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    The /newstuff Chronicles #111


    The Ultimate DooMer

    In a Doom world which is in turmoil (Ling's departure, staff changes, wads coming in by the bucketload and everyone re-releasing their projects and trying out new reviewing formats) you'll be pleased to know that I'm still trying to bring the wads to you in the same familiar way that I've always done (despite the format being changed). As well as taking 3 wads (totalling 8 maps) from last week, there's tons of wads this week as well - 8 to be precise, giving a grand total of 30 maps for your Dooming pleasure. Let's begin:

    • Dream by Kara C. Rader (Nanami)
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      Well, she certainly has talent at making Doom maps, as it's another decent map for Doom 2. Replacing map 02, this is similar in style to the Grind series in more ways than one. The texturing theme is similar, with detailed architecture, mostly in the small spaces, and a brown ashwall theme in the outdoor areas. There are also the accompanying neat tricks - this time it's moving crates on a lift, and a cool 'raise dead' effect in one room which is achieved through dehacked (the creatures start off dead, and rise up when you enter the room). Gameplay is tough, with finely balanced health and ammo - you'll have to evade at some point. There are a couple of downers though - the blue key is accessed through a secret, and although the 'raise dead' effect is pretty cool, it can't be stopped and so you won't be able to kill everything (but that's only a minor niggle). In short, another nice-looking and challenging map.

    • Short 'n' Quick 2 by Varun Abhirama Krishna
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      Surprisingly (not), this is a short and quick single map for Doom 2. It's also pretty hard, and choice of route can be critical in terms of your survival chances. There's enough ammo, but it is spread around and some of it is guarded, too. Health is rare to be seen, except for a hidden supercharge (which unfortunately is needed) and there's plenty of big monsters and a couple of nasty traps to help you along to your death. This makes for a pretty good challenge, but is probably aimed at the more skilled Doomer. Looks-wise, there's plenty of detailed architecture and the layout is pretty neat - you can go anywhere at any time, which calls for a bit of thinking as to which way is best to attack it. It's short, quick, and worth playing.

    • River of Revenge by Marcus Heikinpalo (Doomer 4ever)
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      A 6-map wad for Doom 2. The first map sees you jumping hastily off a boat to avoid mancubi fireballs, but after that each map is medium/large and crammed with monsters of various sizes, some of which are themed and some are not. The general detail level isn't that great, but in the themed areas (notably maps 04 and 05) the detail is much higher and appropriate to the theme. The gameplay is what this wad is about - fast, furious and fairly hard, too. There are some pretty tough battles, especially up close, with lots of big monsters to keep you busy. The ammo balance is good, as rockets and cells are not abundant, therefore a lot of shelling is in order. Health balance is good too - not too little and not too much. It's clear that the author put gameplay before detail, and why not, as you don't need 10,000 sectors to make a good map that's fun to play. This wad might annoy those who hate close up battles with various types of monster, and those who are lesser skilled players (no skill levels here) but it's an enjoyable wad that's fun to play.

    • Wasted 1: Industrial Zone by Nick Baker
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      I remember this wad - it was in the first newstuff after I joined the forums. It's been revamped with more monsters, tougher gameplay and enhanced detail, although it's been so long that I can't work out what the changes are. It's a small but tough industrial map for Doom 2, with some nice detail, a few new graphics and a good ammo/health balance. The hidden supercharge makes things a bit easy, but it's not required to complete the wad. The start is pretty tough, and some infighting is required soon after but on the whole it's suitable for most Doomers.

    • Wasted 2: The Crusher by Nick Baker
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      And here's the sequel. Another small industrial map for Doom 2, replacing map 02. This map is symmetrical in nature, with the crusher in the centre. A new green tiled wall texture plays a big part here, along with some other new graphics. IMO, the detail is nicer than in the previous map, but the gameplay isn't as challenging, apart from a couple of traps near the end. The ammo/health balance is pretty good, with no heavy weapons, which makes things a little harder. It does have a nice feel to it, and fans of industrial maps will certainly enjoy it.

    • Vile Flesh Demo by Gwyn Williams
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - SP -
      A 6-map wad for Doom 2 and is a "taster" for an upcoming project called Vile Flesh, which explains why the maps don't follow on from each other in any way. Still, it doesn't prevent it from being a quality map set. The themes vary from industrial to rocky to brick-based, and the maps are all fairly large except for the first one. Detail is pretty good throughout, with good use of wall and floor/ceiling lighting and some good architecture to boot. The gameplay is also pretty good, with no bfg, lots of big monsters and many a nasty trap to catch you out. There's plenty of ammo (perhaps a bit too much) and health/armour is reasonable, too (although perhaps a bit too many blue suits). It may be too difficult for some Doomers, but a lot of you should be able to do this one, and is certainly fun to play. I can't wait for the full project...

