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Shadows of The Nightmare Realm

   (10 reviews)
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About This File

Hell was defeated by a lone marine. But what no one knew was that there was a far greater and nigh inconceivable evil lurking beyond our realm: the Elder Gods. They saw how Hell had failed and felt it was now their time to succeed. They knew of the Doomguy's strength, and decided to attack him in the one place he's vulnerable: in his nightmares.

Shadows of The Nightmare Realm takes place within the dreams of the Doomguy, each one manipulated by the Elder Gods.


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seed

  

"Madness will consume you!"

 

And thus Shadows of The Nightmare Realm has endeth, played through GZDoom 4.1.3 on Hard difficulty. A short, fun, morbid, and deliciously gory horror themed wad, so let's see what else is there for it.

 

SOTNR is a 4 level (+1 bonus and 1 for start) wad focused on storytelling, strong atmosphere, visuals, and fast paced action. It comes with a new background menu, intermission screens, textures, sounds, enemies, and music. The action takes place in Doomguy's nightmares which are now haunted by demons, while the UAC assumes that he is just going insane.

 

SOTNR places great emphasis on the overall atmosphere and makes use of certain GZDoom features, notably dynamic lights which are the main source of light in the indoor areas on the maps, but other features are recommended to be enabled as well, such as Bloom. The levels are dark, but not to the point where it turns into a pain to see 2 feet in front of you. They are also architecturally impressive and bear a strong resemblance to the original Quake. This strong influence is also seen in the new enemies, one of them being a replica of the Scrag, now firing homing fire projectiles. The cast of new enemies also includes Black Wizard who use the Cultist sound effects from Blood, a Doom Alpha Lost Soul which spits fire, another, bloody skull which spits blood, by far the most disgusting enemy, but it sets a balance between gruesome, and eye candy, a different version of the Fire Baron from Valiant which now throws multiple green plasma, an anthropomorphic goat, and a final boss from Realm667, also featured in Hurt.

 

The difficulty is interesting because it increases abruptly, the first map acts almost like an introduction and is thus not very difficult, but the second level is much more difficulty, in fact the most difficult out of all. Pistol starting is also enforced so that's the only way to play SOTNR, no traditional continuous, and the difficulty is selected by stepping into a teleport, in a similar fashion to Quake. The maps are not very generous with ammo and resources, therefore management is crucial as wasting is punished, but do not descend into cruelty when doing so. After all is said and done, the map ends with a battle against what is assumed to be the Lord of Nightmares, a flying enemy not too dissimilar from a Cacodemon/Pain Elemental which relies on shock attacks. It also appears to be voiced, and one of the finest yours truly has ever heard, regardless of the origin, the effects are brilliant. But to kill the boss, the player is tasked with taking down its four shields first, while being attacked by hordes of minions.

 

All things considered, SOTNR manages to be a brilliant, high quality wad that proves eye candy aesthetics can easily go hand in hand without trouble. It looks great, it plays well, it has thick atmosphere and fitting music, and is reasonably challenging. It does not appear to be poorly optimized or too hardware demanding as the framerate never drops below 60fps, not even during the boss battle with all the dynamic lights from the projectiles flying everywhere, and enemies on screen, unless perhaps, it is played on potatoes. If the author of the wad proceeds to create a sequel or other similar projects, yours truly is up for more, every second of SOTNR was appreciated. It is way too short for how good it is, likely taking 2 hours at most, but it is well worth the time if you're looking for a fancy but fun and challenging wad. So beware the demons, and don't let them drive you nuts.

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Grizzly

  

A worthy cacoward winner. The excellent use of GZDoom effects, music and mood lightning makes for a very athmospheric mapset. Would love to play more maps in this style!

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trrobin

  

Very nice GZDoom mapset with more strength/emphasis on creating a dark and moody atmosphere than on pure gameplay mechanics.

Well done lighting, with nice monster surprises and cruel traps to boot, and a Blade Runner-esque soundtrack running throughout.

Reminds me fondly of some of Dutch Devils best Zdoom maps.

Recommended.

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Bauul

  

A tense, smartly designed mapset that's absolutely dripping in atmosphere.  This basically feels like a Quake mapset (albeit much more colorful), and that's no bad thing.  Level are compact, moody, and make great use of GZDoom's 3D floors to give a sense of vertical space not found in most Doom maps. 

