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  • Bloodshedder

    The /newstuff Chronicles #520

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    Urania - riderr3
    Plutonia - Single Player - Vanilla - 3.74 MB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Here in Greece, Urania is considered to be one of the most... third-age sounding last name. Urania makes me think of old ladies who pass their time knitting, watering their plants, or baking cookies. There are no cookies in riderr3's 32-level MegaWad, though. THIS Urania is tough, unrelenting, merciless, and, in all honesty, great fun. Needless to say, however, that it's veterans-only material, as it's actually much, much harder than the levels in Final Doom, with every single one of them being quite long, labyrinthine, and choke full of devilishly placed baddies.

    Perfect? Far from it, as it does have a couple of issues. For starters, an annoying overabundance of hitscanners, with Chaingunners especially, being hidden in every crack and crevice - which, coupled with the fact that medkits are quite scarce, makes things a bit aggravating. In many levels, the actual steps required to progress tend to be so well-hidden that one can find most of the secrets before finding that blasted blue key-card – if you are the kind of Doomer who hates squinting to see where the damn switch is, and then spending a couple of minutes running around to see what it did, stay away from Urania.

    The last flaw is that most levels feel kind of samey. Hitscanners all around the place, lots of Revenants, and lots of - pleasantly - interconnecting corridors. In other words, few stages stand out "thematically." That's not to say that levels are bad or anything, but the fun tends to wear out after a few hours. That being said, great work riderr3! I've enjoyed breaking my keyboard in half...

    Absolute Dishonor - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce) & Jon "40oz" Vail
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 1.52 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Valkiriforce and 40oz may sound like a bit of an odd pairing -- or at least, they wouldn't have been anyone's obvious choice for a team-up. Valkiriforce is an extremely prolific mapper who has pretty much always worked within vanilla Doom's limits using few custom resources, creating levels that are often described as throwbacks to the era of Memento Mori and Requiem. 40oz is best known for detailed, atmospheric maps that make heavy use of custom textures. What the two share is a love of classic gameplay, and that love definitely shines through in Absolute Dishonor, a set of eight mostly stock-textured vanilla maps.

    Valkiriforce's and 40oz's maps in this set couldn't be more different from each other, but what's most interesting is that neither of them were working in their own established styles. Instead of medium-sized, semi-linear maps with arena-oriented combat setups, valkiriforce created a bunch of huge, sandboxy, very exploration-oriented levels. As for 40oz, not only was he working with few custom textures, he also eschewed the large spaces and bigger, more complex combat setups that characterize most of his maps in UAC Ultra and Mutiny in favor of compact layouts, low monster counts, and nerve-wrackingly intimate close-quarters combat, not to mention some puzzle elements.

    To elaborate a bit on the individual levels:

    OK, so I lied a tiny bit; valkiriforce starts us off in map 01 with a rather short shotgun-fest against lots of zombies and other weak enemies in a stone/water/base setting that would look perfectly at home in Reverie or Vispire. Map 03, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. It's the biggest and most complex map in the set, with so many branching paths everywhere that it's better to just give up trying to keep track, pick a random direction at each crossroads, and see where the wind takes you. Wandering through all those halls and rooms is really a lot of fun, and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you finally make it to the exterior ocean walkway that you keep getting peeks of throughout the level. Map 05 is similar, but the keys make it slightly more straightforward, dividing it up into several large, nonlinear sections that you complete in sequence. It takes place in some kind of mining complex complete with train yards and tracks, and it has a great secret involving a train and a Cyberdemon that I won't spoil. Map 08 feels more like a city (a la Peterson's "Downtown" or "Suburbs"), with lots of open spaces ringing individual buildings. It has a few too many Barons for my liking, but again, it's very explorable, and many of the monsters have free rein to wander all over the place, which keeps things interesting. Throughout all of these levels, the opposition comes in large numbers and is packed in fairly densely, making for a good challenge, but there aren't any forced arena battles that I can remember. You're always free to push forward, flee, try to lead enemies into a different area, or look for an alternate way around, whichever you prefer.

    Then there's 40oz's levels. Map 02 sets the tone for what's to come. It's dark and spooky, the layout winds around in knots and repeatedly visits the same central locations from different angles, the enemies have a habit of getting in your personal space without asking, and the whole thing revolves around a spatial puzzle in which you try to raise a bridge across the main chasm. Map 04 is eerily quiet after the chaotic trials of valkiriforce's massive fortress in map 03, and you know right away that something nasty is waiting for you...somewhere. The level features several tough ambushes, some tricky Arch-Vile battles, and an elaborate, fiendish puzzle that you have to solve to get the red key. Map 06 is the most straightforward (not that it's easy): a brown-stone fortress that's strongly reminiscent of classic megawads like Requiem. Highlights include an intense battle with silhouetted Demons and Hell Knights in the dark, as well as quite a few close encounters with Revenants. Map 07 is more of the same tricky goodness, wrapping up with a series of battles against teleporting enemy waves as you navigate each portion of the final puzzle.

    Ultimately, valkiriforce and 40oz *are* a bit of an odd pairing -- but so were Joshy and darkwave. That comparison is pretty apt; one of the big reasons why Absolute Dishonor is so successful is the dramatic contrast between the two styles. Every level you play is totally different from the previous one, and it makes every map feel like it delivers a totally fresh set of surprises -- something that you can't ever quite get from a one-person mapset. And when you consider that each mapper was working outside his usual comfort zone, trying something totally new, it's amazing how natural these maps feel. Absolute Dishonor is a classic transplanted into modern times, a throwback to a time long past that somehow doesn't feel derivative at all. It doesn't get any Doomier than this.

    Fuzz 2016 - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Doom 2 - Deathmatch - Vanilla - 47.86 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Fuzz 2016 is a deathmatch map that doesn't have any reason to exist. Basically it's a square arena with few walls to use as cover and many super shotguns lying around. With all the good DM wads out there, you don't have any reason to download this crap.

    Tritium Refinery - Subucnameth
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 160.5 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Tritium Refinery is wad with two vanilla maps. Glaring is the texturing style that you can see when you start; the textures used are limited to bricks and metal with occasional computer panels and pipes to make some details, and brown is the leading color everywhere. The gameplay wasn't really bad, and there are some nice moments like the MAP01 finale with the lowering floor, though overall all the combat takes place in flat grounds, and MAP02 gets rather boring with having to use the SSG to clean corridors with mancubuses and many other tough monsters. All in all it isn't that bad, but it turns out to be very boring and repetitive, and the generic and bland music doesn't help at all.

    Deliverance: ONI Facility Demo (Stripped Version) - Elric Sullivan (Fisk)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 416.6 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    This wad contains a single level for Doom 2 that uses only Doom 1 monsters and a hybrid selection of D1/D2 textures. The title suggests that it's a demo for a larger project, but the textfile doesn't say what -- an episode, a megawad, a hub? This is apparently a "stripped" version of the map that removes music that would violate /idgames rules -- though what a level like this would be doing with MP3 music, I'm not really sure.

