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myk

The /newstuff Chronicles #257

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Good day hordes of DOOM maniacs, myk salutes you! Here we are again with the monthly old stuff spotlight, including wads uploaded by funduke, RL, and Grazza. Lets start without further ado; here's Grazza with the ominous bunch he added to idgames:

I (Grazza) uploaded 6 wads this time, including a total of 66 maps. Make of that 6-66 tally what you will. Certainly some of these maps are evil, though mostly in a good way. The original dates of the wads range from 1997 to 2003. The first three are megawads from Czech sources, while the last three are by Wes Burd, a guy who was happy for his maps to be distributed, but apparently never actually did so himself.

  • Beyond The Hell by Petr Machata, Milan Kuchynka, Leos Novacek and Filip Machata
    1,356kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 32 maps - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Here we have a full Doom2 megawad from 1997 by four Czech Doomers. The quality and difficulty are fairly uneven, and it looks and feels like a compilation wad, with no particular thematic links from one map to the next. Many of the maps are also clearly not designed to be played from a pistol start - some are good when played that way (an exhilarating scramble to survive), but others are marginal (severe health or ammo shortage), and many are verging on physically impossible. So unless you're a masochist or enjoy playing in experimental fashion, I'd recommend using a save at the end of each map.

    OK, so what does this wad offer? Action and lots of it. There are a few slaughter maps (map16 is a nice example), and the odd clunker, but they are mostly normal maps, with a very lively monster population and a need for alert but not godlike Dooming to get through them - assuming the player has taken the care to leave the previous map with decent stats in terms of health and ammo. For that reason, it is worth making an effort to find some of the secrets, which are often quite well hidden - and in the case of the secret exits on maps 15 and 31, very well hidden indeed. The maps are mostly rather large, with few shortcuts offered - you have to fight your way through the normally heavy resistance. Ten minutes should be a typical time to complete many of the maps (when playing casually without extensive map knowledge), but some will take a fair bit longer than that.

    Unfortunately, as I mentioned, a few of the maps really aren't good. Map01 is kind of ugly, which gets things off to a poor start (which is compounded by a modified version of this map appearing later in the wad) and maps 17 and 18 are quite tedious. Map21 is in the "good but glitchy" category, which is always a shame. Still, these are the exceptions. Map02 might seem a bit cramped and maybe too difficult to appear so early in a megawad, but I'd regard it as a good map, and it prepares the player for the kind of battles that lie ahead. Even carrying ammo from the previous levels, some of the maps pose a fierce challenge - I had a whole series of very close calls in maps 13 and 19 despite entering those ones armed to the teeth. There are a few "central arena with side-areas" maps, such as 20, 23 and 24. Map25 is rather lovely, and even if ball-breakingly difficult, is more fun to play from scratch than many of the later maps. Maps 13 and 27 are another pair of maps, in that one is a modified version of the other - but these are both attractive maps and the modifications are very extensive, though the amount of nukage can get depressing in both. As for the last few maps, I'm just going to wish you luck.

    The verdict has got to be that this is a mixed megawad, where it isn't easy to dip in and out to sample just the best maps (due to poor from-scratch playability). However, even the less good maps aren't so bad, so I'll cautiously recommend it quite warmly, as it provides a good test for a wide range of Dooming skills. BTW, crate aficionados should definitely check out map05.

  • Hell Medley (aka Pekelna vsehochut) by Adolf Vojta
    646kb - Doom.exe - SP - 16 maps - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is a collection of 16 early maps by Adolf "Gusta" Vojta, one of the guys who brought us Kama Sutra, and an experienced compet-n player. Some of the maps are a bit rough around the edges, but the gameplay is well thought-out for the most part, and there are some of the clever ideas and trick possibilities that helped make Kama Sutra such fun. A few of the maps are in fact prototype versions of ones that later appeared in KS (that does not include the one with Leeds Castle in its name, surprisingly enough), but the majority are ones you probably won't have seen before in any form. The maps are generally medium-sized, and well stocked with ammo. You'll normally have a fight on your hands, but the difficulty is never extreme: if you face big monsters, you'll be given big weapons and suitable power-ups (for instance, e2m9 has some spiders and cybers, but also an invul and a BFG, so just don't waste too much time or ammo). Some of the maps can be exited in just a few seconds (e.g. e2m2 and e2m5), but it isn't the trickfest that parts of Kama Sutra became (which you may view as a good or a bad thing). Design-wise, the maps overall have an Ultimate Doom feel to them with their use of textures and themes (and the lack of Doom2 monsters of course cannot help but enhance that sensation). Hellish? Well maybe - there's plenty of blood about, though not many of the maps could pass for the bowels of hell itself. The quality is fairly consistent throughout - if pushed to name a couple of favourite maps, I'd go for e2m7 and e2m9.

