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The /newstuff Chronicles #478

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  • New reality maps - Memfis
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 310831 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Jjp
    Reviewed with ZDoom 2.7.1 on UV. The maps were played with autosaves.

    This wad contains three limit-removing levels that take place in and around a small castle. The maps look great, and their layouts are simple but adequate. The gameplay, on the other hand, is the unusual part of this wad. When playing on UV, the player has to complete all three maps in a row without getting hit at all, and this rule is enforced by setting the player's health to 1% at the start of the map. If not being able to make a mistake does not seem fun, players should take advantage of the lower difficulty settings, which are described in the text file. In particular, playing on HNTR should be enjoyable for everyone, as it provides health and armor at the start of every map.

    Thankfully, the maps are very short, which reduces frustration when playing on UV, and most of the monsters initially face away from the player, allowing the player to come up with a strategy beforehand. Thus, I found the challenge to be quite fair. Overall, this wad is worth playing once.

  • Celestial Site - D.Scratch
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 6960828 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: GooberMan
    If a detailed map with thoroughly unbalanced gameplay is your idea of a good time, then this is the map for you. Either that, or this map was designed with a weapons mod in mind that the author neglected to mention. As a vanilla experience, I found this to be tiring in the extreme. The map appears to be on a spaceship, and follows a rigid grid-based layout that regularly feels cramped. Especially since the author loves putting you in a corner with mid-tier enemies. And creating traps triggered by vitally-needed health with mid-tier enemies. And creating a trap after killing mid-tier enemies by spawning in more mid-tier enemies (or, even better, chaingunners). And adding new monsters that are mid- to high- tier enemies. Infighting in such a cramped map is limited, so you regularly have to go toe-to-toe with groups of mid-tier enemies. Mid-tier enemies with a shotgun and a chaingun. Oh, and a rocket launcher that unlocks in some random section of the map shown to you via a camera change. If your map is laid out in such a fashion that you need a cutscene to show you what your switch flicking has changed, then it's a sign that you needed to put more thought in to the layout.

    Honestly, if this was designed with a weapons mod in mind, if you're reading this D.Scratch, please tell everyone in the comments section which mod it is. I cannot recommend this as a vanilla experience at all (unless you IDDQD and IDFA to look at the diverse texture usage and cramped detail).

  • What can you Doom? - Arkady Yaborev
    Evilution - GZDoom - Solo Play - 6265611 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: GooberMan
    You know, I don't think I had ever played a WAD by a Russian Doomer before trying this one. However, I don't think a language barrier factors in to me not quite knowing what on earth is going on in this WAD.

    The extensive Hexen resource usage clues you in to the idea that the author is trying to do something Hexen-like in Doom. Imagine if Hexen had been made without at least one QA pass done on it. That's about what you're getting here.

    This rather sprawling map starts off on the wrong foot. HUD messages are used that rely on having HUD scaling off, and that further becomes a problem when those messages tell you how to not break the map in a cryptic manner. I'm certain that this map is played best and makes the most sense if you're the author and you know exactly what is going on in any given situation. Not following the instructions given, or missing a switch results in the map grinding to a halt with no indication as to what went wrong. Making things worse is that you start off with a pistol and come across several mid-tier enemies before you get anywhere near a shotgun. I gave myself a berserk pack and a god mode and got on with the reviewing.

    Then there's the technical issue, that being that about 95% of the map is a wide open area with many 3D floors. The performance will slow to a crawl on a machine that isn't all that modern. A traditional hub setup would have greatly helped with performance, if not the sense of scale the author was aiming for.

    I'm sure there's a good idea in this map. I just wish I knew where the hell the author put it.

  • Nuclear Halls - Adam Windsor / Capellan
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 106738 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: GooberMan
    Do you prefer the term remix or reinterpretation? I'm not entirely sure which one to use here. At the very least, the first section of the map is quite obviously inspired by E1M2 from the original Doom. The secrets and the red key are even in the right position. And then you run through the red door in to an area that's quite obviously inspired by MAP02 from Doom 2. Maybe the spirit of Jive Bunny lives on in Doom mapping these days, and we can call this a mash-up or megamix. Certainly the style used (which requires a separate download of the Community Chest 4 texture pack) would be a mash-up of words called helldustrial. It stops being a remix of old Doom level flows and becomes its own monster about half-way through.

