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SERENITY v2.0

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This set of 8 levels has been made with the word quality in mind. It's Mind here, not Muscles! Many days and weeks have gone into testing, designing and fine-tuning. Although this isn't a hack&kill kind of level, you will get your share of bloody action (especially when playing "Ultraviolent"). Some of the levels may be a breeze, others may be a real pain in the *ss. But remember one thing: YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE THE CHEATS!!! There are a few very though places, but they can be done. When it seems you can't get around them without using the cheats, you may be doing it the wrong way and/or you may have missed one or more (valuable!) hidden rooms (which contain power-ups, weapons and/or ammo). Hidden rooms, by the way, can always be recognized in some way (different texture, different light-level, etc.). To give you a rough estimation of how long it will take you to finish this level: it took us more than half an hour to finish SERENITY on "Hurt Me Plenty". But then again: we know them inch by inch...


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Stale Meat

  

If you could describe the general multilevel WAD of the early 90s, you would have experimental and very abstract level design and texture placement, a MIDI soundtrack of popular song covers and whatever else was readily available on the BBS networks, a handful of custom sounds and textures, and a difficulty a bit higher than base Doom, but nowhere near many of the WADs released today. All of this is present in Serenity, and it makes for a memorable and pretty fun jump back to the past and the basics.

 

Serenity has some pretty good effort put into it, with much of its design geared towards quality in all of its aspects. The textures are placed with care and do well to compliment the unique theme each level has. Layout is pretty solid with a healthy dose of experimenting with the various sector effects like stairs, lifts, and crushers to add variety. A few simple traps and complimentary barrel placements help emphasize a more tactical approach to each level, and a few secrets can certainly change how you can engage a future room full of bad guys by opening windows and alternate paths. There isn't much aesthetic detail beyond what is absolutely necessary, but it doesn't take away from the main focus of its gameplay.

 

It isn't a very difficult level set, so if you handled base Doom on UV just fine you will probably do the same here. Supplies are spread but plentiful and weapons are acquired slowly but surely through the 8 levels. Difficulty for me was fairly even, with action picking up in the last few levels in particular. This and the levels being fairly short meant that in most cases I didn't feel a worry to save more than once in a level, if at all. Enemy placement is pretty good overall, with most of the enemy types appearing early on but are often placed in ways that makes it engaging and fun to deal with most of the time. The whole WAD took a bit over an hour to finish with thorough exploring of secrets and close to full level completions.

 

Overall I quite enjoyed this charming throwback to the past. It was engaging yet not overly challenging and most of the levels I quite liked. A few were a little subpar, with the 7th map being the most annoying with its many doors, switches, and stairways dragging it out longer than it needed to be. But overall it is an hour well spent with gameplay that certainly holds up after all these years and some interesting level designs. If you want a fun experience of early 90's WADs, Serenity should be one of your first picks.

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Eris Falling

  

An E3 replacement from 1994. Map order seems off here, the first two or three levels felt the most difficult to me, the rest were very easy.

A fair bit of quirky design here, with a lot of maps containing secrets that are mandatory to progress through the map, though most can be forgiven as they're pretty easy to figure out, some can't really even be considered proper secrets, there are others though that may be a nuisance to people.

The maps are mostly quite small, with some medium-sized offerings in the middle, and a larger map in E3M7. In total the WAD took me just over an hour.

 

E3M3, 5 and 8 are probably the best maps here, all decent maps, though I had to noclip in E3M5 after getting stuck in the blue key room due to falling off a raising floor which could not be lowered again. 8 in particular looks pretty cool with its stained-glass windows. 1, 2 and 4 were good enough, but don't stick out in the memory as being particularly special.

 

6 and 7 are easily the worst maps here, though I can't decide on my absolute least favourite. 6 is a couple dozen of small boxy rooms filled with monsters, connected either by more boxy rooms or narrow corridors and staircases, with no variety except some of them are green and some of them are brown. 7 is ugly as sin, gameplay is a bit of a slog in places, and it's the biggest map in the set so it's not like it's all over in just a couple of minutes.

 

Overall this WAD is decent for the most part, despite some strange design choices. 6 and 7 do drag the quality down though, and unfortunately those are the maps I'm most likely to remember.