    This level is surprisingly tough, simply because the amount of firepower you have at any given point feels weak relative to the amount of monster meat you're up against. It requires some patience to overcome all the monsters using mainly the shotgun, and the slight frustration factor pushes you to be overly aggressive in facing what feels like a weak selection of monsters, which can get you killed. I suspect this would be a great level for Tyson players, because the Berserk pack is available quite early (if you know where to go) and is by far the most powerful weapon available (unless you find some of the secrets that contain better guns, which I didn't). If you don't mind the style of gameplay, the combat is reasonably fun, and the level feels pretty explorable due to its nonlinearity. Probably the most interesting thing about this level is that it has three different exits in different parts of the map, making me wonder if the author intends to turn it into a hub.

    All in all, this map doesn't put me on the edge of my seat waiting for the rest of the project to be released, but it definitely wasn't a bad way to spend 15 minutes.

    Industrial Warfare - Carlos Lastra
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 175.3 KB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Industrial Warfare is as industrial as possible. It's a finely crafted hi-tech level with lots of good detailing all around, just don't expect any hell-invasion texture-wise, because it's all pure UAC tech-o-rama. Instead of Running From Evil it uses Demons on the Prey, which fits with the map's very balanced setup; not too wide, not too narrow, not full of enemies, not with a lack of enemies, not too long, not too short. Even in terms of difficulty it's balanced. Some snooping around is needed, but not so much that it feels like a key/switch search-a-thon, enemy placement is perfect, never too easy to kill, but also never unfair towards the player. There's not much else to say about this well-designed wad, so here's a brief summary: Industrial Warfare is a very old-school, pure Doom experience that's perfect for those seeking something fun, albeit not innovative in any way.

    Water Works - mrthejoshmon
    Evilution - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 121.95 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Up until now, the only mrthejoshmon level I had played was "Husk of What Once Was" from Nova 2, which I mainly remember for its enormous canyon battle in which you have to carve out space a little bit at a time while under fire from every possible angle. In Water Works, the author is working on a much smaller scale, and the tactical puzzle gameplay is traded in for basic run and gun. This level feels pretty casual for the most part -- the first two-thirds of the level are populated by moderate numbers of weak enemies in spaces that are easy to maneuver in and manage, and this section is made even easier by a pair of incredibly obvious secrets that grant a Soulsphere, the SSG and rocket launcher, and an ammo backpack. The last leg of the level presents more of a challenge, mostly because of the Revenants that suddenly start showing up in groups. Sadly, the two battles that should be the most intense and challenging are both weakened dramatically by the architectural design. The first involves a large number of Imps and zombies teleporting into the main water tunnel area, but all of those enemies appear on one side of you, and the architecture funnels them so effectively that I was able to basically stand in one spot and hold down the fire key with the shotgun until it was over. The second is the climactic penultimate battle against Revenants, Pain Elementals, and some other assorted enemies -- none of which could reach me after I triggered them, and most of which piled up pitifully against a wall in their vain attempt to do so. Between the hallway route, the ledges, and the lift that are all between you and them, you can herd them pretty much however you want. After that battle in Nova 2 that I loved so much, it was sort of sad to see the author using the layout so unimpressively.

    Aside from the disappointments of those two battles, Water Works isn't a bad level at all -- just a very easy one. The visuals are nice, basically a slightly more detailed version of the Evilution aesthetic, with some interesting scenes that include a laser beam firing into the water and... turning it into blood? I'm not sure, but it looks cool. All in all, I liked this map, and I'd be willing to come back to it sometime when I'm looking for relaxation instead of a challenge.

    QuakeGuy Skin - Massao
    N/A - N/A - Skin Support - 172.57 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    A basic Quakeguy skin for Doom. I was surprised by how good it looks in game -- it looks like at least some work was done to make sure it works with the Doom palette instead of just lazily ripping it from screenshots or whatever. It comes with Quakeguy sounds, but sadly no custom HUD face, and it's a little jarring to be playing as one character and seeing another character's face. Oh well. If you want a custom skin that actually looks good, this is a pretty solid option.

    Fort Doom - FlightPhoenix
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 151.1 KB -
    Reviewed by: Averagewalrus24
    Fort Doom is FlightPhoenix's first wad... and it's not awful. The wad is only one map long, and can be finished in less than seven minutes on Hurt Me Plenty. So with that said the map wasn't difficult; in fact, it felt like the map was holding my hand almost the whole way through. The map had a generous amount of ammo, so much so that even after I shot the BFG 6 or 7 times I had about 600 cells when I finished the map. Along with that, right before "difficult" fights you are given a super charge and blue armor.

    Sadly almost all the rooms were rectangles or squares, and were open with maybe one or two short walls that you can't go over. Despite all the flaws I ranted about, it's not that bad of a map. There are definitely worse maps out there, so for a first map this is pretty good. Sadly this map is only average at best, so I only recommend this map if you have nothing better to do.

    Infested base - Massao
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 33.57 KB -
    Reviewed by: QuirkyKirk
    Massao is new to mapping, and it shows. Infested base is his fourth map, though instead of showing some form of learning from his previous maps, it appears that he made them all in quick succession without waiting for criticism. Speaking of criticism, it seems he's attempting to dodge it by stating that he sucks at mapping in the text file. Truly, a recipe for success. I'll be providing a description of the most significant moments of the level in chronological order, in an attempt to help Massao become a better mapper.

    The story provided is that, surprise, demons have invaded a UAC base on Earth. Guess that's where the title comes from. There's also a line about another marine being sent, before being trapped and reporting THREE cyberdemons. I haven't even started playing and I want the map to end now.

    We start off, and after the very first turn, we're met with four zombiemen and a chaingunner. We haven't even clocked in a minute yet, guys, and we're fighting a chaingunner with a pistol.

    After disposing of the poor enemy placement, we can draw attention to the visual design of this place. A small, cramped room with open sky, some boxes, and a computer station. To the right is a wooden hell door, with lava for the ceiling above it. I attempt to open it, and despite the lack of marking, I'm told I need a red key. I guess I have to go through the other door. I'm immediately faced with two sergeants, and there's a cacodemon in a cage. Also, to the right is an inescapable death pit. This is the first of three.

    To the left is a poorly hidden secret, with... Oh goodie! A BF- Damn it. I'm teleported into the room with the cacodemon. Moving back to the main map, I run across a floor of slime with almost no safe spots on it. At one side is a lift up to a hidden super shotgun, but it's placed in a quick crusher trap. It's impossible for someone playing the map for the first time to see this coming. Another side contains a second death pit, and the last leads to a room with a Berserk pack, some lost souls and a demon.

    This then heads to an indoor room where Massao gets the base texturing down great, even if the layout needs some work. I then head through a teleporter, kill a Baron, and grab the red key. I'm warped directly in front of the locked door from before, and I open it to find enough ammo to completely fill all my weapons, plus a megasphere and an invulnerability pickup. I step on the teleporter in the room and I'm brought into an arena with the three cyberdemons mentioned before. For some reason, this is marked as a secret.

    Hidden behind a wall is a BFG. This time, I can actually pick it up, and I use it to quickly dispatch two of the cyberdemons. I finish the last one off with my rockets and head to the exit, where...

