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The /newstuff Chronicles #270

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So here goes the latest installment of old stuff for The /newstuff Chronicles, highlighting last month's "re-released" uploads previously missing from the archive but found in obscure places of the Internet and other such locations. This time around we don't have too many wads, and Grazza bring in the greater number of maps. We have quite a variety here, and though there's nothing really exceptional, there are a few good maps and some strange oddities.

Grazza starts off:

41 maps grace my selection for this edition, but don't get too excited as the quality is rather mixed. The most notable feature is that some (but not all) of the wads are ball-breakingly hard, so get ready for a challenge. However, we start with a relatively gentle Czech episode.

  • The Lost Worlds by Equino-X
    965kb - Doom.exe - SP - 9 maps - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Here we have a full-episode from a Czech wadmaker. The maps vary from very small to moderately large, and the gameplay from freeflowing to confined and awkward. On the whole the monster populations are quite respectable, but all the maps are playable from a pistol start (E1M5 is perhaps the trickiest to play this way, but you just need a little bit of luck to get inside the building; then you're fine), and you get plenty of ammo and power-ups. As I have verified, most of the maps can be done pacifist-style, and none of them take too long if you just want to run through them. The predominant design themes are hellish (but more red rock and lava, rather than satanic) and "overrun base", together with some normal-looking buildings, generally with a twist (perhaps we're reaching them at the same time as they're being overrun).

    E1M2 is the most disjointed in terms of style - it doesn't really fit with the others, and features a fair bit of backtracking and a warren of narrow passageways, some unmarked doors and too many barrels and dark areas. E1M1 is short and sweet, but the battle can be quite intense. E1M3 also features a network of passageways with red walls and water, but flows quite nicely, and isn't overly linear. The secret map is attractive, even though it is a bit repetitive in some ways and contains a little tiny maze (which you can skip if you really want, with some difficult glides). E1M4 takes us outdoors and into a brightly lit and deserted-looking edifice. Both those attributes change suddenly, so watch your step. E1M5 (as mentioned above) is hitscan central, but the hunted quickly becomes the hunter once you've picked up a few weapons from inside - and there's a huge stash in one area, though you'll need to work a bit to get to it. The exit is in a darkened area - I presume there is a way to turn the lights on so you can see it, but I never bothered myself. E1M6 pits us against some bigger monsters, but there are plenty of invulnerability spheres lying around - so much that it makes pacifist not too tough. The level is based around a wide-open area with a central structure featuring switches, teleporters, assorted goodies and imps, and buildings in each corner of the surrounding square. Wide-open natural surroundings greet us in E1M7, with red rocks and lava in abundance. Those long straight walls on the outer boundary are useful for wallrunning too. The final map is a bit of a clunker, with lots of monsters but little creativity in design, and no real challenge either.

    Overall, The Lost Worlds deserves a download and a bit of your time. You might want to skip E1M2, but in any case don't let it put you off trying the other, better-flowing maps. On a technical note, I should also mention that the REJECT lumps for E1M3 and E1M7 are too short.

  • The Remains of Hell by Jason Dyer
    233kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 5 maps - (img) - (img) - (img)
    If you dislike weird or unfairly hard maps, then you'll want to move swiftly past this one, trying to avoid any eye contact with it. Jason Dyer assaults us in these five maps with an array of disorientating environments, brutal battles and often bizarre ideas. The first map (that's map09, for some reason) is relatively normal design-wise, and only moderately brutal - it can be tackled methodically and with a little care it isn't too tough. There is one oddity - a sleeping pain elemental, due to the same quirk/bug that leads to the sleeping sergeant in Doom2 map02 (check its coordinates). There is a point where the author intended the player to use an AV jump in order to collect a soul sphere - in fact, you can get the sphere with just accurate running, and save your health (or the invul) for something else. Map13 is the only other one in this set that is easily manageable, but you need to be aware that it is based around a rarely used feature - a five-minute door. This opens once five minutes have elapsed, giving the player a brief opportunity to exit the map. All you have to do first is wait around for five minutes in a small room with monsters spawning all around. As for the other three maps, in one you are in a void with just a few visual clues from which to take your bearings. Another is nice and brightly lit, so you can see the masses of lava through which you'll end up running all too often as you combat the map's large and highly aggressive population. And then there is a version of E1M2 that has apparently suffered a meltdown (kind of logical really, given its name) and been significantly more overrun than the original. Overall, the maps' design is a bit crude but not ugly, and I'm not sure exactly how much fine detail you'd expect in a lava pool or a void... The txt also features a story for those who are interested, and a few useful hints.

