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The /newstuff Chronicles #276

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Hello, readers of The /newstuff Chronicles, with issue #276 the time has come again for those moldy levels someone left in a now cobwebbed waddery. In addition to a few other wads uploaded by RL and funduke, this time around I'm tackling a bunch of early wads by a resident old timer, who most people will recognize, and the undoubted highlight of Grazza's selection this month is a space-themed Hexen hub, while he has reviewed several Heretic and Doom wads of interest too.

By the way, note that these are the wads uploaded on the previous month, and that another batch of old stuff is on its way soon. This one will give you enough to chew on for a few days, though.

We start off with Grazza's reviews:

  • Starship by James 'SPAM Man' Paige
    593kb - Hexen.exe - SP - 6-map hub - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Here's something you don't see every day: a six-map Hexen hub. I'll get straight to the point: if you liked Hexen, you'll definitely want to play this, and might prefer to do so without any spoilers (though do look at the "port issues" below). If you didn't like Hexen, then you may nevertheless want to give it a go. There aren't quite the hub-wide hunts for switches and "what did that do?" situations that there were in the original (but there is a fair bit if you want to get to the secret map), though you might find yourself wandering around aimlessly if you've forgotten which teleport leads to which map. Anyway, the hub is very well made, which each map having a distinct character, and touches of gentle humour throughout. It might well sound incongruous to have a starship in Hexen, but it kind of works if you'll permit the author a little artistic license. The idea that glues the maps together is that the starship is draining power from a number of planets, to which you teleport and then liberate. On each world you need to perform a number of tasks, and receive instructions for these from NPCs (obviously this feature can't be implemented in the interactive way that it is in Strife, but the scripting works well enough in any case - it's not as if you're going to refuse the tasks, after all). Overall, I found the progression engrossing enough to want to play through the hub again. As for gameplay, well, it is Hexen, and that does mean that you'll spend a fair amount of time killing dull little enemies with not very exciting weapons, but the action certainly hots up at several points and especially towards the end. Even at some early points, you'll be facing the more interesting foes. I played as Warlock (skill 4 mage) and didn't find it too hard even though I failed to use many of the artifacts. I just used the odd save along the way for safety, and before t he major battle at the end (incidentally, before you go into that battle, do remember that with the power drained, any force fields will be disabled on the starship, so...).

    Port issues: Unfortunately, there are some. This wad was made in the pre-port era, and while it all seems to work with Hexen.exe, all the ports I tried produced some glitches. As far as I can tell, the only cheat you'll need to get around them is CASPER (noclipping), and you'll only need to use it once or twice. Doomsday (jHexen) starts you off at the beginning of the game at the wrong point - and it's a place you can't get out of too. That's a bit of a showstopper, but I presume that if you CASPER your way to the correct starting point, nothing should be damaged. In Zdoom, there are two places where you are stuck when you arrive at a teleport destination. These are due to the floor level having changed since the first time you arrived at these points (in one map due to a very nice water effect; in the latter due to the huge earthquake that is going on in Abattoir). Just type CASPER, move slightly, type CASPER again, and you're good to go. In Abattoir this will happen in the middle of a major battle, so you'd better to ready to pause too. In Vavoom, things seem to work OK, but there is one point where it is harder than it should be to jump up a waterfall, as the speed of the water appears to be subtracted from your own speed (this is part of the same water effect that leads to a different problem in Zdoom). However, if you take a running jump at it, you can avoid the problem by not touching the falling water.

    OK, so download, play and enjoy.

  • Space 2096: The Invasion Begins by Dave Sherwin
    402kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 6 map - (img) - (img) - (img)
    I'll hazard a guess that Dave Sherwin is a space nut. These six maps each have a shuttle craft at their heart, and some of them take place inside a larger space ship of some sort. The first two maps are just there to provide a little realism - there are no monsters to fight - and the sense of continuity perists throughout the wad. The author has clearly gone to some trouble to make the space craft realistic - or at least, in keeping with what space craft look like on TV. We find ourselves in a variety of areas, including engine rooms, what are probably particle accelerator thingies and I suppose a warp core type jobby. There's no shortage of radiation either, and there are also shafts/tubes to walk around, and some large shortage areas. The four levels where there is some action are all big and complex, with lots and lots of enemies. For most part the foes are small, but arranged so as to be rather dangerous. You may find ammo and health somewhat tight, and I think you are expected to carry stuff from one map to the next, rather than having a pistol start on each (I'm not saying it's impossible to play in that way though). Even then it's not an easy wad to get through on UV unless you take the precaution of saving now and then. Overall, I can commend this wad to the house.

