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  • 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!

    Bloodshedder

    VeryHard - yaqxsw
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom - 7.07 MB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    VeryHard is a seven-map wad with a not very creative title, and as it says these levels will be very hard. If you remember yaqxsw some time ago released a single level, I'm Going to Hell, which is a long sequence of hard set piece encounters, and this wad is basically the same thing. I started to play on HMP and switched to HNTR after making some progress in MAP01; still, I couldn't finish a single level. The wad starts with a level set inside a subway; it's rather easy to start, but you have to mow down tons of enemies with the SSG as the most powerful weapon; later on you'll fight in tunnels that get filled with revenants.

    MAP02 start requires a lot of strategy; there's a group of cyberdemons, and you have to press two switches that open side hallways full of hell knights and barons. Them you can teleport to the other area, and after some good old circle-strafing, archviles start to teleport in everywhere. MAP03, you are confined in a central area with monsters that keep teleporting in, with tons of imps at the borders of the map that fill the sky with fireballs and massive lag. For some reason the author decided to put on MAP04 his previous work, I am Going to Hell.

    On MAP05 we start in an elevator with a cyberdemon, a plasmagun and few megaspheres. Then get ready for the next area where monsters teleport in followed by lots of archviles. On MAP06 you start to fight archviles without having cover or health. Shame that the map looks rather cool, albeit basically a ripoff of Deus Vult II's cathedral level, but I quit this level after I teleported to the first horde of archviles, and there are like 1600 of them in that level. The last level is a boss fight with giant recolored hell knights that shoot tons of projectiles while three IoS fill the map with monsters. To sum it up, this is ridiculous. I understand that this is probably supposed to appeal only the uber-hardcore players that speedrun chillax and the like, but even if I can see the strategies you have to find, sometimes on the whole this wad relies too much on luck. Another thing is it that the skill levels are implemented very badly. The archviles are really overused, and many times you can't even notice that they teleport inside all the mess, and randomly you start to get hit by them. "I tested on level UV and it passable"; this is taken from the text file and this is probably bullshit unless the author uploads videos where he plays savescumming all the way. But in all seriousness I saw a guy on YouTube that beat MAP01 and MAP02, so who knows. I don't know what else to say exactly; you'll find huge ridiculous set-ups here, and visually overall it isn't bad, or good actually; so I'll leave it up to you.

    NH5 - TimeOfDeath
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 1.92 MB -
    Reviewed by: yakfak
    NH5 comprises three vicious maps which demand concentration, a high degree of accuracy, and a rather specific plan of attack that the player must work to discover, this brain overload only enhanced by its soundtrack: semi-improvised extreme metal that feels rooted in grindcore. Certainly not for the faint hearted!

    The opening two maps begin in relatively fair ways, providing a slaughter arena or kill corridor along with your favourite demon-fumigating machine, the BFG9000, and simply let you run wild for a moment. From that small victory onwards, however, the BFG is used frequently to prevent ambushes rather than fight through them - either you're firing a burst directly into the latest ambush closet or all hell breaks loose, usually in Arch-Vile form. The game-play becomes rather scary for that reason and it keeps you on your toes.

    The third level is more of a feast, providing all the heavy weapons and a variety of encounters, some grindy, some absurd, some bloody, all asking the player whether they should be firing from the spot they entered from or dashing further along - can the arachnotron horde be dragged towards the revenant horde, saving me plasma, or will they spend the whole map blocking my progress? It's easy to get stuck or overwhelmed here, but TimeofDeath has kindly provided walk-through demos of all three levels. The skill demand is dizzyingly high at times, but if you can reproduce these feats then it'll feel very satisfying indeed!

    The gimmick here is that these slaughter puzzles are entirely bereft of health, so you'll see no megasphere antidote to any of these encounters - if you take a revenant rocket to the ear then that's where it'll stay lodged until you either exit or perish, a gambit that really raises the stakes and hopefully encourages you to master the encounters rather than just shoulder-barge your way through them. A good challenge to master players and an eye-opener to the rest of us; No Health Five is a set I recommend to all.