    Is this a joke of some kind? There are at least four mancubuses in the same place, unable to attack me and simply acting as an obstruction to the exit. I slowly kill them and end the level.

    Overall, not too great, but far from the worst I've played. My advice? Make more open areas, don't include inescapable pits, and convey the objective to the player a bit more.

    Evergrey & Nightwish Music - Mr. Chris (AKA Glaice)
    Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - MIDI Support - 344.71 KB
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Evernite is a midi pack composed of songs from the Metal bands Nightwish and Evergrey. All the tracks of Doom 1 and Doom 2 are replaced, and some tracks are reused for the two soundtracks. I don't think it fits well for the IWADs, but if you like these bands in particular or you are searching for some metal tracks you have something to check out. For being MIDI compositions of metal songs, they play rather well. And yes there is also the "hamster, a dentist..." song, so go wild.

    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.

    DarrenGrey
    Jupiter Hell, successor to Doom the Roguelike, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The creator of DoomRL is seeking £60k to complete a turn-based roguelike with modern 3D graphics and original metal soundtrack, with significant thematic inspiration from Doom. John Carmack has backed the project. The game is scheduled for release on PC/Mac/Linux late 2017, with an early alpha available Jan 2017.

    Bloodshedder

    The /newstuff Chronicles #519

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    Mayhem Mansion - Extended edition - Darsycho
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 36.37 MB -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    In all my years of reviewing /newstuff crap, sometimes I come across something so different that I have no idea what to make of it. Usually, that implies something negative. But this time, I was very surprised - someone had made a TC that is like no other TC for Doom, or any game for that matter - where any sort of seriousness is thrown out the window with a bizarro impostor taking its place. That would be Mayhem Mansion, which I keep wanting to call Maniac Mansion, because it reminds me of Maniac Mansion if it were done in the mid 90s during the height of the "Doom clone" phase.

    Apparently, Mayhem Mansion is based off a very obscure 90s Doom clone named "Exploding Lips". It was released at the time when Quake II was already dominating the market, and UT99 and Quake III were just around the corner. Bad time to release a Doom clone. But "Exploding Lips" was not like other Doom clones. It had floating lips. And walking TVs. If that sounds weird, this is the tame part.

    Enter Mayhem Mansion: Extended Edition.

    Upon first glance, I thought this was going to be a lame jokeWAD. And I can see evidence that one could call it a jokeWAD. But this isn't a joke as much as it is a different reality altogether. A reality of dancing televisions, floating lips, a cat having his birthday, flying toast (complete with cape), an evil toaster that makes said toast, a chibi pinky that runs on its hands, shadow blobs, helicopters with faces on them... and that's not even a third of the monstrosities I saw while playing this. By the way, the cat wasn't a monster, he was just a cool cat.

    So let's go down my "list": plot, graphics, gameplay, levels, major problems, major letdowns, why I liked it, why I hate it, why you should stop letting me do /newstuff reviews, what I ate while playing it, what channel I was watching, which episode of Matlock I like best, wh-fine...

    Is there a plot? How the hell should I know? You're stuck in a mansion and you want to investigate it, unearth a conspiracy, I guess,,and then try to save the planet. Typical 90s game stuff. The plot is the sanest thing here.

    It's everything else that's fucking bonkers.

    Graphics wise, the textures are from a mash of different sources, with a lot of textures from Freedoom. Yes, this actually works! Those Freedoom textures fit in perfectly in that "Doom clone knockoff" kind of way. Aesthetics range from dark tunnels to garish mansions, with spooky "Blood"-like cities... and, of course, the occasional full-on, opium-inspired eye-rape. I can't go far too into that concept without spoiling the game, so I won't. But I can talk about the proportions: they're all over the place. It's intentional. The mansion is haunted, so things are bound to be HWACKY. 3D floors are used sparingly, but when they are used, you won't even notice. Nothing is in this TC just to show off the port. We're past that, aren't we?

    Gameplay is simple Doom action with crazy (weak) weapons, some serious, some hilarious. The enemies are equally crazy, and all of them have a weakness. You'll need to know these weaknesses, apparently, because not only do you need to do that to save precious resources, the bastards will drop an item, usually a coin.

    A coin?

    Yep. You spend those coins in shops scattered throughout the levels. There are many of them in the game, and you never seem to have enough, given that the shops are price gouging the hell out of you. There is no healthy competition in Mayhem Mansion. You gain coins by picking them up, opening up treasure chests, or, as I said before, defeating each enemy a certain, unique way - more on that later.

    Okay, let's just get the negatives out of the way now.

    Weapons. "Oh boy, here we go". Graphically, there's no excuse for any of the primary weapons taking up half of the screen. This is one of the game's main problems, but since the rest of the game is just ever-so-slightly terrible, I have to assume that this was intended. What's not acceptable, again, is the weak feeling some of the weapons have. You start with a basic magic boomerang projectile, which, luckily, never runs out. That's good because you're going to be spamming this. A lot. And while it works well on the first monsters you encounter, it quickly becomes useless. The rate of fire is too low, and there's no way to charge attacks. There is an upgrade to the boomerang, but I don't get the chance to use it before the episode ends, and I have to start the next level with absolutely nothing. What a buncha shit.

    There are some really funny spells you can learn to cast later on, some of which had me literally laughing out loud.

    And perhaps my biggest problem with this game: The weapons feel ineffective to the point of frustration. As I said before, there is a gimmick in which certain monsters are weak to certain weapons, but this isn't really obvious, other than they fall quicker and drop a coin. And you'll need every single fucking coin you can find or create - else you're going to be running out of ammo, fast. This happened quite a lot in my first play-through. In fact, this is my primary problem with this mod - the ammo balance in the levels is beyond terrible, and you can't carry very much with you. Which means that everyone who plays this will be leaving valuable ammo behind that can't be obtained later when they need it, because that would involve backtracking all the way around and through the levels, and hopefully remembering where the ammo locations are that weren't picked up. I hate that. Don't make me do that. Else the game turns into a boomerang flingfest, where I GamePro it: throw boomerangs at a monster until it dies.

    Enemies span the gamut from hilariously useless fodder to "annoying as mo-fuggin-got-dam-shit". Especially the books. Those cheeky fucks swarm you in an instant, and they can teleport, just to make things even worse. The majority of the higher-level enemies are walking doors, in which the best method of dealing with them is to keep your distance and never let go of the fire button... unless you didn't buy any ammo and run out FFFFFFFFGHHGGHBBL

    But here's what saves the entire thing: quests. Mayhem Mansion is full of things to do, things to find, switches to throw, and this never lets up. There is even a key chase, where you have to chase - yes, chase - a sentient running key. I can't make this stuff up. Scattered throughout the mansion (and other levels) are ringing phones, which give you either valuable info, or to indicate a secret nearby. There's a huge portal bit too where things flip upside down... and I just realized, there is so much to this mod that I'm already doubting myself if what I remember actually happened, or was it another mod entirely, I just remember two bedrooms. Was there a kitchen? I distinctly remember breaking into a kitchen and talking to a bunch of aliens... hmm...and something about kings. I don't even remember.

