Let's try Caesium
Week 180 has brought us no mega-releases, but the good news is that there are several very interesting wads to play. The even better news is that there are no pictures of animals in this article, and that I decided not to review the wads in Syllabic Inuktitut after all.
- OH EM GEE by ravage
300kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img) (img)
Originally this was a map ravage created to demonstrate some ideas with slopes to Scuba Steve. Fortunately for us, he went on to make it a fully playable map. It looks good and plays well. Slopes are indeed everywhere, but without ever looking truly gratuitous. Health and ammo are tight but sufficient - though I'd highly recommend finding the chainsaw secret, especially if you intend to get 100% kills. Some of the other secrets are, I think, very hard to find, although many are indicated by a slight discoloration of the secret door leading to them.
Verdict: Lots of fun. Recommended.
- Exodus by hobomaster22
206kb - Limit-removing port + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img) (img)
A good and very challenging map. I can't fault the architecture, which is stylish and well-themed throughout. The lighting is also fully acceptable. What might put some people off this map is the difficulty level. On UV, I needed to use several savegames and had to experiment a little with routes in order to survive the starting areas. I chose to stay pacifist for a while (until getting the chaingun) to avoid waking up some monsters. Archies pop in at inconvenient moments, and health is not in abundance. It's quite important to find the secrets and the ammo stashes. HMP might be less stressful, of course. Anyway, once you've sorted out your strategy, there are some fun battles, including a good old spider vs cyber scrap (the cyber is only a slight favourite in this one, since some of his rockets are liable to hit a pillar). The final arena is a bit odd. I found that the monsters would only teleport in once I was safely the other side of some bars, so I could watch the infighting in complete safety. One niggle: some of the decorations hanging from the ceiling block player movement, and overall there is a little more gameplay-obstructing detail than is ideal in an all-action map.
Verdict: It might take some getting into, but it's well worth it.
- Internal Reaches 4 by Samuel 'Kaiser' Villarreal
157kb - Limit-removing port + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img) (img)
Kaiser suggests that this will be one of his last Doom maps, which is a shame, since he has produced a lot of good maps over the years. This one certainly does not disappoint. The emphasis is on fun; you get the berserk early on, and you soon find that you have plenty of ammo. Some fairly big battles await, and there is a great "OMFG!" moment when a cyber teleports in (especially if you are right next to it when it appears). The architecture is solid, though a tiny bit repetitive/symmetrical. There is a nice little surprise at the end.
Verdict: A blast.
- Demon Abundance by Eugene Sloupsky a.k.a. DarkJedi188
475kb - jDoom2 + Doom2 - SP - 3 maps - (img) (img)
I'll give this set of three large and violent maps a qualified thumbs-up. The negative features are a surplus of instant death traps (so use a few savegames) and the fact that I found it a little difficult to find my way around the maps at times. To compensate, the battles are pretty good, and the terrain is varied. As far as I can tell, the maps only need jDoom due to visual problems if you play them in other ports; I don't see why it had to be made jDoom-only. Map01 is based on Doom2 map01, ą la Punisher or Go 2 It, but without the insane monster population. The other two maps are new from scratch.
Verdict: Violent and good.
- Of Demons And Men by ravage
281kb - Certain limit-removing ports + UDoom - SP - 1 map - (img)
A revamped version of one of ravage's early maps. Don't be put off by that - it certainly doesn't look like a newbie map, and the gameplay is excellently balanced. Again I didn't find too many of the secrets, so needed to rely on some infights to get 100% kills. Demons and cacos are used a lot, especially towards the end where a great swathe of them block the player's path to the exit. The main negative point is an area where vines make it hard to see where to go. However, the frustration of that area is minor compared to the fun to be had in other places. Note that this wad crashes Prboom and Eternity, but it works OK with Legacy and presumably Zdoom.
Verdict: Definitely worth playing.
- Mega Phase by MegaZzZeux
162kb - Certain ports + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img)
This wad appears to work with some ports but not with others. The problem is the blue-key bars just before the exit. They fail to lower with Prboom and Eternity, but work as intended with Zdoom and Legacy. Gameplay is not too tough; you get plenty of ammo and health, and the monsters don't pose an enormous threat at any point. At one point there is an absurd sequence of switches that need to be pressed in quick succession (why do some wad authors think this is a good idea??), and towards the end you need to backtrack through almost the whole map a few times to make use of the keys you have acquired by then. The architecture and general appearance of this large map are attractive and varied, which compensates to a large degree for the relatively poor playability.
