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The /newstuff Chronicles #445

  • Hell's Descent - Revan114
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 1819245 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Hell's Descent is a 5-map GZDoom minisode for Doom 2.

    The maps take place in hell it seems (judging by that good ol' Doom e3 sky), and come with some pretty basic and blocky layouts. Occasional bits of detail are thrown in like jagged ruined pieces of tech-base in map 2, but nothing spectacular. Though the descriptions says GZDoom is required, the only ZDoom-specific feature I noticed in the mapset were some slopes used at the beginning of the second map. There are new sound effects (mostly from Doom 3), which are inoffensive and seem to fit well with the game.

    Map progression is pretty straightforward, since despite the occasional branching path, the layouts are so small that it is clear what needs to be done next. The levels contain secret areas, though none of these areas are marked as secret, so you will always have 100% secrets when completing a map. I faced one new bestiary enemy: the chaingun major, which seems to be like a chaingunner with slightly more health. (Note that the wad's descriptions says that it includes two new monsters. For some reason I only ran into the chaingun major. Perhaps because I played on skill 3?) Difficulty is somewhat tame, as I always was well- equipped to face whatever was thrown my way. The only death I recall was in the first map, where you have to run between squares of cover while avoiding a crusher.

    The author recommended playing the levels with Brutal Doom, but since the maps are so short, I tried the wad both with and without the mod. There are a few bugs concerning stuck monsters in the maps, which interestingly seems to occur to different monsters depending on whether or not you have to the mod loaded. Other than that, the only non-aesthetic difference I noticed was that gameplay seemed to be more fast-paced in the maps without Brutal Doom, though this could be due to my familiarity with the maps after playing it a second time without the mod loaded.

    Overall, I would say it's an average mapset with decent gameplay. Not amazing, but not bad.

  • Blood of Bin Laden Skins - Infidel
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 7843893 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    This wad consists of eight skins based on enemies/friendlies from the Blood of Bin Laden mod. The skins consist of Al-Qaeda/Taliban forces, U.S. forces, and... a floating piranha fish. Though the concept seems pretty early 2000s, the sprites are fairly good.

  • Blooded Bricks - Captain Toenail
    Doom 2 - Zandronum - Deathmatch - 115048 bytes -
    Reviewed by: ProGamerX56
    BloodBricks is a multiplayer wad that I assume was designed for multiplayer source ports, as it is far too simplistic for an SP map. The author himself stated this was for 2-6 players; if you attempt to add more players, some may go into a telefrag loop.

    Personally I love the design of this map; it has a real Episode 3 feel to it, and adds something I have personally never seen before. The author seemed to have imported Quake 4 jump pad effects. The sky uses the plain red texture which is kind of disappointing, but you can easily see that time and preparation was taken throughout.

    I have played some bot games and some games with no bots at all, so I can fully explore the map. Plus the author may not want me to host Zandronum players. You will soon notice that this is a very frantic map, but the first player to get the shotgun can easily stay on the upper ledges. Speaking of weapons, there are all weapons except for the BFG, which actually makes sense, as it would be far too overpowered in this map.

    There's not really much to see in terms of content in this wad; the level is around the size of Doom 2 Map 7, or maybe even smaller. On a single player run, you can make a complete lap around the map in less than a minute, but that is besides the point. Captain Toenail has produced an awesome WAD and I fully respect that, but this feels like a minor map of a megawad, and in no way a standalone map. But I have to credit this WAD for great design and frantic action. A short yet sweet map, and I am excited to see more from this author; awesome job, Captain.

  • Plutonia MIDI Pack - Jimmy & various
    Plutonia - Vanilla - N/A - 228888 bytes
    Reviewed by: Doomkid92
    A soundtrack for Plutonia is something that many Doomers have wanted since first playing Final Doom. TNT had its own soundtrack, so why not Plutonia? (Because the Casali brothers weren't composers, but that's beside the point.)

    Every song here makes a great effort at keeping the feel of the level, and there is plenty of variation in composing styles too. Jimmy handled quality control very well with this project.

    You'll be glad to hear some fresh music in familiar territory. Additionally, this is great alongside other megawads that do not feature custom music.

    Music is difficult to describe through words, so download this and hear it for yourself!

  • Operation Hydra - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1561717 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Tib
    Operation Hydra is a bite-sized set of three single player maps, built on the premise of creating a modern looking ZDoom-style map (custom monsters included) that could be played not only with ZDoom natively, but with the original Doom 2 executable.

