The /newstuff Chronicles #420
Classic Doom - Posted by Bloodshedder
- 33 Comments
Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.
Onslaught - Henri Lehto
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 2307105 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
This 10-map wad by Henri Lehto focuses on intense violence, so it's only appropriate to try the maps from a pistol start on UV and see how tough things get.
Things kick off straight away in map 01, which is a hyper-detailed tech base with carefully modelled damage to the building's structure. There is a lot of nukage, none of which actually hurts you, which is a bit confusing for those who are used to their screens turning red as soon as they see green... if you know what I mean.
Heavy hitters are present in abundance with Arachnotrons, Revenants, Barons, Mancs and Arch-Viles. While the large variety of wall textures provides eye candy, they don't always go together, and with the amount of flashing lights it's not one to play with tired eyes. But the gameplay is exciting, so we can cope. Oh and the roof damage in the first area is well-done.
Map 02 takes a more hellish turn. You are once more pitched straight into the crap, so rapid reactions are well-rewarded. You get a ton of shotgun ammo and a backpack straight away, and a face to face encounter with a Manc proves that wad author Henri Lehto is not buggering around; his wad is designed to punish you. The architecture is consistent in theme with the previous map, with hellish corruption growing through the walls, although the map plays differently with switch-activated doors and teleporters to vary the gameplay.
Map 03 is the first with an outdoor element. There are nice views through the windows which give an appropriately Doomy feeling. The atmosphere is very bleak
thanks to muted colour choices and darker light levels across the map. This was a nice contrast to the previous maps' relative gaudiness. The playability is excellent and the map is rewarding to explore despite its small size. I stumbled across a soul sphere secret by accident; this would be impossible to find if I hadn't been fighting a Hell Knight while hiding from a Mancubus, since it's in a random spot between a raised platform and a crate and is indicated by a lighter square of nukage.
With map 04, Grain manages a successful and well-constructed synthesis of the hell/tech base/outdoor themes from previous maps. You feel like you're progressing towards something as you conquer each new level. There are more details to the indoor sections including cool hexagonal floor and ceiling grids. The outdoor segment is much tougher than before, and the invisibility spheres present as many problems as they solve; this item is not available in most custom wads (that I've played), so people who are less familiar with how monsters react to it should probably avoid picking one up! I didn't notice any issues with this map, but I was playing in the latest GZDoom.
Map 05 continues to increase the difficulty. It's like map 04 in style and playability, except you spend more time indoors. The outdoor section is particularly tough and took about six tries for me to beat it, which happened through infighting and insane luck, when a Hell Baron who had me pinned raised its arm to strike, but turned and twatted a Revenant instead. Moments of stunning good fortune (or random chance, depending on your POV) are what keep Doom fresh even after 20 years. I went into the final section with 1% health (perhaps explaining the difficulty), and this area seems extremely tight for health pickups.
By the time map 06 rolls around we are familiar with how these maps start, and we are pretty much prepared to face the same monsters and the same traps. That doesn't imply things are getting boring here, far from it, this map is extremely violent while not straying into the monster horde territory of map 5. Visually things continue to improve throughout the wad. There is one section where you cannot open a door, so you have to spot two arrows on the floor, one of which takes you out of the area, the other which takes you to a switch to open the door. A bit confusing and potentially hard to spot.
Map 08 increases the scale and you'll be fighting boss monsters. I was weirdly reminded of Doom 2's "The Spirit World", although I'm not sure if that was the intent. This map is a cross between a base and a marble palace of hell. This is the first map where the indoor sections are largely... well, large. Many of the previous maps can get claustrophobic (though this shouldn't detract from gameplay unless you hate enclosed maps).