Verdict: A mixed bag. Good in places, frustrating in others.
- Jallaspace by Ivar 'jallamann' Remųy
190kb - Legacy + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img) (img)
Although this is a seriously flawed creation, it shows imagination and is quite impressive for the author's first release. Firstly, note that it needs to be played using Legacy's OpenGL renderer. In software mode, the sky is just a big HOM. There is no way to exit the map - you just get a cut-scene when you have finished. The bounce pads are kind of fun, but if you use them wrongly, you can land out in space, and have to restart. Health and ammo are pretty tight - perhaps a bit too tight, making the map less fun than it might be. I was pleased to discover a switch trick that makes it quite easy to exit (or rather, reach the finishing cut-scene) very quickly - there's no need to use the jump pads, since you can skip the red key. The spaceship in the cut-scene is nicely done, though I think it deserved livelier text, and the AYB reference is a bit stale.
Verdict: Just about worth a quick look.
- Jailbreak 0 - Example WAD by Dean "deathz0r" Joseph
39kb - Doom2.exe - multiplayer - 1 map - (img)
The legendary deathz0r has put this map together to illustrate a new idea for team-based Dooming. It is an unfinished product, but looks like an interesting idea. However, the role of the prisoner does not appear to be very exciting as things stand.
- Frag You! (A Fragear por Culo!) by Juan Manuel "JacKThERiPPeR" Arroyo
75kb - Limit-removing port + Doom2 - DM - 1 map - (img)
A fairly large and attractive map for deathmatch. The weapons are thoughtfully placed; while it doesn't involve any lengthy excursions to get the bigger weapons, the player going for them will be exposed for a little while, and this should keep the fight fair.
- 8MBGM and 8MBGSFX Gravis Patch Set v1.3 by Rich „Weeds„ Nagel
25,575kb - Boom, Prboom, Zdoom et al. - no maps
"The files in this archive consist of a complete set of high quality Gravis format patch files that were created from EMU Technologies '8MBGM.SF2' and '8MBGSFX.SF2' SoundFont format soundbanks (E-mu Rev B)." It's a big download, but maybe worth trying. I found that for some Doom music it worked very well, but for others it sounded rather a mess. I imagine this is very system-dependent, and the results could be improved by tweaking the settings.
- DarkJedi188's DOOM Sound Effects Patch by Eugene Sloupsky a.k.a DarkJedi188
1,699kb - jDoom and most other ports - no maps
This collection of replacement sounds is intended to be used with jDoom, but it seems to work more or less OK with most ports. It don't see much in the way of a consistent theme - the sounds appears to be chosen at random. I can't imagine that many people will use this patch - the sounds have little apart from novelty value going for them (and in some cases not even that), and feel less in keeping with the game that the ones provided by id. I tried it with several ports, and noticed few problems. A few of the sounds were distorted in certain ports, and in most cases I considered that this improved them (e.g. it made the high-pitched "Ai-eee!" less annoying).
- Generic PWAD DeHackEd patches by Chain Mail
5kb - UDoom and Doom2 - no maps
This contains two deh files that remove the map names and game text from Ultimate Doom and Doom2. The point is apparently that the game text doesn't apply when playing pwads. OK, if that's important to you, here you are... The main use I can see for these files is that they make it easier to produce your own deh files for pwads, since you can substitute the new map names for the blanks in these files, rather than needing to make the deh file from scratch.
- Doom64 Guy by Matt Cibulas (A.k.a RottKing)
97kb - It's a skin - no maps - (img)
This skin replaces the traditional Doom guy with his counterpart from Doom 64. If that idea excites you, check it out.
- Werewolf Skin by ravage
130kb - It's a skin - no maps - (img)
Well, er, it's a werewolf skin. Apparently. See screenshot.
Nine old wads make their first appearance in the archive this week. I uploaded six of them myself, while three were uploaded anonymously. Let's start with those three.