    By the way: skeletons happen. Lots of skeletons. Which, by default, means I cannot hate this mod (by decree of the Skeleton Army) and I must recommend that everyone play this immediately.

    So, in a nutshell:

    Pros: Skeletons
    Cons: Who cares, there are skeletons

    Play this NOW.

    ...

    If you're really wanting to play this, let me give you an actual review (that matters). You're going to find the actual "Doom" part of this to be the most frustrating part, to the point of just turning the thing off. It took me an entire minute to fell an Anvil Bat with the default boomerang attack. The weapons, while funny, are frustrating to use, and one even requires you to pick up the ammo it drops - which can be somewhere you can't get to. Magic is scarce, and the weapons that use it are very magic-hungry. The damage the magic weapons do is not apparent in any way on monsters that do not have visible and audible pain states. This feels extremely lazy to me, and I don't know if I'm doing any damage, or if any shots are landing. This is NOT acceptable. On top of all that, the weakness system isn't obvious, and you might, in the heat of the moment, use a magic-heavy attack on a monster that isn't even affected by it. I give high marks to originality, music, mood, aesthetics, and even monster variety and map design, but the main part - satisfying weaponry - well, it's just not there. Taking a minute and a half to kill two small-ish monsters with easily dodgeable attacks gets old really quickly. The game needed some "fodder" to keep it going between major monster encounters, and Maniac Mansion has very little of this.

    If satisfying weapons were to be found later in the maps, why does it take so long to get to them? Making the player suffer with insufficient weaponry is not how to pace a map. The Shotgun in Doom is so good, yet the equivalent in Mayhem Mansion feels so useless. I barely used it on anything but the books, because I found out its weakness was the musket. And it's the only one I remember, aside from the handwalkers being weak to boomerangs.

    The rate of fire is abysmally slow. Some weapons take way too long to use again, even if they are weak weapons. One weak boomerang per two seconds is not good for a starting weapon, especially when the main attack, a knife, barely does anything, and since most monsters are not to be knifed, what's the point?

    Requiring shootable switches deep into the wall to be hit with the utmost precision is very hard with a weak projectile weapon. One shootable switch took me 30 seconds to activate until I hit just the right angle. And even then I need to backtrack to find out what the switch opened - unless a script activated with some text on screen to tell me what had changed, and where.

    So, here are my suggestions for improving this mod:

    For weak weapons, increasing the rate of fire may help. Give a charge-up attack to them. Add some visual feedback for the player to know if he's doing any damage whatsoever. Increase the ammo capacity or just put more ammo in the maps.

    Explain the Armor system better. I kept acquiring armor - what does that do? Does it add to the total or is it like Doom's armor? And why so many armor suits in the first four minutes of play? None of that makes sense to me.

    And now to admit - I cheated. How? Well, I went into the WAD and changed some of the weapon stats. I made the boomerang attack faster, I also increased the damage, and I made sure that visible blood would spawn on each successful hit. I also reduced the rate of fire to the musket/shotgun and fixed that terrible spread. Before, I couldn't use that gun in anything but close quarters. I also increased the speed of the bow. It's a BOW. Slow projectiles and "bow and arrow" don't mix. It's still too large of a projectile, though. I also LOWERED the weapon coordinates to saner levels where I could see. This took maybe 20 minutes, half of that looking at the wiki on which setting did what. After ironing out all that shit, I played the whole thing and I loved it.

    This is a great mod. It just needs a little more polish. Now, I'm off to play the whole thing again to see if I missed anything!

    Doomed - Marc A. Pullen
    Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - OGG Support - 33.05 MB
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    I knew the name Marc Pullen was ringing a bell, and that's probably because he worked on the soundtracks for Hacx and GothicDM 2. If you've ever touched EDGE in your life, you may know him better for his work on the 2001 TC QDoom, which was his last project until now. But now, like so many other great names from Doom's past that have come out of the woodwork in the last couple of years, he's back. His new release, Doomed, is a set of 15 metal tracks in .ogg format (plus two short title/intermission pieces) that you can either think of as an instrumental album or a music resource. As a soundtrack, it reminds me a bit of Quake 2. In case you want to listen to the tracks outside the game, there's a link in the textfile to a set of higher-quality .wav files on Pullen's SoundCloud profile.

    One reason Doomed works as an album is that, although I assume these tracks were composed digitally, they all feature consistent instrumentation (a couple of different guitars and a drum set), as though they were all created by the same band in a studio. My ear isn't really trained for metal music, but Doomed sounds pretty damn good to me. Like most of the metal that I've found enjoyable, Pullen's tracks feel sort of like they're on a pendulum swinging back and forth between two different moods, which in Doom terms translate roughly as "You're not dead yet but there are more demons hiding in the shadows up ahead" and "Oh shit they're here SHOOT EVERYTHING." Each individual track covers both moods, instead of some being one mood and some being the other, and when you combine that with the repeated instrumentation, the result is that they all sound pretty similar to each other. It has the potential to feel either very consistent or very repetitive, and since those words mean basically the same thing when you get down to it, it's really up to your personal opinion. I don't think it's really a problem; each song stands on its own merits, the album is too short to become monotonous, and players probably won't care in-game. This compilation would be a great resource for a large project where musical consistency is an asset but Jimmy/Stewboy MIDIs just won't work that well. It would probably fit best with a ZDoom-based project with a more modern vibe, especially a megamap where the music changes as you enter each new section or a TC with a large number of maps. But regardless of whether you're looking for music to use as a resource or just to listen to, this is some great stuff.

    Secretdoom: Disrepair 2 - Cyberdemon531
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 31.07 MB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Secretdoom: Disrepair 2 is a 11-level mapset, where, apart from the first two-to-three, most stages are fairly large, although, thankfully, not TOO large. In terms of looks, it is divided between two styles: a very bland, arctic exterior, and lots of Quake II-like high-tech base interior areas full of brown, dark green, and grey; areas that are far better, although they do get boring after five or so levels. It would be nice if things would get more "hellish" as you get further into this wad. As for the action, it's nothing to write home about, at least initially.

    Up until Map05, stages consist of very large areas, with a few enemies sprinkled around, usually placed in such a way that it's a piece of cake to kill them, since they almost never ambush you, not to mention that the ammo is insanely abundant. Even if you speedrun through this, your arsenal will always be up and ready for ANYTHING. Even after Map05 where things get somewhat slaughter map-esque, the gunfights feel more like speedbumps than dangerous encounters. Is Secretdoom: Disrepair 2 bad? No, but, on its own, it's just "good." It becomes far better when coupled with a mod, or at least when experienced in Nightmare.

    PS: The 11th AAAAAAAAAAAA stage which is filled with Serious Sam-like suicide bombers is the worst of the bunch. Literally a map where all you do is shoot groups of these annoying morons.

    The Tunnels - HellBlade64
    Doom 2 - Deathmatch - ZDoom Compatible - 1.71 MB -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    So, this is a deathmatch map made for Zandronum and almost any ZDoom-compatible port made by HellBlade64. Layout is just a basic large maze with few details, some middle junction structures (one with a plasma gun, and if you get that you'll become the master of this arena), and dead end rooms with SSG and some boxes of shells or a backpack placed in random fashion. Also the said rooms aren't a spawning point.

