Despite my life getting worse over the past fortnight, I'm still here and so are my newstuff reviews. This week, we have a rather big haul of maps (including some interesting ones), but nothing really special to be had. That's only my opinion of course, so get your army of source ports ready (you'll need them) and fire up some, many or all of the 40 maps on offer:
- Braham Manor by Bryant Robinson
2200kb - Vavoom - SP - screenies unavailable
Now here's a strange one - a map set in a haunted mansion. Using an appropriate texture set and Vavoom's special features, a great atmosphere is created (despite the disproportionate size of the furniture). Detail is minimal except for the 3D floors and furniture, but this adds to the atmosphere by making the rooms look bare (which they often are in these places). Gameplay isn't too hard, but is made harder by the fact that Vavoom is about the worst-handling engine out there (slow, buggy walk/run modes, automap resets upon loading a savegame) and the ammo/health balance is dictated by choice of route (you're pretty much free to go where you want except one or two areas). So a mixed opinion from me, but it's worth checking out if you can get Vavoom to run on your machine.
- Unofficial Change Log v1.01 by LogicDeLuxe
10kb - n/a - n/a -
A curio for those interested in collecting Doom rarities. (the changelog for the various doom.exe versions)
- Doom 1.4, the leaked bootleg of 8-apr-94 by id software
287kb - itself - n/a -
Another curio for those interested in collecting Doom rarities. (a rare doom.exe version)
- WADHEX 32Bits - Hexadecimal Visualizator by Javier Fernando Almenara Otoya
115kb - n/a - n/a -
A tool that lets you view and edit a wad in hex format. Probably for those in the relevant know-how only.
- Forever by jetflock
1330kb - OpenGL port - SP -
Technically it runs on any source port, but an OpenGL one is recommended for this 7-map wad. It's a mixed bag in every department, from size to quality to gameplay to detail. The first two maps have a lot of dark areas in (you need the OpenGL here really), while the next 4 try to cram in every theme going - as a result the texturing seems completely random all the way through those maps (06 - the never-ending map - being the worst offender). In that respect it's a true 'classic-style' wad (MM2 et al), but it doesn't detract from the detail or the gameplay. Detail is mixed, with everything from bare rooms to giant structures to themed realistic areas and high-detail parts. Gameplay is fairly difficult at times due to the lack of health in most places and ammo in others (map 04 has a severe ammo shortage). But the important thing - the fun factor - is here, even though it can be a real slog at times. New sprites, including replacement SS sprites (there was much rejoicing...yay!) improve things, and you also get to shoot up OAC's (old-age cacos) for added funney. In short, a real mixed bag, but one that stands out a bit, is quite interesting and fun, so overall it's recommended.
- Blind Alley Y: Dissolution by Gene Bird
115kb - doom2.exe - SP -
After another loooooong delay, here comes the 15th map in the series. Expect the usual detail (low-medium), texturing (varied but seemingly random) and gameplay (fast and furious). This one looks better in the big areas, but some of the smaller rooms look a bit bare, and indeed repetitive as well. It's action from the first door opening, and will take the health out of you if you're not careful. In other words, it's challenging and fun. It's not too big a map, but it's up to the usual standard and of course is worth playing. Another 15 of these and we have a really fun megawad...
- Perdid01 by J.S.Graham (psyren)
95kb - doom2.exe - SP -
A small-ish techbase map that kinda reminds me of the early Doom 2 wads I used to play. Everywhere is a complex of rooms, passages, stairs and lifts with 90° walls and various amounts of detail (of the tech variety). One or two areas are a little bigger (and these look better too) but apart from that it's a cramped affair. Gameplay is pretty dull, with a population of zombies only plus a few imps, demons and hell knights. There's also too much ammo/health. The wad does have a retro feel (so play it if you like that sort of thing) but on the whole it's quite bland IMO.