    The gameplay starts out fairly undemanding, but slowly throws higher and higher-tiered enemies at you until it runs out of enemy types and starts throwing mixed groups of them at you. The ammo balance always leaves you on your toes to begin with, but once it starts to get hectic you have to encourage infighting or just plain avoid fights if you intend on finishing the map in one piece. There are no Archviles about to completely ruin the fragile balance the map has, so you don't need to be worried about being completely cheesed at any point.

    This map is enjoyable, even more so if you like familiarity. I suspect it would be quite a treat in a co-op map rotation, but since I have no social skills I did not try this out. Recommended.

  • Skunklime - Matt Smith
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 596756 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: GooberMan
    Realistic detail. There's a certain kind of congratulations that needs to be passed along to anyone that can sit down in a Doom editor and pour over every little map unit to make something clearly resemble something from real life. Matt Smith (who I'm sure is sick of Doctor Who jokes by now) clearly likes getting as much as he can out of Doom's visuals using nothing but map geometry. At least, until he gets bored of it. Rather large areas are either filled with an obsessive eye for detail, or mapped out with lighting guides from 1997. It's a bit of a weird dissonance.

    Gameplay is not a challenge. Infighting is easy to foster - to the point where what felt like a set piece sorted itself out - and the large areas mean there's plenty of room to maneuver. There's one particular point where it just decides to clear your inventory, throwing up some excuse like "No outside weapons allowed in Hell", promptly followed by finding a bunch of outside weapons in hell. Weapons that you then don't need anyway since every monster in this area (including a Cyberdemon) is far enough away from you to never be a threat. The map also kinda just ends, but fits in to the story provided in the text file.

    It's not a bad map. It can claim to be a good map. It just won't be a map I ever revisit.

  • WWW.WAD - J.A.C.95501
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 88870 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    There are four maps. The fourth map is a secret level. While it has the components that make up a Doom map (gameplay, monsters, ammo, and a map to run in), it commits the worst of the cardinal sins of Doom mapping in the process.

    First off, the map is made for ZDoom. There is nowhere in the text file that says this. I luckily played it in GZDoom to start, and then noticed stealth cacodemons. I thought I was just seeing things, and then I started to notice flats on walls.

    All maps are aesthetically boring. In terms of lighting, there is none. Most areas are flatly lighted. In terms of detail, there is very little. Any columns or detailed areas actually get in the way! Most areas have one texture going for great distances, with nothing to break up the monotony. Large square rooms, extremely long narrow passageways complete with a door that wouldn't open in Eternity Engine, causing me to noclip through it, and an arena that requires radsuits to fight in. I have a BFG9000, a megasphere, a lot of room, and a Cyberdemon. I feel sorry for the big brute, honestly.

    There is a lift that is broken in map02. It will crush you if you ride up on it. Why? Who knows? There's a teleporter next to it that remedies this error, but that implies that the author knew about the bug and didn't fix it!

    Gameplay-wise, there really is nothing here in terms of difficulty than an abundance of hitscanners. In fact, there is a row of chaingunners at the beginning of map02 that will turn you into pudding if you don't use the BFG or plasma rifle spam. It's a gimmick to make me waste ammo in a gun that I need for the final boss. Gross.

    But then J.A.C.95501 thanks me for playing, albeit full of typos, and I felt like I just stomped all over a child's work.

    JAC, you have potential, I can see that. But you gotta work on your lighting, your gameplay, and the monotonous orthogonal rooms. MAP03 was a very interesting layout, but the gameplay gave the entire map the stink. MAP01 had a great theme, but it was very dull in terms of combat, and the secrets are way too easy.

    I'll put it on the fridge. Maybe.

  • CastleTech - Jake C. (A.K.A Specter4582)
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 42908 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: GooberMan
    This single map WAD is a bit on the small side. A breezy five minutes will get you through this map. It is, in general, a well-designed map. The detail levels are about late nineties, which just means that it feels uncluttered - but not to say boring. The central conceit of a castle courtyard that you're ascending means that the map is always making clear your goal and your progress. Ammo is plentiful, and health is on just the right side of scarce to keep you on your toes.

    The only complaints are a hitscanner trap which, while easily dealt with, feels a bit unfair with the surprise factor first-time round; and some niggling technical details, like the weird exit door size and non-accessible monster trap rooms showing up on the automap. They're really quite minor complaints though. This would make a solid MAP01 for a larger mapset.

  • Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions: Session 18 - Various
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 5521516 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Speedmapping is a popular Doom pastime. If you can make the deadline, hooray! If the end result is playable, then it's even better. Abyssal Speedmapping Session 18, or ASS18, is like a bag of Chex Mix. Yummy Doom action in the corn Chex, okay maps with the pretzels, terrible nightmares in the rye chips, and two super orgasmic maps as the Chex Mix spice dust at the bottom of the bag.

    Except someone really thought it would be cute to intentionally stuff this bag with rye chips, and those responsible can fuck right off.

    Some of you might like the rye chips, but they never hold the spice like the Chex pieces. mm.

    I'm amazed at how playable most of the maps were. Of course some were just downright easy, which is nice, but some maps ramped up the AGITATION as much as possible. Pistoling cacodemons to death is not fun. Shotgunning barons is NOT fun.

    A map that immediately starts with its balls in my face isn't fun either. At least at first. That's because I, in the interest of fairness, played each map from pistol start and saw how raw they were. Then, I played them sequentially and had a blast. That is, except for a couple of maps that shouldn't have seen their owners push CTRL+S in Doom Builder. I consider the weapons I brought along as a sort of... lubrication.

    Let's call out some of the highlights with a short blurb for each:

    MAP03: Only three revenants?
    MAP05: It's fun to explore the space, but be sure to make things a little more obvious. This map was really easy once I figured it out.
    MAP07: This was a speedmap? Please do more because this rocked my face off. Win.
    MAP08: I have seen better design in Terry wads. Fuck off with this. Thank god for Lost Soul limits, else this map would have destroyed me.
    MAP09: I'll take "Maps with no sane weapon use" for $500, Alex. Adding that clip of bullets was an extra kick in the teeth as I had no chaingun to use them with from pistol start.
    IMP10: Great use of height, but I think it could have used a few more imps. maybe 500 more. That'll work.
    BTSX11: Nice style, genius. This one did kick my ass quite a bit, but mostly due to more lost soul bullshit from pain elementals.
    MAP12: Thanks to a glitch, I was able to beat this one without getting all the keys. I still have no idea how.
    MAP13: GET INTO MY HELLZONE. This map has potential.
    MAP14: Brown Crush? All I see is red right now.
    MAP16: The liquid flows. It drips, ripples, and pours. Blood. And revenants. Hope to your god you know how to get to the main area without taking many hits, because there are only 5 medikits in this hellhole. Bonus points for the mancubus bukakke near the yellow key. I like it. But I hate it. I also keep skipping the Berserk and Soulspheres in here. Why put them in the room where you take the most damage? That implies you knew how bad that fight setup was!
    MAP17: A Speedslaughtermap. Great. Kinda ruins the charm after I learned that I can bottleneck everything.
    MAP18: Love the spiderdemon setup. Hate the secret part.
    MAP19: Holy mother of asskicking! This was really good! A race to the plasmagun! BUT YOU FOR GOT TEXT URES ASS HOLE
    MAP20: I made love to these textures. What a great ending to a mixed bag.

    Even the good maps pissed me off a little bit, and while the cries of "git gud scrub" are heard, I'm not bothering to listen, because I know speedmaps are difficult to do in the first place. The fact that they play as well as they do is a testament to how good the participants really are - well, except for one of you. You know who you are.



  • April Fools STARTAN Maps of Any Quality - Various
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 789272 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Jjp
    Reviewed with ZDoom 2.7.1 on UV. All maps were played from a pistol start.

    April Fools STARTAN Maps of Any Quality consists of eleven maps made by various authors that mainly use Doom Builder 2's default textures, which are STARTAN2, FLOOR0_1, and CEIL1_1, although other textures can be used. The first ten maps can be played with a Boom-compatible port, while map11 requires ZDoom.

    I enjoyed playing the first six maps. map01 is a great opener that incorporates a lot of height variation in its layout, while map02 is a generic but solid map. map03 is the largest map in the wad, and it has a few tricky moments. map04 is an excellent map in all aspects. map05 is a STARTAN space station that has average gameplay, and map06 is a fun map with quirky progression and terrible music. All of these maps look good and do not have any major problems with their gameplay.

