After two quiet weeks, we once more have a bumper collection of maps this time. They include a rare map for EDGE, an ultra-hard Zdoom map specially for Tyson enthusiasts, a pretty one-room map that will kill you in 40 seconds if you don't exit first, and a very accomplished first release by cycloid that should keep the speedrunners happy. However, by far the biggest project in /newstuff this week is the most elaborate attempt ever to make a humorous Doom megawad. So, is Mock 2 worth the hype ... ?
- Mock 2: The Speed of Stupid by Hyena & co.
3,012kb - Zdoom 2.0.53 - SP - 41 maps -
OMG IS THIS SOEMONES IDEA OF A JOEK???!
Well, yes it is; it is the biggest and most ambitious joke megawad to date. There has been some heated debate about the whole concept of joke wads; a few too many unfunny joke wads have been released. Back when THISSUXX.wad came out in 1996, simply making a deliberately very bad map was enough to raise a smile, but nowadays people would tend to view it as just a bad map. The task facing the Mock 2 team was to provide that extra something that makes a genuinely very bad map into a good, and funny map. And to do so 41 times.
I think they pretty much succeeded. It's hard to say what makes it work, but the whole package makes a violent assault on your senses and all the good taste for wads you've acquired over the years, and draws you into its bizarre fantasy world. I found myself more engrossed in Mock 2 than I have been in most "serious" megawads. The hours flew by as I tussled with these insane creations, and had my computer insult and mock me whenever I died ("for great justice", often as not), and make "1337 kiddie" comments upon item pickups.
OK, some of these maps are just bad though, and deliberately irritating features do sometimes simply prove irritating. However, there is more than enough to make up for those glitches. The wad doesn't take itself too seriously, so I don't see why the player should: if a map annoys you too much, then you know the cheat codes - use them!
Actually, I found most of the maps surprisingly well balanced and playable. I played each map from a pistol start, and avoided using cheats, and for the most part was able to exit without too much frustration along the way. There are plenty of cybers, but you are provided with the means to defeat or avoid them - and it's generally fairly clear which strategy is the right one.
A great deal of work has obviously gone into Mock 2. It really does abuse a lot of Zdoom features in quite clever ways, and is rarely repetitive. Almost nothing remains untouched: there is new music, messages, lots of scripting, and so on.
I feel I shouldn't say too much about the individual maps, since this is a wad where spoilers would prove genuinely spoiling - surprise is a major ingredient in the humour. Still, I must say that I really liked the MockDonald's map, and found it quite hilarious to be bombarded with AOL chatroom-style messages in one map. I mean, how often are you being asked to swap ASL info just as a cyberdemon comes into view?
I'm not quite sure how someone who isn't familiar with Doomworld forum injokes will react to some of the humour though. I mean, it kicks off with a map called "In Defence of Demonsex". And anyone who hates 1337speak will be in for a tough time, especially if they die by drowning. On that note, make sure you die in all sorts of different ways, just to see the stupid messages.
Some of these maps are just genuinely good, and are worth replaying several times. I'm sure some will attract the attention of the demo-recording crowd too.
The secret levels and the credits level are just totally whacked - the sort of maps you'd expect the Aetherius Society to make. I especially liked the point in one of them (which had utterly bizarre texturing throughout), where we are told that the mapper's little brother had made the next room, and that he hoped it wouldn't suck too much.
A couple of dull technical comments. Firstly, jumping is needed in some maps, though it isn't a major feature in most. Also, if you can't see where you are meant to go next, it is sometimes worth just trying to jump - it may well be that gravity has been lowered, so you can jump much higher than normal. Secondly, be sure to keep a copy of Zdoom 2.0.53 on your computer. Given how closely many of the features of this wad have been based around advanced Zdoom features, it is wholly possible that future versions will break some of these maps. Indeed, some last-minute changes needed to be made for that very reason (i.e. features that had worked in previous versions were broken in the current version of Zdoom).
Obviously, I'm recommending you try this wad. If only to see the first use ever of the word gynaecologist in a Doom wad.
Wad of the week.
- Enter by cycloid
87kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map -
This medium-sized map is a very impressive first release by cycloid. It is lots of fun and presents a fair and varied challenge.
The gameplay is quite straightforward - there is a central area which you need to pass through several times, and on each occasion there are some new monsters released. The author states "expect plenty of lowering walls, tripwires and oddness". I particularly liked the area with the cacos and the rising pillars.
Some source-port notes: this wad works fine with Doom2.exe-compatible ports, but in ports with z-axis clipping, you can fall down into the pit where the arch-vile resides. Zdoom has some more serious issues with the map though. Some steps fail to rise at one point (you can get around this though - you'll need to use your jump key twice). The other Zdoom issue is that the archvile blasts you far higher up into the air than it should, and this makes a direct jump to the exit possible as soon as the archie has been freed from its hole.
This demo-friendly map is wad of the week runner-up.
- V.O.L. (1000 Demons) by Christopher Emirzian (Udderdude)
199kb - Zdoom - SP - 1 map -
This fairly big map will provide a stern test of your Tyson skills, since ammo is scarce and you will need to use your fists at every opportunity. I must say that I don't like the use of stealth monsters in a berserk-heavy map (then again, I'm not fan of stealth monsters generally). You can drop down to skill 3 (where there are no stealth monsters), but that seems a shame, since skill 4 is quite nicely balanced in other respects. I won't whine too much about that though, since I did manage to survive despite the stealth monsters and some low-health moments and some frankly unfair situations (e.g. two stealth hell-knights and a bunch of imps in a tight space with small weapons at a point in the map where your health is bound to be low). I will confess to using quite a few savegames. I think this is a map where you need a fair amount of prior knowledge to get through.
