This week we have several offerings worth checking out, including a nifty set of invasion maps for Skulltag and a level replacement set for Ultimate Doom. And, of course, it wouldn't be a /newstuff Chronicles review without your standard set of oddball creations, weapon replacements, and anime-inspired garbage. A rollercoaster ride awaits you inside issue #302!
Kohe 2 - Ruba
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 89 KB -
Why anyone would want to recreate Sandy Petersen's abominable "Barrels O' Fun" is beyond me, but here we have a lad from Thailand willing to give it a shot. Unfortunately, the gameplay is somehow worse than that of its predecessor with ill-conceived barrel patterns that do little more than put a small dent in the surrounding enemies. The architecture of the map is fairly bland but does manage to keep the original feel of the level. Fittingly, the textures are also a little wacky in some places, but that's to be expected if we're trying to emulate Sandy Peterson, I suppose. Because of the barrel placement, this map is a tedious playthrough and is not quite as great as the author claims it to be in his text file. Give this one a shot if you like exploding barrels and getting your faced chewed off in the process.
Rainbow Plasma Gun - Theshooter7
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 3 kb -
A small wad file that makes the plasma rifle shoot colored projectiles. Pretty cool if you're feeling a little fruity, I suppose.
Railgun - hnsolo77
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 70 kb -
Well, it's the railgun from Quake 2. It works and looks just as it should. Other than the fact that the sprite is a little too big for the screen, there's really not much else to say.
Music from sentai and Tokuhatsu - The secret alliance of preservartion of sentai and Tokuhatsu
doom2.exe - n/a - 188 kb
This is a music replacement wad for Doom 2 that contains a peculiar titlepic of what I can only assume is a Power Ranger. Japanese anime isn't my thing, so I'll just go ahead and quote the text file to make this easier:
Music from teh beloved sentai and tokuhatsu, the japanese super heroes! Do whatever you want whit this thing, also don't download it.
Take that as you will.
Gamarra's soul story: Prologue "Training camp" - Giulio Galassi aka Glassyman
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 438 kb -
I have never played a single Gamarra-related wad. A brief look at the idgames archives reveals an entire boatload of the author's previous work in the Gamarra series. In this chapter in the series, we have what basically boils down to as a weapons mod for Ultimate Doom with a couple boxy maps with some scripting thrown in for good measure. The first map is a sort of "training" map to get the player familiar with the weapons. Every room is square by design with no detailing or even a change in textures to break up the monotony. The second level follows a similar layout except we are treated with a few staircases here and there. To make matters a little worse, the gameplay suffers from a few problems, most notably the worst weapon design ever made for Doom: the Molotov cocktail. It's ugly and doesn't work very well, and yet the author insists that this weapon be used to clear out numerous rooms of baddies in the first mission. In addition, we have some overly aggressive bots that make getting past a few rooms very difficult.. especially when there's no extra ammo or health given to compensate. Considering how fast the author churns these out, its no wonder that they aren't of the highest caliber and could use some work. Better luck next time, Glassyman.
Outpost of Malice - Jonathan R. Millhouse
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 325 kb -
Outpost of Malice is a classic Doom 2 wad that fits right in place at map slot 21. There's nothing fancy about this wad, but there's nothing broken with it, either. The architecture, while varied, is somewhat dull and seems to lack detail. The texture selection, on the other hand, is near-perfect for the theme in which the wad conveys. There is also a good amount of shading with overlapping lights that add accents to walls and surrounding floors. The gameplay comes at a nice pace but doesn't offer anything more than a few surprises here and there (on hurt me plenty) and never really gets too hard. If I could make any suggestions to the author it would be to try and inter-connect some rooms rather than having some of the long sprawling hallways. Ideally, this is a nice wad to play on a lazy Sunday afternoon when all you want is some nostalgic gameplay to go with your morning coffee.
Alpha Invasion - Zalewa, Wario, Forty-Two, Kuchikitaichou
Skulltag - Solo Play - 2274 kb -
Here we have a set of 11 invasion maps for Skulltag. For the uninitiated, invasion is a game mode in which the player must survive wave after wave of incoming enemies in expansive levels that truly test the skills of the player. These maps, while not incredible, are functional for the game mode and provide a very nice challenge. The architecture and detail throughout is all right, but some areas appear to be a little boxy and under-detailed. There is also a good amount of new artwork which helps liven up some otherwise boring rooms. The most impressive attribute, however, is the gameplay. If you happen to be a fan of HR-style killfests, then this will be right up your alley. Also, this would appear to be an obvious choice for anyone who wants a fun co-op challenge. The new music adds a nice touch, as does the opening "cutscene" which plays when the game first starts up. There are a few nuisances, such as the ice level in which you must skate around whilst blowing up enemies and avoiding fireballs. But all in all, the end product is enjoyable and I'd be interested to see what the community can develop for this new game mode. Give this one a shot, even if you don't have Skulltag installed.
M1 Revisited - Morbid DooMer
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 188 kb -
Here we have a nice set of redesigned levels for Ultimate Doom. Included are remakes of E1M1, E2M1, E3M1, and E1M4. As with most remakes, this set stays true to its roots. Virtually nothing is changed from the basic architecture... so much in fact that it looks to be almost copy and pasted. However, what we do get is a much higher frequency of detail and overall better lighting. The architecture doesn't come off as forced and adds appropriate accents to these dated maps. Also included are some slight palette changes that lighten the hue of the greens and blues. Not really sure what this does but it looks OK. Gameplay is also mostly untouched to stay within the confines of the original creation. All in all, the wad is a success because it did exactly what it set out to do, and didn't contain any senseless detailing that seems to be apparent in many remakes these days.
Break-in 4 - Catman
Skulltag - Solo Play - 198 kb -
I wish I could tell you that this is the author's first attempt at a public release; however, this is not the case. But thanks to the /newstuff Chronicles, the author is going to finally get some constructive criticism. First of all, the texturing choices are just downright poor for the most part. These are unfortunately compounded by every wall and ceiling texture tiling ad nauseam. Seeing that same texture over and over is enough to give anyone headache. If that isn't enough, there is almost a complete absence of height variations throughout and the entire map. Now, I know I'm being a little harsh, but the author obviously spent some time scripting the ACS to have some sort of plot along the way. If next time he can use some of that time to correct his pegged doortracks, texturing selections, and build a few staircases, then we can reconsider. The gameplay is surprisingly not too bad, but can also lack in some areas.