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    The /newstuff Chronicles #131


    Hyena

    I could just be mature and admit that it's my fault these are late, but instead I'm going to blame Sonic Doom and the KS series because they really took me a long time.
    Anyway, I hope you enjoy these reviews everyone, cause they're going to be my last. For now, anyway. Due to some time conflicts, I've decided that I'm going to need to give up on reviewing every third week. You may see me do a few here and there in the future, but I won't be one of the regulars.
    Anyone surprised by this? When I announced this in the newstuff forums, the only comments I got were "You're late again" I guess that's bad news for me because it either means my coming or going is not really a concern, or it means that nobody really reads what I have to say :P.
    It's been really really fun, people. Thanks to everyone who has read and enjoyed my reviews in the past. And thanks to those who shared their difference of opinions with tact and maturity. And most of all, thanks for releasing all of the really crappy wads on Deathz0r's weeks instead of mine :p.

    • UAC Teleportatation Labs - Samuel Horwitz (insertwackynamehere#)
      69k - doom2.exe - SP/CO-OP -
      Well, this seems to be the author's first release (besides Barbershop Doom, which wasn't a level) so I'll try not to boil him in a vat of emu grease for any more than twenty minutes. Some parts are somewhat impressive for a first-try. I liked the arrangement of cubicles in the first major room, and some of the wires across the ceiling of one of the rooms is a nice effect. But on the other hand, there is a rather large number of simple errors.
      Doom 101 for me was how to make doors. The first door you'll notice in this wad is way too wide and the walls are not unpegged, for instance. A few graphical glitches are also lying around, most likely from bad nodes or unclosed sectors. But what really gets me is some little tricks that seem to make no sense at all. In the first room, for instance, is a teleport that takes you to another spot in the exact same room. And once you've landed, the floor on the teleport raises to the ceiling to prevent you from using it again. I don't know about any of you, but I'm baffled as to what the point is.
      Another part that took me a little while is a bloodfalls texture that's walk-through, leading to a big blood river. There's a narrow corridor just to the right of where you enter, but it took me a few retries to notice it as I was standing in a damaging sector with monsters shooting at me, with the view obscured by a masked 2-sided wall with hot tea being spilled on my lap by a baron of hell who held me in a choke hold while feeding me slowly into a wood chipper.
      Ammo is plentiful here, and most of the monsters are zombiemen so it's not that hard, particularly if you go back and forth for the health lying around at the beginning. Most of you won't have much trouble.
      Teleportation Labs is not the greatest of wads. But I will say this much; The gateway looks pretty damn cool.

    • Timelessness - Andy Leaver
      113k - Ultimate Doom - SP -
      Timelessness is a very fun, and quite addictive doom wad. The first time I played I became so emersed that I forgot to take screenshots. Loads of action, a nice not-too-linear walkthrough, a few tricks and traps, and piles and piles of small monsters to feed to your shotgun.
      The detail is extremely average, I found. Nothing ugly, nothing breathtaking. Or maybe it's just that I was so into the game that I didn't stop to notice the background. Personally, I think the fact that the architecture doesn't draw much attention shows how well it fits the theme of the level.
      Don't expect many puzzles or whatnot. Not many brain cells are required. It's just a mindless shoot 'em up. But a very good one.

    • 4way - Guy
      177k - Doom2.exe - SP -
      This is the part where I make fun of the text file. First, the author puts his name as "Guy" and second, under Misc. Author info, he puts: helluvafinefellow
      Well, this almost seems like a mockery map to me. Not quite, but almost. My first indication is that he puts in the text file, and I quote; ...I tried to make sure there were no "dead-ends" or anything secret that would prevent you from getting through the level if you don't find them... but in the very first room, you have to run up to random walls to try to open them to be able to get out. The first room!
      It starts out okay, with maybe a little too much emphasis on barrels. But there's one room where it's very easy to get trapped in a corner, with many chaingunners firing at you in the distance. If you don't think that's impossible enough, it wasn't too long before I ended up stuck in one area where the only way out was a teleport, which promply took me to a small room with a spider mastermind and clearly not enough health or weaponry to be able to beat it, nor enough room to possibly get away from it. I don't know about you, but for me that's the point where I say, "I'm not playing any more of this."

