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    The /newstuff Chronicles #207


    We have yet another week where single-player wads for Doom are in a small minority. We have instead a treat for "Zheretic" fans, and a couple of very interesting multi-map deathmatch wads with a total of 41 maps between them. And no week would be complete without a few resource wads of various types - most notable of which this week is a major set of new textures by Nmn.

    • Hordes of Chaos IV by Christopher Emirzian (Udderdude)
      2,291kb - Zdoom 2.0.63a + Heretic - SP - 5 maps - -
      As I said last time I reviewed an HOC instalment, if you enjoyed the previous wads in this series (which I personally did), then you'll like this one too. These five maps offer several hours of very solid gameplay. Once more, the base is Heretic, but you will be using the Heretic weapons and power-ups to face (courtesy of Zdoom) monsters from Doom and Hexen as well as Heretic itself. If you play on skill 4 (or 5), then you battle large numbers of monsters in often rather cramped circumstances. The basic advice is the same as for the earlier HOC wads: use infighting extensively to your advantage, and make good use of the powered-up gauntlets to gain health and save ammo (and probably use a few savegames too, especially since the gauntleting can be a bit haphazard). E1M1 and E1M5 are most reminiscent of previous HOC instalments. E1M2 seemed quite low on health, and I felt the maulotaur you had to run past several times was a bit much. Note that all five of these maps are based on earlier creations by either Udderdude himself or Vermil, so you may recognize them, and use this knowledge to your advantage.

      Anyway, this is recommended, and an easy pick for wad of the week.

    • Tei Tenga Refinery by john cartwright
      555kb - Zdoom 2.0.63a + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - -
      Here is a moderately large techbase with liberal use of Zdoom features: slopes, cameras, some minor scripting, and a random sprinkling of stealth monsters appear. It also uses (and requires) humans.wad from the ZDoom Monster Resource Wad, so expect to meet some fairly unfriendly lead-slinging (and other) human foes. Health is quite sparse for the most part, so you'll probably need to play quite cautiously or else use a few savegames. With stealth monsters including barons and revenants fairly commonplace, a big hit on your health can be lurking around every corner. Personally, I didn't feel the gameplay flowed too well, and found it easy to get lost, with areas and doorways that didn't provide much in the way of landmarks. I also found the use of teleporter switches a little odd. It's quite an atmospheric and well-made map though, so I'm sure many of you will enjoy it.

    • BIG DEAL!!! by Paul Corfiatis
      28kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map
      Our third and final new single-player wad this week can be happily ignored. Paul Corfiatis has created some magical wads, but sometimes he just offers up a piece of dung. This is a repetitive, uninteresting maze where you just need to find one key and then exit. The only good thing I can say is that once you know where the key is, you can just make a run for it, and exit in less than half a minute. Tip (if you really insist on playing this map): stay pacifist at the start - that way only one hell-knight gets in your way.

    • Just Doom It by Jules "julz_d" Spindler
      1,540kb - Zdoom/Zdaemon + Doom2 - DM - 23 maps - -
      The small number of new single-player wads this week is compensated for by a couple of multi-map DM releases. This is rather an attractive 23-map affair. I was immediately struck by the music and ambient sounds, which really bring these maps alive. Design is not generally complex, and textures not inordinately varied within each map, but the appearance is pleasant, and there isn't any extraneous "gameplay-obstructing detail" (to use an expression that will doubtless annoy some people). The maps vary in size, but they are for the most part medium (or medium-large) by DM standards. Themes vary greatly too: you won't get bored quickly with this wad. The map names display some wit and humour: "unhappy camper" no doubt has more than one meaning. Themes include: rooftops, underwater base, space ship, disco, variable gravity, outdoors, and of course tech-bases. Gameplay should be quite interesting, and reasonably well balanced. Several of the maps make use of voodoo dolls, which adds an interesting twist. A lot of work has clearly gone into this wad, and it can definitely be recommended.

    • Decapitation by Mephisto
      3,268kb - Skulltag 0.95k + Doom2 - DM - 18 maps - -
      Actually, quite a few of the comments about "Just Doom It" apply here too, as this is also a quality product, this time with 18 DM maps for Skulltag (with, as you would expect, the Skulltag weapons used liberally). Here though the maps are a little smaller (medium or medium-small for the most part), and there aren't so many ambient sounds. A little more attention has been given to making the maps look "cool", but the layouts and themes are a little more of the "tried and tested" variety. For instance, map32, "Tron" looks pretty with a variety of bright coloured areas, but the layout is simple and repetitive. Design is generally clean in appearance, and there are very few areas that could be called bland or bare. Again, a wad that is well worth trying out.

    • HellKnight's Deathmatch #1 by Axem King
      2,067kb - Zdaemon + Doom2 - DM - 1 map -
      A fairly large DM map. Theme-wise, it's quite a mix, with areas not appearing to follow on from one another with much logic. There is a sort of track, while there are water passages, and open areas with some sort of structures in them. It's all quite bright and colourful though, with a good selection of weapons available. It is easy to exit the map accidentally, as there's nothing labeling the exit switch as such. The music is taken from Unreal Tournament, but the text-file nevertheless claims that permission has been obtained for its use, and for its further distribution. Hmm.