    Some of you will no doubt love the extreme challenge that this wad poses. For everyone else, there are difficulty settings, which may well prove handy until you know your way around.

  • The True Test by Anthony Klein
    207kb - Doom.exe - SP - 2 maps - (img) - (img)
    The name is fully appropriate: these two maps (E1M7 and E1M8) provide a genuine test of your skills. Both maps are hub-style, in that there is a central area from which you teleport to and from side-arenas. In the second map, several of the areas are based, to a greater or lesser degree, on ones from the original id maps. Throughout, you will face situations that seem desperate, but with suitable quantities of brains and brawn, it is possible to get through alive. Sometimes you'll just have to run and trust that the mapper has given you the means to survive somehow. There are also some slightly clever secret areas, which require a little ingenuity to find. In the second map, it may not be very obvious how to get out of the area that is based on the original E1M2, but a section of the outer wall will lower if you walk up to it. Design themes are varied, but given the piecemeal concept of the maps, this isn't unreasonable. It is notable that this wad features a voodoo doll - one of the earliest to do so (it is dated before Galaxia, and I only know of one - selfdead.wad - that is earlier). The lengthy story in the txt explains why it is there. Sort of. The txt also features a credit to Leo Martin Lim for one idea, so those who are familiar with their pwad history will know what to expect.

  • Haslam's Book Store of Doom by Andrew Haslam
    150kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    Yes, it's a map based on a real place - a family-owned book store in Florida, and made by a member of the fourth generation of the founding family of that store. It features a number of custom graphics to enhance the sense of realism, and no doubt the floor plan is accurate, though the architecture is not terribly elaborate, and it lacks any of the surrounding buildings that would add to the sense of place. I should mention that there are three versions of this wad, all available for download on the Haslam's website, though you'll need to import the graphics into the pwad, or use the installation procedure, which is based on dmgraph.exe (beware: this changes your iwad). The one I have converted and uploaded is the one described as "Manly" - it has a good population of monsters, and poses quite a challenge (on UV - there are difficulty settings) - my health was in single digits by the time I was finishing off the cyber and the spider. Note that to play it with Doom2.exe, you will need to use deusf, but there's no need to modify the iwad in that case.

  • Canyon by Patrick Pirtle
    99kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This large and tough level features a number of areas where height differences play a significant role, as you'd expect from the name. Gameplay is challenging, due to limited health, damaging floors and some close-quarters battles with packs of monsters. The design has its flaws, but the map is competently made overall.

  • Geronimo by Berthold Krumeich
    98kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    Whenever I see a ski run called something like "Geronimo", I expect I'm in for an interesting experience, and most likely an adrenaline rush. Does the same hold for Doom wads? Well, this one is certainly intense and unforgiving, but once you've got to grips with it, it should prove manageable. Health is tight, especially early on (and don't miss the caco secret), and so the dark areas with hitscanners could prove a Doomer's graveyard. It's a moderately large map, with few shortcuts, and you may need to take a quick look at the automap to work out where to go at the start.

  • The Gateway to Hell by Littl' Fonz, aka Jay Farinas
    81kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    Another large and surprisingly brutal map - if you can survive this one at your first attempt, you're a better Doomer than me. Themes vary quite a lot, but it has a satanic feel for the most part, merged with tech/base sections. The action is constant, with plenty of ammo supplied, but health kept rather tight relative to the likelihood of taking damage. Note that you can get a BFG early on, and this will help deal with some of the archies that you'll encounter.