    • ks1.zip - Cory Banket
      146k - Doom2/Port Recommended - SP -
      Challenging, nicely detailed, and fun. Not much else you need to know, is there?
      Well, it's not quite that simple. It focuses heavily on tricks and traps, which often adds a little fun to wads if done right. For the most part, the traps are used very well. In some parts, however, I did get annoyed with some switch searching. Most of the time though I think I was just annoyed at how obvious they should have been and I just didn't find them.
      There were some bad ones, though. At one point after searching several rooms several times, I found a switch. When I hit it, it activated a crusher on a low ceiling directly above me that was impossible to escape even if I had known that it was a crusher and the element of surprise wasn't there. And to make things worse, there are a few secrets that are necessary to beat the level. I personally do not like having to use the automap a lot while playing, just so I can figure out where I'm going.
      I'd say this would have been one of the best ones this week if not for those few annoying features.

    • ks2.zip - Cory Banket
      158k - Doom2/Port Recommended - SP -
      Well, this level does have some relatively good detail, but the theme and walkthrough are just too weird to be taken seriously. It's a nazi mansion, populated by SS officers. I mean, those levels are always weird, but what kind of nazi mansion has a big weird piano device that lowers weird rectangular crushers from the ceiling? There's also a humongous courtyard with arachnotrons roaming around and a cyberdemon in a big cage.
      There's not much action in this one. I got bored of it pretty quickly.

    • ks3.zip - Cory Banket
      193k - Doom2/Port Recommended - SP -
      This one has some nice atmosphere, but once again there are too many secrets and traps and puzzles. I get very tired very quick of wads where it's completely necessary to find secrets in order to progress. This is one of those.
      There aren't too many of them, so it's not all bad. I'd say this level fluctuates between frustrating and fun. I'd recommend it for those with a little bit of patience and with a little more time on their hands than I have. (It makes me sad to admit that I no longer have that luxury :/)

    • ks4.zip - Cory Banket
      129k - Doom2/Port Recommended - SP -
      Definitely the best in the KS series; It has the best features of all the other three, and seldom neglects any. It has some great atmosphere. It has tons of good puzzles, using some very nice techniques like having windows next to some switches that show what the switch does in the next room.
      The action stays pretty consistent, there's a good ammo balance, it's challenging, and it has some really good architecture. The texture use and lighting are pretty good too.
      It's also full of cool effects. Things like a tiny door that opens to a switch once you step into an elevator, and some of the best rising stair effects I've seen. Before ks4 I would have said this author needs a lot of work. Now I say you should all offer up your firstborn. Or maybe a sandwich.

    • Tower of Pazuzu - FraGMarE (Ian McPherson)
      128k - Doom2 - DM -
      Like many other DM wads, this one has some great architecture and some nice lighting effects. (There's also a quite nice music replacement.) But there's not much to it gameplay-wise.
      It's very small; a one on one fight would seem a little cramped. While the plasma gun is reachable in doom and boom (and probably other ports I didn't test) in zdoom, it sinks through the ground. That makes it a bit of a problem for playing on zdaemon.
      Also, I find the BFG-9000 is way too easy to get. A lift in the centre of the map lowers to a teleport that takes you right to the gun, on top of the main arena. While playing an 4-player deathmatch where everyone has the BFG in a small room might be fun for mockery, I think it doesn't really work in a serious level.

    • R.A.V.E. - Andy "FearKeeper" Leaver
      53k - Doom2.exe - SP -
      A very short but very fun level. The music's nice too. Not too heavily on the detail, but just the right amount of boomstick. It is rather easy, though. Well, at least there's some good old fashioned gratuitous bloodletting. Enjoy.

