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Bloodshedder

The /newstuff Chronicles #512

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  • Cabro's legacy - Various
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 16.5 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Disclaimer: I know none of the mappers in this compilation, so there's no way I could be going into this with bias. So, remember that before you slam the reply button. Thanks!

    Cabro's Legacy is a compilation of 15 years of Spanish Doom maps, a "commemorative megawad". That's 2000 to 2015. Fifteen years of Doom maps! Whee! Not only will this be fun to play, but fun to analyze, as we go from Y2K to last year. Within those fifteen years lies a lot of weird mapping fads and trends, some good, some just terribly embarrassing... and we all know what I'm talking about. Yep, those maps. Mmhm. The ones you liked but can't believe you did in the present day. Don't worry, I was exactly the same.

    Cabro's mapping tournaments, if I'm going by the text file only, was a contest in La Página de Cabro. From what I see, the contest had these rules: Limit-removing maps with custom music and sky. That's it. Participants had to use only stock textures. All maps must be playable in their own right, which means all maps shall be pistol started in this compilation.

    Thanks to ZDoom, this mapset has a portal map! Lots of games like to do this portal/painting thing these days, eh? Anyway, the mighty ZDoom ensures that you start each level with only the pistol, and when you complete a level, you're sent back to the portal map. Fair enough. The navigation of the portal map is a little disorienting - it took me way longer than it should to find the second portal room!

    I'm going to warn you now: This journey is going to be long, tedious, and near the end, you'll be begging for mercy. Sorry, you started reading this review, not me! You think I'd read a review this long? Fat chance!

    So anyway, here are the trends I could make out. Let's see if they match the Doom community as a whole!

    I (2000). The first contest. Only one map is playable, and it suffers from Wolfenstein Syndrome. There are some details here and there, but this is otherwise a very clean map. The other maps weren't included.

    II (2001). Still hallways, but rounded corners in places. Mappers are starting to branch out a bit, use some open areas, but still, hallways. Was this the year that everyone decided to copy The Darkening? Details all in the walls that serve no purpose, and crates, because CRATES.

    III (2002). Not as boxy, but the sense of scale has increased dramatically. Feeling small? Some rooms are ridiculously huge, beyond Run Buddy proportions, into Equinox territory. Still, nothing that'll knock your frame rate down a peg. This is 2002 after all.

    IV (2003): I think 2003 started like this: "Hey, y'all know this newfangled thing called 'detail'? I think we should take a look into it. Naw, you just spam the hell out of 1S lines because a clean room just ain't cool enough." I blame Caverns of Darkness, personally. Also, why did detail start to mean "smaller" ? Thankfully one map decided to pull this stunt; the others still did last year's "huge" trope, which is refreshing for a change. I'm starting to see midtex abuse, though - I know what's coming and I don't like it. Gameplay is about to take a back seat, isn't it?

    V (2005): OOOH MAIII GAAWWD DDDDEEEETTTTAAAAIIILLL! HNGGGH! *various ape noises*

    Yes, this is the year everyone went full potato with linedefs. Do I blame PA:R? All I know is that this is when my computer started to sweat, and my framerate started to dip. And nowhere to move, because not only are we detailing everything, we're playing with the proportions of a model train set. Spam those midtextures, ya bastards! Do a line of cocaine off a UAC crate!

    These maps aren't flowing well, and are artificially difficult with copypasta syndrome creeping in. There is no way to dodge attacks in cramped quarters, especially hitscanners!

    VI (2006): I will not rest until every map unit has something different in it. I will fractal the fuck out of this map, because detail, in the holy name of detail. Inject the midtextures, borders, and flat detailing directly into my bloodstream please.

    Pseudo-slopes! Tanking framerates! Gradient lighting! I got stuck in DETAIL SECTORS. What the Chri-OH GOD THE MONSTER COUNT WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THESE HORDES? Forty imps in a room that otherwise serves no purpose other than to connect two hallways that are also filled with imps...because why the hell not? Who needs gameplay? My map looks c00l d00d!

    Surely there's a good map somewhere? These have not aged well at all. And I know why, because the entire Doom community was infected with this. Gameplay is locked in the trunk, and we're cruising down Detail Boulevard. No brakes!

    VII(2007): ?
    *Throws down controller*
    Ya know what? I'm not even going to play these. I've had enough of the unfair difficulty. It's total bullshit that there are no skill levels, either. I can't see much of anything in one of the maps anyway, so hooray, mapper, I'm not playing that garbage! Another map is just very basic techbase, but still copypasta heavy. And then there's this slaughtermap - nope!