    This wad definitely accomplishes what it set out to do, but perhaps not exactly as it intended. The maps are well-detailed and use custom textures, just as one would expect from a ZDoom map, but this aesthetic competence is tempered heavily by a predominantly boxy, linear layout. The monotony of indoor box rooms is broken towards the end of the wad in favour of a more open outdoor area, but this section is short and sparsely detailed.

    As a result of the previously mentioned linearity, the gameplay of the wad tends to boil down to opening a door to a new box or hallway, shooting an assortment of monsters arranged in a formation through the choke point provided by the box/hallway, and then moving on.

    A notable and welcome exception to this formula is present in the "boss" fights near the culmination of each map, in which the player is set against a strong re-jiggered monster that must be destroyed in order to proceed.

    Some players may think the custom monsters were added simply because the author wanted to fulfill the "gimmicky" premise of the wad blindly, but the bosses are a good example of how custom monsters can be made to bolster the challenge and variety of a map.

    Overall, I'd say that despite the flaws with these maps the author has a lot of potential, and recommend you take a look if you have some time on your hands. Play in a different port if you want to see Dehacked being put to work.

  • RELENTLESS - Michael M. "DG93" (AKA: Doomguy93)
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Solo Play - 7235370 bytes -
    Reviewed by: nub_hat
    A set of 4 Deathmatch levels meant for Zandronum. There are some slight weapon behavior changes: the Pistol fires as fast as the Chaingun usually does, and the Chaingun fires even faster.

    Map01 is a simple, almost symmetric map. The size is very small, and it should result in quick games. You have the RL in one side of the map and the SSG on the other as well as a bunch of SG/CG pickups around the place. On the SSG side you have a jump up to the exit area which also contains a Plasma Rifle. It's a good selection of weapons and should spread players out somewhat, though most of the action will naturally be around the SSG. It can be annoying to move around this level, as it contains gothic99-inspired detailing, including different floor heights all over the place and tiny ledges you can get stuck on.

    Map02 has a nice standard sized layout. There are a lot of barrels thrown in which can change the level as they are blown up. All of the weapons are on display here and seem to be positioned nicely. The only SSG is on a lift in a corner of the level, and a timed switch will allow you to grab the BFG sitting in a fairly difficult position in the middle of the map. I think there are too many cells in the level, as you have the Plasma Rifle right below the BFG as well as a cell pack next to it. There is something I haven't seen before - the only Rocket Launcher in the level requires you to jump on top of barrels to get it. When the barrels explode, nobody will be able to grab it. Very interesting map, should be a joy to play.

    Map03 is a standard size brit10-style level with an open area in the middle and a hallway going in a circle around it. There are a lot of barrels thrown in the middle of the level. All the weapons are here, including the BFG, which you will want to be spamming into the middle area as much as the other players allow you to. You can run around for a backpack, cell pack or a Plasma Rifle to refill ammo. BFG is very campable, as it teleports players to an exposed position at the west side of the map. You can spam rockets or plasma at this area or sit close to it with the SSG. There is armor and a bunch of health around the place, but everything sits in the open and can be difficult to grab without taking damage.

    Map04 is the biggest map in the pack. Again, all the guns are present here. BFG is located in a dark house at the east end of the map, and there is plenty of ammo for it; Plasma right outside the house along with a cell pack, as well as a smaller cell pack behind a gravestone near the exit. One particularly exciting part of this map is a switch located right next to the BFG. It will open up new areas of the level, giving you a noticeably larger playing ground. There are barrels and a few gravesones positioned around the place in such a way that will allow you to jump over the walls and surprise any opponents on the other side. This is a fantastic idea, but if you do this before pressing the switch in the BFG room, you can trap yourself away from the other players. This map looks fantastic and should result in some great games.

    This is a solid deathmatch set. There are some fresh new ideas in here, and they should work well. It is a bit short, but you have some very high quality levels in the mix here. Should work with any amount of players, but I will recommend having at least three.

  • SPACE STATION! - Michael M. "DG93" (AKA: Doomguy93)
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Deathmatch - 289312 bytes -
    Reviewed by: nub_hat
    A small, fast-paced DM map meant to be played in Zandronum.

    The north area is very overpowered, as not only are the only SSGs in the map both sitting here in the same room, you also have the BFG teleport located in this room.

