It was the dark time for the Doom empire. It had been weeks since there had been any /newstuff at all. And then, suddenly, two forces joined together to make the most badass /newstuff review week ever...
Yep that's right. Dean and I decided that we were going to do something a little different this week. We're tackling the maps two at a time, and you know what that means...if your map was terrible, you're in TWICE as deep trouble this time. Get ready...
The Cacodemon Factory - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Skulltag - SP/DM - 375 KB -
AlexMax: OK, so the Cacodemon Factory...it was merely a meh map for me. It's probably one of the lesser offensive Skulltag SP map I've played, in that it didn't take more than about 10 minutes to complete and didn't confuse me too much. That said...it wasn't that great.
deathz0r: It pissed me off because the scripts were horrible and obviously not tested properly.
AlexMax: Yeah...see I don't know much about ZDoom scripting, and everything worked for me, though there were some amateurish mistakes like not freezing the player during the one cutscene.
deathz0r: That's an obvious mistake. A less obvious mistake are the thing count checker scripts that are obviously flawed. I'd bet that if I bothered to open this map in Doom Builder, I'd most likely see that the dark imps near those teleporter doors used standard ACS execute scripts instead of always execute, which, for thing count checking is horrible if you're killing them with weapons like a SSG or BFG. As a result, the door won't open properly and I swear that happened to me the first time. Fortunately daimon had a failsafe switch nearby, but that's a poorass excuse to cover terrible scripting.
AlexMax: Pretty much...still I've seen much worse abuses of ZDoom and Skulltag. The gameplay itself was rather easy due to the regeneration rune you get early in the map, the overabundance of ammo. I got confused once or twice on where I should be going, and it would have been nice to have a "cacos killed" meter like in Metroid II.
deathz0r: Yeah, the level itself wasn't that bad though. It wasn't terribly challenging and I thought the regeneration rune was an interesting idea. I think an explanation of what switches do or where the hell you're meant to go would be a great benefit.
Dark Installation - Nick "DD_133" McCarthy
ZDoom - Solo Play - 258 KB -
AlexMax: First off, I feel really dumb for not getting the switch puzzle in the first part of the level. I won't spoil it, but it's not quite as it seems at first, and it took me a while to catch on.
deathz0r: Well, I was fortunate enough to pick the right options in that puzzle the first time, so I didn't bitch and moan about it for five minutes like you did!
AlexMax: Shut up. Anyway, other than that little snafu, this is a really short and sweet map. The only real visual niggle I could pick out was the fact that he never unpegged his DOORTRAKs, but as I said, only a minor niggle.
deathz0r: There's also some really bad cases of texture unalignment, especially with the SUPPORT2 textures.
AlexMax: Meh, whatever, that texture is a bitch to align anyway, so when I see it in maps, I kind of ignore how it's aligned. Overall, I'm impressed. It's not too long, but I don't like huge Deus Vult-esque megamaps anyway. I appreciate the fact that he implemented difficulty levels too, plus autosaves.
deathz0r: Admittedly, I wasn't expecting much when I walked into the first room because the layout seemed flat and uninspiring at first, but turned out to be a lot more interesting when it progressed, especially the transparent hellish-force fields. Also, the was that puzzle that I aced straight away by pure chance. I'd definitely like to see more SP maps from everybody's favourite "I'M GOING TO CLEANSE THE WORLD" nutcase.
AlexMax: Heh, DD is probably going to be PISSED when he reads this review...
Ectopia - Oculus Orbis
GZDoom - Solo Play - 696 KB -
AlexMax: This map is really fucking dark. And not in a good way. Even the suggested lights.wad doesn't make it much better.
deathz0r: I disagree. I use gamma 1.0 in ZDoom and I had little trouble navigating around the map, you must be blind or stupid.