    Noirlab - ChekaAgent
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 128.5 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Noirlab is a single map that uses only the textures of Noirpack, which is also required to run the wad. Interesting choice, but it didn't turn out very well; everything is dull in this map. It tries to give some creepy feelings, but you just go through a bare empty room to another empty room, and the lightning is really lacking. Music was too repetitive after a while. The action is always frontal, and you are always well supplied with ammo. At least it tries to make something, but it's full of bad decisions and the result is bad.

    From Home To Hell - Carlos Lastra
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 931.86 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Carlos Lastra isn't a new face in the recent /newstuff Chronicles, and this time instead of a single level he released a little episode of seven maps for Doom 2. This mapset is done in a rather interesting style as there's no SSG in all the levels, and they follow a style that's very close to the Ultimate Doom. The start in what is our apartment was reminiscent of Hellbound's first level, and from there we will progress through some tech/industrial level which in the end start to get corrupted by hell. Visually it looks good and it has that mood of a Doom 1-like level done with Doom 2 assets. The gameplay relies a lot on the hitscanners, and the maps have plenty of closets that will create some nice ambushes, as the released monsters will come to many different directions. I have to note that MAP04 is unfortunately broken, as there's a door that won't open. My only complaint is that there could have been some more rockets on the way. All in all it's a pretty good wad, and the maps aren't really long.

    END POINT - Alexander "Eternal" S.
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 1003.98 KB -
    Reviewed by: gaspe
    Alexander S., better know as Eternal, doesn't really need an introduction around here, but just in case you don't really know, he's a quite prolific Russian mapper that released really cool WADs, which unless you are really out of touch with the Doom community you should have least heard of: Epic/Epic 2 or Hell Ground. Now to the wad in question, END POINT is a little episode for Doom 2 with seven maps. We are quite far from the grandeur of his previous works, and the maps go for a more simple vibe in their themes and structures, though Eternal still shows that he's a master of mapping.

    The visual style of the colors and textures combinations are really cool; the stock textures are largely used, but there's also lots of custom stuff. The action was pretty good and the monster placement can be described as very precise, though I don't feel that there are some moments that really stand out except for the MAP05 start.

    The most interesting thing about this wad is the feeling that it conveys; it seems like it's a sort of a tribute to the good wads of the 90's, or that it refers to the styles of that era. There aren't actual homages, but the whole wad is filled with places that seem to be, or to have, hints of very old works that Eternal used as inspiration. But we can only guess, and for now you should play this wad if you haven't already. Probably you will have some great expectations from this author, but this isn't something that will blow your mind; it's a more comfy work, almost intimistic, but nonetheless really good.

    Blueworrior's MIDI pack - Lewis "Blueworrior" Harvey
    Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - MIDI Support - 46.87 KB
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    This pack contains 17 MIDIs created by Blueworrior for Freedoom 1 and 2. All of the tracks are on the shorter side (with the longest ones clocking in around 2:30), and they're generally fairly simple. They don't have the narrative arcs of Mark Klem's music, the strong refrains of Jimmy's, the moody beauty of stewboy's or Alfonzo's, or the consistent heart-pounding energy of Doomhuntress's. What they do have is a basic Doomy feel that will work well for many classic-styled wads. Most of them are driven by rock instrumentations, particularly electric guitar chords, and they emphasize power over melody (but without getting super galloppy, thankfully).

    The only real problem with this selection is that many of the songs are significantly under two minutes long, which is almost always too short for a good Doom MIDI, and none of those tracks ever quite get off the ground. My favorite tracks were generally the longest ones. D_E3M1 has a bit of a Tom Mustaine vibe, with some nice organ riffs backing up the guitar. D_E3M7 has more of a narrative to it than the other tracks, with a shift from hard guitar to a more creepy, hellish mood around halfway through. D_E3M8 is the one slower, broodier MIDI in the pack, and it's a good song for either Doom or Heretic. I didn't find any of the others particularly memorable, but most of these MIDIs would be good choices for short, classic-styled levels (one of them was already used in Echelon, for instance), especially if you want to take a bunch of them and put together a whole set of levels with a cohesive soundtrack. Worth checking out if you're looking to add to your MIDI library.

