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The /newstuff Chronicles #438

  • attack on super pizza world hq - chesse20
    Hexen - Vanilla - Solo Play - 6770 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    A small collection of bare-bones rooms for Hexen that does not work in intended source port. Skip this.

  • Double Imp Act - TimeOfDeath
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1524466 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Double Imp Act presents a very interesting question to the player: can playing the same map nine times prove to be interesting if the challenge is adjusted each time?

    A high-concept wad, Double Imp Act gives the player one weapon at the start of the map, and you have to take down all opposition using said weapon. Thing placement is adjusted each time - the monsters in, say, the plasma rifle map are going to be far more intimidating than the pistol map. The effect is, ultimately, not all too inspiring.

    Don't misunderstand me - each map plays really really well. TimeofDeath's maps are always dividing to the community, and I sit in the crowd that appreciates his style while not actively diving into the pool to join the rest of the kids. It's a bit more restrained here in that none of these challenges require godlike skill. The only issue is that after playing the map once, things are going to be a good deal predictable as well as a good deal repetitive. A bizarre thing is birthed out of this - I'm having fun, but am somehow completely bored at the same time. Strange, really.

    Visually, it's got something of unique look to it. The stand-up show setup is executed well and each texture is a bizarre, abstract counterpart to a real-life theater. Interesting concept presented well, and the layout naturally lends itself to the gameplay.

    This is a wad that accomplishes the goals it sets from the start. Enjoyable-but-redundant, I'd recommend this wad to those who like to observe how thing placement can affect one's feelings towards a map. Feel free to download.

  • The Icon Of Sin's Hideout - Omegalore
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 589374 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    A large, varied single map designed for Boom, Icon of Sin's Hideout has a mixture of somewhat interesting moments interspersed with what is, by and large, mediocre map design coupled with a swath of bugs.

    The map drops you immediately into the fray - a bland-looking room with rough lighting, but the visuals either don't make sense or are just unnecessary. This is a recurring theme with only a few exceptions. It's just a shame that the exceptions are actually worse - two outdoor areas which feature some massive HOMs on account of the outer linedefs not being textured in any way. It's an incredibly distracting moment that takes away from what little there was to download the wad for in the first place.

    Gameplay tends to be a mixed bag. There are moments of interest to be had here 'n there, and the actual fights themselves range from inoffensive to mildly entertaining. Unfortunately, the layout features no connectivity whatsoever, yet still somehow features moments where the player won't quite know where to go. What's more, there's a SUPPORT3 maze thrown into the mix that I simply cannot abide. It's incredibly frustrating to experience.

    Simply put, this is not a good wad. The author certainly has ideas, and I can't knock it too hard for being a first map, but there's a lot of room for improvement. Perhaps one day the author will crank out something entertaining, but as-is, this is not worth the amount of time it takes to play.

  • Jailhouse Massacre - Canofbacon
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2688387 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Jailhouse Massacre is yet another entry for ZDoom from Canofbacon. Given the author's history, I kept my expectations extremely low for this. Between the bland, bare-bones design and completely flat gameplay, I did the right thing. This is nothing more than a short, uninteresting bore with nothing-to-little going for it. Skip it.

  • Suburban Town with Pier - Hurricyclone
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1723648 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    Where to start? Pier.wad is a single map wad made by Hurricyclone. If the name doesn't ring a bell, I don't blame you: he's fairly new to the community. I've seen a few maps of his dotted around various community projects and they look fairly imaginative, which is always nice. This wad though? According to the author this is their first map, so I'll be gentle. Ish.

    The general layout is a bunch of small buildings clustered inside some sort of compound. There are some neat bits of detail in and around the buildings, but unfortunately this is somewhat overshadowed by some downright ugly hiccups: midtextures embedded in the floor, sky textures used as walls, stuff along that line. These are mostly typical newbie mistakes though, so I think we can give the author the benefit of the doubt. Gameplay is mostly comprised of low-tier monsters with a few heavy hitters waiting to ambush you, without too much spikes in difficulty. Personally i didn't have much complaints on that front, except for the pitch-black area with the Baron: that bit tanked. :P Overall, pier.wad is a nice enough idea marred by some newbie mistakes: it's nothing major though, so the best thing I can recommend is practice. Keep on trucking dude. :-)

  • Esselfortium's Birthday Cave - Megalyth
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 84899 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    I'm guessing this is a speedmap, considering a good portion of birthday maps are, so I'll go easy on this one. :-) The player has to traverse a multicoloured cavern in a fairly linear route that pits you against a sizable number of baddies, all the while collecting the powerups and weapons needed to beat them. When I say "multicoloured", I mean it - look at the shots and tell me otherwise. Fortunately it isn't too hard on the eyes and gives the map a somewhat cheery demeanor, which is quite fitting for a birthday map. Gameplay is extremely linear, but in the name of mindless fun this mapping facet is conveniently ignored. You won't find the next Putrefier here, but if you're looking for a good excuse to blow brains out, this should be right up your alley.

