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Icarus: Alien Vanguard

   (163 reviews)
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About This File

Icarus is a whole new set of 32 DOOM II levels from TeamTNT. It is now available on ftp.cdrom.com and its mirrors. See below for the exact path.

Icarus has 32 levels that are excellent for single and cooperative play, but we didn't forget the Deathmatchers of the world, either!

We've taken extra steps to make sure that every level is an exceptional Deathmatch level so that after you're done playing it alone, you can go through Icarus again and waste your buddies. Some maps have special features, and others reduce the level size for Deathmatch. In all cases, though, you'll know we had Deathmatch in mind when we made Icarus. And no more days of filtering through all the junky DM levels on the 'net.


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roadworx

  

while i will admit that there's some genuinely good maps in here, the majority of icarus: alien vanguard is very 'meh'. maps that i'd consider to be good or bad are in a rather small minority, with the vast majority of the megawad being comprised of mediocre, rushed maps that are visually bland and fairly mundane gameplay-wise. even for the standards of the time, i'd say that a lot of these maps are outshined by their contemporaries; there's a multitude of maps of that era both more visually appealing and more fun to play. it's because of this that its rushed development is quite apparent when playing through the maps.

 

however, despite this, there are some gems to be found in here. some of the maps in the set are much more competently made than the rest, and they stick out like a sore thumb. unfortunately, if you're planning to play the wad front-to-back, most of them only appear in the second half. it's a shame, because if the entire megawad was of this quality then i would've really enjoyed it. what i will say though is that the number of good maps is higher than the number of downright terrible ones, so icarus does have that going for it.

 

one positive aspect of the megawad that i have to mention is how great its music is. icarus has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack full of distinct songs that, while not saving the maps from being mediocre, does help immensely with giving each map a unique identity. some of them - especially that of map08, which sounds like it was ripped straight from 1975 - don't fit with doom in the slightest, but they still help to break the monotony and are still great to listen to. the entire ost has a distinct sound to it as well, one that i haven't ever heard anywhere else. even if you don't wanna play the wad, i highly encourage you to at least listen to some of the songs in it.

 

overall, icarus really isn't that great. i wish i had more positive things to say about it as many people do find it to be quite good, but i simply don't see what many others do in it. for the most part it's rather mediocre with a few highlights to go along with it, and doesn't hold up as well as many of its contemporaries have. with that being said, i do still encourage to anyone reading this to at the very least check out the second half of the wad as it has the highest concentration of decent maps, and has far less of the bland silver spaceship theming that icarus tends to be associated with.

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Kloki38

· Edited by Kloki38

  

A rather disappointing wad for me.  I have to say, that almost everything Icarus tried to achieve Hell to Pay did better (H2P was published the same year and takes place in space too)  and more consistent.  Icarus has a new music and graphics, which are okay.  The maps on the other hand are a mixed bag - some of them are quite nice for their time, but most of them suffer from serious flaws like:

 

*keys in secret areas (why ?!)

*non-hidden secrets

*bland, occasionally dumb design (big, empty rooms with no details whatsoever, like a wad from 1994, big 4 mancubus sized closet trap with ONE spectre inside on UV))

*bland and inappropriate texturing (especially in case of using Doom 2´s stock textures)

*unbalanced difficulty

 

It´s not a terribe wad, but from the creators of Evilution I was expecting something better with at least the same level of quality as Evilution.

 

2/5

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Argenteo

  

Awesome music! Cool plot, fun gameplay. Team TNT rocks.

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Gottfried

·

  

I got mixed feelings about this WAD. My biggest problem with Icarus is the inconsistency. There are some really nice new decals and aesthetically pleasant levels, but also kilometers of empty walls and other levels that makes you feel like walking through empty warehouse. There are very entertaining and challenging room fights, but also dull levels that can be completed in few minutes. Difficulty is very unbalanced, too - some levels are joke even on UV, others will give even seasoned Doomer few wrinkles. Intriguing secrets, but also not-secrets secrets. List goes on, all-in-all, I can't recommend Icarus, but it shouldn't be disaster to give it a try either.

