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Vrack may be the first map in its series, but it is far from a walk in the park. With tight corridors and just under a hundred shotgun guys on Ultra-Violence and above, being able to deal with large amounts of cannon fodder in small spaces is critical, especially since health is someone scarce at certain parts of the level. Topping that off are major set-piece teleport traps that can drop large numbers of monsters into revisited areas, which will test your skill in handling big, tough groups of monsters.
Start and Blue Key
You begin in a vaguely square-shaped room. Walk straight forward towards the shotgun and pick it up. This raises a switch to the left of the shotgun. Flip this switch, and a second switch raises to the right of the shotgun. Flip this second switch to open the wall to the north. Your first opposition is a cacodemon in the next corridor - no big deal for now. Open the thin door at the end of the corridor and head down the steps. Flip both switches on either side of the door to fully open the first of a pair of doors. In the short airlock ahead, grab the box of shotgun shells (4 shotgun shells on Hey, not too rough and below), and flip both switches in the corridor to fully open the second of the pair of doors.
You are now on a ledge in the southwest of a bright room with some stacked crates. This room is filled with zombiemen, imps and more shotgun guys. There is also a demon running about at the lower level of this room (not a problem) and a cacodemon (two on Ultra-Violence and above). More critically, there are two windows high on the walls of this room - one in the east, one in the north. Each has zombiemen and imps. If this sounds like a really bad crossfire situation, it is. The best plan is as follows:
- Clear the monsters in front of you first;
- Pull the cacodemon towards the airlock and deal with it there;
- Shoot the barrels at the lower level of the room to clear monsters at the area out;
- If you have ammunition to spare, clear out the windows;
- Jump down from the ledge and clean up.
Head to the southeast of the bright room and open the door. Head through a darkened U-shaped corridor and kill the imp waiting in the light beam. This corridor emerges into another large room, with a raised area in the east containing scattered crates. You will face two shotgun guys, two zombiemen and one imp dead ahead. Some zombiemen may take pot-shots from the raised area. if you did not clear out the eastern window in the bright room earlier, the monsters there can shoot at you from a window on the west wall.
Continue straight to an L-shaped corridor and kill the zombieman at the corner (if he did not attack with the previous pack of monsters). The corridor will widen at the end, and you will face a zombieman and two imps (zombieman, imp and Hell knight on Ultra-Violence and above). You do not have to worry about monsters on the platform you can see through the window; they can hear you, but they cannot fire at you. The door at the end of the corridor is likely to be opened by a baron of Hell (Hell knight on Hey, not too rough and below). Your shotgun will suffice for all except the baron of Hell. Mow down the rest of the monsters, head through the door at the end of the corridor, then go north at the junction to reach the platform you saw through the corridor window. There is a zombieman, an imp and up to six shotgun guys here. Mow them down and pick up the super shotgun on the platform. With this new weapon, head back and finish off the baron of Hell.
Back at the junction, head south down another L-shaped corridor. there are two zombiemen, two imps and a shotgun guy here. Kill them and go through the door at the end. You will now be at the raised area in the previous large room. Clear out any remaining zombiemen. Head to the door at the south, which is the first of another pair of airlock doors. Again, flip both pairs of switches to fully raise both doors. Head up the steps and open the narrow door at the end.
This leads to the north arm of a cross-shaped hallway. You will first be set upon by five zombiemen, two shotgun guys, and up to two chaingunners (not present on Hey, not too rough and below). Pick up the chaingun in the middle of the hallway and either pull back, or dash into the southern arm. You will awake two demons waiting in ambush in the eastern and western arms. Once the coast is clear, flip the switches in each of the eastern and western arms.
This opens the door at the southern arm, revealing the blue key chamber. Kill the pain elemental inside and take the blue key.
You need to backtrack to the first (bright) large room you entered just after the pair of doors near the start. However, on your way there, the following traps have opened:
- In the cross-shaped hallway, a chamber at each of the ends of the east and west arms has opened. Each contains a cacodemon.
- A first teleport trap populates the lower half of the second large room with up to eight shotgun guys, a zombieman and two imps.
- A second teleport trap populates the lower half of the first large room with up to eight shotgun guys, two zombiemen and two imps
- A third teleport trap populates the ledge in the southwest of the first large room with up to four cacodemons, two demons and a baron of Hell (on ultra-Violence and above only).
