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The /newstuff Chronicles #493

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  • Summer of '69 - Ribbiks & Dannebubinga
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3.58 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Alfonzo
    I don't like Bryan Adams's music one bit and probably would have found a way to flaunt my own "pop culture" reference regardless, but such is the title's lack of relevance to this mapset...

    In the year of '69 assembled here the volunteers, Ribbiks and Dannebubinga. They lusted after suns for some weird reason – God knows what's going on there – and returned from the blue with a megawad's worth of material plus extras. The Summer of '69 comprises these extras, a 6-map ensemble of misfits and rejects, and not all of it half bad! Yes, only some of it is broken!

    If you've played Sunlust, or at least bored through enough of it to get an impression of your own, you might be able to imagine the sorts of maps that pass for surplus in the eyes of Ribbiks and Danne. Theirs is a world of choreographed nightmares and layouts like art sculptures: everything is perfectly calibrated, such that a rejected entry (or one removed prior to an ultimate release; MAP03's Sola Kuken) mightn't seem flawed to the average Doomer. At the same time, the nature of the mapset and the authors' tendency for executing similar ideas in different ways means that any level or setup you enjoy will have a better counterpart in the main event... although MAP05's Gloomy Glacier does offer a unique hook and is well worth the price of admission. This is the underlying crux of '69; it's hard to recommend a playthrough of the mapset ahead of anything else made by Ribbiks and Danne in recent times.

    Enthusiasts wanting to fine-tune their appreciation for Sunlust and its authors or experience more of the same will find value here. For the layman, you could do worse for a Sunday Suicide Pact; an episode of torture chambers that presents as a massive win despite its scrapheap origins. All the same, I'd look elsewhere for a more complete experience by these designers.

    P.S. For my newstuff still ahead, pity me.

  • Doomed Space Wars - Paul Corfiatis
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - SP/DM - 55.18 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Alfonzo
    Paul Corfiatis is an embattled level designer. When he shared some of his latest with Doomworld a few months ago, he spoke about a commitment to working on a few areas of his mapping, including an area so targeted because it's the lowest-strung punching bag for forum critics everywhere: symmetrical layouts. Oh, the thought of it alone! For a veteran that's plainly comfortable with the way he makes his levels it's an admirable pursuit, so good luck to him if he's genuine, but it'll take a massive effort to steer away from the sorts of problems that hamper his earlier works. No such effort is found in Doomed Space Wars.

    'Wars is an episode that expands upon the Star Wars brand first seen in Whispers of Satan MAP31, and uses some kick-ass Dark Forces textures. It needn't be judged on how well the more practical elements compare with his previous works – certainly, there are ways to enjoy the mapset if you're a sucker for novelty value. It's beautifully realised with its sheer-faced imperial architecture and clean, stark-gray corridors, and the use of coloured lighting is fancy if a little "discotheque". I'm also a fan of Paul's goofy music (Soviet/military polka, if you don't mind!), which combines with the visuals and Doom 64 sound replacements to create a bombastic, almost cartoon-like aesthetic... only, the horse has bolted on this question of self-improvement, and it's apparent that Paul is happy to meet his critics head-on. To take a quote from the exit room/sardine can in MAP03: "Nothing beats the beauty of a meat corridor!"

    Woah, full-on! Looks like the gloves are off, then.

    ...Space Wars plays quite badly. Maps are constructed of dormant traps and toll roads, each one manned by hitscanners meant to rob you of health as you drive past. A candy trail of boredom, meat sacks and evenly-spaced health bonuses. The Pcorf Experience. At some point it opens up and you are presented with combat options; there is a transition into arenas padded out with the sorts of familiar skirmishes that have defined Paul's work over the years, and a cute few sequences made possible in the ZDoom engine – swimming and booby traps and so forth. The encounters mostly stick to the tarmac, however, and there's very little done with the space provided; a wasted opportunity to capitalize on a unique setting. Not helping matters are the DECORATE monster additions, none of which force the player to respond in a drastic way, save for one: a cheap-shot gnat of a fucker called a security droid – barely visible against all that gray backdrop – sniping hurriedly at you with zero warning. One gets the impression that these monsters are only here to add a perceived variety, which mightn't be so bad if only they didn't compound an already tiresome journey with... yes, more meat for the meat corridor.

