Well, Hyena has apparently disappeared again this week without a trace. I'll start to worry when I see his face on milk cartons. Too bad I buy milk in those plastic gallon jugs. Anyway, on short notice this week you get your old buddy, Cyb. Hooray! This week's /newstuff gives us seven wads, with a total of 24 maps. Yeesh. On top of that the majority of them are rereleases and/or reuploads, but I guess that's okay. On to the reviews, my minions!
007: License to Spell Doom - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate Doomer)
Ultimate Doom/ZDoom2.0 - SP - 6,253k
This is a rerelease of the popular release by Doomworld's own reviewer, presumably to fix any bugs present in the first and also it appears a few things were changed here and there, though the text file makes no real mention of what has changed.
Anyway, due to the rerelease nature, and the fact that I'm running a bit short on time, I'll be briefer than I normally would. The episode is very well done, though the main flaws are some spots seem underdetailed and the entire first map makes me want to rip out my hair due to that wind sound (plus the texturing of the map is very boring). That aside, it makes excellent use of ambient sounds, and you can see many of the areas and missions are heavily influenced by Half-Life, which is good because I liked Half-Life. LTSD is neat because you always have a little odd job to complete rather than 'hit a switch, find a key' (though sometimes that is the mission), though some of the race against the clock missions will possibly annoy the piss out of you, though the escape from rising lava is quite cool.
I'm still not sure that the name means though, or what Ultimate Doomer's strange affection for those odd looking sector-based trees is, but regardless, it's a solid episode to check out, and if you haven't already played it I recommend that you do.
Barbershop Doom II - Samuel Horwitz (insertwackynamehere#)
Doom/Doom2 - N/A - 379k
Replaces all the Doom2 weapons (except the fist) with a barbershop prop. Shaving cream cans, two shaving cream cans, talcum powder, an electric shaver, etc etc. The sprites look like they were made in MSPaint and the sounds sound like they were made by the author blowing into the microphone, but the humor value was there (for me at least), though it only lasted around fifteen seconds. After that I'm sure you'll never look at it again.
Return to the Exit - KGy SOFT (György Kõszeg)
Doom2 - SP - 155k
Another rerelease, this one originally from '96, which is pretty much what it stinks of. Misaligned textures, squarish layouts etc etc. The map is fairly fun to play however, if not a bit easy, and there are some interesting secrets scattered about (which only make the map easier) but all in all it's really mediocre at best. It's also one of those fun zip files that includes a buttload of random files, including a bunch of doom2.exe v1.666 demos (hah) and a batch file to load each one of them. Hooray, better bust out prBoom.
Nostromo's Run for DOOM ][ - Rich Johnston (aka Nostromo)
Doom2 - SP - 115k
Yet another rerelease, this is even older, the original file being released back in '95. Actually I'm not even sure who uploaded this, but I surmise that it wasn't Nostromo. Possibly this was missing from the archives after the great migration from Walnut Creek. Anywho, I suppose you could consider this map a classic, but only because it's so old. In reality it's not that good, but being released back when Doom was really new I suppose it's forgivable. The map starts out nice but then it jumps into a bunch of randomly themed areas interconnected (first it's brick and wood, then it suddenly becomes a tech base etc etc). It's actually fun to play if you can get over the random areas and various weird texture errors, though it's rather painfully easy much like Return to the Exit. Also much like Return to the Exit I'd say skip it unless you're pressed for half-decent, old Doom maps.
UAC Mine - Lexus Alyus
Ultimate Doom - SP - 212k
For whatever reason this zip includes a second wad which appears to be the first map of the three in the other wad. I'm not sure why, but it's a nice way to waste space. The maps are painfully boring, though they look nice enough, they're quite linear and you are given almost no weapons or ammo aside from what you can shake down from the plentiful amounts of former humans throughout the maps.
In fact, the entire first map is devoid of any sort of ammo or weapons so you need to kill everything with a pistol, which gets really boring if you're an impatient bastard like I am. However I'm sure some speedrunners will enjoy making tyson or speed or pacifist runs as the maps seem to beget that sort of play, though the large amounts of zombiemen I'm sure will hinder that a bit. Better looking than the previous two maps, but not as much fun to play.
Southern Cross - The Solution and Bryant Robinson
Doom2/ZDoom - SP - 2,162k
Of course we all know Bryant Robinson from his excellent Dark7 and Dark7 Mission Pack (if you haven't played those I highly recommend it). However, this is nowhere near up to par with those. Most of the maps are laid out nicely, and had they been detailed in the slightest they would have been excellent maps, but as they were they all come across as massive hallways and stuff with the same texture and zero detail except for the occasional light here or there. Blah. If you aren't too hung up on detail, or that fact that Slige could probably make a level with more detail, then it's fairly fun to play, with roughly the same level of gameplay (in terms of toughness and flow) as Dark 7. Oh, on top of that, some of the maps are painfully similar looking, in fact when I got to map04 I actually had to double check that I hadn't somehow warped back to a previous map.
Helpyourselfish - Chris 'c-cooper' Hansen
Doom2/Advanced Port - SP - 569k
Well of course I'd expect nothing less from Chris Hansen, and this map is nothing short of amazing. It's themed after the majority of the maps in Doom2, that is an blend of brown metals, bricks and rock, but it works very well unlike the mishmash which is some of the Doom2 maps. In fact, the flow between areas and the connectivity of this map are quite stellar, and some of the best I have seen.
At times it seems that Chris is trying to use all the textures Doom2 offers (sans the Wolf3D ones of course), but despite that each area blends well with the next one rather than seeming like it has nothing to do with any of the previous ones. Very cool. The map is also quite hard, even on lower skill levels, and expect to take a better part of an hour to complete it the first time. Ammo and health balance are nicely done, though you need to be careful not to rush into a room full of monsters, lest you get smeared on the walls. Without a doubt you should not pass up this map.