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Bloodshedder

The /newstuff Chronicles #331

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  • Blitz DM - Ismaele (Alberto Sposito)
    doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 209574 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    This is a rather small Deathmatch map scattered with weapons, health, and the like. It looks very good, with nice texture choices and moderate detailing. Unfortunately, there's not much variation in the map itself, with 4 nearly identical rooms on opposites of the map and a corridor uniform for its entire length - basically, mirror syndrome. If the level had been quite bigger the author might have been able to pull off the symmetry aspect, but this map's size just makes it seem homogenized. Shame, since this guy has made some excellent wads.

  • Deadpool's Real Arena - Mike Ryan
    Hexen - Deathmatch - 42568 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: WildWeasel
    This one's another one of those old 1995-era wads uploaded by GreyGhost - and while I'm sure I hear a few groans out of the audience, bear in mind that good Hexen DM wads are few and far between.

    I tested this wad myself in Skulltag, with a pair of bots (both fighters). The map is rather large, obviously designed for larger conflicts (I'd wager 4-8 players would be the map's sweet spot, but I don't recall if Hexen supported more than 4). The item balancing in this map seems to favor Fighters above all else; the Hammer of Retribution is one of the easiest weapons to find, being right in the middle of the level, plus there's an axe neatly placed in one of the outer areas of the map and a very easy-to-find hidden room with all three pieces of Quietus. Clerics are the second-best class here, with Firestorm within easy access and the Serpent Staff within not-so-easy access, but I was unable to find any weapon pieces. Playing Mage on this map would be suicide, because all I could find for him was the Arc of Death, which just requires too much precision to use effectively in deathmatch most of the time, and he doesn't move that fast either, making him an easy kill for the Fighters.

    The time I had with this map's layout was...well, not fun. There are plenty of unique rooms with different themes, making it a little easier to navigate than most DM maps I've played, but the overabundance of hidden rooms makes it too much a game of hide and seek. Doors are difficult to spot sometimes - what looks like a door from one side could look like just another wall on the other, leading to some rather unfair-feeling kills; then there's the issue of how many dead ends there are - one of which is actually a lava pit that kills you instantly. Sure, there's a Wings of Wrath at the bottom, but that's really only going to do you any good if you meet two specific conditions: (1) you have NO other items in your inventory, and (2) you have the reflexes of Jet Li. This map doesn't really lend itself well to the Wings anyway.

    Overall, it's a half-decent map for cheesy little LAN parties, but I doubt any server would bother with it long term.

  • Human Enemies for WWHC-Diaz - Woolie Wool
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3321171 bytes
    Reviewed by: WildWeasel
    Woolie Wool seems to enjoy having a more believable set of enemies than Doom's usual set of Hellish freaks, so he's created this patch-of-a-patch for last week's (more like last month's) Diaz: The Last Hours of Purity. This patch replaces nearly all of Doom's enemies with those of a more human and/or robotic variety, leaving virtually nothing untouched (enemy-wise, anyway).

    What impresses me most is the "variant" monsters - they act and sound like other enemies of the same type, but the different graphics makes them seem less like a clique of hive-minded zombies and more like an actual combat unit. Granted, Doom's AI kind of ruins that effect, and given how many of these guys are hitscanners, it can make some maps a lot more difficult than usual. But what's added in power is taken away in health - while many of these guys hit harder than in Doom (especially the Neutralizer-wielding cyborgs and security drones), they take a lot less punishment before going down. You'll probably be in for a good fight against them, regardless.

    But do I prefer these enemies over the originals? Well, from a quality standpoint, these are some darned good enemies, but as to whether I prefer them over the originals, well, it depends on what mood I'm in. The WAD itself is certainly worth a try if you liked Diaz.

  • Mall of Mayhem - theSil3ncer
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1863331 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    A nice piece we have here by a mapper I am not familiar with. This is a pretty neat attempt at a scary atmosphere. You are in a really dark mall with dead bodies littered around every corner, bloody hand prints smeared on the walls. It's a very quiet mall but there are often sudden traps that force you to act quickly. It's made up of many new textures to make it look more like a mall. There are little 32in24 Doom-related ads dotted around the place. Also, this is one of the few times I've ever seen a Commander Keen doll used effectively. This mapper certainly does an excellent job at nailing down a horror theme for Doom, and this map is certainly more than worth a play.

    My only comments on this wad is that it was a little too dark in areas where you have to fight spectres, and that a stronger horror element could have been portrayed if ammo was a little more scarce. Having little ammo can be pretty frightening, but I often had just enough or more than enough for every situation. Aside from that, I issue this author a high five for such a great wad!

  • DAGGER.WAD - Ducien Palomado
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 24944 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    Really unremarkable map from (apparently) 1990. Follows a basic marble-dungeon theme with no detailing whatsoever. Lots of backtracking, doors locking behind you, and mowing down wave after wave of shotguys/imps/demons.