    Overall, it's definitely worth playing if you enjoyed Kama Sutra and/or like the Ultimate Doom style of maps. Otherwise, it's probably worth a look at least.

  • Grim Ripper by Jaromir Bergmann
    640kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 15 maps - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Again we have a collection of maps by a Czech Doomer, starting with some of his earlier creations and quickly moving on to more sophisticated offerings. He actually recommends that we skip the first few maps, but they're really not that bad: just a bit simple design-wise and quite fun to play; they're certainly not "OMG first map how do you make a door?" stuff. The later maps are definitely well worth playing, with some very memorable moments. The maps are designed to be played as an episode, with weapons and ammo carried from one map to the next, though even some of the later maps are fully playable from scratch (try map13 for instance - it's great fun; I finished off the cyber with my last few shells and with single-digit health). However, I think some of the others are barely playable (if at all) on UV from scratch, which is a shame. Possibly HMP is worth choosing if you want to play each map separately, though I haven't tested that.

    It's not easy to pin down any dominant style as the maps vary quite a bit, but some are deliberately "Hell on Earth" style (there's even the occasional "tribute" area). Generally they are more akin to Doom2 that any of the other iwads, though the author mentions in his text-file that some ideas for maps were inspired by ones in Requiem and Relive (and some other pwads), together with that classic crate map, Doom's e2m2 (though fear not: there are no truly massive crate-filled warehouses), while map07 has some strong Ep1/Ep2 influences. Almost all of the maps have a good and distinctive character though. My favourites are probably 10 (short and violent), 12 and the aforementioned 13, in which you teleport between two very similar looking bases.

    Overall, I can recommend this wad, but you'll need to decide whether to skip the first few maps, and what to do about the poor "from scratch" playability.

  • Asylum by Wes Burd Jr
    175kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This large - you might even say sprawling - map should keep you busy for a while. It is quite challenging, but should be manageable on UV for most players if they take a little care and get to know their way around the map. There aren't any really unfair areas or places where unusual strategies are needed - just solid Dooming is sufficient. Green marble and blood are the predominant themes, and there are some large outdoor areas. You get a good spread of weapons and plenty of ammo. It's not all given to you on a platter of course, and you can for instance expect quite a fight when you've just picked up the BFG. I'd say health is balanced quite well - there is enough to allow you to play fairly aggressively, but not too recklessly. On the negative side, the level's progression isn't always completely obvious, and there is a need for some backtracking and revisiting areas, which teleports only help with to a modest degree. If you can't see what to do next, I'd suggest seeing if there is a switch that could be shot - this appears to be one of Wes Burd's favourite themes.

  • Blackout by Wes Burd Jr
    121kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This and the next wad are both very much "concept" maps, where the name provides an excellent indication of the contents. Here you are immediately plunged into darkness, with only a few areas of the map illuminated, and spend much of the time thereafter trying to turn the lights back on. Fortunately, you have a lot of room to manoeuvre, so even when you are fighting in the dark, there's no need to be getting slaughtered. The map has two distinct areas, which both contain large structures. You will sometimes need to visit one in order to make further progress in the other. There are some good battles inside these edifices, a few little surprises and the odd fight out in the open (including a battle vs a couple of cybers, but it shouldn't prove too difficult). On the negative side, I found a couple of places where you can get stuck, but I suppose you'd need to be quite unlucky to stumble upon them too; I also found the blue key rather hard to locate. The architecture is somewhat unsophisticated and squarish, though you won't notice that while the lighting remains dark. It's ideal if you enjoy stumbling around with the lights out, and is certainly a more memorable experience than many maps.

  • 9th Floor by Wes Burd Jr
    89kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This one is certainly original and memorable too. The action takes place around a central platform that rises and lowers between (surprise, surprise) 9 floors. On the other hand, the mechanism by which this happens makes the gameplay someone repetitive, as the player needs to press a sequence of switches every so often to get this platform up to the level that is required so that he can make further progress. There is little thematic continuity between the side-areas - they are more like distinct mini-maps in their own right. Given that they are not immediately adjoining one another, you could view that as a clever way to introduce variety into the map without there being any ugly-looking "joints". On the whole, the battles are stacked in the marine's favour, and for the most part you'll be mowing down the bad guys. Curiously, there are two ways to exit this map, and one of them means that you can do so within a few seconds of the start. Whether that was deliberate, I really don't know - maybe it's so that if you get fed up with raising and lowering the platform, you can opt out at any point. Overall it's another distinctive map, but maybe the mechanism will prove too tedious for some.

