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The /newstuff Chronicles #426

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  • Deathmatch: (OutDoors) - TheNooBringeR
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Deathmatch - 34449 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Deathmatch: OutDoors is a terrible "deathmatch" wad.

    There is no flow, no aesthetics whatsoever, and looks likes there was not much thought or care put into this map. Be sure to visit the author's blog, which he graciously (almost correctly) textured some walls with, for more awesome wads!11!!

    Skip over this one.

  • Strife: Absolute Order - Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey
    Strife - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 24623028 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: CorSair
    Strife: Absolute Order is nothing special when it comes to story. Get in, kick Order's ass, get out. NPCs, nothing new, just the same lines in Strife. There are only a few special NPCs, and those are just the mandatory Medic, Armorer, Gunrunner and Bartender (who has the same lines in first tavern). But who cares? We got six new Strife levels to rumble through!

    Areas are spacious and offer a decent amount of cover and some good areas for fights, but some areas require a bit of tactics to go with. Like the first Inquisitor battle. You get a small ledge area and a pillar bridge crossing the water area. And no return ticket to other portions of the level (which is kinda bad, if you're hurting). For the first time, it can be very difficult, but in the end, you can get through it easily, even in the hardest difficulty. And when it comes to backtracking, the author made it really easy to minimize the amount. Teleporter back to the exit area, or a ledge to jump down to the previous area.

    Aesthetically, all places have a good amount of detail, and they look really nice. Texturing looks proper, no misalingment, and they don't look out of place. The music (all done by author itself, except map15, which is remix), is really cool, even by itself, and even if they are not my style. Kudos for that.

    As for enemy placement, I don't have complaints of overall placement, but I got a few nitpicks. Some ambushes are not ideal, like those stalkers coming from the wall in the fourth area (H2O), when you get the key to the Inquisitor area. They just come out from an opened wall section, right in your sights. Just pump a few minirockets in the opening to deal with the pests. And then, there are a few oddities. Like, before entering fourth area, you get greeted by a crusader in the town hub area. Luckily, the sound was restricted to other areas, so you can scrap the crusader without fear of your shops closing their doors. Of course, there are some good and some outright nasty ambushes, like a single Templar that can ruin your day (Void), or an Acolyte and Templar hit squadron doing some wallop, if they catch you off guard (The Lowest Pit).

    Those who know the minor element of RPG in Strife, no worries, players can get their accuracy and health increases. Few of them are secrets, so... happy hunting.

    Only big gripe in my opinion is the length of the game. Takes about hour in Elite difficulty, all explored, all places memorized, enemies taken down.

    In short summary? A masterpiece done by one who knows the spirit of Strife, albeit a short one. Definitely grab this if you got Strife.

  • Doom: Planet Wars - simple
    Evilution - GZDoom - Solo Play - 4377232 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: CorSair
    I don't like to bash someone's stuff, but if it is a pile of crap by itself or ideas done and gone horribly wrong, I don't spare my words. Or left uncommented, but it is not really appropriate not to leave criticism, if you can call it that.

    First of all, level design. This wad contains over several miles of narrow, nondescript, dull corridors, and to further insult the player with monotony, some of them are mazes. Some of them contains monsters, some don't. If they do, line up your chaingun or plasmagun, and look! Mr. Corridor Cleaner is here, folks!

    We do have some large areas. Better than narrow corridors (and I personally like open spaces), but not so much. Of course, there are exceptions. Map 10 is one fucking HUGE area to explore. And I liked it. Until it went to downhill with some blatant dull areas.

    And a note about some floor sectors. Most floors that are liquids and not swimmable use friction. And this is one of those "fuck you" things I DON'T LIKE. You can go like a pinball at times, which is very annoying. It's like being slapped in face by a dong. If you're gonna fuck up my mobility, make sure it is only some special map feature AND IT DOESN'T POP UP TIME TO TIME IN THE WAD. Thank you.

    Sometimes, there are some dark sector areas that have brightness turned to zero (0). Yes. And to make it more fun, you need to sometimes navigate through them, or find a switch. And how to maximize your fun? Add some imps in there to scratch your face away! ENTERTAINMENT MAXIMIZED. You know what I call them? Rape pits. The darker they are, the larger they are, and the more monsters it contains, the better they are. Oh, and that's "fuck you" #2.