  • UAC Plant level for DOOM II by Bob Kudla
    147kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This is what you'd call a large map. It's relatively plain, without masses of variety in textures within each area, but enough imagination shown overall to keep things interesting. Early on there is a slight switch hunt in order to progress; it's not too much of a pain though. A lot of the action takes place in passages and side-areas, though it does open out in a number of places. The challenge is moderate - if you play carefully at any rate. Not much more to say - if you like large old-style complex maps that will take a fairly long time to complete, this is a pretty good one to download - I didn't find anything I'd regard as unfair in it. And it ends with a big crate area.

  • Shrine by Jonathan Tourtellot
    142kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 3 maps - (img)
    Here we have three maps, but given that the second of them is a large and pointless maze, I would suggest just regarding it as two separate maps. The first is fairly small and a little bit tricky if you play recklessly, but overall fun. This is apparently the "shrine", and it does have that kind of feel to it. Map03 is the real meat, and takes place underground. As the author comments, for some reason (which he doesn't even try to explain), there are a couple of warships down there. Maybe he could have borrowed a couple of Dave Sherwin's share spacecraft too. Anyway, if we ignore the implausibility of this, the level is quite fun. Once you've found your way to the megasphere, there shouldn't be too many problems, and the gameplay flows well enough.

  • Obituary by Wes Burd Jr
    131kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    If you've played some of Wes Burd's other maps, you'll have a fair idea what to expect here: a rather large, even sprawling map with a need for a good deal of running around required, and some larger battles towards the end, but with plenty of tools provided to get the job done. I'll just mention that on this occasion if you're in a hurry to exit, then you can do so without collecting any keys. This is accomplished by executing two glides (one to get in, the other to get out) so as to press the switch that you're meant to need the blue key to access.

  • Tek Lab 1 by Sonny Wasinger (aka CONDUCTOR)
    108kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    Yes, it's a Conductor map. He's the guy who make "Fortress of the Seven" in case you had forgotten. That was a very large and challenging map with some significant puzzle elements, and required quite a lot of preparation and map knowledge to get through. Here he provides us with another thoroughly confusing experience, in a mostly tech environment (as the name suggests). Even finding your way out of the starting areas requires some experimentation, and from then on you start to encounter some serious resistance in amongst the puzzles and switch hunts. I should also mention that it is possible to get stuck if you activate certain things in the wrong order. Clearly this is not a wad for everyone, and will only suit those who don't mind spending quite a lot of time getting to know a map. You'll certainly want to use a few saves, or perhaps to play through the wad with -nomonsters before tackling it for real. Texture use is unconventional, with tech panels in abundance for instance. In some areas, you'll find that moving floors outnumber the stationary ones. Probably after all I've said, not many people will tackle this one, but those who do will probably feel quite satisfied when they eventually defeat it.

  • Sentinels Of Damnation by Gary Atkinson
    107kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This solid map provides a good test of Dooming skill. There aren't huge numbers of monsters, but the balance is good, and you'll need to make wise use of your resources and plan the fights with a little care in order to get through. The main themes are wood and stone, with plenty of stepped walkways in a mostly outdoors environment where height differences come into play throughout. On the negative side, the map lacks a real climax, and the challenge seems to lessen towards the end. Also, the presence of nukage that doesn't hurt the player is a little odd.

  • DmPairs by Nick Anderson
    105kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This is by the same author as Fluvial and Quantum4, which can be found in the archive. This is an earlier work of his, and it is generally less ambitious, but nevertheless rather large and complex. It would also seem that he became rather better at choosing interesting names for his wads as he went on. It is apparently based on the "entrance to Earth" being "kept under lock and key by a bunch of Doom2 creatures who seem to like going about in pairs ... Unfortunately some of them cannot count!" The story is quite lengthy and highly tongue-in-cheek (at least I hope it is). Gameplay is not extreme, but certainly not a walk in the park. There's a good supply of ammo, but health is a little tight - though once you reach the soulsphere you should be able to take control of events. As in Fluvial, there are a lot of floors that are some sort of liquid (probably not creosote or some extract used in industrial varnishing), so you'll need to be quick on your feet here and there. Themes vary (if you wanted to be unkind, you could say random), but there is a good deal of wood and stone, and outdoor grassy areas too. The battles towards the end grow in intensity, but they are very manageable with the goodies you'll have accumulated by then.

  • Volcano 2 by Jonathan Tourtellot and Daniel Snyder
    69kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    "Adventures in the caves of a volcano" says the text-file, which also states the authors had planned a much larger level, but their tools kept choking on it. At first, it appears that the name has nothing to do with the level, as we appear to be in a plain grey base with square rooms, but soon we encounter lava caverns and precarious walkways, and some redder rocks too in due course. I should mention that you can actually reach the exit very quickly, but it's a bit more fun to play along and follow the intended route. There are no huge battles, and you'll have plenty of health and ammo as long as you find the stashes dotted about. Overall, I would have expected a bit more lava and volcanic-looking rocks though. And a lava fall maybe.