That was Grazza with two megawads worth of material; now I (myk) will go on with the rest of the over 100 maps you can play this week (or month), all uploaded by funduke or RL. [W4GH4X] graciously seconded me in the DeathMatch games, as well as a bit of Coop.
  • 100% Death by Ken Nichols
    28KB - Doom2 - DM - 1 map

    Fragging around and about - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Ken's map is a meduim sized wood and stone complex surrounded by a brown tunnel all the way, which adds to the interconnectivity of the layout's halls and windows. The more powerful items are harder to get; the Plasma gun and the Supercharge are on pedestals and must be grabbed by bumping, and the BFG9000 and the Megasphere are placed on mechanisms that protect the BFG and make the sphere available (possibly to others) upon getting the BFG. The map does show certain consistency and skill on the part of the designer and his testers and has a classic "open" or non-linear (though a bit symmetrically) styled layout that allows a relatively action-packed "hide-and-seek" game where you intermittently spot your opponent through halls and openings.

  • MadMax2 & TheEscape by Ryan Feltrin
    69KB - Doom2 - DM/SP/Coop - 2 maps

    DEF-Match to the Max? - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    [W4GH4X] and I tried these two maps on DeathMatch mode, as the author had indicated they were his "ABSOLUTE favourite DeathMatch Levels ever played." In the first one, you start in separate rooms, standing on lava, and teleport over to an arena, starting atop one of a handful of cages. The arena is dark, but Light amplification is provided, so lighting is all or practically nothing, and you can't really leave the arena once you reach it, so the game doesn't provide much variety. It's mostly a fight in an open flat area. The second map is bigger and with quite spacious rooms, too big to provide an exciting game, and at one point I even fell into a moat-like canal and had no way out.

    In single player mode both maps are pretty easy, with abundant ammo and power-ups. The author says that "you wont be able to finish MAP2 on your own (unless you cheat :) )" but I'm not too sure what he meant, unless he was kidding, since my mommy wasn't around when I did it on the first attempt. I guess he couldn't run very fast and wasn't able to reach the exit after hitting the last switch, or something.

    The added music doesn't not help too much either, actually.

  • The Building & Paint the Town Red by Nick Paske
    46KB - Doom - DM - 2 maps

    In the Cyberian village - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    A couple of maps by one Nick Paske, which are geared towards DeathMatch but have some baddies for other modes of play. The first map, The Building is a large (you guessed it) building that's brightly lit and surrounded by a dim outdoors area which is rather large for DeathMatch, with the arms far from the start spots and with Invisibility spheres to augument the lack of interaction. Played against monsters it offers a small army of Shotgun guys and Zombiemen to bring down with the help of the weapons in the building plus the Invisibilities outside (these are useful as there is no health, only some blue armor.) The other map, Paint the town red, might be a bit more fun in DeathMatch, but only if you have enough players; we tried a one-on-one and the size of the town made it somewhat uneventful. But with four players it could be a bit more fun, especially if the Light amplification visors are used to effect (because the outer area is rather dark.) Paint the town red can be played against three Cyberdemons as well, but the four buildings and the separate chunks of wall offer good cover and there is plenty ammo to take them down, so it shouldn't be hard unless you are one of those rather clumsy players who can't take more than one boss at a time.

  • Another Awsome DOOM PWAD 1 by an anonymous author
    73KB - Doom - SP/(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    Awesomely tall doors - (img) - (img)

    The author of this relatively rough map was not yet too keen on embedding doors into walls, thus this relatively simple map (albeit suitable in layout for a first map in a series) has very high doors that make you wonder how the Imps carried such incredibly tall doors in through the curving halls. Magic perhaps? Alien technology? If so maybe the Imps should take some advanced alien medicine to cure the chronic hiccups they seem to suffer from. Maybe the deep underground air is not good for them. The map is not difficult, being pretty straightforward, but shows some appropriate use of varying heights in some places.

  • Another Awsome DOOM PWAD 2 by an anonymous author
    32KB - Doom - SP(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    The Devil's toilet - (img) - (img)

    The second map in the AA2x series shows some development over the first, with proper doors and a cleaner layout and texturing overall. The map is a bit more conceptual than its predecessor, but keeps a similar theme (jumping and height variations still being important.) Since it's more intricate, this map can provide a bit of a challenge initially, but once one is aware of its devices it becomes only a bit harder than the first map. One of the blue doors suffers from a minor glitch that can be triggered occasionally and might impede further progress.