    Oh yeah, and happy late birthday Essel!

  • DOOM Regi-Like - TheNooBringeR
    Ultimate Doom - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 130302 bytes
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    This little patch by the NooBringeR turns your Ultimate Doom IWAD into the old school "registered version" of Doom (aka 1.1 or 1.7, the same as I had back in the day), without the 4th episode and Nightmare (as far as I remember, Nightmare skill was implemented in version 1.7). I expected to see the HELP2 screen (you known, that one that shows up in the shareware version of Doom, with the three screens from episode 2 and 3, I remember the cacos in E3M6 and the player with a gun vs. the cybie in E2M8) and Ultra Violence skill; it's similar to the official patches for upgrading your copy of Doom, but made in ZDoom. It was a nice return to the origin.

    Other than a nostalgic effect, there's nothing else here. If you want to make a jump into the Doom past, you could try this...

  • Setebos Station - Captain Toenail
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 75911 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Captain Toenail is a name that I've found one can depend on in terms of consistency. His maps are consistently decent-looking playthroughs with good-but-not gameplay that most any person can have a good time with. Setebos is no different in any of these regards.

    An E1-styled effort, this map features a compact layout filled up with 160+ monsters that keeps the player moving forward without ever being unfair. The use of connectivity means there's a natural height variation that makes many of the battles multi-faceted and ultimately, much more interesting to shoot through for the player. Couple that with clean visuals, albeit not-outstanding visuals, and you have a classic example of a good Doom map.

    What shortcomings there are happen to be minor gripes. The symmetric demon battle in the northern can be made threatless via standing in the right spot, the raised-lift fight features a hallway that you can filter enemies through two-or-less at at time, and the exit room features GRAYBIG, a texture that looks like pure butt. These are nitpicks, though.

    Setebos Station is a worth a look at for anyone who's looking to burn some time on a rainy day. Good times found within.

  • Vel ficta: Tantibus - Lukasxd
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 416891 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Vae ficta: Tantibus brings that age-old question back to mind: what is it that makes a map good? I've always felt a good map was the meeting point of visual presentation, a strong layout, and use of varied gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately, this map only really clicks on one of those three aspects.

    Visually, it's a dandy. There's excellent lighting and a fairly solid amount of imaginative texture usage. The bobbing spine piece in the second main area is pretty neato, for starters, and the narrow stretches even have a certain appeal to them I can't quite put my finger on. Sure, there's a couple of bugs here and there - the hyper-thin walls aren't appealing, the unpegging is certainly an issue, and that HOM that pops up when you get access to the final area is a good deal distracting; however, I can honestly say that it's a solid-looking map all around.

    Unfortunately, the gameplay just isn't there. It isn't necessarily bad, per se, but it is very flat and suffers from a high degree of mediocrity. Ammo balance tends to be super-tight (I got my final kill with 5 bullets remaining), health can be a premium, and some of the visual tricks absolutely nerf what could be a fun battle. Take the arch-vile fight, for instance. Completely tame as-is. It's extremely disappointing because that's one of the few fights where you're actually attacked from more than one direction.

    What's more, there's a spot in this map that you can get stuck in - beware of the lowering SSG. You will not die, and you will not be able to find your way out of that hole.

    All in all, Vel ficta: Tantibus is a map that is both playable and completely forgettable. You won't regret downloading it, but you also won't have the time of your life. It's just a decent way to burn 15 minutes should you find yourself bored.

  • Lakeside - Megalyth
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 56007 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Lakeside is a single-map release that has all of the good qualities of an above-average 1997 wad. The looks are clean, the design competent, and the gameplay is well-executed.

