At some point I thought "is this a jokewad"? Cause you enter a map and just in front of you you have the exit button, just like that. Some maps have some decent design, but the choice of monsters might not be the best, and nazis, why the need to put nazis on several maps?
Maps with 0 monsters, 0 secrets, just a freely exposed Romero head spawning monsters, a couple of maps are just you at the beggining in front of the Romero head, other maps are like "hey grab whatever weapons and ammo you can before Romero spots you".
Not bad for an early 1994 level to be honest. It isn't good, but not bad. Being a Wolf3d fan I don't mind long corridors in maps that much, although the decoration could have been better that's for sure. If you're into old maps and corridor-esque maps, give it a shot.
Partial truth in advertising - "This PWAD represents the combination of just 27 of some of the best levels I have found on the net." - maybe for a brief 6 month window in 1994. But compared to traditional/old school maps since, this selection would scrape through as a C- if you were grading school homework. Barely a pass. Mostly dull, bland and repetitive maps you have played elsewhere - maps you groan through and forget 2 seconds after you have finished them. Supreme ordinariness, nothing you ever want to see again. This is only of historical value. Not exactly enjoyable play. Nosireebob.
I'm not very good at reviewing so bear with me: If you want a quick and fairly easy WAD then this is for you. It starts out fairly easy as well as being fairly linear and than it gets harder as it goes on. It's also fairly short too as it took me about an hour or two to complete on UV difficulty in GZDoom using the Doom (strict) compat mode.
The new textures were a nice addition although they were only featured in the last few maps. There are a lot of switches and "rising structures" (floors & lifts) but the placement of them is decent so they aren't a nuisance. The switches open doors or activate lifts that are pretty much right in front of you or in an area that you've just past through so the maps aren't that confusing (which is a good thing).
The one thing that i did not like about this WAD was that the exits were not marked. I exited a few levels with only 50% or so of the map explored due to the exit just being a normal looking switch. In a map that has quite a few switches that activate doors and lifts, you need the exit too look different or at least have an exit sign above it imo.
I did notice a few misaligned textures but tbh that's normal for 1994. Also, there are different sounds for weapons and some monsters as well that kind of annoyed me. I don't usually mind sound replacements and i know that a lot of early maps had them but this one just really got on my nerves at times. You'll hear GROOVY! a lot and it's not as cool sounding as Duke Nukem saying it, even though it is the actual sound clip from Evil Dead 2 (i believe).
Other than that this E1 replacement played alright for a '94 mapset, having decent layouts and monster placements. I give it 3 1/2 stars mainly because of the exit issue that really bugged me and the sound replacement not being my favorite.
[Oh btw, i played continuous. I tried playing pistol start only on a few maps but i just couldn't do it. I'm not sure if it's possible tbh. Maybe some of the weapons are hidden in secrets because i often found ammo in levels for some but not the weapon for it.]