Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

  • bradharding

    DOOM Retro v2.4 released

    By bradharding, in News,

    Version 2.4 of DOOM Retro is now available to download. As always this release sees a significant amount of changes, this time including some extensive rendering optimizations and a new "vanilla mode". Visit doomretro.com for the link and some very comprehensive release notes.

    Eris Falling
    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #289 - Moonblood
    Date: 23 February, 2017
    Time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 EST

    Odamex Friday Night Nitro #203 - BucketDM Deathmatch
    Date: 24 February, 2017
    Time: 19:30 EST / 00:30 GMT

    ZDaemon Sessions #495 - LA Dark Fantasy FFA2Survival (Part I)
    Date: 25 February, 2017
    Euro session: 19:30 GMT / 14:30 EST
    US session: 20:00 EST / 01:00 GMT
    Friday Night Fragfest has not yet been posted this week, so keep an eye on the multiplayer forum for further updates. Happy fragging!


    The /newstuff Chronicles #528

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    The Joy of Mapping #2 - Jimmy & Various
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 1.71 MB -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Note: I lost my other review in an SD card wipe, because I'm an idiot. So if I missed anything, well, oops.

    The Joy of Mapping #2 is more Joymap goodness by Jimmy and Company. While I loved the previous installment, this one is a lot better in the quality department. There aren't many stinkers in here, but there are a few slaughtery-maps, including one that took me a while to beat because I was playing on a sub-par setup and couldn't turn around in time.

    Texture themes are (mostly) all great and lighting seems to be more competent this time around. I didn't have many complaints other than the blandness of one map that reeked of the Doom Builder 2 default theme. I've yet to see that theme look good in any map yet.

    Yet another solid effort, and I wish these mapping machines the best in the next installment, which I will likely enjoy playing if this one is any indication. Pick this one up!

    Ave Exitium - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 254.61 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    What to even make of this map? If you open up the automap, you'll see the words "Jesus Wept," which I think roughly sums up my sentiments on the matter.

    I think this has to be the most difficult map I've ever played with under 200 monsters, or the most difficult map in which monster count was not a major factor in the difficulty. The first time I quit in frustration was after just a few attempts, because I couldn't get past the first few rooms. Then about 10 minutes later I tried again. And quit again... and so on. Ave Exitium is that kind of map. It's very much a puzzle that leaves you feeling like there must be some way to beat it, and makes you keep coming back even after you've relinquished your review claim in disgust and abandoned the wad for like three weeks straight.

    So what's so bad about it? First and foremost, there's hardly any ammo. There's no chaingun, so the bullets you pick up aren't good for much, you don't get rockets until the last couple of fights, and although you get both shotguns early, there are only a few boxes of shells. If you are using your SSG against anything other than Arch-Viles, Pain Elementals, or monsters that are actively blocking your escape route, you're doing it wrong. If you follow this advice religiously, you should have enough ammo to make it through the first third of the level, at which point you get the Berserk pack and it becomes a balls-hard Tyson map. The chainsaw appears earlier, but it seems to require some kind of straferun trick to get, and I couldn't reach it. Throughout all of this, you're trying to get around tough enemies like Revenants and AVs in fairly small spaces, it's dark, and you have to puzzle out the progression as you go while under fire from enemies you can't kill. The layout can be pretty confusing, as there are passages that sneakily transport you to the other side of the level, and most of the rooms look pretty similar. There are many switches to find and hit, and some of them open up in small nooks in areas where you've already been with no warning; I'm thankful for ZDoom's automap rendering with color-coded lock-and-key lines, because I don't think I'd have ever found the locked switches without them. Also, there is only one difficulty setting. Also, the walls are actually Mancubuses and shoot fireballs at you. Even the secrets don't give you more ammo, though one of them does give you the privilege of Tysoning six Revenants at once with no cover for a Megaarmor.

    At one point after hunting down most of the switches, I ended up finally finding the rocket launcher and the level's final ammo cache (hallelujah!), only to realize that I was stuck in a puzzle room with no obvious way out. After riding blood floors up and down for 15 minutes, I ragequit again... and then half an hour later, I restarted for the nth time and tried again. It turns out that to solve the puzzle, you have to blindly guess that the FIREBLU walls have barrels and Keens behind them that you can only destroy with rockets. Once you get out, you're almost free -- all you have to do is take on a couple of Cyberdemons and a small horde of other enemies blocking the exit lift. You can get the Cybers to help you kill everything else, but if you have enough ammo to kill the Cybers, I don't know where you got it from. It's kind of interesting that there's yet another layer of challenge there; sure, you can run past them and beat the level, but can you be even stingier with your ammo and kill them next time?

    Don't get me wrong, this level is pretty cool. The blood-filled fortress setting is nice, and although the detailing is on the simpler side, the lighting does wonders for the map's atmosphere. The little spinning skull cube things are also neat -- Obsidian is always good at creating new content that expands the Doom universe in believable ways, even if it's something as simple as a single decoration. And although the design can be kind of dickish at times, the whole level is a very carefully crafted puzzle that requires some serious thought and effort. I would only recommend Ave Exitium to masochists, but if you genuinely love a challenge -- and I mean seriously love it, not like you're just saying that because you don't mind dying sometimes -- you may really enjoy it.

    Jupiter Carnage 3! - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 546.18 KB -
    Reviewed by: Voros
    Yet another bzzrak map. Fortunately, this one's decent. Pretty good in fact.

    First of all, there are two maps here. One is supposed to be a small starter map, apparently to let the player know this isn't the main map. The actual map itself is larger in size. Second of all, don't let those screenshots fool you! There's more to the map than you think!

    In terms of detail, such as texturing, it's all right. Pretty good in fact. He didn't go for the hyper realistic details found in many new school maps, nor the classic '90s way of detailing either. It's both tied together neatly. Or at least, as neat as possible.

    The thing placement could've been better, could've been worse. There's no denying that. Sometimes, it feels too easy, such as shooting down imps single file in a nice corridor, to extremely challenging via fighting barons and cacodemons in pitch black darkness in a claustrophobic tunnel. But there's good progression, so I have no real complaints on this matter.

    The map design could use some work though. I admire the architecture used here, showing off bzzrak's potential, but it can be cruel. For example, being forced to run around in a cramped hallway with hitscanners waiting to penetrate you with their guns. Even worse: being forced to navigate a room with damaging floors, and no radiation suit. Not a big fan. Another thing worth mentioning is how the map seems to slowly change itself from techbase to Hell, similar to how Doom's first three episodes follow a trend of techbase to perverted techbase to Hell. This is a plus, because it's something I did not expect, seeing as how the map starts so techy.