    Ed: Before anyone makes any stupid comments about the date, read this note supplied by The Green Herring: The timestamp of the .txt file is 05/06/1990, and the timestamp of the .WAD file is 05/05/1990. Both of these areimpossible, as Doom was released in 1993 and .WAD editing began in 1994. As this level is mentioned in an old version of Hank Leukart's the Doom FAQ, 1994 is the most likely year in which this .WAD was made.

  • CHALLENJ.WAD - Josh Schultz
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 36557 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    This is the worst level I have ever played.

    Well, maybe I won't go so far as to say that. It certainly is bad though. Very bad. This is one of those realllly old Doom levels, back when everyone was trying to figure out the Golden Secret as to what made a good Doom map. He states in the text file that he wanted to "try to make a Star Wars level"; whether or not he succeeded no one can say, but as far as I could see there's nothing Star Wars about this map. Maybe those Barons of Hell at the end are supposed to be Wampas or something.

    The map is best exemplified by one of the very first rooms. It's somewhat open, mostly one texture, and has a very glaring HOM effect. That's how most of the level tends to be - monotonous, rectangular, and with a good dash of mapping errors. Gameplay is very basic - shoot some zombies/imps, go forward, and stop in some side rooms to collect ammo/health. You know the drill. Oh yeah, and one of the keycards is in a secret. Thanks, Josh.

    Texturing ranges from boring, as mentioned before, to ass-ugly. In some places the author was content enough to slap STARTAN on every surface. However, there are two or three rooms where the combination of clashing textures, bizarre architecture (think lots of misshapen corridors and pointless ledges), and lighting all come together to form one glorious, unholy assault on the senses. I swear I could taste how bad some parts of the level were. It's as if the author is trying to torture the player.

    Just in case you didn't read the above paragraphs - do not download, not even to fulfill your morbid sense of curiosity. This level is aggressively bad, and all you'll be left with is a sense of longing for the minutes you killed playing this.

  • Beautiful Doom (version 3.5) - zer0 aka Jekyll Grim Payne
    GZDoom - n/a - 3861186 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    The point behind this mod, as the author puts it, is to make Doom look better while still keeping it Doom-y. Quite a few "enhancement" modifications seek to achieve the first without necessarily bothering to preserve the spirit of the original Doom, the one we all like (and some mods don't do such a good job at either). So does Beautiful Doom manage to make everything look better while still keeping everything the same?

    Mostly. Almost everything looks better, which is good enough in itself (for most enhancement mods, at least). But zer0 also does a good job at preserving the spirit of classic Doom while making everything look better too. The gun animations are smoother and updated in sensible ways - giving the Doomguy black gloves, for instance, which really fits in the Doom universe. The guns are also a little punchier and have more 'oomph' to them. Also notable are the very violent and splattery gib effects which tend to cause some slowdown (until the blood fades away - very prudent). Not everything is great though. The plasma gun has been altered a good bit and feels more like a new weapon than the original plasma gun, and the imps' fireballs leave something to be desired.

    I've never really been a fan of enhancement mods, but I didn't mind playing Beautiful Doom. It's not essential but you might as well download it to check out the effects.

  • Facility H - Stephen Whittaker
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 17920 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    I can't help but be disappointed by this level. It's got a classic Doom-style sense of mapping with a good variety of textures (sometimes misaligned) and sparse detailing (some areas were very empty). The map design was promising at first, but then I realized how small the map was and how linear the progression through the level is. If the author had made this much larger and more detailed, this could have been a very good map. Still, it's not too bad as it is, certainly better than many maps I've played. Download to play through, but you probably won't keep it.

  • Desert Punk - PainE
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 2140462 bytes
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    This is a seven-level single player wad and is the author's first entry into the mapping world. I noticed right away that the HUD takes a number from UTNT, and the monsters featured here were taken from other places. Not to mention the hitscanners are quite overpowered; you quickly come to loathe the recurring presence of the Super Shotgun Zombie as well as the desert guys who fire their chaingun for several seconds. The levels themselves were not particularly well thought out in layout (a lot of copy/paste) and requires a lot of jumping to go from room to room. The ammo balance is nicely done but the overpowered hitscanners pretty much make health an impossible issue.

    Overall, this wad is mediocre at best. For a first-time mapper however it's not as bad as many first released attempts. It does well on ammo balance but misses the mark on most other things, and I would like to see the author improve upon his work and see future releases from him.

  • Inflation Bay - Shadowman
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 559735 bytes
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    This is a single level set in a small city of sorts. While not particularly great in the texturing department, it is quite well detailed. It's also somewhat difficult too, with a good solid mix of both open area and close quarters fights with reasonable health/ammo balance. The biggest offender here though is the chaingunners stuck on ledges with Archviles hidden behind the wall, meaning every time you kill the chaingunners they are revived and keep on pelting you with bullets while you're outside. That's a big negative to the wad and you're likely to suffer some cheap hitscan deaths if you wander outside for too long.