    Proponents of The Pcorf Experience are everywhere. 2002: A Doom Odyssey continues to be lauded as one of the greatest megawads of the early '00s, never mind mere Ultimate Doom. Truly, the above paragraph is a boring repetition and a pandering that should be seen as slanderous. The trouble is that while Paul continues to find new ways to coat his well-worn brand (Space Wars is, if nothing else, a very smart-looking mapset with attention to detail and a bold new visual style), he has so far failed to budge an inch of his mapping practice. Yea, even in the realm of ZDoom. Being as he is an artist with some twenty years of experience, I should hope that he values the need to improve as much as his recent deliberations suggest.

    A quick word on the deathmatch episode that accompanies the main event, since I know you're all dying to read about it: avoid. MAP49: Space Dwango is the closest you'll get to a game that doesn't have depth like dishwater, and that should be all the information you need. A nine-map series of flat corridors, manually-opened doors and symmetrical layouts. WHACK!

  • Pinochestein 3D edicion GL (GZDoom) - Gabriel Valderrama (Kotometal-0041)
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 33.09 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Alfonzo
    The author of this masterpiece must have forgotten the part in A Clockwork Orange where Alex becomes nauseous at the sound of his beloved Beethoven. Shame – it would have been the final piece to the puzzle in what is already Doom's very own Ludovico Treatment: wave after wave of ultra-violence, and every bit of it more cloying and insurmountable than the last. As a substitute for this perfection we are treated to an endless slew of guitar-driven MIDIs, and to be fair to dear Gabriel this is about as likely to make me throw up as any other form of psychological or auditory torture... so yes, I was cured, all right.

    This partial conversion is to be dragged out to the Atacama Desert in a mech suit and put to sleep. It is not to be played, not to be experienced in any way. It cannot, for that matter, as the scales of balance are so heavily lopsided in favour of the hitscanner hordes that progress simply halts after a number of levels and the whole thing descends into farce. The screenshots that you see above are only half genuine; a complete playthrough of the mapset's 30 levels was not required to pass judgement.

    At best, a case study for the filmmaker Patricio Guzmán.

  • Pinochestein 3D edicion GL (Zandronum) - Gabriel Valderrama (Kotometal-0041)
    Doom 2 - Zandronum - Solo Play - 19.84 MB
    Reviewed by: Alfonzo
    For your convenience, another way to suffer the mapset reviewed above. If there are any differences between versions they are insignificant. Both of them are broken, mechanically and practically.

  • Countergoat Initiative - Team Countergoat Initiative
    Doom 2 - Zandronum - Deathmatch - 7.26 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Decay
    CGI1 is the first of an allegedly never ending series of duel maps that follow a pretend-oldschool model of duel. Basically it's the typical oldschool oriented duel pack but made with item respawn in mind, so we get the limitations of no freelook, no jump, double-ammo, infinitely tall actors, etc. By the time I picked up on it, Alfonzo was the leader, and was trying to implement the good things too late. The pack is maybe compatible with ZDaemon, mostly incompatible with Odamex, and 100% compatible with Zandronum.

    There are a lot of things going on in this pack. By a lot of things I mean there is a lot of interesting looking maps, a lot of awful gimmick maps, a lot of terrible-to-play maps, and a few great to play maps. If I remember correctly this is the team's first foray into making duel maps, and it's not an overall bad result. It's fairly typical in terms of "first projects" of this sort, having an uneven level of playability throughout the wad, though for the most part these maps look wonderfully crafted at least for the average multiplayer Doomer.

    This wad is definitively from multiplayer mappers from Doomworld. This means most of them are not familiar with the nuances of PvP Doom, and it shows. Treating the SSG as a super weapon, shotgun spawns for days, abundance of PISTOL spawns, high detail, and questionable layouts ranging from the competent to the hipster. There seems to be an overall lack of understanding of the dynamics of Doom 2 duel, seemingly favouring a Doom 1-esque duel with the occasional SSG placed in often unwieldy places, and the quality varies widely between maps in terms of playability, again obviously showing the nature of the authors being primarily single-player mappers. The music ranges from rocking to bizarre, but is overall suitable for the maps.