    The graphics. Well, first of all, I thought the sky fit very nicely with the map, for being visually pleasing to look at. But what I really enjoyed the most was the title screen. Just like how hentai intrigues me, this did too. The font and its colour along with the Doomguy himself taking a selfie AKA Selfie Doom, was a nice treat. Too bad though. I liked the older one with simple black background and that silly quotation. Not sure why really, but my brain enjoyed it a lot. Then there's the ENDOOM, which claims that this WAD surpasses Half-Life. Had a good laugh reading that. Well, if anything, bzzrak has a sense of humour and clearly makes these maps because he enjoys doing so. That's my kind mapper.

    Overall, not too shabby, can be drag sometimes, can be a bitch, but worth playing through.

    No End in Sight - Emil "NaturalTvventy" Brundage, Xaser Acheron, Chris Lutz
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Limit Removing - 6.03 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    The landscape of Ultimate Doom modding is pretty well dominated by individual episode replacements, and a serious 27- or 36-level megawad is virtually unheard of this side of Doom the Way id Did. But if you think less is more when it comes to Doom 1, you clearly haven't played No End in Sight.

    This project, a collaboration between NaturalTvventy, Xaser, and Lutz, began as yet another offshoot of Doom the Way id Did. But despite its origins, NEIS is not an id clone, nor does it try to be. It maintains a classic feel throughout, but the team of three mappers focused much more on creative use of the vanilla Doom engine than on sticking religiously to id's design tenets, with a couple of major exceptions: first, virtually every level has a non-linear layout with an emphasis on freedom of movement; and second, the use of Barons and boss enemies is pretty limited up until E4, which puts the focus on fighting smaller enemies with lighter weaponry. To some extent, individual mapping styles take a back seat to these main principles (as well as the limitations imposed by the vanilla engine), but you can still pretty easily guess who made what. Xaser's maps tend to feature the smoothly curving structures and shifting geometry that are the hallmarks of his style. Lutz only contributed three maps, but all are excellent; his two vanilla maps are probably the most classic in the set (in the sense of "the Way id Did"), while his limit-removing map is one of the most complex and detailed. NaturalTvventy, who created around two-thirds of the total maps, is a bit more of an odd duck, and it feels like his mapping style evolved over the course of the megawad. His E1 maps are simplistic and often intentionally rough around the edges, probably intended to mimic the early modding community as much as the id team. His maps in later episodes, however, feel like they could have been created by a completely different person. From E2 onward, Brundage provides clean, attractive visuals, but it's his creative gameplay that really stands out. Every single one of these maps feels completely different from the others, and most of them revolve around some totally unique gameplay idea, whether it's a puzzle, a layout principle, or a combat style.

    Almost every level in E1 is by NaturalTvventy, and as I already mentioned, the episode is intentionally retro. If you liked the idea of Erkattanne but hated the execution and decided to set out to do it right, you might end up with something like Brundage's early E1 levels. That said, the maps gradually increase in polish as the episode progresses, and there are also some really strong hints of Romero homage. The best of these levels is E1M9, which is mostly one long, often frantic battle set in a nukage zone around several large silos that occasionally open up to send more enemies after you. Xaser's lone offering, E1M7, is also relatively simple, but the beautifully interconnected indoor-outdoor layout and occasional horde combat help it stand out.

    E2 is my favorite episode, not just because I always love the E2 setting, but because of the huge amount of creativity and attention to detail and atmosphere that the mappers have put into it. E2M1 seems like a simple id homage, but when you return to the same area in E2M9, it becomes a whole new ballgame, a glorious nightmare of illusions and sudden descending floors. E2M2 has few crates but is still scary enough to make a great successor to "Containment Area"; it's full of sharp swaths of light cutting through darkness and things that go bump in the night. E2M4 is an eerie crawl through a huge and highly realistic floating spaceship, and it almost feels like playing System Shock. E2M5 is the crate mazey storage facility, with the added twist that most of the level is dark and non-functioning; when you find the master power switch, the whole map suddenly transforms, with lights coming on and machinery whirring to life all over the place (and remember, this is a vanilla map we're talking about). I could write a whole review just about all the cool stuff that's going on in E2M7, a huge three-key hunt in which every time you return to the hub area with a new key through an already-used entrance, the walls drop to expand the room and reveal new paths and new monster ambushes (I still haven't figured out how they did that in vanilla).

    E3 is classic Hell in many ways, but again, the team has managed to accomplish a lot with what normally feels like a pretty limited theme and make each level feel unique. E3M1 is a pure puzzle level, with no required combat and some pretty good subtle environmental cues (but for those who hate puzzles, it's worth noting that the majority of them are for secrets, not the exit). E3M3 is a compact but super-intricate Xaser layout with lots of spatial challenges in addition to some close-quarters combat. E3M9 is a lava-filled level that's heavily inspired by "Mt. Erebus." It's also worth noting that E3M9 is a normal level, not a secret one, and instead, both E3M5 and E3M6 act as secret levels. E3M5 is an interesting mishmash of many themes, including some mysterious tech; make sure to check the automap when you've seen everything, as there's a great nod to the "map as art" idea first seen in "Slough of Despair." E3M6, the super secret level, is as close as Ultimate Doom can get to a full-on slaughter map; it takes you back to "Phobos Anomaly" before throwing you into a monster-filled nexus with tons of challenging side areas. E3M7 is incredibly epic, probably the largest and most complex map in the set, and by far the most memorable green marble fortress level I've ever played -- you can easily spend well over an hour exploring the whole thing.

    For E4, the team lifted the vanilla limitations, allowing them to create bigger, more detailed levels. They also threw out any self-imposed sense of kindness toward the player, and the resulting levels are often extremely difficult. Even E4M1 is the most harrowing level so far, forcing you to scrounge for every meager offering of ammo and puzzle out the progression while constantly coming up against Barons and Cacodemons. E4M2 is one of those alternate dimension levels where you travel between eerily similar base and Hell areas and your actions in one dimension affect the progression in the other. E4M4 is utter chaos, with mobs of enemies cramming onto every catwalk of a fortress surrounded by lava and seemingly teleporting at random as they cross invisible lines. E4M5 (Lutz's map) is slower-paced and puzzley (though there's still some very tough combat), with a fantastic sense of exploration and lots of atmosphere. E4M6 is a hardcore marathon with limited ammo and many boss enemies, and the whole thing plays out like one huge combat puzzle. E4M7 is an appropriate penultimate gantlet that pits you against everything from large mixed mobs to Spectre hordes to twin Cyberdemons to your own instincts about whether or not you can fly. E4M8 manages to create something remarkably like an Icon of Sin battle through slow delivery of teleporting monsters and then caps off the megawad with a cinematic closing scene.

