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The Rebirth

   (141 reviews)
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Total Conversation for Doom2, replaces all of the 32 Maps


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Arena Chess

  

Solid. Worth a play and addition to your personal DOOM archive. Interesting custom monsters. Creative construction and some exciting encounters, especially in the late stages. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Would recommend.

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Book Lord

· Edited by Book Lord

  

The Rebirth is a one-man megaWAD from an era when such big efforts were no commonplace. Nowadays the editor utilities have been upgraded with user-friendly features that facilitated both testing and troubleshooting; in 2003, half his lifetime ago, the German author Björn Ostmann (a.k.a. Vader or Bobjet) had less sophisticated tools at his disposal. He was not short of ambition and determination though, as he did not settle for stock resources and predictable IWAD homages, but he wanted to add something new and personal to his first submission to the community.

 

He used a DOS programme called Doom Construction Kit (DCK) to build the maps, WinTex utility to edit textures and sprites, and an obscure software named Capella800 to compose his own MIDIs. I have tried building Doom levels with a DOS editor myself, and I know how difficult and time-consuming it can be. The language barrier from German to English was another obstacle that Vader overcame quite proficiently, despite his disclaimer in the info file and a few oddities in the level names. I am not forgetting that he started working on The Rebirth when he was 17 or 18 years old, which is undoubtedly an adequate age with lots of free time that you might dedicate to modding, but it neither implies the maturity to bring such a long and cross-disciplinary work to completion, nor does it guarantee that it will feature consistent quality and solid gameplay.

 

The young Ostmann showed his talent by uploading a full megaWAD of small to medium-sized levels, sure to not overstay their welcome while featuring a nice challenge, at least on continuous play. The awkward weapon, ammo and resource distributions on most maps suggest that pistol start was not considered a standard approach, ideally reserved to speed runners that wanted to record demos. Beating The Rebirth on pistol start requires foreknowledge of map layout, encounters, and secrets, and it promises to be a miserable experience for contemporary Doomers facing it blind and with a casual attitude. June was a short month with not much free time, so I opted for a relaxed continuous play on Ultra-Violence, with savegames mid-level (not during encounters to cheat the RNG or to facilitate anything). I got pistol-start sensations by self-restraining my weapons (I used only weapons provided in each map, after acquiring them), and sometimes I found myself in trouble because of this choice. Some maps in the second and third episode hid crucial armaments out of sight or in the secrets, therefore I ran out of ammo just like a blind pistol starter.

 

The Rebirth was set 12 years after Doom II: Hell on Earth and the defeat of the Overlord of Hell. While humankind slowly repopulated the planet, a small part of the Overlord’s brain had survived and reanimated itself. Our Doomguy woke up one day in Starbase Omega2 (maybe a reference to Space Station Omega released in early 2003), he learnt that a new invasion has begun, so he grabbed his pistol and got ready to kill some ugly creatures from hell. His journey followed the customary progression through a first episode consisting of different types of tech-bases, followed by a streak of urban maps that was diluted by brown and abstract/generic settings in the second half. These entries might have been influenced by The Plutonia Experiment, although they did not strike the same balance between fair challenge and wickedness, due to scarce and unevenly distributed resources. The third episode brought the protagonist to hellish places, offering a decent variety of settings, gradually increasing the complexity of the layout and the use of the beautiful textures created by Vader himself.

 

The custom artwork, dominated by grey and vibrant red hues that reminded me of Quake, must have raised some interest in a time when quality textures and sprites were not plentiful. His accurate touch up of the Baron of Hell, called Lord of Heresy, is still used today in the Doom community, and the headless Former Human was both silly and creepy. I enjoyed the exaggerated sound of the pistol, replaced by a loud shotgun blast without the pump action, also turning the chaingun into a badass weapon like the Commando’s. Other audio changes included an unsettling Arch-Vile alert noise, and a few midis composed by Vader himself (used on MAP 03, 10, 12, 15, 30, 32) that add a unique feeling to the megaWAD. Despite having a nice midi pack made by the community, I chose to play with the original soundtrack lo listen at the author’s music selection, and to have the bespoke tracks stand out a bit more. Considering that each map took between 5 and 20 minutes to complete, I never got bored of a song, even if it was D_RUNNIN. The whole playthrough lasted 6 ½ hours, one of the shortest experiences I had with a 32-map megaWAD.

