Done on HMP/continuous/saves.
Ever wondered what is that "slaughter" thing that everyone talks about?... Here it is! Well, a part of it, and if you are totally new to this genre, you came to the right place. This is a very fun wad in many aspects, not just the slaughter component but also visually, almost every map is placed in a different theme: starting from ruined techs entering to snowland, then arriving to a gothic fortress and, well more gothic/hellish environments, culminating into a massive dark underground (gothic of course) citadel, which has top notch detailing (and no, details do not interfere with gameplay, I assure you). I quite appreciated this variation, and I have to admit that hordes + gothic textures are a great combination. Plus, the soundtrack is amazing, some strong and some smooth tracks depending on the case, I particularly loved maps 08 and 12 midis as they are more quiet yet fitting.
The combat component is pretty consistent, usually offering hordes to slaughter in multiple ways, with a moderate demand of crowd control, trap-based or not. One of the most common ways to handle the situations Rush provide is via circlestrafing + infighting, periodically removing what gets in the way. I preferred the occasions in which you must shape the scenario to be able to control the herd, which required some quick reactions and movement skills. In terms of progression, save for maps 06 and 12 that are more complex, the maps are fairly linear and easy to understand. As far as monster placement goes, revenants can be nasty in this wad, in companion to hell knights for your typical infighting shows. Yeah, mid and high-tiers in the majority, and rare presence of former humans, leaving the hitscan action into your hands, and a few spiders scattered in the set. Plus, there's a new mancubus a bit tougher and creepier than the ordinary, not an outstanding addition but something to be alert of. Archi made good use of the areas to put pressure not only from the monsters on the ground but from a considerate number of turrets. He also didn't abuse of lock-ins, so don't be surprised if you can leave and camp behind a hole, but expect to find more stuff ready to punish you for cheesing. When it comes to my personal highlights, I share some of Alfonzo's ones, particularly his last point, that was hilarious as one second I was exploring all cool all relaxed and the next one I was running in panic on lava like oh shit!. I'll also add that part in map 10 where I was pushed against my will into a room with monsters on grandstands, it was so funny.
Secret-wise, they are the usual different/misaligned-texture with a power-up or weapon inside, but there are also secret telefrag chains to save ammo, and secret fights!. The most complex map (12) has the hardest-to-find ones, so pay attention.
For favourite maps I'll pick 01, 06, 10 and 12. Unfortunately the last one has a bug that prevented me from exiting, otherwise a gorgeous map. No disliked maps.
Overall, I found it pretty accessible to anyone with enough experience in the game, so give it a try, at least on HMP, it's fun and worth of replay. Of course, avoid it if you hate hordes, after all, it's not the author's fault if you don't take a second to read the description ("boom-compatible slaughterish maps", yeah it's pretty clear to me), or play something else... My rate is 8/10.
Four small, slightly surreal maps from Obsidian. Similarly styled, these are short, taught, oppressive experiences where you navigate around the small (often vertical) areas finding switches to expand the play-area. Each new lever introduces a new hostility to the area and requires a new strategy to beat. It's not a hugely dissimilar experience to the more creative constructions found in various Confinement wads.
What really lifts this mapset is an excellent adhesion to a strong, well-realized atmosphere. The maps give you the sense of being part of some strange experiment, with the small maps feeling at times like some kind of hellish test chamber. The music, textures, architecture and even difficulty settings all come together with strong cohesion, and lend the mapset a personality that's only emphasized with it's well-suited name: who are what Tink is remains an unanswered question, not helped by the slightly creepy final epilogue map.
Some of the fights don't flow quite as well as they could do thanks to the small play space, but overall a very enjoyable little collection.
Adorable is a word I'd agree with for this wad and will start my review with for the purpose of extending the power of the subliminal advertising here.
Unfortunately, this wad is small and limited in resources, so even trying to look at this in the light of wads that don't contain maps still has this wad coming up short. Would love to see the author take these assets, add some more, and learn about map design in the advanced GzDoom engine, as this has potential and it would be cool to explore some more areas with this going on.
Definitely give it a download and a quick look, if just for how cutesy it is :D
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.