AlexMax: Well, playing it the "intended " way using GZDoom and lights.wad, it was dark as fuck. But really, the darkness was the least of this maps problems.
deathz0r: I agree, the amount of health was dreadful. I wasn't particularly fond of respawning numerous times because I only encountered one stimpack that I can recall.
AlexMax: For the amount of acid in this map, the lack of health was a real bummer. Also, towards the end, the ammo supply dwindled as well. Playing this map for me was an exercise in frustration. Balls now has competition for my 'most hated map that I bothered to review'.
deathz0r: "Most hated"? Surely you're over exaggerating a bit there. What about the stuff you throw into THE GODDAMN SHITHOUSE?
AlexMax: The GODDAMN SHITHOUSE is for maps where the authors have clearly put in zero amount of effort into the map or are retarded beyond the point of me caring. When authors clearly spend the time on the map, I want to let the authors know exactly why their map pissed me off.
deathz0r: Ah, that is a good point I guess. Still, this map would have worked if I came across at least two medikits by the time I entered the first teleporter.
AlexMax: I just plain didn't care for it, period. After this I never want to see an acid heavy map ever again.
deathz0r: Actually, one of my first CTF map ideas was to make something completely underwater...
AlexMax: And I would have hated it. Next...
Forlorn - Owen "Sarge Baldy" Lloyd
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 398 KB -
deathz0r: Wow, this is one hell of a challenging level to play through. I had to think up of strategies on the spot in order to survive, and that's from the second battle! Yeah, this is one of those classic "measure every shot and keep the amount you get hit to a minimum" maps. Like something out of one of those classical megawads for vanilla Doom.
deathz0r: Like Scythe for instance?
AlexMax: Yeah, in other words beyond my skill to complete, I said "oh fuck you" after the last trap at the red key, and from that point on it only got worse. But this map fits the role, it looks just detailed enough to fit in the 'old school hardass map' class of maps.
deathz0r: I wasn't really paying attention to detail. I guess that's partially thanks to the intense gameplay, and also thanks to the rather dark lighting throughout the majority of the level. But I found it quite enjoyable, but then again I did make it through in the end. I suggest using saves throughout the map
AlexMax: I did save. Still hard as hell. If you want a one-off challenging map, I highly recommend this map. If your skill is not enough like mine, download it anyway and cry bitterly.
deathz0r: Totally worth playing through once.
Gamarra's story: Part VI "On Phobos" - Giulio Galassi
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 46 KB
AlexMax: So yeah, for some reason Giulio Galassi continues to make maps.
deathz0r: I can't begin to understand why he finds these amusing.
AlexMax: I have a better idea. Let's talk about how who we dislike most in #unidoom.
deathz0r: No way! Do you know what the best part about this map was?
AlexMax: The MSPaint title screen, which would have been sorta funny on a jokewad?
deathz0r: Nope. It's "hell". I found that so area damn amusing. See, I can tell my grandchildren how I survived hell. They'd be like "oh grandfather Dean, how did you ever so survive such horrors?", and I'd go "with a chainsaw in a badly hidden secret of hell. I could make it into a novel and sell millions.
AlexMax: You write novels?
deathz0r: No, but I can imagine the title of it. "Hell: As portrayed by Giulio Galassi"
AlexMax: Sounds like a painting to me.
deathz0r: It'd involve a hallway with bends, lava, stone walls, and a chainsaw hidden behind a small patch brimstone.
Gamarra's story: Part VII "Gamarra for president" - Giulio Galassi
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 66 KB
AlexMax: Want to know a secret? I played this map a total of ten seconds.
deathz0r: Really? I haven't even looked at it yet! Is it worth playing?
AlexMax: Not really. Big, boxy, and boring as hell. Shithouse quality, just like the last one.
deathz0r: Good, I'll take your word and delete it without any thought of regret.
Hellcore 2.0 - Devon "Darkfyre" West & Robert "Fusion" Babor
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 11252 KB -
deathz0r: I don't like it.
deathz0r: While you will most likely agree with me that it's beautifully detailed and is very large, I do not enjoy searching for weapons. It gives me a major headache and I automatically dislike maps that give me headaches.