- Perdid02 by J.S.Graham (psyren)
130kb - doom2.exe - SP -
A large-ish brick map that kinda reminds me of the early Doom 2 wads I used to play. A lot of 90° walls again, but used in a much better way than the previous map. Detail is fairly low, with most of it coming from the pillars and the shape of the walls, but there are some better looking areas too. Gameplay is better though, with plenty of big monsters to shoot up, although the more seasoned Doomers shouldn't have too much trouble here. Ammo and health aren't a problem, although there's no cells and the rocket launcher is hidden away. This one is worth playing, especially if you like the retro feel. The demo recorders might enjoy it, too.
- FrasL by Paul O'Neill and Jerry P
1440kb - Legacy - DM -
17 deathmatch maps for Legacy. And it's a good thing they are, as these are easily among the ugliest I've seen in a long time. Most of the layouts are weird and somewhat un-DM friendly, architecture often sticks out in awkward places and the texturing is awful. However, some of the maps are quite innovative and many of the later ones use Legacy features to make things look better. Gameplay-wise, there's every type of weapon and powerup under the sun, but I can't help thinking that the fragfests would be somewhat awkward due to the layouts and features. Many of the maps are also a bit too big, so the only way I can see it working is with a big bunch of people. Should've been single player.
- E1M3: Reincarnated by Agent Spork
295kb - ZDoom - SP -
Think E1M3, but with added detail, ZDoom features and some alterations to the layout (it was all built from scratch, too). It looks good, and despite it's tribute status it has some better gameplay, due to the added hell knights and lack of health. But it is part of an overcrowded genre, and despite it's differences to the other tribute wads, nostalgia hunters might be put off by the ZDoom stuff. It's ok for everyone else, though.
- Real World 2 by Alexis Neuhaus
549kb - doom2.exe - SP -
Another E1-style wad, but this time we get 10 small/small-ish maps of it. It gets less E1-like as you go through it, with some E2 stuff at the end. Detail is authentic for the most part, but gets a little heavier towards the end. As with most E1 tribute wads (the pure ones anyway), the gameplay is easy and boring - so you'll need fast monsters to get an ounce of challenge out of it. It does improve in the 2nd half, with Doom 2 monsters to up the challenge slightly and the super shotgun to bring the excessive ammo supplies down. The author gets praise for building a multi-map wad on his own (as all who do should), but this one is for demo recorders and nostalgia hunters only.
- ZDoom menu demo by Sphagne
945kb - ZDoom - SP -
A demo wad that shows off some of the increasingly cool capabilities of ZDoom - in this case a menu system. It's a bit tricky to get used to, but it (or some derivative of it) could be useful in many RPG wads in-the-making.
- Zeo by Rei Yukamuri (Zero)
845kb - doom2.exe - DM -
A weapons/monsters replacement intended for multiplayer. Has some good things and some bad (mostly bad).
- Palladium Electroplate Facility by Samuel A. Villarreal (Kaiser/Deathman)
288kb - ZDoom - SP -
A big base map, meant to be the sequel to one of his earlier maps. ZDoom features are used to create things such as linedef doors, breakable consoles and lasers. The detail is impressive, from the lighting to the architecture and new textures enhance things also. But the gameplay has flaws - a horrible start leaves you with not much health (even if you do get the bonus) and in fact you'll always struggle for health, meaning that some of the many traps will give you no chance of survival. The ammo situation is not much better - the lack of enough ammo means you'll encounter many early monsters without the means to beat them (a berserk would've made the difference) - and the layout makes it difficult to evade, too (in fact I only survived at one point by fisting a revenant that got trapped in a linedef door via a flaw in the mechanism). And there's a trial-and-error puzzle that you can't afford to make a mistake on (due to aforementioned ammo/health trouble). Things get better later on (mainly when you get sufficient weaponry) and certainly poses a challenge, but a fair few of you might get annoyed and break your F9 key on skill 4. Overall an impressive map, but one which will require skill and patience to master.