 

Beyond the graphic adjustments and the sound personalisation, The Rebirth shapes up as a classic Doom II megaWAD, a journey down the memory lane to an era when standards were still set by the original games, and not by ground-breaking community projects released after 2010. The monsters were used adequately, but still followed the IWAD tropes and mandates; the maps were suitable for both exploration and incidental combat, but they lacked a few big and fast encounters to spice up the routine; the secret design was traditional, and the only innovation was that they were often mandatory for pistol starters. Vader was surely aware of the Doom modding scene of his time, as proved by the Toxic Touch-y looks of MAP09 and by the involvement of none less than Vincent Catalaà in the playtesting, but he chose to stay true to his original ideas. A glaring first attempt with the editor like Operator was not a proper introduction for The Rebirth and in hindsight it should have been replaced, but the author left it there and chose to show everybody his humble beginnings.

 

I appreciate this kind of artistic honesty, and the amazing technical gap between MAP01 and MAP29 is the true abyss that Björn Ostmann crossed on his own, working for more than one year on a solo project. For contemporary Doomers, The Rebirth has less appeal than recent, more streamlined releases, especially if pistol starting is a must. Sticking to this approach will probably sour the blind attempts; on the other hand, pistol starting with foreknowledge was an interesting challenge that I tried on a couple of times, just to confirm my impressions.

 

While it had not been forgotten by the Doom community, as proven by The Rebirth Midi Pack compiled in 2019, Vader’s debut was not included in any shortlist of relevant PWADs from 2003, maybe because that year featured fundamental opuses such as Scythe, Phobos: Anomaly Reborn, and spectacular ZDoom mods. The Rebirth might have felt old-fashioned even at the time of its release, but it still has some historical significance as an attempt by a single author at modifying all the game features at the same time. Probably Vader did not plan everything since the beginning and he added new features as he gained expertise, resulting in a slightly incoherent work from the thematic standpoint. The player clearly perceives the author’s progress as they advance towards the end of the megaWAD, and I find it a fascinating way to establish a connection with another individual from another time and place. If you like the IWADs, you do not expect to beat the maps on first try when pistol starting, and you have always dreamed of making your own vanilla megaWAD with custom resources, The Rebirth is well worth a few hours of your time.

 

Best maps:

MAP 09 – The Depot

MAP 14 – The Undertown

MAP 20 – The Gateway

MAP 27 – Wired Hive

MAP 29 – The Abyss

 

Other standout maps:

MAP 11 – Teleport Center

MAP 31 – Snowed-in Mansion

MAP 16 – The Musty Ones

MAP 22 – Withered Fields

MAP 28 – Netherworld

 

Detailed commentary of each map can be found in the June 2023 DWMC thread.

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netcurse2000

  

Decent old school megawad. The maps are small, there are many cramped corridors. The gameplay is reminiscent of Doom 2. Many implicit secrets, armor is often only in secrets. On some maps, for example 07, without finding secrets, there is a clear shortage of ammunition. Overall a good megawad, but nothing special.

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VoanHead

  

On second thought, this wad is kinda mid if you ask me. After playing through all of it on pistol-start I wasn't really blown away by it. The midi pack that was made for this in 2020 was very nice if you ask me, but why this wad ever deserves a midi pack when it's so bland is what makes me scratch my head. Idk man, I didn't like this one as much as others do :/.

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Gato606

  

It's an enjoyable and decent megawad, nice texture placement, nice level design overall.  My only complain would be a little couple of secrets doesn't have clear hints to find them

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galileo31dos01

  

Done with these settings:

 

- Crispy Doom 4.2

- Ultra-Violence.

- Continuous combined with a pistol start mindset, and some actual pistol starts.

- Saves every 10 minutes or so.

 

A generally solid old-school style mapset. One that brought me those days where I got back to the game years ago and not so long ago too. The set is like your typical Doom II maps replacement, with a theme progression almost exactly like in the iwad. Includes many new textures to add something extra to the experience, a bit similar to the gothic/ancient theme part of Requiem, which was one of the earliest megawads I've played. In that regards, I enjoyed the aesthetics, more specifically from the later maps where it became notorious the author improved a lot on this side. I'd also noticed a decent usage of light variation as part of detailing, I always welcome darkness as a feature of the gameplay, and it never became unfair from my experience. Originally it comes with a few new tracks by the same author, so I strongly recommend to load this midi pack, it contains not only a great number of very cool midis but also the automap names. It isn't complete, reason why I added random tracks from other wads for myself, so that's also a recommendation (or else, PM me if you want the list). 