    The spawning points are instead put in the crossing section of every tunnel, with an SSG in the middle of it. That is OK if you play with 4 players, but playing with 4 players is... pretty boring.

    But, on the other hand, if you want to raise the player count and put some spice in the gameplay (I added 16 bots after playing with 4), you will be discouraged from the too far weapon spot, leaving you disarmed against your opponents!

    And everything is covered in a dark purple fog, which gives a creepy and cool atmosphere to it.

    Overall, this map was pretty bland and not really fun to play.

    If the player spawns were put at the SSG, and the arena was made smaller a little bit, it could be a much better playing experience; otherwise, this a bland level. Skip to other better deathmatch levels than this one!

    Mutiny (A Doomworld Community Project) - Various
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 5.3 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Mutiny is a 16-map community project spearheaded by 40oz as part of his return to mapping. It's intended as a spiritual successor to the many gritty cyberpunk wads of the '90s, including STRAIN, Hell2Pay, and Hacx -- no-budget fangames from the golden age of video gaming, when the primary aesthetic was over-the-top cheesiness and the dystopian future was favored as a fun backdrop for brainless action heroes rather than a vehicle for political symbolism. Everything about Mutiny is designed with this aesthetic in mind, from the texture set to the gameplay gimmicks, and the result feels distinctly retro. On the other hand, the level of detailing and the finely tuned gameplay could only come out of the 2010s (even though the wad is mostly vanilla-compatible), making this mapset feel like sort of a modern update to the classic concept.

    True to its predecessors, Mutiny's story is so campy it's fun. You're playing as a UAC marine who's been betrayed by the corporation and left to die, so naturally you immediately go on a one-man killing spree, only to discover that the UAC has been conducting terrible experiments. Unlike many of the wads it draws inspiration from, Mutiny doesn't have custom monsters -- but since most of those older wads just used weird-looking reskins of Doom monsters, that's fine with me. The zombies are meant to be loyal UAC marines, probably hopped up on some superdrug, and the demons are meant to be experimental mutants. It works.

    Mutiny is about as close to being a managed project as a community wad can get, and it shows in the quality and consistency of the levels. In addition to laying out a cohesive concept and a resource set in advance, 40oz stipulated that every level would be a collaborative effort -- prospective mappers had to work in pairs, or even in larger groups. This helped to ensure good quality control, and it also kept any given mapper's distinct style from running wild and creating a hodgepodge feel among the different maps. Don't get me wrong; I love the sort of community project where every map is completely unique. Mutiny is a very different animal, though; it's built around a single idea, and the consistency really works in its favor. If you were following this project's development, you may remember that involvement eventually started to wane, and a glance at the mapping credits makes it pretty clear that 40oz went through and wrapped everything up at the end, polishing up not-quite-finished levels and adding a few of his own solo efforts to reach the desired 16 slots.

    Even the soundtrack was tailored by the project management, which is something I'm a big fan of when it comes to community wads. Instead of having every mapping team select their own music, 40oz appointed Alfonzo to pick all the tracks. The resulting soundtrack mostly comes from Jimmy's 30 in 30 compilations (though it has a few other interesting tracks by different composers as well), and it's heavy on songs that sound like they could have come out of '80s and '90s console games or action movie soundtracks, as well as some slower, moodier pieces that fit well in Mutiny's darker, more atmospheric levels.

    The custom texture set is another thing this wad has going for it. As far as I can tell, all of it was created for Mutiny, and it mainly revolves around dark, grungy base textures punctuated by very bright colors. This combination creates a lot of contrast and gives the maps a pretty unique feel. The nearest thing I can think of to compare it to visually is (unsurprisingly) 40oz's UAC Ultra, but whereas that wad was mostly gray, black, orange, and red, Mutiny throws a lot of green and blue into the mix as well. The effect is pretty great -- just see the screenshots. In another nod to the classics, the last few levels take place -- where else? -- in a cyberspace setting characterized by abstract bars of color and a black void surrounding everything.

    The levels are pretty tough, though not extreme. Monster counts are moderate, generally falling between 200 and 300 for the larger levels (with a few exceptions), and the difficulty tends to come from cruel and liberal use of chaingunners, Revenants, and Arch-Viles in a way that often reminded me of Plutonia and its sequels. The whole thing reaches its climax in 40oz's "The Brain" (map 31), which features a Cyberdemon elevator battle followed by an assault against many layers of well-entrenched enemies in the boss chamber, and finally a beautifully choreographed slaughter battle against constantly teleporting Imps, Revenants, Mancubuses, and Arachnotrons in the big, open courtyard. The one thing that really changes dramatically from level to level is the use of space, and in many levels, spatial reasoning is a big part of the challenge. You'll be working your way across huge chasms to reach enemies sniping at you from the other side, trying to escape from ambushes in tight spaces, fighting across height differentials, dealing with big lifts and lowering walls, and strategizing to avoid or traverse large swaths of nukage and lava, all while puzzling out some pretty challenging and complex layouts. It's a wild ride. The cleverly and beautifully constructed architecture, and the huge affect it has on the gameplay, is one of the biggest reasons that many of Mutiny's levels stand out.

    Well, that and the little details. See the multiple effects on map 01 that simulate light hitting water, or the quirky platform height puzzle on map 04, or the way the giant mastermind brain gets destroyed at the end of the final level. A lot of care has gone into every aspect of Mutiny, and those little extra touches are the icing on the cake. Don't miss it -- it's one of the best mapsets of the year.

    Black: The Return of The Masters - Timothy Simpson
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 4.51 MB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Black: The Return of The Masters is wad for ZDoom with six levels. I don't really know how this took three weeks to be done (according to the text file), but I guess that most of the time was spent grabbing the custom monsters from Realm667 and writing the very long story which I didn't read. I wanted to see the first level before reading that massive wall of text, and it seems that it isn't worth it. The mapping probably took only one day.

    So, we start with 999% health against monsters that take too many shots to be killed (or the custom weapons are just shit), HQ decorations that look ridiculous even in a extremely detailed GZDoom level by Tormentor667, and music playing Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin. The first level is so terrible that I wished that everything was like that so at least I could laugh a bit, but the rest is generic bad stuff: combat is always frontal, and the layouts have only rooms or cramped corridors. This wad sucks.

    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.

    Tormentor667
    "You are B.J. Blazkowicz, the greatest spy and biggest risk-taker the Allied forces have ever known. Take on the might and fury of the Third Reich as you blast your way to victory!" After a development time of exactly 21 months, the team announces the release of the first chapter of Blade of Agony titled "The Staff of Kings" - just a day before the announced release date. With a total of seven maps, orchestrated music, combined low-poly models and pixelated 90's style beauty, armament from the battlefields of WWII, interactive NPCs, and many more amazing features never seen in a Doom mod before, this is one of the largest releases the community has ever seen - at least in terms of digital size and scale. Join historical battles, relieve the action from the Second World War from a new perspective, and battle the diabolical Adolf Hitler, who is twisting science and the occult in his pathological mission to conquer the world. The fate of all free peoples hangs in the balance - failure is not an option. Get the first chapter of Blade of Agony now from the official page and make sure to read the info pages while it's loading to not get lost too easily.