  • njmaps by Nicol Jarvie
    79kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 2 maps - (img)
    Two maps by nj, but not the one you're probably thinking of. Both maps are small, and the first one is especially compact - in fact it feels more like a DM than an SP map, despite what the text-file says. It's all-action, with little place to hide, and so you'll be fighting a running battle until you start to get things under control. The map features significant height differences, and you'll need to perform a few jumps between pillars. The second map is a little less interesting, and offers a labyrinth of rooms which you're well equipped to clean out.

  • Endoomed by Chris Bianchetti
    73kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This wad draws its inspiration from E2M8 and E3M8, and this provides the basis for its name. However, it is no remake, and it isn't just a series of tedious battles with cybers or spiders. At one point you teleport into what looks like a hopeless situation, but at this point the hint in the txt will come in handy: "I goes before II." The map is overall quite a desperate scramble for survival, and you'll need to be alert, make good use of your resources and be quick on your feet to emerge victorious. By the way, I don't believe there is any way to get the stash of goodies at the start - it is just there as a trap.

  • Garden by Topher List
    71kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    From the text-file: "Welcome to the botanical gardens of Deimos. My concept here was aesthetics. I wanted to create an indoor/outdoor scenario that would challenge experienced players and showcase Doom's graphics. ... It won't take much time to see that I have worked very hard to create a visually intriguing level. If you find any misaligned wall textures let me know." Those words were written in October 1994, and while the map is in parts bland or repetitive (even with a somewhat mazey area), it is quite well made, and not too boring to play. I stumbled upon one thing that seemed like a map bug, but it didn't actually leave me trapped. The level features plenty of outdoor areas, but nothing that looks to me too much like a garden, botanical or otherwise.

  • Chester by Nic Bedford & Simon Davis
    55kb - Doom.exe - SP/DM - 1 map - (img)
    Another wad based on a real place - or at least the layout is based on the street plan of part of the city of Chester, in north-west England. However, despite having been to Chester several times, I really wouldn't have recognized it without comparing it with the relevant page in my trusty copy of Cheshire Town Centre Maps. Sadly, the map lacks the custom textures that would have brought it alive. Apparently the authors did attempt to represent some landmarks in the wad, but I think you would need to be extremely familiar with the place to recignize the little hints.

  • Cross by Brad Hughes
    55kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This level is woody, and not very tinny at all. In addition to wood themes, there is a good deal of nukage, and some green stone and riveted metal. Much of the action takes places in passageways, and the gameplay is kept lively by areas opening up (generally releasing monsters, more often than not imps) in areas that the player needs to revisit. The name comes, I presume, from the layout of the starting area, and on the whole the map features a lot of 90 degree corners. Not a bad map, though some may find it a little tedious, and the progression confusing. Some colour-coding is also lacking on doors that require keys.

  • Cave by Chris Tierney
    52kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    The cave here is reminiscent of that in the original E4M2, and it sits alongside mainly tech areas. However, the most memorable aspect of this map are the close-quarters battles with cybers. However, the cyber battles are optional, and if you skip them, then there is just a relatively trivial fight with a spider lying between you and the exit.

  • Andy's WAD by Andy Hoffmann
    124kb - Doom2.exe - SP/DM - 14 maps - (img) - (img) - (img)
    First of all, please note that this is not a good wad. Don't download it if you're looking for quality. However, there is a chance that you might find it quite amusing, or curious in some ways. It isn't completely clear if it was an attempt at a joke wad, or if Andy Hoffmann was looking to jerk people around - I don't believe it is simply inept mapping, given that there aren't many horrendous errors otherwise. In any case, it features some ideas of the type that have been pilloried in later joke wads. Fake icons (of sin) are a notable feature in a number of the maps, while ludicrously high ceilings (together with relatively slow lifts) appear in several. These height differences lead to some weird effects, such as what looks like a "rain" of caco fireballs, or being surrounded by monsters who can only pump their attacks into the floor. For me, the pièce de résistance is in map09, a huge room with what looks like an icon set-up. You need to drop down onto a platform in order to get your rockets to enter the gap. However, you're in for a nasty surprise if you do so, and in fact the exit is elsewhere. The little joke on map09 also means you can exit that map as a zombie, which makes map10 (a crushing experience) rather entertaining.

