Having emerged from the other side of a PC blowout with a 1.6 GHz Athlon, nearly 4x more RAM, new cards/drivers, my hard drive intact and all my former problems solved, it's time to get back to the business of reviewing maps (armed with the latest ZDoom for the first time in newstuff). Only 7 maps (including a tutorial), but an interesting bunch they are, and one of them is a gem. Off you go:
- Doom: The Cyberdemon Army - Demo by cyber-menace
4750kb - ZDoom - SP -
Firstly, if you're familiar with this map series then you've already played 3 of the maps - but crucially not the other one, so stay interested. For those who aren't familiar with DTCA, it's a ZDoom megawad in-the-making (with lots of inspiration from a certain ZDoom episode), and this is a 4-map demo of it. The first map (01) is a short linear tech map with a very tight ammo/health balance, the next map (19) is a heavyweight encounter which will have you doing various techy things like restoring power, shutting down security etc. and the 4th map (32) is set in a ruined town with a couple of bases and a cathedral. Detail is pretty good in places but a bit bare in others (particularly map 32) and ZDoom effects are used all over the place. Scripting creates a story-driven mission-based setup, complete with voice-acting in places. Gameplay-wise it's tough, with many new enhanced monsters making life difficult and ammo/health being a little scarce in some places.
Onto the 3rd map (20) - woah. Not only does this map have some of the most amazing detail you'll ever see, it also has a gameplay setup to match. A giant rooftop festooned with pipes, tanks, lights, pits, tech stations and a huge temple-like structure containing a portal. The monsters come in organised groups and you operate out of the central building, which provides infinite ammo/health - but you can only go there between fights, and only once during each fight. A few powerups are scattered throughout the structures outside, but only become accessible after a certain time. The groups are big - very big - and you'll need brains as well as brawn to handle them. All of which adds up to the best map I've seen in a long time. In fact the only thing wrong with it is that none of the harder monster types are used, but doesn't stop this map from being a challenge (and watch out for a surprise later!).
Overall this demo is an unconventional affair (we need more of that IMO) and one which will provide a lot of fun, despite the lesser quality of map 01, the lack of ammo in the opening part of map 19 (the berserk is right at the back of the area, too) and the size of map 32 (it drags on for too long). Even if you've already played the other 3 maps, grab this and play map 20 now! If you haven't, grab this and play all the other maps, too!
- React by cycloid
255kb - Boom port - SP -
A dark base map with some reminiscence of the early Doom 2 maps for some reason. Mostly dark metal, with some blue-tech, brick and rocky bits thrown in. Detail is quite good, with some neat warehouse effects and ceiling lighting/shadows. However, the texturing in the rocky bit, rail tunnel and warehouse leave something to be desired IMO. Gameplay isn't that difficult, although the zombies have suddenly decided to walk around with SSG's so watch the health a bit. It has a slightly dubious ending (blowing up a reactor while you're still in it) but on the whole it's not bad and is worth playing.
- Carnival of Hell by Thomas Lutrov
149kb - JDoom - SP -
A hellish Doom 1-style map for JDoom. As expected, there are plenty of torches to cast those nice lighting effects all over the place, but they do disguise the fact that the detail is quite low in this map (grab the lite-amp and see for yourself). One or two places are ok, but on the whole it is a bit lacking. One thing that isn't lacking however is gameplay - tough right from the start, with only one or two easier bits (and it can be quite fun too). There's enough ammo and health to go round, so it shouldn't get too desperate. It's ok, but detail freaks need to stay clear. If you don't have JDoom, you don't need to bother downloading it just for this unless you're a nostalgia hunter, a fan of hell maps or you like a challenge.
- insertwackynamehere's Deep Water ZDoom tricks by Samual Horwitz
8kb - ZDoom - n/a -
A little wad demonstrating some of the various Transfer_Heights tricks that can be used in ZDoom. They're all well-known of course, but will be useful for those who want to learn them.
Note by Cyb: Some of these files aren't copied onto mirrors just yet (as of this writing, 2:20am EST) so if you can't get onto 3dgamers just yet, wait a few hours until the mirrors are all updated.