    And the aesthetics? Aside from the ever lengthy, dull, monotonous caves, tunnels and corridors, and areas where stuff is just put together, there are some really grandiose ideas and nicely done areas. It's just that the execution is bad. Like Map 4, which is an underwater base. As an idea it sounds, honestly, quite cool. Or the aforementioned Map 10. Clean, lean, huge area that looks like some industrial site. And that's it. Some areas suffer from bad, repetitive texturing, and unnecessary overdetailing a few times.

    Oh, and this contains some weapon reskins, a few new sounds. Pistol looks somewhat okay, chaingun looks more like a shotgun, but for my joy it is not that rotary BS, so I guess we got something right. Maybe. We also have an extended Rocket Launcher and BFG. Plasmagun looks like some BFG reskin, and the projectiles are minimized BFG shots. Normal plasmagun shots already obstruct my view, and this new plasmagun just makes it wee bit worse. Gun sounds are not annoying, but they ain't BOOM either. The lift sounds are cool, so a good mention for that. Simply about the weapons: nothing new, just some nice little extras. That's all.

    Enemy placement. What we can think about that? You know about folks who complain and argue about stealth monsters? I think they can write a few essays and manuals about the placement and usage of stealth monsters. In every frigging level, you encounter some stealth monster in some part of the map. It can be either a trivial encounter, or a torture to get through. And that's "fuck you" thing #3.

    Other than that, there are no real challenges in normal enemy placement, although there can be sometimes a few interesting ones for some moment. Let me tell you about a few fights and the areas in this wad. Then imagine them. In map 9 (see plntwars_06 screenie), where you got a handful of imps and former humans, a few sergeants up close and another handful beyond that canal, and four pain elementals. The area has some tech pillars scattered around to provide some cover. Or map 8, after you kill a Cyberdemon, you get surrounded by arachnotrons, in a circular arena. Or map 2, in the end of bloodied corridors, you get a fleshy room where you are greeted with few demons, two arachnotrons and a transparent chaingunner. You can't enter into that transparent bloodfall for some reason, even if there's demons, floor's slick, and you can't find that goddamn chaingunner that keeps pelting you. I think I had enough examples. Want more? Play yourself.

    In short summary? Not the worst in /idgames... but definitely not close to mediocre. If you want to waste your time, be my guest. Maybe someone else likes it. I played it. I didn't enjoy it.

  • Xacrir - katZune
    Doom 2 - Odamex - Deathmatch - 41326 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    All right, what have we got here? A short and cool DM / duel map for Odamex (but works good even on Zandrodum or WTF it is called, but has some problems in ZDoom due to, you know, A MISSING PLAYER 1 START IN THE MAP that it would be nice if the author added) by katZune-san. The mapper here made a good work making a clean, straightforward fluid layout set in our well-known techbase, with a brand new sky from some 1994 wad and a catchy tune from Megaman (Elec Man stage maybe?) that gives this level a huge nostalgia trip (reminds me of some UDM2 map).

    Gameplay is strong and fast-paced, although I noticed a missing gun in the south green hallways section spawning spot, and fighting just with a pistol is pretty annoying, you know... but the rest is OK, so give this map a shot.

    (Also, what kind of a name is Xacrir?)

  • Horalky - Memfis
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 200119 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: ReX
    The premise of this map is that it is built entirely on a 64 x 64 map grid. In other words, every vertex sits on a grid intersection. For the most part this works well, but the thickness of walls and depth of windows becomes evident in a few places. It also means that angled surfaces are used sparingly. But otherwise, the map has a pleasing appearance, with a spartan design and architecture. The texturing is competent, with a few misalignments (e.g., the turreted castle wall); the mix of tech and marble/wood textures works in some places but not in others. There is a base theme in the "core" areas of the map, but it devolves into a medieval-tech mix in parts of the map. There are a couple of new textures (waterfall, sky), and a new INTERPIC; the night sky provides a nice change of atmosphere for Map01. Lighting throughout the map is adequate.

    The map is wonderfully non-linear, with lots of scope for exploration. All 3 keys are required, each in a different part of the map, necessitating some back-tracking. As a bonus, you get to see areas that you visit later. The game has new music (borrowed from Map09 of NDCP2), which sounds like it came straight from Deep Purple. (I'm not complaining, mind you, as Deep Purple used to be one of my favorite bands in my youth.) It is upbeat, and goes well with the map. The secrets are clever and well-hidden; I could only find one out of the five secrets without using cheats. (A minor gameplay issue: The player might easily miss the switch near the crusher. As the switch opens an area the player is required to visit, it may frustrate a player that doesn't see the switch. In its defense, the area is also accessible through a secret area that is relatively easy to discover.)