  • Crossing Acheron v1.666 by John W. Anderson
    57KB - Doom - SP/Coop/DM - 1 map

    The green cathedral - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This is the "DOOM v1.666" release of Dr. Sleep's second Dantesque map, arguably the one that started defining his DOOM mapping style, including galleries of consistently interconnected halls or rooms. The map didn't become a classic randomly, but because of its solid architecture and open-ended play. It's not linear yet the relations between the map sections allow a challenge from different routes, and it's not really hard but provides a good opposition while crossing through. In Cooperative mode it could well provide some extra close-quarters sction, since there are two Berserk packs and a Chainsaw, so that everyone can have some fun. Deathmatch is supported, though it's more suitable for a hunter-styled game than a blast-fest.

  • Alone(?) in the Dark by Patrick Mills
    10KB - Doom - SP/(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    With light pains - (img) - (img)

    Here we have a short map that starts simply enough in a open area and jumps to a dim hall with leering pink faces, but then reaches a large room with strobe lights which don't really fit in (along with torches) and don't serve a practical playing purpose, until finally you can go past the locked doors into a couple dark places, one which offers a predictable Cyberdemon/Invulnerability combo (fries must be ordered separately.) You're not alone, you are in the dark sometimes, but you ain't getting any tonight. At least not from this wad.

  • DOOMED to Run Amok v1.1 for DOOM II by David L. Davis
    167KB - Doom2 - SP/(Coop) - 1 map

    Preview base - (img) - (img) - (img)

    I recall playing the DOOM version of this map years ago; it's a base overlooking a building with wooden halls, and guarding what appear to be underground ruins. The map is nonlinear and houses numerous opponents, offering a good amount of health which can be lost to the many Shotgun guys if one isn't careful. Additionally David has used DOOM logos on the teleporter room doors, and added a hidden section with some DOOM II preview pics as textures (this map was originally made as DOOM II was being publicized before its release.) I seemed to recall back when I played the DOOM version using released source based engines (PrBoom and ZDoom) that the teleporting monsters would not teleport in at the right moment, and indeed, they come in too early, so it might be a good idea to play this map with something that has good Doom2 compatibility, using PrBoom's complevel, WinDoom, Doom95, or Doom2 itself.

  • The Arena by Steven Rhodes
    21KB - Doom - DM - 1 map

    The pulsing arena - (img) - (img)

    The Arena is based around a large techy-looking area with a tower in the center. The map is somewhat rough in the way textures are used; they aren't placed inconsistently but instead in a broadly crude manner. The layout is pretty effective in keeing the action going and in providing strategically useful positions, while the item placement is relatively archaic, with many power-ups in certain locations.

  • Arsenal by Ryan Evans
    20KB - Doom2 - SP/(Coop/DM) 2 maps

    Deceptive appearances - (img) - (img)

    Ryan's map may seem hard initially, as health seems rather sparse, yet if the player is careful he may find plenty items, making the map rather trivial. The architecture is mostly "hellish" and simple in design, and the map is short, like the first map for a series (although the monster types used play against this.)

  • Baronhse by Erick
    17KB - Doom - SP/Coop/DM - 1 map

    The Baron's house! - (img) - (img)

    The "Baron House" is a basic wooden house-like structure in a square open area, smallish and sparsely populated by monsters, but at least there actually is a Baron of hell in there. Amusingly the baron forgot to lock door to the exit with the Blue skull key; perhaps he felt that hiding that door behind a wall (that rises into the sky) was enough. There's a pool to the north of the building and some sky-based murals on the walls of the house. It should be more suitable for DeathMatch games, although [W4GH4X] and I missed the opportunity to exchange some frags (the Baron forgot to invite us over.)

  • Base by Brandon Davids
    36KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Classical medley - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Brandon aimed to create a map that meets "id" standards. In part he did a good job in creating a neat map that plays relatively well, with sufficient opposition and decent item placement, although perhaps a bit cramped in places, at least in comparison to the maps by the makers of the game. The author added some sections that are heavily inspired by DOOM maps; at least three such sections are included, which provide a rather cute flashback effect. The map seems perhaps a bit small overall; it certainly isn't large, but the style used in joining small "tribute" portions makes one ask for more space for the different themes.

  • Blade13 by Bob Lange
    88KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Industrial frameworks - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This map by Bob Lange provides a tech-like industrial environment combining rusty metal beams, cement, mossy vines, and stone. The layout plays with thinner hallways around more spacious rooms, and green sludge is used to effect to enhanced the difficulty a bit. The map is solidly designed and not too hard, and reminds one of Michael Kelsey's Return to Phobos to a degree. The author even goes at length to argue against monster hordes or over detailed maps in the text file, dilemmas that plagued early PWAD designers (and still concern us today in different ways.)

