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GULAG

   (25 reviews)
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About This File

A five-level wad for Heretic, incorporating numerous new graphics. The appearance of each level is quite different; there is no unifying theme except that the action takes place on a series of islands. If I could have figured out how to replace the end screens, (assuming it's possible with Heretic), I would have named the levels:

1) On the Beach 2) Subterranea 3) Skull Mountain 4) The Flying Dutchman 5) Circus Maximus

Three of the levels are quite large (Circus Maximus is over 700K); I have been told that Gulag plays "too choppy" on a 486, so the wad may require a Pentium, or similar processor, for smooth gameplay.


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Unknown date

  
Architecturally great. But new textures is motley, work with light is lame, gameplay, oriented on cave crawling with savegames is fault. **

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Unknown date

  
Great. I'm downloading this WAD for fourth time now :) Never gets boring. - Trollmann -

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Unknown date

  
BEST,BEST,BEST

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Unknown date

  
I didn't play all Heretic levels (How could I?) but this is simply the BEST I ever did play. Great style of mapping, big, really epic Levels, a Pwad you will never forget!

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Unknown date

  
epic boredom

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Unknown date

  
This is a great set of levels, with clever puzzles and game play with some tight fights. I love it. 5/5 Kristus.

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Unknown date

  
Amateurish. In the rough. 2 stars.

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Unknown date

  
Balanced gameplay, puzzles are tough but not too tough, an all around excellent WAD!

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Unknown date

  
Quite an adventure! 5/5

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Unknown date

  
Great! 5 stars! Awesome, well-detailed level design and new textures, very splendid. For those who like Eternal Doom, this is a must play! The levels are enormous with a lot of switch-hunting to confuse you :) and wtf 1997? that's quite nice for its time.

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Unknown date

  
Decent WAD you have here. The cave parts were boring and summed up to be relentless switch hunts while the later levels were wonderful. 4/5

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Unknown date

  
very good the caves aren't boring imo either

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Unknown date

  
I would say "Best Heretic WAD ever", but I don't have tested all Heretic WADs avaiable. The fact remains that I love this one, levels have an "Eternal-ish" style with their puzzles and triggers. I need more PWADs like this one ! Legendary for sure. 5/5. ~Naan

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Unknown date

  
The first level is epic, and then the second builds on it ever moreso. I don't like how you have to wait so long to get the Dragonclaw, same with the Hellstaff and the Phoenix Rod also. It's not designed for wand-starts in any level which is a let down, and the third level is truly infuriating as going back and forth between 5 floors all the time is time consuming and it gets very monotonous.