    In addition to the regular content, most of these levels have tons of secrets, many of which are interesting to explore and add a whole new layer of depth to the levels. You don't need to find any of them to beat the maps, but they add a lot of cool optional content, and you'll definitely want to look for them if you like to max kills. In some of the larger levels, such as E3M7 and E4M6, layered secrets account for about a quarter of the level's total space and monster count. One thing that bothered me is that it seems like many secrets are only accessible once, and it's possible to accidentally close them off forever with a simple mistake. This may have something to do with vanilla restrictions and the experimental nature of the secrets, but it can be frustrating. If you're trying to do a max run, you'll want to be very careful of this issue in E3M7 in particular.

    The whole megawad uses the stock soundtrack and mostly stock textures, but the team has also added in some edited textures and the alpha stuff released by id to help vary the settings and add to the '90s atmosphere of many levels. The wad is also set up so that if you run it in ZDoom, it automatically switches to a lower resolution, which is a nice idea that more classic-style wads should probably make use of, since they benefit much more from the feeling of nostalgia from the low resolution than they do from being forced into a high-res mode in which they don't look good. Speaking of ZDoom-based ports, if you're using one, make sure not to miss the two bonus levels, E1M0 and E4M0.

    With so many different concepts and playstyles represented in this megawad, you're bound to find a few levels that you hate, and many of the more puzzley elements (including the combat puzzles) will frustrate many players. Even if you love most of the levels, as I did, there are so many levels to play, and so many of them are huge and difficult, that you're likely to be pretty fatigued by the end of E4. I think this is more a product of Doom 1's limited resources than an issue with the mapping, and I firmly believe that the team made the most of everything they attempted to do. I'd advise you to take this mapset slowly and savor it, rather than trying to push all the way through it as quickly as possible. NEIS has an immense amount to offer, and it really feels like a love letter to the game, the community, and everything that is possible in the aging Doom engine with a little moxie and some elbow grease. NaturalTvventy's wild experimentation is the star of the show, but Xaser's and Lutz's maps are excellent in their own right and help to round out the set and provide more variety and change of pace. No End in Sight may well be the pinnacle of what is possible in Ultimate Doom mapping, and it's certainly the pinnacle of what has been achieved so far. If you have any respect for UDoom and believe it's more than just a rough draft for Doom 2, NEIS is a must-play.

    Miscellaneous Mayhem - Dutch Devil aka Dutch Doomer
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 903.21 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    It's always awesome to see a great mapper return to the community with a new release after being inactive for awhile, and I'm sure I speak for many when I say that Dutch Devil has been missed. This set of three maps was assembled out of scraps for a couple of projects that were never completed, and repolished for their final release -- so I'm not sure if that actually means DD is back to mapping or if he just wanted to clear some clutter from his hard drive, but either way, they are quite welcome.

    Map 01 is a snowy base with an open layout. It's a very casual map, with nothing more dangerous than a few chaingunners and only one difficult battle against a large teleporting mob. The layout is nice, though the progression is a bit confusing -- the main control room switch opens up a small, easy-to-miss door halfway across the level, and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. The map looks really pretty though; I'm always a sucker for snowbases.

    Map 02 is probably the best map in the set, a larger, warmer base map with a dark flooded section and some large outdoor areas reminiscent of DD's epic map from the first PCorf Community Project. The layout is excellent, both non-linear and easy to understand. Again, it's a pretty simple map, with a couple of Hell Knights as the toughest opposition, but larger enemy groups make it more on-your-toes than the first map.

    Map 03 feels more like a scrap map than the others, but it's still fun due to the more intense action. It throws some tougher monsters at you and has some cool (though brief) spelunking.

    These maps aren't as good as many of Dutch Devil's classics (except maybe map 02), but they're still well worth the time to play.

    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.

    Eris Falling
    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #288 - Disjunction
    Date: 16 February, 2017
    Time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 EST

    Zandronum Friday Night Fragfest #362 - Cybercrime 3 & UptightDM Instagib
    Date: 17 February, 2017
    Euro session: 18:00 GMT / 13:00 EST
    US session: 20:00 EST / 01:00 GMT

    Odamex Friday Night Nitro #202 - IDDM18 Deathmatch
    Date: 17 February, 2017
    Time: 19:30 EST / 00:30 GMT

    ZDaemon Sessions #494 - Lethal Awakening - Heretically Deathmatch
    Date: 18 February, 2017
    Euro session: 19:30 GMT / 14:30 EST
    US session: 20:00 EST / 01:00 EST
    For more multiplayer-related discussions and events, head on over to the multiplayer forum. Happy fragging!


    Freedoom v0.11 Emerges

    By Voros, in News,

    It is time yet again for Freedoom to bump its version number, now measuring a hefty 0.11. Freedoom has been fully tested to be limit-removing, with almost all maps vanilla compatible. Things you'll see:
    Over 200 new textures by jmickle
    A new C1M1 by YukiHerz, and it uses the new textures
    Chapter 3's music now replaced with Blueworrior's excellent music
    Various music replacements in Phase 2 and FreeDM; thanks to KevinHEZ, Blueworrior, bytebeats, Viscra Maelstrom and Blastfrog AKA Sodaholic
    A new intermission picture by Blastfrog
    Speaking of Blastfrog, there's a new pistol too
    New logo for the game and website, thanks to Jewellds
    New Plutonia patches too, by Jewellds once again
    Freedoomguy now dies with dignity, with some fresh death screams from SeventhSentinel
    Did I forget to mention, there are new maps too? Big thanks to Jayextee
    And BIG applause to Catoptromancy, Amarande and Xindage AKA Protox for cleaning up Freedoom's maps
    Best of all, they're all limit-removing, so load up a port like Crispy Doom and play!
    There are even more changes, so grab a fresh copy today!

    DEMISE - Nathan Pagliaro
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 2.42 MB -
    Reviewed by: Benjogami
    Sometimes you're just in the mood for some schlock, you know? A nice chill B-movie wad where you can zone out and cruise through some ugly nostalgia and have a laugh or two. I decided to review this wad after playing the first level and skipping around a bit to see if that spirit was kept throughout. It seemed to be, so I buckled in. Turns out, schlock can be pretty fatiguing.

