It's safe to come out, as the flames have died down and there's a ton of maps to play in this, the latest edition of the /newstuff Chronicles! This week we once again have an all-vanilla chapter, with perhaps the highest map-to-wad ratio for a while. Only 4 wads, but with a total of 32 maps between them, giving a map-to-wad ratio of 8:1 (the highest since last summer). So not much clicking but plenty of killing...
- SargeBaldy's Speedmapping Compilation #8 by Various Artists
70kb - doom2.exe - SP(eed) -
Another speedmapping compilation, but surprisingly this is the first one I've reviewed. 3 maps here, and the theme was to design an E3 style demonic temple complete with a courtyard and sacrificial altar, but doing so making all linedefs parallel/perpendicular to the grid. The first map is impressive, with good detail and is pretty challenging too - however it is spoiled by the presence of an archvile at the end. The second map is questionable, given that all you have to do is teleport then hit the exit switch right near to you (or face a battle you can't win). The third map is dark and challenging, with plenty of running and ammo conserving, but you might find it tricky to work out where to go at first (and there's not enough ammo to kill everyone in the last room). Given the 100 minute limit, the detail is pretty good in all maps (and very good in the first map), although question marks are left about one or two aspects of gameplay.
- Blind Alley V: Necrophobia by Gene Bird
140kb - doom2.exe - SP -
These maps just keep on coming, a bit like their monsters, really. This one throws you in at the deep end straightaway, and never lets up. The theme is a mixture of green stone and wooden gothic areas, together with some modern brown stone areas, too. Ammo is plentiful as ever, and there's enough health to go round as well. This one is actually quite well detailed in some areas, and the map has a certain feel to it, especially in the gothic areas. You'll certainly have fun with this, and I think it's one of the better maps in the series, once again proving that there's more to Doom than eye-candy.
- Quantum 4 by Nick Anderson
235kb - doom2.exe - SP -
This is an old wad (1996, I think) that has been uploaded to the archives for the first time. 4 maps, all of which are pretty random in layout and texturing, have some questionable puzzles and are generally nothing special. The detail is average in some areas but mostly poor, ammo and health are plentiful and it's easy to get stuck sometimes. On the plus side, the gameplay is fairly challenging, with a good mix of monsters and some sneaky traps, too. For fans of unthemed mid-90's maps only. (btw there's a bug if playing with ZDoom - the bars in map 01's blue room rise too far)
- The Lost Episodes of Doom by Christen Klie and Robert Carter
853kb - doom.exe - SP -
After a thread debating the legality of distributing this wad freely, it suddenly drops into newstuff. A wadpack made in 1994, this is 3 episodes for Doom 1 (no secret maps). Many of the maps in the first episode will be familiar (as some of them are in chrisk.wad), the second episode bears some resemblance to a Deimos style and the third episode is not gothic/hellish at all. Detail is pretty low throughout, although this could be expected, given the age of these maps. The gameplay is fast and furious, and indeed it can be played at a very fast pace, making it quite fun. However, it can get boring and repetitive in episode 3, as it's maps are somewhat poor (and E3M8 is rather pointless, being a copy of E1M1 with a spider mastermind). There is waaaaaaaaay too much ammo here - in fact I was at full ammo for quite a bit of the time. There is also way too many supercharges and blue armour, indicating this was perhaps aimed at lower-skilled Doomers (even with fast monsters, I wasn't really troubled), although a few cybers/spiders here and there don't suggest that. The atmosphere is authentic 1994, and is a real treat for the nostalgia hunters and retro Doomers among us. But those of us who prefer today's wads will probably not want to spend a few hours playing this.