  • Darktown by Andreas Mair
    62kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This fairly large map provides some gentle fun. There aren't any huge battles, but there is action throughout. Variety in texturing is not too great, but the design is clean-looking and the structures are certainly not monotonous, and more attention has been given to lighting than in most old wads.

  • Bridge01 by Roger Rice
    60kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    The author writes: "This level is not too hard to beat, it isn't meant to be. I made it more for the fun of creating another level than making a 'masterpiece'." I certainly wouldn't call it an easy map though, and the start should keep you quite busy. Themes include bricks and stone, together with some battles in confined spaces. And if he didn't intend it to be a masterpiece, why did he include a big crate room? :p The final battle isn't what it seems, but once you have worked out what is what, you have a big ammo surplus (and an invul) to wipe out the resistance.

  • The X File by Mike Shinnick
    58kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This map on the other hand, does proclaim itself to be difficult, and I'll go along with that. I'd suggest trying to stay healthy early on - you'll get plenty of ammo, so don't be scared to use it. Teleporting lost souls, damaging floors are waiting to eat away at your health, ably supported by some strategically placed mid-range monsters. Gameplay remains on a knife-edge, and you'll be revisiting areas unexpectedly, so it might be an idea to clear them out to start with. A good all-action, medium-sized map.

  • The Raven by Matt Bollier
    55kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This is a somewhat deceptive map. It is medium sized and has a relatively small monster population, but is nevertheless rather tricky. This is due to the small amount of health and the fact that most of the enemies are hitscanners, and they are placed so that you are in danger from all sides and often from both above and below. If you know where you're going, it isn't too tough to reach the exit, but you'll need to be careful and accurate if you want to empty it out of bad guys before doing so. Design-wise, there's a lot of sandstone-type walls and cliffs.

  • Pamplona by Chris Mead
    51kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    You've heard of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, haven't you? Well, this is an attempt to recreate it as a Doom wad. Fortunately our Doom marine has more of a speed advantage than the bull-runners in the real-life event (not to mention their lack of firepower), but it is nevertheless not so easy to escape the horde, as you don't have many opportunities to get in off the roads, and also because the demons are able to follow you into some of the buildings. If you're quick on your feet, you should be able to come out on top without undue difficulty.

  • Downtown v1.0 by Matt Bollier
    29kb - Doom2.exe - DM/SP - 1 map - (img)
    Early work by a future TeamTNT member. It is quite true to the style of its namesake, Doom2's map13, in some respects (but without such use of height differences, teleports or the bigger monsters), though Bollier cites Deadbase as his inspirattion. I feel this map might work better as a DM map than for SP, where it is quite a routine experience.

  • Sacred by Wes Burd Jr
    62kb - Heretic.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    Similar comments apply as for the Wes Burd map mentioned earlier, except that this one is for Heretic. I must say that I found it somewhat tougher, but maybe that's because I play a good deal less Heretic than Doom, and don't tend to make good enough use of the power-ups. There's some good action, especially early on, but the main negative point I found was that the whole thing was too repetitive due to excessive use of cut-and-paste.

  • One More level by DAV
    55kb - Heretic.exe - SP - 1 map - (img)
    This unpretentious single map for Heretic is of the 'fort surrounded by a moat' type. Gameplay is reasonably well balanced, though stacked a little in the player's favour, as there's no reason to run out of ammo, especially if you collect the time bombs from the outside area (and then remember to use them). You get a generous supply of other goodies, including morph ovums, which are always good for a laugh.

  • The Fallen Citadel by Niklata
    30kb - Hexen.exe - DM - 1 map - (img)
    A small Hexen DM map. That's a rather rare species, so if you like Hexen and DM, you'll no doubt already be downloading it. It conforms to internationally approved DM map design standards, so it should provide some amusement.

My reviews follow hereafter:
  • Denial by Jonathan Tourtellot
    98 KB - Doom2 - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Jonathan wan't kidding when he wrote the map is best played by "experienced DOOMers" as the realitively solid medium-sized level can be pretty nasty if you just walk in carelessly. It might not be everyone's favorite dish with it's somewhat claustrophobic layout, but it does offer a challenge from start to end. A challenge, that is, but not necessarily a frustrating one if you get your bearings, since there's a decent amount of health and ammo to deal with the opposition rather comfortably. You might want to avoid Ultra-Violence initially, as you get familiar with the map, for difficulty settings are supported.

  • Football by Andrew Fritz
    13 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co - (img)
    This is one of those one-room levels aimed to emulate some mundane scenario in DOOM. In this case, a football (or that armored sport where the ball rarely touches the foot, that they like to play in the USA) field. Andrew's "greatest achievement" might be the goal, where he made an effort to make it look sort of right in the 2Dish environment. The field itself looks kind of smallish, and Andrew bunched a group of monsters there (ready to play "infighting", since there's no ball to play the proper sport with) along with some pointless decorations.