  • Crap by Hew Yang-Wahn
    9KB - Doom - SP - 1 map

    The thing that should not be - (img)

    Best wad ever... or, you guessed it, not really. This is some kind of attempt to offer a wad showing what a DOOM map designer should not do. I guess he's right. Still, it's kind of funny how the things (mainly the decorations) show up in the map. If you don't want to bother checking it out, which is understandable, the screen shot shows this effect.

  • Laboratory of the Devil by A. Behr
    78KB - Doom2 - SP/(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    Imps right out of the oven - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Here we have a pretty austere but decent rendition of a cryogenics lab gone nasty. It uses grayish textures for an all-around theme, coupled with many slender halls and some more spacious areas with more elaborate designs. The halls and the larger areas contrast effectively, alternating between more studied tunnel-fighting and more conventional combat. The preponderance of the confined areas do make the map a bit easier than it may seem at first glance due to the amount of health available, though, because you can more easily manage the opposition; still, the bad guys can get tricky occasionally, especially if you try to push through.

  • Dante's Gate v1.666 by John W. Anderson
    67KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This is no other than a version of Dr. Sleep's first map; like most initial maps, it does have an "a bit of everything" feel to it which comes from an author's initial experimentation, but only in a relative sense, especially in relation to John's later works, which bear more consistent characteristics. Thus both the texturing and the playing progress are a bit uneven; not in quality but in organization. The map overall shows pretty good development and an open multi-route layout, but is certainly more chaotic than Crossing Acheron, for example.

  • Pits of Despair by Alex Hanson
    22KB - Doom - SP/Coop - 1 map

    Walls you cannot see - (img) - (img)

    This crude hellish level pits you against a horde of monsters at the beginning, but with an Invulnerability sphere to your advantage. Ammo could be considered tight with all those monsters, although between the inevitable infighting and the Berserk pack you get with the Invulnerability, it isn't. Once you get rid of the initial horde you move on to a sparsely populated section with some traps and an annyingly invisible-maze room. This map may be more interesting while speeding through than fighting everything, at least if you take some time to understand the invisible maze.

  • Sudden Death by Greg Hagedorn
    53KB - Doom2 - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    More classic carnage - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Greg's Sudden Death could well be counted among the classic maps DOOM II's release made popular, taking advantage of the games new brutal shotgun to provide a considerable flow of tougher enemies. Its one of those maps where you see the start at the beginning (like the Laboratory of the Devil above) but can't access it; you must face countless foes before you can get back to it. The map is divided into three nonlinear subsections that allow the player to choose a a strategy on each occasion, providing a good challenge which increases in power. The first section holds lesser monsters and rooms interconnected by halls where you can get caught amid you foes; then you go to an outer section that combines some tougher eneemies with areas of varying heights for a more strategic test to your firepower, and finally meet the boss and his close aides in a more dramatic encounter where you try to finally lower the closed exit section.

  • Fast by Bill Swartz
    23KB - Doom2 - SP/(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    More invisible walls - (img) - (img)

    This is an more or less unusual map; part of its challenge resides in making progress from one section to the other difficult by ofuscating the way to move on, either by providing apparently impasaable invisible barriers, putting doors and their switches far off from each other or otherwise attempting to confuse the player. The monsters aren't too challenging, though there's an Arch-vile that can be troublesome over the long hallways found around his area. Otherwise the design is relatively simple and there are some minor visual glitches (as the author notes, in the pit area.)

  • Laboratory Escape by Chad16
    23KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    The disjointed lab - (img) - (img)

    One reason you might want to escape this laboratory is because it doesn't "meet the eye" too well; the layout is somewhat random, the texturing sloppy, the lighting generally drastic, and some doors are technically incoherent. On a brighter note, the health and ammo available is not too bad in relation to the monsters you'll meet; most of the encounters are pretty direct and simple, though.

  • Labyrinth - 1 by Henning Møller-Nielsen
    37KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    The corrupt maze - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Be warned, oh those who hate labyrinths, for this is a full-fledged maze, with narrow pasages that wind endlessly about, hosting an army of possessed humans and Imps eager to meet you around the corner. There are some side sections but you must navigate the maze itself to obtain the necessary keys needed to exit. Since the monsters become active once you fire, the maze can be pretty deadly; you're never sure if something will fire at you from some unseen angle, stealing away your precious blood, and there is a shortage of health to recover it, unless you really know where to look (which is not always close by.) Another thing you might like to be warned about is that the map's REJECT lump is corrupt; if you're going to record something here, make sure you rebuild the table first, or the resulting demo will maliciously desynch.

