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The /newstuff Chronicles #503

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  • Final Fantasy Spells! - Samuzero15tlh
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 1.04 MB - (img)
    Reviewed by: alterworldruler
    "Archive Maintainer : Sup m8"

    When the text file of a wad begins like this, you know something's up.

    Final Fantasy Spells for Doom is a wad that is an attempt to put in spells from the classic jRPG series Final Fantasy (duh). As a FF fan I can tell youthat the sound effects are there, and so are the silly 8/16-bit magic effects, but that's also where the problems begin.

    At first I launched up the mod in Zdoom 2.7.1+. Three maps into Doom II, I only noticed mana potions and two books that do nothing. There is no magic.

    Then I launched it in Zandronum 3.0, where nothing happened either. I decided to inspect the wad (which amazingly is named ffspells.wad.wad after extracting the zip, by the way).

    And I found that there was a supposed weapon to be added at the start called MagicalHand. So I gave myself that weapon, and that's when I was able to see all the magic choices, and the magical binds (Z, X) except SPELL INFO (aka C) started to work.

    Here's the list of the spells that I could actually test:

    - Cure/Cura/Curaga - Healing yourself for 25, 50, 75 HP
    - Life - Resurrecting an enemy?
    - Arise - Not sure what this does
    - Berserk - I'm not even sure this spell gives you the berserk effect
    - Haste - It makes you fire twice as fast with all other weapons
    - Float - Allows you to fly temporarily
    - Libra - Supposedly gives you the info on the enemy but doesn't?

    Back to the books that randomly spawn: there are two books, White and Black magic books. They are supposed to expand your spell list but wait a second, they don't!

    They are just useless placeholders it seems. I inspected the wad further and it seemed there were two dozen more spells that I could not access?

    Well either way, I was disappointed in this mod and its utter lack of playtesting, both as a FF fan and a Doomer.

  • newik1 - Memfis
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 372.71 KB - (img)
    Reviewed by: Voros
    newik1 is a Doom 2 wad, replacing MAP01, made by the former Memfis (now kuchitsu).

    To be honest, I don't know what the title means, so I don't know what to expect.

    The map itself is really just a normal map. Abstract design, moderate demon placement and good item placement. At first glance, it makes you think you're outside, on the premises of a gigantic UAC facility. Upon entering the base, a former appears, and it's a Shotgunner. I won't go into the details, but it's a decent map, I'd say taking the slot between MAP05-MAP15.

    The map isn't made with the goal of being high tech with ZDoom features or to make the most beautiful and stylish map ever. No, just a map being a map.

    The visuals are OK, and that's fine. It's the map itself that's wonderful.

    The item and demon placements are... perfectly spaced. A few Imps here, few zombies there, a Chaingunner over there, etc. Nothing too hard, nor too easy.

    newik1 is a great example of what a classic map is like. It's no challenge, but it's fun... and that is best part.

  • Escape From Castle Hitler - Aidan Geisler (Luigi2600)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 9.39 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    A first effort map from the newcomer Luigi2600 aka Aidan Glaser. As the title suggest, it is a "faithful" Wolfenstein 3D map made for ZDoom and derivative ports for map31 of Doom 2 (obviously). This map has a huge file size due to textures and things from the original Wolfenstein 3D. Even that 9.84 megabytes zipped is maybe too much, but how is the level?

    For a first level it really isn't that bad. There's some nice layout and room building structures here, maybe too boxy but, hey, Wolfenstein 3D was pretty boxy for starters too. There's also some nice textures effects like the Hitler paintings aligned to be a giant continuous picture of the Fuhrer in an octagonal shaped picture, and there's a little height variation in the level, making this a spacious and comfy fortress for every SS soldier to live a little before he finds his path the Doomguy. Or the bastards.

    But the hellish influence or maybe the time travel made some distortion in the space-temporal continuum with a broken toilet room (shot 3), but toilets aren't a nice place for the most part, are they? Also there's a lot of ZDoom-ism aspects like using floors as walls and vice-versa. How charming, but remember this is a first time map!

    Ah yes, it uses one of the music tracks of 3DO Wolf3D, which I think is giving the larger part of the file size of the level.

