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Not Jabba

Not Jabba's Not the Cacowards Review Corner (Return to Daro)

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1 minute ago, DuckReconMajor said:

Oh my god playing this made me so happy. I spent like a minute petting the doggy

Me too!

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Posted (edited)

We need more mods that are like Kill 'em With Kindness. 

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Great review, too bad that this map never seen the light of an official release on idgames... thanks for digging out this great (in all senses) map!

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Great reviews! Discovered many cool maps I missed somehow, thanks!

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the kind words and review of my maps, @Not Jabba. I'm always happy when people find some joy in my creations - especially the older stuff.

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Thank you for the review, finding out the vanilla limits and how to get around them, and also working with the classic themes was really such a joy to work with at the time. Im glad some of that fun is present when people play the set

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Much appreciated for an another review, Not Jabba! One thing I have to point out is that the link gives you the idgames page of Slaughterfest 3, instead of SlaughterMAX. Since the wad is not on idgames yet, I suggest you to link this thread on Doomworld. And for those who want to see the UV-Max playthrough of it, I actually recorded the viddump of my demo for the updated version a couple of days ago. Keep in mind that the amount of monsters is increased to 32k, and sorry about the lack of the background music; somehow, my -viddump parameter on PrBoom+ doesn't record the music for some reason:

 

Spoiler

 

 

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Oops, guess I was grabbing those links too fast and got the megawads mixed up. Fixed.

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Posted (edited)

Black Room by @Paul977

 

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Ever since Paul977 debuted in 2017 with Disciples of Darkness, a set of four tightly balanced gauntlet maps backed by chill midis, he has been taking large sheafs out of Death-Destiny's playtome of aesthetic and combat flair. Other influences -- Malcom Sailor, Erik Alm -- are weaved into his choruses of violence, but D-D looms above all as the conductor in spirit. Imitation so brazen is bold. Fail, and the work will be looked on by future generations with a matronly air of 'ahh cute; rough but everyone has to start somewhere!' But Paul977 does not fail. While D-D was a visionary, his polish left room for improvement: on the visual front, rough concourse; on the gameplay front, occasionally common 'harsh gotchas the first time, simple escape-and-wins thereafter'. And with 10 additional years of models to draw from, the bar has been raised for everyone. So here we are.

 

Rare exceptions aside, the Difficult Maps industry has generally disavowed the bright, cheery techbases of Doom 1 descent. Instead, we're much more likely to see 'darkbases' -- the familiar assets and furnishings bent into familar shapes, but with a grimy underbelly, a broken heart. The 2010s has fallen in love with color coding, and Black Room's signature highlight is blue, offset by black and brown and occasional white. Inside, monster placement is guided as much by function as an artful touch. No deployment is taken for granted; there is a joyous mix of closets, within-map warps, traditional teleports, and pop-ups; monsters facing you, monsters deigning you with their waggling posteriors; monsters active, monsters frozen; surprises, cards laid on the table. A defining quality of Black Room's pace is the freedom to set your own. Take each fragment as you're given, and at times under the midi whistle, trekking through silence or fighting a lone monster, the mood is downright soothing. But the typical fight has a lot of give to it. Tough, but often manageable. Tidy, and often sparse. Coming to understand the inner workings of an area gives the freedom to melt two or sometimes more pieces together to your advantage. Escape is gated but not barred, so those brave enough to leave cybies alive can skip cleanup and come back with a BFG. Though not a truly great map -- that called for a memorable showpiece fight or two, a more fully realized (perhaps Elysion-like) setting with greater visual variety, and some other X-factor -- it certainly is a good one. Difficulty settings included, play on UV at your own risk, see your doctor immediately if midi loops for more than four hours. 

Edited by rdwpa

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Thanks a lot for the awesome review and pics, Not Jabba! :)

I'm glad that you've enjoyed both Moonblood and Exomoon!

Both wads ended being targeted to specfic playerbase (especially Moonblood), which I hope I can expand in my next works.

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7 minutes ago, Not Jabba said:

just ask @Nine Inch Heels, and she'll regale you with tales of why the Cacoward-winning Miasma is the one map you should choose to have with you when you're stranded on a desert island.

My inbox is gonna love this. ;-)

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@Not JabbaAny future plans to cover these from 2018?

 

Team Rocket

Deathless

Pumpkin Hell

Tangerine Nightmare

Demonic Deviation

Sons of Ares

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7 minutes ago, FrancisT18 said:

Pumpkin Hell

Tangerine Nightmare

 

Do I smell a special halloween edition? ;)

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1 hour ago, FrancisT18 said:

@Not JabbaAny future plans to cover these from 2018?

 

Team Rocket

Deathless

Pumpkin Hell

Tangerine Nightmare

Demonic Deviation

Sons of Ares

 

Just Tangerine Nightmare and Deathless, and I'll try to write one for Breathless as well if I can't find a guest reviewer for it. TN is currently claimed by a guest reviewer.

 

Sorry about the rest -- there's only so much I can do, and I'm definitely curating the selection somewhat even though it extends well beyond what's gotten awards. I probably won't cover very many speedmap sessions/compilations, or many non-selective community projects, but there can always be some exceptions.

