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Vanguard

   (149 reviews)

Guest

7 Screenshots

About This File

12 Boom format levels for PrBoom+, ZDoom, or Eternity. A bonus 13th level is included for laughs. Inspired by Speed of Doom, Scythe 2, Alien Vendetta, and Plutonia.

Originally Vanguard was intended to be a 32-level speedmapped megawad inspired by Speed of Doom's development cycle and Scythe 2's episodic structure.


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seed

· Edited by seed

  

"13 Angry Arch-Viles... "

 

I'm having a deja vu. And are they really so angry? There goes yet another megawad, played through PrBoom+ 2.5.1.5 on HMP difficulty. That was quite the journey, as one would expect. So let's get this started.

 

Vanguard is a megawad comprised of 13 skill-based levels (12 main, 1 bonus) and it comes with a new menu background, textures, and music. The gameplay is in the vein of the Scythe series, focusing on skill and speed. It starts easy and the difficulty increases in steps, from one level to another, but with a noticeable ramp up after each episode and their respective final maps. The maps are designed with pistol starting in mind and it is enforced through suicide exits at the end of each episode. The action takes place in 3 main areas: outdoor, natural regions across the Earth, techbases, and Hell.

 

The gameplay is the one thing that shines through the entire megawad, as the look of the levels themselves, with the possible exception of the final episode that takes place in Hell, don't really stand out. Similar to other respected megawads by skillsaw, Vanguard makes its point clear from the very first level when it comes to its nature, telling the player that they're going to face quite the opposition later on. It starts easy, but from the first level the player faces tougher enemies such as Revenants, which rings the bell in a similar way AA did with the Cyberdemon on MAP01. If you're not up to the challenge it's best to close the game after the first level. Or so it would be the case in the author's other works, this isn't really true in Vanguard. Despite relying primarily on the player's skill, it is also forgiving for the most part and doesn't require them to know the maps inside-out to get the best out of the experience. The only exception would be the final episode as the Hell maps carry plenty of slaughter inspiration and present a noticeable spike in difficulty. But, Vanguard is fair. It does not pin players against impossible or highly unlikely odds which would kill all the fun, allowing frustration and rage to settle easily.

 

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Vanguard is its ideas. Indeed, certain traps and concepts were recycled and later reused in other megawads, most notably Valiant. For example, 13 Angry Arch-Viles was basically re-imagined in Valiant in the form of 14 Angrier Arch-Viles, even the trap with Soulspheres and raising platforms to hide behind was reused. Additionally, the style of the Hell levels along with their orange texturing was also recycled in the hellish portion of Valiant, including various areas. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise, after all Lunatic did the same and pretty much laid the groundwork for the lunar episode of Valiant in addition to including traps and portions that were reused in almost their entirety, it's just intriguing to see ideas getting recycled to such extent.

 

There are no bad levels and they all manage to be both fun and challenging. My favorite levels are going to be MAP05, MAP07, MAP10 (which is slaughter), and MAP13. Although MAP13 acts as a bonus, "Thanks for Playing" level, it features gameplay. The players find themselves in a ring with a Berserk and need to beat the spawning enemies, including the Romero head at the very end. A rather fun little map that features a completely new set of textures.

 

All in all, Vanguard manages to lay the foundation for everything that followed with its gameplay. It might not be aesthetically impressive or introduce a bunch of new things, but it doesn't have to, its focused purely on gameplay and does not try to tell any stories or amaze the players with its looks. It's pretty short and can be finished in one sitting, although the final maps can prove to be pretty intense. Well worth the time and deserves its title.

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Poncho

  

Vanguard is, in my opinion, the single greatest solo project for Doom ever made. With this particular WAD, skillsaw pretty much made a name for himself, and for good reason.

 

The WAD is split up into a few episodes (three to be exact - nature, techbase and hell). Every map looks great and the detail doesn't go batshit overboard, and nor does the difficulty. See, the thing about Vanguard that makes it so enjoyable is that it's not too hard. None of the levels - with the partial exception of Map11 - are truly challenging. They ARE, but in a very fun and very fair way. The traps are set up so that you can potentially beat them when you first trigger said trap (unlike a Ribbiks level where you'll most likely die trying).