    We begin in an overly large hub that extends out in the fields for absolutely no point. I don't know why. It becomes plain very quickly that the map names are out of control. There is an unhealthy obsession with goats and goat themes in this wad. Let's not think about this any further. The maps are, for the most part, very colourful, and this is probably the defining feature of the map-set, for better or worse. Actually for the better because the colours look nice, the palette change definitely improved on the stock palette.

    There is an assortment of themes and a division between linear and non-linear maps. Sandpaper Blowjob gets a mention for being an exceptionally dull map because it is very linear to play and is definitely nothing special in the looks department. Pot City is a map that has many different ways of playing it and can be quite the fun map, especially if you are a fan of classics such as Pobla8. The major problem with it is rather large size and flatness, making it seem duller than it really is.

    There are many questionable concepts played out in the maps, but also some neat ones. Special shout out to Saskatoon for being one of the most enjoyable maps to play, if being a plain-ass 1993 looking map. Honourable mention for Mt. Fuji being a dull, imbalanced, blinding map that is horrible to play. License to Stack 2 gets a mention for awful gimmick functionality, while Jactory gets a mention for interesting layout, but with some excessive bumpy-crampedness.The gimmick maps. Oh my god. Never again please. This funhouse is NOT a funhouse. Nauseating. The Angry Tophat map, whyyyyyy. Fucktangle? God lord. Don't even waste your time playing them if you're looking for a serious match, or even a fun time, because you won't find any of those things in them. End verdict:

    The good: This wad is at least worth a shot, if only once. If you like Doom 1 duel with a bit of Doom 2 in the mix, you'd probably enjoy it. It is definitely a "first" wad and has a bit of garbage with a lot of average or unmemorable maps with a few gems as well. I still laugh every time I hear the BFG.

    The bad: For established duel players, you probably won't like this wad. It has a strange blend of NS and OS look and feel, but you'll likely want to head back to judas23_, ssl2, king1, etc. pretty quickly. To experienced players there is going to be a lot of meh here, something you try once and never again. It's hard to convince players to try every map at least, but to find something worthwhile this is what you need to do.

    The ugly: Actually this set is mostly not ugly. Aesthetically pleasing, but leaves much to be desired in the playability and replay value department. On the bright side, I think the mappers of CGI realize their mistakes and so far have taken critique to heart and work in the upcoming CGI2, which is already far superior.

    Overall rating: I dunno, it's hard to score because it's something I'd recommend at least trying, but it has very little appeal to replay most of the maps. Maybe if one or two maps were put into a compilation (i.e. Pot City or Saskatoon) I'd play them again, but that's about it. 5/10 brits? 2/10 greenwars? 8/10 dwangos? Keep an eye out for CGI2; it's much better than this already.

  • Monument - Chris Hansen
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1.32 MB - (img)
    Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
    Chris Hansen was a name I had heard before; in fact, I had played map 5 prior to this. But I don't remember author names too well, so it only rang a few bells. But I saw it was an original Doom E2 replacement. Episode replacements are perfect if you have other things to do, but still want to play Doom inbetween. Full megawads, I feel, have to be committed to, else you're a damn quitter. And single levels are like a single chip: it can be super good, but leaves you partly satisfied, and you want a lot more. The problem is that, unlike chips, scouring for more good maps can be extremely inconvenient, and having an assload of levels to load is annoying. I remember I originally intended to review the 20th Abyssal Speedmapping mapset, but didn't feel like trudging through 20 levels. Plus, it's pretty hard. In short, 20th is great and cool and stuff with a disappointing first few levels for some reason. I guess rockets just make everything better.