  • Mesh by Jon Saloga
    65KB - Doom - SP/(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    A mesh of locales - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This map starts in a simple open area with a door that opens into the sky, which initially made me go "hmm, here we go again" (see Laboratory Escape above), but that's really just an initially bad bit and impression, and it improves from there. The map uses a lab-like environment (we have at least three in this edition of the Chronicles; not that they're unusual in DOOM anyway) and provides a decent opposition. Sometimes forcing you to look for switches (or ways to move on), though for the most part these obstacles are local for the area you're in at the moment, so they aren't too obscure. The architecture throughout is relatively basic, but effective enough as a battleground and as a general environment.

  • Monk-U by John Fletcher
    283KB - Doom2 - DM - 1 map

    Monastic green - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Monk-U is a DeathMatch map with a good deal of work on the resources and setting. New or modified textures have been used to give the map a praticular feel, and the monsters have been used to generate ambience effects. Some of the textures are modified from Heretic, and others seem familiar enough, so apparently most of the stuff isn't "from scratch." The map works pretty well for a nonlinear level, with variously interconnected rooms, passages and windows, though due to its size it's better for free-for-all, being less effective for one-on-ones.

  • Parthenon by Bob Lange
    64KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Rockets & Ruins - (img) - (img) - (img)

    Another map by Bob Lange which shares some qualities with Blade13 in being tidy overall, and contrasting narrower halls with wide-open areas. In this case the halls form a network around the large courtyard centered around the Parthenon look-alike. Zombies hunt you down those halls, while the courtyard is dominated by a Cyberdemon ready to nail you as you go there, or as you pass a window in onne of the halls. With [W4GH4X] we played some Cooperative against the Cyberdemon, since the general layout, originally planned for DeathMatch (we tried that, but we thought it's too big), gives two or more players good opportunities to gang up on the monsters to good effect.

  • The Pit by Michael Sartore
    23KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Out of the pan, into the fire - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This map can be pretty deadly, as you're headed down into a pit with bloodthirsty bosses and bigger monsters with little in your hands. A bit of luck may be required, though proper tactics, infighting and reflexes will give you good chances to make it through. The map is small and conceptual, but otherwise consistently made.

  • Planet by an anonymous author
    357KB - Doom - SP/Coop - 10 maps

    Worlds of violence - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    The Planet series of wads seems like an unfinished set that was probably made by a single author as the maps show certain general characteristics that show up one way or another. All the maps are "tech" styled, sometimes with space ships or other scifi machinery, and they give the impression that you're travelling around through a set of abandoned facilities or alien bases. The texturing is also relatively consistent, and the monsters too; Cyberdemons play an important role in many of the maps, and most levels are relatively tough, with rather unforgiving supplies of healing items, but enough ammo to do the job. For the most part, the exit is not hard to find, and if you're just running through, you might be able to exit the maps without much trouble; the difficulty usually rises considerably if your objective is to decinate the opposition. At first I thought these might be DeathMatch maps with monsters, yet when we tried one Doom quit saying there weren't enough starts (only two of the required four), so we moved on to other DeathMatch maps to better use our limited time. Nonetheless, many of the maps do have enough starts, and seem like reasonable fragging grounds and might have been designed for DeathMatch, although many would do better for free-for-all as they are rather large or sprawling. Cooperative play might make some sense, as well.

    The map in "_A" is a fortess with the general characteristics of DOOM's Tower of Babel, but larger and more intricate, with a bunch of Cyberdemos, and an assortment of diverse minions. If you have good reflexes you might have a chance, but if you tend to be hit often, prepare yourself for some humiliation.

    The map in "A" is pretty much like "_A", but has a starry space sky instead of the stock sky for The Shores of Hell. It is not clear whether the author or someone else added the space sky, as it does not appear in any other maps, even ones where it would have helped (to avoid stacking skies.)

    The map in "B" is a tech base inhabited by Shotgun guys that'll all hunt you down once you make a noise, as well as a bunch of Baron of Hell in a room, that slowly teleport out to hunt you down. Your weaponry against these monsters is limited (to the Shotgun.) The exit from this map is pretty obscure (perhaps it is MultiPlayer dependent.)

    The map in "C" is a squarish base with crossing tunnels inhabited by and surrpounded by meduim or lesser hellish monsters. This is one of the easier maps, although healing is scarce as usual. The open area does not have a border, which makes the stock sky stack inappropriately; the sky used in the "_A" wad would have made sense here.

    The map in "D" is the most standard or "complete" map in the series, with a more even distribution of enemies and more health. It still displays some of the characteristics of the set, though, but the Cyberdemon is used more strategically and the architecture is a bit more varied (albeit themed like some of the others.)

    The map in "E" goes back to the "base surrounded by open area approach" but now develops the central base more thoroughly. Unlike in "D", you don't have a layout that's planned to be played normallythe map is more open and the exit is more easily accessible. If you plan to kill all the Cyberdemons you could run out of ammo, as well.