    • Blind Alley R: Monster Mansion by Gene Bird
      (wad) - (txt) - doom2.exe - SP -
      A single map crammed with monsters. The 6th in the Blind Alley series, this carries on the trends as normal. You know the drill - high monster count, plenty of ammo but watch the health. There's no discernable theme (in layout or texturing) and the architecture is a bit plain in most areas (but not all), but once again you'll be too busy blasting away at hordes of monsters to worry about that. It's a medium-sized piece of fun that reminds us all what Doom is about.

    • Barfight by Lizardcommando
      (wad) - (txt) - any source port - DM -
      As the title suggests, it's set in a bar, complete with kitchen, bog and storage areas behind the bar, and a car park out the front. The architecture is appropriate to the theme but looks quite basic in places. Gameplay-wise, there's weapons, ammo, armour and health stashed in the various rooms and no powerups to be seen. However, there are quite a few dead ends, which means the main tactic would be corner-and-splatter, while at the same time may disrupt the flow of the match. Simulated 4-way barfights should be good for the novelty value and for that reason it serves its intended purpose, but apart from that it's nothing special. It is the author's first map, though.

    • Flames of Revenge by Berserker79
      (wad) - (txt) - ZDoom - SP -
      A single map for Doom 2, and is map 03 of a hub to be made in the future. Basically, it's a Plutonia-style brick maze with a score of archviles, complete with the door mechanisms (as well as everything else bar the textures). This map is bigger and more complex than the Plutonia one, and is slightly tougher due to the lack of health (and not entering with 200% health/armour). The detail is fairly good for a maze with well-placed scenery things, and there are a few ZDoom features, including a rolling sky and a very good music replacement. I like this one (not surprising, given that Plutonia is my all-time fave wad) but a lot of you will find it annoying and frustrating if you don't like mazes, archviles or Plutonia.

    • Ace 1 by P. Westlake (Ace)
      (wad) - (txt) - doom2.exe - SP -
      A single map that's a sort of library/study, and the detail is appropriate for the theme, although a little plain in places. The gameplay is better, with some evasion required while you hunt for that super shotgun. Once you get that, you shouldn't have too much trouble, but don't waste your shots anyway. It is an enjoyable wad with some good battles, and should suit most Doomers.

    • The Underworld Episode 1: Hades' Curse by Spike and Perfect Lil' Dream
      (wad) - (txt) - JDoom - SP -
      I think this has been around for a while, but if you haven't already played it, then get ready for a trip into Hell. 10 maps of a distinctly hellish theme, with plenty of good looks and challenge. The levels are very dark, with plenty of torches enhanced by JDoom's lighting. This leads to a great atmosphere, which is dark and creepy throughout. Both the castle/temple and the cave-like sections are highly detailed throughout with plenty of nice touches, enhanced by the new graphics and the choice of source port. It's also pretty challenging - a good mix of monsters throughout, with some neat scenarios (namely an area where you face 3 of every monster in turn - except the big two and the SS). However, the placement of pain elementals (and lost souls) can be annoying at times, and if you don't like archviles you'll get annoyed some more. Ammo and health are balanced fairly well, but in some places you might run a bit low so keep that chainsaw ticking over. This is easily the most hell-like mapset I've seen, and a pretty damn good one at that. There's little room afforded for those who like modern/tech maps (except for some of the first map) but that doesn't matter, as gothic/hell maps look way better in JDoom, and this mapset seems made for JDoom (which of course it is...). Although not my favourite style, I enjoyed playing Underworld, as should you. Recommended!

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    =P

    The blue key is quite gettable without the secret. =P The boxes can be navigated about four different ways WITHOUT jumping, and one simple and quick way with jumping right near the key itself. The small boxes make for stepping stones. This path would be chosen by people who want to get through quickly (IE, speedrunners) or want to avoid all the demons in the cave. For those who hate the boxes, they can go through the cave.

    Also, even though the enemies don't stop reviving, it's not a problem because you only need to get the key and get out. To get 100% kills you only need to kill five monsters in the room, and it obviously doesn't matter which ones.

    Oh yeah, I also noticed that there's a Mancubus that doesn't teleport like he's supposed to. I fixed the problem and it'll be right in the final episode, but for this one I goofed. UV lacks one mancubus. He stays stuck in a little square off to the side, sorry. =/ At least you max freaks can kill one extra monster in the red key room.

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    A good /newstuff this time! And as for Wasted1, I think the changes are very noticeable especially in terms of looks. Every sector and linedef in that map has changed in some way... for the better! Two good wads by Nick which you gotta play!

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    This is exactly what I look for in the /newstuff chronicles. excellent job. /me downloads more wads....