    The south area contains the regular Shotgun and a Chaingun. In control, you will want to keep other players in this section and prevent them from grabbing a SSG or BFG.

    Between the two areas you will find two Backpacks as well as teleport to the Plasma Rifle.

    There is no Rocket Launcher in the level; any players wanting to camp the BFG will need to do so with only the Shotgun and Chaingun.

    Players out of control will have a very difficult time countering a rush to the BFG, and with the presence of both a Plasma Rifle and two backpacks in the level, the BFG user will be able to keep shooting for quite some time.

    There are a few barrels thrown in that can mix up the early game slightly.

    There are some very satisfying weapon sounds added. The two Shotguns and the Plasma Rifle in particular sound great.

    I get a few warnings about missing textures in the console but it's nothing I could find when running around the level.

    There are a few monsters thrown in. You can decide whether you want to play with them or without using the sv_nomonsters flag.

    It's a solid map and definitely makes for some fun games. Very small and can easily get very crowded with more than 3-4 players.

  • Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions: Session 1 - Obsidian General Rainbow Bacon Osiris Kalev Gifty
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing, ZDoom Compatible, Vanilla - Solo Play - 350109 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BjarneC
    Foreword:
    Playing speedmapped maps is a blessing and a curse, all at the same time! Sometimes the maps are just square rooms with minimal detailing, and sometimes they are actually really good.

    Map 1, The Tale of Sir Hellalot by Osiris Kalev.
    A red hellish landscape looking like a twisting serpent on the minimap? This could be one of those gems that speedmapping sometimes can produce! Those lost souls were REALLY annoying! Add some Cacos into the mix early on and you have to run and explore for some ammo before starting the killing! The end has some smart use of a combination of Imps, Mancubi, Hell Knights and an Arch Vile. To me a classic speedmap. It is good, playable and kinda good looking. The small castle at the end of the map was cute! Red themed all through and with some interesting fights!

    Map 2, BIGBRIK by Gifty
    Brick-themed base centered around a room. Filled with tricky fights. We are talking tight rooms filled with Demons and Former Human Sergeants. But the last room was the worst. Honestly I never killed 100% here. The monsters were just overwhelming for me. There were some choices of textures I found weird and a little out of place. A speedmap at the upper end of the scale. Short, hard and action-packed!

    Map 3, Bloodrocuted by Obsidian.
    Definitely has that "slaughtermap" feel. I don't play much of those, but this one I liked a bunch. Swarms of monsters, nice power-ups, a really good final fight (skippable sadly), and random small blood pools on the floor that damage you. Oh, and also lots of chaingunners! And I finished it with 100% kills! Techbased with a brown/grey theme. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Best map in the set so far!

    Map 4, Lavafort X by General Rainbow Bacon
    First of, awesome name on the author. Now to the map! Starts you off looking down on a small army. Perfect timing for creating some infighting! Largest amount of monsters so far, and again a red themed, kinda hell- fortress map. After being ripped apart twice, I went back to my usual play style, which is "Better Safe Than Sorry". Killing off the Arch Viles before they teleport away made it much easier. That sound when 6 or 7 Arch Viles try to fry you at the same time! Wonderful. Architecturally, it is simple but good looking. Red brick mixed with brown bricks and some marble and lava.

  • Galvanize - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 32346 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Tib
    Galvanize is a single map created by Obsidian, made for Rayzik in celebration of his birthday. Isn't that nice?

    Galvanize is set in what I would describe as the old, rusted innards of a large machine-like temple. This mechanical theme, some may say more similar to Quake than any Doom map, is backed by the commendable use of Gothic DM textures and reinforced by a handful of mechanical tricks the map wields. Combine these with a layout that is a bit more confusing than it looks, and you get a map that is interesting to play, if a bit overwhelming.

    Add to these qualities a set of particular monsters that are unleashed into the level to intercept you and some pesky barrels to block your path. Although they provide challenge to the map, these things are just sort of thrown at you without too much thought involved, and although this is basically the idea, I think a little consideration for thing placement would improve the quality of the map remarkably.

    I thought this was a good map which used custom textures very well, and you should give it a try if you're a fan of Gothic-style maps. Just be sure to have access to your Run button in a pinch.

  • 32in24-13: A Thanksgiving without Burgers - The 32in24 Team!
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 5083124 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Doomkid92
    A Thanksgiving without burgers would most certainly be a tragedy.