    Despite the fact that I started running low on ammo for a brief while later in the game, there is a good balance of ammo/health/armor/enemies throughout. No skill levels are implemented, but gameplay is not terribly difficult. The game was largely free of real traps, although the one at the red key was fun. Mini bosses are used sparingly, as are ammo caches for the bigger guns, so the player ought never to feel overwhelmed. I was expecting an epic battle at the end, but it was very tame. After entering the exit teleport I could visualize the author going: "Psych!" and I was pleased to find some additional areas to explore. Alas, however, they were devoid of any opposition. It almost seemed like the author created the final area for a battle royale, but gave up and released the map without it. 'Tis a shame.

    In summary, this is a good "exploration" type map that has some decent gameplay thrown in for good measure.

  • IGORX.WAD - Igor (?)
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - SP/DM - 118907 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Ah... The joy of playing maps from the early days of Doom, and Doom 2.

    IGORX.WAD is just that, and it's an interesting one.

    Though you're not missing much from a singleplayer perspective, and I don't have the feel for deathmatch. Let alone anyone daring to run a few matches through this cramped, varied maps of open space. So this shall be a review mainly on singleplayer! Let's get started!

    IGORX.WAD is your standard, run of the mill, old map from the early days of Doom. Odd shaped rooms, a lot of one-man hallways, and switch hunts.

    As you start out every level in singleplayer, you will run into the following monsters. Usually in the displayed order, or a small variance. Though this is how I encountered them.

    Chaingunner > Sergeant > Zombieman > misc demon. (Usually a Cacodemon or Rev). In that order in every single map. While this is predictable, I can live with it, and it tells me with the overabundance of weapons, armor and power-ups within the set is that the SSG is going to be my friend for the entire ride.

    Switch hunting is a big aspect in this map if either A) you're playing this through singleplayer or B) you want to switch maps, assuming it's not automatic and the dmflag for disabling exits is not turned off. However, unlike most switch hunts, it's not a simple "Hit switch and lollygag over to the exit". No, it's "Hit switch and run all the over to the other side of the map in 3 seconds!" This is in every map, and if there is not an exit switch to open the door to the exit, you're out of luck.

    It's a good 5 minute blast if you manage to SR25 to the exits fast enough and enjoy a map series filled with monster appearance order of Chaingunner > Sergeant > Zombieman > misc demon.

    For deathmatch?

    For any map that I've played in deathmatch, which is limited, the maps are far too cramped to be enjoyable. Granted there are some open ones, but there are no decent vantage points to be found. Weapon and ammo placement are set up like you're going up against an Icon of Sin after each level. Weapon in middle of room, surrounded by ammo.

    There is some switch flipping to get better weapons like the plasma rifle, but they're obviously protected to prevent people from fragging people wanting to get those weapons.

    My final word?

    Try if you like. Otherwise pass.

  • JEFF247.WAD - Jeff (?)
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 62054 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Another wad from the early times of Doom!

    This one mainly feels like a conversion wad that was meant for Doom, but reformatted to use Doom 2. This was an interesting map for the time; it's shoot-a-switch to open the door, and then you're off breaking out from a demonic prison in a poorly designed and aligned corner of hell.

    There are some places where there are HoMs. Correction, there are a lot of places for HoMs. I have some screenshots prepped, but I'm unable to upload them per guidelines due to the host not allowing me to do what I want to do.

    Without further ado, I shall mention that while this was an entertaining romp of poorly placed monsters, overuse of barrels, and a lack of an SSG, I still believe this map should be played for novelty purposes, and not just to kill time. The only amount of time that could be killed is about 5 minutes. That is if you don't get lost in the included dark maze, and run into invisible walls. (HoMs. One is a door. Yes, a door.)

    Most of the misaligned textures can be used to point out where the next monster trap will be, and how long/wide it is.

    Again, like IGORX.WAD before this one, I will say pass on it, but only download and play if you want to take a peak at a horrible wad in history.

    Without anything else to mention. I hope this remains unformatted so the advisor for these reviews can facepalm my ramblings here. My secret to reviewing these is via sleep walking, or sleepdooming as I want to call it. On a conscious level, I don't know what I'm doing.

  • DE2106.WAD - Unknown
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 56076 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    This is a Doom 2 conversion of DAVES2ND.WAD, which was one of the finalists for a Doom 1 mapping contest PC Zone ran in 1994. The actual DE2106.WAD is a totally different map that also was a finalist. (Thanks to The Green Herring for telling me about this.) It is unclear who did the conversion and why the wad was renamed.