    Recommended only if you enjoy crackpot ideas.

That was Grazza with those pretty tough maps. The rest, which was uploaded by funduke (although I did take on one of Grazza's uploads) were reviewed by myself ((img)), except for the DM bits, done by [W4GH4X] ((img).)

  • Zero by Vance Januszewski
    61KB - Doom - 1 map - SP/Coop(/DM) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    A relatively long map with a basic design; it's mostly a romp through underground "tech" themed halls and rooms, with rough texturing (sometimes misaligned and sometimes disregarding lighting conditions) and mostly frontal encounters. Health and armor aren't excessive and monsters are relatively abundant, though due to the availablitiy of ammo and the straightforward way the monsters come at you from an usually level position (height variations are relatively uncommon except connecting certain areas) the wad isn't too challenging. (img)

  • Too bad v1.0 by Tom Petrillo
    38KB - Doom - 1 map - SP(/Coop) - (img)
    This is a relatively simple underground cement bricks map with a more or less tidy layout. It should be able to provide short and decently action packed while not difficlt games, where the issue of its empty REJECT lump fixed. As it is, in the bigger rooms the monsters ignore the Player and Barrels cause no damage (additionally the map won't work outright with some engines, like Boom, and demo recording isn't possible with Doom.) (img)

  • 303 Sucks! v2.1 by Calypso
    17KB - Doom - 2 maps - SP - (img) - (img) - (img)
    The first map of this pair of levels is very rough and simple, and leads you to a bunch of Cyberdemons guarding the exit. Ammo is very tight and presumably the author wanted the Player to get through without killing all the cybies. The second map is a tiny bit more complex but equally crude, and pits you against a Spiderdemon and some lesser monsters, but is easier due to the presence of an Invulnerability and other power-ups (maybe at least one of these should have been in the previous map?) Moral of the story; don't make maps about stuff that sucks... and, an area code? (img)

  • DOOM Playland v0.36 by Yukihiro Ando
    164KB - Doom - 4 maps - SP(/Coop/DM) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This wad seems to be an unfinished effort by a Japanese author made up of four maps which are somewhat (but not very) challenging due to the defensive positioning of the monsters, with a stair oriented architectual theme. The first map is based around a wide set of stairs that rises from a large room to another section above; it's not too hard though sometimes mobility is restricted (things, like decorations, can get in the way.) In the second map you face Cyberdemons and Barons of Hell, and it's one of those levels where you must do certain specific tings to survive (cowards staying in the periphery are likely to end up dead.) The third map provides some well guarded mechanical contrivances the Player must activate and cross. The last map is the toughest one, with tighter melees where infighting can play off well, but it can also be made easier by carefully choosing one's path, like the second map. (img)

  • PTDOOM by Phillip T. Wheeler
    1055KB - Doom - 18 maps - SP/Coop/DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is a set of two early episodes with a few new sprites to accompany them. The first of the two episodes is composed of maps we've already seen in the Planet wad compilation by the same author back in issue #257 of the Chronicles, and those maps aren't reviewed here specifically since they aren't essentially different. The new sprites come with an archaic DeHackEd patch that does some slight changes to the monsters, mainly the Baron of Hell that is transformed into a giant green fly of some kind. Curiosly the insectoid does not fly, though this could be because early versions of DeHackEd might not have allowed messing with the thing bits yet. In addition to the fly, the Cacodemon is swapped for a large metallic "cocohead", the possessed guys are turned into evil marines with red visors, and the Demon becomes a somewhat Alien-like monster, that we saw already back in #261 of these Chronicles. I must admit I didn't play through with the new monsters, as they felt a bit awkward (and as is evident in the main screen shots above.) The new maps are similar to the ones in Planet, yet generally more playable in a standard fashion, except maybe for the sixth map where armament is scarce. The theme is generally base or tech styled, with additional cavern-like areas, an almost Wolf3Dish bunker, and an urban environment. Overall, the designs are clean and often spacious layouts with reasonably tidy texturing. (img)

