Cryptic Passage vs. Blood level design

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Which level design style do you prefer?

Original Blood
8
89%
Cryptic Passage
1
11%
 
Total votes: 9

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Dead Reckoner
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Cryptic Passage vs. Blood level design

Post by Dead Reckoner » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:31 am

Monolith's original Blood maps have a ton of replay value and interesting, sometimes quirky layouts and progression. Sunstorm Interactive took a different approach with the Cryptic Passage expansion: maps that are laid out more like a typical 90s FPS game or even like Doom's, and slightly more "on rails". One of the other differences that come to mind, CP has a lot more spawning of new enemies after the player backtracks after getting a key or activating a switch, whereas in the five episodes made by Monolith, I can only recount two instances of this.

As for visuals and atmosphere, there's a slightly surreal quality to Blood's original maps; i.e exploring a train station in Blood may feel like the reconstruction of a past train station experience through a dream. Compared to the more colorful and dreamlike theme of Blood's original maps, Cryptic Passage feels like The Way of All Flesh with a design tending more toward bleak realism. That's not to say that Blood's maps aren't themselves immersive and realistic.

While I appreciate CP and see a lot of its influence in many of the best Blood fan-made maps, I still prefer the original Blood and found myself revisiting it much more often. I don't find CP's maps nearly as memorable or outstanding as Blood's. Just compare Cradle to Grave, full of character, with CP's Graveyard, which I struggle to recall even one area from. As for one of the pluses that CP did have going for it, I enjoyed the large exploration elements available in some of the maps, especially The Lost Monastery.

If the entirety of Blood's original maps were created in the style of Cryptic Passage, it would, in my opinion, be inferior to the Blood that we know, but still excellent and far better than Shadow Warrior or Duke Nukem 3D.

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Blood of Nightmares
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Re: Cryptic Passage vs. Blood level design

Post by Blood of Nightmares » Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:16 pm

I think Cryptic Passage's level design was much more detailed and 'realistic' than the original Blood which was more abstract like Doom was which to my personal opinion was one the reasons why Blood didn't receive much reception compared to Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior whose maps were considerably more 'functional' and 'realistic' compared to Blood's.

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MetHy
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Re: Cryptic Passage vs. Blood level design

Post by MetHy » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:17 pm

I think the main difference with CP is the gameplay mentality. Enemy placement is completely different and for the most part feels a lot less thought of. The player is also drowning in supplies, even on Pitchfork start, I mean anyone would end the first map with all weapons and his inventory pretty much full, and how many Life Seeds does one need per level?!
As a result, instead of worrying about every hit your take and managing supplies carefully and making sure you switch weapons to use the right one against each enemy... you can way too often play carelessly, just blast your way in with 100+ HP spamming rockets, something which is a rarety in the original game.
This kind of overpowered feel is great once in a while but when most of the episode is like this it becomes an issue.

I love most of the level design though. It's still probably Sunstorm's 2nd best Build add-on after Caribbean Life.

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Re: Cryptic Passage vs. Blood level design

Post by Dead Reckoner » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:41 pm

Blood of Nightmares wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:16 pm
I think Cryptic Passage's level design was much more detailed and 'realistic' than the original Blood which was more abstract like Doom was which to my personal opinion was one the reasons why Blood didn't receive much reception compared to Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior whose maps were considerably more 'functional' and 'realistic' compared to Blood's.
Blood's level design was much more realistic than Doom and far closer to DN3D and SW. Its levels resembled real locations with the appropriate facilities. E1M1 is a graveyard that features a crematorium, masoleum, morgue and chapel, for starters. Classic Doom was more like a series of abstract mazes that used textures to vaguely resemble the map's setting, ie computer terminal walls and exotic skylines to make it feel like a space colony.

Just compare the urban maps in Blood and the other two build games with the "city" maps in Doom 2.
MetHy wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:17 pm
I think the main difference with CP is the gameplay mentality. Enemy placement is completely different and for the most part feels a lot less thought of. The player is also drowning in supplies, even on Pitchfork start, I mean anyone would end the first map with all weapons and his inventory pretty much full, and how many Life Seeds does one need per level?!
As a result, instead of worrying about every hit your take and managing supplies carefully and making sure you switch weapons to use the right one against each enemy... you can way too often play carelessly, just blast your way in with 100+ HP spamming rockets, something which is a rarety in the original game.
This kind of overpowered feel is great once in a while but when most of the episode is like this it becomes an issue.

I love most of the level design though. It's still probably Sunstorm's 2nd best Build add-on after Caribbean Life.
I agree that CP's major flaw is how poorly balanced it is. Looks like it's out of carelessness, other times it feels like Sunstorm didn't know what they were doing and thought they were creating resource and combat scenarios for a Doom map. Too many life seeds, too much ammo, too little armor. The first map throws every weapon at the player and a huge amount of ammo to boot. The second map is paced completely differently with few weapons available and less ammo, so I prefer to pitchfork start the episode from there. I like the sea cliffs setting of "Boat Docks", but its gameplay gets boring fast.

Maybe "Cryptic Passage: Rebalanced" would be a worthwhile project for someone to start.

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