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Worth noting that Tourniquet had a map after Altitude in Slaughtermax, that i guess got ignored like the rest of the wad for map28 ;P

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You are not Jabba. I'm not Jabba either. I don't know who Jabba must be but I do know that I'm enjoying reading those reviews. Glad to have stumbled upon this.

Its nice to have some sort of a continuation to the newstuff in this way, to wich I used to look forward almost every week back in the day. 

 

Nice to see someone shining light to wads that would otherwise be mostly overlooked and left in the dark. Didn't knew about most of those in this thread until now. And they're all stunners!

 

 

 

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Demonic Deviation and Sons of Ares aren't community wads or speedmaps, but it doesn't matter, I really enjoy these even if it isn't completely thorough. :) While not true of the last couple (since Moonblood), many wads covered on this thread also are ones I may have easily forgotten about given they're not just 'more work by a Cacoward or runner up recipient'.

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Doomguy Gets a Puppy by @Big Ol Billy

 

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Doomguy Gets a Puppy is the debut map of Big Ol' Billy, who has become best known as the standout mapper at the heart of the DBP series. There are a few other solid mappers in the DBP cadre, but I don't mind saying that as a rule of thumb, the quality of any given mapset in the monthly community project series is largely dependent on the extent to which Billy is involved in it. His style is distinctive and might best be described as extremely creative '90s camp -- standard classic Doom gameplay at heart, but wrapped up in such oddball thematic ideas, and with such attention to telling its own bizarre story, that it takes on a life of its own. A tour through croquet-themed symbolism, a lethal gladiatorial game based on the '90s Nickelodeon series Legend of the Hidden Temple, a fearsome scramble around a hellish spiral with shifting geometry, a mining colony in space ruined by capitalism -- well, I can tell you more about his 2019 maps another time, perhaps.

 

The premise of Doomguy Gets a Puppy is that you were about to adopt the cutest Yorkshire terrier in France, Imelda Barkos, who was to fill the empty space in your heart left by Daisy's death, but then she was kidnapped by demonic pet shop owners. M. and Mme. Poulet were apparently a Spider Mastermind and a Cyberdemon all along, and they've secreted your beloved dog away in their well-guarded mansion. You know what to do, though.

 

Although the map is generally pretty moderate, the start can be a bit tricky, as you'll have no safe footing until you can find your way past either the Mastermind who runs the mansion or a room full of zombies, at which point you can start to carve out your foothold and gather more resources. The start doesn't pull punches, deploying Revenants and Mancubi right away in order to push you to get the lay of the land and discover the camping Mastermind who serves as one of your main goals. You can fight it at any time, at least once you've got the armaments and munitions to take it on, though you'll probably want to get it to wreak some havoc among its own minions first. Once you've dealt with initial threats, it's fairly comfortable to push through the rest of the mansion and caves to clear out the remaining opposition, though there are a couple of evil surprises along the way. Make sure to pry the blue key out of the Mastermind's cold, dead foot bumpers and find the secret blue doors, which house mysterious potions that will "cause Doomguy to confront his deepest hopes and fears about pet ownership."

 

The other crux of the map is the gardens, where you'll find your furry companion and then hold your ground against waves of opposition before you can get through to the exit. Note that when you pick up Imelda Barkos, she serves as a chainsaw replacement -- I daresay you won't want to use her against the main fight in the garden's center, but the map conveniently provides a wave of Pinkies and a wave of Spectres on the way out, so she can still take out her pent-up aggression and express her devotion to you by biting off your enemies' faces. All in all, this is a really fun little map in which you'll probably come for the bizarre story but stay for the pleasantly active fights and interesting design quirks. So far, I think it's Big Ol' Billy's only solo release, but hopefully we'll see more.

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Thanks @Not Jabba this was a great flashback for me. In case anyone wonders, the “Lil’ E” credited in various places (including in a secret in the map itself) is my girlfriend, who mostly wrote the story and sat beside me during the many nights I spent making this map. I think it all started when she joked that I should build her a castle, and I said I would—in Doom. Great memories! Hopefully I’ve progressed in some ways since as a mapper, but there’s a lot of love and joy in this little map :)

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Editorial note:

The following reviews are all reposted from The /newstuff Chronicles. It's kind of funny looking back on my old reviews and seeing how I could have written things better or added more depth, or places where my biases were showing against certain kinds of maps that I've since learned to appreciate more as I've played a ton of stuff, tried to understand it from the proper perspective, and broadened my horizons more. I feel like this batch of reviews in particular is very short, and that's probably because I was getting a bit burned out on /newstuff at that time. I don't think I really did justice to these, especially Templum Dormiens Dei. Templum is a great Heretic map, and I would recommend it enthusiastically to anyone who likes the game, or thinks they don't. It's good with vanilla gameplay, but it's also one of the very best maps I've played with The Wayfarer's Tome.

 

It's also worth noting in hindsight that Travelling to the Moon is the prequel to Man on the Moon, an even more awesome map that was a 2018 Cacoward runner-up.