Map 09 feels huge. There are plenty of times when the ability to "run like goddamn bastards" would help the players, but the way is often blocked by larger monsters. There is a kind of library theme to the starting area which somehow reminded me of the hell areas from Hellraiser 3. I am completely SURE this wasn't the intent, and it probably won't remind anyone else, so we'll chalk that off to personal weirdness on my part. Shotgunning Barons, Mancs and Arachnos is not the most fun activity as Barons are boring - albeit terrifying at close quarters if you've got low health or a crap gun - but you get an athletic workout trying to blast an Arachno while dodging a Manc or vice versa.
The final map, map 10, is a boss fight with the monster spawner and hidden Romero head proclaiming what he's been proclaiming at the end of mapsets since the early 90s. The visual style contrasts with all the previous maps through the use of white cobbles for the floor. It's built to a large scale and contains some nice eye candy. This map is up to the individual player to judge, as baphomet fights are not to everyone's taste, and I always groan when I hear those backwards words.
To summarise for those with ADHD who can't/won't/don't know how to read long reviews, Onslaught lives up to its name, and is very far above the paltry 2.5* rating in the archives in this reviewer's opinion. I was able to complete every map on UV, which is a nice change from the Hell Revealed difficulty some wads incorporate.
In a sense it plays like Titan 1024 which I reviewed a short time ago, with maps which are sometimes claustrophobic and re-use ideas (in this case, it's mainly monster deployment). There's some to-ing and fro-ing through areas you've already been: that's only a minor issue in map 02 due to its small size, but was a bit annoying in the larger map 06 for example. In fairness these issues are unlikely to detract too much from your enjoyment, and I think back fondly over my adventures in this wad. Download this and give it a try.
FGCanyon - Christopher John Hammett
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 12580 bytes -
Reviewed by: Doomguy 2000
Well, let's see here. You have 4 square rooms, 2 square crushers, 4 bridges that connect the said rooms, and an exit for this level located in one of those rooms. The most interesting part is the slime not damaging you, and that's not saying very much. Really all you have to do is look at the screenshot and that alone will tell you to skip this one.
Dark Maze - Christopher John Hammett
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 11000 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Historic deathmatch uploaded by Eq for archival purposes, created around the time of "unknown, late 1990s?" Its creation date shows as the map is an undetailed maze with pretty much nothing anywhere. Needless to say, skip over this one.
School - Daniel Hawthorne
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 104873 bytes -
Reviewed by: Doomguy 2000
School is a deathmatch level that is supposed to be based on St. Crispin's School in Wokingham, England. Only good for a few minutes just looking around at the basic design, and is also a poor deathmatch level with the weapon placement. Not worth the download.
Hot Lead - Joseph Wheatley
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 57086 bytes -
Reviewed by: Doomguy 2000
The story here is that you have returned to your old battlefield and the whole place is supposedly moving. That's just the strange annoying elevator you will have to deal with. Some sounds have been replaced with old western stuff that feels like it came out of the 1800s. Starting the level, you turn around to find some boxes of shells, bullets, and a few rockets, with only the chaingun to help you out.
Hot Lead is another one of those typical 90s wads with bad design and I guess some decent gameplay. There's no exit, it has a light visor there for no reason when it's not needed, and also a chainsaw is present when it's also not needed. Most of the time you will be using your chaingun and shotgun that you pick up after killing a shotgun guy. Weapons like the rocket launcher, plasma rifle, and BFG9000 served me no purposed as I said before, as I was mostly using bullets and shells to kill off all monsters. This is a hard level, but has no reward towards the end of it and requires a strategy to kill all of the monsters on the battlefield. Overall I say skip this one if you are a casual player; or if you are good at the game and don't mind the poor design, then I say go for it.
Museum I - Midnight Blue
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 25583 bytes -
Reviewed by: GreyGhost
(Note - Museum1.wad replaces MAP05, not E1M5 as stated in the text file)
Museum I is a recently rediscovered wad from the Bronze Age of Doom mapping, and from the looks of it is probably Midnight Blue's first released map. The map's layout is somewhat symmetrical and well constructed given its age; there's the occasional texture misalignment, a door that rises into the sky and some tutti-frutti at the exit, but nothing show-stopping.
