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STRAIN 1.0 (repackaged edition)

   (23 reviews)

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About This File

This is a reupload of the legendary 1997 total conversion STRAIN to repackage it in a manner suitable for modern users. The original version uploaded to /idgames on September 14, 1997 was distributed as a self-extracting LZH file, which one could run only in DOS, split into four pieces so the user could copy them to four 3½-inch floppy disks and install the WAD that way if they wanted. Because both DOS and floppy disks have been obsolete for decades, this method now serves only to deter all but the most tech-savvy users from playing it, and thus it has been repackaged as a regular ZIP file.

strain.zip contains the complete contents of the self-extracting LZH extracted with another program so that the timestamps are preserved. No files are needed to play the WAD in modern ports apart from STRAIN.WAD and STRAIN.DEH, but they are included anyway for historical accuracy.

The WAD's permissions (see below) allow it to be redistributed as long as the original text file and package are included with no modifications. Thus, the original 1997 strain10.* package is included as two separate files complete with the original /idgames archive timestamps, not only to follow the permissions but once again for historical interest. The original package also remains available on the archive itself as a separate download.


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Argenteo

  

More difficult than I remembered. Great midis. Aberrant monsters (cute lil-cyber). Some puzzle maps. But in general a lot of action. Memorable maps everywhere.

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P41R47

· Edited by P41R47

  

I struggle to replay this one for a long time. I didn't remember much of this so its was like a first time.

Strain is a different beast to anything from the same time. It uses dehacked to great extents adding new enemies and changing the behaviour of some of the weapons.
Well, first episode is pretty solid, with neat maps and really awesome ideas as the authors of the wad start to unfold their dehacked trickery all around.

Second episode its not that good, with some cryptic maps with not so clear progression, but well overall.
Third episode has some maps like the second, but they are a little more fleshed out and with a lot better visuals also.

The end map was somewhat anticlimatic, but anyway, a really great experience through and through.

Now what i don't liked much is that most ports have to use the Strain Fix to properly been able to play this mapset, and the authors of that fix, don't know why, changed the sky textures of the different episodes.
Its nothing really bad, but well, it strange that they didn't respected the authors original choice.

Dystopya 3 maps really stands out from the mapset, or maybe i remember them more as i have fresh memories from a recent replay.

 

The mood of the megawad is greatly achieved through the use of neat textures and map tricks. I really miss that there are no fake 3D bridges anywhere in the megawad, and i really love them when they are given good use.

 

The story of is somewhat mixed bag: theres a new invasion, you are the only marine that survived to the Invasion of earth, and they government made some experiments with you. Now you are a bloodthirsty machine that only wants the destruction of the invaders.
The text screens during game are strange, with a snarky humor and poking fun of some common tropes. Not bad, but i would prefer something more serious as the megawad has really cool details everywhere, like revisiting zones and fully developed reactor areas, etc. making the storytelling side of the maps really awesome to follow. But again, some maps has poor progression hindering the experience a little.

 

Anyway, this is something that needs to be played and replayed, just to see those dehacked tricks and for theose awesome good maps. I had better memories of this than what i actually play, so i was expecting something more and better, but thats my problem, the megawad is amazing as it is.

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Li'l devil

  

I liked this one a lot. It has lots of really neat ideas, especially for 1997. The music is very good as well.

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whirledtsar

  

Very consistent megawad, never failing to deliver interesting level design and staying balanced throughout. I see many reviews calling the level design "puzzley", but it's really nothing like the absurdly obscure progression of, say, Eternal Doom. It's just creative & fun. Some of the levels are just downright weird, but in a good way. For example, in the final map I was running all around trying to figure out what the gimmick was to kill the Icon Of Sin, when suddenly it just died from some random monster hitting it, ending the level. Fancy modern wads would never allow such a thing to occur. The main issue with this wad is that the custom content is a mixed bag. The textures are very quality and fit in nicely in Doom (I noticed a few that went on to be used in the frequently-used CC4 texture pack). The new weapon is extremely ugly (just a sprite rip of a poorly-textured 3D model) but it functions okay, like a combination rocket launcher & BFG. The Revenant replacements are interesting, flying around & firing extremely slow homing missiles. The pinky replacement on the other hand is very lame, ruining the holy 1 SSG = 1 dead pinky equation. The other custom monsters I could take or leave. 

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galileo31dos01

· Edited by galileo31dos01

  

Done with these settings:

 

- Crispy Doom 4.2

- Hurt Me Plenty.