    Demise is a 3-episode replacement for doom.wad by Nathan Pagliaro, and it requires ZDoom or a derivative to run. That's always a good first warning, when a wad that gives no indication in its text file and makes no use of advanced features needs ZDoom to run. Okay okay, I suppose being able to dump PNGs into your wad and having it just work counts as an advanced feature, but the PNGs are practically in the Doom palette already! Just convert them! With a few clicks in SLADE, I made a version that loads in PrBoom+, but maybe there are other mapping errors that ZDoom smooths over, who knows.

    Demise presents itself as a level-by-level homage to original Doom. E1M1 has a secret outdoor courtyard. E1M3 has a circular walkway over sludge with imp snipers on opposite sides of the room. E3M1 has you starting in a flesh pit with an eyeball button. You get the idea. Pretty soon, though, my ability to spot such references slowly degraded, and I could only see long halls and huge rooms, filled haphazardly with non-threatening demons, useless imps, and former humans that slowly chipped away at my health and my sanity. Health and ammo are rather sparse, which is the only source of danger in this set. Did I mention there are no difficulty settings implemented? The text file at least calls that one out. Health and ammo are often given out in large caches that are sometimes secret, sometimes not. Otherwise you'll mostly get shells from shotgun guys, and if the author doesn't use them for awhile, you might find yourself running out of shells. I sure did run out of shells as I worked through episode 1, because I decided to pistol start the maps. That was a mistake that I didn't realize until E1M8, where I was faced with four barons (double the pleasure!), and something like 20 shells, 100 bullets, a handful of rockets but no rocket launcher. Unless I missed something obvious, or some necessary secret, I think the author designed for continuous play. I was given a rocket launcher and a fair number of rockets in an earlier map, but I tossed it all away, never to see it again.

    After a quick idfa and some charming intermission text, I was on to episode 2, playing continuously. In the first map I found a backpack, and then something like 100 shells that I couldn't carry, with most of the monsters on the map dead. Off to a good, ammo-filled start. In episode 2, rather than huge halls and rooms with trios of pinkies and quartets of imps, we now get some barons and cacos. Even with a sizable reserve of rockets and cells, killing 2 or 3 barons in a large room isn't terribly fun. One of the most thrilling moments of episode 2 was when a baron that I had left alive and forgotten startled me while I was lost and wandering around. Progression in Demise can be obscure when it's something other than "okay I got the key, time to backtrack through a long, empty level to that key door that I saw five miles back." There are mystery switches, and there are infuriating one-way loops. There are even crippling bugs that you need to noclip through (E2M2, I'm talking to you and your broken door/lift/thing). There's a secret soulsphere on E1M3 that greets you with a missing texture, and then doesn't let you back out. There were a few times where I got myself soft-locked in pits, either by platforming in unexpected ways, or just falling. Many items, including keys, are placed up on tables or pedestals such that you can't reach them unless you fling yourself at them with SR40. Pretty rough stuff.

    The Shores of Hell ends with some literal copy paste from doom.wad (as far as I can tell), but now with an upfront BFG and some barons scattered around outside. Maybe you can imagine how those additions make a single cyberdemon trivial to kill. More charming intermission text, and onto Inferno.

    Well, there's not much more to say about Inferno that hasn't already been said, although I do think it's by far the strongest episode. Gameplay is a bit ramped up, to its benefit, but it's still a mostly unthreatening slog that I opted to run through when possible. The garish and abstract hell theme is a better fit for the arbitrarily large and oblong spaces that Pagliaro creates, and maybe he felt more at home with the hell theme, or had learned how to create some more visually interesting spaces by this point in his mapping endeavor. For example, E3M4 has some large and cool-looking areas; the final open area before the exit is particularly dramatic. There, the player must collect all three keys sequentially, running from one end of the empty area to the other, before the exit can be opened. Are we rewarded with a dramatic fight to go with this dramatic space, after this tension-building key gathering? Nope. About six imps on the other side of the door, and then the exit. The E3M6 homage includes a large FIREBLU building facade, but it really is just a facade. There's none of the fun, open exploration that is at the heart of Mt. Erebus. It's just more long, branching halls to confusedly or boredly traverse.

    Demise would have immediately benefited from using Doom 2 as its base, because those long, huge rooms would have been more interesting with some arachnotrons, pain elementals, and archviles in them. But as a level-by-level homage to Doom 1, it naturally didn't go that route. There are some cool-looking rooms, and some interesting ideas. A couple times, the player is teleported into a new area and needs to find a key to get out. E2M5 has a large open area with a few raised areas of tangled computers, but nothing really happens there except getting plinked at by distant former humans. There are some really cool moving floors with techno pillars riding on them in E2M3. Pistons, perhaps? The end of E1M2 has a view into an outdoor area that is the setting for the beginning of E1M3. There are sparse teleport traps that, while not threatening at all, are a surprising break in the monotony that made me think, "well that's pretty cool."

    Demise feels to me like a sketchpad of partial memories from Doom, connected together with long halls, casually scattered monsters, and arbitrary switches--Doom doodles that might have been scribbled in class during a semester of particularly boring lectures. It was good for a few chuckles and moments of amused bewilderment. My craving for schlock has been more than sated.

    Ambush at Deimos Refinery - Carlos Lastra
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Limit Removing - 157.89 KB -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Everyone loves tribute maps. This one will be no exception - a fitting tribute to E2M3: Refinery. The only difference is just about everything. There are cacodemons near the beginning, but that's as far as it goes with similarities.

    This map on Ultra Violence delivers pain in spades. Additionally, the map keeps expanding itself through opening walls, revealing more monsters with more space to fight them in. There was only one instance of a really cramped fight with a Baron in the red key room, but even there, I could "get away" through a computer maintenance tunnel somewhere. Flying monsters are used liberally, which can fly anywhere they damn well wish. That means you're never safe from those cacodemons and lost soul jerks.

    The map is also a thematic mess.

    Texturing and detail smacks of the mid 00s detail craze, but somehow manages to stay sane in the gameplay department. The clash between man-made structures and hellish areas are very distinct, with techie structures never leaving the clean, orthogonal angles of the original E2M3. Hellish structures that clash with "techbase" carry a marble theme. And then there's full on hell, with jagged, rough angles, never perfectly straight, with red rock and flesh about. It's really cool to see marble and tech mix together so well, since the textures imply similar structures to be built with them.

    As a bonus for this WAD (and to take the piss for the terrible software screenshots I did last time), I am presenting screenshots for this review in glorious GEEZY-VISION™, with all the cool lights and shadows the kids like. Maybe the textures look better after a few drinks and br00tal moudeefeekaycioneys. Okay, fine, I actually like the crazy texture use, I just find it really avant-garde compared to what I'm used to.