Gameplay-wise it's rather easy to beat. The player starts out in a well stocked armory and is unlikely to run out of ammunition (apart from bullets) since it's scattered liberally throughout the map, as is health and armour. Too many sound blocking lines in the brick section make the shotgun-toting guards easier to handle, and having most of the monsters behind bars means they're less of a threat. The major set-piece battle that's supposed to take place at the big spider cage is ruined by most of the arachnotrons being too closely spaced and unable to move (unless you're using a ZDoom-derived port). Difficulty levels are implemented, with fewer guards on the easier settings and more monsters stuck together on UV.
With several rooms in the museum being strictly optional, exiting the map with less than 50% kills is possible. As it stands, Museum I is probably way too easy for players who thrive on UV, though I wouldn't mind watching a Pacifist speedrun through the map.
Tellerstein's Base - Ericson Willians (Tellerstein)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 84023 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
All right, this map was created by Tellerstein, who is a self-admitted new mapper, so let's get this started. The wad includes 1 new texture and an original track composed for the map.
The map gameplay is what to be expected: advance a few rooms, hit a switch, run back, grab key, run back, hit switch, run back, etc. I have nothing against this method of mapping since it's fine for a beginner, but the entire journey is linear and does not offer any additional traps or threats aside from some nukage. There are also inescapable nukage pits which are generally a no-no, as it force kills the player, forcing them to restart. The lifts needed to travel from key to switch move at a snail's pace.
The worst part is a disastrous gimmick that author decided to include by placing his mug into the starting area, where shooting it would trigger the release of 4 cyberdemons. Then, there's the expected lack of ammo or weaponry to remotely damage even one of these cybers.
In terms of design, there are overly abundant amounts of LITE5 while one texture spans entire rooms, coupled with multiple texture alignment errors. The rooms are either entirely square and orthogonal or curved ridiculously, and the themes are pretty nonsensical. The cave area was done well, but was sadly obscured by the poor surroundings and dark light level.
The map can be skipped as it's a newbie's introduction to mapping, and there's really nothing to see here.
Oh, and the music was good.
Lost in Tellerstein's Planet - Ericson Willians (Tellerstein)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 79345 bytes -
Reviewed by: Blue Shadow
Lost in Tellerstein's Planet is a small, single-player map for Doom 2 using ZDoom (though I couldn't see any particular ZDoom feature used, to be honest). According to the text file, you're in this lost planet, which is ruled by a being known as Tellerstein, and your sole objective is to escape this "nightmarish" planet. Sadly, you don't get to fight this "being" at the end (see next paragraph).
The map is mostly easy, except at the start and at the end where you are a little challenged. The start area pits you against low-level enemies from the front, and a deep, inescapable pit of lava from behind. Luckily, you are provided with a shotgun (in the center) and a chaingun (from the chaingunner ahead of you). The start area also has this annoying gimmick where the whole floor goes up and down for no particular reason, slowing your progress. The final area, which you need the yellow key to access, consists of a crater-like room with a narrow path leading to a bloodfall (exit). If you fall on either side of the path, you get stuck unfortunately, and will eventually die due to the floor being harmful. You face a handful of cacodemons and pain elementals here as your final obstacle towards freedom.
Aside from that, you get a good supply of health, armor and ammo (maybe a little too much), and you get every weapon in the game except for the chainsaw, which I think is too much for such a small, compact map like this with such a low number of low to medium-level monsters. And I found the weapons to be given with no drawbacks at all. You just find them laying around like that for the taking, except for the super shotgun, which is actually guarded by ambushing enemies. Speaking of ambushes, they're unfortunately non-threatening and repetitive, where a door opens slowly revealing 1-3 monsters that can be taken care of very easily.
Visually, the map shows the inexperience of the mapper. The detail is minimum at best (the cave-like area behind the red key door is bland in terms of texture, ambient light, and architecture), questionable choice of textures in the first part of the map (using the bannered texture as the main texture for the area is really bad), and the usual misalignment issues here and there.
