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SERENITY v2.0

   (55 reviews)
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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 Nine Inch Heels · Posted
      I've never done a review for a rocket jump WAD, so this might turn out somewhat like a ramble. Apologies in advance if it does.   I picked up RJSLOTH while learning the most basic things about rocket jump maps. That said, I really should have waited with this WAD until later, when I'd be more consistent with basically everything this genre entails. For those of you who have never made contact with this genre I'll have a short description in the spoiler below:

          Even map 02, in spite of being dated in the sense that it was made prior to some discoveries in rocket jumping, turned out to be somewhat demanding at first. However, as is the case with many ToD maps, there are consistency checks here that really helped me to get some moves into my muscle memory with brute force. Especially things that require precise timing are something that you either learn to do properly while you play this, or you give up trying. The map also features some "combo-jumps" in places, basically as "highlights" of a given section to round off the package. I'm glad I didn't give up. Beating map 02 felt really good.   As for map 10, which is a brutally tuned up version of map 02: You're looking at something that seems to have been built in a laboratory with a calculator. Each one of the jumps there requires extreme precision, and if you're anything like me, which means you're still looking to become consistent with the techniques for "(relatively) modern rocket jumping", you should only attempt this map during a weekend or so, because it could take you "some" time to nail these trick shots perfectly. I didn't manage to finish this map yet, but from the obstacles I have made it past I can tell that this map, as well as map 06 of this WAD, is aimed at people who can do certain tricks of ZDaemon rocket jumping blindfolded. Being able to build maps like this, so precise and unforgiving without feeling totally unfair is an impressive feat for sure, but for my tastes and current skills it is almost impossible to "digest", also due to the sheer size of map10. I will come back to it eventually though, because I wanna see the end of it.   The only reason I'm not putting down 5 stars here is that these maps little bit too repetitive for my liking in places. Obviously that's an easy impression to get when I can't do things very cleanly, which results in repeated attempts, so take this reason with a grain of salt and you'll be fine.
    • By galileo31dos01 · Posted
      Done with these settings:   - GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4. complevel 9
      - Ultra-Violence
      - Continuous combined with pistol start mindset.
      - Saves every 10 minutes or so.   This is a slightly improved sequel of a mediocre megawad. It has no story whatsoever, not that it needs one, it's practically designed without an overarching theme and focused on Boom compatibility, something that the prequel didn't communicate very well. Although you rarely see tricks like conveyors and silent teleports put to specific purposes, they're mostly for the atmosphere. A couple of maps use custom colormaps in particular setpieces. One is to simulate immersion in toxic, and the other in blood, or perhaps portals to hell?. Anyway, Community Chest 2 has some nice visuals using stock textures. While not every map looks great, a bunch are simply awe-inspiring because of the author's creativity. I dig the idea in "Death Mountain", the sinuous terrain with mounds everywhere is very neat, as it's theoretically a mountain floating in the air. My only gripe is the trees are placed to get stuck in. Other locations are plain techbases, brown caverns, wooden complexes, Inferno-styled hell and unknown places. Most of the music available are tracks from other wads and games, with only one self-made piece for map 24 by the same author, an amazing melody by the way. I would suggest to add your own tracks for the maps lacking them, for a stronger experience if it helps.   For those who have played the prequel first, and I'm sure everyone did, there are quite a few familiar names to be found, some of which contributed with more than one map. Gene Bird cooked around five for example, evoking a conservative "rooms with monsters" 90's style. His maps don't vary in any aspect to each other, nor to his previous works in Community Chest 1 unfortunately, but they blend well enough with the tone of the mapset. The first map is already by Erik Alm in his well-known Scythe fashion. Then we have individual entries from Andy Leaver, Kaiser and Use3d, the latter came as an improvement to be honest. On the other hand, a big portion of the people involved were completely new to me, and that's when I had to expect the unexpected, sort of. I'd say the maps had their ups and downs, generally enjoyable if some exceptions. They were also organized in a very random way, but that's no news. Just like a traditional community project, this megawad features a wide range of concepts, layouts, and forms to entertain the player, for better or worse. Fans of old-school and/or adventure maps will be delighted, as there are a lot of them in all sizes and difficulties, even several inspired by the original Doom levels. The obvious standout is "The Mucus Flow", a brutal map that can only be understood with patience and dedication, mostly the former one, and heavy chainsaw practicing. Besides, its curvy "mint-chocolate" design is beautiful and unique, or used to be, since tons of future releases found inspiration from it (e.g. Speed of Doom). A shame it has glitches in the sky. There are other remarkable moments to be experienced, such as to explore a city in depth to figure out the secret exit, or to fall in a sequence of fake exits that only exposes you in circles of chaingunners. I'm not sure how others will take it, but I couldn't hold my laugh after the second time.   Secret-wise, the first thing to know is that PRBoom users need to activate the "Linedefs w/o tags apply locally" option to enable access to some ZDoom-only secrets in maps 06 and 24. There is also a secret in map 20 that requires an archvile jump, but it's not possible to reach it outside of ZDoom versions. Other than those, hope your sense of exploration is wide awake, as there is plenty to locate and highly appreciate. I'm thinking of the standout map, of course. For favourite maps I will pick 19, 24, 27, and 31. Some others like 06, 13, 23 and 32 were entertaining for the most part, but not convincing as a whole. The rest range from good to dull or tedious, like the final map.    Overall, it's certainly an upgrade in quality, and I'm inclined to believe the successors are much better. Still, it's nice to traverse the history of the community chest projects. If you and I share similar tastes, then you'll probably find content to enjoy here, and if not, well, skip the unnecessary. My rate is 6/10.  
    • By tempdecal.wad · Posted
      It's bad because it's hard.
    • By Nems · Posted
      Should have been called "Doom 64 for Boom".   I really wanted to like this more. I mean, I do like it but I feel like the gripes I have regarding it just bring my overall rating for it down too much.   It was interesting to see how, at first, the authors recreated the Doom 64 levels in Doom 2 with just vanilla assets. You can still see some of that in the Boom levels like how revenants and arch-viles are used in place of where traps where. That was an interesting touch and I liked that.   As I got further into it though and more of the Boom tricks were used my thoughts wandered from "hey this is a nice vanilla interpretation" to "man I could be playing Doom 64 EX or Doom 64 Retribution". I really wish they would have stuck with vanilla constraints for this reinterpretation. I would have liked to see how they would have handed nightmare monster placement (would a nightmare imp be worth two imps or three, for example). I feel like using Boom and DeHacked cheapened the experience, like they were trying to replicate Doom 64 as close as possible rather than doing a vanilla Doom (2) interpretation.   Additionally, map 30 can fuck right the hell off with that puzzle bullshit.   Anyway, if you don't mind any of the complaints I made, you'll likely have fun with this. I got some fun out of this as well but to me it feels like it's trying to be exactly like Doom 64 rather than simply a vanilla Doom 2 interpretation of Doom 64. In trying to be exactly like Doom 64, it just makes me want to play that more than this.
    • By Marlamir · Posted
      Pretty good. The combat was fun and design wasn't bad at all.
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