    For those who play "normally", and I mean, those who play with near-vanilla setups, and don't use silly things like "jump" or "crouch" - you won't have a problem. If you're one of the new kids that love to exploit those features, well, you're out of luck here. Jumping and crouching are disabled in ZDoom. Ha!

    My biggest problem with this map is that the difficulty of certain areas is just too damn hard. I did have to savescum a particular area until I managed to get through it. Finding secrets takes a long, long time to discover, with some secrets hiding in plain sight. The plasma rifle taunts you at the start room, which you'll be visiting several times. Some secrets are shootable switches, which require you to line up just so with a switch deep in a wall somewhere, pull the trigger, and hope for a hit. I only found two secrets out of six, and I played this map four times!

    (While I have the floor, why the heck are secrets becoming more and more difficult to the point of cracking open a map editor to find the fucking things? Can we stop this please? Hiding a switch in one of the small red squares on the COMPTALL texture "monitors" doesn't make you clever, it makes you a jerk.)

    I had a lot of fun with this. I had to write the review three times, each time discovering more about the map as I played it multiple times. What I'm saying is, if it makes you angry, just keep trying, this map will grow on you. As for Doomgods, y'all shouldn't have too much trouble with this, as long as you have a comfortable setup to play, because you'll be doing a LOT of quick turns to deal with demons coming at you from all angles.

    Rayzik's Birthday Gauntlet - Megalyth
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 144.08 KB -
    Reviewed by: Benjogami
    Happy birthday Rayzik! Sorry that this message is a bit late (it's 2017 and this is for a 2014 birthday, but that's fine right?). Presumably Megalyth delivered this birthday map in a more timely manner, but it's just now been archived on /idgames, and with some extra stuff added. I didn't play the original, and in fact I didn't have a Doomworld account in 2014. It feels a bit strange to evaluate an old birthday wish, but this birthday wish is a Doom map and I can muster some words about Doom maps.

    "Rayzik's Birthday Gauntlet" is short, fun map that cheerfully plays with expectations. One segment drops you into a maze in which several switches need to be found in order to open up a rocket launcher, a megasphere, and a switch. While searching for the switches, you might start expecting revenants around every corner, and sometimes you'll be right. You'll also be collecting a generous amount of rockets as you explore the maze, to go with that rocket launcher that you'll eventually open. For what, I imagine?

    Thematically, we mostly find ourselves in a tech base made of cement, green brick, the occasional wall of computers. (rayzk_1401.png) There are short jaunts into adjacent themes--perhaps this is a storage area? (rayzk_1402.png) Perhaps this one is a generator room? (rayzk_1403.png) This one might be a basement that was dug a bit too deep, into some demonic ruins? (rayzk_1404.png) This room is definitely transplanted straight from hell, somehow. (rayzk_1405.png) A bit disjointed perhaps, but it's varied and pleasing to look at.

    Another section again demands that the player press a series of switches, but each of these switches sets into motion more fighting and opens new nooks with new switches. Each wave is engaging without being cruel or punishing, and elicits a joyful "all right, what's next!" rather than an "oh geez what now?"

    If you're in the mood for a short, tasty Doom snack, check out "Rayzik's Birthday Gauntlet" by Megalyth.

    Mappy's Inside Story - RottKing
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 91.33 KB -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    This is a pretty open and square-ish slaughtermap made by RottKing, similar to the "Super Mario" wad made by valkiriforce some year ago. The map is based upon the sprite of Mappy from the eponymous platform game made by Namco in 1983.

    The layout is pretty basic as I wrote above, with mostly boxes that create towers with different heights. Texturing is kinda odd but it works, with a strange brick / tech hellish arena. The major problem is inescapable pink flesh pits in the northern area of the map; also, the upper section of the level (that can be accessed through a switch action that activates the huge lifts that take you to the upper section) has a (low, but fast) damage sector in it. Weird.

    The simplicity of the layout has been counterbalanced from the monster/item placement, especially the cruel way it was balanced: medium / high-tier monsters are used as a hitscan towers in the higher section, and big groups of HK / revenants are placed at strategic angles or as cannon fodder in the upper corridors of the map (one group of revenants is used as a hitscan tower in the highest tower in the map), and one cyberdemon is behind a corner in a corridor created from the various towers in the map. To battle this horde you have some powerful guns like the SSG and plasma gun in some strategic corners of the map, with some cells and shotgun ammo placed in some corner or the middle of a sector. Same with the VERY LITTLE health in the form of medikits and a pair of soulspheres, but the hitscan monster choice draws down your health quickly, so you need to dodge all the projectiles using the very little cover.

    A pretty hard map, but is also fun to play. If you like the slaughtermap genre this is the map for you; maybe it would be even kind of easy for some of you!

    Gary Gritness - Doom RMX - Gary Gritness
    Ultimate Doom - N/A - OGG Support - 49.86 MB
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Gary Gritness isn't your typical Doom MIDI remixer; he's an old-school electro-funk composer and musician with four albums to his name. Doom RMX features remixes of the entire Doom 1 OST using Roland keyboard and drum synthesizers from the '80s, formatted as OGGs and packaged in a wad file so that you can listen to them while playing Doom. Most Doom remixes I've heard have been attempts to make the songs sound more modern, and it's pretty cool to see such a serious effort to make Bobby Prince's music even more retro.

    Although it feels a bit disjointed to play the original Doom with CD-quality sound, the tracks themselves are undeniably cool. The basic metal-inspired tracks like E1M1 and the level intermission music feel relatively unchanged and are probably the least interesting to listen to, but they give you a decent taste of what Gritness is up to. The more video gamey tracks like E1M4 and E1M9 are also very true to the originals, but the industrial synth sounds Gritness uses make them really fun to listen to. The creepy, atmospheric tracks like E1M2 and E1M3 benefit the most from the better sound quality and the echoes/effects that Gritness has added in, and these songs tend to be the best; all of them really feel amped up and improved. Some songs have been transformed more than others, but all have been treated with the reverence they deserve, or in a couple of cases, the irreverence they deserve. The transition from eerie intro to fast-paced rock in E1M6 is handled beautifully. The laser-zap effects in E1M2 are a bit weird at first, but the alien wailing and drum shifts that made the original the best song in Doom are still present and better than ever. I'm not sure I like the discordance thrown into E1M7, but the siren-like rising and falling elements that Gritness added to E3M8 managed to turn one of the most boring songs in the game into real boss fight music. The episode end music has been elevated to something worthy of the closing credits in an '80s action movie, and D_BUNNY is just great.