- The by Andrew A. Fritz
81kb - Doom2.exe - SP+coop - 1 map - (img)
Nice title: "The". Catchy. Anyway, according to the text-file, this map is coop-only; for some reason it is meant to be impossible in single-player mode. That simply isn't true though; if you play cautiously, it isn't even especially difficult. A couple of pesky archies need to be handled with care, but you have more than enough ammo, and sufficient health too. If you can't work out how to kill the spider, it's a telefrag (the automap will show you the start of the teleport sequence). Overall, I'd say the map is OK but nothing special both in terms of architecture (a bit random but not offensive) and gameplay (challenging but uneven).
- Aurora 1.0 by Ky Ma
31kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
This large and bland map was included in Maximum Doom. There is plenty to kill, but as long as you find the stash of goodies at the start, the monsters pose little real threat to the player. It is also possible to run directly to the exit (which is near the start), so it's not clear what all those monsters think they are guarding. I suppose it's OK if you're just looking for some mindless slaughter.
- Air Walk by Nobutake Nakamura
24kb - Doom.exe - DM - 1 map - (img)
Another map from Maximum Doom. This one is primarily for deathmatch, though it does have a random scattering of monsters if you want to tackle it in SP mode. The layout is quite interesting - compact and with a lot of height variation. The map's name refers to a rather tricky walk along a winding sequence of pillars that you need to make in order to reach the BFG. Note that there is a version of this map already in the archive; this is the original version though. It seems that for the modified version, someone had just added a load of awful sound effects and new music. Something to bear in mind when giving people permission to modify your maps.
- 3FUN by Carsten Bergmeyer
368kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 3 maps - (img) (img)
This is the first of the six wads that I uploaded this week. It really lives up to its name too - these are three fun maps, with plenty of monsters to gun down in a good variety of environments. Ammo and health are plentiful, but the monster density means the player is rarely completely safe. Map01 is my favourite of the three - truly chaotic throughout, and with some nasty archie surprises towards the end. I found myself using the infamous "door trick" on a few occasions (esp. the mastermind room) to avoid being swamped by monsters. Map02 features a slightly unfair crusher area (OK once you know the right strategy, but otherwise death is likely), but otherwise is a blast. Map03 is mostly city-style (well, there are buildings), and has a nicely choreographed boss battle, assuming you choose to get the BFG and so release them. Design-wise, some things look a bit odd, but I don't think there's anything so peculiar that you'll be distracted from the action.
- The Daemonic Colony by Stephen Mercer
143kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
Here we have a map full of interesting ideas, but rather let down by its gameplay. Early on, there is a chronic ammo and health shortage (skill 1 is worth considering), while at the end a certain degree of luck is need in order to exit at all. We start at the entrance to a mine, where there are two shafts to explore. Battles in subterranean caverns and passages await us, with some well-hidden secrets to be found. As for the end... you need to shoot some switches on the wall. As far as I can tell, the only way to hit the third switch is with an archie jump and some good fortune with the spread of shots from the chaingun. An SSG blast would have the desired effect without the need for an archie jump - but sadly there is no SSG in the map. If you're using mlook, then this won't be a problem though. Note: despite what it says in the text-file, this is a map03 replacement.
- Theatre of Doom by James Wilson (aka Shade)
84kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
"The author of this wad works in a movie theater, so getting the chance to wield a shotgun in one of his own design was a form of therapy for him." It's a moderately large and challenging map. The foyer has a fair degree of realism, but less impressive is the lack of seats or animated movies on the screens. There is plenty of good action off-screen though. It's mostly slaughter-style, so ammo is in abundance.
- Funk! by Derek Waters
54kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
We end this selection with three wads by Derek Waters. They are all quite challenging and well-balanced. This is my favourite of the three. The design is coherent, with good battles and surprises throughout. Note: plays on map05.
- My kinda town by Derek Waters
61kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
Not a bad city-style map, though there isn't a great deal of interconnection between the buildings (such as would be provided by jumping from one to another, for instance). There is also a maze, but it doesn't take too long to get through it.
- Grim, son of Grunt by Derek Waters
44kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
It's hard to say what the theme is here, but from the start area, four teleporters lead to various parts of the map, where there are tasks that need to be accomplished.