    • Super Sonic DooM - Playable Demo - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer!)
      2368k - Zdoom/Doom2 - SP -
      I have mixed feelings on this one. I love Doom and I love Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's very difficult to bridge the gap between the two. While this is a fairly decent answer to that problem, I found myself a little disappointed that the gameplay seemed to emphasize more Doom than Sonic. You still use pistols and shotguns, you still use keys to open doors, and there's not much opportunity to just keep running. On top of this, I found most of the levels hard to follow along. Maybe it's because I was trying so hard to get the Sonic feel that I was just running around and not carefully looking for hidden switches and keys, but then isn't that the point?
      Some parts are great. I do like the spring boards, for instance. They really do add some fun, especially when monsters walk into them (See shot #2). But some of the monsters I found to be too hard for a theme like this. I think enemies should be quick to finish off. One shotgun blast or quick chaingun burst should be enough to get rid of nearly all of them, so as not to slow down the pace of the levels. The green imps and demons sort of do the opposite, and the pain elementals really get in the way. And by the end of the level, most of the monsters will be following you around until you're swamped. If the enemies could be confined to their own areas with monster-blocking lines, I think it would definitely help.
      Out of the four levels in this wad, I'd say by far the best is map03; "Sunset Forest, Act I". You can follow along a path, grabbing health potions on the way, running past and taking down monsters that try to stop you. It's a very fun level until you have to stop and look for the keys, at which point it gets very tedious as you keep wandering along the same path looking for keys while being pummeled by fireballs. I found the yellow key with a little bit of trouble, and I'm still looking for the orange one. Well, for the most part, map03 really did make me feel like I was in a Sonic level. The other three didn't however. Particularly not map04, where a swamp prevents you from moving fast at all.
      This demo is a potential gem. It's good, but not as amazing as I know it can be. When the full version is finished, I think if the third map is kept in mind (before the key hunt) it should do all right. I just wish the levelset in general was more fast-paced.
    "No Hope For Life" was also released, but I think you know what that one is.
    Well, that's it for me. I'll see you all again once I can get mock 2 finished. Those who I'm expecting work from can now officially ph33r. So long and thanks for all the fish.

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    i added timelessness this week btw.

    Grazza said:

    You're not missing much. pritch's cookies are crap.

    heh, not surprising. it's hard to expect much from british cooking.

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    sargebaldy said:

    heh, not surprising. it's hard to expect much from british cooking.


    Rolling on FL

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    sargebaldy said:

    i added timelessness this week btw.


    heh, not surprising. it's hard to expect much from british cooking.

    Yeah, unlike 99% of American Cusinine, most of it isn't dripping with fat and/or sugar =P

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    Heh, British cuisine is the best in the world. Have you never been to a good traditional British curry house? :)

    Probably time for something on-topic: thanks for the reviews, Hyena.

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    Hyena said:

    review


    Yes, I have to admit I'm not fully happy with the way the monsters all swamp you, but it's very difficult to control them in open maps like those. I think I'll try your suggestion (which I avoided for realism's sake) and see if that helps. (the other maps will be less open)

    Unfortunately, while weak monsters will speed up the pace, they also make the game rather easy, so that's why there are strong monsters (and most of the new ones are faster and stronger). Don't worry, the pace will increase once the revenants, spiders, mancubi etc. turn up...

    Please try to remember that this isn't a Sonic TC, so it's not going to have cartoony monsters you can kill by jumping on them (not possible) and tons of floating and moving platforms (it will have them though), there'll be more DooM-type stuff than Sonic-type stuff (it's still DooM, after all) - but there will be plenty of Sonic-style features, puzzles and skill tests in the other maps. (and some of those speed runs that Sonic is famous for)

    (btw, you need the green key first - try looking for the platform tree.)

    On another note, thanks for the reviews down the months - a bit controversial at times, but you still kept going despite all the flames. And of course you still tried hard, even when behind on time.

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    Well, thank you. That means a lot.

    Edit: Oh, I found the green key now. I think I should record a demo for map03. It's a lot of fun.

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    I'd like to note that I had a similar problem to the one in Tower of Pazuzu. I had a little bit of architecture I copied from another wad: a spiral staircase around a pillar 128 units off the ground. I eventually got the stairs to appear at the press of a switch, then when you take the key at the top, all the platforms lower to the ground (except the pillar, which lowers to the ground +16). Problem was, I had to put all the sectors in the same tag for it to work, which meant the pillar also rose 16 units when the stairs appeared. This somehow made the key fall into the ground. Even when the platforms lowered, you couldn't get it. I eventually got around this by moving the key ever so slightly in one direction; apparantly this only happens if your object is exactly in the center. And this problem didn't happen in vanilla doom either, only ZDoom. Go figure...

