Published on Apr 5, 2014
WAD Title: Tunnel11.wad
Filename: TUNNEL11.WAD (in dmdtun.zip)
Author: Günther H. Baumann and "Micha"
Demo Category: UV max (100% Kills and Secrets; "Ultra-Violence" skill)
Player: Eric "The Green Herring" Baker
Recorded With: Ultimate Doom.exe v1.9
Recorded On: April 5, 2014
Video Recorded With: DOSBox 0.74
Demo Download: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6...
Another 1994 level, and a terrible one at that. It's described as dark and ugly by the authors in their text file, and they're right; it's a dark, mono-textured maze of corridors with the occasional room. But it's not just any such maze; it's one that's been built with little apparent awareness of enemy size. If this WAD was actually tested, as the text file suggests it was, anyone with even a minuscule attention span would've noticed several monsters are stuck in the walls and to each other, rendering them useless! I don't think I've ever seen a level in which something as basic as putting bull demons in a tunnel has been bungled this badly. Plus, the two locked doors are not labeled, and getting one of the keys requires you find unmarked secret doors (although at least the computer area map helps with this). Finally, there are REJECT errors that mean in some places, the enemies can never hear you unless you fire your gun in the sector they're in, even if you're standing in a room right next to them. This level, overall, is impressive only in how crummy it is.
If you're wondering why you're seeing that description again, it's because something funny happened. On April 4, 2014, I published the max demo I had previously recorded on this level from January 2, 2013, where I beat the level in 4:24. I uploaded the demo to the Doomworld forums and I published a video of the demo on YouTube. And then what happened? Fellow speedrunner j4rio showed up just over three hours later with a faster max demo, meaning that my demo with all the flourish I gave to its presentation didn't last even a quarter of a day before it was obsolete. That's the first time that happened to me in my /idgames/levels/doom/ campaign, and it took me by surprise because I thought that kind of thing would only happen with popular WADs. And on top of all that, j4rio provided no commentary whatsoever, so unless he speaks up, we won't know exactly what made him decide to improve a max demo on a horrible, maze-like 1994 level. Well, besides how suboptimal my demo probably looked (through no fault of my own).
Thankfully, the improvements were easy to discern. His weapon use was very different: he used rockets on the squished enemy cluster and a BFG blast on the tunnel baron, among other things. He also used an exploit when blasting the monsters in the BFG room; it turns out the REJECT is so broken that if you stand behind the door before you shoot, you won't take any blast damage, but the monsters will. I used these improvements in my demo, and did my own thing with them. But it took me four hours and fifty-one minutes, including a 3-hour break, to get my final time of 3:27, beating j4rio's 3:39 demo by twelve seconds. In the interim, I got 3:57 and my own 3:39. After my successful demo, I spent three hours and 28 minutes more, including an hour's break, trying to beat my time—and ultimately gave up. Just like last year, it's because the tunnel baron is just too random to get a grip on. It's down to luck where he'll pop up no matter what you do. If he shows up early on, you'll just have to start over; and if he pops up in a faraway part of the hall, you'll have to waste time tracking him down.
To appreciate how luck-based dealing with that guy is, I've included a blooper at the end of this video, which is also included in the .ZIP as DTUNAUGH.LMP. It shows how most of my demo attempts ended, and the filename reflects my reaction at the time. j4rio may not have said anything about his demo, but no matter how perfect he makes things look, I'm willing to bet he had trouble with that baron, too.