While I was chatting to nobody of any relevance in #zdoom, a certain person appeared out of nowhere and started questioning my /newstuff reviewing, in particular the "fact" that I write these reviews in order to "deliberately cause drama". Ok, I might not be quoting verbatim here, but I will say this here folks: I have no intention of causing any tension between anybody for what I write. I don't deliberately start flames because I "intentionally hate" a highly regarded WAD and I write reviews just to "ego boost" myself. I write what the hell I think about a WAD and if you don't like it and you're not the author of the WAD I don't like, I can gladly show you where to stick it.
Enough animosity for now, we have a /newstuff to cover this week, and by golly is it huge! Like, larger than my e-penis huge! We're going to cover two megawads, three multi-level WADs and a whole bunch of other WADs! Slap yourself silly or my nickname is not deathz0r! Oops, I just self-contradicted myself in this paragraph by mentioning my e-penis size! This /newstuff is going to be a disaster!
Castles Made of Sand. - Kenny Coughlan.
doom2.exe - SP - 86kb -
When I read the text file and saw "this is my second level", I was thinking that this would be average run-of-the-mill junk. I wasn't too far off, but I'm a sucker for castle-themed maps and I definitely enjoyed playing this from start to finish. It was barely challenging, but the ammo was quite tight and I ended the level with a few shells and rockets.
Cindered Flesh - Th0r
Skulltag - SP - 178kb -
The text file describes this as "Just a linear cave map" and it doesn't fall short of that. This level is just painfully linear, but that doesn't mean I hate it! No no no, it seems like Th0r is getting somewhere with building his mapping skills, as I actually enjoyed this map quite a bit, although it was quite easy to finish and there is literally no replayability value in this level. The detail is nice, the monster placement is fine, and I had no real problems with ammo or health. Worth playing at least once.
Crapi - TOGoS and Fizz
ZDoom - SP - 11mb -
Seriously, who uploads incomplete WADs to /newstuff and gets away with it?
The first map is just a single sector, the BFG replacement is obviously unfinished, and there's no email addresses anywhere in the text file. Still, this megawad is way too barren for my liking; Too many huge, empty rooms, the deathmatch levels are also way too huge for my preferred fast-pace style. It's like I'm playing a beta of some megawad. Oh wait, I think I am! There's a MAP23 replacement, but it's not mentioned in the text file anywhere. I have no idea what the hell I'm doing when I'm playing this.
Crucified Dreams - Various
Boom - DM - 9mb -
Two megawads in a row, oh man! Not only that, but it's a contender for this year's Mordeth Award! A DM wad that started back in the last millennium (that's how old it is, more than a 1000 years!) and was finally finished last week in time for me, the regular DM-preferred reviewer (although with AlexMax now on board, I'll have to share that title with him). What does this reviewer think about this 43-level monstrosity, though?
Starting with the positive, a majority of the levels are excellent fun to play with, and they have great item placement and are easy to maneuver around in. There's a large variety in map size from small 1-on-1 arenas to maps that could be transformed into SP maps with little effort. The detail level is consistantly great throughout, and there's no maps that fall significantly below the standard detail level.
And now the negatives. There are an awful lot of symmetrical levels that simply do not need to be in there. Not only that, but none of them are remotely interesting to play and get boring really quickly, and a few seem to focus only on how much detail can be crammed into them. There's a few maps that simply feel like filler maps (MAP12 in particular), and there's also a few maps were the light level is just way too low to enjoy playing in, especially MAP05 and MAP28 (tenth screenshot).
The music is generally excellent and I especially liked Ralph's compositions, but I hated that one of his was used for MAP06 (a symmetrical map, no less) and it felt completely out of the place with the theme of the map. If the symmetrical maps and MAP12 were removed and MAP05 and MAP28 had improved light levels, I would be screaming in joy and definitely declaring "potentional WAD of the year", but I feel disappointed to the point that I cannot do that, especially for a WAD that's been in production for eight years.
Such is life.
Dark Apparition. - Kenny Coughlan.
doom2.exe - SP - 148kb -
I have to say, I was shocked that this came from the same person who did "Castles Made of Sand." as this was far superior than the aforementioned WAD. Great detail, challenging gameplay, it just kicked ass in general. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
The D.Y.E. Chronicles, MOROS - T.L. "Korruptor" Wilson, Jr.
