Those looking for a remedy for last week's newstuff need look no further, as we have a ton of maps this week! Not too many wads, but some of them have rather a lot of maps in. Whether it's battling in the streets of Gotham, playing God with guns, getting up close and personal, running away from cyberdemons or brushing up on your Spanish, there's something here for you. Comencemos:
- Batman Doom by Various Artists
5510kb - doom2.exe - SP -
This appeared last week but was not reviewed, and given it's just appeared on the archives for the first time, here it is now. If you don't know what this is, it's a full mega-TC based on the caped crusader. Everything has been replaced - the monsters with humans (mainly punks) and various villians, the weapons with Batman equivalents, the sounds (really good), music (not that good) and the graphics (extremely good). This leads to a totally different feel, both in looks and gameplay. Split into 7 "chapters" with a trip to the Batcave in between each one (make sure you look for hidden stuff here), the maps themselves are all decked out in realistic city decor (textures, flats and sprites), making a real city atmosphere, and the non-city maps also feel quite good. Some impressive special effects like burning fires, mines and projectile turrets add to things greatly, especially the way they're matched to the environments (except mines, which are everywhere). There is a bit of detail lacking in some maps, but the level of it is realistic and matched well to the environment, so that doesn't matter. Gameplay-wise, it's mostly on the easy side, although the generally low amount of health can make things a little tougher, despite the excessive amounts of ammo. However, the final boss battle is impossible without IDFA-ing due to it's unique setup. Aside from that, it's a fun, innovative wad that is definitely a must-play, even if you're not a fan of Batman.
- P0wer Weap0ns by The Masters of Insanity
295kb - ZDoom - n/a -
A weapons mod that replaces them all with ridiculously over-powered weapons. Fun to be had if you like having the power of God at your fingertips, and anyone who complains about Plutonia etc. being too hard need look no further.
- Close-Up! by Xaser
1070kb - ZDoom - n/a -
Another weapons mod, this time replacing them all with ridiculously over-powered hand weapons. There are a couple of ranged ones, but some of them are quite good and the extra power makes up for the lack of range. A must have for tyson fans.
- Minotaur's Maze by Eye del Cul
34kb - doom2.exe - SP -
Quite simply, a gothic maze with a cyberdemon and a handful of other monsters in. The aim being to get the 3 keys and exit by avoiding the cyber, as with only shotgun, chaingun and no extra health/armour it's probably impossible to kill him. Nuff said.
- Garrulismo by Eye del Cul
2270kb - doom2.exe - SP -
Aquí está algo nuevo - un mega taco español. (Pensaba en hacer la revisión entera en español (hehehehehe...) pero pensada mejor en ella... inglés de ahora). If you've played any of his previous maps, you'll know he likes using SS soldiers like normal monsters and putting up portraits of himself and others. Well, he also likes spectres a lot. The SS soldiers do add to the gameplay, but look criminally out of place. So after a few maps I knocked up this patch out of the Herian sprites, and I recommend using this for the megawad. Onto the wad itself, and the maps are well-detailed but sadly follow the bog standard base-to-city-to-hell theme order that most megawads do (it really is getting old now). The first 6 are a bit boring, but improve after that. In fact this wad has some of the best city maps I've seen for a while, aided by some Duke textures and some particularly nice large-scale areas. And believe it or not, the maps actually follow on from one another!! The gameplay varies - quite easy early on, but the further you go into this megawad the more and more heavy monsters appear and the more action you get. There's always plenty of monsters in general, but the gameplay still isn't too hard compared to some of the stuff we've had recently. The ammo balance goes up and down, from fairly tight to fairly comfortable, although you'll gather too much up later on. Overall, it does have some things to distinguish it from most megawads out there (mainly the SS, the city section and the way the maps are linked), it's a solid effort and gets extra praise for being a one-man effort too.
- Beyond Doom by Doug Radcliffe and David Perkins
1010kb - doom2.exe - SP -
Continuing the trend of big map wads, here's 12 more. This time though, it's not as good. The maps are somewhat basic in nature, some of the layouts seem like they've been randomly thrown together, the detail isn't that great (although in some places it can be nice) and there are a few features like mazes and mass teleporting to annoy you. Gameplay is a bit better, with plenty of monsters and some big traps too, although the first two maps don't have enough ammo (fists at the ready). Aside from those first two maps, ammo is balanced quite nicely but the large number of hitscanners in close and long range battles can cause a lot of annoyance, particularly with health not being too abundant. Overall these maps are somewhat different to the usual fare, but unfortunately aren't up to today's standards.
- BloodRust by Simon Judd (SlayeR)
1010kb - source port - SP -
Continuing the trend of big map wads that are 1.01 meg zipped, here's a short but sweet 11-map wad. Mostly base maps, but with a couple of brick ones, too. The detail is impressive, with few areas looking bare and the recoloured sky makes things look a little different. Gameplay isn't too difficult (for high-skilled Doomers), although it does get tougher throughout, and watch out for some sneaky traps and keep an eye on the ammo, especially towards the end. The health balance is mixed - sometimes there's plenty (including secret powerups) and sometimes there's not much around. However there are a couple of texture bugs that interfere with gameplay in map 10, so watch out for those. On the whole it's pretty fun, and certainly worth playing.
- Outpost Recon by David Shaw (Tolwyn)
127kb - source port - SP -
Finally, a single map by an author who's better known for other things. It starts off not too well in the mountains, but once you hit the techbase things get better. The base is impressively detailed, particularly the taller rooms (which are harder to detail) and the texturing creates the futuristic splendour of the base. And the music is...(drumroll)...(wait for it)...nothing! (didn't see that one coming, eh?) However there are some issues with the gameplay - there are too many barons for your limited resources to cope with, a lot of the time you'll be using basic weapons only, and all the crucial weapons (chainsaw, berserk, plasma gun) are hidden away in not-too-obvious secrets (insert wrong-answer buzzer noise here). Health can also be tight as well. Unless you're psychic and find the secrets, it's not completable on skill 4 as you can't do without those weapons. It's a good map, but I hope that detail wasn't put before gameplay (which unfortunately is a trend these days). It's still a good effort and worth playing though.