 

It's kinda old-school in what it provides, but at the same time is very consistent. Nothing about abrupt changes in the monster count or general progression, if anything, it only gets better from a layout design view. And this having short-medium sized maps with simple progression should accommodate to any speedrunner, who specifically develop d2all runs. Its offerings are more well-suited to continuous players, because the thing placement can be, at times, baffling, or not very well balanced for casual blind pistol starts. I can tell since I tested a few maps with short ammunition available, without secrets the monsters became more bullet-spongy than usual, or I had to rely on the initial state of the fist against packs of pinkies/spectres, which didn't look fun at all. Therefore, if the player insists in playing each map separately, I'd suggest to look for secrets, at least to achieve kills in the least time possible... Returning to the combat topic, it's similar to the style of the iwad (Doom II), which means that you don't have to overthink what to do since monsters appear generally in front of the player in varied proportions. A few traps here and there, in relatively tight rooms, that can surprise the player from the back if they don't act quickly. I'd say the start is usually the most decisive part, where you need to decide what to kill and what should be left for later. If only this restriction was accompanied with a better distribution of weapons (e.g. not giving the plasma rifle when there's only one monster left), but that's my perception, of course this won't be a matter for players that opt to play with more leeway. However, even in several cases the monsters were begging to be ignored, such as barons in cages or spectres in pits you never need to explore. Talking about barons of hell, they have wings here, as a mere cosmetic change, I liked that more than their usage. Troopers are headless, but don't be fooled by the sound of their guns, they're still the same ol' silly guys. There's a also custom sprite replacement for the nazi, pretty funny to gib, honestly. 

 

Secret-wise, while not mandatory, they are crucial to get 100% kills, as said above, or else to tank damage from hitscan attrition and tight encounters, because armor sometimes only exists in secrets. A few require wall-hump, which doesn't help. They all provide a decent amount of necessities though, if you happen to find them... Favourite maps, perhaps 20 and 27, stuff from the last episode, I can't really pick many maps that stood out for me in every single way, unfortunately, either good-looking or interesting gameplay, but rarely both in the same map. For example, the super secret map has an interesting concept not seen very often, but the layout design was dull to my eyes. I'll add that in map 29 it's possible to get stuck in the room with four doors, one of them refused to open from one side, no idea why. 

 

Overall, while not a hidden gem, it's another option to consider if you are a fan of "classic" combat style and design. Just don't pick pistol starts on UV if you're not good at secret hunts. My rate is 6,5/10. 

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Guest

Unknown date

  
very nice job :)

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Guest

Unknown date

  
An incredible one-man megawad. I especially liked some of the enemy replacements.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Incredible quality for a one man megawad!!! Great architecture, great gameplay, a lot of fun... What else?... Oh yes: a must!!! ;-) - Jive

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Guest

Unknown date

  
decent classic

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Decent megawad, but nothing special. 3/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Great wad! Nice title screen and headless human sprites. 4/5!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Good,solid megawad.Worth the d/l and playthru.

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mrthejoshmon

Unknown date

  
this is good, real good!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Excellent! Map31 pwns

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Guest

Unknown date

  
^^^^ I've played most of the violent, manliest games in the universe, used phrases like "prepare your colon, Imma fucking stomp it" casually at church, and still live a happy life. Jelly? BTW, 4/5 for the wad, map06 is a huge letdown - I mean, what the fuck was that all about?

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Incredible. - BBG

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Great job, I've always loved this wad, excellent gameplay and sweet maps, also, I love ya man because you let us use the resources! :D anyways, great wad, 5/5 -deathknight

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Aldaraia

Unknown date

  
Real solid megawad that promises an arcade-like experience. Levels don't drag on like in some megawads, thoughtful level design and great gameplay. 5/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Good level set. Its design and texturing theme is reminiscent of DOOM II but with its own "ancient" theme. The difficulty is medium but gets tougher at some points (Map09, the 2nd half of the 3rd episode). You can get stuck in Map29, and Map30 is broken in Doom2. Map28 has a superb layout and game play. Oddities: the Baron has wings but won't fly, and the rifle zombie is headless but screams! [3/5] ~Chain Mail

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Guest

Unknown date

  
This is awesome. Attractive location, great variation in design, tricky traps and consistently tough gameplay without being stupidly difficult like so many others. Almost no annoying crap like chaingunner spam or Revenant snipers. Some of the best outdoor areas I've ever played, way better than Doom 2's efforts. Most definitely my favorite megawad of all time. 5/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
just great... a classic

