Hello all, and welcome to an early review of KDiZD.
KDiZD will of course be reviewed by the inimitable deathz0r in next week's newstuff, but we wanted to strike whilst the iron was hot, and bring you something a little bit different from the norm.
You see, upon the release of most big community projects everyone sits there and plays it on their own and has fun. This time, zarkyb, joe and myself (pritch) decided we'd try and have more fun... by playing it together.
What follows then is a review written in a co-operative fashion born out of KDiZD as a co-operative playing experience. We have two parts - our discussion in the immediate aftermath of playing, as transcripted from our IRC logs and edited by zark, and then our individual conclusions, which vary in length greatly depending on whether they were written by a waffling English student, a relatively normal albeit Scottish guy, or a feckless blonde who is a programmer, not a writer. You can probably work out which is which :)
There are also a few screenshots below that capture our fun times.
Why the special attention? Favouritism, conspiracy? Maybe. Or maybe I just had a week off work and zark hasn't got a job at all... you decide.
KDiZD - THE DISCUSSION
zarkyb: OK, so KDiZD. It's a wad.
pritch: It is indeed. 2 years in the making.
joe_: I played the leak, it was kinda lame.
zarkyb: I never did, couldn't be arsed looking for it.
pritch: Nor did I, the hype and the retarded issues surrounding it put me off.
zarkyb: Yeah, I hear people said it sucked.
joe_: My view may be skewed by "lol kdizd suck" propaganda, which was funny - Nick Baker and such.
zarkyb: Anyway, on to the topic at hand. I was quite interested in playing this WAD, ignoring all the bollocks behind it, because it always looked pretty cool and episode 1 of the original Doom is probably my favourite.
pritch: Yeah, it has to be said, it was still highly anticipated. There have of course been other episode 1 remakes though.
joe_: I wasn't gonna after playing the leak. But I am a fag so I gave in to peer pressure.
zarkyb: We'll get you on the heroin next.
joe_: Fuck yeah.
pritch: What were your first impressions of z1m1?
joe_: The car's annoying noise - drowned out Deacon Blue.
zarkyb: definitely the ugly jeep. Apparently in the future, cars have oblong wheels.
pritch: Yes, first thing we did was turn off the music - I think the ambience is probably enough on its own. And despite the sky, I had no immediate sense that I was on Phobos.
zarkyb: Having never been to Phobos, I wouldn't know.
joe_: Well, did you think that in original e1m1?
pritch: Somehow, yes. But I did think that the KDiZD intro was quite good.
joe_: I didn't watch it I must admit. Fuck that shit.
pritch: Parts of KDiZD feel like Doom 3.
zarkyb: Really? In what way?
pritch: Well, I mean particularly the mines in z1m3. Torches casting light, darkness, caverns.
zarkyb: Hmm, I guess a little bit then.
joe_: That did feel a bit Doom 3-esque. Jack hammers and corpses.
pritch: There were no caverns in the original episode 1.
joe_: That whole mine bit was shite.
pritch: I don't know how you feel, but I would say the bits clearly imitating the original are the best, and where it's been expanded, it's weaker.
zarkyb: Yeah, because they made me reminisce - like the sections that make you go "ooh, cool, I remember this bit from the original".
pritch: The totally new mapping however is generally not so strong.
joe_: The game play is kinda ass. We got lost too easily. And what's with the bloody 300 different keys? Just thrown in to make you run about forever.
zarkyb: Yeah, it deviates from the path a bit, like you're not so sure where you're going.
joe_: I don't want to spend 20 minutes on the first map.
pritch: I think the multiple keys would work, but the progression is poor. Like, you get a key, but the door is very obscure miles back.
zarkyb: Yeah. One thing about z1m1 that I didn't like, was that the switch to turn off a force field later on in the map was like, right at the start. You hit the switch and it does something in an area you haven't even got to yet - it defies logic to me.
pritch: I can see what they were trying to do, to make you explore and really learn the maps, but I think it's gone overboard.
joe_: Too much backtracking just pisses me off.
zarkyb: Was I the only one who pressed switches and had no idea what they did?
