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Bloodshedder

The /newstuff Chronicles #360

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360 degrees of /newstuff Chronicles freedom today. This time, nearly all the reviews are provided by Brandon D. Lade—I mean, MegaDoomer. I'm sorry, did you really think I didn't know? The thumbnail screenshot is from Maniacal by Chris Wright.

  • Trinity 2.0 - Bejiitas Wrath
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 256063 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    One medium sized level for Doom II. This map has some serious problems, especially in the gameplay department. First I'll get the design and architecture out of the way, which are okay, but nothing special. Specifically, the design is very boxy with mostly 90 degree angles. However, the gameplay is just plain bad. There's nothing exciting, and later on the map becomes unfairly low on ammo. I got frustrated and just ran to the exit, as I wasn't enjoying the map a whole lot even prior to that point. Overall you're probably better spending your time on a better level.

    And by the way, this map has absolutely nothing to do with the old classic, "The Unholy Trinity". In fact, you'll probably find that map to be considerably more enjoyable and interesting than this mediocre effort.

  • Gate to the Acausal - Algeroth
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 205614 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is a single map for Doom II, oddly located on Map24. The first two thirds of the level were rather nice, if nothing special. The architecture isn't that detailed, but nonetheless it's pretty good, and is in a green/hellish style. The map provides a good challenge but isn't frustrating, as you teleport from area to area, battling monsters in each one, with enough supplies to survive but not enough to be careless.

    Howevern the last third or so I found rather confusing. First you have a room that's pitch black, and then you have a whole bunch of teleports leading to various places. There are really no clues at all what to do, and I really had to use trial and error to find the right way to go to proceed to the exit. In fact, I can't even remember what I had to do to finish the level, I just know I managed to make it through. Overall it's worth a quick playthrough, but be prepared to get confused later on.

  • Fix for OTTAWAU.WAD (from ottawa09.zip) - Never_Again
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 176552 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    A patch for OTTAWAU.wad (by Jean-Serge Gagnon) that makes it easier/more compatible to run with Ultimate Doom or any source port (as long as it supports loading sprites from a PWAD and DEH patches from the command line). So if you've had issues running OTTAWAU.wad, this might just be your solution.

  • Maniacal - Chris Wright
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 206922 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    Most of you have probably heard of this author before. He has released numerous levels over the last year; however unfortunately, the vast majority of them have suffered from a general lack of quality or appeal.

    I too have kept up with this guy's offerings, and it would be a lie if I didn't say that I've been quite underwhelmed by his wads. Bare architecture, ordinary gameplay; many of his maps are small and seem pointless. So it wasn't with the highest of expectation that I downloaded his latest release, "Maniacal".

    And while it doesn't make any giant leaps in the grand scheme of things, I think with no doubt that this is his finest work yet. To begin, the map is large and challenging. I always felt like I had no ammo to spare, and most of the time I was dead right. Chris looks like he really tested and put in just the amount of ammo you need to survive. Health is a little more common, but not exactly plentiful, so I'd say it's safe to say that this map should provide a challenge, yet generally not quite to the level of being frustrating.

    Not only is it larger and more challenging that most of the author's earlier releases, but the overall design and architecture take a step up too. I'll be honest, in the end it's still only okay, but notably not as ugly or bland as some of Chris's earlier works. The only major faults I could find were the use of Wolfenstein decorations in one room near the beginning (looks very out of place) and a missing texture close to the end. Other than that, you won't play this map for eye-candy, but the looks are acceptable, and like the gameplay, a step up from the author's earlier works.

    In the end I'd say that while this map certainly isn't good enough to win any awards, it's a nice little (although in reality it's pretty large) wad to play through. Hopefully in the future we'll see even better maps from Chris; however in the meantime, maps like these are hard not to appreciate in one way or another.

  • Phobus' Fragments of DAC 2009 - James "Phobus" Cresswell
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 130903 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    Two maps for Doom II. The first is a short map with only a pistol or melee weapons to use, while the second is a Christmas level that the author made for the failed Doom Advent Calendar 2009 project. While it doesn't excel in Christmas graphics or monsters, other aspects make up for it (I won't spoil the surprise). Overall there's nothing really unusual or special about these maps but they are competently done and this wad would make a decent way to kill 15 minutes or so.

  • Hellfire Abyss - Henri Lehto
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 10486916 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    A large map which requires GZDoom to play. The architecture is very good, with lots of detail, and good use of slopes. In addition, this map also has a nice atmosphere at points, enhanced by the music. I'll be honest: This really SHOULD be a great level. Unfortunately, it is let down badly by poor gameplay.