AlexMax: Yeah these maps are really freakishly huge and detailed. Though they do convey their mood very very well, it just reminded me of Eternal Doom, and not in a good way.
deathz0r: First level for instance, there's a blue key which is protected by five or so barons in an area of crates. There's no way you could survive it unless you found the shotgun, which is hidden in a goddamn secret. A secret that isn't obvious, I must add.
AlexMax: Yeah, but you know, I don't think these maps were really made for Doomers like you and me. I think these maps are for those who enjoyed , again, Eternal Doom and wanted more humongous levels to explore.
deathz0r: Probably. When I play Doom, I expect to kill shit. That's the point of a First Person Shooter, right?
AlexMax: Yeah, I got lost, and I had to idclev my way around the mapset to take the screenshots I did, but this is the kind of project I can appreciate while not actually particularly like.
deathz0r: This is better suited as a modification for an adventure game, not a first person shooter. To me, it doesn't mix well with the Doom environment.
AlexMax: Well, in Hellcore's defense, it does get really hard towards the end. Rest assured it got more exciting the further in you went.
deathz0r: I didn't bother checking it out; searching for weapons in large barren places made me crazy.
AlexMax: Also, I found problems with its supposed "Boom compatibility". It's clear they tested it in ZDoom, because I ran into a problem on map03 while playing it in Eternity. The first door won't open. Now, in Hellcore's defense, the readme recommends playing in ZDoom, but may I remind the audience that ZDoom is not Boom compatible in and of itself.
deathz0r: Congratulations, that's almost worthy of a "DOES NOT WORK IN INTENDED SOURCE PORT", Almost.
AlexMax: So really, what was the point of making it Boom compatible when you only test in ZDoom.
deathz0r: Laziness, I say.
AlexMax: So yeah, my final verdict is that it's pretty ambitious, and if you like spending a 20-30 minutes on a single map exploring it, you might dig it. Personally, I didn't care for it.
deathz0r: I don't like headaches. This gave me one.
MO AND MATT'S ECLECTIC MIX OF MUSIC - MOHAMMED AZIZUDDIN AND MATTHEW JUHASCIK
doom2.exe - n/a - 115 KB
AlexMax: So yeah, it's just Mortal Kombat music for Doom. Nothing more.
deathz0r: Nothing less!
AlexMax: Also, the text file and idgames description annoys the hell out of me.
AlexMax: Did you even read it dean? All caps? Oh-so-clever attempts at making light of the fact that they just took a bunch of MIDIs from some website and stuck it in a wad? Also they list real bugs under "Bugs". Oh you're so clever.
deathz0r: Am I reading the same text file as you? I don't see any improper usage of caps or bugs.
AlexMax: For some reason, the idgames description and text file are different
deathz0r: That's... odd, it mentions a different filename in the text file.
AlexMax: *shrug* Whatever.
(note: this has been fixed in the meantime)
Ninja Duel - Nick Anderson, aka Electronic Samurai
ZDoom - Deathmatch - 2419 KB -
AlexMax: This was fun as hell.
deathz0r: Shit yeah! All of those ninja weapons were cool as hell. It makes melee in Doom a shitload more interesting.
AlexMax: It's not balanced in the least, but it sure as hell was fun. I totally nailed you with the bow, by the way.
deathz0r: Not before I sliced your head with a katana!
AlexMax: Oh really? UD CHALLENGES YOU!!!
deathz0r: Heh. Still, the map itself was basic at best, but it's completely suitable for this weapons mod. Thumbs up from me.
AlexMax: The map was too dark for me, but I always think maps are dark.
deathz0r: Maybe you should buy some new glasses.