    What the hell is going on here? We started off with some decent maps, but as I step through the years, it's like, what drugs were we on? I cannot be the only one that sees how lazy these maps are. Yeah, visually impressive, I guess, but I'm not enjoying any of these - this is the No Fun Zone. And the slaughtermap is just so flat, so bland, so boring.

    VIII (2008): First map, and of course, a horde of revenants just punched my face in. I can see this being fun with an overpowered weapons mod, but as it stands it's just a boring KABLOOM-click-clock-clack SSG spamfest after the arch-vile scare. Yes, it's beatable, but I could only beat this one after savescumming the ever-loving crap out of it. Avoid, avoid.

    Okay, next ma--nooooooo we're back in detail land! PLEASE STOP! Oh, and even better, you can exit this map in two seconds, because the exit switch is right at the start of the map! This map looks really, really bad. The lighting in the complex is way too bright. I can't see anything in one room due to midtexture grate spam, everything is grey. That is an accomplishment, being so terrible. Oh, and hitscanners everywhere, because that's always good, innit?

    The last map is everything wrong with the uber-detail fad. This is total shit. Some sort of "city" map: the outside is so dark, nothing is really visible, and the buildings are so packed with little details that it looks downright comical. I'm not bashing these maps because I have any personal beefs with anyone, I'm being totally honest here - this map, and every one of these detail fad maps for that matter, are absolutely terrible. They look gaudy, the gameplay is either boring easy or frustratingly hard, and oh, of course I had to get stuck somewhere, it never fails with these maps! I got stuck in the hell section, on some "detail" rocks, and had to noclip out.

    IX (2010): ? BOO!!!!111
    Yaaaay, we're now using the jumpscare technique! Nothing like going through a cave only to trigger something that causes two hell knights to pop up out of the floor instantly! Well, until you've overused it. And my poor framerate in the cave map! It looks pretty, though, and it's tough! It's not copypasta hordes either! I really like the cave/forest map. But that jumpscare abuse got old. I bound MDK to a key because I just can't be arsed fighting insta-monsters one after the other like that. Especially in this map where there isn't a lot of ammo.

    As for the rest, looks like we're hitting that era of "Try something simple for a change". Still, this was also the era of slaughtermaps - and expect an ass kicking. Some copypasta here and there, but at least it's something besides the super-cramped nonsense. This is not bad! Of course I could be totally wrong, and these suck, but in comparison to the previous few sets, this is really different, and I'll take that. Now let's pick these apart - some don't have difficulty settings. In fact, I've been meaning to bring that up - some of these maps so far have no difficulty settings whatsoever - ITYTD can be almost as hard as UV - and the only saving grace is that ammo is doubled and damage to the player is reduced. I guess in a community that only plays UV these days anyway, the other skill levels aren't even used. Boo! I use different levels all the time! It depends on how much I'm willing to use my brain at the time.

    X (2011): What. The. Fuck.

    We have entered the "what is this I don't even" zone. First map is a circle.. thing? It's kinda hard. Weird, but it wasn't the boxy junk from a few entries back. Second map is some kind of story-based map. The detail in this map is over the top, but at least all the detail looks like it's something in real life - computers, beds, tables, TVs, that kind of thing. Lost souls coming out of nowhere scared the piss out of me.

    And then there's this absurd hell map that is actually pretty cool. Got my ass thoroughly kicked, but someone is trying something different and that's more than I can say for previous entries. I can't hate these. Play 'em. There's one of these maps that feels like it belongs in the next category, so I'm going to hold my tongue on that one until a few lines down...

    XI (2012): MY MAP'S BIGGER THAN YOURS! Switch hunts. Everywhere. Ugh. NO. It's taking dozens of seconds sometimes to load these maps. What on this earth is taking that long to load?

    These are rapidly becoming unfun by how much time it takes to complete them. I'm not here to read 1,000 page novels, this is friggin' Doom! Why make an entire episode in one map? Is something fun not good enough anymore? Honestly at this point I'm not even really playing these. I don't have a month to play this, I don't have a week to play this. This is absurd. Make your own decisions on this one, but as for me, they've turned Doom into a chore, and when you do that, you FAIL. This doesn't bode well for the rest, does it?

    XII (2013): MORE *excessive swearing cut* NOVELS!

