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Which D1 level is hardest as a cold start?
Level 11 - Loose homer guys and lava!  19%  [ 3 ]
Level 19 - Danger from all directions, and no energy!  13%  [ 2 ]
Level 20 - It's just plain hard!  13%  [ 2 ]
Level S1 - Getting there cold is only half the battle!  19%  [ 3 ]
Level 26 - All the hardest bots!  0%  [ 0 ]
Level 14 - Hard enough even with all your weapons!  0%  [ 0 ]
A different level  19%  [ 3 ]
I don't play cold start levels but I must vote in the poll  19%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 16
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 Post subject: [Poll] Which D1 level is hardest as a cold start?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:25 am 
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In the 'hardest robots' thread, I mentioned playing a lot of D1 cold start levels. A couple other people have mentioned doing the same, which makes me smile. I wonder how common the practice is . . .

Which level do you think is the most difficult as a cold start, and what are the major tactical challenges?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:39 am 
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My top 3 are levels 11, 19, and 20. They all share some similar tactical challenges.

- The energy is waaaay out there from the start. On 19 and 20, it's hard to get to it on your first life. On level 11, if you're not careful it's possible to run out of ammo entirely (vulcan, energy, AND missiles) before you get there.

- The levels have huge open and interconnected areas, so bots tend to get the drop on you or appear in unexpected places. Plus, if you die in a bad place to a bad bot, he's 'awake' and will likely get you again.

- There are very few points available. In level 11, you never get an extra life until after winning the level is assured. In level 20, I don't think you can get one at all.

- Good guns are way out there. You get a vulcan right off in level 11 and a plasma partway through . . . and that's it. Quads are too late to help. Everything else is even later. Level 20, it's spread and quads almost the whole way (though that midlevel plasma helps respawns a lot). Haven't done 19 in a while, but I vaguely remember a similar battle.

In my opinion, level 20 takes the cake, though, for having an additional challenge: An incredibly impossible last room.

Levels 19 and 11 'break' for me at certain points. For level 11, it's when I successfully get the yellow, or sometimes the red, key. But on level 20, the generators in that last room have to be handled absolutely correctly or the penalty is several lives. Which I don't have. And fully draining them without dying is very, very, very difficult. First round, I can generally handle with proxies and skillz. Second round? I'm out of proxies, and fighting cloaked concussion missile guys in tight quarters from two sides. And I've got to do it twice without dying. There's nowhere safe to run to, nowhere safe to snipe from, and not draining them fully means an extremely deadly exit run.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:23 pm 
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Voted S1 as a wild guess (perhaps it's truer to call it the hardest level in the set when played normally) but on considering the ones you listed, I recall how bad 19 and 20 got - they may well trump it.

Oh, now I remember 11. Yeah, that was tough too, though not as bad IMHO.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:41 pm 
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Just when I was starting to get my skills back I got sucked into D3 multiplayer again, so I've only tried 11 of those. I was making pretty rapid progress on it, but haven't beaten it cold start + insane yet. I'm on vacation now, but when I get back home I'm gonna start giving those a go.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:14 pm 
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I'd add Level 26. The big problem is the robot generator in the main room - as soon as you go in, it starts cranking out a ton of Minibosses, which takes a ton of lives and effort to get past even with lots of weapons and lives to spare. I suppose you could try running for it, but this is awfully risky since only one or two needs a hit to take you out instantly.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:33 pm 
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BTW Drak, have you beaten all 30 levels insane + cold start? People who've done that probably have the best vantage point to answer this more definitively, although choice of primaries and flying style does shake things up a bit. Supposedly Testi has beaten every level on insane without even dying once, though he didn't specify cold starts. I had stopped D1-D2 single player in lieu of D3 multiplayer back before I learned to fly decently, so in my short time back into single player I've only beaten 1-7 on insane + cold start so far.

I guess 6 was the hardest of those, because I was trying to fight everything in the open, and with so many drillers (almost 30, I think) they kept chewing down my shields. I've given up on fighting them mano e mano and taken to sniping, so the only real challenges are keeping the drillers at bay, not getting hit by splash damage from the medium hulks' concussion missiles in tight tunnels, and it's easy to run out of energy if you take out all 3 cycles of the robot generators spawning drones, but I generally bypass them on the first run to go into the upper section and grab some superior firepower (spreadfire and vulcan, and then quads once you get to the main t-section). The red key room is pretty simple with the use of a cloak and invulnerability, and the super hulks in the reactor room are quite easy to snipe from right outside the entrance, ducking and letting reactor blobs and homers smash into the ceiling of the entrance.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:25 am 
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I actually haven't, that I remember. I'm not sure. I remember when I first started playing the game that way, I was going to go through it and do every level . . . and when I got to level 11, I stopped cold for a month. And then I kept going and stopped dead at levels 19 and 20. As in, gave up. For a long time, I thought level 20 couldn't be done, and it became my game of choice; I'd just fire up Descent and see how far I got at that.