    Thankfully, there is nothing tragic about this map pack. 48 well-designed deathmatch maps, featuring custom texturing and music with plenty of non-obtrusive detail and hilarious map names to boot. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best food-based Doom wad I've played.

    Generally the maps are quite large with few exceptions. Some maps aren't completely amazing, but most of them are. Who can deny the thrill of fragging over a giant slice of pie, or a Grand Slam?

    If there was just one bad thing to say about 32in24: A Thanksgiving Without Burgers, it would be "It uses that crappy out of key Party Rock Anthem MIDI."

    Go find a buddy and play this RIGHT NOW. You won't be disappointed.

  • Termination - mrthejoshmon
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 156994 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BjarneC
    Foreword:
    If you read the small story in the text file, you actually get a nice runthrough of how you should play the map. I did not read it at first and died twice. After reading it, all went smoother.

    Impressions based on the starting room:
    This looks very standard Ultimate Doom to me. Only thing sticking out is the number of monsters. 246 of them. One of me. I win.

    Gameplay:
    I finished the map in 11min and 31sec, so it's not long. But it is action pretty much all the way. Loads of easier enemies, therefore I really didn't have an issue with ammo. The only time ammo was short was in the first two rooms. After that, the hordes of Former Humans and Former Human Sergeants make it easier. Also, I think the author loves Emily.

    Monsters:
    The fact that you can skip the last fight in the outdoor area confuses me a little. If you, like me, decided to stay and fight the end fight, having found the Rocket Launcher in one of the secret rooms really helps a lot here. If you didn't have that, I guess running is an option. There was, of course, an area with dim light and packed with spectres. Of course.

    Architecture:
    Mostly classic Ultimate Doom. Lots of boxes, consoles and grey. Not overly detailed in any way, but not underdetailed either. I could not really see anything sticking out in a bad way. If I have to complain about anything in this category, it's got to be the airdrums, they felt more like dug tunnels. The second room, the big room with THREE helicopter landings, was my favorite room.

    Outro:
    Two of the secrets eluded me, but I did not need them in the end. A short, easy "slaughtermap" if you're bored. If you are a Doom fan you should play this sometime in your life, I can recommend that.

  • My Master Left Me - Smedis2
    Hexen - ZDoom - Solo Play - 18731 bytes
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    Quoting from the text file: "This isn't really anything to be taken seriously."

    And I will not do so, son. Actually, I didn't really expect anything from this map; the title reminds me of some Japanese anime where the protagonists are little girls dressed as French maids for some stupid reason.

    By the way, this is a short (really short) jokewad from Smedis2 for the "obscure" Hexen. It talks about a short story of finding your master who mysteriously vanished; you start in this pretty cool room, and you find a cramped outdoor area with ice that leads you to a cavern, so... I expect Terrywad crap, time to lower the volume!

    Luckily it wasn't that kind of garbage; I just found myself in more cramped and short places, then reaching my goal and an unexpected ending.

    Luckily no ear rape psychedelic ending room or bizarre photos as enemies with 999999999999999 health points... just a short walk to find your goal and the end of the level.

    Nothing groundbreaking or extremely hilarious in joke wad nature, just an OK level. Passable.

  • Custom Marathon Monsters - Mjolnir Mark IV
    Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 18706897 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Da Werecat
    Despite a suggestive filename, this is merely a gameplay mod that replaces all of the usual Doom monsters with hilariously overpowered enemies from the Marathon series, some third-party Marathon scenarios, and, by the look of it, Pathways Into Darkness. As an added bonus, all dead marines were replaced by friendly alive ones from Marathon RED. They will gleefully shoot you in the back with their hilariously overpowered railguns.

    There are other interesting additions, such as the inventory system that forces the player to "use" every single ammo clip.

    Perhaps some people could scavenge resources from this wad, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to actually play with it.

  • Doomer's Domain - Mr. Chris
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 163812 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    1994. If you're a Doomer you know what that year symbolizes when it comes to wads: a special genre of mapping that managed to win the 2005 Worst Wad award at the Cacowards, despite not being a wad. That takes some major screwing up. Anyway, Doomers's Domain is the first map forum member Mr. Chris released on the Internet, as stated in the text file: apparently he touched up a few broken sectors, sprinkled some more ammo on it and re-released it as a testament of his early work. It also appears to have a decent generic Doomy track, although I'm not sure if that was in the original release.

