An odd mix this week, with weapons mods and monster replacements galore, and some real oddities, such as an animated music studio and a zodiac-themed map. Fans of jokewads also have something to amuse themselves with, I'm afraid. Amongst all this there are also quite a few genuinely good maps, including some promising creations by new mappers.
- Fear Construct by Kyle "MasterOfPuppets" Casteel
240kb - Legacy + Doom2 - SP - 3 maps - -
I enjoyed this set of three maps for Legacy. The architecture is not overly elaborate, but looks fairly attractive throughout, and the action is intense. I suspect they are intended to be played consecutively, but all three maps are playable from pistol starts (though maybe not with max kills). Maps 02 and 03 are quite a scramble if you start from scratch, with low health and ammo - especially in map02. The most noticeable Legacy features are 3D walkways.
- The Zodiac: Aries by Milian Moritz
298kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map -
The first in a series of SP maps based loosely around the signs of the zodiac. Other than that little gimmick, it's just a very solid and challenging Zdoom map. There is some swimmable water, but otherwise few Zdoom features are on display. There are some tricky cyber confrontations, so I'd suggest using the odd savegame until you're familiar with the layout.
- New World 2 by Daniel
4,230kb - port + Doom2 - SP - 18 maps - - -
The indefatigable Daniel presents us with yet another multi-level wad. This one is based partly on his unfortunate Female Doom, but with the tasteless content mostly stripped out. This requires a port that supports dehacked patches, and a few of the maps require jumping (map01 needs it at the very start, but I haven't found any other places where it is essential in order to complete a map - I haven't checked this systematically though). The maps all look good (if you liked New World, you'll like this for sure - plenty of outdoor/natural environments), and many of them are great fun to play too. Themes and situations vary considerably. The secret map (31) will appeal to those who liked Plutonia map11 and Equinox map10, though it is a fair bit easier once you know where to get the useful stuff - after you get the BFG, it isn't much of a challenge any more, since you have stacks of plasma. Map16 is called Stonehenge, and is a good reworking of a theme that has been used in quite a number of Doom maps. Health and ammo seem well balanced on most maps - you can expect plenty of close calls, but shouldn't need to non-berserk too many demons.
- Journey of No Hope by CodenniumRed
57kb - Doom.exe - SP/coop/DM - 1 map -
This fairly small and simple map is a promising start for a new mapper. The design is good - it reminded me of the outdoor areas of E4M6, with maybe a little E4M8 thrown in. The level of detail is about right - nothing is bare, but nothing is over-fiddly either. Gameplay isn't difficult, with plenty of health and ammo supplied. A large part of the map can be skipped (without using any tricks), which is a slight blemish. The soulsphere secret is not terribly easy to reach, but you don't really need it, unless you're recording a Max demo (which might be quite fun, come to think of it). To the author's credit, the map really does work with Doom.exe too - no HOMs, VPOs, etc.
- Moonlight Sonata by Ivar 'jallamann' Remøy
83kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map -
The only port I got this to work with was Zdoom. I don't think it uses Zdoom features (and no jumping is needed), but it's the only port I found that would tolerate a texturing error. Apart from that rather serious blemish, the map is quite fun, though the design features quite a mix of themes. There is a fairly nasty ambush near the berserk pack, but otherwise it isn't too difficult if you proceed with reasonable caution. The berserk should come in handy - I used it to get rid of a baron, and then found I had no ammo shortage. Incidentally, it is possible to skip most of the map using a little switch-from-below trick to pick up the red key very quickly, and exit in well under a minute.
- The Studio by Jimi
889kb - jDoom + Doom2 - SP or nomonsters - 1 map -
This is a weird one. It's a small map with a few monsters to kill, but that's not really what it's about. It is set in a sound studio, which erupts into life when you press a particular button. Keyboards start to play and drums spring spontaneously into action. It's not so much a wad to play as a demonstration of what jDoom can do via its DEDs. Incidentally, you can play the map in other ports (just extract it from the pk3 file), but the automated studio doesn't work then, of course.
- LOST SOULSPHERE: Gold Edition by Xaser
4,101kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 10 maps -
I'll just give this one a quick mention, since it is a new version of a wad reviewed in T/nC #173, with a few changes to weapons, sounds, graphics and music, and a new map07 (which I found kind of boring and repetitive). It's a very silly jokewad, but a few of the maps are fun.
- DEtective Corn Slug v. Brassy B by BLAKE STONER
938kb - port + Doom2 - SP - 5 maps -
Another wad by the creator of the appalling Sadhus Chauffeur Trio. This one isn't quite so bad though. It's still a "joke" wad, and certainly features some very bad design indeed, but there are some signs of talent, and evidence that some work went into it. The fruit-based ideas are kind of cute, and I actually enjoyed playing map03 (looselt based around Doom2 map31), which was quite challenging. The other four maps have no worthwhile gameplay though.
- DoomNiel - Daniel Adventure by Daniel
8,510kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 5 maps -
This wad does not work with the current version of Zdoom, and Daniel has not clarified which versions of which ports (if any) it has actually been verified to work with. I modified the wad by removing a skin, and it then worked OK in Zdoom 2.0.63. I believe Daniel intends to release an amended version, so I'll just give it a screenshot and this brief mention for now.
