Hi folks. I'm AlexMax, and I'm an arrogant, opinionated asshole. Apparently, those are exactly the criteria needed for a /newstuff reviewer, so here I am. We've got a modest number of wads for you this week, including a few sprawling maps, a EDGE boss concept map, some Skulltag wads and evem a demonstration of logic circuits. So, let's not delay the pain of my first /newstuff any longer.
666 Hell - Deathbringer
EDGE - Solo Play - 1,586 KB -
Our first WAD up for review this week is an EDGE WAD that is a MAP30 replacement. Layoutwise, it's nothing too special considering it's a boss map, but the interesting this about this WAD are the replacement bosses themselves. Instead of facing an Icon of Sin, you will face a much tougher Baron, a normal Cyberdemon, a Cyberdemon which uses Archivile attacks, a Cyberdemon which uses miniature BFG attacks (which thankfully do not do splash damage, or if they do I was circling the boss too fast to get hit), another Cyberdemon which has a twin rocket launcher, and finally a Cyberdemon which uses Revenant attacks. Interesting concepts, although quite annoying to defeat.
Binary Ripple Counter - fraggle
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 8 KB -
A neat example of how one can use voodoo dolls and conveyor belts to create a simple binary counter. If you know anything about logic circuits, this might be interesting to play around with.
Gigantic Bathroom - Rusty Slacker
Legacy - Solo Play - 31 KB -
The premise of this map is simple. You're in a gigantic bathroom, and said bathroom is being invaded by a horde of demons and barons. The included DEH patch, as far as I can tell, makes enemies much much weaker, allowing you to blow away barons with one shot. There is no way to "beat" the map, you simply die when you become overwhelmed. Conceptually, it's neat, but the map layout itself is nothing to write home about, and there is no obvious way to track any sort of "score". If you like Legacy maps, though, this might be fun for a few minutes at least.
Warpzone - James "Phobus" Cresswell
ZDoom - Solo Play - 2,146 KB -
Simply put, this is a very challenging map, even on HNTR. The premise is unique; you start in a room with four possible exits, each one to a different themed map. In order to finish the map, you must visit all four of the realms and solve puzzles until you find the exit. It sounds nice, but far too often I ran into a brick wall wondering where the heck I should be going and what the point of various switches were. Most frustrating of all was finally getting within sight of the exit and finding out that no, it was behind a switch-activated door and at that point you realize that you missed some switch somewhere halfway across the level. In addition, health is at a premium, even on easier difficulty levels, there is far too much Z axis action, making playing without mouselook a chore.
Visually, it looks quite adequate in the earlier parts of the map, but as the map goes on it begins to suffer from massive amounts of over-detailing. This, coupled with the fact that the hallways later in the map were absolutely tiny and hard to maneuver around in, meant that far too often I got hung up on something and ended up on the receiving end of a fireball. If you're looking for a good challenge and enjoy switch hunts that span the entire level, this is a perfect level for you, but personally I didn't enjoy it too much.
Spector - PuN!sHeR 13
Skulltag - n/a - 81 KB -
A modest re-skin of the Doom Marine to look more H4RDC0R3. Artistically, I guess it's not terrible or anything, but by itself, not worth downloading unless you're immensely interested in seeing this skin whenever PuN!sHeR 13 is on the same server as you.
Untitled - mastofmet
Skulltag - Solo Play - 15 KB -
This map is pretty terrible overall. The author notes that the map is dark, slightly hellish and tricky. Well, yeah, it's too dark in places and completely fucking unfair, and I guess it has some hell textures too. The architecture is basic, which is forgivable for a first try, but a good portion of the places you needed to go were hidden behind completely non-obvious doors or false walls. The author also completely shortchanges you on ammo and health and puts you in impossible situations such as going up a lift and finding yourself in a small room with a Hectebus with no way to dodge his shots, and also having to trade shots with a Cyberdemon through a tiny hallway in order to progress. People, this is the kind of wad you leave on your hard drive.
TGRDM2 - Nicholas G.
Skulltag - Deathmatch - 377 KB -
When I read the "I take my maps too seriously" text file included with this map package, I honestly wasn't expecting much. When I saw the quick MS-Paint quality title screen, my heart sank again. But when I actually sat down and gave a good couple of minutes with each map, I realized that this author was on to something. This author has succeeded in, knowingly or not, finding the essence of what makes a dwango-style map so fun to DM on. For what they are - a set of chaotic FFA and 1on1 maps - they work great. That said, aside from the obvious texture misalignments and questionable texture choices, the author seems to shy away from using impassible lines in certain cases where you just plain need them. I got stuck on the catwalks of MAP01 more than once due to being stuck in the scenery. Also, the bots navigation seems to be questionable in places, getting stuck behind trees, and one fond pastime of the bots on one map was to jump on top of a light post next to a teleporter and just stay there until I shot at them. Also, I called this map set chaotic and i meant it, don't expect any sort of "fair" or "deep" gameplay out of this map set. All things considered though, if you're looking for a drop-in-replacement for dwango5 on your Skulltag server, give this mapset a go.