AlexMax: Die in a fire. Also, the one problem with this isn't really a problem with the mod, but with Doom. About half the weapons are melee, and honestly, the marine moves too damn fast to be hit consistently with the melee attacks, which is a shame. If there is a way to slow down the player speed, that might have made it perfect.
deathz0r: I don't believe you're meant to be hit constantly with melee attacks. I think this requires some sort of skill that we have yet to comprehend to our advantage.
AlexMax: Heh. Anyway, a thumbs up from me.
Noob Project Part 2- Courtyard dash - Lupinx-ressurected
ZDoom - Solo Play - 42 KB -
deathz0r: A quick, relatively easy map by lupinx-ressurected.
AlexMax: The guy has got potential, I'll give him that. The only thing that kind of pissed me off were the invisible imps, and they were merely only pesky and annoying. Also, the map ended with some class, so brownie points for that.
deathz0r: I really liked the hell area. I thought it was well done, despite the rest of the map being basic in detail and difficulty.
AlexMax: But seriously, why did this need to be a ZDoom map again?
deathz0r: Two reasons: Jumping and stealth imps. They're the two things you can't live without.
AlexMax: I hate you.
deathz0r: Let's reproduce!
Scars of the Wounded Prey - James "Phobus" Cresswell
ZDoom - Solo Play - 356 KB -
deathz0r: If you're going to have inescapable nukage pits, make sure the sector lines are either impassible or the sector itself damages the player. And yes, I got curious and jumped off to the side at the start of the map.
AlexMax: Well, the map itself....it's not bad I don't think.
deathz0r: It's not bad at all. Great quick fun, but it feels predictable in a way. Kill monsters, something happens, kill more monsters, something else happens etc
AlexMax: Which is, in all fairness, what Doom maps usually consist of. But I agree, nothing really stood out at me, it felt like another token ZDoom map. Not really ambitious. Still, I'd recommend a download
deathz0r: Yeah, but there's other quality stuff to download this week.
Phocas Island 2 - Chopkinsca
GZDoom - Solo Play - 6947 KB -
deathz0r: Phocas Island 2...
AlexMax: Well, I knew from the first couple of minutes that this was...different.
deathz0r: Completely different to anything else I've played. Lost on a stranded island? Sounds like a cool idea to me!
AlexMax: I'll be the first to admit, I didn't finish this map. It's very time consuming to play, even with the hint file. But boy oh boy, I liked what I played of it.
deathz0r: I guess I'm second to admit to not finishing this map! That was when I had to go do other things on Tuesday, but I did thoroughly enjoy the twenty minutes I played.,
AlexMax: It's probably one of the only 'adventurous' style maps that I actually enjoyed playing. And to boot, it used GZDoom in a way that wasn't painful on the eyes, which I really appreciated.
deathz0r: Yeah, I really liked the use of 3D floors and other snazzy things. Dare I say it's the first GZDoom map I've played that actually put GZDoom features into good use?
AlexMax: Nothing felt forced or tacky. Not to mention that the actual puzzles themselves were almost zelda-like...the solution may not be obvious but if you take your time and observe, you're OK.
deathz0r: Yeah, I really liked the new twists added to the Doom engine, such as the journal entries.
AlexMax: A hearty recommendation from myself.
AlexMax: Thirded. Oh wait...
Run And Shoot - Hannes Müller
ZDoom - Solo Play - 135 KB -
deathz0r: ACTION MOVIES, BIG EXPLOSIONS, 80'S HAIRSTYLES! This WAD represents at least two of these at the very beginning.
AlexMax: Yeah, the opening of the map was a little dramatic, to say the least.
deathz0r: Dramatic? I thought it was ACTION-PACKED! Funny story, I was going to make something similar for Duke3D way back in 1999. Part of a three map-episode thing. Never finished it, but I thought it was a cool idea at the time.
AlexMax: Heh. Once you get past that though, I actually had a lot of fun playing the map. It is by no means difficult...at all...namely because there is no semblance of weapon or ammo moderation. So it was pretty easy.
deathz0r: Oh yeah, ammo is in abundance, but so are the monsters.