    To start, ammo and health distribution are extremely uneven; at first it looks like there's too much, but you'll be skimping by the end. Normally that isn't a bad way to do difficulty progression, but here the execution is just plain frustrating. It can also be confusing to find out where to go/what to do next. To top off the cake, the bigger rooms slow down the frame rate badly, enough to seriously hamper playability. The only good point regarding gameplay is that the inside section isn't half bad, with better balance. But overall this is an otherwise fine map let down badly by numerous gameplay flaws. I've left a screenshot, but I really would recommend skipping it.

  • We´re All Dead Here - Arch
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 11093498 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This pack consists of four maps with very different themes, running on maps 5-8. The main map is Map08, which I'll start off with. It is a spooky city with some excellent architecture, new monsters/effects, and changing music to fit with the theme. However, I was underwhelmed by the gameplay. It's not horrid, but first of all, the Spectres are modified such that some of them drop cloaks, and the number of them means that the level becomes way easy much of the time. And the ending is an anticlimax; once you drop inside the castle all you have to do is kill a single Revenant or two and the level is over. After a challenging battle with four massive flying winged monsters to get into the castle, the sudden ending was a disappointment. Also, the framerate slowed down on me throughout the level due to the grandness of the architecture. All things said it's not a bad map, but the gameplay seriously needs more work.

    But there's also Map05-07 which, while the author calls them "bonus" maps, are certainly serious, interesting levels. Map05 is the same the same as the last map from the author's first wad, "Evil Journey - Plan A", but with weather effects that really make it more atmospheric. It's worth replaying the map just to absorb the atmosphere. Maps 6 and 7 are also well worth a look. Map06 is a "double-dimension" map not unlike Map15 from NDCP 2, just to name one example. Almost all health and much of the ammo is in the tech dimension—it's important to find the chainsaw (which is dropped by a monster in the tech dimension) and use it in the hell dimension if you want to have enough ammo. It makes for an interesting, challenging level, and there's nice architecture to look at as well. Finally, Map07 is some type of structure in space with various buildings; it's well done overall, and once again challenging, though falling off the walkways into space is an insta-death, which can become frustrating. It also has a new flying monster that shoots fireballs like a Mancubus and can be quite difficult to deal with. Both Map06 and 07, like Map08, also have changing music to constantly fit with the theme of the area you find yourself in.

    Overall this was an unusual pack, and one I found rather difficult to review. In the end, I'd say that I actually liked the "bonus" maps notably better than the main level, as they were a good, entertaining challenge, in spite of some frustrating bits. Maps 06 and 07 also show off some neat ideas, and they seemed to have more attention given to the gameplay overall, compared to Map08. I'd certainly recommend downloading this pack to give those levels a try, and then you probably deserve to take a quick look at Map08 to see the architecture, at the very least, but expect to be disappointed by it otherwise, especially if you've played the other levels first. I think this author really has some potential if he can make sure he pays more attention on the gameplay front.

  • Harmony Mod Base - Blzut3
    n/a - n/a - 10992 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is simply a base file to create mods that run with Thomas v.d.v.'s Harmony TC. Given that Harmony is an excellent piece of work, it would be interesting to see people using this base to create more levels for it.

  • Whispers of Satan - Paul Corfiatis and Kristian Aro
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 11434706 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is an updated version of the Whispers of Satan megawad, which was reviewed in /newstuff #354. The most significant change is some co-op optimization(s) in level 29. If you haven't played this wad yet I strongly recommend you do, as it's very good in spite of any faults.

  • Alley Cat - Esa "Espi" Repo and Owen "Sarge Baldy" Lloyd
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 65963 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    As a tribute to Espi's death in August 2009, Sarge Baldy decided to update Espi's Map02 from his 9th speedmapping contest (sbspd009.wad). While the overall map came out similar to the original, it does clearly have some nice new touches, such as a bit more detail. The gameplay is good, typical of Espi's maps, even though the level is very short; I completed it in about 2 minutes. The music from Map08 suits the level fairly well. All in all, this is definitely worth a quick play, even if just to see what changes Sarge Baldy has made, in the case that you've already played the original from sbspd009.

  • Infernal war - Doomaniac
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 3830866 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    Five maps for GZDoom, 6 counting the intro. Each map is relatively small and should be completable in 5-10 minutes or so. Also included is some decent new music and some some monsters I actually don't recall seeing before. The only GZDoom features I could find is some minor scripting, plus the last level is filled with fog.

