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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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Endless

  

There is a world of WADs waiting for us to find them, especially those catalogued within a certain fame that with the passage of time has been forgotten. If we browse through the Doomwiki or Doomworld forums, we may come across Serenity. A WAD created almost 3 decades ago, a collection of 8 maps for The Ultimate Doom designed by Bjorn Hermans & Holger Nathrath, two prodigies of their time who, despite following different paths, left a certain mark before saying goodbye.

 

Serenity is a small collection that despite being somewhat outdated with modern standards (25 years later) has certain characteristics as charming as historically important. The interesting thing is that this wad did not stay there, it continued later with interesting inclusions that sought to leave a better taste in the mouth than the previous ones. Of course, it is not the most revolutionary thing in the world, and it has certain elements that were innovative at the time, now we find them a little annoying. No matter how much time passes, I can't just forget about those ancestors who forged the tools for the future. Serenity is one of those.

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Stupac

  

Try this if you really care about seeing some history of early Doom user created levels. But, be aware that we are spoiled with good Doom content, from Id's classic levels to tons of incredible user content. It is hard to be critical though, considering that I have never created a Doom level, and these guys back in '94 managed to create this episode. All I can say about Serenity is that playing it in 2019 after playing all of Id's classic levels and fresh off Eviternity and Alien Vendetta that I was bored to tears by level 4 and had to stop. I'll give Eternity and Infinity a try though.

 

If you decide you want to give it a go for the history, expect misaligned and inconsistent texture use. Expect uninspired architecture and layouts. Expect confusing layouts with obvious secrets but concealed paths forward. Expect boring fights. While the wad does try some new things, they failed to appeal to me at least.

 

To sum up, this review would have been a higher rating, but since we are spoiled with Doom content, I really don't think this wad is worth your time unless you really care about history. I was unable to find anything in this wad that was inspiring or fun apart from the fact that this wad was created by pioneers who we owe a debt of gratitude to because they are part of a long tradition of Doom level creation that goes on today and continues to provide me enjoyment and inspiration. So, despite my scathing review, thank you Bjorn Hermans and Holger Nathrath for making this.

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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 · Edited by NuMetalManiak

  

Serenity definitely seems unpolished, something common in the sets that make up the 1994 sets, Maximum Doom, and of course, this little trilogy. as unpolished as it is, it's better than a good part of Maximum Doom, although it still has quite a lot of shortcomings that not a single new author in this day and age dares to even do. the first map has a silly stream of health bonuses, while E3M6 has some labyrinthian progression which is strange. E3M7 is one of the larger 1994 levels and its buggy as fuck, while the finale gives a hard way and an easy way (just go to the spiderdemon for the easy way, or for fun, do what I did and get the invulnerability out of the easy way and go into the hard way). it's age really does show, this isn't the kind of wad that people want to play except for historic reasons. and if we're being honest, this was the worst of the trilogy. Eternity was considerably more well done than this in comparison, and Infinity only slightly better than it too.

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Unknown date

  
agree with the reviewers above, good 4/5

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Unknown date

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

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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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Unknown date

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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