The map comes with an MIDI track that was specifically created by the author for the map itself, according the text file. The tune was nice, though it sounded more Hexen-ish than Doom-ish, to me.
If you have 5-10 minutes to kill, give it a try, otherwise you won't be missing much.
The Impaler's Labyrinth - Ericson Willians (Tellerstein)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 263564 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Uh-oh, a maze, and a particularly ugly one at that. Let's get all the bad stuff out of the way first. The map is mostly made of tall brown walls to create a canyon which is essentially a simple maze. There are a couple of areas where you can get stuck - for example, I fell off a ledge while avoiding a Manc's fire outside the blue door and had to clip out - and several monsters appear to be stuck in the walls. Monster deployment is not good in the outdoor area. You'll be standing there gunning down groups of minions, Cacos and Knights. Things really liven up when the Revenants arrive and their deadliness is evident in the long corridors which offer no cover.
The transition between canyon and techbase area is jarring if you enter the base via a secret area. This leads to a crusher room which was actually scary rather than annoying on this occasion (at first I thought the whole map had turned into a crusher -- I've seen that before). The base itself looks a lot better than the outdoor areas.
The new music is good, but the track is short and it started to grate after the fiftieth loop. There's a new sky texture showing a distant castle. This really lends a sense of location as you feel like you're either in some kind of labyrinth (minus Higgle/Hogwart/Hoggle) or in the mountains beneath the castle so it feels like you're heading somewhere important. The "impaler" theme is carried throughout the map. I'm not sure why this had to be a ZDoom map.
Evil Unleashed II - Dutch Devil
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 156892 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
The unoriginally named Evil Unleashed II is a vanilla compatible replacement for E1M1. It basically has two distinct area types: indoor areas which are boxy, flat, and cramped, and outdoor/hell cave areas that use more natural shapes, and have areas where monsters actually get to make use of the Z axis. The outdoor sections play the best, while the tech base interiors tend to have less interesting combat. I thought the ammo balance could be better, since I've run out in different sections half of the times I've played this wad. One area will seem to have perfect ammo balance one playthrough, the next you're berserk punching down a baron. As for the map layout (which Dutch Devil self-describes as "great"), I disliked how the new routes that opened didn't really draw any attention to themselves. If you didn't take notice to them before you opened them, you might not even realize anything changed. Sometimes monster closets/spawns are placed in a way that actually draws your attention away from the newly opened routes, rather than into them as they should.
Visuals use a mix of textures from across the episodes and the wad doesn't really try to emulate the iwad's aesthetics. The outdoor and cave sections in particular use way more detail than anything designed at id. The techbase interiors are boxy and cramped, and crates are thrown in everywhere, seemingly to break up the monotony. There are a few tech areas that look pretty good, but the majority of them could've used more interesting architecture. The outdoor sections seem a bit busy to me, but that may have more to do with choice of wall textures than anything else. Annoyingly, the outdoors and caves have practically invisible stairs as a part of the terrain – try to find the stairs in my third and sixth screenshots. More contrast would have definitely been welcomed there. The fortress sections were nice; I liked the brick work and the switch built into the Icon of Sin's head.
I think the techbases could be done a lot better by knocking down some walls (and burning all the crates) to open them up a bit, but the rest of the wad is fun and worth a go. Just be careful about wasting ammo.
The complete DM2x.WAD series - Unknown
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 56842 bytes -
Reviewed by: glenzinho
Here's a collection of 1994 wads kindly uploaded by our dear friends at The Doom Universe site. An email address is included in the text so that we can send our heartfelt thanks to them. The zipfile comes packed with 5 wads, DM21 and 22 and DM26/27/28. All maps replace map01, so they are to be played separately. The text files claim that the wads were originally timestamped 13-16 of October 1994, which would date them 3-6 days after Doom 2 was released. I suspect these were made for normal Doom and that the author just changed ExMx to MAPxx when Doom2 came out, possibly with the intention of claiming to be one of the first "Doom 2" specific wads. There are no weapons, monsters or textures from Doom 2, except for one place where the city sky is used as a sidedef (screen 2).