The second large room can be dealt with conventionally, but you will probably need monster infighting to deal with the first one.
Your next task is to raise steps back to the ledge in the southwest of the first large room. Head to the northeast of this room (around the two-stacked pile of crates) to find that a panel has opened in the wall. Head into a darkened corridor and watch for two demons inside. The steps at the end lead up to a brightened overlook, but waiting at the top is a nasty crossfire including a mancubus, that becomes virtually lethal to the unprepared on Ultra-Violence and above. Your task is simple:
- Switch to the chaingun.
- Go in guns blazing. Clear out enemies in front of you. Make a break for the armor at the north.
- Grab the armor and quickly backtrack into the darkened corridor.
The plan is to make the groups of monsters on either side hit each other as you dash between them. Once the infighting has commenced, enjoy the show and mop up stragglers.
From the overlook, head east. Go into the corridor at the end (be careful of a shotgun guy on Ultra-Violence and above). Follow the corridor to its end and you will find yourself in the room behind the window in the east of the first large room. Kill the cacodemon waiting in ambush, flip the switch on the west wall and backtrack all the way back to the first large room. With the steps raised, you can get back up onto the ledge in the southwest of the room.
Head to the door with stripes of blue lights. Open it, collect the box of ammo and then open the similarly looking door behind it. This next darkened octagonal room is quiet, with a berserk pack in the middle. This room is obviously trapped, but the real trap is to trick you into thinking that this is a spectre/demon ambush. It is not, and the berserk pack makes things worse by forcing you to switch to fists. When the pack is picked up, the floor lowers, placing you in a serious crossfire. Each of four traps has a zombieman, a chaingunner and an imp, with an extra shotgun guy in the northwest and southeast traps. To defuse this trap:
- Face southwest before picking up the berserk pack;
- Pick up the pack and switch back to the chaingun;
- Hold down the fire button and run into the southwest trap;
- Head through the corridor and kill the demon waiting inside;
- Optional: Mop up the rest of the enemies in this area.
The corridors from the southwest and southeast traps lead to ledges in the east and west of a big grey room. This room is full of enemies - both the easy kind (eight zombiemen, four imps (two in pillars), and two shotgun guys) and the harder kind (up to four chaingunners, four cacodemons and a mancubus). Clear them out, then head through the door in the south. This leads to a room with some windows. Kill the two imps and Hell knight in here. From this point, the path through the level is fairly linear, with only large groups of the shotgun guys to deal with, interspersed with the occasional chaingunner, imp or demon. Your chaingun should settle most of the monsters you encounter.
The real problem starts when you get onto a ledge overlooking a large semi-open area with crates hanging from the ceiling. Head into the cage at the end of this ledge to be lowered to the lower level of this area. You now have to fight up to two shotgun guys, three imps, two chaingunners, a cacodemon and a mancubus in an area with limited cover. Try to use the crates on the floor to your advantage. Once they are all dead, flip the switch in the south.
You now have to backtrack all the way to the large grey room. The bad news is that a large monster horde has spawned at the outdoor area just before the room with windows. This horde contains up to four shotgun guys, four zombiemen, four imps, five chaingunners, four cacodemons and two barons of Hell. Since the chaingunners spawn further behind, they may be able to contribute to monster infighting, saving you time and ammo. You will probably have to take out the barons of Hell personally, though.
Back in the big grey room, a panel in the north has lowered. Kill the baron of Hell and two imps beyond it, then head back up the steps to the octagonal room. A new path has opened in the north. Kill the three zombiemen and two shotgun guys ahead, as well as another two shotgun guys at the bend. Head through the door at the end, and prepare for the first of the Vrack series' "puzzle rooms".
In this room, there are 15 platforms above slime. Six of them have switches, and two are fenced off. Your job is to flip all six switches to lower a panel in the southeast and allow escape from the room. Of note is that gaps between the platforms are a tad wide, so you need to be running at full speed (or straferunning) to reliably get across them. To make things more difficult, the room is initially quiet, but monsters will teleport in:
- Once you start the puzzle by jumping from the east side of the room to a platform, two revenants will teleport to the fenced off platforms. (On Ultra-Violence and above, when you kill them, another two will teleport in.)
- After two switches have been flipped, four chaingunners will teleport to four of the platforms.
The secret to this room is that you should not take on the task of flipping all six switches immediately. Instead:
- Without stepping on any of the four eastern platforms, jump into the slime and head to the westernmost platforms.