    These remixes are well worth a listen, though as in-game music, I think they'd work a lot better with something like Knee-Deep in ZDoom than they do with the original levels. The Doom community is such a self-sustaining bubble that it's easy to forget just how much of a legacy this game has even for people who don't still play it all the time. Contributions like Doom RMX are a welcome reminder.

    AVOCADO - NoneeLlama
    Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 278.79 KB -
    Reviewed by: VeeTHis
    This WAD is NOT ideal for the beginner Doom player. This WAD has nice decorations and textures, but a HIGH amount of enemy spamming exists in this WAD. I mean, it is kind of ridiculous. If it had less, then it would have much better gameplay. I had to go into God mode to even get to the end of this!

    Other than that, this WAD has very good textures, it is very pretty looking, it had nice lighting, and it just looks absolutely beautiful. It wasn't long, but not short. The ammo to gameplay ratio was kind of messed up too.

    I actually tried the first part of the map, and it took me about 20 tries before I activated God mode for the rest of the map.

    Enemy spamming just isn't a good way to make a WAD, because all of this WAD is pretty much just that. By the end of this map, I was glad it was only one level.

    Oh, this map also has a lot of detail. The layout of the map wasn't all that confusing. In fact, the map wasn't really super cramped. How do I think you should make your next map? Well... PLEASE put fewer monsters in.

    I also really like the ending room, where you go to that fake exit and get teleported into that Wolfenstein room. That added a nice touch. I also really like that re-skinned Icon of Sin that finishes the level.

    And, I guess that's it for my review. Overall, awesome map, NoneeLlama.

    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.

    Eris Falling
    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #287 - Newgothic Movement 2
    Date: 9 February, 2017
    Time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 EST

    Zandronum Friday Night Fragfest #360 - Prophunt & BlackRose CTF
    Date: 10 February, 2017
    Euro session: 18:00 GMT / 12:00 PST
    US session: 18:00 PST / 02:00 GMT For further updates and more events, head over to the multiplayer forum. Happy fragging!

    Eris Falling
    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #286 - TNT: Revilution (Part I)
    Date: 2 February, 2017
    Time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 EST

    Zandronum Friday Night Fragfest #360 - IGPack Terminator & Chexpack DM
    Date: 3 February, 2017
    Euro session: 18:00 GMT / 13:00 EST
    US session: 20:00 EST / 01:00 GMT
    Other events that have not been posted here may also be running, so keep an eye on the multiplayer forum for further updates. Happy fragging!

    Eris Falling
    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #285 - Invasion UAC (Part II Revisited)
    Date: 26 January, 2017
    Time: 19:00 GMT / 14:00 EST

    Zandronum Aussie Friday Night Fragfest #10 - Instagib 32in24-10
    Date: 27 January, 2017
    Time: 18:00 AEST / 06:00 GMT

    Odamex Friday Night Nitro #200 - UDM3 Deathmatch
    Date: 27 January, 2017
    Time: 19:30 EST / 22:30 GMT
    ZDaemon Sessions and the main Friday Night Fragfest have not yet been posted this week, so keep an eye on the multiplayer forum for further updates. Happy fragging!

    Overkill, Shadows Fall & Hypocrisy music - Mr. Chris
    Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - Vanilla - 205.61 KB
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    This music wad is basically what it says on the tin. It contains music by three different metal bands in MIDI form, set up as a complete music replacement for both Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 (though the two IWADs share many of the same songs). I feel like it would be pretty annoying as a replacement for Bobby Prince's soundtracks, because the mood of every song is pretty similar. Let's face it, would it really be fun to play "Phobos Anomaly," "Tricks 'n Traps," or "Icon of Sin" with music this hard? If you answered yes to that question, or if you're looking for a different soundtrack for a hardcore megawad like Slaughterfest, this wad could be for you.

    Aside from being sort of monotonous, these songs seem pretty decent in general, and they translate well as MIDIs. In addition, I feel like they have a newer sound to them than the standard Metallica, Rammstein, and similar music that's commonly used in classic wads, making them a good alternative for wads with more modern visuals. Two tracks that I thought stood out as different from the rest of the pack are map 04/E1M6 and map15/E2M4, both of which are songs by Hypocrisy. The former alternates between soft, almost hymnal sections and more driving metal sections and would probably be great for a hellish cathedral map; the latter is also on the slower side but is consistently intense and ominous.

    If you can't get enough metal MIDIs to use for your wads, this seems like a good resource -- particularly if you question the sexuality of the new wave of Doom music and want everybody to know about it, in which case you can create your next megawad with this music as the soundtrack and then everybody will be sure you're straight. As with most metal MIDIs, these tracks will most likely fit best with grungy, rusting bases or red/black Hell levels.

    Tough Guy 2016 - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 18.31 KB
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Tough guy 2016. Only one part of that is correct, and soon to be a lie, so let's just say it's entirely a lie - it's not tough, it's not a guy, and it's not 2016. So, what is it? It's a 1994 wad. Yes, that kind of 1994 wad. It's supposed to show off a new "mapping trick" with teleports, but I don't think mapping tricks would save this junk. Everything's one light level, there is no height variation, the textures are crap, nothing is aligned, and...

    From the text file:

    "Tutti-fruttis everywhere, because using SKINLOW and SW1EXIT on 128-tall walls was apparently cool back in the day. The author, apparently, didn't care. Bad, really bad 1994 quality, but you can expect that from a level made in... you know... 1994."

    Not really. Galaxia came out in 1994 and it looks fantastic. Let's be honest here; this was a concept level that had zero thought put into it other than the teleporter trick, that isn't even used well enough to show off the benefits. There were good 1994 wads, and this is not even close to one of them. Perhaps this one really should've stayed on the hard drive.

    Asbestos Queen - Jaxxoon R
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 11.69 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Asbestos Queen is a 7-map set by Jaxxoon R, one of the many newer mappers whose names I mainly recognize from levels I liked in Nova 2. In this set, Jaxxoon seems to be experimenting with lots of styles, which leads to some nice variety from level to level -- and the author does a pretty damn good job with all of them.

    Map 01 is a base map with techy details and a very smooth flow. One thing I noticed is that pretty much every raised surface is low enough to the ground that you can walk on it, creating an unexpected level of freedom of movement. Hell, there's even a lift so low that after you've lowered it, you can just use it as a step up instead of waiting for it to rise again. It's almost like the whole level is slathered in Vaseline -- a pretty weird thing for the UAC to do, and occasionally it led to me accidentally strafing out a window into the wrong part of the level, but it was definitely fun.

    Map 02 is a quick little level with a strong Team TNT vibe. It's one of my favorites visually due to all the plant growth. I also like the tiered layout and the teleport transitions into the more hellish fortress area at the end, not to mention a cool sky-within-a-sky effect that I'm not sure if I've ever seen before.