The Spire 2: Celestial, The Sky Torn Asunder - Michael "prower" Reid
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1,107 KB -
First, the bad parts out of the way. This map will bring your system to its knees, especially when looking in particular directions. I would normally let this go, but seeing as I have a reasonably powerful machine, I really think that the author should have taken such things into consideration and made some modifications to the map itself to cut back drastically on the amount you can see from any one point in the map. Also, I'm assuming this map was built and tested with ZDoom in mind, because even though the text file mentions that any source port that support Boom and removes limits can be used, Eternity took one look at the map and segfaulted.
Now, with those major minuses out of the way, this map is an absolute blast. The architecture is varied and interesting to look at, no signs of cut-and-paste here. The flow was pretty good as well, as while it was huge and sprawling, I never really felt lost and was rarely wondering what a random switch did, or what a keycard went to. The fights themselves are fun, varied and for the most part I always felt like I was under pressure in one form or another, and there was at least one devious trap that warranted an audible "OH SHIT!". The only two fights that I really thought were dumb were the mass-caco fight in the early part of the stage which looked like something out of Mock 2, and the obligatory end-of-level clusterfuck, in which I just killed monsters for a few minutes and dodged the rest of them to the exit teleporter. On another plus side, the author seemed to have been paying attention to difficulty levels. I was playing on HNTR, since I assumed that I would get slaughtered at higher difficulty levels, and there was an abundance of health laying around, though that didn't make the battles any less hairy. Ammo was abundant too with one exception. Where were my boxes of chaingun ammo? I felt like I could have used my chaingun in many different areas to pick off snipers, but lack of ammo forced me to either run or simply try my best with my rocket launcher and plasma rifle.
But really, aside from the FPS issues, most of my complaints about this map are really nit-picky and could be fixed with a 1.1 release. In short, this map was a whole lot of fun, a worthy download, and my pick for WAD of the week.
For whatever reason, these wads were not covered by previous /newstuff entries. So if you were expecting your map to be reviewed, and it hasn't, you'll probably find it below.
Death Arsenal - Bouncy
GZDoom - n/a - 763 KB -
This is a weapon replacement wad for GZDoom. The first thing I noticed about the resources upon booting it up into my weapons testing map is that they don't appear to have come from a single source. The weapon graphics themselves seem to be a mishmash of many different styles and orientations, and even the weapon graphics originate from both the side or the center, which bugs the fuck out of me. Out of the weapons themselves, my favorite replacements were the knife, SG and Plasma Rifle. The knife is really well done, and is much more powerful than the vanilla fist to boot, so it was quite fun romping through MAP01 slicing Imps up like a ninja. The new shotgun fires a concentrated blast, similar to the SSG, but the graphics themselves are really nicely done. The plasma rifle's replacement graphics are similarly well done, but instead of a continuous stream of plasma, it fires them at a more modest speed, which was an interesting new "rhythm" that none of the other weapons really had in combination with that kind of power. Honorable mention to the new pistols, which look nice and allow you to akimbo them, and the BFG, which fires too slowly to be practical, but when it does it roars. If you like weapon mods, then this one is probably worth a try, though there are enough rough edges to keep it from standing out.
Four Way Defense - Ivar "jallamann" Remøy
ZDoom - Solo Play - 72 KB -
This is the second "survival" map this week, and admittedly, it's a much nicer effort than the first. Unlike the first, however, this one keeps track of a score, which seems to increase the longer you stay alive. In addition, you also earn tokens, which you can exchange at a seller standing in the center of the base for better weapons and more health. Conceptually, sound. Unfortunately, I found that I was running out of ammo faster than the sergeants could resupply me. Finally, the sellers' options were kind of sparse. You could buy a super shotgun, a plasma rifle, and two redundant types of health (25 for 25 credits or 50 for 50 credits...why both?). What about armor? What about a chaingun that I could resupply with the pistol ammo former humans dropped? Still, the fundamentals are solid, and this map is probably still worth a try. I just hope the author expands on this premise.
This Ain't No Slipgate Project! - Ivar "jallamann" Remøy
ZDoom - Solo Play - 254 KB -
This is a really quaint little map that is a tight challenge. You might die once or twice if you're not careful, but thankfully this map is so small that even if you do, you could start at the beginning and it wouldn't even matter. There is a dash of new textures, scripting and ZDoom features, enough to accentuate, not enough to distract. The only problem I found was an error with a door early on in the map, the one beside the blue door. If you open the door, then are distracted by something else and go back to the door after it has shut, it doesn't open again. I can see where not being operational from the other side might be a feature, but it's possible to get stuck this way too. Also, the stairs immediately following that door are a little bit cramped by the light posts, but nothing major. Give this map a try, it will take you less than 10 minutes, start to finish, and you'll probably enjoy it.