- Go around to the back of the westernmost platform and collect a megasphere.
- Head slightly east to where the room widens, then go north. This leads to a passage with a teleporter.
- This teleports you to the westernmost platform, where you can collect a radiation shielding suit.
- Flip the switches. As long as you do not cross between any of the four easternmost platforms, the revenant trap will not be triggered.
Once all six switches are flipped, head to the southwest platform and jump to the ledge to exit this room.
This next chamber has no monsters at all. You simply need to ride the silver platform on the west side of the structure up and head clockwise up the steps until you find a silver raised ledge. Lower that ledge and ride it up to reach the top of the structure. At the top, flip the switch in the south to lower the top of the structure deep into the ground. Go through the teleporter in the west, which will teleport you back to the octagonal room. A chamber in the west is now open. Pick up the yellow key and a rocket launcher, then go through the teleporter in the back of the alcove.
Red key and exit
You are teleported to the outdoor ledge where you got the super shotgun. Head through the door. At the junction, open the yellow-striped door in the east. Head down the corridor and to a large semi-open area. You'll find three imps and a zombieman ahead, and some cannon fodder will trickle in from the left. Head left towards the path marked exit, but as you approach the exit chamber, red bars descend, preventing you from entering.
Backtrack to the semi-open area, and a wall opposite will have lowered. It contains up to five chaingunners, an arachnotron, two cacodemons and three barons of Hell. Infighting will help a bit, but again the barons will come out on top quickly. Your rocket launcher will come in handy here. Head into the area where these monsters came from and mow down the cannon fodder in the corridor. You will eventually come to a platform in the southwest of a floating area. The platforms have ledges containing numerous enemies - imps, demons, chaingunners, even mancubi. In the center of the area is a structure with switches. Your job is to shoot the switches on the central structure to lower walls, allowing you to access the red key chamber in the east. However, every time you lower a wall, two revenants (one on Hey, not too rough and below) will be waiting to greet you. The sequence is:
- SW platform, shoot switch, go clockwise;
- NW platform, shoot switch, go anticlockwise;
- SE platform, shoot switch, go clockwise;
- NE platform, shoot switch, go clockwise.
As you turn the corner, you will encounter an arch-vile. Try to snatch the plasma gun and bulk cell at the balcony to kill it. Once it has been killed, head east at the junction to access a chamber with the red key.
Backtrack to the semi-open area. The final set of teleport traps has activated. A large number of monsters will teleport in - up to seven mancubi, 18 cacodemons, 12 chaingunners, a baron of Hell, five zombiemen, four shotgun guys and three chaingunners. Again, use infighting, rockets and plasma to clear them out. Next, head to the exit chamber, which now contains a small, but tough horde - up to five revenants, a pain elemental, two arch-viles and two barons of Hell. Raise the red bars and quickly backtrack to dodge arch-vile attacks. Blast rockets and plasma until the area is cleared.
Flip the switch in the exit chamber to end the level.
Other points of interestEdit
- In the cross-shaped hallway before collecting the blue key, head to the eastern arm. The eastern tech panel on the southern wall lacks a metal grid in front of it. Open this panel to reveal a secret room with a health bonus, an armor bonus and a backpack. Note that the footprint of the secret door (the panel) counts as the secret, not the compartment. (sector 98)
- From the northernmost area, head west and take the platform in the south up to a room with square metal panels on the walls. Press on the center of the western wall (secret is completely unmarked) to reveal a passageway with 11 armor bonuses. (sector 248)
- In the chamber with the red key, open the recessed wall between the two metal stripes in the east. This leads to a secret room with the letters "HISSY" on the floor, with a cacodemon guarding an invulnerability. (sector 895)
- After getting the red key, backtrack to the wide, darkened part of the corridor (just south from the outdoor platform in the east of the map). Look south to find that a part of the wall has opened, leading into a dark rectangular room (sector 903). You can find a soulsphere in the southwest of the room.
Areas / screenshotsEdit
- 3:42 and 2:55 by Albert Valls (second one using a shortcut)
I'm Too Young To Die speedrun
- 3:35 by Opulent
Routes and tricksEdit
The records for the map at the Doomed Speed Demos Archive are:
Inspiration and developmentEdit
- The level contains a reference to Hissy in one of its secret rooms.