I really liked the free alternative to TNT: Evilution.
Icarus: Alien Vanguard is a totally different monster but somehow similar, made by the same monster team.
This lacked a proper dehacked patch with custom text, but @NightFright made a neat fix for that, telling a compelling story that is really entertaining to play.
The maps are amazing. The best maps here are far better than Evilution's best maps. The bad ones here, are just bad Doom 2 level maps, so there is little to be really bad all in all.
But, Icarus had the same little ill as Evilution had, last ten maps completely drags the experience. At least, this maps are better than the ten last from Evilution.
Team TNT has shown that not only are good mappers, they also are good storytellers and that, in a game like Doom, is something to be proud of. And they achive this even working non stop to release this before Evilution hit the streets, so, even if some maps feel a little rushed, they are great!
The soundtrack is a key element here. Bringing an awesome personallity to this outstanding mapset full of neat ideas.
ETERNAL DooM is not a megawad, its an experience that had to be lived to be fully undertanded.
This is the megawad of the 90's for me in terms of exploration and atonishing sightseeing og the marvelous structures around.
This megawad its one of the few that awakes in me a sense of wonder like no other.
And to make things better, i played the incredible dehacked patch that @NightFright made, that adds maps names and new text screens with a custom story. This is the ultimate way to play this outstanding work.
Now to the flaws: the first two levels are what really define if you would play this megawad or not. The first maps is corridor after corridor, with a little puzzle for the keys to enable the exit, after that, the second map is something completely different, with a very big puzzle map that will catch everybody unprepared. If you can reach map three, your surely are at it now, and after that, is a big alley up, a pretty big mountain ahead full of wonders.
Thanks team Eternal and TNT for this amazing work of art. This possibly is the best megawad i played soo far and the one that i most liked. It has almost everything, new textures and graphics, new way of thinking maps, extremelly clever puzzles, a lot of exploration and a full experience.
What it lacks? Maybe a proper graphic for the end boss, a proper BOSSBACK also, and some new monsters would be cool, but for a megawad from 1997, this is almost perfect.
And the soundtrack!
God, thats a marvelous soundtrack!
so it seems I have not actually written a full review of Eternal Doom yet, Eternal Doom is often touted as the classic megawad of getting lost, with people crying "SWITCH HUNT!" and completely obtuse progression no casual player can think of. yet if I were to have a say, I'd say it's the best thing TeamTNT ever actually made. by comparison, Icarus is a standard megawad with some weird bits, and the same for Evilution. Daedalus is all sorts of fucked up, and the deathmatch sets aren't memorable to the singleplayer levels. this means that Eternal Doom forever stands the test of time despite its age.
you'll be happy for some of the shorter maps, which include MAP01, MAP06-08, MAP16-18, MAP21, and contrary to popular belief, MAP28. for the rest though, you'll get lost, that's the whole point. you'll likely cry foul at the obtuseness of several of the levels, in which knowing the author style really sort of helps. but when you're not hating it, you're liking it. some puzzles are actually fun, and combat remains serviceable in most locations. there's still loads of obscurity, so it helps to use that automap, especially for the memorable MAP12.
from the looks of it, it looks like Chris Couleur and Dia Westerteicher were the two who's maps will likely be felt the most. Couleur's style is making generally expansive locations in medieval fields, so there's a lot of room to run around in and quite a lot of meat in every nook and cranny imaginable. I can perhaps think it would get old after a while, but MAP11 is a nice treat and easily the best map he's done. Westerteicher seems to be responsible for most of the shorter outings, all of which have at least one bit of obtuse progression that casual players won't see. MAP03 is his best work if I'm being honest, and one of the best ways to utilize six keys in a non-Boom fashion. for the other authors, we have Adam Landefeld, with two large and two short maps, usually similar in style to Dia, Alex Mayberry, with two very linear levels, and Paul Schmitz, who may have made two short maps by ED standards, but actually somehow manages to make their progression memorable by being quite perplexing.
the showstealers are Sverre Kvernmo, Jim Flynn, and Bob Evans. it's likely these are the ones who's maps will be the ones you'll get lost in the most. Kvernmo went with MAP04, a large crate maze and sewer system, although progressing through it is generally just long, while MAP05 is actually quite short. MAP12 however is a certified magnum opus, a nicely done medieval castle with an interesting puzzle for the yellow key that still proves memorable to this day. the late Jim Flynn holds three rather notorious maps, the first being Monster Mansion (MAP31) a map that holds the most insane realism of a mansion with loads of crannies. the next is the appropriately named Beginner's End (MAP25) with numbers of confusing puzzles, and having to retrace your steps often, then right after that is the frantic MAP26, loads of ground to cover but hard to even go around. then there's Bob Evans; if MAP20 makes you squirm trying to figure out where and what is to be done, MAP30 will certainly be a true treasure hunt. these two maps are the ones where you'll need all the luck and patience to go through them.
I've played Eternal Doom all the way through many times, and my opinion of stuff tends to shift constantly on each and every map, but I tend to enjoy what I play through as I go along and memorize where anything and everything is. Eternal Doom surprisingly has linear key progression throughout the entire set, something that I'd love to see done in level progression diagrams some time soon. its maps are made out to be both long and memorable and perfectly deliver on those fronts, standing the test of time to this day. of course, there are much longer and larger maps than even Excalibur, which shows how inspirational the whole set ends up being to make much longer creative children. all this makes this the greatest accomplishment TeamTNT ever made.
It has some good construction's for '98 but nowadays is not so good compare to other maps. One of his good aspects is that it has an RNG system for Teleporters making for each reset a new encounter variation but the areas are too dark forcing you to change the Gamma Correction.