    While the whole product isn't the most memorable in the world, there are a couple of noteworthy traps that are intelligently put together. I particularly enjoyed the use of arch-viles (though the final one is a bit lame) - they are placed in positions where both their attack and special ability can cause some mayhem. The first is particularly used well. The only really bland moment is the showdown after grabbing the yellow key, but it's only one little fight in a map that features a lot of fun.

    All in all, this is the kind of map anyone can have a good time playing. After all, it's classic Doom, and isn't that why we fell in love with the game in the first place?

  • The Underground Temple - Matthew
    Ultimate Doom - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 756567 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Once again, we have a /Ty-boo-boo from what I can surmise. This is a single map for ZDoom that runs on E1M1, but for some odd reason, is placed in /doom2 on the archives. Please be mindful of this when you download.

    That being said, The Underground Temple is a mediocre map that reminds me of my very first efforts at mapping in several ways. The layout is 85% flat and completely linear, which makes for a rather dull playthrough. The visuals are decent enough for an early attempt (though the scrolling checker-box sky is a pretty big oopsy-daisy), though there isn't much to them beyond place a texture here, a texture there and some copy/paste pillars. Still, I found myself kind of enjoying the wad simply because I could sense that there was some effort put into this. You can practically feel the author trying to improve, and that's something quite refreshing in a sea of veteran mappers and trolls.

    Putting it bluntly: this isn't a good wad, much less a great, but I can see the potential that exists here and look forward to the author's future work. It won't hurt you to pass on this.

  • Descent into Hell - GrOuNd_ZeRo
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 125314 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Another first-attempt at mapping, Descent into Hell fits in firmly amongst the flawed efforts of mappers past.

    It's a short, okay-looking cavern that transitions from rocky cavern to hellish cavern in very linear fashion. In all honesty, it's not really that interesting - the lighting's okay looking, the structure itself experiments with texture use and height variation, but simply put, it's not all that great. Alignment is occasionally ignored, and transitions aren't at all natural. These are things we've come to expect from these sorts of first-releases, though.

    The gameplay isn't that great, either - the extreme height differences make for awkward angles, and the opposition is occasionally just slapped together in a room. One or two decent moments, though, make it bearable. The beginning's somewhat frantic, at least.

    One thing to note: this not completable in limit-removing settings on account of overlapping sectors. I IDCLIP'd to the final segment. Lack of proper testing seems to be a trend amongst new mappers, and I would advise GrOuNd_ZeRo (his spelling, not mine) and co. to be more thorough in the future.

    That being said, this wad is best described as okay. Neither shockingly offensive nor at all memorable, Descent into Hell will ultimately become just another wad. Play if bored.

  • Ultimate Doom Project Leftovers - Memfis
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 164443 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
    A set of four maps by Memfis for Ultimate Doom that replace the first map of each episode. They were apparently made as a part of a larger wad that never ended up happening. Each map shares its theme with the rest of the episode it's placed in. All of the levels are made up of small areas and the only weapon you're given is the shotgun, so the gameplay tends to be kind of same-y between them. Not much of a challenge. Ammo's balanced so that you might have to use the pistol for a couple monsters. I didn't feel any of the new music was really fitting for Doom, but Memfis posted what each MIDI is from on the /idgames archive page if you like it.

    E1: This did not feel like a Romero level at all to me. It's too cramped for that and just feels like one long hallway with a couple offshoots. No secrets, either. The texturing and monster closets near the end were the only parts of this that felt like E1 to me.

    E2: Definitely better than E1. Rather than feeling like a corridor, this feels like two well-defined areas with halls in between them. It's still mostly flat, though. I saw the trap at the end coming from a mile away; nice try, Memfis.

    E3: This layout is a lot better than the previous two. This map has nice contrast between the ash rock exterior/caves and the wood and brick castle, each of which make up about half the map. There's actually some height variation and lifts in this one, and I like the way backtracking routes open as you progress.

    E4: Now this feels like an E1 map! While still on the small side, the areas are larger and better connected than those in any of the other maps. I wasn't happy with the jump needed to get to the red key it's easily doable, but unintuitive; there really should have been a compelling reason to make the jump. This is also the only map in the set to offer a weapon other than the shotgun...but doesn't provide any ammo for it. Definitely my favorite of the bunch.

  • bee hive 3D GOTY editon - chesse20
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 181062 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    The screenshot speaks for itself: apparently this is a new and improved version of Bee Hive 3D by chesse20. I don't really see what's "new" though. Or improved for that matter. Also, DO NOT play using headphones. Not really recommended.

