthquake ruptured one of lava tanks. The Flame Mask can be accessed regardless of that by using moon switches and cave key, which is additionally rewarded with extra set of armor pieces, health and some green mana - these are also lost in the earthquake.
I will upload a temporary fix for the Forsaken Catacomb sometime later this week, it really does not deserve being broken the way it currently is, but I need to actually revise what did I design everywhere, and hunt down more of the texturing issues. Also very likely add my support textures from Sunrise Citadel etc to cut down on misalignment fixing when different vertical alignment cannot be reconciled. Abuse of CASTLE07 in Fairy Castle is a horrifying visual design to revisit with all of the mismatching bricks in the walls.
In short, it is very cringe to revisit this baby's first wad two years later and discover that yes, I did noticeably improve in skill.