    Now, allow me to wax lyrical on the 1994ness of this map. From sector toilets to Commander Keens to Wolfenstein textures: bless its 1994-esque heart, it even has some Wolfenstein SS wandering about. Everything from the texturing to the layout screams 1994 and yet the map as a whole is fairly decent, believe it or not. The map itself is remarkably sizable: almost all of it is comprised of corridors connecting rooms, with quite a few themes evident in the various areas. I was partial to the crate-filled mineshaft myself, although I can't say the same about the Commander Keen hanging from the ceiling there.

    Decoration is 1994. Moving on.....

    Gameplay is as you'd expect: mostly low-tier monsters dotted around the show with the odd medium-size as an added bonus. Ammo is understandably plentiful, although health is a bit more moderated to keep you somewhat wary. You won't find some of the more prominent 1994 bungles here either, such as the 50 Cyberdemons gag; probably the most tense moment would be a little trap you come across after gaining a Megasphere, involving a smattering of Revenants, a Mancubus and various other fiends. Funnily enough I didn't manage to find any of the secrets.

    To summarize, Doomer's Domain is your average 1994... wait, what's this in the last room?

    "9-26-96"

    Oookay, so not a '94 map. Hm. Either way, it's a valiant effort considering its time, and even though it might not hold up to today's standards, I'm betting Mr. Chris felt pretty proud of himself when he finished making that more than 17 years ago. A nice little piece of history.

  • Titania - JC
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 143722 bytes -
    Reviewed by: kmxexii
    This is a single map from JCD, a French author with a colorful PWAD pedigree. Titania is a very gray and brown techbase level, purportedly inspired by Ultimate Doom, that fields a lot of Doom II monsters. It's kind of like a Phobos layout with a dark gray Deimos color scheme, minus the Hell. I felt outgunned for a considerable portion of the level, so if you're into maps that have you barely keeping your head above water, this might work, though it has a slower pace compared to other survival-style works. The design is very clean with spacious architecture, so you have a lot of room to move around in.

  • Byron's Amateur Maze - Almighty Byron Kellett
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 34301 bytes -
    Reviewed by: cs99cjb
    It would be churlish to be too hard on an author's first map, but pointless to whitewash its defects. I was so dissatisfied with mine that I never released it, despite periodically pulling it apart and attempting to inject some soul into it. For me, the most important quality of a map is that it contains distinctive and memorable locations. If you close your eyes, can you see them in your mind's eye?

    Sadly, I found this map quite forgettable: apart from the titular maze (spiced with crushers), it comprises half a dozen big and featureless rooms with large irregular skylights in the ceiling. Most of the design is linear, leaving the player few meaningful choices. The few doors in this map are absurdly thick for my taste (roughly 0.8m to 1.7m). There are only small cosmetic variations in floor and ceiling heights, and the one flight of stairs dwarfs the marine and his antagonists (half a metre isn't a cool riser height even if you align the textures properly).

    Misaligned textures are the norm and, although not completely tasteless, some of the texture choices are bizarre: walls of fluorescent strip lights tower above a rock face, switches are blank walls, there are lights on the floor, crate textures on the ceiling, strip lights instead of door tracks, and crushers textured with snakes. There are also four missing textures, although not in places you'd be likely to notice. Worst of all, step textures have been misused, which triggers the 'tutti-frutti' effect in vanilla Doom.

    The author obviously took trouble over gradated lighting for the skylights, so it's a pity that lighting is so inconsistent elsewhere. Inky black sectors inexplicably neighbour bright sectors, some bright rooms have no visible light source, and a dark room mysteriously absorbs all light from the flaming torches therein. All of this breaks my immersion.

    There are only four enemy types: troopers, imps, sergeants and a chaingun guy, all of whom are dispatched using whichever shotgun you prefer. There are no other weapons. Enemies are mostly clustered near the start and can be dealt with easily, provided that you don't rush into the open; other regions of the map are strangely under-populated. Nothing really grabbed my interest or created any tension except the inherent deadliness of the crushers.

    There are no secrets, but a pillar can be lowered by a hidden switch. This mechanism seemed pointless until I loaded the file into a WAD editor and saw that the pillar carries a bonus on lower skill levels!

    Overall this map feels rushed and lacking in polish. Vestigial vertices suggest that the author may have intended to do more.

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.