    Glass Rubberband - CorndogScammer
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - GZDoom - 389.78 KB -
    Reviewed by: lil'devil
    Glass Rubberband is the author's first map, and it can be best described as an ambitious, but quite poorly implemented map.

    The premise is simple: there are two buildings connected with a huge outdoor area. The building you start in has a blue key door (behind which is the exit) and the key to that door is in the other building. All you have to do is go to that other building, pick up the key and return. Unfortunately, for such an easy concept to implement, the map has many, many flaws.

    First of all, you will have massive framerate drops if you play this map on a weak computer like me. This is most likely caused by that huge outdoor area I mentioned earlier.

    Secondly, the gameplay is really bad. The main issue here is the ammo - there's not enough of it, and I'm sure it's impossible to kill all the enemies on the map (quite a lot of them are barons, by the way). The monster placement is also bad, as most enemies are just stupidly packed in groups. Skill levels don't change anything aside from increasing amount of monsters in said groups and changing amount of ammo. Also, on easy skill levels the amount of monsters is way too low, usually one monster per encounter (yet there's still not enough ammo to kill all the barons).

    Lastly, while the map has some cool features like slopes and 3D bridges, it overall feels pretty minimalistic; there are almost no decorations, and many places feel quite empty. There are also many questionable design choices: for example, on easy skill levels the exit to the map is blocked by marble columns, so there's no way to exit the map on ITYTD and HNTR (it's probably a joke, mocking the player for choosing an easy difficulty). There's also a teleporter that moves the player 10 meters away and serves no purpose at all. This map is pretty bizarre.

    Anyway, in conclusion I would like to say that I do NOT recommend this map, unless you're looking for something weird to play. I hope the author will learn from his mistakes and his next map will be more playable than this.

    Blueworrior's Terminator MIDI Track - Lewis "Blueworrior" Harvey
    Doom 2 - N/A - MIDI Support - 2.83 KB
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    The author refers to this as a "Terminator style" MIDI, but what they actually mean is that it's a remake of the Terminator theme. A good one, though. The Terminator theme is a great example of how powerful a very simple melody can be, and it fits pretty well in many Doom wads. The instrumentation in Blueworrior's version would work particularly well for colorful tech levels like the ones found in CC4, Mutiny, and many other modern wads. A good choice if you're willing to use the movie song but want something different than the standard version.

    Thria Complex - Gunsmith
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 973.98 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Thria Complex is old-school, but not Romero old-school. It plays like one of those mid-2000s AgentSpork-era levels with gratuitous ZDoom features, SNES-style music, and almost all of the action coming at you from the front in a very arcadey style. It even has that one palette -- you know the one I'm talking about -- with the aqua blues and the more washed-out green range. It's hard to tell whether the whole level is intended as an homage or if it's just the author's preferred mapping style, but my impression from the music and other added elements is that this level thinks it's a bigger deal than it actually is. But maybe that's part of the fun?

    Most of the basic ZDoomisms are here: slopes, translucent glass windows, spontaneous enemy teleport entrances. No particle fountains, thankfully. The level of detailing is lower than you'd see in a Tormentor667 or AgentSpork map, and truth be told, Thria Complex looks kind of flat and generic. The action is fine for what it is; there are no surprises whatsoever, and it's pretty easy to play. For what it's worth, it does not end with a melodramatic Cyberdemon battle. This is an okay map, but I would skip it unless you have a particular type of nostalgic itch that needs scratching.

    Spidersilk - Zan-zan-zawa-veia
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 988.1 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Zan-zan-zawa-veia (better known to forumgoers as yakfak) is known for creating weird, challenging levels with somewhat puzzle-like gameplay, and Spidersilk is no exception.

    In some ways, however, this map is a lot less extreme than yakfak's Cacoward-winning Sheer Poison. It can be tough to know where to go next in the large, interwoven dungeon, but there's never a spot where you literally hit a wall and can't go anywhere until you've solved some obscure puzzle; keep hunting around, and you'll find everything you need without much trouble. Ammo is pretty plentiful, though the placement is intended to keep you moving; it sometimes feels tight if you try to fight every monster as it comes, but there's always a small cache of ammo around some nearby corner, allowing you to stock up quickly and return to the fray.