The first 3 wads are very buggy. Some of them crash Chocolate Doom, and in PrBoom I got this error: I_SignalHandler exiting on signal 11. The levels were only playable without crashing in ZDoom/GZDoom. Overall, this is your usual '94 bag of misaligned textures, doortraks pegged, bugs, HOMs, poorly chosen textures and for incorrect heights, etc, but surprisingly the gameplay (when there was some) was actually decent enough. Some notes on each wad:
DM21: Not 10 seconds into the map and we come across an unclosed sector (screen 1). Shortly after this, it crashed on me in PrBoom Plus, so I changed to GZDoom where you can't notice the unclosed sectors, naturally. Unmarked doors, unmarked teleporters, hidden switches, bad texturing, yep, this is a 94 wad all right... it's all good though, I've got a few of those myself! The level is buggy and I couldn't exit it properly. I opened it in DB2 to see what was going on, and the switch to lower the floor that hides the exit switch did not function.
DM22: Better than the first, that's for sure. The beginning reminds of ATRIUM.WAD (screen 10), one of the first decent pwads released in early '94. There's a nasty barrel trap (screen 3), which opens into a big computer room (screen 4). This is a bit of a fun quick blast at least, and when you use the switch in this room, the floor raises and the lights go out, a nice effect I didn't expect to see here. Pointless soulsphere in the exit room.
DM26: Even on GZDoom there's HOM in this one (screen 5). Excellently misaligned textures (screen 6). The infamous 'Wall of Switches' (screen 7). Cybie makes an appearance, and a couple of Barons and assorted minor enemies. Ammo is about enough to deal with the monsters here. Level gameplay is useless anyway, as you can run straight over to exit switch(es) with no hindrance (except for those HOMs).
DM27: Promising start, not half bad (screen 8)... Oh wait, false hope. That skull switch in the screenshot is the exit. Well, it's under par at least!
DM28: A CyberDemon and a Spiderdemon (screen12) and an exit you can switch regardless of fighting them. The author didn't saturate these levels with ammo, as a lot did in the day. Just enough to kill both, but I assume the concept is to lure them into infighting, and before Gotcha! as well, because I am almost a hundred percent sure these were made before the author had even laid his eyes on Doom 2.
To sum up, this is one for "historical purposes." On /idgames, this comment was made: "you are not a doomer until youve played these almost forgotten classics." Yeah, that's because only real Doomers suffer through this kind of buggy crap, and they've been forgotten for a reason. In all seriousness, these levels look like sketches... unfinished, even for 1994 era wads. For the completist only.
D2PENDPP.WAD - Same guy of "The Lord"
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 4492 bytes
Reviewed by: Grain of Salt
No screenshots. Instead, I will transport you to this map with the quality of my prose:
A small rectangle inside a big rectangle. There are three weapons — two SSGs on dry land, and a pair each of plasma guns and rocket launchers, which are placed in the middle of large nukage squares. This makes a certain amount of sense in single player, where plasma guns and rocket launchers are usually worth more effort to grab than the SSG, but this arena is waaaaaay too open for projectile weapons to be any use in deathmatch, so gameplay here will boil down to endless SSG jousting around the aforementioned small rectangle. Moreover, there is no armour, health or ammo. Fun times.
The Refinery - Tormentor667
Ultimate Doom - GZDoom - Solo Play - 28244758 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Green Herring
Fair warning: This will be a long read. Get something to eat before you begin.