  • Killin' by Michael Lefler
    31 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co - (img) - (img)
    This is an old crude level geared around an open central area that connects indoor sections. The fighting, while not hard due to the shape of the areas and the available space, can be moderately fun, yet the map can be somewhat annoying in that it's confusing even for its relatively smallish size, especially due to a set of cheap teleporters that send you to different locations depending on what part of the linedef you go over.

  • E2L1BIN3 by Geoffrey C. Grabowski
    21 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, (Co) - (img)
    This is an "experimental" wad where sections open and close as you go, allowing you to avoid nasty confromtations while you're not well equipped. It has two problems, though; one being that it can be exploited, breaking progression, and another that it doesn't really normally allow you to kill all your opponents, many of which end up trapped in the sections that close up. The map is small and, due to its construction, rather short once you know your way through.

  • Laura Beyer's add-on demo by Laura Beyer
    1.0 MB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is the demo of the "legendary" Laura Beyer levels that caused controversy early on as Beyer attempted to sell the full version of the add-on. Since this was strictly against id Software's DOOM licence and wishes, this wad has been missing from many places, including our dear /idgames. Now funduke has uploaded this thing, presumably for historical purposes and curiosity's sake, since the wad itself isn't anything to die for; the new texture, decoration, and item graphics are at least a bit okay, if somewhat shoddy and oversized, while the ads, the new enemy, and the new sounds are pretty lame, and the music is likely ripped from somewhere (a Terminator game?). The map is rough, a bit sprawling, if not big, and doesn't have many enemies, thus not offering a particularly interesting challenge. You can read about early comments on this wad (even from Shawn Green of id) on the Computer Gaming World's Doom Conference transcript at Lee Killough's DOOM pages (hosted by John Romero). I still don't know what those miscellaneous ads were placed in there for, though. Selling unrelated computer products through wads, uh?

  • Merlin's revenge by Jonathan Jordan
    87 KB - Doom2 - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    A single-map DOOM II wad with a red and brown (or gray) theme one can find appealing. Lava, which will hurt the Player, is used throughout to limit the movement and fighting a bit, although ammo is plentiful, there are some Enviro-suits, and the areas are relatively spacious. All in all, it provides a light challenge that should be good for a quick game against the small and meduim sized monsters that populate the level.

  • Raven base by Jonathan Jordan
    79 KB - Doom2 - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img)
    Another map by Jonathan, who also made Merlin's revenge, reviewed above. Like his other map, this one also makes use of lava to confine the Player's movements, although in a less immediate way, as here you're generally moving over winding causeways over the stuff. The map, with a decent demonic fortification styled theme, isn't very hard but provides a mild challenge with some fights over the ledges, and requires some chainsawing action to conserve ammo (it was evidently made with that in mind).

  • The pool of despair by Jonathan Jordan
    44 KB - Doom2 - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    In this level Mr. Jordan swaps the lava for nukage, still keeping the usage of damaging sectors to affect play (a bit less so, here). The map has competent architecture and texture combinations, like his other releases, although the considerable movement space available throughout combined with the use of the generally weaker monsters makes the map somewhat of a lighter challenge.

  • The pumping station by Jonathan Jordan
    69 KB - Doom2 - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is the last and fourth single-map wad by this author displayed on this issue of The Chronicles, and it displays some of the characteristics found in the others, such as the use of damaging sectors (lava) and thought put into the architecture. This level is more of a tech style base, and has varied sections that provide different sorts of encounters, from more confined fights against medium sized baddies to exchanges over lethal substances. The use of some high lifts may slow down things a bit in a couple of cases, though not terribly so. This is probably the more challenging of Jordan's maps, while still quite doable for players of lower or moderate skill.

  • Michael Rapp's E2M4 by Michael Rapp
    92 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Here's another DOOM wad from almost a dozen years ago (that's quite some time, isn't it?). What is it, you say? It's a medium sized map, that's what. And not just that, it comes in a properly baked Shores of hell flavor that an insightful DOOM fan will not fail to catch. While it's not particularly tough, it does provide an appropriate opposition, and it's classic architecture, combined with the absorbing They're going to get you, will in themselves get to you. So get it; you will not regret it.

