Pritch here, back in the newstuff loop for the first time in ages. I agreed to do this week in like, March or something, then totally forgot about until Bloodshedder frantically topic'd it on IRC this week, and someone chanced to point it out to me. Then I said I couldn't do it anyway. Heh. Then I decided, ah, what the hell, I will. We're true professionals at DW, you see.
Cave - Steven Katz
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 64 KB -
A 1994 map with a 1995 text file, so shall we give it the benefit of the doubt? It's a real mishmash of themes and textures, but it actually doesn't play too horribly in contrast to some of its contemporaries. It also has a passable retro feel at times. It's not over in 5 seconds either. If you're not fussy, this will provide a quick blast.
dieth - LL Andy
doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 33 KB -
1994 again. The text file says it's a DM map but it does come with monsters. My advice is play it as SP then, if at all, because this isn't much of a DM map. Very basic open arena gameplay mixed up with some frustrating rooms. DM has moved on by eons in these last 11 years. Skip it. Oh, it also caused a nice lock-up in ZDoom which required a reboot.
IRU2-V2 - Dodd A. Snow
doom.exe - Solo Play - 82 KB -
For a 1994 E1M1 map, this is much better than you might expect. It's actually not far away from being a pretty decent E1 map, and as this is genuine retro, and not a modern remake, you can forgive it almost everything. What spoils it is some pretty basic mapping errors including unpegged doors, poor texture alignment, ans so on. It's a pity it wasn't made with a modern editor.
The gameplay is decent though. Not too challenging, but really oldschool in its feel. Getting through the first part on UV was fun with balancing health with pistol, and not using too many shells. You're then rewarded with a berserk. It's a big map too, and an authentic piece of half-decent 1994. Worth a look for E1 fans.
Fenris - Sean Briggs
doom.exe - Solo Play - 125 KB
Still... 1994. This one has replacement textures that aren't good, and then there's the actual texturing itself, which is awful. So I'll save some bandwidth and won't trouble you with a screenie. Gameplay centres on lowering various pillars as you go along. There's a puzzle or two but this is pretty standard 1994 stuff, and you should beat it in less time than the text file suggests. Probably skip it.
CHRIS - Unknown
doom.exe - Solo Play - 33 KB
Believe it or not, I think actually had an older version of this wad in my Doom1 folder already. i told u i was hardcor. Anyway this is your absolutely a-typical 1994 wad - slightly worse than the others I've reviewed so far. As the text says, for completeists i.e. those looking to recreate the archive, only.
IMPSRUS - Dodd A. Snow
doom.exe - Solo Play - 68 KB -
An earlier map from the same author of IMPSRUS2, unsurprisingly. A very similar story too, a half-decent retro map that's worth a look if you like the old E1 style. It looks and plays better than its early 1994 date would suggest.
Mega4 - Jetpack, Martin Cox, MR.ROCKET
doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 1497 KB -
Now this is a different story altogether. A DM megawad from the new era. Don't get too excited though. The text file says these are 'new maps fom scratch', so imagine my surprise when Dwango 5 map 1 shows up, missing its 'Compiled by Aikman' texture and sporting the 'Megasphere' one instead. Map13 is from dweller... map14 is d6m1.
I'm not certain but I think the other maps here have been 'lifted' and whacked into this new compilation along with new sounds, oldschool MIDIs, and new skies etc. Sure, a lot of these maps are great for 1v1 and small FFAs, although some stink (map12) but I don't like what I think may have gone on here. I just don't have time to run through and check which may have come from where.
At best then this is a pretty good compilation, but because of the way it's been described at worst it's plagiarism. Megasphere team needs an education it seems.
MAGIC - Sebastian Kirke
doom.exe - n/a - 5 KB
Back in the old v1.2 days, Magic, running on E2M4, allegedly sported entire rooms, consoles etc., that would disappear when you shot them. Now it's been awhile since I used v1.2, and I think this is one for the history books, but if you're a, well, Doom anorak, you may want to download this and see for yourself if it works.
NITEMARE - Alan P Tye
doom.exe - Solo Play - 14 KB
1994 again. Ugly with basic gameplay. For archivists only.
Phobos1 - James Jordan
doom.exe - Solo Play - 87 KB -
And again. But this isn't actually too bad. In 1994 I know I would have been excited to play this. It's not that ugly and the gameplay is almost challenging enough on UV, and would have been tricky back in the day. Maybe worth a pop if you're bored.
Chamber of Chaos - Lexus Alyus
ZDoom - Solo Play - 76 KB -
Forget 1994 for a minute and think Lexus Alyus. I'm a big fan of Lexus's previous maps and this one is no exception. It's a very tidy smallish map divided into sections, with changes in music to herald each new challenge, reminiscent of those boss challenges from TUD's Super Sonic Doom. During these stages, monsters teleport in, you kill them all, and a fresh group follow them. Finally, munitions are teleported in to relieve you. Get through this challenge and you can complete what is a circuit-type map, although beware a sting in the tail. Really nice little map, only about 10 minutes worth, but tough. Wad of the week.
E1M1B - "Matt"
doom.exe - Solo Play - 53 KB
Back to 1994 with a bump, and this one isn't too terrible, certainly playable. The layout is a bit awkward, the texturing is clumsy but it's a big map and there's bits that are clearly inspired by other classic Doom1 maps, even if they're not as well executed.
inca - Steven Katz
doom.exe - Solo Play - 39 KB
Ancient 1995 map that basically pits you against yet another cyberdemon in a "So you thought you'd won?!!??!" arena. Skip it.
PAIN - Alan P Tye
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 24 KB
Vintage Doom2 map that has very basic layout and gameplay, but if nothing else, is challenging. You have to clear out each large area and are basically ambushed pretty much all the time. If you like it fast and pressurised, maybe you'll like this. Worth half a look.
smurf - Lee Campbell, Daniel Blair-Johns
doom2.exe - Solo Play -
Something to do with replacing the textures or sprites with smurfs. I will have nothing to with those stupid little blue things that plagued the pages of my childhood gaming magazines in the early 90s. So I'll leave this for you to judge, if you're actually sad enough to download it.
hogwash - magicsofa
doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 117 KB -
Three new DM maps with monsters from magicsofa. Map01 crashes ZDaemon, so that's either hilarious, or a bad start, depending on your point of view. It worked in ZDoom though (who uses ZDoom for DM?!)
Anyway from a DM perspective map01 is probably the pick. Small, tight, and decent for a 1v1 with plenty of height changes and fast narrow corridors leading to a couple of open spaces. Map02 is a bit ordinary, too open and bland. map03 is better, with a few runs over fatal falls to negotiate, but again it's nothing spectacular. Probably best for a 4-up FFA. Because of the viewing angle, these maps could use a sky replacement, as well as new music. If you do fall to your death, it's nice for it to be instant when you're in deathmatch. These therefore don't quite convince as DM maps, given the standard of the current crop around at the moment.