    Outside of that though, this is a decent wad that is worth a look.

  • X Two - Julz D
    Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 2423687 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    There are two "X Two" wads in the archive; the only difference is that one is missing a sky, one is not. Bloodshedder claimed the other one to review, so I figured this might be a way to get two reviews from different people for (basically) the same wad. [Ed.: No, it isn't, but thanks for the wishful thinking.]

    It seems to me that some people probably don't care what a DM map looks like unless it's ass-ugly/seizure-inducing, astonishingly good-looking, or crammed full with superfluous detailing. This is a level decidedly minimalist on the looks - in a good way, though. There's just enough detailing to give the map a kind of appealing starkness, and it'd be a shame to overlook how this map manages to look pretty good without being over the top or distracting from gameplay (which is, of course, the most important factor).

    The map is small and is basically a grey/green technobase with an outdoor area. There's a good bit of "organic" design - curvy hallways, blob-shaped platforms, etc. - which contrast nicely with the rectangular areas. Also in supply are a few hiding spots, such as behind strategically-placed crates and in various nooks. There are two BFGs, which I thought was a little overkill. Overall a solid map and probably worth your time.

  • X Two (broken version) - Julz D
    Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 2423669 bytes
    Reviewed by: Bloodshedder
    This is apparently an earlier version of X Two with a broken sky or something, and it didn't get removed when the new version was uploaded.

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I do, because every once I click the "DOOMWORLD" banner at the top of the forums, forgetting that unlike most other forums with a top banner, this one redirects to the main page instead of the forum index.

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YOU SUCK, YOUR FAMILY IS OBTUSE AND YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE IS QUESTIONABLE. Now get off the board >:|

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exp(x) said:

Nobody looks at the front page anyway.

I view it at least once a day - it's set as the homepage in my browser.

WildWeasel on Deadpool's Real Arena
This one's another one of those old 1995-era wads uploaded by GreyGhost - and while I'm sure I hear a few groans out of the audience, bear in mind that good Hexen DM wads are few and far between.

I uploaded that one for it's novelty value as much as anything else.

Dagger.wad is probably from mid-1994 given that the editor used was released in April.

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Oh, I should have checked that first. Silly me. :P

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WildWeasel said:

So...no complaints about my reviews this week? =P

There's an unfair bias because it's a wad for your wad!

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Really enjoyed Inflation Bay. Not sure why but it certainly had something that I found fun. There were quite a few nice little touches in there and some novel gameplay. I liked the continually resurrecting enemies on the towers - and the fact that there was a built in mechanism to stop that process - and I thought it all came together as a nice, quite playable little mod.

Desert Punk was promising and had some quite pretty areas and nice touches. However, I agree with the review about the copy/paste feeling nature of the bases. Whilst that gave them a consistent feeling, it also made for too much of an "I've seen this before" feeling in many areas of the maps. I didn't mind the hitscanners - because I like fighting low HP enemies with "realistic" weapon but, yeah, if a few of the SSG guys had been removed, I wouldn't have got overly upset about it.

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I was enjoying challenj.wad right up until chocolate-doom crashed on me. Too many plats, perhaps? Anyways, that is merely a small blot on a work of genius.

Edit: I've now finished the level on PrBoom-plus. Sadly, the automatic correcting of a few rendering errors damaged the experience, but it had to do. I most compliment the author on some innovative tricks, such as putting two monsters in the same location so that, after dispatching one of them, the second catches you by surprise.


Sarcasm aside, I really did enjoy it. I don't know why I get such a kick out of these old things. Somehow, without visual or thematic logic, the gameplay is pure.

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Creaphis said:

I was enjoying challenj.wad right up until chocolate-doom crashed on me. Too many plats, perhaps?

Probably due to the "Zdoomism-style" invalid tags (there are two of them) which cause the map to shatter apart. This causes a large number of plats to appear.

But hang on, this wad is from 1994, when Zdoomisms were not "forgiven" by anything, but instead caused an absolute mess. This leads me to think that this map requires Doom.exe 1.2, where some actions behaved differently. Perhaps someone with more time and inclination than myself feels like testing this. If that isn't the explanation, then this map is indeed junk, broken even at the time it was made.

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I just tested that using Doom 1.2, and they crash the game even then. Yes, this is junk. :D But then, I uploaded the wads I did for archival purposes.

Also funny is that the lava is set as type 11 for some reason, so if you fall in and die, you actually win!

(I'm amused to see that map and its review on the front page, by the way. ;) )

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The Green Herring said:

Yes, this is junk.


I wish that we could contact the author to criticize his mapping. That would be quite the blast from the past.