    Anyway, let's talk about the map itself. First of all, I want to warn you that it's a little buggy. There are a few visual glitches (HOMs plus some walls are not drawn and you can see right through them), and you can get stuck forever if you activate one of the lifts but don't step on it (you won't get a second chance).

    Aside from these issues, it's a great level for its time, with complex designs and interesting layouts. You have to collect 3 keys in a specific order, but it doesn't feel linear at all because you get many additional areas to explore, just like in "Knee Deep in the Dead". The gameplay reminded me of E1 as well: easy but fun to blast through.

    Highly recommended for those interested in the early days of Doom mapping.

  • BLASFEMIA, L'EXODE DELS DEUS - Byte & Byte Associats
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 55657 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Well.. another map from 95.

    Again, another short review.

    For a map that tries to be "realistic" by throwing the player into a "maze" filled with mainly Sergeants, Imps, Zombiemen, a Cyberdemon, a Baron of Hell, and a Spidermastermind.

    Your playthrough is going to suck, and your night is going to suck.

    Map is a large, maze-y level filled with no health pick-ups. Ammo, and weapons everywhere, and a blue armor. I personally flipped on Buddha mode after being torn apart by the Cyberdemon whilst making my escape.

    As with most maps from 1995, there is nothing redeemable in this, or noteworthy.

    Oh, and the exit is a large wood texture (I don't know the texture name off-hand) with a teleporter infront of it. So if you do go to the Teleporter on accident, or you knick it you get sent back to the start.

    Verdict: Pass.

  • COMP.WAD - Unknown
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 16702 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Small level from 1995.

    It combines tech base with marble level layout. However, as decently well-done this is for a '95 map, it falls horribly short. The average Doomer can get through this level in under 5 minutes.

    However, without proper exploration it can be said this level requires, and I mean requires going through and finding secrets to get the final blue key. However, they're not all that secret. As you progress, the monster closet traps will be full of the standard slew of zombiemen, imps, Sergeants and demons.

    I found this level to be too short even for a level of the predicted horrible to play 1995 caliber. This is level is approved for time killing, even if the wide open spaces and use of closet monsters gives the impression it was meant to house something bigger.

    The armor/health/ammo balance ratio is surprisingly well done. Assuming you don't shoot a wall by accident, you have enough shells to power through this small little corner of hell.

    The level itself is far too short just when you feel things have picked up it ends.

    Just ends.

    Verdict: Novelty wad. However, for the sake of Doom nowadays there is probably something better around that next corner. Burn five minutes of your time, or pass.

  • Happy Birthday Jimmy! - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 50293 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    A very short map. You get to fight some low tier monsters in a cramped space, plus there is a few surprise encounters with tougher baddies (revs, cacos, etc). The locations feel disjointed: you start in a brick/wood area, then proceed to a white UAC office, followed by a black room with metal textures. It's a bit boring but totally playable.

    The *.txt says: "Should run in vanilla, but hasn't been tested". Well, it does run in vanilla but you can't beat the map because the second switch does nothing. To get it to work you need Boom or a compatible port.

    This is what Jimmy himself said about this wad: "Thanks for the map, dude. I guess since it was specially-made and a speedmap, I should refrain from reviewing it. :P".

  • That Day - Hardcore_gamer
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 15646 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: ReX
    This is a short, often sharp, single map for Doom 2 (Boom-compatible port required).

    The author built this map in six hours, which would explain why the wad file weighs in at only about 40 kB (about 15.6 kB zipped). The map has simple, clean lines - in keeping with the author's level of effort. Lighting is more-or-less uniform throughout the map, giving it a somewhat plain atmosphere. Texturing is adequate, with some unobtrusive misalignments, and the overall geometry is satisfactory. The map is built entirely indoors, but a couple of rooms have sky-lights to give the semblance of the great outdoors.

    The map has a straightforward design and, despite the multiple paths that seemingly offer themselves at the start, is quite linear. Press a few switches, pick up the blue key, and presto! You find yourself staring at the exit. There is some variability in height, but the design of the level reduces the scope for much height changes. Players that intend to spend some time humping walls in the hope that they will fall upon some hidden goodies needn't bother; there's nary a secret to be found throughout the realm. The rocket-launcher just out of reach on a ledge was tantalizing, but the player eventually reaches it with little fumbling around.