  • Enjay's original wads by Nigel R. Rowand
    99 KB - Doom - 2 levels - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This zip contains the first two attempts by some guy called NJ (Enjay). One would think that should stand for his initials, since the guy is called Nigel, but not really; it turns out he isn't Nigel J. Rowand, he's Nigel R. Rowand! The first wad, My_1st, shows some of the signs of an opera prima without being a sloppy attempt; texturing tends to be rather uniform during each section of the map, and the architecture seems to be explorative. There's a whole part that's a series of similar sqarish rooms, that may have been the first stuff he worked on, but as the map proceeds some more distinctive sections appear, with clearer height variations and somewhat more interesting design. Overall the mixes more mundane textures with somewhat hellish ones in the style of DOOM's second episode. The encounters are not too lethal, but are acceptably consistent due to the size of the map, the amount of monsters, and some convenient placement, getting a bit less predictable as the map progesses. With his second wad, Down, Enjay goes for a slightly more thematic approach, in this case going deep underground, starting off from an outside area. While this map doesn't display the more obvious "I just started" characteristics the way the previous one did, in one room Enjay uses tall lite (LITE3, was it?) texturing to create a very bright area, which may have seemed innovative back then but seems a bit of an abuse nowadays. Otherwise this wad is a bit more straightforward than the first, and more linear, as well as generally a bit easier (although back in the day, with little experience strafing and moving, it could have appeared tougher). The ammo, though, is relatively tight.

  • Enjay's Castle by Nigel R. Rowand
    95 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    What DOOM add-on level designer doesn't consider making a castle themed map? Well, this is Enjay's early attempt at the theme. It's a green marble fortress with some wood and rust. Door and lift sounds were replaced to give the map a more castle-like feel. Overall the layout does give athe impession it's after, although it's a bit convoluted and not too neat, and as a result plays somewhat awkwardly (and is generally easy with all the available power-ups). Still, it was made with DeathMatch in mind, although by today's standards its a bit sprawling and segmented for that mode of play.

  • Enjay's Shores of hell by Nigel R. Rowand
    331 KB - Doom - 9 levels - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    If you think about it, early on the second epidoe of DOOM was optimal for an episode replacement, firstly because id encouraged not using the first episode to ensure the least possible compatibility with the shareware version of the game, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because the episode theme mixes techy and more hellish elements more liberally, giving you more freedom in the texture usage if you're relying on the stock set. And Enjay's first full episode was a Shores of hell replacement. The set itself starts off rather simple, becoming a bit more elaborate around the middle, where the maps start being a bit more elabotate, at least in regard to the general layout. That is E2M4: Egypt shows some unusual pyramid-like designs, E2M5: Trubble and E2M6: The Furnace show some more effective usage of the layout, and E2M8: The Demon's bottom makes a pretty decent open-style replacement for the boss level. Versions of the two "original" maps made by Enjay also show up in this set, as E2M3 and E2M7. The difficulty of the episode more or less follows the original Shores of hell, and though overall it's a bit less elaborate than the stock set, it's not unfun.

  • Come out fighting by Nigel R. Rowand
    429 KB - Doom - 9 levels - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is a second episode by Enjay, this time a replacement for Knee deep in the dead (apparently taking place on the other side of Phobos), and as a matter of fact he set out to make it in the "feel" of that first episode. Nonetheless he inserted some "ancient ruins" sections with green marble and wood, which give it somewhat of a Shores of hell feel, and though some sections have a cleaner base-like appearance, or otherwise brownish nukage, they also don't really resemble Romero's maps in design (plus they hold medium sized monsters, unlike the shareware set). That said, overall these levels are a notch more consistent and solid than the ones in Enjay's Shores of hell, and are somewhat harder, especially from E1M5: Communications lab onwards, with E1M6: The long run probably providing the steadiest challenge. Curiously the first map goes with a star-wars-like tune instead of its standard track, and the Phobos sky is replaced with one showing snowy mountains. It's not clear where that sky is from (or what it's based off of) nor is it mentioned in the text file.

  • Enjay's DOOM by Nigel R. Rowand
    1.2 MB - Doom - 27 levels - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This is Enjay's full-fledged megawad replacing the whole of DOOM. It includes the previous E1 replacement, Come out fighting, as well as the initial E2 replacement, now inserted into the "other side of Phobos" story started in Come out fighting. The second episode has been renamed to Blood guts 'n' gory and its sky has been modified a bit to fit Phobos more appropriately. There aren't any too obvious differences in the episodes in relation to the initial releases; the clearest ones are the E2 sky and the absence of the new music for E1M1: The Ruins, so that the default track is played (welcome back, I say, \m/). Additionally, the megawad has a new title screen, v1.666 intro demos, and a help screen (acts like a promo screen), a new credits screen, a custom ENDOOM screen, as well as a few other slight changes (menu title, etc.), all giving it the feel of a finished and complete megawad. Then, more importantly, there's a replacement for the third episode, Oh Hell. This third episode follows the theme of the original Inferno pretty closely, though the maps tend to be generally neater but also usually have more staight lines than the originals. They are also usually a bit bigger and somewhat tougher overall. Some of the maps do come out pretty much as remakes of the originals, sometimes having very similar themes or devices, though they are never mere variations, as they usually expand somewhat on what they take from the id maps. In this episode we also see the reappearance of Enjay's Castle, spurced up and improved for proper single player action. There are a few curious tidbits as well; the sky is thematically a composite of DOOM's and DOOM II's third skies, and also there are a couple of traps that are equivalents to traps found in Petersen's Map08: Tricks and traps, first one involving Imps, and then another a Baron of hell. Were these taken from DOOM II? Are they a coincidence? Did Petersen look for ideas in user-made PWADs as DOOM II's scheduled release date loomed closer? It's not clear when the first version of the wad was uploaded, as the text says sometime in '94, and the ENDOOM says it was made from May to November '94, though perhaps these maps were completed when Enjay's DOOM II (see below) was already underway. Anyway, if you've played the first two episodes from the earlier releases first, you might want to give them another go, as they tend to get more fun past the first play-through, when you optimize ammo and strategies. Plus of course check out the third episode, which brings up those mysterious questions above.