    Moving on to the actual subject of review, Monument is an episode replacement for the original Doom that is a compilation of previously released single maps. The author also fine-tuned these levels, which is why I didn't recognize map 5 sooner. It stays true to the E2 theme, but I never really did like the theme of E2 anyways. It feels like a theme mappers call their level when it doesn't fit into tech, hell, or urban. It just sorta shifts between the three. I liked E2, just not how it looked, and sometimes it would influence level design to be a bit droning, and with too much poison. Anyways, Hansen keeps his texturing consistent and precise, but not very interesting. Like, the textures are well used and right, but they feel pretty expected. They look professional, but slightly boring.

    Moving on, music choice is quite good. I never didn't like a song, and enjoyed the music for once, instead of just playing my own music in the background. But it seems like sometimes the music didn't completely fit the levels. But, then again, I don't really have a sense of music fitness, as I could listen to metal or 80's pop during a cyberdemon fight.

    Now for the only really important aspect: gameplay. And that is where, thankfully, this episode prioritizes. Level design is intuitive, well thought, and expansive. Although the levels were large, they kept you interested and rarely had you confused. It really felt like some good ol' id levels. Difficulty was kicked up a bit, though.

    A few strange outliers must be questioned, though. The slight tweaks to sprites and sound felt pretty unnecessary. If I wanted, I'd just load up PSX Doom or something. Another thing is that Hansen liked health bonuses too much. They were pretty frequent, and although I didn't dislike them, they seemed pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things. One last thing is that map 4 didn't have much health in it, at least in the first half. I got by, but that level made me act more desperately. That can be fun, but it seemed to stick out among the other levels, which had a slower pace, and encouraged cleaning out the whole place, not racing past ambushes to pick up a medkit. The last level also seemed to be way harder than what it should've been. It was the end of a mapset, but this was just E2. This would've made great sense for an E4M8, if it had a spider mastermind in it.

    But as I said earlier, the gameplay is tight, texturing acceptable, and music enjoyable. These critiques are just slight marks against a large, well-formed mapset that I definitely recommend. In my opinion, texture work doesn't really matter anyways. As long as it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, I'm good. After all, my favorite mapset is probably Fragport. I just mention these as I'm reviewing a mapset for the masses.

    In closing, Monument is a classic mapset with great gameplay and sufficient everything else. Then again, how can you screw up a mapset decades in the making with already well-received reviews?

  • Heresy - Jeremy Geib and Tom Zimmerman
    Heretic - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 49.78 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: antares031
    Heresy is a vanilla-compatible deathmatch level for the registered version of Heretic. It was created by Jeremy Geib and Tom Zimmerman in 1996, and it was uploaded to the /idgames archive by ETTiNGRiNDER on October 7, 2015 as a part of finding lost Heretic PWADs. This wad also includes the custom soundtrack, the midi version of Mother by Danzig. But since the name of music lump is incorrect, the custom music won't be played. The level was reviewed with ZDaemon 1.10 beta 07.

    The layout is super-symmetrical, with an exception for item and weapon placement. The detail is just plain, and the size of map is a little bit huge for a duel match. I must say that at least 4 players or more would be suitable for this map. While you can grab some weapons around the arena, the real goodies (such as enchanted armor and a phoenix rod) are hidden behind the secret walls. Speaking of secret walls, there's a secret passage for chicken players. But don't be a chicken because of that secret area, since the reward is not that valuable.

    Since the level is huge, simple and symmetrical, you may get bored with playing the match quickly if you're fan of complex, compact, non-symmetrical DM maps. Most of height controls are done by vanilla lifts, which is not my favorite method for fast-paced deathmatch. It could be better if the author put some stairs or instant lifts to move up and down. Anyway, it's just a stereotypical DM map from the mid 90's for Heretic. But hey, at least it's playable.

  • HELL HOUSE - Dan Reames
    Heretic - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 41.5 KB - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: RottKing
    Hell House is a medium-sized Heretic deathmatch level from Dan Reames, created some time in 1995. Given the date of the map I wasn't expecting much out of it, but I was pleasantly surprised! While the visuals are a bit above what you'd expect from that era, its strong point is definitely the layout: it's a very cleverly laid out map; the way the areas are interconnected makes the map feel larger than it actually is. Item placement seems pretty reasonable too. Overall a pretty good level even by today's standards--looks like Dan spending 80+ hours on the map paid off!

