The idea's pretty simple. Instead of a lone marine going up against the entirety of Hell, instead you are a lone marine going up against the entirety of the UAC. Given that, monsters shift around to be human and robotic, as obviously the UAC has no demons in its ranks. The armory has been switched around a bit, with among other things, grenades and automatic rifles being added in. Weapons are rebalanced as well, and there's some nice shiny sprites for them. I like shiny sprites. I also like guns.
Well, with that in mind, might as well jump right in.
TAKE ONE: DOOM2.WAD[/size]
[spoiler]I start the mod up on its on. Since this /is/ stock Doom 2 I'm running this with, I instinctively choose Ultra-Violence, labelled Veteran now, and start up to this.
Spoiler: So, uh... what are you guys even doing here? (Open)
First off, this doesn't cooperate so well with the Cyberrunner SMALLFONT, but then, very few fonts do. Also, yes, they're errors, but notice that the errors are for ALTHUDCF. Typically, mods completely forget the alternate HUD exists. It's a nice touch, even if it did bug out.
I decide to run over and get the chainsaw, but it's a knife now. Does this mean silent kills? Turns out it does.
Hmm, the zombiemen drop pistols, but not all the time. This might be an issue later on. They also seem to be beefier. Also, the imp replacements are sliding around all over the place, and have pistols that fire faster than mine. At least I can loot them off of them... sometimes. These guys are going to be annoying quickly. Why am I running out of ammo so quickly?
Oh great, they throw grenades too. They drop grenades too, which is a consolation. Although why EMP grenades do anything to me is beyond me. Apparently the Doomguy is actually a robot? And my health is dropping much more quickly than it should. Normally, I can get through MAP01 and only have to pick up one of the medikits in the ending room. Here, I can barely get out with the full 100 health, and I left with absolutely no bullets.
Moving on to MAP02, I quickly hack up the zombiemen and notice that my inventory has been cut down to a max of one for each item. Guess it's better than nothing. Playing more conservatively this time around, I find that the shotgun, at this point, can still take out everyone in one shot. Since I have no real reason to use the SSG, I don't, and things go rather smoothly, even managing to exit with a full 113 HP and 200 armor.
Doesn't really help in MAP03, however. I find out very quickly that these monsters work best in open areas with their hitscan attacks. Grenades clear out some of the crowds, but regardless, they still manage to shred me a couple times before I get a good save. I notice that the hitscanners don't infight, when a chaingunner - wait, did I say chaingunner? I meant super shotgunner.
Yeah, the chaingun guys are actually dudes with super shotguns in here. Not only does this mean that they'll slaughter you at close range, and that their role is completely reversed, going from sniper to close range wrecking ball; they also 'suffer' from a bug where if you knock them in their pain state right after they fire, they will take a step and fire again, hitting you with two super shotgun blasts almost instantly. Already annoying, the chaingunners now become monsters, destroying you in close range if you aren't aware.
This doesn't quite stop me, however. After some reloads, I manage to get through and still get the full 200/200 HP and armor.
Spoiler: Thanks for the welcome party. (Open)
Then I enter MAP04, step into the first room, and watch as my armor just evaporates under the concentrated fire of a bunch of automatic hitscanners and shotgunners. I reload the game because walking out of the first room and losing 100 health and armor is not good, throw a couple grenades into the room, and mop up. The rest of the map is fairly easy, although the CHF_FASTCHASE imp replacements continue to be excessively annoying. Spectres got replaced with blue berserking marines, removing any stealth aspect they had. Demons are now dogs. They're still useless.
I exited MAP04, but at this point I was bored by all of this, so I saved for tomorrow, and went to bed.
I never returned to that save.[/spoiler]
TAKE TWO: WHISPERS OF SATAN[/size]
[spoiler]Well, the boredom I felt might have just been Doom 2 being far, far too familiar to me. Might as well try this out with a map pack I'm less familiar with, and Whispers of Satan looked like a good enough choice. I started it up.
Playing through the first few maps was boring, and was more of the same compared to Doom 2. Hitscanners everywhere, health constantly getting plinked away, 'officers' sliding around like Michael Jackson as I try to tell them some 12-gauge constructive criticism, yaddayaddayadda. One thing I noticed is that as well as health disappearing for seemingly no reason and ammo being consistently low, everything that has a Strife equivalent acts like its Strife equivalent, not just medikits and 'surgery kits' (soulsphere replacements). This put me off my game when I picked up an environmental suit on some acid floor... and immediately started getting burned by the acid.
