- Designer has the bad habit of silently spawn monsters (especially Revs) right behind you while you are busy
fighting the hordes in front of you.
- Too many deadly traps
- You'll find yourself saving/loading A LOT because you die a lot.
- Many gamers will find this hard to play and an unenjoyable experience.
- Map design is good but maps are small.
Doom 2 has left the community with an impression of what city maps are like. Unconnected boxy rooms that do not flow into each other and lack any coherent artistic themes due to the games limited texture set. City of Doom continues this idea and drags it out over the course of eleven maps. In this level set you will find all of the aforementioned ideas of what a city level could be in addition to large open rooms that tend to plague amateur maps. City of Doom has not one single redeeming factor this making it impossible for me to recommend this wad. Had I played this level set when it was new I imagine my opinion would be better, but better city maps have come out in the last twenty years I recommend you check those out instead.
TL;DR: Despite some weird graphics replacements, this WAD is mostly competent and fun, though encounters can feel a bit spammy in the final maps.
So, the first thing you notice when starting this WAD is the new graphics. Most sprites have been recolored or replaced entirely. For example, the fist, pistol, and shotgun have been replaced with their Doom Alpha counterparts, the imp is now grey with green fireballs, and there are now like 4 types of barrels for some reason. One change that I enjoyed was for the SS soldier, which is a modified Doomguy sprite that allows it to be used as a standard enemy who makes frequent appearances. I'm not too keen on the other replacements since they feel unnecessary, though they don't really detract from the experience in any meaningful way.
As for the rest of the visual design, it's pretty good for the most part. The overall style is techbasey with a lot of cues taken from Doom 1's visual style. Areas are generally well thought out and pretty well decorated. It's nothing mind-blowing, but the levels are generally visually coherent and have some nice looking areas for the vanilla limitation. The layouts have plenty of interesting rooms and designs which nicely avoid the "boxes connected to boxes" feeling, though they sometimes feel a bit too flat (heightwise, that is). Also Map05 has a FIREBLU/FWATER1 building which I think is fantastic.
The actual combat is... interesting. The first few maps play a lot like a Doom 1 set with the occasional revenant or hell knight. This means no SSG, roaming monsters rather than setpieces, and generally attrition based difficulty. The latter half keeps that same style while turning the difficulty up considerably and focusing on the more powerful monsters (and giving you the SSG, thankfully). Unfortunately this doesn't mesh too well with the gameplay, and encounters can end up feeling a bit spammy and annoying especially in the last two maps. The combat is otherwise pretty fun for the most part.
Overall, I think this WAD is pretty good. The graphics replacements don't really work for me, though the rest of the visual design is well executed. Combat is pretty good as well apart from a few annoying encounters in the final two maps. I'd say that it's worth a play, though it might be wise to play on HMP to take the edge off of some of the more annoying encounters.
Oh, and it's weird that Map07 isn't vanilla compatible. Like it benefits from the extra detail but c'mon, "Vanilla" is in the name for God's sake!
Of the Community Chest packs, I find myself coming back to this one the least. My major issue is the difficulty curve. It's all over the place and as a result, it's sometimes a slog. Especially egregious is the placement of MAP05, who's the lunatic that signed off on THAT being the fifth map? The entire WAD up until that map, you've fought one archvile if you're on UV. You fight TEN in that level. You haven't fought any Masterminds or Cyberdemons. You fight two MMs at once, in lava that also slows you down for some reason despite looking no different than regular lava, immediately before fighting a horde of nobles and a Cyberdemon. That would be fine as a later map, somewhere in the 20s, but the fifth? I think this whole WAD would be way better with just a reshuffling of the map order to have it ramp steadily up instead of swinging wild like it does, and maybe that's why I don't come back to this one often, because there are some really good, fun maps in it, but you have to dig through some bullshit to get to them the way things are.