    Where the map redeems itself somewhat, is in the fights. The difficulty gradually ramps up, until it reaches a crescendo in the frenetic combat at the exit. Enemies seem like mostly cannon fodder at first, but the widespread use of distant hitscan enemies mixed in with others makes them something to be reckoned with. (Some might find the hitscanners to be an annoyance, although I didn't mind them at all.) Ammo is plentiful, with weaponry adequate for the job at hand. Health is strategically located, and you could find yourself running low if you take the hitscanners for granted. Armor is rather scarce. There are a few traps, but the author always provides a way for you to beat a hasty retreat if you so choose. (One minor point: In the blue key area, the steps prevent some melee-only enemies from climbing down, making them sitting ducks.)

    This is a tiny map by 2013 standards, and seasoned Doomers will likely blaze through in a few minutes. Give it a try, nonetheless.

  • Madonna Music - Doomguy 2000
    Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - N/A - 369871 bytes
    Reviewed by: Xaser
    A bunch of Madonna midis arranged in a wad file, for either Doom or Doom 2. Unless the sound of that really appeals to you for some reason, you can probably just ignore this.

  • 80's Horror Soundtrack - Herculine
    Doom/Doom 2 - OGG Support - N/A - 120454010 bytes
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    Basically what it says on the label: a music replacement wad that replaces all the Doom and Doom 2 music with 80's horror music. The music itself is pretty decent and could possibly be used in a Doom map, but it doesn't really fit in the maps we all know and love. The filesize is also quite unwieldy as well, which doesn't make it all that appealing: I recommend converting the music from Ogg Vorbis into a more compact form. Probably not worth the download, unless you're 100% sure you want to use 80's horror music.

Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.

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Feeling spaced out, dude? :)

Decent little set of reviews, and I'm glad there's stuff out of Newstuff. I need to get off my arse and write more reviews. X-D

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Processingcontrol said:

What's with the lack of screenshots in Preliatus's reviews?

I'll add some this next round, I promise.

Edit: Usually skipping the screenshots unless I find something worth screenshotting. Most of the maps I've reviewed are big and ugly.

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Preliatus said:

Most of the maps I've reviewed are big and ugly.

In that case, take at least one representative screenshot to drive the point home. Pictures speak louder and whatnot.

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Thx for the review. :) The last area in Horalky is just for eye candy: I thought that a square teleporter in a dark cave wasn't the best way to end a level, so I added this cool nature scene. You can see protagonist's house before you exit.

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Preliatus said:

I'll add some this next round, I promise.

Thanks. Even if the map is ugly, screenshots can help readers see what type of style it has, and help them determine if the level looks like something they'll enjoy.

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Memfis said:

This is a Doom 2 conversion of DAVES2ND.WAD, which was one of the finalists for a Doom 1 mapping contest PC Zone ran in 1994. The actual DE2106.WAD is a totally different map that also was a finalist. (Thanks to The Green Herring for telling me about this.) It is unclear who did the conversion and why the wad was renamed.

In addition, "JEFF247.WAD" is actually JAIL.WAD from the same contest, and "COMP.WAD" is actually CHAOS.WAD likewise. The actual JEFF247.WAD and COMP.WAD, also entries from that contest, are completely different maps. All of them can be found in their original Doom forms here.

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Preliatus said:

Edit: Usually skipping the screenshots unless I find something worth screenshotting. Most of the maps I've reviewed are big and ugly.

I prefer doing big and ugly ones too :P Stop stealing my job

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BloodyAcid said:

I prefer doing big and ugly ones too :P Stop stealing my job

Heh, if you prefer that type then fair enough. :P Onto the reviews, not as good as last week but I like the sound of Memfis' map and the new Hardcore_Gamer map (I quite like both the authors maps. So I'll give them a shot as I haven't played them). Very good review on Absolute Order, I also found it a bit too short but nonetheless a brilliant Strife map set. Preliatus' reviews I agree should've had screenshots with them but good job on the reviews regardless.

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Khorus said:

whee thanks for the Absolute Order review :)

No problem. ;)

Still need to sharpen myself a bit more, thoughts kept drifting when I tried to make preview...

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In Absolute Order I cannot progress any further in the first hub section, what am I supposed to do there anyway? No keys, no quests. Any hints please?

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Should have mentioned that, lot of people seems to get stuck in that place...

Anyway, there's a house in courtyard, near the entrance to mines. You can break the glass to enter the house.

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