    • ACTION Revolution! assembled by Xaser
      368kb - Zdoom 2.0.63a + Doom2 - weapons mod -
      Xaser has put together a wad featuring the weapons from Action Doom, and a few miscellaneous others. Not much more to say really, except that I noticed that imps will fight one another, and that picking up a BFG doesn't actually give you any ammo for it. The Plasma Rain Inducer is cool - it's a similar effect to the powered-up Hellstaff from Heretic.

    • NMN Corporation Texture Set Part 1 by Pawel Zarczynski aka NMN
      552kb - Port or Doom2.exe - texture set
      Here is a resource wad, and rather a good one by the looks of it. Nmn has made available a wealth of textures that he has created himself. They look very Doomy (or Quake2ey), and will no doubt be most useful for tech-base maps.

    • HERETIC downgrade patch v. 1.3 --> 1.0 by Funduke
      3,945kb - Heretic 1.3 - downgrade patch
      As the name suggests, this downgrades Heretic 1.3 to Heretic 1.0. This is useful for those who want to see how things behaved in the earlier versions (you can use upgrade patches once you have downgraded), to play wads that included herehacked patches for them, or to watch demos recorded with early versions (not that there are many Heretic demos of any type out there).

    • THE SHE DEVIL OF DOOM (pwad-version) by Funduke / Carl Steinhilber
      98kb - Port or Doom(2).exe & deusf - monster graphic replacement
      Funduke for some reason decided to convert an old and crappy graphic replacement to an easier-to-use format and upload it to the archive. You may notice that this is in the x-rated section of the archive, and it does indeed feature boobs. However, I'd say that it totally fails the all-important stiffy test, and just about everything else too.

    • Operation Silver Hammer by WildWeasel
      549kb - EDGE 1.27 - weapons mod -
      A weapons mod for EDGE. Most of the replacement weapons are guns, and the smaller ones have quite a poor rate of fire, while the bigger ones tend to be rapid-fire, with a neat flamethrower as the top weapon. As far as I can tell from the text-file, WildWeasel did not actually make these weapons himself.

    • NoBlock v1.1 by Josh Simpson (EarthQuake/Seismos)
      2kb - Zdoom - noblock add-on
      A little add-on for Zdoom to enable the player to walk through stuff.


      Quite a number of old wads have made their first appearance in the archive recently. Some were uploaded anonymously, while Funduke submitted several, of rather variable quality. I'll just make a few quick comments on each of them.

    • Poisonous Prison, or Get Poised by Jon Landis
      59kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map -
      This is definitely the most interesting map in this batch of rereleases. Jon Landis is quite a well-known mapper, who was part of the STRAIN team. His maps were often highly inventive - he was always looking to produce something that hadn't been done before. This sometimes resulted in quirky and even irritating maps, but they were always memorable. This one features some monster-activated secrets, meaning that you can't access them without monster assistance. Gameplay is tight and tricky, but not overly hard, especially if you're willing to use the berserk. There is one room with some switches on pillars, where I'm not completely sure what the intended method is, but I just pressed them when in mid-air, running between them. Apparently, Landis recorded a demo on this map (!poisdem.lmp), but I haven't been able to track it down.

    • 57th Street East by Robert La Rosa Jr.
      22kb - Doom2.exe - SP/DM - 1 map
      Just a small map, with a vague house theme (as the name suggests). There are some relatively big monsters, which mean that if you crank it up to -fast or NM, the map becomes fairly challenging. Overall, it's quite a forgettable map though.

    • Adam.wad by Adam Brill
      15kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map
      A fairly typical 1994 pwad. It's competently made, but bland and interesting - just a series of rooms with monsters in them, without much rhyme or reason. It's fairly small, and quite easy on UV.

    • ALAIN.WAD by Alain ARRAULT
      44kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map -
      Another 1994 map, but the gameplay has a little more bite to it here, and there was some effort put in to making the areas distinctive. Texturing is definitely on the crude side though. There is a nice easy cyber battle at the end, for which you are provided with an unnecessary invulnerability sphere. I'd say this one is just about worth playing if you like this genre of maps.

    • DOOMED to Run Amok v1.1 by David L. Davis
      165kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map -
      This one is pretty good. The gameplay flows well and is balanced nicely - plenty of enemies, and it's easy to lose control of the battles. The choice of textures isn't too bad for the most part either. BTW, does anyone know where the music is from? It was used in a few other early pwads.

    • Gates of Anguish by David L. Farrington
      61kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map
      A fair large but aimless level, with lots of pointless passageways. There are plenty of secrets, almost all of them unmarked, meaning you need to hump walls repeatedly (or use IDDT). A few of the secret areas are vital to completing the map, but most have no importance. If you play this map, I suspect you'll view it afterwards as a waste of half an hour or so. I found myself trying to play it Tyson style to make it more interesting.