    Map 03 feels like it could have come out of the Russian community, with its grandiosely weird yet genuinely epic OGG track and quirky realist details (most notably the elephant in a cage near the start). It's set in a large, watery cavern with the remains of an old building complex at the center. The open, explorable layout is fantastic and makes this my favorite map in the set.

    Map 04 is a boss arena battle against a Cyberdemon and his minions, followed by a very short underground key hunt to get to the exit. The large amount of space makes the battle pretty easy, though I imagine it's a lot tougher if you're pistol starting, as you'll have to search around to find the weapons and ammo you need to win. The level has various small side areas that you can complete in any order, making it feel more sandboxy than your standard arena fight.

    Map 05 is the sort of thing you'd find in a typical high-profile modern megawad. It's set around a series of beautiful floating towers in the middle of an endless red sky, with lots of teleport hopping to get around. It's one of the more hectic and challenging maps in the set, mainly due to the large final arena battle where platforms keep lowering to reveal more enemies as you try to deal with the ones you're already fighting.

    Map 06, in contrast, is a slow-paced, creepy haunted mansion where you hunt around in the dark for the three skull keys. Like most of the other maps, it's pretty simple, but it has great atmosphere. It doesn't have any puzzles that I remember, just exploration.

    Map 07 is a battle against a custom boss, sort of. The giant creature you face is an environmental construct like the Icon of Sin, but it doesn't spawn monsters and feels very different from the Icon. Jaxxoon has done a pretty good job of creating one of those head-plus-two-hands monster bosses that were so common in '90s console games. The boss's attacks seem to come from a few normal Doom monsters hidden behind the custom graphics, and the whole thing felt like it went down in a matter of seconds despite the Cyberdemon and other monsters that teleport to its aid, but there are some pretty neat effects that make it seem like you're destroying the monster piece by piece.

    There's another custom monster as well, a plasma-shooting zombie that first makes its appearance in a map 03 secret and starts showing up in earnest around map 05. It's basically a slightly slower-moving reskin of the Alien Trooper from Ancient Aliens, with no stealth effect and an appearance that fits in much better with the standard Doom aesthetic. I like these guys: deadly but easy to kill, and the sprites look good.

    I should also mention that the whole sountrack is awesome, though most of the tracks are pretty bizarre. All of the music is in OGG format, and many of the songs are strangely jazzy, creating a bit of a surreal feel just from how much they clash with the blood and grunge of Doom. Any one of them could get stuck in your head for days.

    Asbestos Queen is a great coffee break type of mapset, since it's very quick to play through and every level is pretty much its own separate game. It does lack a certain degree of polish, though. There are some texture alignment issues, and several nasty HOMs on map 05. The bonkers gameplay shifts are pretty cool, and the concepts are well executed, though none of the mapping styles can be fully explored in the space of such short levels (except for map 03). Still, Asbestos Queen is great for a wad that doesn't take itself too seriously, and every map offers its own breed of bite-sized fun.

    Warphouse - Ed C.
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 11 MB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Warphouse is single level that makes extensive use of GZDoom features, especially for the architecture. The map is for Doom 2, though only textures from Doom 1 are used, and the setting can be considered as a corrupted base in the style of Shores of Hell. I must say that actually the level has plenty of nice and inspired stuff on the architecture, but it really would have benefited from using a different texture set rather than the iwad textures. Everything looks like an undefined mess, a mishmash that somehow clashes with the atmosphere that the map wants to achieve.

    The gameplay is all right overall; there are few ambushes on the way, mostly involving teleporting monsters, though nothing felt really special. Despite that the map is big and the visuals make the navigation a bit harder than usual. You will hardly get lost since the map pretty much takes you by the hand on where you have to go. All in all, this is nice as a tech demo that shows what you can do with GZDoom, but it isn't nearly as successful as a map to play.

    Lilium - Lainos
    Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 5.15 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Even if he hadn't just won the Mapper of the Year award for 2016 (in part for creating Lilium), Lainos wouldn't need any introduction. This strange, twisted genius has left an indelible mark on the Doom community as a whole, and especially on the Russian community, which seems to me to have evolved largely around the eerie, ultra-realist mapping style that Lainos created for Sacrament and other early B0S wads. His maps are all haunting and unapologetically dark, but Lilium is probably the most deeply personal one he's made so far.

    In the textfile, the author says he created this wad while going through a rough time emotionally and that it ended up absorbing a lot of those negative emotions. Like all of his settings, the wintery cityscape of Lilium is shrouded in mystery, full of symbolism and references that I can't clearly identify, but the posters of Putin wearing a crown that are plastered all over the walls and the words "-45C without you" scrawled on a frozen fountain are probably the clearest indications of what was going on in Lainos's head when he made this. In addition, the level starts out next to a highly detailed and rather graphic train wreck -- not one of the bloodiest scenes I've seen in the Doom engine, but possibly still one of the most disturbing.

    The gameplay is pretty much given over to the storytelling; it's not so much about creating engaging encounters as it is about giving the city its own population of inner demons. As a result, some of the gameplay can be annoying, particularly if you're trying to max kills. Near the start of the level is a park with a labyrinth of fences, and each section of path that you take causes groups of Imps to appear, resulting in many tedious minutes of maze running and dull shotgun/chaingun combat if you actually want to get them all to appear and then kill them. After that comes a more straightforward network of streets with enemy ambushes at pretty much every turn, and although the combat is more challenging here, it's still pretty monotonous after the first couple of ambushes.

    If you can get through these two areas, the level really hits its stride after that. All of the remaining locations are beautifully designed and interesting to explore. There's the abandoned street marketplace with merchandise hung up along every passageway, and then the big, shadowy water treatment complex. Eventually, you find yourself in a cardboard box village where the city's homeless population must have lived -- at the risk of repeating kmxexii's Mapper of the Year writeup, it's got to be one of the most unique locations I've ever seen in a Doom wad, but it's also dripping with very real social commentary, which isn't something you see every day in a modding community. The level seems to reach its climax as you face off with what might be Vladimir Putin's spiderborg stand-in, but the real final battle takes place inside a mall, where floating candles and water lilies contrast beautifully with the barrage of rockets coming your way and a strange bunny image watches over you as you attempt to find your way up to heaven... or something like that.

    Part of the fun of this level is just trying to figure out what it all means. You don't have to love allegory to appreciate Lilium, though. You just have to love wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere. Like all of Lainos's other levels, it's about the thousands of little clues and stories that the dead have left behind, painting a picture that's entirely mundane but still strangely moving. Lilium isn't as much of a masterpiece as Comatose, 5till L1 Complex, or Doxylamine Moon, but it's worth delving into. Just don't expect it to lift your mood.

