Happy Hallowe'en three days ago, kids. Last week Deathz0r did five quick reviews for five small wads and here I'm stuck with 7 projects totaling 25 maps. This wouldn't so much bother me if one wasn't an "updated" megawad that wasn't really updated. (Actually there was another megawad just uploaded, bringing the total to 57, but I'm leaving that until next week because the review would be very rushed).
And of course, there are four not-wads to the bloody rescue. One tells us all the doom cheat codes, one notes the differences between versions of ultimate doom and doom2, one does the same for final doom, and another explains where all the exits go in every doom game. My educated guess would be that E1M1's exit leads to E1M2 but then I might be mistaken. As these three are not wads, I won't waste anyone's time reviewing them, but instead offer condolences to the people who wasted time writing them.
P. S. I should warn you right now that a couple of my reviews are a little longer than usual because they really inspired me.
Aliens TC by Justin Fisher (Merged & Zipped by Glarandel) - - Thanks a hell of a lot, Glarandel. I have no idea whether you got Justin Fisher's permission to do stuff to his wad and put your name on it, but you certainly made a mess of things. To begin with, Aliens TC is one of the first doom total conversions, which means you can guess its age. And I really don't see any difference between it then and it now. Glarandel credits himself for merging and zipping the files, but the former doesn't seem to have been done at all and the latter was already done when Aliens TC was first released. It is not merged, and always has been zipped.
To expand on my first point, the text file mentions that the sprite/flat wad, the sound wad, and the level wad were merged together in aliens.wad to simplify things. And yet, there is no aliens.wad in the zip, and in fact there are four different wads to be loaded. Not only does this appear as if Glarandel has done nothing, it also means a lot of extra work in just running doom. Also remember that this is original or ultimate doom only. If you have a source port you'd like to use, you might need to add "-iwad doom.wad" so it doesn't run doom2.wad. This means even more for you to type. Did I mention that there's also a deh file to be loaded? Here's my command line, for example: prboom -iwad ..\doom.wad -file newstuff\alntcsf.wad newstuff\alntcsnd.wad newstuff\alntcwad.wad -deh newstuff\atcud19.deh Isn't that a lot of effort just to run the damn wad? If you mistype anything, the whole thing won't work, and all of the files have easy-to-forget names. I certainly wouldn't remember alntcsf.wad if it wasn't right in front of me. Justin Fisher will be spinning in his grave after he dies of a heart attack when he finds out about this.
One person's butchering aside, I still have to say though that Aliens TC kicks anii even after all these years, and this release of it has certainly made me nostalgic. Just remember one thing. Turn off the music. Aliens TC has no new music replacements, and the original doom music isn't quite appropriate. Besides, the ambient sounds will be just a little more spooky with the music off. I would recommend adding -nomusic to the command line, but that would make it long enough to be considered a short story. And besides, you can just lower the volume in doom's options menu. So if you have a little patience, and have gone to the bathroom recently enough to ensure uninterrupted gameplay, enjoy. Just don't shoot the messenger if it's too "classic" for your taste, or in other words, if you die on the second level.
House Resume by Xabora - - As the name suggests, this is a map of someone's house. Your newbie sense should be tingling right now if you have one. Everyone starts out with a map of their house. Some of us are smart enough not to release them, others submit them to newstuff with lots of HOM. There are two wads in the zip. One without monsters (House.wad) and one with (House Battle.wad). Of course, there's not much point in playing without monsters, so pick the second to play.
This wad is entertaining, in the same way as it would be entertaining if a blind, unlicensed doctor were to amputate your penis with a bread knife and without anaesthetics. It's nice to see, however, that the author managed to remember the basic rules of a house wad.
1. The house must be guarded by many small-to-medium monsters, despite there being no furniture, lamps, pictures on the wall, or anything else of value inside worth guarding.
2. Every room should have a different weapon sitting in one corner. Ammo balance isn't really as important as making sure that all weapons are equally distributed to the player.
3. Always exaggerate the features of your house so everyone thinks you're cool. This can be done by making a gigantic two-door garage, and making your tool shed out of marble.
4. Don't try to disguise the fact that doom doesn't allow extra floors. Make stairs that lead up to a second floor that doesn't exist.
5. Make all rooms in the house indistinguishable from the others. Too much realism might dectract from the mind-numbing boredom of walking around somebody's stupid house.
6. Never place lights. While most houses have lights on the ceilings, and such can be created without too much effort in doom, this is unnecessary because you can just give the whole map 255 light and save yourself all that effort.
The monster-less wad was actually only created to "show what I can do" and does just that. Look at all those textures!! And can you believe it only took five minutes to add the monsters and weapons? Unbelievable! I mean, that's about as amazing as a blind chihuahua pimp driving a school bus full of prositute hamsters dressed as nuns down a San Francisco freeway. Except that I was just being sarcastic. So "If your are in need of a mapper for a wad project" e-mail Xabora. I personally, would add at the end of your message, "Just as long as you don't make your house again."