 

Map01 is a nice, short, easy jog through some ruins, with a combo of Berserk and gun action. Map02 is, in my opinion, one of the weaker levels, but is by no means bad. The enemy placement is perhaps the most annoying of the WAD, but still functions well enough to be a bit tough and still very manageable. The ways you can access parts of the map is quite cool. Map03 (13 Angry Archviles) is a gimmick map done right. With its suspense-building music and interesting, engaging scenarios, this is one of the best maps of the set. Map04 is another trek through some natural ruins of some sort, like a castle ruin. The open areas make combat difficult, but never impossible of course, and if you possess maybe a braincell or two, you should still be able to conquer this map. The ending's very unexpected, but fun. Map05 is our first taste of slaughter; a Spider Mastermind, several teleporting Archviles and plenty of low-tier enemies to be killed. It's a fun rush of a level, easily beatable in a short time.

 

The second episode starts, obviously, with Map06, a mostly Tyson affair. Unlike other Tyson maps (I'm looking at you, Speed of Doom Map01), this is a rather relaxing take on the Berserk-only gimmick. By the end of the level, you should have enough ammo to use some shells. Next, Map07 is a take on Dead Simple, but a really fun one! Super fast-paced, dangerous if you're not paying attention and just plain fun, this is again one of the highlights of the WAD. After that, we have our obligatory crate level in the form of Map08. Navigation isn't too frustrating, and the only Archviles of the map are in the same area and easily killable. The cavern section and the ending battles are among the toughest, but the way these areas have been designed makes the fights a blast. Then... Map09 is next. It's a semi-slaughter level, and happens to be one of my favourite maps of all time. The Rise of the Triad music fits perfectly, the shift from narrow working tunnels to full-on car parks and surburbs is cool and the gameplay is fun as fuck, no doubt because of the given weapons and ammo, as well as powerups. The way you can use infighting to your advantage makes the whole affair cooler. The final level in the techbase episode - Map10 - is a proper slaughtermap, with over 800 enemies. The different areas all provide different challenges, and can all be tackled at any point, and in any order, which makes replayability more abundant (is that the right word?). Despite the fact that there are quite a few Cyberdemons (and high-tier enemies in general), the ammo and health distribution is adequate and makes for a good challenge. And then, of course, suicide exit.

 

Finally, we begin our hell episode with Map11, arguably the hardest map in the WAD. The orange colours are truly a great touch. On top of that, the tapestry-like design is just astonishing... as are the enemies. My goodness, the traps in this map are simply deadly, none more so than the final trap. Before that, we have a pillar room fight (the beginning, that is), a precarious battle in a rocky terrain outdoors, a claustrophobic battle with swarms of monsters in a pit of some sort and the final battle, which is again a wave-based fight. All these encounters require the utmost concentration, but with skill (rather than luck), you should prevail. Then we have our final proper stage, Map12, once again a slaughtermap. This is significantly easier than the last level, but by no means "facil". The chasm design makes it feel like you're going deeper into hell, and the increasing enemy density makes the battles more interesting, especially when the Archviles start teleporting in to undo all your hard work. It isn't annoying though, since the amount of chaos - whether it be you with your own arsenal or infighting - will either wound or kill the AVs and / or the resurrected enemies. It really is remarkable.

 

Map13 (Punchout) is a joke level that nicely ends the WAD, where you Tyson your way through low to mid-tier enemies before killing a Romero head. Really nice and funny.

 

So, all-in-all, Vanguard has super-fun encounters, great design, great progress in terms of difficulty, fantastic enemy and item distribution and brilliant choices for music. What isn't there to love?

 

The Good Maps: All of them!

 

Overall, I give Vanguard a full 4 / 4 (obviously a 5 / 5). This is classic status! Worship this WAD!!!

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Gallic00

  

One of my favorites mapsets that I go to again and again when I need to remember how good can Doom be.

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Killer5

  
Sick wad.

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Darkrai

  
absolutely amazing to play, i especially loved Map 13 because it is amazingly designed and for some reason i just really like hell themed levels. A must play

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Spectre01

  
Really fun mapset with excellent gameplay variety and music. A bit on the easy side, but hey, not every wad needs to bust your balls to have a good time playing it.

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Walter confetti

  
Very good and solid mapset, had fun playing it!

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Budoka

  
05/21/15. Vanguard rightfully earned its place as king of the archive. It's a mix of everything that single-player Pwads have to offer: Ordinary maps, a couple gimmick maps which actually work very well, a surprisingly enjoyable Berserk map, and, of course, slaughter maps. Gameplay-wise, every single map is top quality. There isn't a single turd among the lot. As a cherry on top, the architecture is drop dead gorgeous even now. Anyone who happens to own Doom 2 must play Vanguard.

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Ezepov

  
Super

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Tezur0

  
If you like slaughtermaps - it is worth your time.

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AdamAK

  
This mapset is a gigantic pile of shit. The first 3 maps are fun, and then it turns into a BFG spamfest. There is no gameplay in this bullcrap. I'd give this pile of trash a negative score if I could.