    The new monsters came and their position is pretty tough, especially in the start of the map when you get easily killed from a bunch of the weaker guys in the game that here are fucking war machines! C'mon, the brown suit Nazi guy has a such strong attack? He was like the former human of the original Wolf3D!

    But aside from the start, the level gets scarcely populated from Nazis that are in the various rooms of the keep, until you find a Mecha-Adolf with a commando team of that Nazi painters division (I'll always of think of painters when I see these guys, or doctors might be a better interpretation [even I don't know how scientists know how to use heavy weaponry, but who cares now, this review will get too long to read]) inside an already working lift / cave / whatever with a not really well guarded (and signed) exit. Kill him and get two brand new chainguns and ammo boxes for you, then this little travel is over and the final consideration is: this map is OK but is pretty broken. Maybe the next map from this author will be better if he's not flattered by the bad reviews and votes in the /idgames section. For me the guy has some potential!

  • There and back again. - Muff1n
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 762.47 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    There and back again is a nine-map wad for Doom 2. It requires ZDoom-based ports to run because the levels are arranged to be like a Doom 1 episode: 8 maps + 1 secret one, though you won't see any ZDoom features used in the maps. There's a very cool classic vibe going on in all the wad, also with some little homages here and there to the id IWADs. Techbases and hell will be the bearing themes in the levels, which are done in a nice style that looks like it was made with vanilla in mind. Gameplay was consistently fun in all the wad, but I don't feel that there were any standout moments.

    Overall it's a cool wad with a nice old-school feel; it won't leave you disappointed.

  • Urotsuki 2: Cargo Cult - Lainos
    Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 4.24 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Back in the last year, Lainos pulled out a trilogy of single maps with a post-apocalyptic setting and very distinct aesthetics of cityscapes that start to transform into a flesh-tech monstrosity. Cargo Cult is the first map of what will be a new trilogy of the series, and like the older maps it needs a limit-removing port with .OGG support to run. For those who don't know it, the Cargo Cult is a real thing, and knowing this will be helpful if you will play the map, as many things will eventually start to make sense. The particular look of the previous trilogy is present also here; the setting is very good and dense with atmosphere. The gameplay is more slow-paced and fits well with the mood of the level, though sometimes it seems a bit underdone.

    The map is quite unique, and while it shares same of ups and downs of the previous trilogy, the things here are definitely better, and it seems that they are stepping in the right direction. Is this worth a try? Sure, though I must tell you that if you are looking for some run and gun action, you'd better go somewhere else.

  • Sins of the Flesh - zrrion the insect
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 1.63 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Ijon Tichy
    First impression: this map is dark.

    If you're using the GL renderer, don't use the Software light mode, because "really dark" becomes "pitch black" annoyingly often.

    The layout is pretty well interconnected, but the darkness makes everything mazier than it should be. Don't be surprised if you look for a switch for five minutes, only to find out you passed it up each time because the map becomes pitch black within 10 feet. Hell, don't be surprised if you hit the switch but can't figure out what it did. It's usually obvious, like lowering a pillar nearby, but sometimes it isn't and you're just left wondering what happened. Then you get shot by a zombie you also couldn't see. They like doing that here.

    Assuming you don't make some jumps (easy enough in Zandronum, harder in ZDoom) and grab the rocket launcher early, you're going to be using the shotgun and maybe the berserk fist for the first half of the map. Only once you get the red key, deal with the ten or so lost souls that open up along with the hell knight you'll probably run past, and start opening up some doors with it, will you get a chaingun. Depending on which door you choose, you'll also get the archvile surprise. Ten seconds later, and he's neatly folded up in a blood pool on the ground, as it should be.

    Because your arsenal is usually lacking relative to what you're fighting, it's not worth sticking around and fighting in this map. You might not even want to grab the SSG; just stun with chaingun and you'll be fine for the most part. You're never forced to stay and fight, but you're also never really forced to run either. They're both perfectly viable.

    If you really want to 100%, you'd be better off getting to the blue key area as soon as possible, so you can get an easy chaingun along with the only SSG in the map. You're not going to run out of shells after that.