    Anyway, /me downloads ks4.

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    What about that other sonic wad that used a modified version of the legacy engine, and you could actually do stuff like spin attacks, collecting rings, jumping on enemies, even play as knuckles and tails (complete with wall-climbing and flying moves), and no guns to br seen! (though robotnik did have a rocket launcher..)

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    You mean this one.

    That's a full TC with complete Sonic behaviour and no DooM content (apart from the engine). Mine's essentially a ZDoom megamod with some Sonic behaviour and features.

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    Grazza said:

    You're not missing much. pritch's cookies are crap.


    They don't even have chocolate chips!

    These are the best reviews ever by the way. I've agreed with every review so far today, though I've only played 3 wads so far.

    First up to play, insertwackywadhere!

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    Linguica said:

    Where the hell is the red key on Map04 of that Sonic thing?


    Hint: I put it in a different place to where you'd expect to find it (but still within the building).

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    The first person who can find my secret hidden message gets a free coupon good for one good review to any wad release. Valid until July of 2004.

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    Played teleportation labs, kinda liked it. Sometimes it was horrible. Sometimes it was sweet. Though I still can't figure out how to beat it.

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    The Ultimate DooMer said:

    Hint: I put it in a different place to where you'd expect to find it (but still within the building).

    Never mind, I quit, I figured the fact that enemies weren't activating when I stood in front of them and shot them in the face that something was screwed up and I'd probably never find it.

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    Hmm...looks like another notarget bug like the one that was in License to Spell Doom...

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    Grazza said:

    Heh, British cuisine is the best in the world. Have you never been to a good traditional British curry house? :)

    Do you guys have Bewley's, too, or is that only an Irish thing?

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    Hyena: I'll actually miss your review. I can deal with this, though... but if you stop producing /acomic I will have to kill you.

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    Hyena said:

    ..hot tea being spilled on my lap by a baron of hell who held me in a choke hold while feeding me slowly into a wood chipper.


    :)

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    Hyena said:

    ...hot tea being spilled on my lap by a baron of hell who held me in a choke hold while feeding me slowly into a wood chipper.


    ...and saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!"

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    Played Rave just now, man that owned. I love small maps, cause I never get bored! Well that's all I'm playin this week.

    I'll miss your reviews too hyena! Even though sometimes they were pretty crappy. heh

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    Linguica said:

    Never mind, I quit, I figured the fact that enemies weren't activating when I stood in front of them and shot them in the face that something was screwed up and I'd probably never find it.


    That shouldn't happen - I checked all those before I released it. Anyway, the key is on the bottom floor, between two lost souls. (you didn't have no clipping mode on did you?)

    Ichor: I wasn't using notarget stuff, the monsters activate when you enter their floor (to stop monsters from the other floor spotting and shooting you).

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    Epyo said:

    Played teleportation labs, kinda liked it. Sometimes it was horrible. Sometimes it was sweet. Though I still can't figure out how to beat it.

    There is a puzzle in the room you get in through from the redkey door. You have to figure out which switches to press, and which to not. BTW, the door in the begginning is meant to be that wide. It's meant to look like some heavily armored door, which leads into the testing facilities.

    Hyena said:

    Teleportation Labs is not the greatest of wads. But I will say this much; The gateway looks pretty damn cool.


    I was hoping you'd like the gateway ;-)

    EDIT: Oh yeah, Headline Image!

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    The Ultimate DooMer said:

    That shouldn't happen - I checked all those before I released it. Anyway, the key is on the bottom floor, between two lost souls. (you didn't have no clipping mode on did you?)


    actually that happened to me in one place as well, without noclipping, and actually if you're using 'actor enters sector' to activate the things that's totally uneffected by noclipping mode (note you can still use jump pads with noclip on) unlike line crosses and such.

    also I have to say damn you, you beat me to the jump pads, I have a couple in massmouth2, but good show anyway, they are quite fun to use

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    insertwackynamehere said:

    There is a puzzle in the room you get in through from the redkey door. You have to figure out which switches to press, and which to not.


    Oh, I only got as far as the gateway. Then I saw that window start going wild, like, it was clipping. Then I got bored and quit. I figured that was the end.

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