  • LinBoom - Colin Phipps
    N/A - N/A - N/A - 283.89 KB
    Reviewed by: alterworldruler
    As mentioned in my LinBoom Source Code review, this is an early attempt at porting Boom to Linux, Boom 2.01 specifically. It has the same problem of being incapable of being compiled or ran under modern Linux distros without SVGALib (which needs hacks and workarounds to work now anyway) and some ancient programming environments.

  • LinBoom source code - Colin Phipps
    N/A - N/A - N/A - 680.6 KB
    Reviewed by: alterworldruler
    This is the source code for LinBoom, an early port of Boom to Linux. It's based off a later version of DOSDoom (0.61) compared to PDoom's 0.2, as it arrived four months later than PDoom.

    The historical value of this is already mentioned above; it's an early attempt at having Boom running on Linux.

    However the readme suggests that it's almost impossible to even try to compile this under modern Linux distros without ancient development environments and working SVGALib (which is in theory possible but not worth the effort, as it requires lots of workarounds and hacking).

  • PDoom - Phill Harvey-Smith
    N/A - N/A - N/A - 319.36 KB
    Reviewed by: alterworldruler
    This is PDoom, a fork of DOSDoom 0.2 with cheats added like:

    - Flight (probably was the basis for ZDoom's Fly cheat)
    - Kill all monsters (already existed in Doom95)
    - Quad Damage (unique to this one)

    There's not much historical value to this, except that it's a fork of DOSDoom 0.2. You wonder, what makes DOSDoom special?

    DOSDoom was the first source port after the Doom source was released in 1997; version 0.2 comes from mid-98. All your other fancy ports? They all started from DOSDoom to a certain extent.

    It may be valuable to the most hardcore of sourceport nerds because DOSDoom 0.2 is not on /idgames, so this is the closest thing to it.

  • PDoom source code - Phill Harvey-Smith
    N/A - N/A - N/A - 418.04 KB
    Reviewed by: alterworldruler
    Refer to my PDoom review for more details on what PDoom actually is, so I won't waste space.

    In short, for anyone curious this is the source code of said port, but don't bother trying to compile it; even a simple DOS installation/VM might not be enough for it without the use of really really old programming environments.

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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Nice! It looks that bringing some attention to this it worked. Also kudos to Alfonzo for the reviews of Pinochestein 3D!

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It seems like these days there are two kinds of Newstuff reviews: "This is total crap don't play it" and "People thought this was really cool when it came out six months ago but I didn't like it that much and it's been bugging me."

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Not Jabba said:

It seems like these days there are two kinds of Newstuff reviews: "This is total crap don't play it" and "People thought this was really cool when it came out six months ago but I didn't like it that much and it's been bugging me."

To be fair, especially in regards to the dm wads (Thanks Rottking for sweeping all that up!), there was a lot of garbage, and it's not really worth saying much more than that in what seems to be an effort to clear out the huge backlog. Personally I'd also like to see some more in-depth reviews but people can only put in so much time when there are so many wads to go through :(

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Decay said:

To be fair, especially in regards to the dm wads (Thanks Rottking for sweeping all that up!), there was a lot of garbage, and it's not really worth saying much more than that in what seems to be an effort to clear out the huge backlog. Personally I'd also like to see some more in-depth reviews but people can only put in so much time when there are so many wads to go through :(

thank you for understanding. There's just soo much trash in the review center, and we still have wads from last year. Even I took a review for a half-life blood system, and it was just so insignificant there wasn't anything to say about it. It looks like I've just been getting lucky with the wads I've been reviewing, and the other reviewers have been dealing with larger volumes of trash.

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To clarify, I don't really have any problem with the reviews that say things are total crap. I've been reading Newstuff since 2004, and there has always been total crap. The weird thing is that the actual good wads seem to get more negative reviews here than elsewhere -- often after they've already gotten a really nice KMX review and a Cacoward.

Anyway, point taken. I submitted a review for Nova 2, and hopefully next week I can do a few smaller ones, including Realm of Parthoris if it's still unclaimed.

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