    Yes, your map is pretty. Yes, it took three minutes to load. Do I know if it plays well? Hell if I know, because my framerate dipped to 486 levels just trying to play the goddamned thing. This mapping contest has become the equivalent of Roman gods quarreling, each one of them trying to outdo the other in some ridiculous, hilarious fashion. It's becoming comical now. Whatever happened to making a map? It doesn't have to be a LITERAL MAP! There was one entry that didn't tank the FPS, and that was really mazey, so I'm not sure if I liked that one either. My head is beginning to hurt. NEXT!

    XIII (2014): Okie dokie, we're going absurdist now? Not sure what happened here! Still, maps far too damn long to enjoy casually, or even seriously, what the heck! At least level designs are cleaner, here. We're still switch hunting and maze-navigating though! Is anyone still playtesting these? Is anyone still reading this? Banana? Banana! I'm really sleep deprived, now. Starting to see things, and I'm not sure if it's me or the maps. And of course one of them is the size of Alaska, because that's the only language some of these contestants speak now. Are we almost done yet?

    XIV (2015)...Heh.

    So this is it? A city map that's somewhat playable, and a techbase map that doesn't suck? Cool, cool, what's the last map?

    A Sl.. sl..slaughtermap...

    *faints*

    So, to recap: we went from simple, fun maps, to detail-fests, to supergiant maps that take minutes to load and days to beat. What did we learn from all this? That the community has a lot of talent, and some of that talent might be going a little too far and trying a little too hard (read: way too hard) to prove itself. I have no idea why the contest entries went from short, fun romps to Greek epics, but I can't imagine being the judge, having to sit through dozens of entries, each trying to be megabiglargehuge, because the entrants are desperately trying to impress the judges. it's just not impressive if every single map entry tries to do this garbage. The larger the map, the less likely the gameplay is going to be tuned to anything sensible, unless there are teams of mappers looking at this stuff, and I doubt that was the case. There's no way to test this all the way through, multiple times, by yourself.

    My hands hurt, my eyes hurt, my ears are shot from blasting Ween all day and night playing this map over the Labor Day weekend. I don't even know if I played all these fairly; I may have cheated a bit to speed things up, but at this point it would take a team of reviewers to tackle this one and give each map a thorough assessment. I have given each an honest try (with the resurrect command bound to a key) and the majority of these maps are just too friggin' big.

    In conclusion, Cabro's Legacy is a set of forty-two maps trying to justify their existence, with many of them slipping and falling flat on their faces. Where did this go wrong? A better question is, "When did it ever go right?" Answer: Rarely.

    Maps taking minutes to load didn't help, either. Play if you dare.

  • Strife 1.0 demo - Rogue Entertainment (upload by Mike Swanson)
    Strife - N/A - Strife Support - 4.7 MB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    A demo version of the 1996 game "Strife" made by Rogue Entertainment and uploaded for historical purpose to the archives by Mike Swanson. Thank you very much for giving us this pearl, dude!

    Anyway, for the ones that don't know what this Strife thing is, let me explain briefly here:

    Strife was one of those "Doom clone" era FPSes, like Heretic or any other games that used the idTech 1 engine, but this one has a strong difference between all its competitors of the time: it's centered on mission-objectives gameplay based on the choices you make with the various NPCs during the game, just like Deus Ex. Recently it returned back from the darkness that it was imprisoned to, with the help of some volunteer modders and programmers, with a reborn version called Strife: Veteran Edition that came out about a year ago.

    It also has some awesome voice acting from the various NPCs, plus mission / gun / key pop-up menus, and some other stuff seen in other games, like a hub map system, and an inventory like in Heretic/Hexen.

    Set in a Steampunk post-holocaust world that takes mankind into a new middle age era, a comet strikes the Earth one day, bringing with it a mysterious pestilential virus that mutates humans. The ones that aren't killed by it turn insane and create a new sect called The Order, who claim to talk to the new God from the comet, and they kidnap the last male survivors to turn into cybernetic soldiers, and the women and children are killed. But the last hope is one group of rebel partisans that goes against the mysterious Order, called the Strife, and in you, a mysterious nameless mercenary that is going to be executed by some soldiers from the Order.

    After you get rid of them, you meet a slimy guy that gives a gun and a mission:find the chalice and bring it back to him, but after you meet a guy in a cell, you realize that you have been framed, and then our great quest for freedom begins!

    Or at least you come to meet the brain behind the Strife after you defeat an entire Order army and two mechas that are the barons of hell counterparts of this game, and all of this without any cheats cause cheats doesn't work on shareware versions... yeah, how charming to do this without any cheats and in a place that gives next to no cover!