pritch: No, I felt that too. Too inconsistent - some tell you what's happened, others don't.
joe_: And "LOL CAMTEX" didn't help much, seeing as I couldn't find the fucking places half the time.
zarkyb: And while the keys and stuff was one thing, the areas with the "turn on the power" or "get the clearance" bollocks, it's just not right - you have no idea where to go or anything.
pritch: It just doesn't suit Doom game play - it's OK in a modern linear FPS but with Doom's auto map, you have little chance. Anyway, let's focus on what we did like for a little bit. We liked z1m2 didn't we?
zarkyb: Very much, quite true to the original but it did it in a different way.
pritch: Faithful to the original with just enough extra.
zarkyb: I liked how, although a lot of the architecture was there, you went around the level differently. Like some doors were locked that weren't in the original, other doors were unlocked which were.
pritch: The design didn't change a great deal, but the route did, and in my opinion it makes you think more about the original level than z1m3 did, and therefore it achieves the KDiZD aim.
zarkyb: M3 above ground was good, especially the cool outdoor nukeage area.
joe_: The outdoor nukeage was neat, and the ambush was well done also. But the underground was a confusing mess.
pritch: The biggest disappointment for me is the lack of an episode 1 atmosphere.
joe_: Aye, and to be perfectly honest, m1 failed.
zarkyb: M1 is a poor beginning yeah, I think they should've started off with something stronger.
joe_: And shorter. I hate it when WADs start with amazingly long maps. I want to get into the groove.
pritch: I think it was a little too intricate though, and I have no memory of it looking vaguely like a hangar either.
zarkyb: It was short compared to the other levels.
joe_: Though thankfully more linear too. As in we're-exploring-lol non-linear enough.
pritch: Linear with bonus bits, that's episode 1 style.
zarkyb: Well, having played episode 1 earlier today, the later levels are pretty non-linear.
pritch: E1m6 is, not sure about the others.
zarkyb: And I know you complain about this, especially you pritch, but I like hard to find secrets. Like, m9 should be hard to find, because it was pretty hard in original episode 1.
pritch: Well, no I do agree. But I think episode 1 should have easier secrets than episode 2 and episode 3 etc.
joe_: Some are stupid though, like the green key in z1m2 - I had to hump a load of walls for that in the flashy light/epilepsy inducing area.
pritch: I noticed that wall humping revealed very little overall, gone were the slightly different textured walls.
zarkyb: That dark section still had good atmosphere, i.e. slightly disconcerting. That area always confused me a little in original episode 1.
pritch: Z1m2 has the most atmosphere I think.
zarkyb: Yes, z1m2 is definitely my favourite.
joe_: The fucking tap ambient noise was odd, though.
zarkyb: Yes, hearing that through walls and shit. That was bizarre.
pritch: Now, z1m4. That was a strange one, we seemed to go through it quite quickly. I never quite got the feel of it.
zarkyb: The areas from the original were like, in different places. Like the big room at the start was about halfway through.
pritch: I'm not sure that was necessary either, as I think the start of original e1m4 is very good.
zarkyb: And it felt like you were randomly wandering with no real purpose, yet still managed to pick up keys and stuff.
joe_: Aye, too many keys if you ask me. Orange and silver, what? Green I liked because it gave me the impression of "this is for getting to sekrat place" and it was used consistently for that.
pritch: So z1m4 definitely lacks direction then.
zarkyb: Yes, it was quite pretty though. Was z1m4 the one with the sloped windows in the sort-of semi-circular room?
joe_: Yeah, reminded me of Doom 3.
zarkyb: I really liked that.
pritch: Overall I think KDiZD does look quite good. Some moaned about overdetail but I think that's harsh.
joe_: It does and it doesn't. There seem to be too many nooks and crannies, which are annoying to the eyes sometimes.
pritch: I think the curse of a lot of modern WADs is that they tend not to use height variation properly.
zarkyb: The open areas are, I think, the nicest to look at. Not necessarily the outdoor ones, but just the wide open ones.
joe_: What was with the damn lifts too? Annoying in co-op.