The Refinery is Tormentor667's remake of E2M3: Refinery from the original Doom, which was at one point intended for the episode project, The Shores of ZDoom. In this WAD, he takes a Doom 3-esque approach, which means you get a dark, dilapidated sci-fi base. You've got sparking lights, broken pipes bursting with steam, mangled corpses, the whole shebang, plus your usual infestation by Hell. To aid in this, the music has also been changed, from the upbeat intermission track to the quiet, ominous theme of E1M5: Phobos Lab (via the remix by perkristian). All in all, he does an admirable job trying to convey a feeling of horror. However, there are more important matters to discuss regarding a WAD when reviewing it besides atmosphere.
One of them is the layout. In case you don't know, E2M3 was one of several Tom Hall levels that were finished by others, which means it's largely flat, cramped, and boxy in structure á la Wolfenstein 3D, unlike the open, irregularly-shaped buildings full of height variation that John Romero built for the first episode, letting the game's engine stand out from that of its comparably primitive predecessor. Alas, despite the opportunity to rectify this, it has changed little in this remake: the structure largely remains as square and rectangular as ever, apart from a few caves and flesh tunnels built with slopes; and with some exceptions, the few relatively open rooms from the original level have been turned into additional corridors, or cordoned off with railings for the same effect. In particular, the slightly ellipse-shaped room from the original which contained a small pool of nukage has been turned into a square path with a nukage pit cordoned off by railings. There are notable and interesting uses of 3D floors in three rooms: a broken platform over a pool of water; a platforming sequence required to get a soul sphere; and a sequence where you must cross a winding bridge illuminated only by the lava beneath it. Apart from those, all height variation in this level is decorative and adds little to the gameplay; the structure, in spirit, is still flat.
Another important aspect to talk about is the gameplay. The first thing that stands out when you load this WAD is that selecting "New Game" will throw you right into the game, without giving you a chance to pick your skill level. Thus, anyone who prefers to play WADs on lower skill levels first will be out of luck. The second is that you start with no weapons other than your fist, which makes no sense from a tactical perspective (why would a soldier, "too tough for Hell to contain" or not, go in with no guns?) or a chronological one (how did you lose all your guns from the hypothetical previous level?), but is meant to instill a feeling of terror. The third, of course, is the bestiary. Your first four monster encounters are, in order:
- A hanging torso with a mouth for a face that spits yellow globs, who can be made useless simply by standing under it or running away;
- a swarm of flies bursting out of a corpse, that you punch out of the air with your bare hands;
- a group of Wraiths from Doom 3, who use primitive sprite edits of Vader's Shadows and are fought with a pistol in the same room;
- and two malevolent, black clouds with glowing red eyes, which deal continuous damage by touch.
Noticing a pattern here? It seems Tormentor667 chose to use as many monsters from his Realm667 Repository as reasonably possible, whether or not they gel with the atmosphere and regardless of balance. Thus, on one hand, you have enemies like the aforementioned Hangman, who is regularly placed where he can deal the least amount of damage; in one case, he can't even see you! On the other hand, you have foes like the Auto Shotgun Guy, who can knock off chunks of your health before you even realize he's there.
If there's one thing this WAD suffers gravely from, in fact, it's inconsistency. On more than one occasion, you can have an easy time taking out some high-ranking demons, only to be suddenly dispatched in the next room by an overpowered zombie. More blatantly, however, it occurs as the side effect of Tormentor667 relying so much on his Repository: the bestiary runs the gamut from original sprites, to edits of IWAD sprites (excellent or sloppy), to content swiped from other games. One of these is the Pustule, a protozoid slimer from Duke Nukem 3D painted red who sounds like the Spawn from Quake and explodes for some damage when it's close, who is so slow that by the time it would get to you, you've killed five of them. More brazen is the guest appearance of the Vore from Quake, complete with model-to-sprite conversions, sounds, and a homing projectile that rounds corners... which is faster than the original was. The overall effect is that the monsters you face, placed next to each other, don't look like they belong in the same game. This also happens in more subtle ways in the architecture: the level makes occasional use of 3D midtex railings, meaning you can jump over railings in some rooms but not others; one puzzle requires you to shoot a button, but the "button" is clearly a lever; and just like with your swarm-killing punch, the haunting atmosphere is threatened by the appearance of a "bacon" warning sign. I know it sounds like I'm nitpicking, but when the author explicitly describes his remake as "something more real and creepy," these things matter.