  • Enjay's DOOM II by Nigel R. Rowand with Mark Matheson
    1.5 MB - Doom2 - 30 levels - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    The final wad by Enjay is a port of Enjay's DOOM to DOOM II. As a result we see, for the most part, the same maps, but retextured to a good degree to rely on the DOOM II's resources and to go by the "Hell on Earth" theme. DOOM II monsters certainly do appear throughout, though they don't necessarily make the maps tougher, with the Super shotgun and all. Still, the set might be worth a go even if you've played the DOOM version, since it plays a bit differently overall. The first two episodes (the starport and city levels) use a mix of maps drawn from Come out fighting and Blood, guts 'n' gory, except for two or three exceptions, and the last episode (the hell levels) uses mostly Oh hell as a base. Enjay also took three maps started by Mark Matheson (maps 18, 19 and 25) to complete the megawad. The second one can be found in its original form (for DOOM) on /idgames, as it was somewhat recently uloaded by funduke. The only sky that was modified here was the third one, where the mountains were swapped for Inferno's. The text file also explains that the secret maps were removed as they were merely modifications of the Wolfenstein levels in DOOM II (presumably shrunk back to normal scale).

  • PJS 01 by Patrick J. Steele
    24 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img) - (img)
    This map was made by the author of a mapping application, DCS (DOOM Construction Set), more or less as a demo of what the editor can do. The package contains a description of the then oncoming editing tool, as well. The map itself is themed like a typical UAC base, with a few differences in relation to Romero's and Hall's styles, being generally less spacious and using some lava outside, but is relatively tidy throughout. The map is pretty easy and rather small, but it forces you to confront opponents due to the confined layout.

  • Rusty cage by Neil Riehle
    204 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, (DM) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    The author of this map stated he had started it with DeathMatch in mind, but that it grew and grew from there, and indeed playing this large map on DeathMatch mode would probably be pretty boring. The layout is generally open, with various structures the Player can go into, and the design is simple but not bad. The texturing gets a bit shoddy in places, but does its job in keeping a relatively consistent arcane stone and rust theme in most areas. The level has a good number of monsters throughout, and they can be hurtful sometimes as you can get attacked from various sides as they spread about, though there's also a lot of space where to move around and hide, lightening up the challenge a bit. Also, due to the many areas that make it up it should be possible to exploit some unforseen shortcuts. There is one bug that players should be aware of (and from the "may not run with" line in the text file it seems that the uploader, RL, was aware of it): a tagless door linedef can break the map. Thus it's probably better not to play this map with Doom or full Doom compatibility, and to stick to an enhanced engine that annuls that nasty side-effect of sloppy mapping, instead.

  • Stairmaster by Andrew Murphy
    30 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img)
    Andrew's level is very rough and uniformly textured in a rather messy manner. The theme is "stairs" and it makes me wonder if that is because the author was still trying to get lifts to work properly. Monsters are placed here and there in the irregular rooms and halls, but they aren't too much of a challenge to a seasoned marine. I didn't spot any particulary interesting quirks in the maps playability, either. The map seems pretty damn old, though DEU could do better back then, if one put effort into it.

  • White room by Doug Ryerson
    43 KB - Doom - 1 level - SP, Co, DM - (img) - (img)
    This is a smallish map with a rather cramped layout that doesn't really have any white rooms, though presumably the author was attempting to convey the idea that it is part of some UAC lab by naming it thus. It's generally constricted rooms don't really make it a challenge, because most of its not-too-many monsters suffer from it more than you do. There is a bug (that the author was aware of but didn't fix) that produces a HOM in the main area. The wad also includes new music, but it's a somewhat gay track that doesn't really fit DOOM's mood too well, and there are a few slight amateurish texture modifications.

