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    The /newstuff Chronicles #319


    Bloodshedder

    The number of WADs in this week's chronicles is 25. Reviews seem to have slowed down, so if you still want this thing to keep happening in the future, please step up to the plate and review some WADs.

    • LETHAL - FRANK ANTINOZZI and TIM GOTT
      Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1051327 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
      At first when I started playing, I started spewing out every thought I generated in my mind out loud like a Pain Elemental barks out lost souls. Thoughts such as "What the hell is this shit?" and "2008 is a little late to release your first maps." Mainly due to the poorly chosen textures and disgustingly annoying replacement sound fx. I kinda wanted to just call it a night and a pull the infamous deathz0r's "Shit." review that I had once hated so much. But I recollected myself and figured it would be in everyone's best interest that I not review a wad solely by first impression. So here goes.

      At first I was a little frightened that I may not get through the first level. I was later appalled to notice that this is a 21-level wad. Despite every map in the wad having deathmatch starts, I wouldn't deathmatch on it unless it were the only wad on Earth. Maybe even then, I'd go study dead languages instead.

      Okay. So the maps are ugly. The maps are long and stressful, and don't really meet any qualities of a common deathmatch map. They rarely use keys, but there are infinite numbers of switches that leave you thinking "wtf did that do?" Constantly checking every corner of the map for any misaligned textured walls to open up. Along with the many annoying switches that don't open obvious doors, there are rarely any doors that are textured using the recognizable door textures, instead using textures that look exactly like the walls around it.

      Before I rant on and on about the maps, as you can easily do yourself just by checking the screenshots provided, I'll enlighten you about the gameplay. Good luck running out of ammo because there are shellboxes littered all over the map. There are plenty of monsters randomly dotted around every room in a 'Slige' sort of way. However I had always been a fan of Slige maps because I enjoy the run and gun, clearing of every room style. In fact, that was probably what kept me playing it. There is a bit of repetition in monster choices, you'll most often fight shotgun guys in the first room, then from there fight Chaingunners, Imps, and Hell Barons for the rest of the map. There are many unpredictable ambushes, though they almost always occur the same way, the E1M7 style walls opening with monsters stuffed inside.

      I actually a good bit of addictive shootouts many times that I didn't want to end. In fact I had lately been desiring to play some new megawads with tons of monsters and ammo and simple maps, I guess this is just what I was asking for. Maybe good map design is unnecessary for fun addictive gameplay. Detailed maps with a hundred sectors jammed in every room is simply overrated, and disguising the fact that made Doom so appealing that I had been actively digesting every time I play it, and that's good gun combat.

      Nah who am I kidding. We need good maps.

    • Salamandastron's Fortress - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
      Limit Removing - Solo Play - 228005 bytes -
      Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
      This is a Plutonia map from March 10 2006. The readme claims that the map takes place in a large abandoned fortress that has been overrun by demons.

      Detail wise the map looks less than great. My biggest problem with the map's visuals is the texture usage, many areas look ugly and many textures are out of place, this can be seen very well in many of the screenshots. The map also doesn't really resemble a fortress at all until the player gets outside.

      The architecture is decent enough to look at least a little interesting. But I did not see anything I considered to be cool or very good looking, it's just about good enough that it's not "bad".

      The layout is also pretty good, although there is some back tracking at some places and I got lost sometimes not knowing what to do, and it was rather painful to play through.

      Gameplay wise, the map is not that great either. Even on UV there are not many enemies to fight, and most of the challenge comes from struggling through situations where the player can't really see what he is fighting as a result of either poor layout or stupid architecture. Examples of this can be seen in the screenshots.

      Another problem is that some doors don't really look like doors, and that left me running around not knowing what to do for some time before progressing.

      The gameplay is however solid, and it takes a long time to play though the whole map, like 40-50 min. There is not really anything great about this map, but if you have played the other ones and you still want more, then this map can be a fun way to kill some time if you can live with the bad texturing and the "not at all hard gameplay". But if you have some other maps to play that look promising, then you could just go ahead and skip this one.

    • Pyrethrum - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
      Skulltag - Deathmatch - 843399 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Megaz
      First things first. This is not Claw Fist. This is Pyrethrum. I don't know why he called it Claw Fist in the textfile (Another map by Mechadon) when it's his Pyrethrum, but whatever, so looks like i'm reviewing Pyrethrum now. Joy!

      I picked this WAD to review hoping that it would be a 5 minute turdfest that would be quick to review, but then I noticed the author name and my hopes were quickly crushed. Just as I expected, the map is beautiful in all areas. Detail levels are offensively high and gameplay is not really sacrificed at the foot of detail, but merely runs along with it, making a nice 6-10 Player DM WAD that is actually quite a blast to play with, uh, around 8 people.

