the Bard formerly known as the Bard
Two major Doom projects released in one week and I'm on a tight schedule, imagine. As you're reading this I'm probably down in Florida or Texas or wherever Myrtle Beach is so before you post any complaints remember I won't hear them for a while. Five wads, forty maps, let's get started.
2002: A Doom Odyssey by Various Authors - - Hey, lookie, an Ultimate Doom megawad. That means, like, no SSG. ADO replaces every last bit of the Ultimate Doom, each episode respectful to the original it replaced. The maps look very nice save some blatant texture misaligning and the map layouts well thought-out. The effort put into the maps by the authors to keep ADO as doom2.exe compatible as possible is admirable. Also, amusing backstory. 'Tommy the Trooper', heh.
Robotic Nightmares by Kim Vidal - - Remember a couple weeks ago when I reviewed 'Robotic Dreams', that ucking fugly couple of poorly textured silver platforms that you were supposed to dm on? Only three weeks later, the magic of monsters and keys has allowed the cutting edge in DM maps has become the cutting edge in SP maps! Robotic Nightmares consists of four SP wads, each one replacing Doom 2 Map01 and each one bearing the exact layout of Robotic Dreams but with varying amounts and types of monsters to distinguish between the 'easy' and 'hard' (nah) versions. I'd expect this gem to have a cult following of speedrunners too because that's about all anybody's going to bother doing gameplaywise. The verdict on Robotic Nightmares: 'suck'.
xFire5 by Lee Szymanski - - More xFire dm goodness from... eh, that guy with the hard-to-pronounce last name who makes the xFire wads (*cough* sorry I don't reply to your emails more often I'll get around to it really :(). This one runs on Doom 2 Map03 and shares the same TEKGREN/BRONZE texturing scheme as the previous xFire maps. The map is made up of a series of indoor hallways build around an outdoor pool with a 'big pickup' (a bfg for skill 5) in the middle.
The Umbrella by Epyo - - Although this author is the one and same Epyo that brought us the dismally awful 'Crackers'n'Tea' some week or two ago, Umbrella (Doom 2 Map01-Map03) is a much more concentrated effort and a much more worthy play. Theme consistency, logical texturing choices, and ammo/health balance are starting to show through in Epyo's maps, all that's lacking is advanced architecture/detailing. I'd wager the best of the bunch as map02, a strange half-techy labratory map. Requires ZDoom.
Ni'mRoD - IXNAY on the HOMBRE by UNHOLY Software - - I feel almost guilty right now because I've never done a single thing to deserve getting to play Nimrod. I haven't had so much fun playing not just Doom but any FPS game in a long, long time. If somehow you don't know already this is a ten map (Map01-Map10) Doom 2 partial conversion for Doom Legacy that gives you the role of a half-machine warrior 30 years after the happenings of the original doom games. 'Oh no, I detect a hint of plot!' Yes, there'll be a twist or two... coupled with the awesome dark, apocalyptic atmosphere, Nimrod would make a swank comic book. As for the maps themselves, they're well, simply beatiful. Legacy 3d is used expertly to create complex architecture and scenery and lighting levels are used excellently to add that 'creepy' feeling where it's needed. The gameplay borders on the line of an adventure game, with puzzles to solve next to the classic shoot'em'up gameplay. I'd write more but I'm being forced out the door as I type so keep in mind that Nimrod is frigging amazing and you should download it now.