zarkyb: Yes, tiny lifts.
joe_: And ones which dropped when you got off them, consigning other people to a long wait.
pritch: I must say generally I thought co-op was OK though, compared to some ZDoom projects it's much better.
zarkyb: Yeah it worked nicely as a co-op WAD. Not nearly enough ammo though. I had to resort to fists a lot really.
pritch: Yeah we struggled after z1m5 with ammo.
zarkyb: But ammo was definitely very tight overall.
pritch: Z1m5 I quite liked, I didn't get so lost there.
joe_: I got lost a lot there didn't I? And what was with the pipe?
pritch: Well it is very similar to the original e1m5 though, which was also a bit oddball. The door not opening from one side, and the red keycard is even in the same place.
zarkyb: And it was funny seeing you fags following me, despite the fact I had no idea where I was going.
pritch: I liked the expansion there, it was much better in execution as they picked that bit outside which in the old e1M5 is just a secret outdoor area.
joe_: Also there's a bit too much nukeage swimming for my liking.
zarkyb: Well, in original episode 1 you have to wander into nukeage a lot, so KDiZD takes it one step further, i.e. swimming, which is nice. Adds a different dimension, you have to think a little different.
pritch: There was a lack of suits though, a careless oversight really.
joe_: I love that on the level with lots of suits, we jumped in without any.
pritch: Generally in co-op things are not well supported, even though design is.
zarkyb: But original episode 1 was far too generous with suits I think. Well, original Doom full stop.
pritch: So, on to z1m6.
zarkyb: It had some really cool areas, like the rocky area right at the start and a little further on into the map - they reminded me a lot of Quake 2 actually.
pritch: Yeah, it definitely has lots of individually cool areas.
joe_: Z1m6 was a bitch and a half. The whole thing is a mishmash of gay and security gates. And dark.
pritch: Again, overall, like much of KDiZD, it feels too disjointed. But the original m6 is a little complex as well.
zarkyb: Yeah, but nothing on that scale.
joe_: And not that annoying.
pritch: Original m6 always felt quite open though, like you could see through it. Z1m6 doesn't give you that, it feels very constricted.
zarkyb: One of my feelings about KDiZD as a whole is that it's nice, but there's a lot of areas that are pretty forgettable.
pritch: Visually, it's immature as a WAD. It shows one-dimensional mapping.
zarkyb: In what sense?
joe_: Its focus is on graphics and gimmicks.
pritch: Well, the mapper has focused on what individual rooms will look like, so it just feels like a sequence of impressions rather than a whole.
zarkyb: Like a series of nice set pieces that don't fit together too well.
pritch: Which is why I think a lot of people are underwhelmed.
zarkyb: And perhaps why the original episode one areas are the strongest.
pritch: One thing we haven't discussed as yet is the new monsters.
zarkyb: Obviously there's like 50 different types of imps, the strongest being those dark half-invisible ones, and the ones that fire like the golems in Heretic.
pritch: They don't feel like episode 1 creatures to me somehow.
zarkyb: The others were just like, bigger or tougher versions of the existing creatures. Nothing exciting really.
pritch: They feel like things created for the monster resource WAD, and they just don't all seem to fit. I do like the upgraded Pinkies though.
joe_: The rocket zombies were lame, and the chainsaw zombies were fags. And the satyrs?
zarkyb: The satyrs didn't fit at all, crossing into Hexen/Heretic territory. They didn't really fit the mood.
pritch: I suppose the big question is, do we think it would be better with just the original monsters?
zarkyb: I think the stealth imps worked well.
joe_: The variation was good, I must admit.
pritch: I suggest using some new imps and the demons would have been enough, and maybe that modified Baron of Hell.
zarkyb: You mean the Hell Knight?
zarkyb: Did you feel your gaming experience was improved by 7 extra angles on most of the items?
joe_: Fuck no.
zarkyb: Me neither.
pritch: No. I admire the intent and the effort but it doesn't work.
zarkyb: Too much effort for very little gain really.
joe_: Was it me or were the medikits facing walls half the time?