    Bloodshedder

    The /newstuff Chronicles #518

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    CyberShield (PWAD Version) - XCVG
    Doom/Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 5.94 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    CyberShield is basically a freeware indie game that happens to be made in the Doom engine and run in GZDoom. It goes a little bit beyond being a TC; everything about the gameplay feels different from Doom, and the graphics don't resemble Doom's at all. It's sort of like a 3D version of Space Invaders. There's only one level, and it takes place in a single small arena, where you try to fight off seemingly endless hordes of cartoony critters that are invading your turf.

    The story (which I could only partially read, since GZDoom clipped off a ton of the text) is that you're in a distant future where some sort of robots have driven the last of humankind into an underground refuge, where they're cryogenically frozen to wait for safer times. You play as a person or an AI or something who has to go into cyberspace and fight off an attack against the server that (I think?) is keeping them alive. All of this is conveyed via a series of intro screens accompanied by grim '80s action movie-style music, and even though I couldn't quite understand everything that was going on, it still set the tone nicely.

    Granted, the actual game has a completely *different* tone, but that's okay. The music is still retro but has more of a cheesy arcade sound to it, and the graphics are just plain adorable. The textures are very flat and colorful, and the enemies and guns are abstract shapes that look like they're made from just a handful of pixels.

    As you try to hold off the hordes of attackers, you'll encounter four different enemy types: a small swarming enemy that shoots projectiles, a suicide bomber that always goes for the server pillar you're trying to protect, a tough tank enemy that will attack either you or the server, and a boss that shoots at you and spawns more of the little swarmer guys. To combat them, you get three guns, all of which are already in your arsenal when you start and come with infinite ammo. There's a dinky railgun pistol, which is the default weapon; a machine gun, which is the best to use against the swarmers; and a slightly more powerful projectile weapon that can potentially take out several enemies in a shot, sort of like a weaker rocket launcher.

    Gameplay is extremely tough, and having the right control setup is absolutely critical. It's almost impossible to hit anything without a crosshair, and you have to use a 3D mouselook setup rather than 2D mouselook with automatic height compensation (which I personally prefer), because autoaim doesn't seem to work in this game at all. Even with these adjustments, though, I found the gameplay very frustrating. The enemies are extremely small, the weapons are weak and cover very little space, the swarmers move very quickly, and the end result of all this is that I spent most of my time just trying to aim properly. Those little pink swarmer enemies are the only ones that are really obnoxious, but they account for most of the enemies you fight, and the boss bots spawn them at absurdly fast rates, which compounds the problem even more. For me, it really sucked the fun out of what looked like it was going to be a pretty casual game. At some point I thought to myself, "Well, why don't I just switch to a lower difficulty setting?," but it turns out that the game doesn't have any difficulty settings.

    Does CyberShield reach some kind of dramatic finale where you try to fight off multiple bosses, or does it keep going forever, so that the goal is just to try to hold out longer and longer each time, like in all of the old arcade shooters that the game takes inspiration from? Honestly, I was never able to find out. Eventually I turned on cheats to see if I could reach an ending, but even then, I got so sick of trying to keep up with the swarms that I gave up and quit. I feel like this could be a great game if it were more accessible, particularly if it had multiple difficulty modes, the enemies were a bit larger, and the weapons had more clout. However, if you were a gamer in the '80s and you don't care whether games are about achieving a goal or being victorious, you may have a lot of fun seeing how long you can last.

    ROMERO'S HERESY - John Mullins aka Drfrag Rafael Angel Jimenez aka The Master
    Doom 2, Heretic - Single Player - ZDoom compatible, EDGE/3DGE, Vavoom, Doomsday - 991.64 KB -
    Reviewed by: bzzrak
    ROMERO'S HERESY is a mod for ZDoom or EDGE (claimed to work with a variety of other ports, though), released a long time ago (somewhere in the early 2000-s), but updated in May 2016. Apparently, the install procedure was a bit messed up, so the authors showed up again and made Heresy easier to play in 2016. So, let's see what's it worth!

    The install procedure is indeed rather easy now; I just copied my Doom 2 and Heretic IWADs to a directory where I had previously unzipped the archive, ran the included executable and, after a few minutes, got a working PWAD requiring the Doom 2 IWAD. It requires a 32-bit OS, though, so if you're one of those progressive folks with a 64-bit OS, you might run into some trouble. This PWAD is some sort of tribute to John Romero, who is credited by authors as "THE DOOM GOD".

    As you might've guessed from me mentioning the Heretic IWAD, this mod brings you Heretic levels, but with Doom 2 monsters, weapons and powerups. Also, the authors claim that this is BREWTAL DEWM/PRUJECT BREWTULITI compatible, so if you're into that kind of stuff, go ahead and give this a play.

    By the way, if you're playing this with EDGE/3DGE, you will have to cope with some sort of weapons mod. The pistol has to be reloaded, the SSG reload animation is even slower, and the shotgun, RL and BFG have those "expanded" sprites. I used ZDoom for this review, so I can't really tell you how much it impacts the gameplay and if are there any changes that I haven't noticed at first glance.

    First of all, I have to say that this mod is NOT something that aims for the genuine Heretic experience and things like that: all those Heretic behaviour quirks, such as basically everything related to the D'Sparil boss fight, are not preserved. I'm not sure if that was the intention, so I'm just neutrally mentioning it.

    The monster balance seems quite different; it is very clear that the levels aren't suited for the bestiary. A single Baron is a LOT weaker than an Iron Lich, at least to me. Same goes for zombiemen and those small red flying gargoyles! Therefore, the levels are quite a bit easier than in the original (I played on the 3rd skill level). Or am I just too used to the good old Baron of Hell and Zombieman? However, it's still quite fun to play... assuming that you found the original Heretic with its more exploration-focused gameplay fun. The varying level design, lots of secret areas -- it's all still here and waiting for you to play, but with a new twist in it.

    All of the episodes, including the semi-hidden E6Mx levels, are accessible from the title screen.

    This PWAD (or can it be called a TC?) also comes with a few new sprites -- those gargoyles holding red and blue orbs for the two Doom key colours that were absent in Heretic.

    Moreover, one thing that probably should be mentioned is that the map slots are in Doom 2 format now, so e.g. E3M8 becomes MAP26.

    There are also a few (minor) things that are, if not annoying, a pain to watch repeatably. The small blood splats that appear when you shoot a monster make that "SPLOOSH!" effect and sound when they fall into the water. That's noisy and aggravating. Also, the teleports lack that funky stars effect. They just don't seem so special anymore. One more thing that isn't really a problem is that some monsters look (a bit) strange in the Heretic palette, such as the Hell Knight and Pinky.

    Overall, ROMERO'S HERESY is definitely a decent execution of an interesting idea, and, although it does suffer from minor problems, is still something that the Six Fans Of Heretic (TM) might like. Even if you don't belong to the aforementioned Six, you can check this out for a slightly different experience from the usual Doom gameplay.