This is not a good design choice. Environment suits, soulspheres, and whatnot are not meant to be dragged between maps, since that could easily break future maps. Battles on hurtfloors lose all their urgency if you dragged in a shiny suit from MAP04 or whatever because you never went over a pit of lava a second time, and the second suit you got for a trip back never got used. Doom maps are not made under the assumption that you can just bring health in, although the fact that you can only bring one medikit and surgery kit in mitigates this. Combined with the fact that every monster I've seen so far is either hitscan or melee, ammo is lower, and weapons overall feel weaker, there is a trend in how the gameplay is changed that I'm not liking.
Hey, I don't even know what midgame looks like with this yet! I skip over to MAP12.
Now, if you haven't tried to do pistol starts in Whispers of Satan, this might not seem like a bad idea. The problem is, Whispers of Satan makes hardly any consolation for those who pistol start. It'll throw you a super shotgun at the start, but don't expect much else. Hell, when I tried MAP25, I ran through the entire first third with my best weapon being a shotgun.
So there's a super shotgun in front of me, with a demonic face on the ground in front of that. It's obviously a trap, so I pick the thing up and hope for the best.
The walls open and I immediately get torn to shreds by automatic pistols, shotguns, and dogs whose bites are somehow as deadly, if not deadlier, than a shotgun to the chest.
Let's try this again, but this time using the grenades. No good. It takes out half of them, and the dogs still chew me up in a couple seconds.
Okay, let's use all three. No good again. Even though I was far enough from the explosion, the shrapnel cut me down to 40 health, with the dogs finishing me off in two bites. Most of them died, though!
I try this fifteen more times. It finally works. Fantastic. I'm low on shells at this point, and I have no automatic weapon to speak of. But there's a surgery kit in the next room, so that'll help.
As I pick it up, bars come up and BAM, REVENANTS. Wait, no, no revenants. Instead, there's rocketeers, who both die in a couple shotgun blasts. They don't even fire, they just punch me once. I get a free rocket launcher, and have a couple bruises. Then dull green marines teleport in... and do nothing. They don't fire. I kill them and they drop nothing. Apparently they're hell knight replacements? What?
I move on, and I quickly find that none of my weapons really work in clearing out the Michael Jackson Gunslingers, berserkers, shotgunners, and super shotgunners; at least, none work without me taking an assload of damage in the process.
The shotgunners and imps pose more of a threat to me than the revenants and hell knights?
This is not right. These enemies are mostly used as cannon fodder that can take off a bit of health. Here, they're doing that, but draining significant amounts of ammo in the process without refilling it. Meanwhile, the revenants and hell knights - meant to be significant threats, or at least ammo drains - not only fail to pose a threat, but also occasionally give you high-end weaponry as a reward! The mid-range marines are objectively better to fight than the low-end grunts!
This can't be right. I turn off Mutiny for a moment, and play some vanilla WoS, on the same map, with a pistol start.
The first thing I notice is that I'm moving a lot faster, and obviously I don't lose the ability to run with less than 20% health.
The second thing I notice is that the SSG is twice as effective now. With Mutiny, using the SSG in the first room is tantamount to suicide. Without it, well-placed SSG shots cut through the room in a few shots, with minimal damage; the stimpack in the corner is enough. Mutiny also makes the SSG reload slower, which is a huge disadvantage. Much as I don't like the SSG, it'd be foolish of me to not recognize its value in-game, and how much changing it could throw balance off. Mutiny throws the SSG so much into whack, it actually makes some maps halfway unplayable, or at least extremely tedious. More on this later, but when the SSG can't take on some grunts coming from both sides without you getting killed, it's a sign that it's been hit with the nerf bat pretty hard.
As I play on, this disparity between roles in monsters becomes alarmingly obvious. The grunts - shotgunners, zombiemen, imps, demons - all fall down with ease, as they normally do, with the shotgunners making this mowing down without any loss of ammo. In Mutiny, I was getting hosed down with bullets, and god forbid I accidentally get close to one of the super shotgunners.
I eventually run out of ammo. Yeah, Whispers of Satan isn't so hot for pistol starting. Let's switch map packs.[/spoiler]
TAKE THREE: NEWDOOM COMMUNITY PROJECT[/size]
[spoiler]MAP01 is largely the same here as the MAP01s in the other two, with the exception that chainsuper shotgunners appear here early. Low ammo, low health, constantly getting plinked at by bullets. Moving on.
I switch to MAP05. For the first room, it's hitscanners as always. I use the chaingun replacement to take them out, and keep moving.