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NJ is short for Nutjob. :P

Our old pal Nigel wrote on his website

Why Enjay?: For some strange reason, a guy I went to school with turned up one morning and whilst we were waiting for the school bus he decided to start calling me Oddjob. He had seen the James Bond film featuring this character the night before (don't remember which one it was). Despite not being particularly fat, oriental or having a steel rimmed bowler hat, the name stuck for a while. That was until the BBC TV series "Grange Hill" started. As this was a kids program, the usual playground insults were toned down to an acceptable "flippin' 'eck, you ain't half a nutjob" or "get lost nutjob". Oddjob became Nutjob, and stayed there for a number of years. Eventually, I was a young professional graduate working in the oil industry. Nutjob became increasingly uncomfortable for other people to say, so spearheaded by my friend's dad it was shortened to NJ. Now that I have changed careers, few people know of my dark past, but "Enjay" still hangs around in the sidelines.

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Hard to believe that's the same Enjay who relased the outstanding Thief level last week, isn't it? ;)

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Wow, 2 /newstuff featuring Heretic (and even Hexen) levels in a row !

What was the last Heretic level released out of them ? Hordes of Chaos X maybe, more than 1 year ago ?

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How curious to see these NJ WADs reviewed in 2006 so many years after their initial releases. Thanks for not being too harsh. ;) Also, thanks for the link to Mark's original "Under" WAD. I still know Mark but he hasn't bothered with Doom for quite some time and I thought all traces of his original levels were gone. He actually did a second release on to Compuserve which had "Under" and another map packaged together with it (I think it was one of the other maps I used) and there was also custom sky of a city. No idea what happened to that though. I'll show him "Under" though. I'm sure he'll be interested.

As for the outstanding questions (if anyone really wants to know):

"There's a whole part that's a series of similar sqarish rooms, that may have been the first stuff he worked on"

It was certainly some of the early stuff, but rather strangely, the first few sectors I laid down were the start room and rising staircase beyond. In fact, it was Mark who showed me how to make that first room then explained how lines tags and sectors worked. The first tagged thing I tried was the rising staircase (so quite why those don't have sector numbers 0 and the lowest tags, I have no idea). I also have no idea how I managed to get it to work because I spent the next 5 years or so trying to get another moving staircase working as effectively.

"Enjay uses tall lite (LITE3, was it?) texturing to create a very bright area, which may have seemed innovative back then"

Damn right it did (puke). I remember an art teacher friend of mine saying how amazing it was. He even compared it to an exhibition he'd seen. Hideous, isn't it?

"Curiously the first map goes with a star-wars-like tune instead of its standard track"

I did that? Ahem, I mean: I did that. Actually, I have no idea why. Probably simply because I could. We were crazy back in '94. :/

"Phobos sky is replaced with one showing snowy mountains. It's not clear where that sky is from (or what it's based off of) nor is it mentioned in the text file."

I have no idea where the graphic came from either. Sorry.

"There are a few curious tidbits as well; the sky is thematically a composite of DOOM's and DOOM II's third skies, and also there are a couple of traps that are equivalents to traps found in Petersen's Map08: Tricks and traps, first one involving Imps, and then another a Baron of hell. Were these taken from DOOM II? Are they a coincidence? Did Petersen look for ideas in user-made PWADs as DOOM II's scheduled release date loomed closer?"

The sky was simply because I quite liked the idea and it was a late addition. Perhaps this isn't the earliest version of NJDOOM. I released a few revisions to CompuServe and have no idea if the one I put into idgames is the oldest. It's the oldest I have, and that's all I can say. The only bit of map idea copying I can definitely remember doing for these WADs is actually in NJCASTLE and its various incarnations. There was a very early screenshot of Doom 2 that looked almost as if Doom2 might feature room over room structures. At least, that's how Mark interpreted it. I set out to try and build something that looked similar, but all I had was this one screenshot to go on so I had no idea what the rest of the level looked like. The area in question ended up (in my WAD) being the green tower that you can see in your screenshot ( http://www.doomworld.com/images/newstuff/276/nj_castlsp2.png ) and because the original looked kind of castle-y I concocted a castle-like map to go with it. I think the real structure ended up being the brick10 tower in map15 of Doom2 although in the preview screeny it had marble walls IIRC. As for the imps and baron traps, I simply don't know.

"The text file also explains that the secret maps were removed as they were merely modifications of the Wolfenstein levels in DOOM II (presumably shrunk back to normal scale)."

Actually, it was more crap than that. I simply made the exit elevators look a little more like the Wolf originals - using lever switches and the Doom2 Wolf Door textures. I also added back the secret near the end of map32 that was missed out in the Doom2 version and made the exit a run towards the horizon (again, like wolf) after killing a row of hanging keens. Later, for an even more illegal version, I extended the added end secret in map32 by putting another secret door at the back of it and pasting the entire id original Doom2 map01 into it. finally, I did actually do a Zdoom version (this was pre-njzdoom2) that was done to the correct scale, used ripped wolf textures and had poly objects to allow the sliding doors.