 

 

 

Templum Dormiens Dei by Stormwalker aka Vordakk

 

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You've probably figured out by now that I'm one of the Six Fans of Heretic, and a new release for one of the Raven IWADs is always a treat, especially if it's really well done. Stormwalker has made some pretty cool Heretic wads in the past (Dark Deity's Bastion and Call of the Apostate), but Templum Dormiens Deity is probably their best work so far.

 

First off, the level looks really nice, and it gets a ton of mileage out of what I'm pretty sure is nothing but stock textures. There's a great contrast between large outdoor areas and atmospheric, slightly claustrophobic indoor sections. The lighting is excellent and sets the mood of a dungeon crawl whenever you leave the brighter outdoor areas behind. The music is also well chosen and adds a lot to the atmosphere (and it's by Kevin Schilder, so it fits Heretic like a glove -- must be from one of Raven's later 3D games).

 

The map feels very exploratory, and slow-paced in a good way. I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about Heretic in terms of how to speed up or vary the pacing, but TDD proves that the feeling of slowly carving your way through an imposing enemy bastion, hunting for loot and watching for enemies in every shadow, is very much what Heretic is set up to excel at. To make things even more interesting, there are three new monsters (the Medusa from Hexen 2, a stationary turret gem, and the flying wizards that were used in Strange Aeons), all of which have low health like typical Heretic monsters but have attacks that are more difficult to dodge. There's also a final boss that throws a variety of attacks at you, including some that reduce player stats such as speed. Stormwalker has even found interesting ways to use the regenerating explosive pods, both as a legitimate part of combat and to set up deadly gantlets (in combination with crushers) between you and some useful gear or an important switch.

 

Templum Dormiens Dei is a large level that takes a solid half hour to play, and it's worth every second. I've played it, and Stormwalker has obviously played it, so that's at least four fans still unaccounted for. You know who you are -- don't miss it!

 

 

 

Travelling to the Moon by @Yugiboy85

 

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Traveling to the Moon is a very large (around 50 minutes to beat) lunar base level in the vein of Valiant E5, but decked out in the CC4 texture set. The map is stunning to look at, with plenty of panoramic views, gorgeous spot lighting, and lots of those cool scrolling forcefield effects that always seem to be at the heart of CC4-tex maps. The whole thing is set to a great laid-back electronica OGG track (at least if you're playing in ZDoom; the textfile makes it sound like Boom players are treated to Jimmy's "Voyage 1," my all-time favorite Doom MIDI), and although the music and the pulsing lights make you want to trance out, the action rarely gives you a break.

 

This map is very challenging. As you explore around the non-linear central base area, you'll face a lot of what I'm going to call incidental combat on steroids: moderate monster density, plenty of roaming hitscanners, and smallish ambushes at just about every turn. The toughest action takes place in the three peripheral keycard arenas, two of which feature rather elegant slaughter-level battles and one of which has a pair of slightly smaller fights instead. After you collect all three keys (in any order), you open up a final arena for a really impressive multi-stage horde battle that includes several Cyberdemons. There are two things I like about the slaughter-type battles in this map that help bring them down more toward the average player's skill level. First, most of them let you feel out the arena and gather all your ammo before you trigger the enemies via the obvious and ominous switches. Second, the hordes all contain a ton of fodder enemies, making them really fun to blast apart with the rocket launcher (which is easily the favored weapon for this map, as there's a ton of rocket ammo all over). Unless you're an invincible Doom god who demands the utmost difficulty, this map on UV should be a pretty nice balance for just about any experienced player who's looking for a challenge. The one thing that can be irritating at times is the abundance of hitscanners, though they can also be very helpful for infighting purposes.

 

Traveling to the Moon isn't just fun, it's inspiring -- everything from the architecture to the combat hits the spot. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

Uplink by @Katamori

 

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Uplink is a set of three maps that take place almost entirely in a CC4-skinned cyberspace. This type of setting has been done before (most recently, to my knowledge, in the last few levels of Mutiny), but Katamori's execution is pretty unique. Blue and silver are the primary colors, and the author has focused on complex architectural structures and simple (non-annoying) maze-like environments that call to mind the shapes of circuitry. The maps all do a great job of conveying the setting, and there are some pretty neat digital concepts integrated into the architecture -- my favorite is the huge scrolling bands of floating crates in map 02 that represent the flow of data. Laid-back electronic tracks set the tone for each level (map 03's track is especially good), and I felt like they really helped me get immersed.

 

In keeping with the unreality of the setting, things change rapidly in these levels, whether it's a key suddenly teleporting away or a bunch of walls lowering, and you have to think on your feet. Combat is trap-oriented, but it's generally pretty moderate; it never feels trollish or difficult to get out of, it just forces you to react quickly. The mapset ends with a very cool final battle against a bunch of Pain Elementals -- because you don't have plasma weapons and they teleport into the arena rapidly, your only choice is to take them on with the rocket launcher, making for some seriously nerve-wracking combat with an emphasis on maneuvering quickly for a good shot. All in all, these smallish maps are well worth the time to play, and I really enjoyed them.

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