Let me join in saying 'nice map!'.
I actually don't think much needs to be done to get rid of the map02 homage feel. The later areas are distinct on their own and are not structured like Map02 or Map03, it's really only the first three rooms that are the problem. To wit, the start is obviously Map02, going left is the Map02 dropdown, and going right is the Map05 cage room.
Considering the other maps we have now, I think a good solution would be to move this to Map03 (after Radar Base, see my comments there) and put some slime in the starting area - obviously not a whole floor of it, but maybe a gutter flowing down the middle of the room and some crates to compliment the ones a bit later. An imp or two lurking behind them, and suddenly it's distinct from existing D2 maps.
+ I really liked the circle of water just past the crates and the exit area.
+ A Mega Armor might be better than a rocket, there's not much room to use rockets this level.
+ The imp cage near the blue key is missing rear middle textures, which ruins the 'cage' illusion.
+ I think a lot of rooms could have less monsters and still be challenging, a better fit for this early on. Specifically, look at how Romero removes monsters in the lower difficulties. Between easy and hard, it's either what he removed or what's left that's key to the room's difficulty. In my own playthrough, a lot of imps and chaingunners were redundant, because there was a clear shot alley where I'd only see one at a time. Also, a few more specters in dark water areas would be a better fit than a lot of the lesser monsters. The looped areas would force you to watch your back!
Very nice texture scheme and very good emulation of McGee's architecture.
The bad news however is that the name and appearance of the map is extremely homagey to the original Map02. Plus, it's way too hard. Tone down the monster count a bit. Other than that, I can see a lot of potential in this map!
Love this map. The author has shown a great understanding of scaling of the rooms in Doom2 and the pace of the game. Many areas are memorable and distinct, which makes navigation much easier.
It has too serious flaws imho - the first bit is an evident homage to MAP02, both the texturing AND the possesed guys facing away from the player start ;) the other one being the fact that some of the structures (like the super shothgun "closet") are way too "smart" for doom2 I think.
Anyway this shows great promise and already plays like a dream!
Not a bad map -- very American-ish in style for sure, though it's maybe a bit too detailed and currently too remniscient of the original MAP02 (in texturing, primarily). Jimmy's working on remedying that, last I heard, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the next release.