    As for the maps themselves, this wad certainly isn't half bad at all. The ammo is way plentiful but health is more limited, so there's still something of a challenge. The architecture isn't very detailed and it is also is very brown - almost entirely so except for the green in the last map (which is some type of foggy forest, or something). But having said that, rarely does it look that bad, even if few if any areas provide real eye-candy. The ending is also a huge anti-climax - you are given a BFG and tons of cells to kill off a monster that is essentially a variant of the Spider Mastermind and has about as much health, maybe just a tad more. All you have to do is hit it 3 or so times at close range and the wad's over; kind of a disappointment, especially considering I had encountered harder battles in earlier parts of the wad (like the Cyberdemon on the second-to-last level).

    Overall, however, this wad at least gets a lukewarm recommendation, as I enjoyed my playthrough, and another plus is that the small size of the maps means it never seems to drag or get old, in a similar vein to classics like Demonfear, Scythe, 1024 maps, etc.

  • Shadows Den - Avery Ross (AveryMaurice)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 62912 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
    For a WAD made in memory of a cat (and I think also this author's first work) this really isn't bad.

    The map consists of a symmetrical (except secrets) green marble dungeon made mostly of small arenas connected with short corridors and teleporters. The fights are all very similar and can mostly be beaten by circle strafing and watching the monsters infight, only picking off a few troublesome hit scanners.The architecture is nice enough, although once you have seen one green marble arena with some hanging body textures you have seen them all. I did like the secret memorial. I thought it was sweet.

    Overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to play this map, but it was a nice way to spend a few minutes. It was quite fitting when during the second playthrough (for screen shots) my cat decided it would be fun to leap onto the keyboard. If the author keeps mapping then, with some practice he could create some great levels if this is his starting point.

  • Xmas Tech Base - Andrew "Malinku" Rehberger
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 32670 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    One short map for Doom II. The architecture is rather nice, plus the level is a decent challenge without being frustrating. As the name suggests, the theme is a tech base, of course. I don't have much more to say than that, really, but it is a good effort, especially considering it's one of the author's first solo play levels, as far as I can tell. Definitely worth a quick playthrough.

  • Rangex's Pit - Rangex
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 96112 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Philnemba
    To start this off, this map is essentially a "Chasm" inspired map but with some bland elements and gimmicks. The first half of the map is composed of a giant maze which can be very dull and boring as you get lost easily (it's a good idea to use the automap here but gameplay still suffers unfortunately). Note that the floor of the first room of the maze hurts you while the rest of it doesn't.

    The second half is stairs that lead up to a platform full of soulspheres and plasma cells (Hell Knights, Barons and Archviles will start teleporting as soon as you reach here). Once you get the blue skull key, you are force to teleport down the stairs while more Archviles teleport on the platform, which makes it nearly impossible to beat (although there's a hidden invulnerability nearby if you're quick enough). I've enjoyed this portion of the map; however, the Cyberdemon towers guarding the exit do make it extremely difficult, since you have to be careful not to fall off while the cybies shoot at you.

    Details are a bit crude (as the author states in the text file) but makes this map look like a Doom 2 stock map in a good way. For Rangex's first map, it's a decent effort, but he needs to work on more on the gameplay mechanics of mapping.

  • Beautiful Doom (version 5.0) - zer0 aka Jekyll Grim Payne
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 7957082 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
    Almost everyone must now know the score with Beautiful Doom. It's Doom but with monsters that explode into a million tiny pieces when shot with a big-ass weapon, some new sounds and modifications to the weapons.

    Now split into three separate WAD files: Weapons, Objects and Monsters, to make it easier to pick and choose what you want, Beautiful Doom is in its 5th version. It is now far more polished than it previously was, but is still with a number of faults.

    I think best way to do this review is with a couple of lists, as a surprising amount has been changed from the well loved originals.