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Yay new wads I can enjoy.

EDIT: Meh. Oldstuff is a big hit or miss thing and unfortunately, for me at least, today the wads missed. Enjoyed sentinel.wad and raven.wad though.

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spac2096? I remember when that was first released back in 1996. That's when I used to go to Adam's house to download files off the AOL file archives. That was a favorite WAD of mine for at least a year. It really wasn't in the archive until now? O_o

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Lüt said:

It really wasn't in the archive until now? O_o

Nope. And with filelibrary down (maybe for good now), it wasn't available for download from anywhere, as far as I know.

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It's about time someone put starship.was in the archives.

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Grazza said:

Nope. And with www.filelibrary.com/Contents/DOS/104/74.html+spac2096&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4]filelibrary[/url] down (maybe for good now), it wasn't available for download from anywhere, as far as I know.

Strange, I would've expected those maps to not have such an obscure status. I've been looking at them in /doom2 for nearly 3 years and thinking I should play them again. I guess I will this week.

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Enjay said:
As for the imps and baron traps, I simply don't know.

One has the Imps down there in the blood, and the door closes and they teleport up, like in that room in Map08. The other one is a hallway where walls open in front of you till one opens and reveals a Baron of hell that teleports behind you to the other end of the hall, trapping you (this happens in Map08 as well, though there's but one opening wall).

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Lüt said:

Strange, I would've expected those maps to not have such an obscure status.

The author uploaded the wad to CompuServe and AOL, so back then it probably reached most of its target audience. It's only from a current perspective (and in the current reality!) that a wad missing from the /idgames archive has an obscure status.

There have been a number of wads (such as this) that I remember as being such high-profile releases in their day that I had assumed they must be in the archive - until I actually checked and found they weren't.

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myk said:

One has the Imps down there in the blood, and the door closes and they teleport up, like in that room in Map08. The other one is a hallway where walls open in front of you till one opens and reveals a Baron of hell that teleports behind you to the other end of the hall, trapping you (this happens in Map08 as well, though there's but one opening wall).

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I knew the traps you meant, and their map08 equivalents. What I didn't know was which map was older: map08 or mine.

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Enjay, heh, maybe Petersen borrowed from NJDOOM then!

Grazza said:
And with filelibrary down (maybe for good now), it wasn't available for download from anywhere, as far as I know.

If it's dead, how much of it did you manage to back up?

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myk said:

how much of it did you manage to back up?

I didn't really; I just downloaded misc files from there, albeit a fair number of them. That isn't where I got spac2096 anyway (it was just the only place where a websearch "found" it) - this was one I downloaded from CompuServe soon after it was released in 1996.

BTW, I recall Anders Johnsen mentioning that he had downloaded all of filelibrary's Doom files, so maybe he still has them.

I think a lot of the stuff that was at filelibrary is also in the collections at cd.textfiles.com. If you see something interesting listed as having been at filelibrary that you can't find elsewhere, let me know and I'll see if it's one I nabbed.

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Grazza said:
BTW, I recall Anders Johnsen mentioning that he had downloaded all of filelibrary's Doom files, so maybe he still has them.

It's true... plus he saved all the files on CDs, so he quite likely does have the stuff.

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What's with the techno pillar that's sitting in the water and has a slime fall coming down on it in the UAC Plant Level For Doom 2?

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Wow.. It's good to see Starship reviewed here and available on idgames finally. It's a lovely hub -perhaps my favorite of all short of Deathkings.

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I've played at Sentinels of danmation whit Doomsday (probally, i'm the only one still use that sourceport...) and it still kick ass like the first time i played it... Aniway some misaligniment textures and some naivete tipycal of that kind of wads... like the scrolling COMPBLUE for the waterfall usage (for the time, the WFALLx there was sci-fi ^0^), but is always a great wad!

And i also play at Enjay Doom, and some of the maps (E1M4, big part of E2) i found i've already seen there:


but WTF also these maps looks decent....

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rf` said:

Enjay Doom's e3m7 was in Heroes2. Coincidence?

Who knows? ^_^

Aniway the good old heroes 2 was a patchwork of various wads well knowed in that times... Probally isn't a coincidence can that map was inserted there...

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I've tried getting into old wads, but they just don't grasp my attention that well. I prefer wads that take the Doom engine to new levels, introducing realistic environments and gameplay that is fun and challenging for modern and old gamers alike. I must say though, I found the X-files wad pretty fun, although I couldn't understand what the hell it had to do with the TV show...

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