    The fun ends once map07 begins, however, and it does not get much better from there. I felt that I was suddenly playing a bad jokewad. The entirety of map07 is a room stuffed with a few boss monsters and many BFGs, while map08 is a slaughtermap with a nukage floor that has the player run around in circles with a BFG while monsters infight and die. map09 consists of a bunch of hallways and rooms with mindless thing placement. map10 is obnoxious and is the only map that I did not finish, and the wad concludes with an unremarkable map11. I was disappointed with these maps.

    Thus, only the first half of this wad is worth playing. If you download this wad, play until map06, and then pretend that the rest of the maps never existed.

  • illicit engineering - null1024
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 282666 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Jjp
    Reviewed with ZDoom 2.7.1 on UV. All maps were played from a pistol start.

    Illicit Engineering is a vanilla-compatible mapset that replaces the first episode of Doom. It is the author's first public release, and it is a simple set of maps in both the gameplay and architecture departments. The maps are not very good and are inferior to the IWAD ones, although they do get better as the player progresses. There isn't a secret map, so E1M9 is not replaced.

    Most of the areas in this mapset are bare and lack any interesting architecture, and the layouts are mostly linear. The earlier maps suffer from having no consistent theme. One room may have STARTAN walls, and then the very next room might be covered in green marble. The later maps do have a more consistent theme and some glimpses of non-linearity. Occasionally the player does encounter an area that isn't just another boring room, such as the outdoor area in E1M4. For every interesting area, however, there's several bland rooms and hallways to accompany it. 64-unit wide corridor mazes make their appearance a few times, which is something best left behind in the mid-90s. There are also some visual oddities, such as the overly thick doors and how the exit door behaves like an exit switch instead. One nice aspect of the wad's visuals, though, is the interesting usage of lighting effects throughout the wad. I wish the effort placed into the lighting was applied more consistently, though.

    It is more difficult for a beginner to create interesting gameplay scenarios with Doom's limited bestiary, and this mapset is no exception to that rule. The monster placement is rather uninspired for the most part, and this includes the non-threatening usage of barons and cacodemons. There are some monster closet traps, but they are rather easy to deal with. The only challenge comes from the rarity of health, but most of the monsters do not pose a threat as long as the player is somewhat careful. In addition, the usage of monster blocking lines is puzzling and makes some areas even less threatening. Thus, while the maps are playable and fair, they are also really boring to play. Also, the maps have no official secrets because the sectors containing the secrets were not given the correct sector type, which is a bug that should have been caught during testing. I do like the platforming segments though since they provided a nice break from the monotony of the combat.

    The author clearly has potential, as there's nothing really awful about this wad. It's simply mediocre in almost every aspect. Only play this if you are really bored or if the above appeals to you. Meanwhile, I encourage the author to keep practicing, making more levels, and looking at other wads for inspiration.

  • Home Invasion - Inner Demon Entertainment
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 84455 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    Two maps set in a house, like the kind that lots of people used to make as their first Doom level. There are all the classic tropes here: bathrooms (oddly enough no toilets), closets with nothing but a monster or some bonuses in them, etc. The author seems proud of his creation (as evidenced by these "designer's notes"), but the fact is, these are sub-par levels with only barely interesting gameplay and not very good visuals (the outside areas look better, but the inside areas are very dull, drab, and underdetailed). Don't waste your time.

    P.S. The author recommends that glBoom-plus be used, but it seems these levels would work fine in Vanilla (I played them in Chocolate Doom with no problems.)

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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CSonicgo said:



*Scrapes blue furry giblets off the wall*

Any reason in particular why you didn't like "Yippee Splat!"? I honestly consider it one of my better speedmaps.

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Obsidian said:


*Scrapes blue furry giblets off the wall*

Any reason in particular why you didn't like "Yippee Splat!"? I honestly consider it one of my better speedmaps.

I loved it. It didn't love me back.

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mouldy said:

Good to see another newstuff chronicle.

If the pace of reviews submitted doesn't pick up, it may be a very, very long time until the next one. (Thanks for your recent review, by the way)

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I would have reviewed a few more, but most of the ones open for review are multiplayer map packs. This poses a bit of a problem in general I imagine, as you effectively need at least four people to review them properly. Kinda conflicts with the "single user picks a map to review" setup.

Then there's also the regular thing that occurs where someone claims a map and lets their claim expire. Happened a few times with some maps I was considering reviewing, and by the time I could claim the map again my holidays had finished.

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Well, I'm gonna try and do a few more this weekend. I have the urge to try some random unfamiliar wads and pass judgement upon them.

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