    Pulse - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 1.29 MB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Almost every single wad author has a long list of old wads; wads that helped us understand level design better, wads that are too old, or wads that were simply left out of any major projects. This is such a collection, and as one, all levels were meant to be played at pistol start. Here's a brief summary:

    First there are a bunch of levels that look like small tests. Map 03 is a tiny three-corridor level. Map 04 is a small arena that won't need more than a minute to complete. The most interesting of the bunch is Map 07, a Satan's asshole level (lots of blood and gore), which offers a few long corridors guarded by some unchallenging Arch-viles. Map 10 is a generic Cyberdemon fight - skip.

    Then there are a few, equally simple, but larger stages. Map 01 and Map 06 are both short and sweet, but otherwise forgettable, and the same goes for Map 15 which is longer, but nothing special as a whole. Map 02 is pretty much the same, but ends in a slaughter map-type area which is more annoying than challenging. Map 05 is even worse, since it's a slaughter borefest that's highly unfair and irritating.

    Moving on, we have the simple, decent-to-good, old-school and open-ended, key-searching maps, like Map 08, 09, and 12. Map 13 and 20 are quite larger than those, as well as one of the best in this collection, and the same goes for Map 14 and 16, although they are somewhat lengthy. Map 17 and 18 are good too, but they overstay their welcome, not to mention that the first has way too little medikits around. As a whole, some good ol' Doom fun here.

    Finally, we have those "are we there yet?!" bore-o-ramas that don't know when to finish, like Map 11, which is a LONG, unimaginative pile of corridors with a few enemies sprinkled all around, and the Grand Canyon-like Map 19, which starts OK, but soon puts you to sleep with its overabundance of enemies and gargantuan map size.

    Asylum (v1.0) - Angry Saint
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 816.97 KB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Asylum (v1.0) is an Asylum-styled (duh) level, and as one, it consists mostly of various shades of brown, green, and more brown. It's generally good-looking, although not that detailed (or varied), and the contrast between light and dark is - mostly - well-used, but those seeking something more vibrant in color, or closer to Doom's cyber-hellish look, better try something else. By the way, while not a long map (in fact it's quite balanced length-wise), it IS long, which makes its already repetitive and dull music track even more so.

    In terms of gameplay, it's a pretty straightforward, find-the-keys map with normal-to-slightly-higher challenge and no big surprises or intricate/labyrinthine level design. When simply running around you will face a couple of enemies at some pretty big areas for them to pose a threat, and when picking up a key or a weapon a typical "ambush" will occur, which, while tougher, is not something special. The only out-of-place battle is the very last one, where all sorts of enemies (plus an Arch-vile) will appear from multiple doors, with little to no space to move, leading to a lot of cheap deaths. The funny part? Since this is the only section that stands out, it's probably the best in what is an otherwise average wad.

    The Cursed Temple - Paolo M. aka Paul977
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 250.73 KB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    The Cursed Temple is a single-player Doom II level with an underground, dungeon-like look full of brick and wood that, while not exactly wallpaper-beautiful, is surely the work of someone experienced with wad design - plus, the accompanying, dark music tune "Night Bats," courtesy of Mark Klem, fits like a glove to the claustrophobic, almost survival horror vibe of the map... the VERY claustrophobic vibe of the map.

    The whole idea behind it is that it's a very linear, but unorthodox labyrinth, where paths open up not by just turning on switches or opening doors, but by "secret" wall-doors and so on; secrets in the sense that that they are not obvious, though, because moving on never becomes a "search every crack and crevice" kind of chore.

    Gunplay-wise, it's a mixed bag. Needless to say that the vast majority of enemies don't just stand there waiting for someone to come, and instead surprise the player through ambushes. While some specific areas end up feeling more annoying and unfair than challenging, most of the time there's "enough" space to move around - the "enough" is in quotes because, let it be mentioned once more, this is very claustrophobic. In conclusion, great wad, but only for those who want the things it offers.

    Mephitic Purity - Lee "DooMAD" Wallis
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom - 944.42 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Mephitic Purity's development goes way back. It was intended as a submission for Community Chest 3 but was put on hold when that project changed from ZDoom to Boom compatibility. It's set in a brown, slightly overgrown base and uses slopes liberally. Overall it looks pretty good, but the appearance tends to be kind of monotonous, since the same sets of mid details get used for huge sections of the map and the texture selection is pretty much the same throughout (up until the final room, shown in screenshot 3, which is a nice visual change).

    Gameplay is laid-back and fun, relying on just the shotgun, chaingun, and SSG against lots of low- and mid-tier monsters. Although there are over 350 monsters on UV, the level felt concise and fast-paced to me, since there weren't any boss battles or grindy hordes to slow it down. The ammo felt just right -- slightly tight if you always try to rely exclusively on your most powerful weapon, but reasonably generous if you switch back and forth between guns. Unfortunately, the ending arena felt really jarring to me, since it uses a completely different style of gameplay from the rest of the level and switches music without any particularly good reason. It also locks you in, so you can't go back to the rest of the level to max items and secrets if you missed some. Speaking of secrets, I clipped out of the last room after beating it and used the map cheat just to check them out; none of them have any visual indication of where they are, so you are presumably expected to just run around clicking on walls, which is annoying. Also, there's a yellow key in the level that isn't used for anything.

    In short, this map has a few weird flaws, but it's pretty fun overall.

    Based - PinchySkree
    Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 4.38 MB -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    Pinchy has spent a lot of hours here. A lot. Thankfully, he is a skilled author, so don't expect any flaws design-wise; no serious bugs, no stupid enemy placement, no misaligned textures, and so on. Unfortunately, Based is a megawad where the emphasis was given in realism rather than fun. Instead of the abstract level design that made Doom such a fantastic game, all stages resemble actual places - from parking lots to office complexes, and from excavation sites to hi-tech labs, everything is highly detailed, and full of some well-crafted props, ranging from simple toilets to fountains. This doesn't help the gameplay, though.

    For starters, the vast majority of areas are (again, for reasons of realism) extremely large, and, to be honest, empty, making the - initially - few battles with enemies far from challenging, because, let's be honest, even a legion of Cyberdemons is an easy target in an area as big as a football stadium. Furthermore, even as the levels become more challenging as the game goes on, it all feels like a gargantuan room with a few enemies scattered around, with no real surprises, traps, or secrets. The player enters, shoots some demons, grabs the key, and moves on. All in all, a fine example of level architecture, but an average Doom wad.

    Try Before you DIE! - VeinCrawler
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom - 585.61 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Try Before you DIE! is a challenging map that uses only stock textures -- and uses them quite well. Half of the map takes place in a destroyed city, and the other half is the standard bastion of Hell that serves as the source of the invasion. The level has plenty of nice clean detail, including lots of crumbled walls and such that contribute to the ruined world theme but also serve a functional purpose, since most of them are actual openings that you can walk through to get from one room to the next. Partly because of this, the level felt like it offered a great deal of freedom in terms of how to move around.