      There are some blemishes that get in the way of gameplay, like pillars placed in areas where people are constantly running through, getting in the way, and the old 'BFG in a crusher room' gimmick is used, making me want to punch myself in the face. The problem is that everyone goes for it, and no-one ever gets crushed because everyone is either too busy getting the BFG or fragging people to wait by the crush switches.

      One last thing—the new versions of Skulltag have small texture changes, meaning if you play this on the newest version, you have to contend with the missing textures, and they can get annoying. Play with 96f for best results.

      Apart from these small problems, I do find this is a great DM map. Worth the download, definitely.

    • CR8 Quake Texture set compiled for Doom - Speedy, Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
      Limit Removing - n/a - 928122 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
      A bunch of dirty rusty brown Quake textures for all you Quake lovers. Comes with textures and flats with UAC logos slapped on it, animated liquids and switches made with edited Doom 64 patches. Comes with a test map so you can see the dirty rotten Medieval dungeon this texture set can make. That, and make you wanna take a shower after being near it. I expect a lot of new mappers to see this and try to make "Ultimate Torment and Torture 2" with it. Use at risk of being made fun of. And for some reason the text file says there's music in here too, but I couldn't find it; I dont know what music is needed for in this set anyway. But kudos to Speedy and Mechadon for their effort.

    • Vertigone - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
      Skulltag - Deathmatch - 1073804 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Jimmy91
      Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell brings you this, the original, famed "void" map that graced STLMSv3. It was originally intended for Sabbat Martyr Deathmatch but was cut, mainly because of its size (map size, that is...more on that in a bit). Its actual name is Vertigone II (there was a Vertigone before this) - plus its name in STLMS is "Ruins of Vertigone". Confusing, no? :P

      Well, onto the map itself. It is set in a bunch of floating ruins in a night sky, and is reminiscent of Cyb's "Void". Being a map by Mechadon, of course, it promises high detail, within large spaces, with clever obstacles and decorations. And boy does it not disappoint.

      The use of gothic textures, old and new, and placement of other strange things like Hexen-esque teleportals, grassy areas and lava streams set on the ceilings, really help create the mysterious gothicky atmosphere. The "gimmick" (I use the word in its broadest sense) that really sets the map apart from any other void map I've ever played are the cleverly designed demonic faces/masks set in the floors, with streams of lava flowing through and underneath. The color scheme, texture choices and architecture of the map make it a very aesthetically pleasing experience.

      The map is very spacious - it certainly suits Last Man Standing better than deathmatch. In fact, the Last Man Standing version is less spacious than this - the span of the entire map is massive, but the actual separate playing areas are, while cleverly laid out and interconnected in several ways, leaving good open play areas, not that huge.

      Each of the three "islands" on the map are interconnected by teleportals that grant access to the outer islands, and jump pads that send you back to the central island. Here I've got to make criticism, as the portals on the middle island are awkward to get to, as the platform they're on is fairly small and they aren't bridged by anything too solid; one misstep and you plummet into the surrounding void and die.

      Then there's the jump pads. Sometimes you get catapulted high enough to hit the "sky ceiling" and then fall into the massive void beneath. You usually have to make a running jump onto the pad in order to just reach the opposite island. As a result, finding your opponents in this map is not only a task because of the distances between play areas, but trying to move to the other areas is frustrating because you usually die on the way to the next island if you opt to take the jump pads. ¬_¬

      The map only has a couple other flaws - namely the music, which grew very annoying after a while, and the other, which is more of a glitch, is that sometimes you'll fail to die after falling through the void if you somehow manage to land on a tree. Otherwise, it's, as far as Mechadon's maps go, well, fairly average actually. :P But by your standards it's probably an extremely nice map to play and also to just ogle at. Mechadon's maps have that sort of effect. :D

    • Titanium Tide 1024 - Gold Editon! - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
      Skulltag - Deathmatch - 1713506 bytes
      Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
      An extremely expensive Duel map made by former Gothic99 mapper Brett Harrell, also known as Mechadon. Okay, he's not a Gothic99 mapper, but he should have been. He certainly has a way with making sector art, which has been showcased on every single skulltag.com page. The map is beautiful. It uses a "Gold" texture set that I was never particularly fond of, but this is one of the few maps I've seen it used effectively. It's a 1024 map, which plays a huge role in making the map feel like a shootout inside of a Mini Cooper. The map is intentionally designed to be like one of those oil rigs in the middle of the ocean, except instead of an ocean it's liquid gold. The spot with the rocket launcher looked like an easy way to get pinned by someone with a SSG or a Nailgun. The upper catwalk areas were kinda hard to navigate through because it's hard to get a sense of direction up there, but getting down to ground level was not a hard task, so I assume most of the fighting would be done down there. The map does not provide a lot of cover, making action a common agenda, and get to watch short action packed matches and play more often. This map is pretty sweet and worth a play with some buddies.