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  • File Reviews

    • By galileo31dos01 · Posted
      Done with these settings:   - GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4. complevel 9. - Ultra-Violence - Continuous combined with pistol start mindset. - Saves every 10 minutes or so.   Sweet literal flashback to Doom II, a set of fun maps of nice consistent quality. The story is comically lengthy, like nothing you'll usually expect to see in contemporary wads, and I took my time to read it (too tempting for tl;dr). It's fascinating how much thought the author put into something most players generally overlook, and in spite of recalling little of it, the plot starts after the incidents in Plutonia, scientists researching ways to prevent the resurgence of the Icon of Sin, but due to outdated technology, they sent the marine back in time to help to complete their work, once again. What I wasn't expecting is to find the initial map quite familiar (I didn't do my research, as you can see). These maps are re-imaginations of the iwad levels, but with a slightly different design perspective. Yes, techbases, sewers and miscellaneous man-made buildings are back, even the classic "O' of destruction", they constitute the first and longest episode, though in a more new-fashioned, higher quality way in terms of layout design. The later section is thematically hell, my favourite since the author combined darker shades of grey/brown rocky areas with classic hot red textures, giving it strong visuals. Part of the new music is remakes of classic tracks from the game, which accompany the journey in a nostalgic way. The rest go well in their spots, such as the "Hell" maps include one of the most quiet tracks I've ever heard, very nice. On another side, the new sound effects, which are supposedly enhanced versions of the original ones, were a welcome change in general, like the cyberdemon's death now sounds more explosive. There's a "clean" version out there without the added SFXs, if anyone dislikes them, not that they impact gameplay wise.   Much of the combat is alignments of incidental cleaning and classic setups corresponding to the map's slot, that means plenty of homages (super shotgun debut in map 02, the confined zombies at the start of map 04, the helpless spiderdemon under a crusher in map 06, the famous barons vs. cyberdemon infight simulator in map 08, the zombies closets in map 10, etc.), even though the maps aren't built around them. With a higher monster count than average, the levels are still far from grindy scenarios, any casual player can feel at home playing these maps, besides the difficulty peaks near the last entries. That is not say they lack strong opposition, but the balance is adapted to encourage exploration, and to be careful mostly with hitscanners and the occasional horde in tight quarters or special trap (like the dark corridors that turn into lava in map 13), while you experience flashbacks continually. The hell maps seem to be fresh design, perhaps some The Living End vague vibes in map 13, but a deviation from the homages, which is a nice change considering the start/exit connections from the first episode kind of wore out after a while. If something valuable to rescue from them, is that the author put health and/or ammo pickups for free, presumably for continuous players' commodity. To my surprise, the hell episode doesn't contain any single former human type, not that I missed them, they reappeared in the secret maps.   Secret-wise, on this side there's plenty of nice secrets to find. Not much like misaligned textures or fake walls, a sign of good variety which includes hidden switches in many ways, and generally easy to figure. A thing I noticed, players' possible major obstacle could be to find armor for free, specially pistol starters. If you don't see one anywhere, it'll most likely be hidden. For favourite maps, could be 12 and 13, though the techbases were fun too. I'd pick 14 up until the inopportune boss fight, but that's just a personal distaste towards that kind of gimmick.   Overall, thumbs up! I find it accessible to anyone looking for throwbacks maybe, or moderately easy maps with simple difficulty progression. I wonder how the other original levels would have been interpreted here, but I guess we'll never know, unless there's a sequel somewhere. Anyway, my rate is 8/10. 
    • By amackert · Posted
      A decent (if slightly dated) set of maps with a moderate level of difficulty for the majority of it. I played it twice recently on UV, both runs played continually. Both saw me enjoying a good portion of the wad, but on each run I left the experience irritated. I feel Map 26 is the true end to the wad, as Maps 27 through 29 are extremely drab, boring slogs that fail to continue the intensity introduced with Maps 25 and 26. Map 30's Icon of Sin fight is also tedious and a poor way to end things, essentially requiring SR50 for the first elevator. Had it not been for these issues (and an excruciatingly sluggish Map 20, but slightly less so on my second playthrough), I would have given the wad four stars. It's easy to see why this was seminal at one point in time, but wads in more recent years have far surpassed it in not only map complexity, but enemy diversity and overall map/wad pacing, among other things. It's most certainly not the greatest megawad ever made, but it's still worth playing.
    • By amackert · Posted
      Visually there is a ton of attention to detail which is always a treat to look at, and the actual map designs of the first four episodes are very well done. I enjoy the "new" monsters and some of the upgraded weapons, it definitely makes certain parts of it feel fresh compared to the typical wad. The challenge on UV was just right for me with few if any parts being too overwhelming. Overall it gets a 4/5 from me because I wasn't a big fan of the fifth episode set of maps, both thematically and gameplay-wise. Ammo starvation was real there in those last few maps which isn't a lot of fun to me, not to mention its too drastic of a change compared to how the rest of the wad plays. Also, thematically I feel like these end-game maps would have made a bigger splash as mid-game maps, not finale maps. Great idea with the final boss mix-up though, I enjoyed that. I do still prefer Ancient Aliens as a whole (a wad that I feel is much better balanced overall and is more interesting of an experience), but Valiant still comes highly recommended from me.
    • By hardcore_gamer · Posted
      I agree with BChricton78. Rather than being fun to play, this remake just highlights how massive of a difference good lightning and texturing makes to a level/game. I know this isn't the fault of the makers of this mod since they were merely remaking the original Doom 64 levels, but these levels frankly aren't very great when stripped of the improved Doom 64 graphics. So much in fact that it makes me wonder how important level layouts even are compared to other aspects of the visual presentation such as texturing, lightning and rendering.
    • By silentzorah · Posted
      Good stuff.  Only giving it four stars because though the new music was good, I just wish there was more of it.  Still, this wad is absolutely worth your time.
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