Hello again, everyone. This week's reviews are brought to you by one freshly twenty-three year old man some of you know as Hyena. Yes, it was my birthday on sunday, and as a present to myself I submitted these reviews a few days late.
Since I'm already late, I probably won't take up too much time writing this opening. Probably.
So, how's everyone? That's great. What's in the news today? Oh yeah. NASA is planning a trip to the sun for early 2006. The mission is described as being too dangerous for human beings and so instead they'll be sending super-intelligent pidgeons. Obligatory topical joke relating to subject matter. Okay, fine. Here it is.
- SELFISH4 - Paul Corfiatis
66 KB - doom2.exe - Single player - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
Part four in the Selfish series, this was released a few weeks ago and no one seemed to notice. I wouldn't have either if I didn't get a heads up from Grazza.
This sort of follows the rest of the series in the style of "Hell Revealed, but not so revealed that it's ridiculously impossible.". This one is described as being smaller but more difficult than the rest of the series. Hmm. Maybe I'm thinking of the tantrum wad series. My memory isn't so good in my quasi-old age.
Anyway, there's definitely some nice detail and some fun gameplay (although I died at the first archvile every single time). The wad is very challenging, although this mostly comes from the lack of health and armour as the monsters themselves aren't particularly numerous or difficult.
The only flaw I'd say is the ammo balance. It's tight as garrote wire, so you need to conserve every shot. This wouldn't be so bad if the archviles didn't go around resurrecting enemies. One time I ended up having to punch a couple of cacodemons.
Aside from that, it's great. It's a garbage bag filled with hallowe'en candy if you have some skill. I highly recommend it to doom gurus.
- 8 Bits Deathmatch - G0dCells
638 KB - zdoom/doom2 - Deathmatch - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
Yet another man who deserves to be the father of my child . . . if that were somehow physiologically possible. Science may one day know.
Take your average zdoom DM wad, but make all the textures solid colours (some of which flash between red and blue). Add a few sprite replacements to make items look like NES graphics and then all you need is some killer MODs full of 8-bit music samples.
I would deathmatch any of you on one of these 7 maps any day, even days in which I'm exhausted, have major responsibilities, and have been playing doom for a week and am tired of deathmatch. (Not to mention I suck at it).
You'd think that because the textures are all utterly simple that you'd have a really bland looking level, right? Well, maybe at first. But as the levels progress they become more nicely sectored. The last few levels are very, very cool.
Over all, I think my favourite feature is a script on each map that randomly picks one of the twenty pieces of inserted music when the level begins. You could play any one of these maps over and over without getting the same one.
Well, besides the music and the graphics, there isn't much to it. The levels are fairly straightforward, and at times the eye candy can be an eyesore with the flashing colours. So you'll probably think of me as weird for saying this, but this is my favourite deathmatch wad in a very long time.
- Vacuity - Lee Wallis
423 KB - OPENGL Legacy 1.41/doom2 - Single Player - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
This one's very interesting. Above all else, it's an excuse to bust out your old Legacy engine. I actually had to download the latest version as this wad requires Legacy 1.41 and like an idiot I've been sitting here with my measly 1.40.
That aside, I have mixed feelings on this project. First, Vacuity is quite atmospheric. It takes place in a tech base where you fight a bunch of marines, each armed with strange weaponry. The accompanying text file mentions nothing about a story, and after some thought about this I found I kind of like it that way. The author may have simply forgotten to write it, or maybe he decided to let the wad tell its own story. While there's no voice-acting or text, I think it does go a ways in telling a story simply by using the setting, sounds, and sprites.
Second, in my opinion, some of the resources are a little eyebrow-raising. For instance, I found it a little strange that some of the marines sound like monsters in hexen. Others, such as the metallic clank when your bullets pierce the marines' armour, just make it all the more fun. Especially with the chaingun.
As for the sprites, I found that a lot of them are hybrids of sprites from different games. I recognized Doom, Strife, and Wolfenstein sprites among others . . . bah, who am I kidding? I only recognized those three. If you look at these sprites individually in a wad editor they appear to be extremely sloppy, but they seem to work nicely in-game. The animation of it works well even if it was a half-assed cut and paste job.