When I finally beat it, I was so into that groove, I never played anything else -- just levels 11 and 20 cold starts. I forgot about finishing the game that way . . . I'm not sure I ever did. :D

Just did level 26 on Firewheel's suggestion, though. That was pretty good! Mostly a tricording exercise, with a really brutal first run and a wicked energy crunch in the middle. I hadn't played that level in so long I'd forgotten the layout; once I found the energy I thought, \"Oh, this'll be easy!\" Ha, no -- the worst energy crunch is after you've found it . . . you just can't afford to go back to it. Some nice tactical tradeoffs throughout, too. I like it.

Still, it breaks pretty cleanly about when you get the yellow key. Then it's just blowing stuff up with all the excess mega missiles. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:08 am 
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You guys are nuts! lol

Ever tried doing Descent 2 cold starts?

What about cold starts for custom mission packs?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:35 am 
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No, I haven't gone through all the levels on cold starts. I usually cold start on 19, 23 or 25 and mess around.

I've gone through without dying, but man, it takes a looooooooooooooong time. Especially the run I did where I rescued every hostage, got every powerup and cleared every bot, and retired every matcen from every mine. This was a lot easier back when I had a machine that was tailored to D1 (No framerate issue), I used to sit 50ft in front of red hulks and practice dodging homers all day to the point where I hardly had to move to let them sail harmlessly by. I also spent a lot of time peeking around the walls with one laser sticking out for some of the conc bots...they are instant death if you are caught unawares. In level 25 I used to sit in the long hallway between the two conc bots and let their missiles take each other out. I had the timing of their shots and the speed of the missiles down to where I was dodging the concs coming up behind me, and watching them go by and into the bot ahead of me. Level 25 was also a good level for practicing dodging the plasma bots. Yet another awesome spot is...is...I forget what level it is, but to get to the red key there was a HUGE bitch-black open square with 2 matcen's (I think it's level 24) and some conc bots in there. Usually you want to get the cloak and bust-arse through there, get the key and bail out (screw the secret door) before you uncloaked, but I would go in and trigger the matcens, and then start circle strafing. While the created bots started tailing me, they'd bunch up behind me and I'd lead them into the concs from the conc bots (those two didn't move, just unload at you) I cleared those two matcens without firing a shot. Sometimes I'd wait until I triggered the matcens for the third (and last) time, and once all the bots were behind me, drop a mega and the score would show a 30,000 point jump.

Yea...I like D1 :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:12 pm 
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Epic.

There must be at trick to those homers I haven't figured. I keep my frames locked at 30 in D1x for mouse control, but the homers are just impossible for me. I can manage the first and usually the second one, but between the triplicate fire and the huge blast, he usually gets me. Even somewhere rediculous, like the start of level 10, I have to snipe. It is my achilles heel.

And man, that level 26 sure does keep the pressure up. There are a couple parts where you have to dig platform missile guys out of snaky tight quarters, and they're guaranteed to be wide awake. The best part is that since they can kill each other and the score doesn't show it, you actually have no idea if you've baited them all out or there's still one in there.

One got the drop on me just now. I just about jumped out of my skin. Survived, though. Booyah.

Some pretty unique experiences, though. \"I only took 60 damage -- pretty good for that run!\" and \"I must keep a smart missile loaded up at ALL TIMES. Best panic button!\" are thoughts I don't think I've had before.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:02 pm 
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I've done secret level 1 as a cold start in coop multiplayer with close friends and HOLY CRAP! we'd play on Ace or Insane and it would be crazy fun. Single player it would be very difficult, too; I'm sure of it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Yea, Drak, I've made it through a section with 5 shields left, and it was hit-n-run for a while until I got some shields. I've raced to the exit with 1 shield left on more than one occasion.

I think the worst spot to be in is lvl 19 yellow door. The red hulk moves of his own accord, you can never know where he'll be, and there are the two brown hulks right there throwing concs like a firehose. It's really touchy.

I wish I still had my demos. I had one of every level. It's hard to retain things from 1997 tho' :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:45 pm 
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I just beat level 11 on insane + cold start, and I'm sweating. I had to use a few save points, so I'll work on doing it in one run. What's really tricky is that most of the level is one interconnected area, so the super hulks and drillers can show up just about anywhere. D3 multiplayer has made me really lazy about dodging homers, since they come one at a time, generally from a little ways away, and you have an afterburner to tap to dodge them. So when they come one after another right around the next corner, and you can't even trichord normally because the tunnels are tiny and have lava on the bottom, I'm getting blown to bits more than I'd like. I'm not sure which level to tackle after this though.