 

The mapset's atmosphere dovetails well with the gameplay: extensive use of colored dynamic lights against dark interiors, creepy custom ambient sounds and an extremely moody soundtrack compliment the close-quarters, high-stakes combat.  Apart from the final boss arena, you'll spend little time running full speed anywhere.  There are precious few wide open spaces, and YukiRaven much prefers to surprise and alarm the player with up-close ambushes of few monsters rather than giant battles.  

 

Whether you like this style of gameplay or not is entirely a personal preference.  Personally, I loved it, but I also played the wad on HMP, so perhaps experienced fewer of the annoyances other reviewers did (not nearly as many meat-shield Hell Archons for example).  For first time players, my advice would be to play with the lights off, headphones on, and take it slowly: lap up the atmosphere, read the intermission screens, and be ready to take things a little more cautiously than the usual Doom map.  Presuming that appeals to you, there's a lot to like here.

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Endless

  

Play this map a while ago and then I will make this clear with a few simple words:

 

 

It's unique, I've never tasted anything so exotic and fantastic. Incredible and outstanding, a masterpiece.

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YouAreTheDemons

  

Just like every other map. No amount of shiny visuals or shallow gameplay can make this thing anymore than what it really is: A boring gunfight that feels like every other boring gunfight out there. Nothing new, nothing different, not even a bit of creativity. Any pretense of originality is just window dressing for the same thing every other wad gives.

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Count651

  

A very flashy map set that sadly lacks a lot of substance. There's a lot to like here, but also a fair bit to dislike. The theme and aesthetics are nice if not a bit too dark and detailed at times, and I actually enjoyed the narrative. Lovecraftian themed wads and mods seem to be pretty popular lately, and with good reason. The music was pretty fantastic, I especially liked the E1M5 " Suspense " remake. The boss fight was also pretty interesting and fun, but it did tend to over stay its welcome.

 

Now to discuss what made the wad more of a bad experience than a good one sadly. What brought this map pack down for me the most was the lack of any fluid gameplay and some honestly very tedious custom enemies. A lot of time is spent camping doorways and thinning out the horde before you can enter a room. Once you clear the big baddies out and proceed into the room you can expect to do the same again, as every key and switch you press results in a very predictable monster ambush. The custom monsters for the most part were fine albeit a bit repetitive ( too many different lost soul-esque enemies that fly about and spit projectiles at you ). The biggest offender for me was the Hell Archon. This guy was a big meat wall that takes a lot of time and rockets to bring down. After the first couple encounters with him I had lost all interest in fighting him. Unfortunately for me, I had to deal with his tanky ass most of the time as a lot of scripted sequences in the map couldn't be completed until he was dead.

 

Pros:

 

-cool theme

-great atmosphere

-very pretty and colorful maps

-great soundtrack

-good boss fight concept

 

Cons:

-slow tedious gameplay

-repetitive maps

-irritating/unnecessary custom enemies

-boss fight last a little too long

 

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NuMetalManiak

  

great visuals and atmosphere, levels can actually be done quickly. custom monsters and ambushes are fine. I wish the boss map was a bit better to understand though, since I took like 15 minutes to figure out how to lower the barrier before figuring it out.

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MidnightMage

  

This was an incredibly immersive and excellently polished mapset! This is very visually striking and provides enough new content that it makes it feel like it's own game rather than just another Doom wad. 

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Zalewa

· Edited by Zalewa

  

What a bloody good map set. Excellent use of GZDoom visuals. The maps are atmospheric and gloomy, they have great architecture, there's good use of GZDoom features and high difficulty. Top WAD!

 

Multiplayer could be made to work if respawn scripts were present to reassign PlayerTID after player death.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Ordon · Posted
      well, the concept is good  BUT...   WHAT THE FUCK EVEN IS THIS??
    • By Cinnamon · Posted
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      There's not too much for me to say about this one. While it isn't exactly my jam 100% of the time, I'm struggling to see how any creative endeavor could entertain me so thoroughly, throughout all the 32 parts of it. Ancient Aliens is charming, somewhat challenging, mysterious, well-paced... I could iterate over plenty of different variations of lavish praise, but I guess that in and of itself describes my feelings: AA is remarkably well-rounded. A DOOM blockbuster - and I use that description as an honest compliment rather than the pejorative it's sometimes thought of. One for the ages, and it'll be one of the WADs to which many of my future experience will be compared.    
    • By VoanHead · Posted
      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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