Once you get through all this, you start the level over again, only to find that "something's different." You would be right. You have a different route to go through, the order you get the keys has been changed, and the music has been switched to the theme of E2M6 (again, remixed by perkristian); but more importantly, the monster and item placement is completely redone. This time, it more closely resembles a regular Doom level than survival horror; it's possible to get every weapon, all the standard monsters show up, and the battles are structured more traditionally. Unfortunately, it still suffers from inconsistent difficulty, as it adds more powerful zombies with similar problems to the Auto Shotgun Guy (who appears more frequently, at that). Among others, there's a zombie with a railgun capable of both rapid-fire and a more powerful charged shot, with an audible wind-up period before he attacks... but it's little encouragement when he's far enough that you can't hear him over the sounds of death and gunfire. The high-level monsters get used more often as well, in ways that, at times, can prove strenuous. Eventually, upon beating the level a second time, you will get an unskippable credits sequence that lasts around four minutes, which will be torture for prospective speedrunners, especially given the timer is still running as you watch it.
Overall, this WAD makes a brave attempt to bring a horror feel to a familiar level, with appropriate gameplay, but is let down by poor balance and the feeling that despite all the bells and whistles thrown in, it doesn't feel much different from the original. It remains to be seen whether the remake that will appear in The Shores of ZDoom in its place will be remarkably embellished or more of the same. For now, you could try this at least once, at least to see Tormentor667's take on it first. It should take around half an hour for each version of the level, and as long as you play carefully, you should be fine. Just don't go in expecting Cacoward material, or you will be disappointed.
Escape the Inferno - Joey
Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Solo Play - 9794964 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
Ignoring the ending, this wad is actually somewhat competently designed. There's only one real map. It's your standard monster arena loaded with weapons and ammo. Raising and lowering floors are used to pretty good effect. The map's not really challenging because all of the monsters will infight with each other; it's only tough if you don't try to open the door before you kill the other monsters, since you probably won't have enough ammo to take out the cyberdemons.
Oh, and if you do run out of ammo, don't sweat it; you can't die. This map instantly respawns you in the same place if you do. Which takes any challenge that might've existed, which wasn't much, out of it entirely. Oh well.
The wad uses some new textures, the PSX fire sky, colored lighting, mostly bad sound replacements, and some generic metal riffs in the background. I'd recommend the GL renderer since software and colored lighting don't really go together. Also, do yourself a favor and just quit when there's only one monster remaining.
Blood on marble - Vasyl "Harmata" Melnyk
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 234365 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
A single-player blast through a spacious and linear marble castle. The linearity works to this map's favour, since it is always forcing you into the next engagement.
The architecture is clean and offers plenty of room to run about without banging into things. There are some nice areas of detail without getting bogged down - the author mentions this in the text file - the blood and marble theme is consistent, and the map culminates in a walkway across a canyon which you do not want to fall into! Visually it reminds of The Impaler's Labyrinth at the beginning, except a hundred times more attractive.
Another visual highlight is the very tall staircases. Make sure you're using mouselook. I always appreciate over-scaled maps. Imps hurl fireballs that seem dwarfed by the staircase; it's really quite pretty!
The fights can be fairly tough but are manageable on UV - the final canyon area is the nastiest with hitscanners popping up around you, so make sure you're healthy and well-stocked before stepping out there. Speaking of which, I found the health balance was well thought out, and there is usually too much ammo, so you can concentrate on blasting the nasties. Some people have reported instantly crushing sectors. I noticed one, a ceiling that rammed down instantly behind me as I entered a new area; I'm not sure how it could hit the player, but I was forewarned and kept moving all the time, expecting some game-ending event that never happened.
This map is definitely worth the download; it's all about enjoying a fast and exciting game of Doom.