    The map in "F" stands appart a bit and is somewhat more straightforward; here the Cyberdemons are placed as obstacles to stop you from particular targets (a key or a switch) or stand guard between objectives. There seems to be a glitch at the end here, as there's a door that fails to open properly.

    The map in "G" is the least populated one, and one of the smaller levels. You still don't have much in the way of healing devices, but the monsters guarding the keep-like structure you invade from the outside arent too many and you've got the necessary shells to take them down.

    The map in "H" is akin to "A" in monster deployment, but is a large base with water ducts instead of a fortress. Like in "A" we have Cyberdemons waiting outside amid the lesser monsters, but it is a flatter level than "A" and perhaps nastier as you have fewer places to hide in. The ducts display an early (or crude) deep water effect.

    The map in "I" is a base flanked by an open area; the monsters here a meduim-powered making this one of the least hard maps, and the level also has some underground canals with the early deep water effect.

  • Red for DeathMatch! by Vance Andrew Blevins
    25KB - Doom - DM - 1 map

    Better red than dead - (img) - (img)

    This curious small red-themed DeathMatch map relies on teleporters, lifts and confined spaces to provide a slower but strategic game. It is also playable against monsters, where again the confined areas may make it tricky (especially where the Cyberdemon is.)

  • Rocky VII by Ken Linback
    41KB - Doom - SP/Coop - 1 map

    Rambunctiousness - (img) - (img) - (img)

    A rather rough and jumbled map that otherwise provides a decent challenge by placing Cyberdemons (or rocket men, as the author denominates them) in key locations that can snipe at other sections you need to cross while you advance against the lesser opposition. Rocky VII? You don't really get that much boxing action; Perhaps Rambo IV (and this made me Google up that it's in pre-production.)

  • The Evergreen State College's Campus by Ben Newman
    35KB - Doom - SP/Coop - 1 map

    Rough recreation - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This map is a recreation of a college building, and as is usual for such recreations, it suffers from certain drawbacks; crude texturing (because the author is more concerned in emulating a real layout than in how it ends up looking) and a layout that is often not that friendly for challenging action (spacious areas that otherwise confine the monsters to predictable locations.) The opposition is of the lesser kind, and ammo and helath aren't inadequate. You start in a more or less brightly lit level and then go to another where the dimness makes the encounters a bit more difficult, but never really tough.

  • Urban Warfare Episode 1: 5-Star Hotel by Ken Taggard
    67KB - Doom - SP/Coop - 1 map

    The startan hotel - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This is a rough "hotel" themed level. Kind of like in the previous wad (see above), the author concentrated more on making crude beds, pools an other "hotelish" things than on using the architecture to enhance the combat. Nonetheless at least this map is a bit more dynamic (or fun) in certain sections due to the presence of bigger hordes of monsters and a bit more of imagination in the layout, yet the map is also more uneven in certain respects (more ammo than necessary, and some redundant areas.)

  • ZOA by Chuck (aka CJetSki)
    83KB - Doom2 - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map

    Distorted mimicry - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)

    This is the third heavily imitative map in a row. This one suffers from some of the same issues as the other two, but it tends to look more weird (with more serious texture glitches) but provides a steeper challenge, both because it's for DOOM II and because the monsters are given better positions. There are some switch, door, or linedefs contrivances that make this map rather slow at the end, once if taken care of the main opposition, and I must admit I never reached the room across the one with the red key, nor the exit (wherever it is.) Let me know if you discover how the final part works (with a demo perhaps?) During one attempt I was able to jump into the pit where the Spiderdemon resides, and got stuck in there after killing the monsters... evidently the author hadn't planned for one to be able to jump in there.

  • The Welcome Wagon by Stewart Bibby
    48KB - Doom2 - SP/Coop - 1 map

    Welcome to Browntown - (img) - (img) - (img)

    In this scenario you invade a brownish fortress that you have to climb up to. The varying heights plus the monster and item deployment make it a decently challenging map, as you can expect to be attacked from different locations. The map is by no means linear, and it's possible to bypass many monsters (which might still be able to snipe at you as you pass or from a distance) so speed running should relatively promising here. The only strange thing is that if you jump into the wooden pit with the Revenants you can't get out, which is odd because the Rocket launcher is down there (I might have missed a way to raise the area, but even though you can get trapped if you get down there.)

That's it for this week. I've excluded one of the wads uploaded by funduke from the reviews because of its explicit content. It doesn't contain maps, so it's no big loss of a review. If you're old enough and really want to see it, head over to Doomporn.com for the review (or to /newstuff to check it out directly.)