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Guest

Unknown date

  
5 stars, especiallt for the author's 1st wad. One of the great megawads of 2003, the others are Scythe 1, Daudelus (TC/Megawad), Com. Chest 1, and HR2 (almost an 04 wad), but the great megawads from 04 still include Vile Flesh, Com. Chest 2, and Super Sonic Doom (TC/Megawad). From 05 (so far through 6/19) we have already seen two great ones, Kame Sutra and Scythe 2 (real shame Scythe 2 was released at only 29 levels, but it's fantastic anyway). Enjoy!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
This an awesome one-man megawad, definitely among the better in that category, so 5/5 is a given. Ironically, however, these maps pale in comparison to his ZPack/standalone maps, Thunderpeak and Blackrock (and his other map, Castle Nevermore, is every bit as good as the best Rebirth maps). Still, I always judge wads separately, and as such, this megawad is awesome. Mostly nice to look at, and the gameplay is hard to fault. A must download, provided you aren't spoiled by his later maps.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Fun fights that scale up as you go. Lots of ambushes. Levels that are interesting and aren't too complicated. It's a perfect wad and the best I've played so far.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Ofisil · Posted
      Very inconsistent everywhere you look, from the overall feel of the megawad, to each individual level. The balance is all over the place, leading to levels having uber-easy regions mixed with insanely challenging, trial-and-error ambushes. The exploration is very hit and miss, mostly leaning towards miss. A couple of interesting places, but the wad just isn't that fun, even for those who have a high tolerance for old wads like me.    
    • By Havoc Crow · Posted
      An example of how not to make a map. Lots of ugly rooms filled with same types of enemies. The blue key room in particular has about ten hell knights and barons trapped on pillars, and you have only a super shotgun to fight them; thankfully, what _would_ have been a mind-numbingly boring fight is skippable because the blue key is right there for you to take. Errors large and small abound, such as the pass-through metal bars or the clumsy approach to detailing and shading.
      New music, in the form of a bad-sounding midi which barely has any rhythm.
    • By Havoc Crow · Posted
      Finished within 4 minutes or so A 2016 re-release of a 1994 level. The text file warns: "Bad, really bad 1994 quality", and is right; there's nothing whatsoever interesting about this level -- you enter one flat room after another and shoot at haphazardly spread out monsters. There is an "invisible teleporter" gimmick which, however, I have barely noticed in my playthrough. The exit isn't even hidden or locked in any way, and can be easily stumbled into accidentally. There's nothing to say.
    • By Havoc Crow · Posted
      The map feels very linear throughout, with you basically doing one thing in each room and moving on to the next. The rooms are very varied though, and there is actually something pleasant to uncovering the successive areas. There are some puzzles, one of which involves illusionary walls, with a zombie shooting at you from "nowhere" being the only hint; this is a clever puzzle but it could ruin the map if the player accidentally kills the zombie early and gets stuck. The spiderdemon hall near the end contains what is either a glitch or a really annoying "trick": columns that seem safe at first, but actually don't shield you from the spider's gunfire at all.   Almost finished, ~20 minutes; died to the spiderdemon.
    • By Havoc Crow · Posted
      (MAP03 review only)   Finished, ~20 minutes Yet another map which drops the ball in terms of difficulty. Health is provided in extreme abundance, and even when heftier enemies show up, their attacks are easy to dodge in the huge arenas (even the cyberdemon/spiderdemon fight at the end provides such ample cover that you need almost to be _trying_ to die -- as, uh, has happened to me). I've once read that, with the advent of modern source ports which streamlined mouse aiming, older Doom levels suddenly became very easy; this would explain why so many of these mid-90's maps feel so strangely unchallenging...
      The area beyond the yellow key door offers a more interesting fight, what with the corridor filled with lost souls. However, the map quickly loses momentum after that, wasting the player's time with the pointless room of six teleporters, which all turn out to lead to identical closets with medikits. Turns out, that room is just a red herring; the real way to progress is to open a door indistinguishable from a wall. Annoyingly, having to hump the walls to find the hidden door happens several times throughout the map.
      Powerups are scattered haphazardly, including a pointless invulnerability sphere, numerous invisibility spheres despite the total lack of hitscanner enemies (this is another 90's thing, it seems; did the people back then _really_ think invisibility spheres helped against projectile-throwing demons?), and a light-amplification visor despite a lack of dark areas where it'd be useful.
      The map topology is as basic as it gets: a small starting room with four doors, one initially open and three locked with keys, each door leading to a totally separate area housing the key to the next door over. Each area is distinct visually, although there's a lot of simplistic-looking, overly large rooms. There's fairly little interconnection between individual rooms within each area; mostly you just progress from room to room, and things like windows are rare. The map suffers from "symmetry syndrome", where the mapper goes out of his way to make every room symmetrical, without thinking if it improves the room or not (example: in the red door area, there's a side room housing an irritating slow-moving lift, not worth visiting except to get 100% kills... and this side room of course gets dutifully duplicated on the other side of the area).
      There is custom music in the form of a rock midi, not particularly well-made, but not overly grating either.
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