  • 3ripnwad by Ror, Jim, and Chris
    120KB - Doom - 3 maps - SP/Coop/DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Three levels by three brothers. The first one, "I be too tough for you", is the more developed and neater of the three, with the better combination of achitecture and enemy placement. The second one, "Lookout", is a rough mazy complex with a lot of monsters; it's difficulty is diminished by the simplicity of the architecture and the overuse of barrels. The last one, "Uberscrewed" is a somewhat shoddy and variously textured layout with a sequence of fights that ensue after new sections are progressively opened by the Player. The package contains two copies of each wad, as funduke has convenintly provided versions with proper REJECT lumps. (img)

  • My first adventure by Phillip S. Pittz
    22KB - Doom - 1 map - SP/Coop - (img)
    A simple and spacious level where you first face a bunch of Demons and then a couple of boss monsters. That's it. (img)

  • Aarrghh! by Oleg Tolstkhine and Alex Korobka
    171KB - Doom - 5 maps - SP/Coop(/DM) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    An incomplete episode for DOOM which provides the first two maps, the secret one, and the last one, plus an unpopulated placeholder map for the rest. The levels are relatively challenging and sometimes a bit unforgiving. In the first map you move to and from a UAC-type base and a more gothicy area. The seocind map is based-themed again, and provides somewhat more of a challenge, but is still not too hard with a good strategy. The secret map is large and demands a more thought out route to avoid getting amushed in an unfair way, and is a generally tricky map. The last map is a basic final map with a couple or areas, and is generally the easier map due to infighting and the way the monsters are placed. (img)

  • Takeover by Martin van den Nieuwelaar
    27KB - Doom - 1 map - SP(/Coop/DM) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    A neat little tech base styled level which is not too populated but rather balanced, without being difficult. We also tried it on DeathMatch mode but it's somewhat awkward, as the starts and weapons aren't always close enough to each other. (img)

  • Tricky little wad by GEM
    37KB - Doom - 1 map - SP(/Coop) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This tech base level's trickyness comes from its not always obvious progression, although that doesn't make it frustrating. The encounters against monsters provide decent fights, but they aren't really difficult. (img)

  • ZelDoom by Thomas and Denton
    425KB - Doom2 - 1 map - TC wannabe - (img)
    An unfinished Zelda TC; one monster, some weapons, some sounds, one decoration, a few textures, and some other miscellaneous graphics (title screen, etc.) have been changed. It seems it was heading in a relatively tidy direction, but contains only one demo map. (img)

  • Doom glove by an anonymous author
    15KB - Doom/2 - Graphics replacement
    Eh... this makes the Rocket launcher look like a simplistic black/violet glove that shoots blue/violet DOOM press release beta energy balls. (img)

  • La femme by Elizabeth Orne
    15KB - Doom/2 - Graphics replacement - (img)
    This wad gives the marine a blue-eyed female face on the status bar. I'd say there's another more appropriate one on the archive, though. (img)

  • Sorcery by an anonymous author
    22KB - Doom/2 - Graphics and engine hack
    This wad (along with its accompanying DehackEd patch) tries to turn some weapons into sorcerous equivalents. The Rocket launcher becomes a "fireball" spell, the Plasma gun an "icebolt" spell, and the BFG9000 something called God's wrath. Graphics modifications are minimal, merely some recoloring and the use of the hand/fist graphics, aside from the pick-up sprites. The DeHacked patch seems kind of glitchy, since the weapon pick-up text refuses to show up, and the Chaingun doesn't work properly anymore (it refuses to aknowledge ammo ran out.) The magic powers don't use up ammo, and they can each be picked up in the form of spellbooks with the spell name typed on the spine. (img)