    The real challenge is in the enemy placement. The level is full of windows and fencing that give you a view into nearby areas, which means that monsters have plenty of opportunity to shoot at you from multiple directions as you try to run the gauntlet. The major areas are populated with Mancubuses, Arachnotrons, and a couple of Spider Masterminds, and you'll start encountering these high-tier monsters very early on, when you don't yet have the resources to deal with all of them. The most profitable strategy is to clear out the weaker monsters (Sergeants, Imps, and Cacodemons) as you make your initial push through the level, let the more powerful opposition get softened up a bit through infighting, and then deal with them as you return through the main areas later with better weaponry and more ammo. The Spiderdemons in particular will help you by killing some of the other enemies, but yakfak's use of them is excellent, and I was never able to eliminate them through infighting alone; they remained a constant threat as I moved through the level until I was finally able to kill them.

    There are a couple of modified enemies that add to the challenge as well. Cacodemons are faster and shoot two balls at a time, but they only take a single SSG shot to bring down. As a result, they're a more immediate threat than ever, but you can combat them without having to slow your pace. There's also a spectral version of the Arch-Vile that has lower health and no ranged attack, but basically just runs around the level resurrecting enemies. These guys will be a thorn in your side until you manage to kill them all, especially since the layout allows them to travel all over the level.

    If you add up everything I've said so far, you'll realize this level is all about constantly moving around, trying to stay ahead of the threats, collect resources, and figure out how to progress. It's exactly the sort of puzzle I like to see in Doom -- the kind that makes you examine the big picture rather than just staring into every corner trying to find tiny switches.

    The wad also has an alternate gameplay mode ("Painful and Stupid") in place of skill 2. This variant makes the level even more open by removing some decorative obstacles, ditches the spectral AVs and spiders, and completely overhauls the enemy balance. It's full of difficult or meaty enemies that weren't used (or rarely appeared) in the regular version of the level, including chaingunners, Hell Knights, plenty of Pain Elementals, and at least one Cyberdemon. I didn't go very far in this mode, but it looks quite tough, and it seems like it's even more focused on forcing you to collect ammo and weapons at the start in order to get your feet under you. Many people may enjoy this mode more; personally, I prefer the strange and spider-infested UV.

    Big Trouble at Deimo's Base - Carlos Lastra
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 84.5 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    This is the first Carlos Lastra map I've played, but anyone who follows The /newstuff Chronicles is probably already aware of him, as he's been building a strong reputation as a Doom 1 mapper who's been making progressively better maps. Sure enough, I really enjoyed this one. It has nice E2 visuals with a couple of very good looking main areas, and the gameplay is simple and fast-paced. The layout is somewhat nonlinear, but very compact, with essentially no backtracking. There's plenty of room to move around and lots of weak enemies to fight, making for a quick, easy playthrough using mainly the shotgun. Somebody on /idgames mentioned that the map has only E1 enemies, but maybe they played on a lower difficulty; I fought three Cacos on UV, two of which were at the center of a fun, mildly challenging final battle. The optional blue key area is interesting in that both the key and the door are clearly visible, but figuring out how to get the key is a secret.

    There's not much else to say, but what this level does, it does well. Based on what I've seen from this map, I'd love to play a full E2 replacement from Lastra, or to see what he can do with Doom 2. Recommended.

    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.

    dmg_64

    Ask Me Anything with id Software

    By dmg_64, in News,

    The Doom team is preparing for a Reddit AMA on the DOOM SubReddit tomorrow, 10/21 at 2PM ET, with Marty Stratton, Hugo Martin, and Kevin Cloud. If you have any questions or are curious about anything DOOM related, here's a chance to get answers! Details on the DOOM SubReddit.

    Doomkid

    Doomworld Multiplayer Digest #38

    By Doomkid, in News,


    ZDaemon Thursday Night Survival #270 - Arxangels
    Date: 13th October 2016
    Euro session: 19:00 BST/14:00 EDT at [L@P], Germany (usually lasts over 6 hours) Friday Night Fragfest and Zdaemon Sessions have not been announced yet for this week, but stay tuned to the multiplayer forum for any updates. Happy fragging!

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