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    Ugh, this Underworld is not the Underworld project that is still in beta, that is actually good... This one is terrible. What a waste of a download. You know make it clear which Underworld is which next time, thanks.

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    Opulent said:

    This is exactly what I look for in the /newstuff chronicles. excellent job. /me downloads more wads....

    Me too, great job with the reviews, they inspire me to play much more.

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    UAC PR Dept said:

    Ugh, this Underworld is not the Underworld project that is still in beta, that is actually good... This one is terrible. What a waste of a download. You know make it clear which Underworld is which next time, thanks.


    I did. Underworld beta 4 (by Lazer et al.) was re-released a couple of weeks ago (the ZDoom one), and Underworld episode 1 (by Spike et al.) was released a few days ago (the JDoom one). Note the second part of the wad names, they are different.

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    I like this review format. It's not so cluttered like the last one. Anyways, I like the review you did for mine. Hmm, I wonder if anyone made any DM demos of barfight? :p

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    Ultimate DooMer said:

    I did. Underworld beta 4 (by Lazer et al.) was re-released a couple of weeks ago (the ZDoom one), and Underworld episode 1 (by Spike et al.) was released a few days ago (the JDoom one). Note the second part of the wad names, they are different.

    That wasn't a re-release, that was a release after over a year. The one you reviewed was beta 3 from a year ago that someone "cleaned up" and thought they could just call it beta 4 and release it again. To be honest, I don't even know what is in that thing that the person released. The new one has much better detail in the levels and doesn't have a random dehacked patch. Everything is used (except weapon 0). I still haven't found the little bastard that messed with my project. They didn't even notify me.

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    UAC PR Dept said:

    Ugh, this Underworld is not the Underworld project that is still in beta, that is actually good... This one is terrible.


    care to elaborate? or is this just another one of your snide remarks to get a rise out of someone? or maybe you were being 'sarcastic' again?

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    Steve!


    Good job on the reviews!

    It's so much more pleasant to read constructive reviews that focus on the wad for its' intended purpose without hostile comments or using it as source material for comedy.

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    /me comes back from the other side. Actually, to tell the truth, I haven't left yet but I will in a few hours :( So, it looks like I saw the review of my wad after all in the newstuff chronicles before going to army. Sorry for the extra trouble Ultimate DooMer. Great job on the reviews, too bad I don't have time to play the wads :(

    Yes, the music in the first map of riverge is indeed from Castlevania 4. I'm a huge fan of Castlevania music, so it was my obvious choise for this wad. I was going to tell what music is used in which level in the readme, but I forgot, along with many other things. Well here's the list if anyone's interested:

    Map01: Theme of Simon from Castlevania 4
    Map02: A song from Wanderers from Ys III
    Map03: Megaman II flash man theme (I've always liked this because the beginning sounds a lot like one of the songs from Castlevania 3)
    Map04: A song from Wanderers from Ys III (castle theme IIRC)
    Map05: Wicked Child (remix) from Castlevania
    Map06: One Winged Angel from FF7. Something else would have propably been better, but I was in hurry
    I was also going to add Castlevania 2 title music to the title screen, but that was one of the things I forgot. Oh, and map07 has a remix version of Theme of Simon (I was going to do 7 levels originally), but for some reason this music sounds horrible as a mus file.
    Level completed screen: a song from double dragon 2
    Story screen music: jurassic park (sega) final level

    btw, I made map05 last and made sure it can be completed on pacifist. Anyone dare to try? :)

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    I like this format and review style. If I could make one suggestion, it would be to add the size of the zip next to the link. That way I can avoid really large wads (until later) without having to wait for it to start downloading, then finding out it's 3 MB or something. I think an older version of /newstuff had this once.

    Either way, good job.

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    Well, at least the reviewer liked my "Flames Of Revenge" wad. :) All considered those Arch-Viles can give a serious headache during the first tries to finish the level...

    Hopefully it will be a little easier to complete once I complete the other maps in the hub; that way the player can bring health, armor and weapons from the other levels and deal better with the Viles.
    BTW, health is not completely lacking in Flames Of Revenge: on the lowest skill settings there are 2 medkits in the exit room and some stimpacks are scattered around the corridors. On HMP and UV health is hidden in the two secret rooms: a medkit with some blue bottles is placed in a secret room approximately in the left lowest area of the maze and a Berserk pack is hidden in the other secret room in the upper left area. I'd reccomend to save the game before picking up the Berserk... :)

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    I had a chance to play Dream when I was helping Nanami and Blind Alley R when I was helping Gene. Both of these wads are attractive and fun to play. As always, Gene's is a war zone with great battle situations and opportunities.

    I also enjoyed playing Nick's Wasted #1 and #2. I'll try to send a couple of lmps.

    Still have to try the others.

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