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Guest

  
This was and really the series as a whole gets 3* from me, it more or less comprises one of the oldest 'megawads' ever and certainly a classic for the timeframe. Nowadays this would be 2* at most and some decisions would be absolutely laughable but still these maps are all playable at least, from a time in which many weren't. This episode would be the weakest overall, though mainly from an aesthetic standpoint, gameplay varies less overall between episodes

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Unknown date

  
4 Stars - There's loads of fun combat and it's fairly well balanced and the architecture keeps things interesting most of the time. However, I have to say that "Big Time" can go screw itself. -KMX E XII

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NuMetalManiak

Unknown date

  
ew at E3M7, but I liked the rest.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
agree with the reviewers above, good 4/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Good for back then, but bad by today's standards. 2/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
It was good when it was made, and it is still good now. It's not as if Doom wads decay, you know. :p

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Guest

Unknown date

  
I cannot believe that it is from the year 1994! Very good for it's age 5/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Serenity, my ass! You call this serenity?!! There's too much chaos!! Now on to the review. Anyways, great map. Couldn't be legendary though so four stars, but don't let that stop you from giving it a shot.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Very enjoyable episode. E3M7 is a bit Newbie but what do you expect from something that is over 10 years old. The gameplay is good, quite challenging and this was one of the first wads to use those good lighting effects. Also, there are two other episodes in the series Eternity and Infinity. -pc

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Unknown date

  
Thanks to Megamur for providing links to this, I forgot how much I loved these episodes. A vital time capsule of good ideas from back when it all began. I haven't played this in over 10 years! - Major Rawne

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Probably the weakest episode of the series, but earns a 5 simply because it is a classic and it's not the usual '94 garbage by any means.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
3/5 The "Top 100" article sort of acknowledges that the other two installments are better, and IMO this one really hasn't aged well. Galaxia and Crossing Acheron show us that balance and attention to detail were possible even in 1994; here, there are just too many technical glitches and too little variety of architecture and fights. By the time you complete 2 maps, you'll be drowning in shells no matter how sloppy your play.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
It may be the best doom map set of the era. Still looks good and plays well nearly 10 years later. It is a must play.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
very good for '94, but not great

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Guest

Unknown date

  
For being created in 1994, this is a great WAD. I would consider this legendary because it was such a great influence to a lot of creators back then. It definitely pushed limitations in the good ol' days. P.S. Beat the end on tough mode without cheating. That's right, I finally figured out the barrel trap.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
yeh this wad and its sequals are pretty good for its age i intend to play through all of em a good set of levels

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Possibly the first good custom Doom episode in
history and still pretty fun to play today!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Massive gameplay, funny designs (that would be considered a fail today :), very good ideas and that's just from 1994. 5/5 - Optimus

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Still fun after 12 years.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Not bad. Great for it's age.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Good levels.

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VGA

Unknown date

  
Well, this probably hasn't really aged very well. Maps aren't convincing/organic/l ogical, I gave up at the second map.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Doesn't look great, but for 1994 it's far from awful. Plays pretty well. The worst levels are E3M2 (failed realism attempt) and E3M7 (quality over quantity, please!). But the other six levels are fairly worth a go.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Marlamir · Posted
      Pretty good. The combat was fun and design wasn't bad at all.
    • By Meril · Posted
      Despite its age, nice details and well designed. Way how blue key is hidden is really clever. But map is dark and cramped. Enemies are only imps and hitscanners.
    • By Dovahxul · Posted
      the more I play the more I get more sad that this map pack is going to end soon its really great :)
    • By Meril · Posted
      Pretty good map in E1 base style (except Doom2 monsters) Nice design but there some texture alignment issues.
    • By Nems · Posted
      Despite the browns and grays that are prominent in this megaWAD, I found it to be fun. I also found it to be quite the challenge. The first map gives you a taste of what to expect in terms of enemy encounters. The author makes good use of mid-tier enemies to apply pressure on the player. Monster count for most of the maps barely breaks the 150 mark but, as said before, the use of mostly mid-tier enemies puts pressure on the player. I also like how the megaWAD handles level progression. Most of the levels you go through consist of caves, cities, islands, and tech bases in space. In fact, there's only one real Hell-like level and even it's within the confines of the moon base you fight through in maps 21 - 30.   About the only gripes I have with this megaWAD are with regards to maps 32, 29, and 30. I know the text file and map 31 give warnings about map 32 but there really should be some kind of alternate exit in map 32 instead of trapping you in place if you don't pass one of the puzzles. I wasn't a fan of how close quarters the IoS fight was in map 29, especially since it can get cramped quickly with monster spawns. Finally, the randomization of what keys spawn during your escape in map 30 isn't fun either. 10 minutes seems like plenty of time but between navigating the vent system (again) without light goggles and dealing with mid-tier enemies, that 10 minutes can get eaten up really quick.   Overall, it's still a fun megaWAD. I'd recommend at least giving it a shot.
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