- CDoom v1.9 by Carlos Guariglia
171kb - it's a port
This is the linuxdoom 1.10 source code ported to DOS, while retaining maximum compatibility with Doom2 1.9. Essentially, it's an open-source clone of Doom2.exe v1.9 - something that would have been very useful indeed back in 1998. It also has a setting to provide demo compatibility with Final Doom. Sadly, I can't get the sound to work in XP, but CDoom 1.9 could be an interesting base for further development.
- CDoom v2.05 by Carlos Guariglia
232kb - it's a port
This port is based on MBF and has added support for 3d features such as jumping and 3d floors. This is a new version.
- ARMAS 04 (Weapons 04) by Daniel
354kb - port/dehacked - weapon replacement -
Replaces most of the weapons. The most interesting changes are to the rocket-launcher, which now lays mines that explode after a time delay, while the BFG functions much the same as the original, but is Pacman themed (see the screenshot).
- ARMAS 28 (Weapons 28) by Daniel
1,527kb - Zdoom/other ports(?) - weapon replacement -
Another set of replacement weapons, some of the silly variety - for instance there is the Smarties gun, as seen in Lost Soulsphere. The BFG replacement does some weird stuff (which crashes prboom, incidentally) - a glob of gunge sometimes rises from a victim - this hangs in the air for a while and hurts anything that comes into contact with it.
- D-Gun Weapon Set 1.5 by Ralf Wueltener (update by Xaser)
252kb - port/Zdoom - weapon replacement/enemy modification -
Xaser has built upon Ralf Wueltener's weapon replacement, and presents us with two versions: one for Zdoom, one for any port that supports dehacked patches. The main addition is the Glass Shard Launcher.
- Xaser's Fury by Xaser
434kb - Zdoom - weapon replacement/enemy modification -
More replacement weapons... I must say that I find the sniper scope annoying, but some of the guns are quite cool. The new BFG can certainly clear a room in a great hurry, and the Flak Cannon does its job nicely. Some of the monsters are changed, with green imps replacing the human enemies.
- Doom Monster Replacement - Marines by Daniel
504kb - port/dehacked - enemy modification -
The first of two sets of new monsters by Daniel. Marines replace most of the monsters here, with different weapons in many cases. The animations are good, and the enemies look quite natural - not too surprising given that they are based on the original marine sprites. The monster sounds are replaced by sound bites of typical dialogue, which I imagine could start to grate after you've heard each of them a few dozen times.
- Doom Monster Replacement - Zombies by Daniel
452kb - port/dehacked - enemy modification -
I wouldn't say the guys in this monster replacement really look like zombies - they're more gunslingers of various types, military and others. Many of them are based quite closely on baddies from other games. Again, they all look quite good.
- Extra Guns for Zdoom 2.0 by Daniel
1,467kb - Zdoom 2.0 - extra weapons -
This is more a resource wad than anything else - you need to use a cheat code to get the extra weapons. The weapons look rather good and interesting - some toss grenades of various types, others are more electrical in nature, and there are of course ones that chuck out projectiles, missiles, etc.
Five wads this time. I uploaded two of them, while myk decided to upload three wads by Mark Klem, presumably because they were no longer available online following the disappearance of Klem's webpage. Klem is best known as a composer of Doom music (e.g. STRAIN, MM, MM2, Requiem), but was also a prominent mapper in the mid-1990s.
- The Lost Mines by Mark Anthony Klem
83kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 maps -
This map attracted quite a lot of attention in its day, and it's certainly a good map. Nice and atmospheric, with plenty of thought given to lighting, and little touches of realism. It's massively over-ammoed though, and with power-ups aplenty, the cyber fight at the end is very one-sided. Still, in those days it was quite standard to provide an invulnerability whenever there was a cyberdemon, so the lack of one here is a step in the right direction. Actually, the cyber fight can be quite hectic if you make the mistake of releasing the big guy while lots of monsters are still teleporting in behind you (I seem to remember doing that the first time I played this map).
- The Halls of Death by Mark Anthony Klem
76kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map -
Not a bad map, but rather plain and repetitive, with little variety in architecture or textures. At one point there is a spiral staircase effect that would have benefited greatly from a silent teleporter. There is an extreme excess of ammo and power-ups, to the point where you can only get into danger if you are really careless. Oddly, you can exit without getting the yellow key - I don't understand the mechanism, even after looking in an editor.
- Fragtime Marine by Mark Anthony Klem
254kb - Doom2.exe - SP/coop/DM - 1 map -
A rather large and possibly confusing map. It's highly non-linear, but you can skip large parts of the map (including some of the more dangerous sections) if all you're looking to do is exit. When I first played this map, I died quite a few times before I worked out what was what. Generally the battles take place in cramped surroundings, so try not to get cornered.
- Quest for the Red Key by John Nelle
417kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 4 maps - -
Well, if we can have a lost soulsphere, we can certainly have a quest for the red key. However, you're not fighting against it, and this isn't a joke wad - just four good standard maps where finding the red key is not essential, but quite useful since it opens up a stash of goodies. All four maps offer an interesting challenge (you'll need to think here and there, and use your resources intelligently), and at the very least acceptable architecture. Map04 seems to require a rather tricky jump, unless I'm missing something. It also contains a pit from which you can't get out, but otherwise the play bounces along well in this wad.
- Rest in pieces by Mark Walton
34kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map -
The design here is rather bland, with lots of plain walls and right angles, Wolfenstein-style. However, to compensate, the gameplay is quite tight and challenging - even when I knew my way around quite well, I found I was getting low on health and in some awkward situations.