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Guest

  
Another excellent offering from Skillsaw, one of the best modern DOOM mappers. The layouts, gameplay, texture choices, detailing, and music all come together perfectly to create an engrossing DOOM experience. Very, very impressive. 5/5, a legendary wad from Skillsaw.

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Deeforce

  
^@person above me^-gameplay is perfect! Vanguard. I wished there would be more serious wads like Vanguard! It would be stupid to rate this below 5 stars, really! More of these wads like Vanguard, the best you can get! Like Scythe 2!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Challenging and visually inspiring... Fantastic wad overall.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Fuckin' cool, man! 4,5 star.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Brilliant work. Highly enjoyable levels (visibly inspired by Plutonia in the beginning in particular), but what really stood out to me was the music, too - among the best I've ever heard in a DOOM (mega)wad. 5/5 - ZZ

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Love it!

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Guest

Unknown date

  
It was great from start to finish. Nice levels and challenge. The music was good but we've all heard it before in other releases in the past. Still it suited each map. MAP11 and 12 were God-like!, talk about something totally original here. Great work!! *****

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Guest

Unknown date

  
like Scythe 2 all over again. *****

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purist

Unknown date

  
Very good. The Scythe 2 inspiration was evident and the layouts were very well designed. Some neat ideas in there too - purist 4/5.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
2013??? but it's already the beginning of 2012 and can't wait. :(I guess I will play what is now but still 5/5 stars

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Guest

Unknown date

  
nigga dis da shit

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Guest

Unknown date

  
I smell a cacoward for this wad. ;)

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Guest

Unknown date

  
This is about as close to a perfect release as they come. Doomworld needs a 6-star rating because Lunatic is easily 5 stars in my view yet even that can hardly compare to this. 5(6)/5 - MegaDoomer

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Just great.

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  • File Reviews

    • By elend · Posted
      What a set of maps. At first I only expected random maps that use use Mario textures, but this is so much more. From the cutesy bullet puffs of the weapons, to the plasmagun sprites, there have been more changes than "just" textures. All together they form a very, very coherent picture which makes you almost disappointed, that there are no Mario enemies in the game.   Even then, the actual quality of the maps surprised me quite a bit as well. Very, very fun to play from the beginning to the end, with admittedly frustrating parts (the map featuring only Archies and Revenants or the map featuring ice and wind. Oh god, the ice...). These are not just simple techbases given a Mario texture paint, these maps are well thought out and tailored to the textures, ranging from grass lands, over desert to impressive castle scapes and even an air ship. I played on TYTD not only because I am a wimp, but also because those maps are really, really hard and have some frustrating moments. It speaks for this mapset's quality, though, that you can live with those moments and still enjoy the maps.   Try it out at least.
    • By P41R47 · Posted
      I really dig it! Its feel like a Ultimate Doom take of TNT, but its not at that level either.
      Its a great adventure mapset, leaning more to the  atmospheric and realistic architecture.
      First and second episodes are amazing. Introducing the new enemies as the maps unfold. But midway around episode three it start to lose steam, with a serie of really short maps and then maps really similar to the originals, this is not bad at all, just feels a little uninspireds. Fourth episode on the other hand, feels extremely rushed, with a lot of monotexturing and undetailed areas. Its not bad, but coming as the ending episode it could be much better, specially with the degree of detailing the author showed on the precious episodes.

      All the episodes offers a good challenge, even on Hurt Me Plenty, but don't expect anything near the difficulty of NEIS.   All in all, being one of the few complete Ultimate Doom megawads, its pretty good and i liked the new enemies sprites and the music used, almost all the time.
    • By chlef · Posted
      No, this is not good by any stretch. First 25 levels feel like they are all the same - colorless, flat, dull and bland. Next 3 look like deathmatch arenas with a handful of monsters. Again, all pretty much the same. The last two are pitch black mazes - oh what fun. As for the secret levels - I abandoned both. Map31 is a maze alternating between pitch darkness and flashing primary colours and map 32 is simply an incomprehensible mess. Possibly acceptable if you just want to kill some time with mindless point and shoot, but not what I would call an enjoyable Doom experience. At least it avoids degenerating into slaughter.
    • By aargh · Posted
      Pros: Straightforward, lot of action, no button madness. Plays smooth. Classic Doom feeling.
      Cons: Lots of invisible lines blocking monsters. Lots of hitscanners and not enough health packs.
    • By MuratMikal · Posted
      An enjoyable set of maps of easy difficulty (MAP 07 is medium) in UV with simple design that worked well for me. Finished the whole set in 02:40 min. Certainly worth a shot!
       
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