    The two halves of the level are (mostly) played separately, but each one is nonlinear. In the first area (the city), you have to run around and find guns and ammo while under heavy fire from the chaingunners and upper mid-tier monsters that start confronting you almost immediately. There's some great building-to-building urban combat here, but also larger, more open battles in the main street area. Once you've dealt with everything and found the series of switches needed to progress, you move on to the Hell area, which is built around a central blood pit with an Icon of Sin. Those who hate Icon of Sin battles don't need to worry, as you never have to deal with a monster spawner. That doesn't mean that anything about this area is easy, though. To open the way to the exit (through the Icon's mouth), you have to hit four switches scattered around this part of the map, and each one requires you to overcome a distinct challenge: a tricky barrel puzzle, a multi-level cavern maze, a big battle against many enemies, and a Cyberdemon/Arch-Vile fight. I love how many different things the author manages to throw at you in this map, and I think pretty much any player will have their skills tested in some way. Tough but fair, and quite fun.

    Plutonium Sandpit - Kristian Aro
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 33.47 MB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    For pretty much the entire time that ZDoom-based ports have existed, it's been easy to dismiss most of their features as pointless gimmicks -- and with the exception of DECORATE and its ability to expand the game's content base without replacing existing resources, I tend to agree. Features like slopes and translucent panels can be loosely replicated at lower compatibility levels in a way that feels more Doomlike, and stuff like colored lighting and sudden music changes during boss battles usually make me wonder why the author even bothered. But every once in awhile, there comes a G/ZDoom project that manages to use all these features so thoroughly and so well that I have to grudgingly admit that they may be on to something.

    Enter Kristian Aro's Plutonium Sandpit, a GZDoom map that, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with Plutonia but quite a lot to do with sand. This goliath of a level has it all: atmospheric effects, fancy lighting, bulletproof glass, about 20 different "you can't open this door yet" messages, and a crapton of custom content, from decorations to powerups to monsters. Thing-wise, the new monsters are the most obvious additions. Early on, you'll fight several slightly more powerful Imp variants and a couple of custom zombies, and although they don't really add anything to gameplay, they succeed in what they set out to do, which is add some unobtrusive flavor to the level. Aro doesn't go whole hog with a zillion different variants of every monster, which is a good thing; mostly you're dealing with standard Doom-style combat against your favorite classic demons. Toward the end of the level, you face a few more hellish monsters, including a fast-moving fireball thrower (Hellions, for those well versed in the Realm667 Repository), a powerful flying Mancubus, and two different Baron-based minibosses with fire-themed attacks. The minibosses are a fun addition, and the variety they contribute to the combat scenarios is welcome in a level that takes an hour plus to beat. The Hellions aren't as useful an addition, since you mostly fight them in more confined spaces where their speed is less of an asset. They still look cool though.

    Did I mention this map is huge? Plutonium Sandpit carries on the tradition of gigantic ZDoom-based megamaps such as the ZDCMP series and Ultimate Torment & Torture, and even though the monster count is a somewhat moderate 500 or so, you'll want to have a serious chunk of time free to commit to your playthrough. The level is divided up into three distinct sections. The first is a nonlinear base crawl with lots of the usual trappings, including crates and air ducts; combat is pretty light, but the scattered enemies tend to be shooting at you from multiple directions, and there are a fair number of perched snipers that you'll need to watch out for. After that, you'll move on to the huge, open sandy courtyard for which the level is named. This area has multiple side buildings and is generally linear (find the switch or key to open up one area at a time), with much more challenging combat against larger groups of powerful enemies and several bosses and minibosses. The fog and other ambient effects create a nice sandstorm-like atmosphere out in the courtyard and start to make the level feel like it's part of a more modern game (Serious Sam era, maybe) that just happens to have sprite graphics. The last area is the hellish source of the invasion, and Aro uses GZDoom's features to really lay the atmosphere on thick here, with heavy reddish fog and various fiery effects. After some simpler hall-to-hall combat, you make your way to the final arena, where you're likely to get walloped by a nasty battle against all of the toughest enemies in the expanded bestiary, followed quickly by an Icon of Sin fight.

    Plutonium Sandpit is nothing if not impressive. Although I still prefer to see port features used in a way that doesn't interfere with Doom's classic look, this level is GZDoom mapping at its finest.

    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.

    40oz

    Andrew Malinku Rehberger Passes Away

    By 40oz, in News,

    With a heavy heart, it comes with great regret to inform that Doomworld member Malinku has passed away. Malinku was a clan mate, map designer, graphic designer, and friend to many. He was found dead in his home in St. Paul on Sunday (Nov 6th 2016) with a severe head injury. More details can be found in the news article and announcement thread found on these forums.

    Malinku made several great maps for Doom and participated in community projects such as 32in24, Hadephobia, and ZDCMP2. You can find more wads he participated in here.

    Decay has started a speedmapping tribute map for Malinku. I couldn't think of a better way to pay respects than to create maps just as Malinku did for us. This space marine helped contribute to the fun we've been having with this silly old video game for so long just as many of us have. He will join the army of many who have left us from the Doom community to fight off the evil legions of hell in the afterlife. Our hearts go out to you, Andrew.

    Doomkid

    Doomworld Multiplayer Digest #40

    By Doomkid, in News,

    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #274 - Killing Adventure 2 (Part I)
    Date: 10th November 2016
    Euro session: 19:00 GMT/14:00 EST at [L@P], Germany (usually lasts over 6 hours)

    Zandronum Friday Night Fragfest #348: Epic CTF & Chaoscore CTF
    European FNF: November 11th, 2016, 18:00 UTC
    American FNF: November 11th, 2016, 20:00 EDT

    Aussie Friday Night Fragfest #6: Dwango 20th Anniversary
    When: November 11th, 2016 18:00 AEST
    Where: [AUS] [doomjoshuaboy.xyz]

    ZDS #480 - Jiffy Bag Instagib Deathmatch Part I
    Date: Saturday 12th November 2016
    Euro: 19:30 GMT / 15:30 EDT
    USA: 01:00 GMT / 21:00 EDT Head on over to the multiplayer forum for discussion about clans, multiplayer WADs, match scheduling and other fun events. Happy fragging!

    Tormentor667
    The project team is proud to finally announce the release date for chapter 1 of the WolfenDoom project Blade of Agony. On the 13th of November, they will unleash the first seven maps that are part of "The Staff of Kings" which will introduce you to the mod. Check the release trailer at YouTube to get an idea what to expect. For more information, make sure to visit the official page and give yourself a good knowledge base before you play the mod in about two weeks. Get psyched!

    Doomkid

    Doomworld Multiplayer Digest #39

    By Doomkid, in News,

    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #272 - Requiem (Part I revisited)
    Date: 27th October 2016
    Euro session: 19:00 BST/14:00 EDT at [L@P], Germany (usually lasts over 6 hours)

    Zandronum Friday Night Fragfest #346: Internal Conflict & Ghouls vs Humans
    European FNF: October 28th, 2016, 18:00 UTC
    American FNF: October 28th, 2016, 20:00 EDT

    ZDS #478 - Halloween 2016 II
    Date: Saturday 29th October 2016
    Euro: 19:30 BST / 14:30 EDT
    USA: 01:00 BST / 20:00 EDT Keen an eye on the multiplayer forum for information about events, match scheduling and more. Happy fragging!

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