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Hellektronic

  

I'd have to say this is a pretty creative one for Doom 2, its hard with lots of enemies, kind of plays like a direct sequel to Doom 2 in a lot of ways. One thing I will say is that the puzzles are hard to figure out, and might take you awhile to solve (use your map). The music is fantastic though, you don't really miss the classic music, and it's engaging to gameplay.

 

I will say though, like Doom 2 or Plutonia, ultraviolence is pretty brutal and isn't for everyone. You will get swarmed by absurd amounts of monsters at times, and they'll give you a beating, but it's doable. I'd say the puzzles will snag you more than the monsters, level 2 is a real humdinger, lol.

 

But, it's a big improvement over wads like Perdition's Gate, the mapping style is pretty creative. I give it 5/5, just so people will try it out.

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MuratMikal

  

Bad megawad. Most of maps are medium/heavy puzzle oriented with focus on exploration gameplay rather than combating, which is not my cup of tea. Also, the combat is way too boring with most maps having lower monster count.
 

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P41R47

·

  

I really liked the free alternative to TNT: Evilution.
Icarus: Alien Vanguard is a totally different monster but somehow similar, made by the same monster team.
This lacked a proper dehacked patch with custom text, but @NightFright made a neat fix for that, telling a compelling story that is really entertaining to play.
The maps are amazing. The best maps here are far better than Evilution's best maps. The bad ones here, are just bad Doom 2 level maps, so there is little to be really bad all in all.
But, Icarus had the same little ill as Evilution had, last ten maps completely drags the experience. At least, this maps are better than the ten last from Evilution.

Team TNT has shown that not only are good mappers, they also are good storytellers and that, in a game like Doom, is something to be proud of. And they achive this even working non stop to release this before Evilution hit the streets, so, even if some maps feel a little rushed, they are great!
The soundtrack is a key element here. Bringing an awesome personallity to this outstanding mapset full of neat ideas.

Thanks team TNT for this amazing megawad.  

 

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[RETRO]Fulgore101

  

This wad is good,story is epic,soundtracks are great and design is good?

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Erick

·

  

So with many old classic WADs not aging so well or have their gameplay styles improved by modern WADs or even WADs that came only a few years later since their initial release, I begin wondering on how TeamTNT's other megawad, Icarus: Alien Vanguard, hold up today. Of course it's hard to not bring up TNT: Evilution when bringing up Icarus so I'll try to focus on Icarus in of itself for the most part. I played through with ZDoom 2.8.1 on Ultra-Violence with no freelook, jumping, crouching, etc.

 

First things first, the levels in Icarus are far more consistent than that of TNT: Evilution. As much as I like TNT: Eviltuon, the levels in Icarus carry a consistent theme with them (for the most part) and they all feel put together with a design flow in mind rather than a random compilation of levels. The worst levels of Icarus aren't as bad as they seem, and given that most levels are short and quick in action, you won't feel so dreaded on a level that seemingly drags on. There are some exceptions, some levels are longer and more difficult than others, and there's the occasional "where do I go" kind of level, but for the most part, you can play this WAD casually and enjoy it for what it offers.

 

Much like TNT: Evilution, Icarus experiments with some of its levels, MAP20 has one part of the level be an upside mirror or an earlier part of the level, only now you walk on the "ceilings" instead of the "floor", and MAP24 includes the ghost monsters bug as an intentional part of the map, there's even a small tutorial on the start of the map to tell you how to kill them, quite nice. My personal favorite levels are MAP11 and MAP22, but there are some other levels in Icarus that have a good variety of levels, both visually and gameplay-wise. Some textures do use the same textures over and over, especially silver textures early on, but they don't distract too much from the WAD, if anything it benefits some of the levels instead.

 

There's also a full complete soundtrack, with every level having their own unique track, compared to Evilution's smaller soundtrack that uses the same tracks for multiple levels. The music helps in making some of the worse levels more fun to slaughter though, MAP31 being my favorite out of the bunch, it builds quite an atmosphere for a level that I wouldn't expect to have any. All in the all, the music is great, but knowing TeamTNT, that is to be expected.