    I had to get around this by playing it on a source port (GZDoom played it perfectly) and using an invulnerability cheat during that part of the game to pass to the next section.

    The main changes between the much more known version 1.1 are mostly on the aesthetics of the game, like the lack of text in the main NPCs dialogue boxes (expect for the answers section below that works fine), the guard in the tavern attacks you when he sees the player (what a asshole!), and the cell door in the sanctuary (MAP01) isn't locked by a key, but the version 1.1 did. But the map layouts and the main mechanics of the game are all there.

    Download this game for a great experience and for jumping into a forgotten FPS gem!

  • Bootmans factory - Mauzki
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 78.64 KB - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Bootmans factory is, thankfully, a quite short single map. The gameplay doesn't go beyond spamming monsters in rooms, and after you pass the door with the exit sign nearby you can easily skip every fight. Visuals aren't better with their blandness. A forgettable and poor level, not recommended at all.

  • Volcano Pass - Nabernizer
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 802.32 KB - (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Volcano Pass is a wad with two maps, but the second level is the first one but only with different thing placement, so it's more like there's one level actually. It's set in a volcanic area, so everything you'll see here is basically rocks and lava. Gameplay can be described as "total chaos": the main area is big and open and all the monsters will start to chase you; there are even few monster spawners. The level encourages you to skip everything and find the keys quickly rather than kill all the monsters. It's an average map. I've seen worse, but I don't think this was very good either.

  • Earth Installations - Mario Augusto Puga Valera
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 248.73 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Earth Installations is a pair of basic but enjoyable medium-sized levels, both of which primarily have a techbase setting with a couple of little detours into city and Hell themes. The author states that they're both improved versions of previous releases, and they're definitely clean and nicely (if modestly) detailed, with a pretty good flow in terms of both the layout and gameplay. Ammo and health are well balanced -- slightly on the plentiful side but not spammed, which is how I like them. Basically, everything is nice and solid, though I do have a couple of complaints. First, the author repeatedly used monster-blocking linedefs that made many of the Pinkies a complete non-threat, allowing me to slaughter them in complete safety while standing about five feet away. Map 02 also used large hordes of a single monster type in several cases, and I felt like some of them were a little overdone -- not difficult, but slightly more of a slog than I would have liked.

    For the most part, these levels are pretty easy, with the difficulty steadily increasing until things start getting fairly tough in the latter half of map 02 with the appearance of the larger monster swarms. Weapons and enemies are both introduced slowly and steadily, with Hell Knights being the toughest enemies until the very end of the second level. This wad really feels like it could be the first two levels of a megawad, starting things off nice and simple to set the tone before (hopefully) moving on to more exciting ideas in later levels. If Valera is planning to go the megawad route, or just to continue mapping in general, I would strongly encourage him to do so, as he's off to a great start. Earth Installations doesn't offer anything you haven't seen before, though, so whether you'd consider it interesting enough to warrant a playthrough is up to you.

  • asshole - Death Egg
    Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 14.37 KB - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    A map made in one hour while the author was high doesn't sound very inviting, but despite these premises, this map is kinda fair actually. The look is rough and basic, but the combat was surprisingly good and had some nice ideas. I don't think it's a particularly remarkable level, but it will take only a couple of minutes to beat it.

  • 7 Sins - Kristian "Sajbear" Nilsen
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 549.75 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    7 Sins is a quite long single map. Despite being advised to be Limit Removing compatible, there's a linedef with an incorrect tag that will break the map, so you'll need at least ZDoom to play this. As the title says, this level is inspired by the seven deadly sins, and if it wasn't for the title, you wouldn't even notice it. At least the author didn't delight us with horrible stuff like that level in DTS-T, but it's difficult (if even impossible) to find some kind of meaning to the various areas. This is basically another "my first map". It really looks like a mess, and the textures seem like they were chosen randomly. Gameplay is uninspired and very basic, and layout is almost completely flat. This level definitely drags for too long. I can summarize the experience as boring; avoid.

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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Oof. Thanks for dealing with that review, Csonicgo (and Lost Episodes last week). The review queue looks a lot better now.

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walter confalonieri said of Strife 1.0 demo:
[...] you meet a slimy guy that gives a gun and a mission:find the chalice and bring it back to him, but after you meet a guy in a cell, you realize that you have been framed, and then our great quest for freedom begins!