AlexMax: Near the end, yes, but its still reasonably easy. However, I feel just from looking at the way this author maps that he has potential. His architecture reminded me of early id maps...you know?
deathz0r: I agree. I thought this was a fun blast to play through, and the detail felt very id Software-ish.
AlexMax: He seems to have a knack of creating that sort of 'do more with less' thing that early id maps had...and I really encourage this mapper to continue mapping. However, he needs to figure a few things out about not giving the player a machine-gun to swat a fly. You know...weapon and monster balance.
deathz0r: Interesting analogy there.
AlexMax: My analogies rock.
deathz0r: But yes, the basic point stands.
Scimitar - Cycloid
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1968 KB -
deathz0r: This WAD brilliantly shows what is capable with the Boom engine.
AlexMax: Simply put, Scimitar rules. You might have seen me gripe many times about the use of the ZDoom engine in certain WADs. This mapset perfectly demonstrates why I'm so picky about such things, because this is a really nice mapset that demonstrates what can be done with such an old bag of tricks.
deathz0r: I really admire the new monsters as well, and the interesting end boss. But what really interests me is that it displays messages at the start of the orb collecting maps, something which I have never seen before in any Boom map I can think of.
AlexMax: Yeah, I noticed that. Personally, I was a fan of the scimitar weapon itself too. But what really did it for me, though, was the bite sized levels. They were perfect for people who get bored quickly, because while they sometimes pack a challenge (especially towards the end), they end really quickly. Speedrunners take note, I'd love to see some UV-MAX or UV Speed runs done on these.
deathz0r: Yeah, I admire small levels, especially if they use monsters at strategic locations. This WAD set does both. I'm going to say WAD of the Week. I doubt anything else that is left to review will even come close to taking advantage of the advanced Doom engines like this. Phocos Island 2 does come close, but this genuinely surprised me.
AlexMax: Pick of the week, by far.
Weirdo Bizarre, or: An Acid Trip Through Time - Wills
ZDoom - Solo Play - 980 KB -
AlexMax: This is yet another example of why I'm not a fan of most jokewads. Simply put, the humor in this mapset is very hit or miss.
deathz0r: Hrm...I don't know, I wasn't getting much of a laugh out of it. Maybe you're right with this one.
AlexMax: The E1M1 lookalike was kind of funny until the author ran it into the ground. The switch was funny too.
deathz0r: Oh yeah, there were definitely some hits.
AlexMax: And I got a chuckle out of the metal man. And the aha sketchy map would have been funny if it wasn't so damn lazily made.
deathz0r: And the redux of one of the levels from The Archives Are Doomed got a good laugh from me, but that's because I knew about the map.
AlexMax: Yeah, I remember that one. But honestly, this is just another jokewad on the big pile of jokewads that are simply not that funny. At least it doesnt try to have a 'storyline'. I'd give this a pass. Play Mock 2 for the millionth time if you need a good chuckle.
deathz0r: Or (This shameless plug of do-tims has been intentionally left blank)
deathz0r: Such as?
AlexMax: There's a fix for Batman Doom running in doom2.exe
deathz0r: Awesome, another reason not to use Chocolate Doom!
AlexMax: Heh. Speaking of which, fraggle submitted a batch file that he used to use for launching doom. Only thing I have to say about that is EFFORT.
deathz0r: It looks like a very simple but powerful command line launcher.
AlexMax: It's a batch file, dude.
deathz0r: Anything else?
AlexMax: Nope, that looks like that's the last of it.
deathz0r: Well, I'm going to go and masturbate to Power Gir--I mean working fervently on that awesome thing called Odamex that people keep talking about.
AlexMax: Good riddance. Well, that's all for this week, folks. Tune in next time when...
deathz0r: Screw you, I'm blocking your ass on AIM now.
*** "deathz0r" signed off
AlexMax: ... So lonely ...