- Continuous combined with double fists start mindset.

- Saves every 10 minutes or so.

 

This is an interesting old megawad. Looks and feels different from the usual Doom. That is to say, it's a partial conversion, there're a lot of new textures, new monsters, new weapons, new sounds, and a new character. All of these are combined with a gameplay that is focused not only on killing monsters, but on exploring too. So yeah, Strain is pretty unique, and I liked this change of pace. There are a lot of nice visuals and detailing, not very polished but that's fine. 

 

As something that clearly claims to stay away from the ordinary Doom style, what predominates here are puzzles, lots of puzzles, some are good, some are obscure, and some are the entire level (map 21 ahem...). Also, labyrinths, switch hunts, corridors, lift after lift, and the incidental hordes of monsters to remember you're actually playing something alike Doom. I'm not saying the mapset is boring, no no no, it brings a lot of cool battles, brutal starts, and makes you work your brain, again not in a popular Doom-ish way, to find the exit or grab something important. In many maps, progression is far from intuitive, sometimes you'll cross a linedef and hear something opening or closing, or you'll flip a switch that opens a cabin of monsters that has a wall with different texture that you must open to progress. In other maps, it's quite simple and relies on the typical key hunt. Backtracking is heavily present in this mapset. 

 

About the new monsters, of all of them I liked the Minister of Pain and Dopplegangers the most, mainly because I found them quite funny, specially the mini-cyber which is adorable. Holo-bots are fine, their stealth version can be a pain in the ass. Red demon isn't more interesting than the original, it just consumes more ammo and time. Demon Lords are dangerous, I found that I could exploit their attack from a certain distance, but from close it's best to treat them as a hitscanner, that is to say, covering yourself everytime he shoots. Polydrones are another dangerous enemy, their corpses are damaging and I found myself inevitably stepping on them and aching. They might replace the mastermind but their chaingun is not the super one. Second class imps are creepy. Finally, BFG Troopers are just cheap, specially on map 30, at least they are not that common. 

 

About the new weapons, well the rapid pistol and shotgun are more useful, the double fists are good, the NFG is ok but I didn't like that the maximum was only 100 cells, it runs out so quickly. It also has a safety pin for whatever reason. I didn't understand the BFG replacement, it apparently functions like a slower rocket launcher, and why does it shoot stealth balls? Idk, I barely used it anyway, all I know is that it's powerful.

 

Secrets, there are a lot of non-secrets in the maps, almost all of them contain a megaarmor (which equals 300 not 200). The midis are good. My favourite maps are 04, 18, 22, and 24. The IoS map is acceptable, but didn't feel like a truly boss map. Map 21 is all puzzles, some without hints, I didn't enjoyed this one too much.

 

Overall, enjoyable, probably hasn't aged so well. If you're in the mood for anything that I said above, this is going to be your thing. One personal recommendation, there is no pistol start but fists start here, a lot of maps are very very tight on ammo and weird balanced (e.g. punching shotgunners at the start, tons of rockets and no rocket launcher, having to shotgun a lot of demons), so be patient, or try on continuous first... anyway, 6,5/10.

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JudgeDeadd

  
A "classic" 90's wad which nevertheless hasn't aged entirely well. Some graphics (such as the Holobot or the BFG replacement) are cheesy and ugly; the level design is usually not bad, but some levels (such as MAP17, MAP23, MAP25) are too difficult and unbalanced for pistol start. The ending is nothing to write home about either. Still, the megawad has quite a lot of atmosphere and some maps are really good (MAP18).

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purist

  
Puzzly levels with some excellent DeHacked work from a technical point of view. New monsters and weapons are a definite mixed bag but are sensibly employed making this more than just a curiosity. The obscurity of progression may put some Doomers off but persistence should earn the player a degree of intuition for these going forward.

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NuMetalManiak

· Edited by NuMetalManiak

  

STRAIN has quite a legacy, although for me it's not a good-playing megawad.

 

the custom monsters are nice to fight, although aside from the white baron there's not one custom enemy that's really tough. the drones are slow and their revenant rockets even slower, while the doppelgangers (lost souls) are really easy. the minister of pain (mini-cyber) has a bit of scare to it but not too tough, same with the chaingun cubes. the blood demon is annoying because he tends to survive direct SSG blasts to the face which isn't cool. the white baron though? his attack frames are broken which I really hate. for the weapons, the psychic blaster is actually quite fun although difficult to use, while the plasma gun replacement has a low ammo count but the gun itself is pretty damaging. unique sprite for it too. also love the faster pistol.