pritch: If you need a medikit, you have to know it's a medikit. If you have 3d models, fine, but with sprites, no.
joe_: The rotations are a bit shoddy too.
zarkyb: Yeah, especially with the medikit I noticed. The angles were weird.
pritch: Some better than others for sure. Rocket boxes, hm. Ammo boxes, horrible.
joe_: Shells were OK, but a bit iffy on the rotations. and I didn't like the stimpacks too much.
pritch: The helmets were good though.
zarkyb: The armour suits were OK, but the actual sprites themselves weren't fantastic. Like the armour from different angles looked completely different. Speaking of things sticking out, Scuba's sprites.
joe_: Yeah, cartoony style.
zarkyb: Very nice sprites yes, but they didn't fit at all. I found a microscope that was about 10 times as detailed as the desk it was on.
pritch: Yes, I remember that.
zarkyb: It was just so out of place.
joe_: It was like, from a photo. Also, the footstep sounds were lame.
zarkyb: Oh yes, they sounded like high heels.
pritch: I bet Tormentor actually wore his mum's high heels to get those sounds.
zarkyb: Did anyone else find the fights a bit dull in parts?
pritch: I found them OK, better than I was expecting actually.
zarkyb: Some were good, but none felt special really.
joe_: Apart from the z1m2 ambush, none stick out.
pritch: Going through fighting was generally a fun experience in co-op.
zarkyb: No, it was good fun, I definitely enjoyed it. But the frustration of some levels detracted from the fun factor a bit.
joe_: Spending an hour on z1m3 was a shit.
pritch: Z1M7 was almost very good. There are some really nice sections, and bits of the original M7 showed through, such as the nukeage rivers. I felt the openness of E1m7 had been sacrificed and like much of KDiZD, Z1M7 is too claustrophobic and focused on the immediate room.
zarkyb: I definitely agree that it felt claustrophobic.
pritch: I suppose the map overall does resemble the non-linear E1M7 quite faithfully, the lava cavern start is a bit oddball though.
zarkyb: Yes, that was rather annoying. You spawn and then run straight into an inescapable lava pit.
pritch: I just love those spinning keys but by this point the fact that monsters do not infight is becoming really annoying.
zarkyb: Absolutely, that was half the fun of Doom.
joe_: What did you guys think of Z1M8? Do they have to stretch things out quite as much as they did?
pritch: Well, I found M8 good. It was just the co-op bugs that ruined it, and it felt a little rushed to completion, which quite often happens with the later maps in a WAD.
zarkyb: Yeah, there wasn't much room for breathing, and it was exit after exit.
joe_: What was with the security gates? I mean, this is the centre of the big demon invasion, with working security laser fields.
pritch: Yeah, security force fields should all be offline. Joe, did you see the big boss?
zarkyb: It was this huge 3d rendered thing. It had arms for wings.
pritch: The final boss was certainly dramatic and set in a very atmospheric final arena, and I liked the hellish progression to that point, really reminiscent of the power of the Doom 3 hell bit actually, but the boss itself was a bit cartoonish, almost gawky. It felt just a bit tacky.
zarkyb: Yes, it didn't fit too well with the style of Doom. Have to give them credit for trying though.
pritch: So zark, what did you think of Z1M9? A good secret map, isn't it?
zarkyb: Yes, very close to the original in terms of the layout and such. Nice architecture and I found the new areas were relatively strong too.
pritch: Yes, a great outside arena to end with - a real surprise after chopping through those long corridors.
zarkyb: Although, the level itself was probably a bit too hard to get to.
pritch: Indeed, though I'm starting to think you made a good point when you said it should be hard.
zarkyb: Yes, but not THAT hard.
pritch: And what about Z1M10? I'll admit, that blew me away. It was like revisiting all of my favourite episode two places.
zarkyb: Yes. My feeling is though, they seem to have put a lot of effort into a map that most people won't see without warping there.
pritch: As a nice ironic feature it's a sublime secret map, but you have to be careful not to go too far. And to be honest, two of the better maps are the secret ones.
zarkyb: It might be that it's just a conglomeration of sections they didn't use, but then I don't know.
pritch: Well, it seems design from the outset to be episode two in a bottle, as it were.
zarkyb: Well, there were episode three and four bits in there too.
pritch: That's true. But it really was a nice trip down memory lane, kind of like a compilation of your favourite TV moments.
zarkyb: Only without the smarmy, used-to-be-famous presenter.