My only really major complaint is the one extremely dark room. Getting pummeled by monsters when you can't see them is high on my list of annoying. You can try the "Might Makes Light" approach (had to sneak a doom comic reference in there somewhere) by randomly firing and hoping the muzzle flash lights the room enough for you to see around, but this hardly accomplishes anything more than wasting precious ammo. Eventually I got tired of dying and IDDQD'd, only to find that a dehacked trick causes that to kill me. I'll get back to you when I actually finish the wad.
- DANGER - OFFBOARD - Thomas Lutrov
75 KB - doom2.exe - Single Player - (img) (img) (img)
This one seems to have a n00bish style to it, but it definitely isn't a "first map". There's some fairly nice detail and really precarious ammo balance that suggest some considerable experience in mapping. This one's a challenge. Every single monster encounter requires extreme care to ensure you don't run out of shots. The key to this one is monster in-fighting. This can be extremely tricky. In the first room, you're directly between a baron and a chaingunner. A thick pillar in the middle makes it difficult for you to direct the chaingun fire to the baron. Out of the many times I played this map, only once did I manage to defeat both without getting hit.
After a few tries it becomes less of a problem to get through the first two rooms, and fighting a revenant at point blank with little space to move and only a few shells is a challenge but very possible. It only gets really difficult when you enter a dark corridor with sneak-attacks by an archvile and two more revenants. Unlike Selfish4, however, the archvile seems to be out of reach of the monsters you previously killed so you don't have to worry about wasting what little ammo you have left. As action goes, it's very very nicely done.
As for looks, there are a few texture misalignments and bugs. Most noticably is a strage HOM effect at the exit. Otherwise it's nice. Big jagged holes in the walls and ceilings give the feel of a destroyed base, and strangely shaped pillars give the feel of . . . some sort of . . . strangely shaped pillar.
A great map if you don't mind something a tad cramped. (I know I don't)
- Pyr0M4N1AC!!! - Xaser
363 KB - zdoom/doom2 - SP/DM - (img) (img)
Umm, what the hell? This seems to be a weapon and monster replacement wad, but the replacements range everywhere from cool/useful to weird/weird. The pistol is replaced with a badly-anged one that fires 5 shots at once. Angled weapon sprites are nice when they look like they're pointing at the centre. This one doesn't, really. The chainsaw is replaced with a shotgun. The plasma rifle is now apparently a sniper rifle that fires tiny yellow pellets at an incredibly fast rate. Weirdest of all is the super-shotgun replacement; it looks like the normal sprite with the two barrels replaced with one gigantic one. When you fire, it spits out three or four bullets in a quick burst, followed by a railgun blast, at which point it goes into its reload animation. Uh . . . what?
Really the only new weapon I liked was the chaingun. And that one really is quite awesome. It looks nice (even if the flash is solid white, whatever, I'm not that picky), sounds great, and most importantly it just feels right. The way it continues to spin after you let go of the trigger is very cool.
As for the monsters, ugh. Yeah, let's replace zombiemen with incredibly tiny chaingunners that run really fast. Better yet, let's make the sergeants explode on death. Because shotguns are effective in close-quarters the logical place most authors would put sergeants would be somewhere where you'd be forced to fight them close-up, which now would be suicide for the player.
A quick glaze over a few other features; The revenant's fireball spawns a ton of lost souls and explodes into a giant mess of fire sprites that hurt you. If any of the lost souls actually hit you, it's pretty much guaranteed death. (Which promotes Pain Elemental from Most Annoying EnemyTM to Enemy That Causes You To Randomly Throw Things At PeopleTM) The cyberdemon is the same except he fires a SUPER FIREBALL GATLING GUN!!! YAY! 3Y3 W4NT 2 PL4Y T3H L3VL D4DDY!