  • T1000 look-a-likes for DOOM 3D by Paul Healey
    54KB - Doom/2 - Graphics replacement - (img)
    This turns the Shotgun guy into something somewhat akin to the T1000 from the Terminator movies. It's apparently suspended by and moves with boosters on its arm stumps (or whatever), and attacks with a long spike that comes out of the pubic area when the monster gets belligerently excited, from where it ejects its... pellets. No DeHackEd patch is provided, so out of the box this armless and legless thing is a wimpy monster! (img)

  • Stardog One by Stardog
    57KB - Doom2 - 1 map - DM- (img) - (img) - (img) - SP/Coop - (img) - (img)
    The open spaces and the many paths and ways to access the different areas make this map interesting for DeathMatch. Its construction presents a good deal of what's possible in map design, from stairs, "impilicit" elevators (small platforms that may be used as such), illusionary walls, and so on. It's hard to define a central room for melees, and during our testing we noted that each section had its own characteristics and difficulties; sometimes one needs to know how to move, in others how to wait and not despair over the possibility tof getting trapped. The weapons are distributed in a way that makes it necessary to cross a good deal of the map to fill our inventory, and each weapon will be important in the different situations the map can present; it's only a matter of choosing the right ones. On one-on-one games, the game will tend to be a bit slow, though it can be made somewhat dynamic if the players can anticipate things well, if they get a good bearing of the map, or get to know its nuances (wallrunning, etc.) In regard to using the AltDeath variant, it's worth noting that there are a number of Invulnerability spheres in generally accessible areas. Due to its size and contruction the map could well be suitable for team DM or free-for-all games. Recommended. ;) (img)

    Though this map was made mainly for DeathMatch it has monsters, which have been placed decently for single player games. Fights can be uneven due to the layout, and on some parts can be easy while somewhat harder on others. Due to the size of the areas and the availability of power-ups, with a systematic approach the map can be handled with relative ease. (img)

  • Wildmatch by an anonymous author
    18KB - Doom - 1 map - DM - (img) - (img) - SP/Coop - (img) - (img)
    This map has a central area where most of the DeathMatch starts are found, the rest aren't too far off. The design and construction of the central area allow camping and action at the same time. The windows on the walls of the central area allow monitoring the adjacent areas, but the weapons are mostly found in these adjacent areas, thus making frags likely in a variety of places. Acceptable for one-on-one and free-for-all with up to four players. (img)

    This DeathMatch map also has monsters and encounters can get cluttered with the amount of enemies and decorations, but once you know your bearings (which is likely if you have played it on DeathMatch mode) the monsters aren't hard to defeat or avoid, as applicable or desired. (img)

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An unfinished Zelda TC; one monster, some weapons, some sounds, one decoration, a few textures, and some other miscellaneous graphics (title screen, etc.) have been changed. It seems it was heading in a relatively tidy direction, but contains only one demo map.

One demo map? It's just one room damn it!

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Andy's WAD is interesting because on map5 there is a drop of over 24000 units that sometimes makes prboom segfault when you run out over the delimiting linedef.

Annoyingly this only happens intermittently, and in particular, not when run under a debugger!

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RjY said:
Andy's WAD is interesting because on map5 there is a drop of over 24000 units that sometimes makes prboom segfault when you run out over the delimiting linedef.

I remember a wad that would similarly (that is, only when moving forward consistently, and not while just dropping off) cause a terminal (MapPlane) error with Doom, on a fall in the secret map.

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RjY said:

Andy's WAD is interesting because on map5 there is a drop of over 24000 units that sometimes makes prboom segfault when you run out over the delimiting linedef.

Annoyingly this only happens intermittently, and in particular, not when run under a debugger!

24000 unit drop aye? I gotta try that! :D
Also, have you noticed that when you are falling a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong distance in doom, it seems like you bounce back up a little before you hit the ground?

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Craigs said:

Also, have you noticed that when you are falling a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong distance in doom, it seems like you bounce back up a little before you hit the ground?

Did you know that happens in real life too? You can see it for yourself when staring out a car onto the road or a long wall, or when looking at the tires of a fast moving car.

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