Not as shite as I was expecting I must admit. While Z1M1 was crap, long winded and overly complex (especially for a start map), Z1M3 was crafted by an utter ****, and Z1M8 was damn buggy, kdizd was pretty damn nice to coop through. The action was a bit boring in places and there were some really annoying lifts in some maps that took about 3 tries to get off because someone else would get off and trigger some linedef that sends the thing down again (this happened to me lots). The controversial (lol) multi sided items looked like arse in most cases. I wasn't really a fan of the way kdizd is basically "find key, get lost finding door to open with key, get lost finding key to open next door, get key, get lost finding your way back, repeat * 100" the levels were overcomplicated. Did somebody make a rule that you needed to have at least 5 keys used on a level or something? Stop overcomplicating stuff just so we have to run through your 'pretty' corridors 300 times and get lost finding a turquoise key plz. Also 90% of the time the visuals were rather underwhelming. I'd probably say the wad looked all right at best. All in all, kdizd is meh.
What are you doing writing a review for a level set for a 14 year old game on a nice sunny afternoon like this, I hear you ask. Well, in all honesty it's not like I'd be doing much else. I volunteered for this job because I was bored and quite wanted to play KDiZD, and because pritch promised me a beer if I did it. Unfortunately, the last part isn't true, but for all the times he shot me in the back with the super shotgun, propelling me into hordes of enemies, I bloody deserve one.
As far as the co-op experience goes, I thought KDiZD did a pretty good job of it. What with all the scripting and complex map design, it must've been hard to ensure things worked well and nobody got trapped, and except for a couple of places where we had to clip out of areas, it was generally well done. I hadn't played Doom for weeks, let alone Doom co-op, so I actually really enjoyed the experience - it's rekindled my love for Doom, again. I had forgotten how fun it was when two people tried to open a door at the same time, or tried to squeeze on to a lift which was clearly designed for one person. It's these little things that make it a fun experience, like when me and joe_ opened a door and both unloaded our super shotguns into a poor zombieman. I don't think there was anything left of him. However I'm not sure how much of that really was to do with KDiZD itself. Although ammunition was in short supply for most of the WAD, there wasn't many times when we had to resort to chainsaws or fists on some of the bigger monsters; and I imagine balancing ammo for co-op is much harder than balancing for single-player.
Overall the architecture was nice, but as we discussed earlier it felt like it was just one super-detailed room after another - as if it was just designed as a series of nice impressions as opposed to a congruent, solid set of levels. It was still very pretty though, and did have some very nice areas, in particular the rocky sections of Z1M6. There were some nice touches, the coronas were good if a little overused, and the natural rock formations were quite cool. The best looking areas were probably the revamped episode one sections though.
I do however think KDiZD tried to do too much. It tried to include elements of modern first-person shooters which just didn't fit with Doom's style of gameplay - when you have huge maps and have the goals of turning off specific force fields and such, it's difficult to keep track of what you're doing without using cut scenes to take the view out of the player's eyes for a moment (I do think it was the right decision not to use these though). Because there are many sections on different levels, using invisible teleport lines to transfer the player from one to another, the automap becomes limited in its use too; when you're just looking for keys and the corresponding colour of door, it's fairly simple, but KDiZD tries to complicate things a little too much.
It is, all in all, a good solid WAD. Gameplay is good if a little dull on occasion, there's a bit too much random wandering for my liking, but it's certainly fun to play. The episode one sections are the strongest and it's a nice stroll down memory lane to an extent, with a nice modern twist. More effort should've been made to integrate the new sections into the original maps but you have to give them credit for what they've achieved - a fun episode that really pushes the limits of what ZDoom can do, and although it tries to do too much sometimes, it's still a good blast.
