Hello, Little Faith here. For some odd reason the admins of this place are under the delusion that I have the capacity to review the latest fruits of the doom editing forefront. I won't hold it against them. Afterall they do not have knowledge of my woefully inadequate dooming skills. Anyway, this week has quite a bit of wads, some of which are of the extremely interesting kind. Of course I am "fashionably late" as everyone else. Primarily because of B.P.R.D and his darn hidden switches. Wasted half a night on those. Secondly because I am a moron, and don't know how to take screenshots in Legacy,
Rubén's Deathmatch 1 - Rubén Alonso
Zdoom or Zdaemon - Deathmatch - 30,2 KB -
A little deathmatch ditty for Zdoom, with a somewhat weird layout. Essentially you are duking it out on top of some large pillar-like structures connected with stairs rising out of a big abyss. The interconnectivity is superb with several tactical teleports and all weapons sans the melee ones are offered with copious amounts of ammo. The only real cover are offered by the height variations so I guess this wad will make for a fast and furious gameplay. Average doomers will probably sooner or later overstep and will be sent plunging into their doom. This is where this map's greatest weakness lies. As this wad is Zdoom specific I reckon it would be rather easy to set the abyss floor to kill players on impact. Unfortunately the author has chosen just to make it a regular hurty floor. This could make for some awkward interruptions where one player just waits to be killed by the lava. It could potentially destroy 1 on 1.
Grove - B.P.R.D
Any port that can handle a huge amount of stuff simultaneously visible - Single Player - 574 KB -
It's time to torment your framerate again. The original known as B.P.R.D, the guy responsible for Equinox and the Nuts series, strikes again with a wad that will frustrate both player and computer. This wad has a completely different tempo to his previous works though. It does not have the oceans of monsters of the Nuts series, neither the grand battle royales of Equinox. In fact there is only 61 monsters on UV difficulty and barely enough ammo to deal with them (unless you find the super super secret). What this wad offers you is trees. Lots of trees and darkness. You will be fighting your way through dense vegetation with only the starlight from the breathtakenly beautiful red sky.
This is probably one of the most evocative wads I have seen lately (and that says quite a lot with stuff like Cyb's Void and Virgil's Claustrophobia floating around). B.P.R.D has managed to conjure forth a real sense of place in this utterly surrealistic small world. You really feel lost in an unknown forest at night. Weird structures suddenly emerge from the foilage, all with their own quirky logic. The whole thing is accented by that wonderful red starry sky (makes me think of the old adventure game Loom). This wad as a whole is more like an adventure game. Puzzles and exploration take precedence while the few fights are of less importance and usually quite easy.
This wad is shock full of quirky details and imaginative contraptions, most if which shall not be spoiled here, but I think one needs to be mentioned. In this level you will not have the luxury of a fully automated automap. No, you'll have to make do with a good old paper one, and one that looks like it has been made by a 7 year old at that. It is even a bit inaccurate at times. Really sets the dreamy naivistic atmosphere of the map.
All is not completely well, however. B.P.R.D is blessed with a complete lack of common sense when it comes to mapmaking. It makes him able to unravel wondrous worlds beyond all rhyme and reason. Unfortunately it also means that he is prone to make his maps nearly unplayable at times. This wad, though fantastic, suffers too. Basically he wants us to go on a switch hunt.. ..in a pitch dark forest.. ..with a crummy little toy map. That might have been okay in itself, but then he also hides barely noticable switches at the outer periphery of our vision! A lot of you will be royally stumped.
Nevertheless this will be my candidate to the Wad of the Week
Mythical Terrain - Pumpkin Smasher
Legacy etc - Deathmatch - 15.6 KB -
Behind this rather pompous title hides a little deathmatch level for Legacy mostly consisting of a big courtyard. There are two small side tunnels, but otherwise the only source of cover is the middle pillar that also houses a teleporter leading to a goodie room with two other teleporters. The weapons are fairly well spread out, and all firearms, but the BFG is present. There is not much detail to look at, the walls are utterly plain, but the author has bothered to lay down a few paths on the turf. If it bears any notice there is no exit switch present.
Phocas Island - Chris "Chopkinska" Hopkins
Zdoom - Single player - 826 KB -
Now this wad by Chopkinska (AKA KoRn) is a really fine piece of work for a first time author. This guy knows his Ultimate Doomer when it comes to making large open landscapes and he knows his Alien Vendetta when it comes to populate them, and he has a few tricks of his own to add to the mix. This wad maroons you on a rocky island shore and leaves you to search for a boat in order to escape. Of course you don't just wander down the beach until you find one, you will be forced to go a bit more in-land in order to work your way another piece of shoreline. On this journey you will be accosted by a veritable army of hell-spawn and not-wholly-humans, who do not respect your humble wish of passage. A series of dark caves must be traversed and a large citadel/temple-like structure with extensive underground vaults must also be explored in order to reach your goal.
The Zdoom effects are used non-intrusively and quite stylishly in this level. The rolling waves at the shore are pure genius and the music that change when you enter different parts of the map aids to establish an atmosphere. His landscape is lush and invites to adventure. The caves are dark enough to make them dangerous, but are fortunately not so labyrinthine as to be annoying. In the citadel/temple area I really think the author's originality shines through. The gothic vaulted architecture is seen before, but not in this minimalistic red/white/black colour scheme. It really makes various architectural features stand out instead of being drowned in your usual boring green marble.
The action is good and consistent throughout the level. Medium strength monsters are used wisely and the raw power of a shotgunner/chaingunner posse is not underestimated either. I like his use of cacodemons. They are often situated in places where their aerial mobility can be used instead of them just being dumb meat shields.
All in all, a newcomer with a capacity for great things to come.
Q3 - Tier 1 - Todor "Curunir" Pichurov
Zdoom - Deathmatch - 60 KB -
A Doom 2 recreation of 3 maps of Quake 3's first tier. I haven't played Quake 3 myself so I cannot say anything about how well they match the originals, but plagiarising the levels of a tried and true deathmatch game should result in something at least somewhat playable, and they look rather nice with a clean crisp Doom 2'ish texture theme. Not especially detailed, but neither underdetailed. I reckon that Map 3 would be the funniest to play with the circular walls to dodge and weave between and the height variations. None of the levels has any exit switches if that has any significance.
Unrest - Dr. Zin
Should run with anything - Deathmatch - 40 KB -
A small deathmatch level with a somewhat odd design. The author claims to have playtested it with bots and found it fun, yet I remain somewhat sceptical. There are many narrow passages and to make matters worse some of them even end in lifts that need switches to activate. A bit of a no-no in deathmatch levels. Generally the whole level is awfully cramped with very few opportunities to dodge anything. Graphically it is rather neat with a nice "basy" theme.