The level of detailing is quite high. This is a map with plenty of nooks and crannies, and bits and bobs strewn all over the place.
I recognized the author's name from a wad he released a few years ago called "Decaying Manse". Thankfully, that was before the days when anything ending with "-se" was viewed with suspicion, and it was quite a tense atmospheric map.
The Zdoom features are mostly of a gameplay-flow variety (there is no need for jumping or mlook), and become more obvious towards the end of the map. And don't be fooled by the monster-count shown in the automap - you might think you must be close to reaching the exit when you destroy the altar, but you still have a lot of work to do from that point on.
It's certainly a good and challenging map, but it has a few too many annoying features for me to recommend it wholeheartedly for everyone. Judge for yourself, but try skill 3 if you find it too frustrating.
- IC1Room (AKA Go!) by Ian Cunnings
87kb - Boom-compatible port (but not Legacy) - SP (+coop) - 1 map -
This little map exists thanks to Job's one-room contest, which was discussed in the Doomworld forums. Accordingly, it is one room jam-packed with detail to make it look pretty. It has a Monopoly-board theme. Then, to give it a single-player mode, it was jam-packed with monsters. A voodoo doll is used both to provide the player with weapons, ammo and health, and also to provide a time-limit. Therefore, Legacy should not be used. Gameplay is slaughter-house style: you BFG a path through the monsters to flip switches and find keys. How easy it is on UV seems to depend to some extent on which port (and which compatibility settings, if applicable) you use. Some of the decorations block player movement unless you have "actors are infinitely tall" turned off. In prboom I found this quite frustrating, especially given how cramped the map is, and the fact that you're in a race against time. The map's author has shown that UV Max and NM are both possible, in Zdoom at least.
On a technical note, I noticed something odd when playing this map in prboom with Doom2.exe compatibility. With -nomonsters, everything worked fine, but when I played with monsters, the platfrom with the red key failed to lower. Weird. With Boom compatibility, it worked correctly. That's why I have stated that it requires a Boom-compatible port, despite the claim in the wad's text-file that it merely requires a limit-removing port.
Anyway, this map is definitely worth playing. Co-opers might want to give it a try too.
- War with the Imps by Taisto Valdlo aka Mephisto00
79kb - Zdoom - SP - 4 maps -
If this is an experiment in mapping, it is quite promising. Mephisto00 has used friendly marines, some scripting and several other zdoom features, and everything appears to work as intended. However, the gameplay falls completely flat, I am afraid. You just need to kill a few imps, and there really is no challenge whatsoever, even with fast monsters (Nightmare is presumably impossible, since I see no way to keep 50 imps dead simultaneously). It is easy enough to get your fellow marines to kill some of the imps, leaving you with a simple mopping-up exercise. The only real danger is if you leap straight into battle with the imps. The danger, however, comes from "friendly fire" - your comrades are just as likely to hit you as they are to kill the imps. OK, it's not as bad as being lolman's coop partner, but it's a bit frustrating. I'd suggest skipping this one.
- The 8 Trials by Templar
49kb - EDGE 1.27 (+ Ultimate Doom) - SP and coop - 1 map -
Wow, EDGE - it's a few years since I've used that. First of all, I should mention that you can play this with other ports, and you might actually enjoy it more that way. The battle with the cyberdemon is a bit tight (but not too difficult - just don't fall into the pits below), and the final battle is missing entirely, but the gameplay is OK overall, if a little too easy.
The map is rather plain, but not ugly. The EDGE-specific features are changes to monsters - their sizes and hit points mostly, though the cyberdemon is pretty much castrated, making it easy to kill. The final battle is with a weird cacodemon. However, for that whole scene, EDGE became extremely choppy (I was using gledge at 800x600 on a machine that gives an acceptable framerate at 1600x1200 on nuts.wad in glboom), and to be honest I got a bit fed up with the slideshow and just ran to the exit.
- Ghost-Monster FAQ by Ledmeister (www.ClassicDOOM.com)
5kb - N/A - FAQ text-file - no maps
An update of Ledmeister's definitive text on ghost monsters. The update was caused partly because some awkward person pointed out to Led that you can get ghost pain elementals.
Note that there are demos for several of these wads are already available in the Demos Forum, and more can be expected to appear in the next few days.
A batch of small-to-medium deathmatch match arrived this week, all by Hellbent (except one by B.S., who describes himself as Hellbent's pupil). Hellbent's maps are rather plain in appearance but should play quite well, and feature two textures in particular that are used in great abundance (a greenish one especially). Hellbent also released a DM megawad, which arrived a little too late for inclusion in this week's /newstuff Chronicles. From a quick glance, the maps in the megawad look on the whole a little more complex and interesting than those released this week.
- 24-b-day by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
17kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map
A small and rather simple map.
- Breaker by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
15kb - Doom2.exe/Zdoom - DM - 1 map -
This one looks fun. Plenty of multi-level action, and a good test of skill. The BFG is tricky to get while under fire.
- Breaker 2 by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
14kb - Doom2.exe/Zdoom - DM - 1 map
A slightly modified/improved version of Breaker.
- Gork by B.S.
8kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map -
A fairly simple map, without a great deal of variety either visually or in the gameplay.
- LA55d by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
10kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map -
A symmetrical DM map!!11! A bit claustrophic here and there, but good connectivity. I wonder what the name means.
- Ris 1b by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
13kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map -
Well, er (...running out of things to say...) it's another DM map with Hellbent's favourite textures and design features. Reasonably open but by no means simple. I noticed a possible RL-grab (could be used to frag someone who was making for it by the obvious route - lolz!). I wonder if that was intentional.
- Tele Mad 1 by Jason Root (Hellbent/Grotug)
11kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map
Yet more of that greenish texture. This was has quite a lot of teleporters.