 

on the subject of everything not pertaining to custom content, the overall gameplay tends to get me lost. MAP02 for example is a warping castle, which got on my nerves, while MAP06 and its tunnels are just bad design. some annoying puzzles exist (MAP21 although you can skip it all, and MAP31 with its specific order for getting the secret exit), and really annoying gimmick moments happen in this set, which prevent it from being truly amazing. some maps like MAP08 and MAP27 are pretty good. a lot of STRAIN's levels are varied, you can get some of the big ones like MAP08 only to follow with some smaller ones. two maps are also in Dystopia 3. some maps are unfortunately quite bugged. I get how great it was for a partial conversion but some things here really didn't click.

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Never_Again

  
Landis, Klem, Keranen, Helmberger, Windsor, Herman & Nathrath all on the same team? This would get an automatic 5/5 if they had released nothing but the TXT file. Kudos to TGH for the much belated proper!

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Guest

  
If you want to play it with Brutal Doom or other gameplay mods that bad then be prepared to open up SLADE 3 and delete/edit the custom monsters and weapons in STRAIN. As it stands I'm glad this got repackaged for modern users as this is a legendary megaWAD that no one should miss.

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AD_79

· Edited by AD_79

  

No, screw your shitty-ass Brutal Doom, play it the way it should be played. Excellent wad, by the way. Ignore this.

 

If I could change ratings as opposed to just review text, I would gladly bring this way down to a 2, or at the very best, a 3 (2.5??? The system doesn't support those, but that's what I'm feeling). This set does not hold up well. It's got some cool ideas buried beneath a pile of "yeah this is a 90s wad" issues. I'd love to go deep into the problems in a full review, but for now: Most of the interesting monsters from Doom II were cut, with stuff like " sort of rapid-fire imp", "tankier baron" and "flying revenant with sluggish projectiles" taking their places. Actually, most of the changes made in the Dehacked don't seem to serve a good purpose, and instead boil down to "hey look we can do this, let's do that!". In addition, levels are sometimes very uninteresting and filler-y (examples: MAP05, MAP20), loaded with hallways upon hallways (examples: MAP06, MAP25) or feature progression which can seem frustrating or broken to the average player (example: MAP10). There are some solid moments (MAP02 being an early highlight), but the set is old and clearly shows its age, and I don't see much reason to play it nowadays.

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Guest

  
Great Classic Megawad.....But i was hoping that one day this would be reuploaded with out the custom fast imp..... so Brutal Doom would be more friendly with it.

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Superluigieth1

  
holy shit a release finally 10/10

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  • File Reviews

    • By Argenteo · Posted
      Too many stations, amazing music and barrels.
    • By Denim Destroyer · Posted
      A puzzle focused wad that also contains action? Sign me up! That was close to my initial thoughts upon reading this file description. What this wad actually offers is long corridors and square rooms populated with enemies that are required to infight. That is the puzzle in every one of the five levels. How to cause infighting. This is more of a slaughter-lite level set than an actual puzzle wad so change your expectations accordingly.
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      Not canonically beauty from layout and some monster placement, but this map was a big fun for me! A level with some pretty mesmerizing places like the starting point, the raising pits, the really abstract techbase feel, the room lighting up a little when the player crosses some hidden lines in the mazes, the weird "theater" room that reminded me of Icon of Sin for some reason, the overall spooky feel, the final throne room... Great stuff. Things i've kind of disliked are the maze section (especially the skull walls one), some lift that doesn't work (the one where the... blue skull key is iirc and the one that leads to the red door) and the switch puzzle is pretty dull to understand, at least for me... the one with the numbers in the sector, then after one day i get that the numbers are correct order to solve the puzzle lol. Also that horrible teleport maze-like room after the yellow key, damn! Also, this map doesn't screw you around with the difficulty, as the previous reviewer commented this map can be compared to Deus Vult in that terms of difficulty and epic exploration, really. Just a raw 1996 version of it, but the comparison is all here imo.   Overall, a big and fun map to play for me. Cool stuff
    • By Lebsrostla Halabala · Posted
      My fave Skillsaw wad. Quite short, not extra difficult and gorgeous. 
    • By Maribo · Posted
      A haunting of the soul. Losing grip on reality and stumbling around your own home, lost in the gutters of your mind.
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