- LOST SOULSPHERE!!!!!!11oneone - Xaser
818 KB - zdoom/doom2 - Single Player - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
If you didn't already guess, a Lost Soulsphere is a soulsphere that flies around and hits you. Yes. This wad is a 10-level war you wage against the items in doom.
Okay, I know how most of you feel about joke wads, but this one's actually pretty good. Just remember the first rule of joke wads is that if a particular map pisses you off just warp to the next one.
All the weapons are replaced with some that are weird and/or funny. The super shotgun is rather amusing, but the best one is definitely the smarties.
All of the maps are interesting, even the ones that aren't particularly funny, and to some extent they're playable (just don't try for 100% kills). The lake one I found annoying, as the objective is simply to kill all the invuln spheres and there's a lot of them. Moron Mountain, however, is quite fun in a NUTS.wad sort of way.
Definitely worth a play if you have a sense of humour and a little patience. Unfortunately there's no DM support though, which is a crime to me, as I think the weapons in this one are better than the ones in pyromaniac.
- AGONISM #7 to #10 - Guy Shelton
12 KB, 14 KB, 16 KB, 21 KB respectively - doom2.exe - Deathmatch - (img) (img) (img) (img)
Arrrghhg! If you're going to release this many DM maps at once can't you put them all in the same wad? To save time I decided to review all of these wads as if they were one wad because they're pretty much just one big series.
Despite a few texture alignment problems, these are well-designed quick-frag maps. One consistant theme through the series is that each map has a load of barrels. Not really a bad thing, since they add a bit of a random element and they're gone after a minute or so anyway. Great maps if you like 'em small and deadly. But if you plan to play these maps together in succession your command line will be ridiculously huge.#7 #8 #9 #10
- ShadowRealm - Michael T. Cole(ShadowRunner)
266 KB - legacy/doom2 - Deathmatch - (img) (img) (img) (img)
This is a massive deathmatch arena for Legacy. Plenty of eye-candy and interesting architecture design. But wait, you can play it too.
It's great for a 4 to 8 player deathmatch, but 2 players alone will get very bored very fast. One element that makes it not so great is how linear it is. There's one end of the map and there's the other end . . . I think this particular map would work better if those two ends met in some sort of full circle.
But whatever. It's a good legacy wad. So don't pass that rare opportunity up.
- Mythical Dugneon - PumpkinSmasher
148 KB - Limit removing port/doom2 - Deathmatch - (img) (img) (img)
First of all, I have to poke fun at how the author misspelled his own title in the text file (see above).
Usually when there's something minor I can make fun of, I'm usually happy and go on to play a nice wad, but this in fact is a pretty bad one. It's a deathmatch wad that has what you'd almost call detail, but in fact it's just the same sectors and linedefs copied and pasted about 20 times. It's one big symmetrical "dugneon" full of completely identical rooms where you wander around and can't tell your way around unless you keep checking the automap. Don't get it. Just pretend it isn't there. If it sees you, start moving faster and avoid eye contact.
- Low Guard - Matt Cibulas (A.k.a RottKing)
78 KB - Zdoom or Skulltag/doom2 - It's a skin! -
This is a skin of the Low Guard from Rise of the Triad. There's a text file for this in the /skins/ directory of the archive, but there's no zip. Clicking the link on doomworld's idgames archive gives a broken link. Aside from that, this is one of my all-time favourite skins and I highly recommend it.
- Not Another E3 Wad - Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal
133 KB - doom.exe - Single Player/Co-op - (img) (img) (img)
Whew! This one's action-packed. Not Another E3 Wad (or kaiser 7) was so engrossing that I forgot to take screenshots. So I went back and took screenshots. And even then I was so engrossed that I forgot to take many screenshots. So enjoy my little handful of screenshots.
But really, this wad is what doom should only be, cyberdemons not withstanding. (Okay, actually I found the cyberdemon at the end repugnantly annoying because it's close-quarters and you have to fight him with a rocket launcher, but whatever. It's all good)
Download this now. Seriously. Right now. I'm waiting.
Have you downloaded it yet? Why not? What's wrong with you?