    • ASSENT by Mike Albanese
      27kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map
      This map somehow managed to crash prboom, so I tried it with Doom.exe. Wow. HOMs, tutti-frutti, more HOMs/missing textures, monsters stuck together, appalling texture abuse. The map is actually playable though, albeit too dark and severely over-ammoed.

    • YOU ARE MEAT! by Charles Michel
      32kb - Doom.exe - SP - 1 map -
      This map isn't too bad. It is only moderately challenging for the most part (and quite well balanced), but the end is somewhat unfair: you need to know to run past a bunch of cybers. If you try to stand and fight, then I don't think you've got much chance. I didn't see a way to kill them all, which is a shame since it could have been a fun map for a Max demo.

    • 4Pdeath.wad by Jason Boche
      16kb - Doom2.exe - SP and DM - 1 map
      A small map that can be used for either SP or DM. The SP is quite fun, though you do need to find some unmarked passages - the automap is helpful though.

    • All Skills Required Deathmatch by The Immortal
      55kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map
      A small and bland arena, complete with bugs.

    • The DeathMatch Of The Century! by Paul Johnson
      29kb - Doom.exe - DM - 1 map
      This map consists of a number of areas connected by teleporters, and all with the same bland texturing scheme. The terrain varies little - flat with lots of 90 degree corners.

    • Amadeus II by Paul Johnson - Aka: Dr. Doom
      27kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 1 map
      A Doom2 version of the above.

    • Volcano Island by Sean Torres
      9kb - Heretic.exe - DM - 1 map
      Here's something unusual: a deathmatch map for Heretic. Don't get too excited though, as it's just a windy passageway leading to an area with lots of lava pod thingies, and the layout is unlikely to lead to a very satisfying deathmatch. The weapons available are the gauntlets, ethereal bow, and you get a morph ovum.

      Finally, I should mention for the benefit of the dissatisfied SP junkies out there that the legendary Kurt Kesler recently uploaded a compilation of 18 of his early maps. It arrived in /newstuff just a little too late to be reviewed this week, but I strongly suspect it is worth downloading.

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    Regarding "Operation Silver Hammer": the graphics weren't mine to begin with, but they sure did take a lot of hacking to get them to do what I wanted to do (the silenced P38 took about 20 minutes of work).

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    I felt the maulotaur you had to run past several times was a bit much.

    You're supposed to kill him. :O

    Also I somehow forgot to do the difficulty changes for map 2. Sorry, it'll be just as hard as it is on skill 4 as skill 3.

    If anyone wants a fix for this, they can grab it here : http://rydia.net/udder/!crap/hoc4oops.zip

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    SheDevil was an interesting idea when it first came out, but like many unusual ideas, it had to wait for a "version 2" before it was done "properly". That was Sirens by Wraithchilde. If you like SheDevil (or at least the idea), Sirens is worth checking out.

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    Martin Howe said:

    SheDevil was an interesting idea when it first came out, but like many unusual ideas, it had to wait for a "version 2" before it was done "properly". That was Sirens by Wraithchilde. If you like SheDevil (or at least the idea), Sirens is worth checking out.

    Isn't this the sprite set that ruined Daniel's infamous female.wad this summer?

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    udderdude said:

    You're supposed to kill him. :O

    Heh. I assumed that would be a waste of too much ammo, and that the intention was to use him for infighting, esp. as you hadn't got any big weapons or power-ups at that point.

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    Use3D said:

    Thanks for that texture set NMN, it's really nice.

    Hope someone builds some good maps with those :)

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    Graf Zahl said:

    Isn't this the sprite set that ruined Daniel's infamous female.wad this summer?

    Well, having just looked at FEMALE.WAD, it seems to use four such sets: (1) several versions of Daniel's "Vixen", wherever he got that from, (2) a lot of the sprites from Sirens, (3) some that look as if they came from Sirens, but did not (e.g., the white angel used as an arachnotron; my guess is that they are modified Sirens) and (4) some (IMO) tacky softporn/swimwear stuff.

    I haven't played through Sirens, just the first level, but it does seem quite well done and inspired by the myths of the Sirens. As for Daniel's stuff... well he's a good level designer, but I wouldn't want my daughter, if I had one, to marry him :)

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    It says the wildweasel weapon mod is for EDGE 1.27. EDGE has now been updated to 1.28a, so for future reference change it to this. 1.27 is no longer available, I think. anyway he made it with the new EDGE probably.

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    I put 1.27 because that's what he said it needed (as a minimum). If I had put 1.28 or 1.28a, it would have implied that it required that version, and that people with 1.27 would need to upgrade.

    I always give the minimum version of a port that a wad requires. I don't believe this causes confusion, whereas citing a new version for a wad that works with an older one might.

    For instance, if I said that a wad needed Boom 2.02, this would imply that it required that version of Boom, or any port that supports its features. I don't believe people would immediately assume that they needed to run the DOS version of the original Boom in order to play it.

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    Tei Tenga was very nice. Definitely my favorite of this week.

    Just Doom It was good, but I didn't care for the lack of detail. A nice variety though.

    Decapitation was pretty nice. Excellent variety and nice detail/eye-candy.

    Good reviews this week too.

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