Good *insert appropiate timezone here*, everyone! I'm sure you're all overly excited about the grand 10th anniversary of Doom, and it is definitely a moment to remember... the fun ends here, fellas. Whoever uploaded half of the old WADs this week, don't ever do it again on any of my weeks. I hate it when I have to sift through all of the old junk that was long-forgotten. Also, I'd like to point out that SargeBaldy has updated some really old WAD, but since there's very little amount of differences compared to the original, I won't be actually reviewing it. I will however post a URL to it at the end of this /newstuff Chronicle. How's that for kindness?
Enough rambling, there's seven WADs to review this week. One Single Player megawad, five Single Player WADs and one Deathmatch WAD make up this magnificent week of /newstuff. Do ye dare uncover my ghastly reviews?
BELLA II - Paul Corfiatis and Chris Hansen
8.2mb - ZDoom - SP
What a nice way to start off this week, a Paul Corfiatis and Chris Hansen megawad! These guys pump out some quality levels, and this Bella II is definitely no exception. I'm going to start this review off on a negative aspect however. The particular thing that worries me about this megawad is if it's a serious attempt or not. Some of the levels (MAP14 in particular) are very damn weird, but at the same time makes me laugh really hard. I guess it's probably best to say that some the levels were made seriously, and others are incredibly weird jokes that only weird people would laugh at.
Moving on, some of the levels are just simply excellent in every way. The detail and texturing in most levels are very professional-looking, and the gameplay is also perfectly balanced. The monster count in most of these levels are really low, but don't expect the fights to be easy. I actually died twice on MAP01, but then again, I'm just a horrible SP player. Some of the maps have a lot of switches, which may or may not appeal to the average Doomer, depending on how interested they are in flipping switches. Another debatable aspect of Bella II is that the theme is non-flowing. It feels like the levels were just randomly thrown together, as none of them really seem to match up to one another. Overall, the amount of work these two put into Bella II is greatly shown, especially in MAP39 and MAP40. The practice level was also really tough for me to complete, but I guess I was just casually playing at that point. Great job, although whether the overall theme of this WAD is meant to be serious or not still unknown to me.
Blind Alley X., "Forlorn" - Gene Bird
91kb - Doom2.exe - SP
The latest installment in the "Blind Alley" series, and it definitely keeps up with the rest of the more recent levels. Fast, furious and exciting is one way to summarize this new Blind Alley level, but that'd be too short of a review. The detail is pretty much above-average, like the other Blind Alley series, but the one thing that really attracts me to this series is the intense gameplay that you have to endure. There's plenty of ammo (especially shells) to blast with, and health isn't that much of a problem. There's a decent amount of hitscan enemies, and as usual, there's revenants a-plenty roaming around at high points of rooms. I do recall Gene writing in the first Blind Alley textfile that he was only going to create 13 levels, but this one is the 14th Blind Alley map he's created. I guess it doesn't really matter though, as this one is yet another level that speedrunners should observe. Keep it up, I can't wait to review the next one in the series.
Bygone - Doug "FrootDip" Leeman
33kb - Doom2.exe - SP
This is another "my first wad" job, so I'll be a little bit more fair on the author's behalf. As a matter of fact, it's not that bad at all, but the annoyingly low light levels in some rooms don't make this level something you'd want to play again, especially when you have no clue on where you're meant to be going. I actually found a switch by accident, and I was lucky that I did, else I would of stopped playing this level a few minutes later. Some of the rooms are crowded with lots of monsters, not to mention that the brightness of the room that they're usually in is incredibly low... it actually reminds me of the Doom Comic, in a weird way. Personally, I'd change the light level in all of the dark rooms to at least 128, and remove some monsters, so that in-fighting doesn't occur as often. If you're the type who likes looking at aspiring authors, feel free to take a look at this and comment on it, else you should take a gander at some of the other stuff released this week.
My First UAC Base - BlackFish
83kb - Skulltag - SP
Excellent, my least favourite forum monkey has released a WAD on my week! Good thing that it sucks as well, so I have two legit reasons to rip it apart!
This is BlackFish's "first attempt of a real level", and boy does it have a lot of gameplay flaws with it. First off, the amount of stealth monsters used in this is astronomically annoying, especially the stealth revenant that's close to the first lift you go on. The amount of health and ammo in this is pathetically low, and trying to kill off Belphegors from a long distance with limited space to move around is not what I call fun. Oh, another thing I really love is if you fall of the walkway that surrounds the blue skull key, you can't get back up, neither do you get hurt in the process! I found that one out when I was just walking around the level with cheats on, so I decided to take a screenshot of it in it's full glory. I also love how there's no real theme in this level, which makes you believe that you're in one place, then suddenly in another.
Good one DumbFish, you've created a fool out of yourself by making a really sub-standard level that is painstakingly annoying. Oh, make sure you actually pick a decent title for your next level.
Sewer Terminal - Agent Spork
72kb - Legacy - DM
Yet another Deathmatch WAD by Agent Spork, and I must say that I'm really impressed with one. It contains boatloads of Legacy features, even some really decent Fragglescript work. I really love the fact that there's only one door in the entire level, and it opens when you walk near it, instead of having to press the use key while running away from another player. The interconnectivity between rooms is also very well-placed, making this level more of a fast-paced bloodbath, rather than a "camp in some really small area where nobody will find you" level. All of the transparent floors and walls add to the rather nice looks of the map. However, there's a really bad bug which can be seen in the console, which disables the player from actually taking screenshots. Because of that bug, I was unable to provide screenshots for this otherwise flawless WAD. Go play a match against someone in this, you won't be disappointed.
Tower Of Pain - Christopher "Udderdude" Emirzian
237kb - ZDoom - SP
This week's only Heretic WAD is provided by the same person who hates me, because I said that one of his earlier levels sucked. Well, I'm not going to say that today, because he must have actually paid attention to my criticism, and actually made something that's worth playing! This map uses a fair bit of ZDoom features, colour translations in particular. I was having a hard time trying to look for the yellow key, and I finally found out that one of the side rooms in the south area of the tower has a secret door, which contains a teleporter. If I didn't discover this by accident, I would have said that this WAD is too confusing for the regular Doomer/Heretic player to even play. The amount of monsters is plentiful, meaning that it won't exactly be a walk in a park, but it's definitely not that hard either. There's not much more that I can really say, and that first screenshot I took doesn't help much at all. If you're after a challenge, and you want to stay away from the typical Doom environment, I suggest giving this a go.
Doomsday Zephyr Demo - Wes "PumpkinSmasher" Rath
422kb - Legacy - SP
Brilliant, another quality WAD just like ULTRAMARINE! Everything about it is so spectacular, you just have to see for yourself! If you think I'm lying again (just like you all thought I was about ULTRAMARINE), then go check out the excellent screenshot that tells all!