    Overall, if darkness doesn't bother you, you'll get enjoyment out of this map, whether you enjoy zipping past everything or cleaning house. If darkness does bother you, keep looking. Or just raise the ambient light level in the GL renderer.

  • Help Out - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 48.4 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Voros
    Help Out is an E3M1 replacement map for Doom 1, and is the third wad from Bzzrak.

    The title seems friendly. It really isn't. It's actually cool (the map I mean). What "help out" is supposed to mean, I wish I knew.

    The map starts you off on the middle of a giant star, which is red in colour. There are some Imps around you, and more will come if you fire your gun. But what's really impressive is that it is purely a Hell level, fit for an E3 slot for sure. The author used gothic bricks, red bricks, blood, skull doors, and the rest of the party. The design of the map is simple and serious enough. Get this key, open that door, shoot this door, get that key, et cetera. Bzzrak put that "shoot to open" on more than few linedefs, which was pretty cool to see, as most mappers these days barely use that for linedefs.

    The item and demon placement is well done. It gets pretty intense at first, but once you get through the horde of Imps you'll encounter, it becomes easier (but not easy as cake).

    There is one secret in the map which is surprising. If you look at screenshot 3, you'll see what I mean. Gives a nice chuckle from all the demon slaying.

    This map is amazing. It feels just like a classic map from the '90s. Be sure to try this, if you haven't already!

  • Outpost 2048 - Subucnameth
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 108.33 KB - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Voros
    Outpost 2048 is a Doom 2 map, taking the slot of MAP01.

    The map is like your normal techbase, but with a bit more colour. The visuals seem nice and all, but something just doesn't feel right here. Anyway, the map is mainly symmetrical, but that's not a problem. The usage of ZDoom features, such as sloping, makes the map feel completely like a techbase gone bad, with the windows, consoles, slopes, the mostly gray textures, intestines, skulls, dead bodies and so on.

    The enemy placement felt progressive when I first played it. First Shotgunners, after that you get a shotgun, then Imps, then Cacodemons, then a chainsaw (or the Pinkies, whichever you choose first to do), then Chaingunners etc. It's fairly easy to play in the beginning. But it will get tougher later on, but nothing like teleporting into an arena filled with demons. It's simple progression. Mancubuses and Barons have always been one of the tough problems in Doom. Pain Elementals are just annoying.

    The item placement is good, allowing small pickups here and there. Nothing big really, but maybe the medkits should have been increased. Because really, Mancubuses and Barons are tough, and getting spammed with Lost Souls will reduce your health, A LOT.

    Outpost 2048 is a nice ZDoom map. You'll feel like you are inside an actual building, rather than in some crazy place with wacko architecture. The map is fun for those times where you feel like doing something small and quick.

    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 3.01 MB - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    This a single Boom map for Doom 2; it's also included in DUMP 2. It's built on a layout that was copied and pasted two times. Maybe it doesn't sound really promising, but the result was rather good. Basically you have to find the usual three keys which are located in three areas which share the base layout but have different themes/textures (techbase, cave and hell). The gameplay was quite fun and also difficult. There is no SSG which isn't a bad thing per se, but for some situations here it was really missing. Though it looks a bit messy, it's a good map, and it plays rather well.

  • No Sleep for the Dead - Jan Van der Veken
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 616.77 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    No Sleep for the Dead is a replacement for Knee Deep in the Dead (plus a bonus map) by Jan Van der Veken. Announced in 2011 and finished only now, it's a spiritual successor to Dawn of the Dead, a replacement for E1 that he made back in 1997. The stronger influence is from E1; its distinctive style will be prevailing for most of the episode, though in the later maps the mood changes to something more inspired by E2, and with the bonus map, which is a nice take on E4. The levels are well interconnected and full of windows, which made the various zombies and imps quite dangerous as they have plenty of opportunities to shoot at you. Another trait in the gameplay is the excellent use of monster closets that open from distant areas. Visually it is as good as it plays; the layouts themselves set some cool sceneries with their openings to various areas, and the levels are well detailed and with very nice lighting.

    This a really cool oldschool wad and pretty much a must play.