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I can't say I understand the negative review that challenj got. While it wasn't exactly the best classic map, it really didn't qualify as the worst map ever. Personally, it just struck me as a sort of average map.

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Yeah, perhaps worst map ever is a bit strong, especially given how bad some maps are, but it isn't good. I don't think there is a single area that doesn't have mapping errors or bad texturing by the bucket load. There are also other classic errors, such as monsters stuck together, keys in secrets, non secrets flagged as secrets, secrets not flagged, blocking lines with no obvious reason for them to block etc etc and (apparently) it doesn't even work in the only version of the exe available at the time of its release.

All that being said, progression was reasonable and logical, the general map layout was quite pleasing and the fights were quite good fun.

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Tango said:

Not impossible. SpaceDM5 was made before 1993.

An astute observation, but you are actually thinking of SpaceDM2, which was completed in 1992.

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esselfortium said:

An astute observation, but you are actually thinking of SpaceDM2, which was completed in 1992.

Yes but Vaporware was made in 1893

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I remember Challenj, the first room with a pool was very recognizable. It's in an old CD compilation I have. While it's mediocre in various ways (even for its time), I've definitely played very many WADs that are clearly worse.

Wills said:
He states in the text file that he wanted to "try to make a Star Wars level"; whether or not he succeeded no one can say, but as far as I could see there's nothing Star Wars about this map.

Why not? I can imagine him drawing ideas for the room with the rising bridge and the lava from Star Wars scenes. As well as the metal and STAR* texturing.

The map is best exemplified by one of the very first rooms. It's somewhat open, mostly one texture, and has a very glaring HOM effect.

In the window? I had to go back in there to find it. It's actually a rather curious effect. A bug of his, I gather, but it seems to generate what looks like two levels of steel tiles. Another window later has a similar effect.

That's how most of the level tends to be - monotonous, rectangular, and with a good dash of mapping errors. Gameplay is very basic - shoot some zombies/imps, go forward, and stop in some side rooms to collect ammo/health.

I thought the rooms were reasonably varied, using windows or height variation to manage this. Your description of the game-play seems like it's for another WAD. It's even kind of challenging, as ammo abundant only as far as the weaker weapons are concerned.

Just in case you didn't read the above paragraphs - do not download, not even to fulfill your morbid sense of curiosity.

I guess it's worth 2/5, but definitely closer to 3 than 1 because while it shows many signs of early mapping, at least it tends to be fun; lots of baddies attacking you from different angles and reasonable a progress for an old WAD. I probably would have played it anyway, although this review that (in retrospect) seems to be from some noob that never played any so-so (let alone really bad) WADs from '94 piqued my curiosity a bit :p

Enjay said
it doesn't even work in the only version of the exe available at the time of its release.

It does work with Doom, although I haven't tried it with version 1.2.

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myk said:

It does work with Doom, although I haven't tried it with version 1.2.


Perhaps the fatal glitch isn't guaranteed.

myk said:

I probably would have played it anyway, although this review that (in retrospect) seems to be from some noob that never played any so-so (let alone really bad) WADs from '94 piqued my curiosity a bit :p


The admonition not to try this wad is directly responsible for me downloading it.

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Creaphis said:

The admonition not to try this wad is directly responsible for me downloading it.

Same here - Wills should spend more time playing bad `94 maps. This one's only half-bad.

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Creaphis said:
Perhaps the fatal glitch isn't guaranteed.

If it's as Grazza explained (it has to be if he already spotted the mistagged lines), then at least one of the two buggy lines must be activated. Considering other signs in the level, the author either didn't notice the bug, or didn't understand what was going on. I played the level twice roughly using a certain route that gave me 66% secrets, so I must have avoided them.

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If my game crashed due to the plats limit, then it would have been when a monster tried to open a door or otherwise activated a line, as I couldn't have activated a line at that moment. Also, at the point it crashed, I had already entered 2 of the 3 secrets, the third being necessary to pass the level.

I found Grazza's 2 mistagged lines (595, 593). They are both S1, so a monster couldn't have activated them.

My best guess is that the problem is linedef 371, as it's part of the map's border but is marked double sided, and not marked impassable, and I was fighting the monsters in that room when the game crashed.

Amusingly, I've found that the red key door can be opened without a key if you aim your "use" command at the door's red border.


Edit: Confirmed, the game crashes when a shotgun guy collides with linedef 371. Ah, it's fun expending large amounts of effort to solve an inconsequential problem. It's like I'm Andrew Wiles.

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Quite a... sparing review of my BD 3.5. I'm used to hear that the plasmagun sucks, but at least you could've mentioned that there are commands which allow turning on and off all the special effects, including gibbing. Can't say I care too much, but it doesn't seem to me that this review actually gives enough notion about the mod. Nothing is said about the amount of effects, about interaction and enhanced environment (wonder how long you played it).

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