  • High/Low 5 - Chris Hansen
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 461396 bytes -
    Reviewed by: vdgg
    The idea of this map was conceived a long time ago. In 2007, Chris Hansen announced that he was working on a level which would capture "the general Doom 2 city level theme" and which was to be named High/Low 3. Eventually, HL3 was an Inferno-style map, HL4 - obviously - a Thy Flesh Consumed-style map, while the level being reviewed got the number 5.

    Three previous releases, while generally well received, shared the problematic feature of being ZDoom-only maps despite not having really advanced features - just because of leaving actions without tags and other technical bugs which no port other than ZDoom could handle. To my pleasant surprise, I read in the text file of High/Low 5: "Tested primarily with zDoom, gzdoom and Prboom+". This was an improvement, as the map can be finished now with more ports, but was it really properly TESTED? You will find the answer in the following paragraphs.

    The map is indeed a city map, and it is very big, but it has no "Doom 2 city level theme" whatsoever. Great detail, immaculate lighting and omnipresence of UAC crates make me think of a "Dutch Devil theme" map... So yeah, I sighed upon seeing the first of many, many crates which served little purpose, but soon my mindset changed while I was playing. The adventure is very enjoyable, the battles are pretty tough and diverse, and while the keys are hidden in not-so-obvious locations, you SHOULD know what to do next when you have just obtained them, thanks to a nice series of intuitive landmarks (screenshot #2). The architecture is your standard "nice and modern, yet not stunning" one, with the exception of what is behind the yellow key door. The player enters a very dark, surprisingly vast indoor area (you don't expect anything this big INSIDE of a building, do you?)with enormous height differences and high light contrasts. There is slime everywhere; the whole thing resembles the 18th level of Alien Vendetta a bit. When the player presses a switch while standing on a lone tower, he sees a multi-layer curtain rising, revealing monsters. This was the most brilliant and memorable moment of the map.

    As for the gameplay, I'll just mention four player vs. monsters situations: 1) A long corridor with a crusher (to slow the player down) and an arachnotron on one end. This spider is meant to be resurrected ad infinitum by an arch-vile, but the scenario works ONLY in ZDoom and ONLY with its default settings. The arch-vile can eventually be killed via a barrel chain reaction, but players which choose e.g. Doom compatibility or other ports may have no clue what they were missing.

    2) The BFG trap. You almost, almost grab your number 7 weapon, but you are:
    - teleported out
    - trapped in a cage which will open in 30 seconds

    Well, 30 second door traps are generally, hmmm, controversial, but this one was neat for me, as you are safe in the cage because the monsters surrounding you are just demons. During 30 seconds you may use hitscan weapons to reduce their numbers a bit, and when the cage opens, you must run like hell breaking through the horde, preferably equipped with the plasma rifle. After you survive, you can get your reward, the BFG.

    3) A lone spider mastermind - oh well, an example of something pointless.

    4) The final battle against a cyberdemon and a couple of cacodemons. This is rather good yet easy, as the amount of cells could be reduced by 60% and still there would be plenty of cell ammo. I played this with PrBoom+ with Boom compatibility and this choice had a nasty twist as I could easily knock the cyberdemon off the tiny island into some sort of a lava pit. This makes me wonder: why is this WAD is not simply limit-removing? There are no conveyor belts, no currents, no wind, I found just ONE not-Boom compatible door which surely could have been worked around. Then I could just play it with -complevel 2 and the cyber would have stayed firm on the ground...

    One more bug is a lift that refuses to lower (where one of the arch-viles stands) making the player unable to progress if he is not careful - this one doesn't work for me in any port, under any settings.

    Overall, while the level could benefit from more playtesting, it is a rather excellent creation on its own. The inside of the buildings is nice, the map plays well, and the quality is on par with Chris Hansen best maps. So yes, recommended.

  • Trap Demonstration - BloodyAcid
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 11720 bytes
    Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
    This is a simple wad which is intended to teach new mappers how to create various types of traps. It's Boom compatible since it uses conveyor belts and some generalized line actions. There's a list of the traps demonstrated in the text file.

    My only complaint with this is that the scrolling teleport trap example won't work with floating monsters. The way to make it work with them is convoluted, requiring line action 242 to be used to create an "underwater" sector where floaters can be pushed, so I can understand why this basic example doesn't bother with it. Still, it's completely unintuitive and a newbie will never figure it out on their own, so it would have been nice if this wad covered it.

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.