  • Baron's Chateau - Carlos Lastra
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 151.58 KB - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    This is a quite short ZDoom map. Visually it is quite basic but also nice; the lighting gives a good look at the interiors, while the few outer locations show us some better architecture. The gameplay is quite slow paced and not so challenging. Overall it is a pretty moody map; it feels all right but it's nothing outstanding.

  • Coastal Fortress - youraverageamir
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 88.32 KB - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Coastal Fortress is a single map for ZDoom, and an ensemble of bad decisions. We are on a shore for sure, at least in the initial part, but on the whole it doesn't really deliver to be a fortress of some kind. It was rather interesting the idea of triggering stuff at some monsters' death, though it isn't well applied here. The map is kinda rushed and I don't have any particular reason to recommend it.

  • Cataboom Reloaded - Robert Phipps
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 355.95 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Cataboom Reloaded is a single large level based around the idea of a Roman catacombs. This map revels in its maziness, and if you're like most Doomers (or at least most of the really vocal ones), you may be turned off by the sound of that -- but I have to say, Cataboom executes the labyrinth idea better than most levels that attempt it.

    It does have its flaws. Most of the fighting takes place in very narrow corridors, so the confrontations tend to be relatively uninteresting, and tactics mainly rely on herding monsters around corners and into your sights. Early on, a hefty percentage of the enemies you face are Lost Souls, and since you get the chainsaw quite early, you basically just mow them down over and over again without much of a fight. Later, the level often relies on teleporting Revenants in close quarters, almost unavoidable exploding barrel traps triggered by crushers, and similar things to add difficulty. The level is huge and winding but not very interconnected, which leads to some irritating backtracking at times.

    That said, there's a lot to like about it. The aforementioned narrow spaces, annoying as they can be, often work well in conjunction with the lighting to create a real sense of claustrophobia. To make things even more paranoia-inducing, monsters frequently get set loose from closets farther back along your route or when you reenter areas you think you've already cleared, and there's often a sense that anything can come from anywhere at any time. The level is fairly nonlinear, and there's a lot of shifting architecture to guide you along and make you a little uneasy. Although the passages sometimes feel monotonous, there are a decent number of landmarks and uniquely textured areas to give you a good sense of exploration and keep you from getting lost. Some of the combat setups are quirky and surprising, though your mileage may vary on whether that's a good thing. The ending area is neat, although the final fight with a single Baron (on UV) is pretty underwhelming.

    This wad also has a few custom texture and decoration resources to help set the mood, though they're of relatively low quality and give the wad a dated feel -- either that, or they're kind of cute. It depends how you look at it. Particularly noteworthy are the exploding urns that replace nukage barrels, which really gave me a surprise the first time I set one off (right in my face, of course). Overall, Cataboom Reloaded feels like it could have come out of the mid- to late '90s (and it would have been pretty decent for its time). If that description doesn't bother you, give it a try.

  • Something Awful, part 3 - 7 + 6 - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 93.81 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Voros
    Something Awful 2 is a Doom 1 map replacement, taking the slot of E1M1.

    Something Awful was really awful, but Something Awful 2 should have been Something Worse.

    The map starts you off in a very tight room, with a closet containing light switches. Once the barrier is down, it doesn't look so awful... but it is awful. The door textures are replaced with the ugly UAC metal from Something Awful, and later on there are some rooms with monsters on a floor with toxic waste and what I presume to be a hallway made of red curtains. The map seems to start out as a techbase handling cargo, but somehow ends with wacko architecture.

    The thing placement is OK, as I didn't have much trouble playing the map. But maybe some ammo and medkits might have been more helpful to fight against the group of Barons.

    But the map is extremely baffling. With the help of IDDT, you'll find you missed a big room, and it's outside the map too. It's also where the infamous BFG 9000 is introduced, which is presented as a trophy in a way. Thankfully, the author has also provided a demo file of the map for us, so you can check it out if you get stuck, and you will get stuck.

    This map is confusing AND awful. Try it if you feel like it. Don't say I didn't warn you!

The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

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Whee! Thanks Voros!
I never thought someone will actually like shootable doors :]

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