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Kaiser said:

Images don't work

myk's images are png, but the links are to jpg files. :/

Hopefully they'll be fixed soon, but if you don't want to wait, then look in here. Note to whoever fixes it: my images *are* jpg, so please don't just change the file extensions en masse.

BTW, in case anyone hasn't gathered from myk's second sentence, this week's T/nC is a round-up of all the "old stuff" (i.e. files that aren't brand new but are appearing now in the archive for the first time) uploaded over the last month. This means a few files uploaded this week (i.e. Nov 26 - Dec 3) will be reviewed next week (i.e. on Sunday 11th December, if it is on time).

Regarding myk's comment on Planet B: the exit is OK in single-player. There's a mild need for timing/running, but nothing extreme, and I doubt it was intended to be multi-only.

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Heh, something had to be wrong! I just linked the fixed HTM in the TnC Forum.

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Wow. Gigantic /newstuff this week/month! Hats off to Grazza and myk for their excellent reviews and hard toil!

/me downloads like a madman

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myk said:

  • Another Awsome DOOM PWAD 2 by an anonymous author32KB - Doom - SP(Coop/DM) - 1 map

    The Devil's toilet - (img) - (img)

    The second map in the AA2x series shows some development over the first, with proper doors and a cleaner layout and texturing overall. The map is a bit more conceptual than its predecessor, but keeps a similar theme (jumping and height variations still being important.) Since it's more intricate, this map can provide a bit of a challenge initially, but once one is aware of its devices it becomes only a bit harder than the first map. One of the blue doors suffers from a minor glitch that can be triggered occasionally and might impede further progress.


  • Hmm, that was the first PWAD I ever played (and one of the few 1994 maps I kept in my collection until today.) Amazing that it wasn't uploaded to the archives until today...

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    myk said:

    I've excluded one of the wads uploaded by funduke from the reviews because of its explicit content.

    FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT FLAMEBAIT

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    It was just a porn wad - easy enough to find it in the archive if you really want. It would have been pretty awkward to review it in any case, given that almost any screenshots would have been against the forum rules.

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    msquid: How do you think that? :)
    Grazza: Heh, thanks for some nice words about my very old maps :) I have to say that during last 6? years their "design" stayed in its original shape and I have just been adding there more and more monsters as I was getting experiences with playing HR, Plutonia and so on. Mostly E2M5 and E2M7 became rather rough during the years.

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    Excellent and detailed reviews! Nice work, guys. Several nice maps to play (although I seem to remember having played some of them before).

    Wow, 1000th post!

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    Tormentor667 said:

    Great reviews... but... well, the maps are rather uninteresting.



    Dr.Sleep maps are always interesting

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    Mmm I think only active levelmakers in Czech Republic now are me and Method. Other people haven't made any map for a long time :-(
    All those czech wads are pretty old (you can see that :), maybe from years 1997-2000. Authors sent them to czech levels site kelvinet.cz and didn't care about them more. Luckily after a years Grazza found this site and dug up most of these maps. I think next update will bring some another and more recent maps.

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    Gusta said:

    All those czech wads are pretty old (you can see that :), maybe from years 1997-2000.

    The individual maps in Grim-Ripper were dated 2001-2003 (and July 2004 for the the coop-tweaked version of map04).

    Gusta said:

    I think next update will bring some another and more recent maps.

    Yes, thanks to Gusta contacting and getting permission from a couple of guys who hadn't included the "may be distributed..." bit in their text-files. :) The "next update" in this context means the first one in January, BTW.

    On the subject of Czech stuff, it would be nice if Henry.wad (near the bottom of the page) could be uploaded, but that, alas, has no text-file.

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    Thanks for giving my Doom/DoomII level Amok11T.wad a good review!!

    As a thank you gift I'd like to give the "Marble Statusbar" pwad I created back in July 1994 for the Amok11t.wad for those who would enjoy using it in gameplay of Doom, DoomII, and Final Doom. Enjoy!

    MARSTBAR.WAD - Replaces the original stausbar with a marble one with bold outlined numbers, download at:
    http://spottedtiger.tripod.com/Downloads/Doom_Marble_Statusbar_PWAD.zip

    A special thanks to all who've at least tried Amok11T.wad!! <g>

    David L.

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    SpottedTiger said:

    As a thank you gift I'd like to give the "Marble Statusbar" pwad I created back in July 1994 for the Amok11t.wad for those who would enjoy using it in gameplay of Doom, DoomII, and Final Doom. Enjoy!


    Thank you.
    I like it.
    :)

    Greetings
    Funduke

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    jallamann said:

    Is it just me or is it about time for more newstuff?

    no now go away.

    I've already told everyone newstuff appears when it appears, period.

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