 

Regardless, Icarus is also pretty flawed, and some little annoyances can ruin a level. One of the notable examples like MAP20 have this lift that has a very tight space to stand on and very little room to straferun to the floor to enter that teleporter to leave the upside down area of the map. You can't stand on the lift for too long as then your head will supposedly hit the ceiling and the lift will go down again. It took me far long than it should to just get up that lift but because of how it worked, it ended up making an alright map to one I don't want to play without thinking about noclipping next time I play it. Some maps seem promising but end up not being so great or even frustrating to play. MAP18 didn't have much to offer other than a ton of Barons and Hell Knights in a big crate room with a Cyberdemon at the end (also a map-breaking error with the yellow key apparently). The two secret levels, MAP31 and MAP32, were pretty disappointing and were lacking compared to the main levels, with large spaces yet not so many enemies to nor much to look at.

 

The final map is the weakest map out of the bunch, but I guess that's expected. Anyways, the final map is your usual Icon of Sin boss level, and it doesn't seem so bad until you find out that you can just run all away to the other side of the map, shoot a switch, and shoot a target and kill the boss in less than 30 seconds. Not even any kind of lift like Doom 2's final map, you can stand where you are no problem as it is. It's strange how despite having three people making the map, it felt like it was made in five minutes by just one person.

 

Flaws aside, Icarus is still a good WAD to play and managed to age well (to me) despite some design choices that won't appeal to everyone. There are some bugs (like the one mentioned for MAP18) and some maps having inaccessible secrets (MAP15's shotgun secret), but for the most part, you can play Icarus problem free. Funny how I didn't liked Icarus initially and after this playthrough it became one of my favorite megawads to play through. Overall, Icarus is solid and still worth playing through.

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seed

· Edited by Agent6

  

Alright, another wad finished (moments before writing this), played through GZDoom 3.2.5 in Software.

 

So what do I think? Well it's damn good in my book. The gameplay is solid and fun for the most part, not very challenging though, and the levels are consistent in general, except perhaps MAP15 which is my least favorite due to the confusing design and the fact that it's a simply boring level (and ugly). Another one would be MAP18 "Cargo Bay", a rather simple and tricky level, but which offers very little and apparently also suffers from a game-breaking bug, the first time I played the map the yellow door was inaccessible even with all the switches pulled, I had to restart the level, after which it was fine. The tech based levels rely mostly on simple gray-ish textures, but they all look pretty good in general. 

 

Being made by TeamTNT it's unavoidable to answer the question "How does it compare to Evilution?" And my answer is that, overall it is superior, even the bad levels. TNT was much more experimental and it didn't handle non tech based levels very well, and the maps that sucked, sucked really, really bad, whereas this one does a much better job, my favorite maps being MAP14 "Fortress of Evil" and MAP19 "Blessed Are the Quick" . Despite being well balanced most of the time, there are some maps which do troll the player, MAP16 "Bootcamp" being one such offender. A Cyberdemon in a very cramped space? How about no, I preferred to run away.

 

There are also some dumb design decisions in some levels, for instance, in MAP20 "War Temple" you have to take a lift to access a teleport which takes you back to the starting area. Now the problem is that, that lift is very small and in its middle is a red pillar which makes the movement and entering the aforementioned area very, very difficult, and for no reason. But, it's poor choices such as this that can ruin the entire experience, an otherwise very good map which is also challenging. Other bad maps, despite actually looking nice, have, well, absolutely terrible gameplay, one such example being MAP28 "Excavations". As good as it seemed to be initially when I looked through a window back at the starting area, I was quickly let down. There's a sheer amount of enemies in this map overall, but the area to the right of the starting zone that is reached through a short section of tunnels is the worst by far. It becomes infested by Cacodemons and Pain Elementals which will teleport immediately after killing the only Shotgun Guy there, and all you can do is hide in the tunnels and use a powerful weapon of your choice to obliterate the large wave of enemies, I used the BFG. This is nothing but detestable... why? Well, I understand that it is supposed to be challenging and catch you off guard, this area makes it very obvious that it's nothing less than a nasty trap, but there's a night and day difference between challenge and poor gameplay, just like the Cyberdemon in Bootcamp, those are obstacles which only serve as a means of artificially increasing the difficulty and not making the player do something intelligent to beat the area, or map, and contribute to frustration.