Of note here is that the Strife demo has a rather different story progression from the final version, in which someone else sends you off to kill the "guy in the cell" (who apparently intended to reveal the resistance's location) and bring back the prisoner's ring as proof, and the "slimy guy" is now a sidequest—albeit one that, unless you're playing Veteran Edition, will render your game unwinnable when you complete it. (It was the 90s.) The Veteran Edition also lets you play the demo version if you select "Trust No One" when starting a new game (whereas "Quest for the Sigil" leads to the final release).

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Not Jabba said:

Oof. Thanks for dealing with that review, Csonicgo (and Lost Episodes last week). The review queue looks a lot better now.


I'll be whittling out a few more over the course of the year. I needed to practice my writing skills for starting a certain position at a certain place that may or may not have been leg-dropped recently.

Now, having said that, I'm hoping that I can get ZDoom back running on my RPi3 without any slowdown. SDL2 is a pain.

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7 Sins was quite good IMHO. It's astonishingly huge. I loved some of the rooms, but then, about halfway thru the map, something broke everything (in Crispy Doom), and I didn't really wanna bother again. But that SS maze sucked.

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Funny review, csonicgo! "Crates, because CRATES" sounds like a funny title for a map!

The Green Herring said:

The Veteran Edition also lets you play the demo version if you select "Trust No One" when starting a new game (whereas "Quest for the Sigil" leads to the final release).


Actually the same shareware (1.1) levels are present as a "super secret levels" in the vanilla Strife too, it just needs a level cheat code to reach said levels (that are in MAP33 /35 slots), I think that the Veteran Edition uses some kind of MAPINFO code (AFAIK it works under the gzdoom engine, if I recall correctly...)

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bzzrak said:

7 Sins was quite good IMHO. It's astonishingly huge. I loved some of the rooms, but then, about halfway thru the map, something broke everything (in Crispy Doom), and I didn't really wanna bother again. But that SS maze sucked.

Was it the room with crates/plasma rifle/SM?

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Cabro's Legacy review was a good read. I remember that I reviewed the first version of Earth Installations maps, there are few things that look better in the new one but for the most it looks like the author added details for the sake of it.

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Voros said:

Was it the room with crates/plasma rifle/SM?

I think it was. I think that the goddamn sky somehow descended first, so that I was pretty much unable to go anywhere, then I idclipped back and then all hell broke loose, heh.

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Pedro VC said:

Nice to see Cabro's Legacy reviewed (and my map in the screenshots lol), although the review was kind of weird.


I'm sure if these were all separate and I only reviewed one, the review swould be sane. I'm just disappointed that the maps didn't get a tune up before the release. And the maps that spent 99% on looks and 1% on sensible monster placement didn't get a do over.


Lots of good ideas, but little optimization on the maps to improve their performance.

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Some maps are really shitty and focus on gimmicks or overdetail, I agree, but the wad was meant as a compilation without changes to the maps. Also, they were made for contests, so it's inevitable that mappers would try to make harder and bigger maps to win.

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Pedro VC said:

Some maps are really shitty and focus on gimmicks or overdetail, I agree, but the wad was meant as a compilation without changes to the maps. Also, they were made for contests, so it's inevitable that mappers would try to make harder and bigger maps to win.


The Dragonball Z battle of mappers.

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Thanks for the review Csonicgo!

Csonicgo said:

The Dragonball Z battle of mappers.


Yeah, something like that.

Also:

Csonicgo said:

...And of course one of them is the size of Alaska...


Mind if I ask which one?

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I disagree with gaspe's review of 7 Sins. I found that level really entertaining and the idea was realised well.

it's difficult (if even impossible) to find some kind of meaning to the various areas.


Well, we have the fleshy Mancubus arena for Gluttony, the area where you can't get all the goodies for Envy, the war trenches for Pride, and the area with the continous Hellknight attack traps could make you quite angry and thus was a good representation for Wrath.

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I also liked 7 Sins. TBH, it didn't feel like a drag at all. Each area serves some purpose. Sure it takes around an hour to finish, but hey, that sounds like a good challenge.

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vtm said:

Thanks for the review Csonicgo!

Yeah, something like that.

Also:

Mind if I ask which one?


The city map in that set. the large lowering wall or whatever never wanted to lower, either, and I think it's possible to break that map. I need to record a demo showing that.

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bzzrak said:

I think it was. I think that the goddamn sky somehow descended first, so that I was pretty much unable to go anywhere, then I idclipped back and then all hell broke loose, heh.

Turns out this was a "WR open and stay /fast" special line without a tag, so it applied to all sectors without a tag, i.e. the vast majority of the map. :/

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