In closing, is it good? Yes. Does it merit the hype that preceded its release? Probably not. And does zarkyb want a sandwich? Most definitely.
Now that you have seen our general discussion on the wad, many of the points of which you have already brought up on the forums and have considered by yourselves on your first play, I want to move away from the technical dissection and analyse KDiZD as an event.
What do I mean exactly?
Well, we know that in the Doom community a lot of development takes place. Development of source ports, utilities and wads. And this is great, because talented people achieve things and become even more talented, and we end up with some good product to play.
I wonder sometimes if the balance between those developing and those appreciating the efforts has gone for good. Doom is old, and who wants to play Doom when the likes of Starcraft 2 or Forza 2, or whatever floats your boat on the Wii or PS3 (did I just say PS3?) are all vying for your limited time?
But then I see evidence on Doomworld's idgames database of lots of reviews for certain wads, and I'm not so sure. It's funny. One minute you suspect we might not be far off giving up on Doom for good, then something like KDiZD happens.
People have bemoaned the drama, hype, egoism, call it what you will. But honestly. Would you rather have a sense of occasion, or none at all? Would you rather have a crucible of ire and controversy, or the gaming equivalent of a wet shower? In the post-Doom gaming era, having a good old-fashioned argument seems like one of the few ways left to really spice things up within the community.
But it doesn't have to be the only way.
Doom, you see, still has a few tricks up its sleeve. And chief amongst these is the little gem known as co-op.
Co-op mode is largely dead in modern FPS games, at least PC ones anyway. I recently played Gears of War on the Xbox 360 with my friends and there was no doubt in my mind that it was more fun than either of my initial SP runs through Doom 3 or Half Life 2 had been - and I really enjoyed Half Life 2.
As I drove home that night, I became convinced that the genre had moved in totally the wrong direction on the PC, to the point perhaps where it is in danger of dying.
I was thinking back to this when the news broke that KDiZD had been released. An opportunity had presented itself to see if elderly Doom could throw something up that rivaled that modern console experience.
"Why don't," I said to zarkyb, "we play through KDiZD in co-op?"
I don't think there has ever been a better time to play co-op since Doom was released. Back then it was simple to set up, but you really needed a few decent (and much more expensive, in real terms) PCs in order to create a decent home network.
In the interim years the Internet started to emerge as a genuinely viable alternative but everything was a bit wrong - Doom95 was terrible, most people still on dialup, and so on.
But fast forward to 2007, and look what we have. A much faster Internet, with almost everyone on connections to make co-op play in even the busiest of maps very possible. We have some very sorted source ports which have now gone through years of revision, and the heir apparent to vanilla is ZDoom, which we had set up and ready to play within a few minutes.
And so, into the most eagerly awaited wad of the year stepped zark in blue, joe in white, and myself in my usual slightly gay pinkish colour I find hard to put a name to.
And, do you know what? It was bloody good fun.
Oh, there are lots of things not to like about KDiZD co-op. The map design is very, very fussy in parts, with the automap in particular being rendered useless. The text file makes reference to the original E1 being too easy now, and KDiZD bringing a new challenge, and that's fine, but the problem is the implementation of this challenge is often at the expense of fun. Never, ever put anything in at the expense of fast or fun gameplay. In some games maybe, but not in Doom.
E1 was about pace. It was quick, it flowed, and you moved seamlessly in the right direction, even in E1M4 and E1M7 - perhaps the two earliest examples of open-route maps that would feed into the non-linear model.
In KDiZD, you get lost. With three people playing, it's even worse, because one player might experience text from a switch, where others do not. Of course, you could argue that the player should simply inform the others, and we did, and I suppose my real issue was that some switches were informative where others weren't. It did not feel consistent.
Doom relies on two things really to tell you where you need to go. One is bright visual reference points, the other is obvious direction of progression as deduced by looking at the automap. KDiZD is very short on both. Zark and particularly joe felt that there were too many coloured keys but I'm not so sure - I've played maps with six keys that were fine - there's one in 10sectors.wad. I think it's more a problem of progression - it's dark, and things are not marked clearly enough, so the backtracking and progression becomes very hard. And the tightly bunched-up maps offer no clues at all via the automap method. This led to us spending an hour in Z1M3 chasing our tails, which was not fun at all. Crucially, it was the "new" section of Z1M3 underground that provided so much confusion. Contrast this to Z1M2, which was a much more logical and successful development of the original E1M2.