Doom95 - SP - 690kb -
Ugh. The first three maps are horribly large and barren in detail and monsters, but the last two were quite decent, but those weren't enough to save this WAD. I won't say to avoid it, but there are definitely better entries this week.
HUNT skin pack - RottKing
ZDoom-based - N/A - 381kb -
Hey, it's the ROTT player skins! Considering how badly raped the music and weapon sprites have been by god knows how many projects, I'm surprised nobody has bothered to use the ROTT player skins, but the appropiately-named RottKing has resolved that age-old problem! Seriously, it's hard to write a review on a WAD with ripped sprites, but it was fun playing against bots with the ROTT players in Skulltag.
Map02 Mix - Tango
doom2.exe - SP - 54kb -
A remake of MAP02, made by the person who still mentions to me that I reviewed one of his maps as a "Spork clone". There's nothing Spork clone-ish to this map though: It's a rather interesting remake, but it doesn't look like it's well suited for DM though. Yes, it is possible to DM on the original MAP02, but it's a plasma spamfest.
Map03 Mix - Tango
doom2.exe - SP - 38kb -
If you can't figure it out from the previous review, this is a remake of MAP03 by Tango. I like this one more because the layout is quite different compared to the original. However, the lift at the start is a lot more harder to find than the original map, as you can't see that trademark gap where you can see the sky from the bottom of the lift.
Not Even Doom Music - Leileilol
N/A - N/A - 1,608kb
The appropiately titled "Not Even Doom Music" contains just that, random MIDI files! The cool part however is that Leileilol (the artist formerly known as CheapAlert) catered not just for Doom 2, but also Doom, Heretic and Hexen! Unfortunately he forgot Strife, but that doesn't matter much, as there's a huge variety of MIDIs for people to
steal borrowuse and mostly consists of 70s and 80s music, like Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax, Alice Cooper - School's Out and Duran Duran - Girls on Film. Funkee.
Omega - Jacob H. Orloff
ZDoom - SP - 250kb -
I didn't see anything that explicitly needed ZDoom (other than MAP04), but this mapset is quite average overall. It definitely needs more effort in the detail area, as some rooms looked great while others looked really plain and boring, not to mention a fair amount of unaligned textures. The last map is challenging, but I won't reveal how cheesy it is. Go look at it for yourself.
Swordfell - RottKing
Skulltag - DM/LMS - 276kb -
This WAD was neglected when first uploaded back in April, and RottKing was all like "hey deat review my WAD you fag that smells like a dirty nappy" and I was like "ok rott but I don't smell bad". Anyway, this single-level map uses snowy Daggerfall textures to create an abandoned-town-in-the-middle-of-winter theme which works quite well. The layout is quite good and well suited for over six people, but the snowy texture contrasts against the other textures too much, and from a distance it all looks exactly the same. It is suited for Last Man Standing, but it can be played with Deathmatch just as well, which is good because I don't enjoy LMS that much with high ping.
Test Level - Lucent97
doom.exe - SP - 2kb
Thank you for wasting my time with a shitty and pointless "getting back to it" level that could have best sat on your hard drive to rot. Next!
Xexis - Matt "Mista_T" Tropiano
ZDoom - SP - 574kb -
Woah, I wasn't expecting anything like this when I saw "first map in eight years" in the text file. This map is huge and incredibly challenging, but it also makes excellent use of ZDoom features, like floating platforms and a rather interesting skybox. This is also extremely well-detailed, and I suggest you download this now!
Zero Tolerance - Dutch Devil
Enhanced Port - SP - 651kb -
I get to review more 1024 goodness (and at this rate, I might eventually make my own damn set of 1024 levels because every single one I've played, I've enjoyed), this time by Dutch Devil. This set of seven levels face the same limit we've seen quite often in the past six months: Make a map within a 1024x1024 boundary. Most of the maps are relatively easy, but they were nothing short of excellent. Great detail, great usage of outside-1024 features, and of course, great gameplay. WAD of the week? It's too hard to choose between this and Xexis.