 

The final map is unusually easy, quite possibly the easiest I've played to this day, needing to destroy a reactor this time around but since the area is very large everything goes very smooth and you don't even have to bother with the enemies at all. In fact, I daresay it's not challenging at all.

 

The music in this wad is solid, there's not much else I can say about it, TeamTNT surely has a good ear for quality music which helps creating the overall atmosphere of the levels.

 

I have only ever run into one but major bug (see the second paragraph), but beside that, no other technical issues encountered. All things considered, I very much enjoyed this. It could've been a little better, yes, but it's solid for the most part, so I give it 4 stars.

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Spie812

  

TeamTNT's second effort at a megawad. Overall, I like this a bit more than Evilution, being less hit-or-miss as far as general level quality goes. Icarus has its own share of poor and experimental maps (Map08, Map12, Map24 for example), mostly in the 'simulation' category, but the good parts more than make up for that in my opinion.

 

There are definitely some must-play maps here. Map01 has stunning effects for its age, even more impressive coming from the creator of Habitat. Map23 and Map27 are fun, probably the highlights of E3. Map20 has you pass through a cleverly designed arena twice where the second time it's flipped upside-down. The list goes on.

 

Also, the soundtrack is fantastic. The statement didn't really fit anywhere else in this review but it should definitely be said.

 

Overall, Icarus has its ups and downs. If you are the sort of person who hates Evilution, you probably won't like this either. Otherwise, it is an excellent WAD for its age and is definitely worth at least a try. 4.5/5

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galileo31dos01

· Edited by galileo31dos01

  

Done on HMP/continuous/saves.

 

Thematically is interesting, you must grab the red keycard in order to exit each level. Exit rooms are built the same in every map, which is cool. Visually, it has some interesting ideas, like kitchens, ping pong tables, a graveyard with the names of the creators of this wad. Planet maps were the nicer imo. But there are also maps with bland visuals and too many long corridors.

 

Music is cool. Difficulty is mostly easy, some maps like maps 18 and 28 have tricky traps as well as tough monster placement. It really doesn't look hard to replay on UV/pistol-start, though I'll admit there were several maps where I didn't have much fun. Map 24 and its ghost chaingunners can [insert curse]. Also not very convinced of secret placement in general, a lot of "wall-hunting" ones, there were even untaggable or unreachable secrets. Not that the rewards were bad, many BFG/megasphere/berserk ones that were fine.

 

Overall, for a 90s wad, I think there is some good material to see how people used to map before. Between so so/ok/good wad for me, I'll give this 6/10.   

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Spectre01

  
This wad's pretty bad, even compared to something like Evilution. Lame custom textures, very rough map geometry and some really crappy gameplay. 1/5 for some good music.

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DonnieDark

  
I appreciate what they tried to do here as far as story goes and new textures are always welcome but its rather lack luster even for its time. 2 stars for effort and new resources.

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Guest

  
Enjoyable for the most part, until you reach some cryptic as fck puzzles where you're not sure where to look or go.

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JudgeDeadd

  
A somewhat uneven mapset. Unlike other megawads it contains mostly short, quick levels, which I appreciate. On the average, most maps have not aged well, and despite some interesting moments the gameplay isn't that good, and the looks (maybe apart from map29) are very noticeably out of date, especially these garish colorful textures and the bareness of it all (the all-silver map07 comes to mind). Not as great as other releases from that era (Memento Mori for instance.)

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Guest

  
really ugly mapset, shawn-fest walls, uninspired and boring gameplay

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NuMetalManiak

· Edited by NuMetalManiak

  

Icarus for some reason gets more flak the more and more modern we go, but as far as presentation goes, it fares far better than the contemporaries in the Memento Moris and such. the levels are fairly easy and many lack challenge, but there's usually at least one gimmick per map. helping matters is the separation of ship, planet, and simulation maps, and as one can guess, the simulation ones are the most gimmicky. but let's not rule the others out too. while maps like Flipside, Asylum, and Prestidigitation bring out the cool simulation gimmicks, the ship levels have their own too. highlight would be MAP24 with its ghost monster usage, living quarters, DoomCute done right basically. while Donnybrook (MAP08) a planet level works well enough for a difficult key puzzle. plus there's the restaurant level which is a perfect example of DoomCute as well as a decent fortress map in MAP14. there's a few bullshit moments like MAP12's starting point and the one lift out of the upside-down temple in MAP20. however, most of the maps have decent accessibility to everything. most maps are short too, so you'd hardly notice the bad ones as actually bad. the music tracks are rather weird, specifically Jonathan El-Bizri's tracks along with JDoyle's. no matter how much this gets shat on at times this is still a very accessible and replayable megawad that proves to be quite friendly to speedrunners.