Those original E1 sections also work the best for co-op, and I don't think this is by coincidence. If you are going to support co-op (and of course you should) I think it really shows the importance of testing your wad together as a team and really asking some tough questions about your mapping. You can make the best-looking ice-cream sundaes in the world but if they taste of nothing, it's been a self-defeating exercise (especially having told everyone how tasty it's going to be!).
But at this point I do want to give KDiZD a lot of credit for its mostly unbroken co-op compatibility. So many big projects say co-op is a no-no, or it's untested. Why? This missed opportunity is just such a shame given the work that's gone in to implementing netcode.
It did, however, go pear-shaped on a few occasions. If you are going to have a door or pillars or anything that traps from behind you as the map progresses, then it needs to be able to be bypassed or re-opened if the map is to be truly co-op compliant. If everyone dies, you are then stuck. KDiZD fell foul of this on a few occasions. The worst map in terms of co-op compatibility is Z1M8. There, it is possible to raise force fields and leave all of you unable to progress beyond the central area by the 3-key door should you all die. Beyond that door also lies a platform that sinks into nukeage - nice touch and underused by many mappers - but not co-op friendly and it can't be reset.
These compatibility glitches would perhaps be less important if ZDdoom could handle co-op savegames but sadly that feature currently does not exist.
As far as the new monsters and the enjoyment of the firefights were concerned, I have to say I found them pretty good for co-op, though I know many have been less impressed. The acid test with new monsters though is always to ask yourself, "would I have enjoyed it more with the original monsters"? Here I find myself saying probably yes, though it is very marginal - the shadow imp makes for quite good fun in co-op where one of you is being hunted and the others are trying to pick him off your tail!
The rifle is a nice new weapon, but I am never sure about replacement weapons. I think the original guns were perfect for both Doom's gameplay and storyline. In co-op, I don't think it made a huge difference for us, though the rifleman (principally zark) did lead the attacks whilst joe and I tended to back up with the very satisfying-sounding SSG replacement, which was a nice gameplay combination as far as ammo permitted.
Ammo and health balance on the whole was, refreshingly, quite good for co-op, which really is a tough thing to get right. We were down to our chainsaws a few times but much less than I had feared.
There were also very few issues with ZDoom co-op despite the ambitious nature of the wad. The intermission PDAs worked flawlessly, and we were able to view each players stats and our cumulative stats with ease. We had a good laugh seeing zark register something like -100083 health on one map having been telefragged! It's a pity that you can't save your co-op game as if you have to shut down the server or you get a crash, as we did on just a couple of occasions, you lose these particular stats.
Lastly, I must just give the secret maps some credit. Z1M9 was great and Z1M10 cut me down just as I was about to say two years is too long for any one episode to be made ;) But more to the point for what I've been talking about here it's also a great map for veteran Doomers to co-op as you chat to each when revealing all of Doom's most famous landmarks.
So I find myself drawing near to the last word on KDiZD - the whole experience. And as zark has said in his conclusion, it's tough to separate the fun of co-op from an evaluation of the wad.
But then that's precisely the point. Why do you have to? Yes, KDiZD has its flaws - lots of them in fact, but as an experience in co-op you find it easier to forgive them as the wad provides a lot of magic moments in this format. More than anything, I was left with a feeling of absolute quality from KDiZD. However misguided you adjudge various aspects of it to be, there is no doubting the effort that has gone in, and that provides atmosphere even where the maps may not.
I suppose then that its ZDoom and KDiZD together that are on trial here: as a co-op Dooming experience in 2007.
Put the 360 and the Wii away, configure your firewalls and get yourself on IRC.
Knee-Deep in ZDoom, Co-op Style
Hello all, and welcome to an early review of KDiZD.