So it's a week late, but with those extra seven days comes a double helping of T/nC, replete with all the WADs released over the past fortnight. This oversized dose of level reviews is brought to you by Hyena and Ultimate DooMer, who split the responsibility of such a mammoth undertaking. How are the levels this time, you may ask? They range from good to uh, bad. Sorry, I lost my thesaurus.
Anubis by LilWhiteMouse - - For those of you who saw the movie "The Mummy Returns" (don't say "pffft" to me) may recognize that the imp in doom was recognized by a certain monster in said movie. Or maybe you fell asleep during the movie. If such is the case, maybe it's for the best.
The graphics are pretty good I suppose. It's just that zdoom does something really weird to them because of the graphic scaling. Turn left and right and the monsters seem to slide around, in some cases right off the edge of the platform. Try shooting them when you can't even see where they really are on the screen. Frustrating. Please fix this, Randy. (Requires a port that supports graphic scaling. Don't use zdoom)
- Blind Alley Q., "The Warf" by Gene Bird - Gene Bird; Doom nut, grandpa returns. And this time, it's personal. What can I say? Mr. Bird here continues to create fun, detailed wads. The only problem here is that it's not always made crystal clear where the player needs to go. I mean, I got stuck twice in the first three rooms. And I'm only slightly stupid. The courtyard area has one little area that's a slightly different texture from the rest and I didn't see it at first. Checking my map showed me that there were three walls that seemed to open but I couldn't get any of them to do so, as the one wall that does open is "secret". And of course the wall closed behind me and I forgot how to get out. The plus side is that while I was trapped, I got a good view of some decent architecture. And I think the average player, if they can get past a few parts that might be easier for someone who isn't unbelievably stressed right now, they would probably have a lot of fun with this damn wad.
- Chiptune Doom by Bloodshedder (Bill Koch) - If you were to take the doom music, and recreate it using sounds from an NES and Commodore 64 and release it to the public, you would have trouble from Bloodshedder because you stole his idea. To call this wad bad would be so hypocritical I won't even try to lie. I'm a commodore fan, and the little beeps, burps, groans, and trills are music to my extremely dorky ears. A few parts don't quite sound the way I remember them (One of the E2M2 instruments is really quiet to me, for instance), but some of them almost sound better now that Bloodshedder has done this. Thanks, man. You helped to salvage what could have been a terrible day. Now if I can just get a refund from the slick-talking salesman at the noose store.
Dead Simple: DooMBoy Edition by DooMBoy - - It sucks.
I've always wanted to do that. Just say something sucks and offer no explanation.
All right, if you must know, a certain DooMBoy - my shift button isn't stuck, I spelled it correctly - has recreated "Dead Simple" for zdoom. He also made a very charming text file to go with it.
Misc. Author Info : HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH
Not only does it have an ACS printed message telling you what level it is you're playing, it also has pointless coloured lighting and a thunder sound effect that has no atmospheric effect whatsoever. On the other hand, the detail is good, for a complete farce and ripoff of a level. I give it four and a half thumbs down, one pinky sideways, and a fist in the groin.
- Fragport by Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer!) - - I really want to say this is a good wad. It has a lot of potential. But there are many reasons why I have to reluctantly make fun of the Ultimate DooMer. I mean, I really respect that he did an entire megawad on his own, and some of the levels have an interesting look and feel to them that makes it a little more compelling than some of the other wads out there. What makes it fall short is the vast bare spaces that can sort of take away the fun, and the very very pointless use of new sound effects. If it was a total conversion, new sounds might make sense, but these just serve no purpose. What particularly annoyed me was that the shotgun sound was taken from Strain (I love that sound. Why did you steal it?) and that many heretic sounds were thrown in. I can't make any sense out of it. The gameplay is about average. Not boring, not adrenaline-pumping, not atmospheric, just sort of a simple style. I think given the nature of most of the levels it could be made into something dark and atmospheric, but it just seems rather simple to me.