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Guest

  
Pretty good in my book.

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Guest

  
Action was a bit too sparse and lacking for my tastes, but aside from that it's a pretty okay megaWAD.

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Guest

  
Mmm, no. Evilution had way too many samey generic techbase maps, with plenty of them even being obnoxious with the corridors/tunnels. I can only recall two-three maps suffering this problem in Icarus. Icarus displayed more thematic variety with the levels, with a decent number of concept maps to keep things from getting boring. Music also displayed a greater sense of composing skills. Evilution did offer a more challenging experience, on the other hand. But meh.

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Guest

  
^Because Evilution has maps that IMO are quite strong in most if not all aspects while this wad has comparatively fewer maps that could be considered that way. Sure some of the most rotten stuff in TNT is worse than Icarus, but TNT is a wad I can definitely recommending at least cherry picking several good maps from and just ignoring the rest if you please. Icarus, on the other hand, my 'cherry pick' list isn't as big. Meh, but +1 star for its age and a good soundtrack.

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Guest

  
I honestly don't know how people could prefer TNT over this. TNT was a mixed bag, and suffered some of the same issues MM1 had. Icarus on the other hand has a nicer concept, and better overall pacing. Some maps may not be that aesthetically pleasing, but gameplay is still fun overall. Only complaint is that it rarely goes above being a moderate challenge.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Man, this looks (and plays!) dated. Maybe at the time... But eh, I played it these days. :-P 2 stars for the effort. -FD

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Don't like it that much.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Arrowhead · Posted
      Great '94 map. Don't be discouraged by the seemingly impossible scenario the map starts your w/! There is a secret area that will allow you to activate a crusher that'll kill the cacos in the first room.   Once you get past that first tense section, the map really opens up. There are some toughish fights in this map, but nothing too frightening - due to the lack of Doom 2 monsters.   The gameplay in this one is superb, check it out! Really surprising how well put together it is, seeing as this one came out before Doom 2 did!
    • By Thrustpeak · Posted
      Good tunes, cool visuals, fun gameplay.
    • By Arrowhead · Posted
      A very detailed (but nearly microscopic) techbase map.   The detailing is quite good - truly feels like a real place.   Gameplay wise, the map is too small to offer much of a challenge. It took me under 3 minutes to UVMAX. I enjoyed what was here, but really wanted to see more.   3/5
    • By Arrowhead · Posted
      Decent map w/ a lot of symmetry - but that's to be expected from a WAD based on a real place.   I took it upon myself to look the library up on Google Maps, and you can definitely see what the author was going for architecturally - the library in this map is pretty close visually to the one in real life! It even has the little cube sculpture out front!   Doom isn't the best medium to recreate real places, but it does an adequate job here. In terms of gameplay, the map is very easy! One should have no problem beating this map on UV. The most difficult part of this map is its navigation. It is a little bit of a switch-hunt.   Monster placement is surprisingly good for a map of this type.   Check the map out, and then look it up on Google Maps! You'll definitely see the resemblance! :)
    • By Arrowhead · Posted
      A bit of a cramped map, but there are many fun fights to see here. This is one of those maps w/ very little room to run around. You better be able to dodge revenant fireballs in close quarters if you are to have success here. This map isn't too difficult, but it is a fair challenge. I'd say it'd be a 6/10 on the difficulty scale today.   There is some mean archvile placement in this map, too. A lot of fights involve hit and run tactics, as there isn't nearly enough room to circle-strafe in this map. Because one can't circle-strafe, the map is far more difficult.   There is one absolutely great trap involving a dark corridor near the end of the map. I don't want to spoil it, as its quite a 'scary' section of the map.   I recommend you play w/ a port that supports MAPINFO, as there is a message at the end of the WAD when you win.   Great map from the early 2000s. Check it out!
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