I walk into the next room, and suddenly, there's robots! Not more recolored marines or humans! They're lost soul replacements, and they're... Strife sentinels. That fire streams of imp fireballs for some reason. I know there aren't a lot of robot sprite sheets for Doom out there, so I can forgive the Strife sentinel sprites. But the best they could do is fire smaller versions of DoomImpBall? They turn out to be instantly forgettable, and I kill them and move on. There's a berserk pickup in one of the prongs of the room, so I pick it up and use it, since you can hold berserk pickups too. I have no clue why you would want to do this, since they no longer heal you, but it's there.
In the next room, more robots. I don't know where these sprites came from, but these drones turn out to just be flying chaingunners with 200 health. Joy. I take them out and move on.
The rest of my playthrough is unremarkable up until I get to a room which should have 6 mancubi in it. Instead of them, there are Strife crusaders with flame cannons and 400 more health. With two-thirds more durability than the mancubi, they should still nonetheless be easy enough to kill, since barons fall quickly enough to the SSG, right?
See, this is where the SSG being so much weaker starts to really really hurt. It only does 150 damage, and it fires what feels like a full second slower than the normal SSG. This, combined with the 400 extra HP and deadlier attacks, turns what would normally be an exercise in circlestrafing into an exercise in running out of both shells and health. Each crusader takes 14 shells to kill, bringing the total amount of shells used to 84 if you have every pellet hit. The absolute max amount of shells you can have is 100.
I stopped playing here. I simply did not have the patience to plink away at a bunch of dull grey crusaders while I lose my health in bursts of 40. I didn't have the patience to keep replaying the same few rooms over and over because the RNG decided to fuck me over and have the monsters drop nothing of use, while the enemies snipe me and turn me into swiss cheese slowly but surely.
Spoiler: This is not the face of fun (Open)[/spoiler]
Mutiny's a nice idea. To flip the enemies around and make the UAC the bad guy, rather than Hell, is something I'd like to see fleshed out more. It'd certainly be a good change of pace. The grenades add for early-game room clearing, something that comes in very handy from time to time - for example, traps. Of course, you have to first have the grenades, but given how often low-level monsters drop the things, that should only be an issue at the start of the maps. The weapon sprites are nice, even if some of the weapons are obviously R667 rips. Those that aren't, I like a lot.
As it stands, though, Mutiny has too many flaws to make it a WAD I truly enjoy. The sheer amount of hitscan monsters is one; Doom was never hitscan-heavy. Only three monsters used hitscans in the original Doom, and the third one was the final boss. To make it hitscan-heavy drastically changes how the game plays, and in the process make the amounts of health you get woefully low in the end.
On the topic of items, I don't really see the Strife-ifying to be a good thing. Now, instead of running over a medikit and getting health, you instead run over it, possibly forget you have it, then wonder why you're almost dying when none of the health kits never actually applied. And why is the Megasphere replaced with a targeter, of all things? The Megasphere is one of the most useful items in the game! The targeter is completely useless! Good luck surviving on any map where the megasphere wasn't just a luxury.
The weapons overall have taken a step backward. The first few tiers of weaponry overall feel like pea-shooters with the buffs all the low-level monsters get, and the cool toys lie beyond them - a chore to get them if ever there was one. Even so, the new weapons don't really change anything, being slight changes of the original weapons. The super shotgun, a staple weapon in Doom nowadays, is an outright liability to use; its high spread, extremely low fire rate, and 150 damage leaves it in a situation where it's good for only one thing; taking out 100 HP monsters around the corner. Even then, better hope there's only one. The only new weapons I saw in my play were the officer's pistol and rifle, which were simply faster and stronger versions of the pistol and chaingun, respectively.
I like the grenades overall, but one thing that irked me a lot was the shrapnel on the frag grenades. Thanks to those, you kill yourself with them as often as not when you use the grenades if you're anywhere near the explosion. You're spinning the barrel and pulling the trigger every time you use the grenades anywhere near close range, and given the arc of the grenades, that's most of the time.
Monster balance in particular is extremely wonky. Why is it that an imp replacement can more reliably take off my health than a revenant replacement? Why is it that a dog's bite can knock off half my health in one shot? Why are mancubi replacements such ridiculous tanks compared to... well... everything else? Archviles have all of 200 health, and their attacks are utterly pathetic. They even drop medikits on death now. Where is the sensibility in this? Where is the reason? Where is the thought for map balance? I simply can't see it.
Note: I can't even spawn on MAP32 of NDCP2. I die instantly due to crusaders being right next to me, since they instantly hit me with melee and gib me. Not good.
Mutiny is an extremely unpolished gem. While the idea is nice, the execution is flawed to the point where playing is an exercise in patience. Monster balance is screwed up massively, and weapons are overall weaker. Can it be fixed? Sure. Will it be easy? Hell no.
Play it if you want. But don't expect a smooth ride.