    No Demon Left Alive - theSil3ncer
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 99.53 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    No Demon Left Alive is a very short single map for Doom 2. The main thing of this wad is that the gameplay is all about the melee combat of Doom. Here we will have to fight demons, spectres, and some lost souls with our chainsaw and a berserk pack. There are also many damaging floors in the first half of the level, which are really dangerous as the health provided is extremely scarce. It isn't actually bad, apart from that visually it's very bland, but it's a rather poor level overall. It could have done something better with its ideas.

    Fucking Hexen - Matthias (enkeli33)
    Hexen - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 788.65 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Hexen wads are so rare that I'm always tempted to play one when it appears. Sometimes I regret that decision. Sometimes I'm not sure whether I regret it or not.

    Fucking Hexen is sort of a jokewad, and it's often a successful one. The main joke that runs throughout the wad and textfile is the gratuitous swearing. To start with, the levels have names like "Fucking Woods" and "Fucking Ice Palace." Anyone who's ever been 12 years old can appreciate this on some level; personally, I found it funny in the beginning, but it faded into the background after the first five minutes of playing. For better and for worse, the humor doesn't stop there, and the first few levels are peppered with many other little jokes. The best ones manage to poke fun at Hexen's particular quirks, such as the message, "You lowered all the stupid forcefields by ringing this bell," or "The task is done, here is some earthquake to make it look more epic." Others are just random but mildly amusing gags, like the "puzzle" where you have to choose between three emerald keys and two of the paths will kill you, but a message pops up telling you which key is the right one. There's also the big annoying trollish platform section in "Fucking Woods" with the message, "You're going to hate me for this." I just cheated in a Wings of Wrath for that one.

    Fucking Hexen is an OK jokewad, but the first map makes it seem like the whole thing is going to be horribly tedious to play. Most of the combat is against giant mobs of one or two enemy types that pop up in front of you, and the vast majority of enemies are Ettins and Centaurs (this observation comes from playing as the Mage, so I doubt there's any class balance), and the battles are slow and boring with little danger of getting hit. What could be more fun than Sapphire Wanding a horde of Centaurs, right? The "floor is lava" section in this map was almost welcome just because it was the practically the only place in that map where I took any damage. It might be more fun as the Fighter, though. Health and items are incredibly overabundant, given that you hardly need anything except mana to win the fights (and even then, only if you're a Cleric). There are tons of decorations everywhere (mainly trees), making it even easier to herd the enemies and block any incoming projectiles.

    The remaining levels are significantly better, though none of them feel super polished. The huge amount of health and huge number of power-ups continue to trivialize the fights, and the main frustration still comes from running into all the decorations stuck in the middle of everything. There are lots of large-scale battles, which is interesting for Hexen, but the spaces you're fighting in are just too big and make everything really easy, even when you're slipping around on ice. Most enemies still come from the front, though there are a few battles that are almost really tricky, like the ambush at the beginning of "Fucking Ice Temple," which would be brutal if the mob didn't get hung up so easily around the door -- the Serpents that make it difficult to escape into the next room are a nice touch, though you can easily outmaneuver them and exploit the whole battle by jumping onto a glitter bridge if you want.

    Matthias has a ton of great ideas, I have to give him that. There are many interesting and varied puzzles, and some of them are really inspired, but most of them feel like rough drafts. In "Fucking Fire Temple," there's a section where you have to use an Icon of the Defender to get through lava and reach a puzzle item, but there are no enemies or hazards to slow you down, just a run from point A to point B, and you have plenty of time to get there, so what's the point? The best puzzle was the one where you have to turn into a pig and get through a slippery ice maze before you change back, without falling into any deadly pits.

    The best map is the penultimate one, "A Shitload of Enemies," which throws everything Hexen has to offer at you. There are lots of different areas leading off the central castle section, each with its own set of challenges and a puzzle item at the end. The combat is pretty well balanced throughout the level, except for all the annoying decorations in some areas, and the mana and health are more tightly balanced. The last level is an arena slaughter battle; it looks terrifying, and although it turns out Hexen slaughter isn't all that hard (until Kristus proves otherwise), it's very action-packed and fun.

    For the most part, Fucking Hexen isn't a great wad, or at least it isn't very refined. However, aside from the first map, I found that it held my interest all the way through, which is probably the most important thing a mapset can do. There's a ton of creativity here, and I kept wanting to see what would happen next. The quality of the maps steadily improves as the levels progress, so Matthias's next wad is bound to be awesome.

    Distress Call - Soldier993
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 291.08 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Distress Call is a set of four small E1 maps that were originally intended to be part of a full episode replacement. They have a pretty old-school look and feel, but more of a 2004 old-school than a 1994 old-school. You'll encounter smashed doors, heavy machinery with pumping pistons, hexagonal holes in tile floors with the loose tiles lying next to them, and various other classic 2000s detail tropes with a bit of a rough appearance. I spotted several texture alignment and midtexture/linedef errors, including an HOM in E1M4 from a missing texture or something. There's also a set of red key bars in E1M4 that you have to open individually because the sectors aren't properly joined. Generally, however, the maps look pretty decent.

    The gameplay is easy enough to breeze through with a keyboard-only setup. There aren't any Barons or bosses, and most of the more difficult spots come from cheap use of Sergeants -- ones that teleport right next to you, ones that are attacking you from off-screen at the start of a map, ones that snipe at you from pitch-black cubbies high off the ground. These few minor setbacks shouldn't be much of a problem, though. Health and ammo balance is solid -- there's always more than enough shotgun ammo, few enough bullets that you have to ration the chaingun a little bit, and a handful of rockets, which is exactly how E1 should quintessentially work.

    The layouts aren't as smooth as they could be, and there's some annoying backtracking. E1M2 requires you to get the yellow key in the north end of the map, go back to the south end to hit the locked switch, and then go back to the north to go through the exit door that the switch opens up (there's a little bit of monster repopulation along the way, but not much). E1M3 is probably the most interesting map because of the liberal use of damaging nukage, which forces you to plan your movements. The majority of the map is spent running back and forth through a set of slime-flooded halls as you get keys and use them to press switches. It's kind of fun how it forces you to be careful with the rad suits and deal with combat while trying to manage your time on the damaging floors, but again, the backtracking can get really annoying, as you have to cross most of the same ground each time you get a key or hit a switch.

    Overall, Distress Call isn't great, but it's pleasantly casual and quick to play.

    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.