Lucifer's Temple by Jeff McMillin - - Before I begin, I have to openly ponder whether his name is really spelled "McMillin" or if he freaking misspelled his own name. However he did write "This is my first attempt at making a DooM wad so cut me some slack :-]" so, yeah, I'll do my best. However, I'd say that this guy has some serious psychological problems to work out because he can't even describe the wad's story without lashing out at organized religion. To begin with, this wad is zdoom-only just because you need to jump. I mean, there are at least two other source ports in which you can jump, but it's kind of strange in itself that someone would resort to using a port just for jumping. There could have been more stepping stones in the big pit. There could have been objects on the floor to serve as makeshift stairs so you can climb up to get the super shotgun. The red key room already has crates that could have been used for a boost, which do not have any other purpose that I can see. Besides these three instances, there is no need for jumping.
Anyway, once you get past the giant chasm of death this wad will be very easy. There's a lot of ammo, barrels, and such, taking away most any challenge. Another little flaw is that Mr. McMillin seems to have trouble figuring out how to make a sky. Other than that, it's okay, I guess. No HOM, tutti-frutti, misaligned textures, or anything ugly. It's just a straightforward map that will take a few moments of your time and 112k of your hard drive.
Greenhouse by Voyuers? - - Okay, I think the author's name is Voyuers. The text file says, "Im voyuers first time i ever made a level so tell me if you like it" and my guess is that in horrible grammar he is introducing himself as Voyeurs, although his name is not mentioned anywhere else in the text file and he doesn't leave an e-mail address.
I swear to you I'm not lying or exaggerating one bit when I say this. When I read that line I thought "Oh, great. Everyone's going to call me a hate monger because everything this week is going to get a bad review." His first wad, he screws up the text file, he won't tell us his e-mail. All signs of a very bad wad. When I opened up the wad in zdoom it wasn't long before my jaw dropped. If this is really the author's first wad, his texture use and detail are absolutely awesome. And you know how rarely I use that word. Well, some of you do. Several parts of this wad amazed me, starting with the excellent use of lighting and the great-looking pillars, and finally ending with the kickass pond. Not only that, but this is also one of the most fun and well-balanced deathmatch wads I've played in a long time. It seemed a little iffy to me to put a shotgun, super shotgun, and a chaingun right on top of each other, but it surprisingly works well. The rocket launcher and plasma rifle are kind of blocked off to give them a better balance, and the BFG is placed in a very dangerous spot. If you want the BFG, buddy, you can have it. The music is pretty decent too, although the author credits someone else for it (probably borrowed from someone's site) and it requires zdoom 1.23 or jdoom as it's an mp3. I just hope the music doesn't prevent the wad from working properly on zdaemon because I want some human opponents in this wad right NOW.
- Murderous Intent by Jayextee - - This levelset is nicely detailed and aesthetic, without making it too hard for you to move around (as in gothic 99) which is to say that it's not overdetailed, but is great the way it is, how I like it. It's also a lot of fun . . . if you're Adam bloody Hegyi. I mean, this thing is impossible. I had less trouble with Hell Revealed II. I thought map03 was hard enough, but in map04 I got trapped in a small room with no exit, with two hellknights and an archvile. I don't know what Jayextee's obsession is with archviles, but there's at least one in every level. They revive barons of hell that you wasted all of your ammo on early in the level and cause you to repeatedly headbutt your monitor so that the physical agony will take your mind off of the in-game agony when you're slaughtered again and again. And I played it on "Hurt Me Plenty". If you're really good, or feel like degrading yourself to playing "I'm Too Young To Die" then this would be the perfect wad for you. But the rest of us would probably do better just to briskly walk by and pretend we didn't see this wad, ignoring its calling out our names, and just mumble something about being busy.
- fen boi's 3d examples by Lee Szymanski - - A simple example of a way to create the illusion of room over room in doom. Although, it's pretty easy to see how it's done when you hear the floor-moving-and-stopping sounds as you walk up and down stairs. There are two wads in this zip, one for doom2, the other for boom and the boom example seems to eliminate the loud clunking, although it doesn't have the cool two-storey building with the crates that the first does.
I Dunno by Cyb - - Good work, my friend. And I'm not just saying that because Cyb was nice enough to join the Mock 2 team recently as a consultant. Cyb has created a very nice arena, full of blood and . . . more blood. It also proves very challenging, without being a gall stone. I found myself enjoying this wad a lot, even when I died. Okay, I suck. But it's still a lot of fun.
There are a few flaws. I found one missing texture. Not bad, considering. I guess. Cyb, if you're reading, check the courtyard with the revenants and the baron. It's the little grating on the wall. There you go.
And one more thing, I can't figure out what to do after I get past that same area. Cyb warned me that there's a trigger that doesn't activate in boom and legacy that works fine in zdoom. If it's the same one that causes me to get stuck, then it doesn't work fine in zdoom either. Sorry, man.