- Gothic Dreams by Bryant and Kevin Robinson - - I think this would be one of those wads that you don't really play, but you open up in a nice port to admire the architecture and then forget about it. To use the first map as an example. Great visuals, but quite annoying. The weapons are all there, but just barely out of reach when you need them. I found myself using the chainsaw more than should have been healthy. My favourite map would have to be map02 which looks as great as any ten wads will ever look, but the weapon placement doesn't quite suit me. Some of the maps are somewhat fun, but I think the eye candy is the real seller here, and you can pretty much get the gist of that from the screenshots. (Zdoom required!!@#?#)
- Infernal Temple by Jeff McMillin - I feel guilty now because I made fun of this guy's text file and he changes the whole story over it. Anyway, this is a redone version of Lucifer's Temple, and I have to say I thought it was going to be exactly the same but I turned out to be very wrong. Some of the changes and new additions are very cool. I like the new sanctuary and the little courtyards particularly, although occasionally the rooms look a little empty. Still a very good remake and a lot of fun.
- Met Skin by Polk_Sprite - "Sprite Based of of Capcom's Metool enemy from the Megaman Series of games" Thanks for the heads up there. It looks good. I guess that's the only thing there really is to review. Anyone out there need a new zdoom skin? (Silence, followed by tumbleweed)
- Sexy Mama by Jason "Hellbent/Grotug/Jacobi" Root - - I like this wad. It's a little closed, but it makes for a nice sneaky DM wad where you can use the element of surprise to the fullest. Although some parts are detailed rather nicely, other parts are incredibly ugly. Here's a hint to all those new wad authors out there. Use COMPSPAN sparingly. An entire room plastered with it is about as nice to look at as a baby seal being beaten to a flattened red blanket with a shovel . . . not that I've seen that . . .
- Telesky by Boris Iwanski - - A ZDoom demo wad, designed to show off the 'portal teleporter' effect using ZDoom's skybox. It looks quite good, especially when you BFG the wall, teleport and spin round to see the green shot fade on the wall....
- Underworld Beta - Release 4 by DooM Down Under - - Apparently this is an update, but I've never seen the original (probably because it was released on Christmas Day last year), so here we go. A team-produced wad, Underworld is an impressive 9-level mini-episode for ZDoom, covering a wide variety of themes in no particular order. After a scripted crash landing, the first few maps are small, but they get bigger gradually, and the quality of architecture (which starts out average, save for the 3D effects) improves greatly as you progress through the maps. (in fact it's impressive beyond the first 2 or 3 maps). Another great thing is there are lots of 3D bridges, some of which are really creative, and some ZDoom features. The gameplay is a mixed bag - the early maps have a very fine ammo balance and you'll struggle for health, but the presence of 300% red armour suits together with a few soul spheres make the gameplay a bit easy later on (not helped by the fact that there are no spiders and revenants and only one mancubus - which I personally didn't like, but some people will jump for joy). But other big monsters, especially hell knights and barons, are used quite frequently, and there are some new ones, too - an invisible imp and an interesting miniboss (you'll know when you see him) and three new heavy weapons, but unfortunately you don't get to use them much (and one of them doesn't even appear). This could be down to the fact that it's a beta, so hopefully the next release will feature this weapon. But despite those gameplay niggles (the gameplay is still good), this wad is pretty damn good and manages to retain a certain aspect of challenge while appealing to all types (and skill levels) of DooMer. Requires ZDoom. (1.23 beta 33 and up)
- YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAW by can't Tell You - - A silly wad with ridiculously tall rooms, random texturing and no attention to detail. Oh, and a secret room full of cybers. Anything good about it? Well, the other battles are ok and there are some giant staircases (which you don't see around much). Other than that, one to miss.
- Grind 2 by Kara C. Rader - - Remember Grind.wad from newstuff 100? Well, this is the single player edition. The original Grind has been modified, and new areas have been added. The architecture is pretty good in most areas, and there are some neat effects, including a fake slope, fake mirror and a cool TNT (explosive) demolition effect. The gameplay is pretty small-scale, with few monsters and the small amount of ammo required to kill them. This actually makes the wad quite challenging, as you'll have to be spot-on with your shots or get the monsters to kill each other. A short and interesting wad that's certainly worth playing.