I think that generally speaking tight levels are the trickiest. I had been blazing through the levels on trainee to \"unlock\" the higher ones, and 12 and 15 looked like they could be scary on insane since you immediately spawn in the vicinity of super and medium hulks and drillers, but giving them a quick go on insane proves them not too difficult at all, since you can fire on them without much return fire if they're far away enough, which they generally are in large rooms. L12 looked a little tough as you could run out of energy unless you made a mad dash for the EC with reds and drillers still on the scene. The secret may be to race for the invulnerability and plasma in the pillar, I'll have to give that a go, although that might be better employed later in the level, since the whole thing is full of drillers and hulks.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:46 am 
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Awww, too bad you lost them, Testi. It'd be fun to do an 'epic single player moments' demo exchange.

D3Alien wrote:
I just beat level 11 on insane + cold start, and I'm sweating.


Good for you! Yeah, that's a rough level. Never plays the same way twice. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:04 am 
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Yeah, I'd love to see more D1 SP demos. I think the one you sent me is just about the only one I've seen of a good player. Pretty much all the videos on YouTube are by newbs or average players. There's one guy beating 1-5 on insane without dying, but that's not much to brag about, especially since they aren't cold starts. There's another couple of someone beating most of 6, 7, and up to the boss on 27 on ace without dying, but again, no cold starts. I've never been a top tier player, particularly not in D1 since I've spent most of my time in the past 6-7 years in D3 multiplayer, so players doing things even more poorly than I just isn't that impressive. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:23 am 
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I voted for different level. I mean particularly level 16. Three Medium Hulks at the very beginning, blasting away at you. On Insane it spells certain death for most players, at least those who don't know how to strafe. Just try for yourselves!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:59 pm 
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I think you mean level 15. Level 16 has one medium hulk behind the first door, and then one far on the other end of the room, but they're not too much trouble. Level 15 has 3 in a line in front of you who fire as soon as you spawn, with 2 super hulks and a cloaked medium hulk also in the same room. Even then they're not that tough unless the reds move in towards you too quickly, and the rest of the level is pretty easily managed with all the cloaks and invulnerabilities, mixed with taking a lot of them out from a distance with lasers and missiles. The reactor room would be hellish if there weren't an invulnerability nearby.

Oh man, I just tried 26 as an insane cold start. I haven't voted yet, but I think this one might take the cake. There are probably some secrets and strategies that make it easier though.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:59 am 
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26 is a deathtrap, yeah. Fusion hulk matcens, 'nuff said.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:20 am 
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I never much minded level 26 cold. Sure, it's difficult, but it's nothing like levels 11 or 20. Level 26 has guns, missiles, enough points for an extra life... all you need to do is be quick enough to avoid splash damage from flying through certain gratings.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Yeah, I've been studying this video, and 26 looks a lot easier now. I think a lot of the things he does even on hotshot would be applicable to insane.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LocorKAPhUo

It looks like the best way to tackle it might be to speed through a lot of it, particularly fully utilizing the cloaks to make it back through the catwalk sections and lots of trichording (which will I'm sure make me glad I've spent a lot of time flag running).

I've already beaten 11, and played through 20 on trainee to unlock it, but it really doesn't look that difficult other than the red door area, which I imagine on insane is admittedly pretty terrifying.

Secret 1 doesn't really look that difficult if you exploit a trick to bypass half the level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mo0zKkCg5w

19 and 14 do look kind of tough, but I'll have to play them more to say for sure how they compare to the rest.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:03 am 
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Aha, I was right. Level 26 isn't that awful if you exploit all the cloaks and invulnerabilities. I just did it insane + cold start without even dying, though I did again have a few save points. You've gotta have your trichording down, but of course, if you don't you really have no business playing levels like this anyway. Now, doing it without any saves, or cleaning out every single bot is probably a heck of a lot harder.

The biggest crunch parts are the catwalks with fusion mech matcens, the ones with green platform bots, and then that nasty room with the loose super hulk and vulcan drillers in the cages. Once you're in the main room at the end after the matcen has generated all the fusion hulks it was pretty easy to clear them out with excess megas and utilizing the fusion bug.

So I guess I'd say that so far 11 is the hardest level, with 20 having the hardest room.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Hmm..coldstart level...I guess it depends on difficulty level too, unless you mean at Insane in general. I'd say L11(Insane) is the hardest for me to coldstart. I can't survive the red hulks without some homers or smarts myself.


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