    Pros:
    1. The additional monster deaths make the experience more varied and thus realistic.
    2. The object interaction is a nice touch.
    3. Blood now stays on the floor.
    4. All blood looks good.
    5. The split from 1 wad to 3 makes picking a choosing easier.
    6. Some of the new sounds are successful.
    7. The gibs are entertaining and more realistic now that they no longer fly around so easily.
    8. The bullet casings and barrel shrapnel look good.
    Cons:
    1. The new death for the spider mastermind takes too long and looks quite ridiculous.
    2. The new invisibility sphere is overpowered.
    3. The Spider Mastermind is seriously overpowered.
    4. The alternate fire on the super shotgun makes the normal shotgun redundant.
    5. When in an area where plenty of monsters have been killed, Lost Souls are constantly getting caught on the blood drops and other things, making them as good as useless in these situations.
    6. Other sounds are less successful, such as the new "secret" sound.
    7. Sometimes there is simply an unnecessary amount of blood.
    8. The chaingun can be too powerful in certain situations.
    9. Some of the foot step sounds (specifically in water) really get on my nerves.
    10. The berserk punch sound is weak.
    11. Sometimes (for instance on barrels of fun) with the amount of gibs and special effects on screen the frame rate can become so low it appears you are watching a PowerPoint presentation, and that was with my pretty reasonable computer running an AMD Athlon X2 6400+ (3.2GHz per core), 2GB RAM and a GeForce 9600GT.
    12. The lamps jump up in the air when shot with a rocket launcher, which is odd.
    In conclusion, although it seems I have found plenty of bad points, it doesn't make it a bad WAD, just an unfinished one. None of the problems really break game play, but I can't help thinking that a really paired down version with just the gibs, deaths, bullet casings and decals would be far more appreciated than the full product.

Does this /newstuff Chronicles suck? Does your wise ass think you can write better reviews than these jerkoffs? Then get over to the /newstuff Review Center and help out. I know you must have a Doomworld Forums account because you like griping about every edition in the comment thread, but if you don't, you need to get one to submit reviews.

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Bloodshedder said:

  • We´re All Dead Here - Arch
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 11093498 bytes -


  • It's for ZDoom compatible. It uses scripts and DECORATE monsters.

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    It looks like Brandon's able to do the job. However, I feel like he's spoiled the endings of We're All Dead Here and Infernal War. I know that "It ends/does not end with a boss monster" is no huge spoiler in either case but I like to be surprised.

    I took a look at Trinity 2.0 a while ago and briefly considered submitting the following review:

    "Rectangles."

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    I don't see any problem with Brandon doing T/nC reviews if he'd like to. The reviews are competent enough, and lord knows Doomworld's had enough problems in the past with finding people willing to write for these things, so if he wants to keep contributing to them, that would probably be a pretty good thing for keeping the Chronicles running.

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    esselfortium said:

    I don't see any problem with Brandon doing T/nC reviews if he'd like to. The reviews are competent enough, and lord knows Doomworld's had enough problems in the past with finding people willing to write for these things, so if he wants to keep contributing to them, that would probably be a pretty good thing for keeping the Chronicles running.

    This...as long as the reviews aren't based on idgames star ratings. ;)

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    Why do they call it the /newstuff Chronicles #360?

    Because when you read it, you'll turn 360 degrees and walk away.

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    The new death for the spider mastermind takes too long and looks quite ridiculous.


    I actually found that animation pretty hilarious. The expression on the spider mastermind's face right before it explodes makes it even better. As for being too long, it seems fine to me. Sure it doesn't die almost immediately like most enemies, but then again it's a boss monster so the death should be spectacular.

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    Craigs said:

    Why do they call it the /newstuff Chronicles #360?

    Because when you read it, you'll turn 360 degrees and walk away.

    you mean walk into the reviews?

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    Cjwright79 said:

    Ha! A man who knows his math!


    idgi

    EDIT: oh wait now i do.

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    esselfortium said:

    Also, this is not good texturing or good usage of slopes, by any definition of the terms. Sorry.

    It reminds me of games from 1995. <3 Like Witchaven or something.

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    Nah, they just felt like doing a little twirl before walking away. We all get those urges sometimes.

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    Jodwin said:

    This...as long as the reviews aren't based on idgames star ratings. ;)

    Heh - it looks like Brandon's conquered his 4-star fixation and might have found his niche at Doomworld.

    /turns 360 degrees and moonwalks away.

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    The reviews are competent enough.

    Can't really say the same about his screenshots, or his last attempt to get himself unbanned.
    I'll admit, this isn't really as bad as the screenshot he took in the last /newstuff chronicles of him getting shot by a couple of mancubus while using an invulnerability sphere, but it's still pretty bad, and it seems pretty pointless. A screenshot of a blue energy ball, a skull, and a hallway doesn't really tell you much about the level.

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    Craigs said:

    Can't really say the same about his screenshots, or his last attempt to get himself unbanned.
    I'll admit, this isn't really as bad as the screenshot he took in the last /newstuff chronicles of him getting shot by a couple of mancubus while using an invulnerability sphere, but it's still pretty bad, and it seems pretty pointless. A screenshot of a blue energy ball, a skull, and a hallway doesn't really tell you much about the level.

    The screenshots about getting hit by plasma are only your own problem. For me they suggest the level of combat; you see lots of fireworks over screen and a white screen, you can guess it's a big fight.

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