Well, it's been a pretty hectic week - we've got 35 maps in all (although 6 don't count really) plus lots of other stuff including weapons, skins and even source ports! (yes, they do hit newstuff from time to time) And for the first time ever, I was able to play some of the deathmatch maps online (thanks to a new broadband connection). Anyway, off we go:
- The Last Strike Extreme CTF by Sazabi, Jackass and Chrono
8920kb - ZDaemon - DM -
And here is the mapset I first deathmatched on - and it's a good'un. 8 CTF maps, with a number of different themes, shapes and sizes. The detail is excellent, and the new graphics really add to the city and egyptian maps, making them stand out. The layouts vary, from small, quick trips through to long-haul journeys to and from base. ZDoom features are used really well, with a variety of them used to make things interesting. Weaponry is interesting, with a railgun instead of a single shotgun, and no chainsaw, berserk or bfg. They always come with ammo around them, and there's also health and armour around too. It's a bit of a blast basically, although it's better to have a larger number of players. Great mapset.
- WinMBF by Team Eternity
1500kb - itself - n/a -
A Windows version of a mostly-forgotten source port, which should bring it back into the spotlight. If you've not used it before, it's called Marine's Best Friend (MBF) and compares closely with Boom/prBoom, but without variable resolutions (only 'normal' and 'high' are available). AFAIK the main differences are in mapping features, notably custom definitions (I think) and friendly monsters. I'm not familiar with it myself (so I played the two maps below with it, and it ran pretty well), but if you're a fan of the original MBF or Boom/prBoom (notably it's unique features not present in derivative ports like ZDoom), you need to check this out. (source code here)
- Phobos Power Station by DooMBoy (roofles)
64kb - doom.exe - SP -
A Phobos map, which runs on E1M5. It looks authentic, and the default tune makes it feel authentic, too. Add the detail that was missing from the original E1 and you have a map that looks and feels quite good. Shame about the gameplay, as it's the usual easy-peasy affair with no tough monsters (-fast is your friend). Ammo is sufficient but not excessive, and health isn't a problem either (although one of the secrets makes things worse). It's good if you like old-fashioned maps (and I think we all do sometimes), but it doesn't really stand out from the crowd.
- Rocky Road by Kirby
28kb - doom2.exe - SP -
Whether or not it's the Kirby we all know and love (not) is yet to be seen, but the map isn't much good. An unthemed layout, basic detailing and random texturing make sure that this won't be remembered, however the gameplay is a little better. A fair few big monsters, one or two surprises and the need to watch the ammo. Secrets are poorly stocked (200% health/armour) in terms of balance, and one also contains a vital weapon. Still it's not bad to play, despite the looks.
- Running in the Hallway by Bjarne Christensen
15kb - ZDoom - SP -
A little map that focuses on close-quarters battles and surprises. It doesn't have much detail and some texturing is bad, although the few battles are varied. Health isn't really a problem, as there's usually some around after each battle. It's ok to play it once, after which it wears off, really.
- Fear Reconstructed by Kyle Casteel (MasterOfPuppets)
658kb - ZDoom - SP -
A 3-map wad, one with completely different settings each time. The first map is a short brick map with nothing really special (apart from some nice lighting) and the last map is an arena (quite a good looking one) in a rocky outdoor setting. It's the middle map that's the focus here, a gothic/hellish affair with great attention to detail. Metal patterns in the floor and ceiling, lighting effects, plenty of nicely-used red sky and sparingly-used ZDoom features. Gameplay is mixed - the first map has too little ammo, the second map plays pretty well, with plenty of challenges without plasma weapons and a good ammo/health balance (not counting the secret) and the third map is fast to start with, followed by the climactic boss battle (no ammo or health trouble there). You'll like this one, so it's recommended.
- Toms Road by Toms Gailitis
2170kb - source port - SP -
The largest wad this week, it has 10 maps. There is a general outdoor travelling theme to it, and each map is part of a journey using various modes of transport. It takes you from your house through towns, islands and canyons to a rather nice base atop a tall island. The maps vary in quality - some are pretty bad, whereas others are pretty good. Detail is quite intricate on a small scale (particularly in the buildings), but can also be quite bare at times (especially on a larger scale). The gameplay is also a mixed bag - there's plenty of challenge from the monsters, but there is a ridiculous amount of ammo in every map (there are huge stashes everywhere, and sometimes they include health/armour too). The regular use of SS soldiers is a bonus (provided you use the patch) but the heavy use of barons and the sometimes confusing layouts can lead to frustration, particularly if you're in a bad mood. Still, this does stand out somewhat from other wads, has some pretty good concepts (particularly the map endings and some themes) and will certainly appeal to challenge lovers and those who want something a little different. An interesting and pretty good mapset.
- Toms Skin by Gailitis
437kb - not ZDoom - n/a -
A skin of the author (you don't see that very often), the same as the player sprites used in his wad above. (ZDoom doesn't like skins, btw)
- Turret Syndrome by Hyena
38kb - ZDoom - SP -
Nope, not a silly wad...it's novelty game time again! This time you're a railgun turret, shooting at monsters trying to cross the road from one tunnel to the other. Kill them all to progress, and shoot the powerups for a little help. Naturally it gets harder, so see how far you can get... (recommended, in other words)
- Weasel's Weapons by WildWeasel
970kb - Edge - n/a -
A full set of new weapons, which include more than there is normally (thanks to the choice of port). Some of them don't differ much from the originals, but there are others that do. And the screen shaking effects on some weapons are pretty cool. Recommended if you like this sort of thing.
- Alien Deathmatch by Alberto Sposito (Ismaele)
47kb - doom2.exe - DM -
Set on a spaceship, this wad doesn't really feel like a deathmatch. Probably because it's crammed with monsters and has a relatively unfriendly layout (it's not that detailed either). There's also too much ammo, health and armour. I'd imagine the battles would be quite poor on this one.
- Nothin Much by Ben Tybursky
171kb - ZDoom - DM -
The title says it all. 8 maps, 6 of which are modified IWAD maps (so they don't really count), the other two are small brown maps. This shouldn't even be in the archive, so don't bother with this.
- Red Eye - The Mars Files by Alberto Sposito (Ismaele)
1690kb - ZDoom - SP -
A map set in a Martian base, although some red outdoor rock textures would've been more convincing. If you've played Ismaele's wads before, you'll know what to expect in detail terms - high, intricate on a small scale and plenty of copy-pasting (although we all do this really). So it looks nice, perhaps a bit dark in places but this gives the impression of an overrun base. The music is also excellent, a spacey techno-rock number that adds to the setting. ZDoom features are used just right (not excessively), and a small storyline is in place. The gameplay is reasonably tough due to the monsters (some of which are stealthy) but there's far too much ammo. Health is a bit rare, which is ok unless there's a section which forces you to take damage to progress. And it's possible to exit the map before the story is completed (so when you get the red key, go back to the red door instead of exiting). But despite it's flaws this is a good map, and worth playing.
- Film Noir by WildWeasel
14kb - doom2.exe - n/a -
A little mod that lets you play DooM in black-and-white. (for those who want to take DooM back to the 1930's)