    • AAAAHHHH NUTS!!! - Mike Wiesenauer (deldelda)
      Limit Removing - Solo Play - 77287 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Joe Capricorn
      Very simple architecture and a lack of attention to any sort of gameplay puts this WAD in the trash bin for me ... except that I find it fun to play maps with 9185 monsters per room when using SUPRWEP8.deh. I create maps like this all the time just for my own entertainment, but I don't release them to the public because, like this wad, they are crap.

      Nuts was a good wad the first time around. This seems to be a tribute to that map. Needless to say, it's not a very good one.

      I must give credit to the author, as there are false-3D bridges implemented and a liberal use of instantly moving sectors, especially the first level. A little work and some attention to what makes a WAD good - gameplay is key, not just architecture - and Mike's next WAD may be a vast improvement over this.

      It's a start, a lot better than my very first map and shows that the author has the capability to improve his skills.

    • Crimson - doomaniac
      GZDoom - Solo Play - 4105819 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Joe Capricorn
      A tribute of sorts to Doom 64, this is a small tech-base map with some hellish elements containing many of our favorite Doom 64 monsters and weapons. I have very few complaints, one of them being that there were no difficulty levels that I could select, and that despite being a small map I was wandering around a lot until I got that computerized map thingy that helped out a lot. I was still checking each grayed out room to see if that door opened, but at least by then I knew where the unopened areas were.

      The map was a bit too easy for my skills, so maybe having difficulty settings might've helped in that regard. I found by navigating through to some of the regular Doom 2 levels that this difficulty setting is defaulted to "Hey, Not too rough". Ammo and health is plentiful, recommended for the casual Doomer and for those that don't want to download that entire Doom 64: Absolution set and still want to see what all of the Doom 64 monsters looked like and want to use all of the weapons. What I especially like about this map is it offers more than just what you'll see. You can idfa and get all the Doom 64 weapons or play through all of Doom 2 and see all the Doom 64 monsters - those ghostly imps, the berzerked green demons, even a spiffy replacement for the Spiderdemon! The map ran very smoothly using GZDoom and there were no other problems that I could see. I also like the utilization of a Still Remains midi track at the end. (One of the metal songs, not one of the emo songs, by the way.) I give this 8 out of my ten fingers up including both of my thumbs but neither of my pinkies. Yeah, see if you can do that. [Ed: Yes I can.]

    • The Hive - Chris Klie
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 53614 bytes -
      Reviewed by: The Green Herring
      There's no denying it: Chris Klie made a lot of maps for the Master Levels for Doom II. In the final product, he has six levels to his name, the most out of the six authors involved, but he also made six more levels that didn't make it, discussed in Henrik Larsen's Master Levels FAQ. There have been more than a few requests for these levels on Doomworld; the most recent discussion started this April, and it had continued into May when Chris Klie himself showed up on the forums and offered the levels to anyone who asked. After sending them to a few people (including me,) he uploaded the levels to /idgames at another poster's request. Thus, at long last, these outtakes are readily available.

      This level begins with the player in a large well, with many wood and metal structures surrounding a larger wood and metal building in the center. Here, you must climb stairs, cross a narrow bridge, and flip switches to find all three keys and escape. Things can get pretty hectic if you let them, but otherwise, things are pretty easy. Move slowly when you get through the yellow key door, or you'll fall into a pit and take damage while waiting for the teleporter to lower. Once you escape, you're thrown into a large, torus-shaped cavern that is sparsely populated, apart from a bunch of Imps at the start who are best taken care of with the rocket launcher. Along the way, you'll have to cross bridges over a nukage pit; if you fall in, there's no way to escape. At the end of the level, you have to take on a Cyberdemon, but with the megasphere and cells near the switch opening the exit, and a plasma rifle to fire them with, you won't have much trouble. Even less so, of course, if you have the BFG9000, which is contained in the level's only secret; it can only be accessed by shooting a specific wall, but it's not obvious where it is until you grab the computer map near the exit. In general, the level is quite easy, but fun to play.

      If you're expecting this level to have 2008 architecture, you're looking in the wrong place. Not only was this made in 1995, but as with his Master Levels, Chris Klie deliberately made the design simple 1) to emulate the style of the id Software levels, and 2) so that people with low-end computers in that era could play it at a good speed. What it does have is a consistent theme, textures that go well together, and zero texture alignment errors, which puts it well above most other levels of the era. The geometry is a little interesting, too, as the torus cavern actually surrounds the well instead of just being built off to the side. Then again, I doubt anybody else besides me pays attention to stuff like that.

      Overall, if you're looking for a short, simple, and fun level, and you don't mind simple architecture, you can't go wrong with this one, especially if you liked Klie's Master Levels.

    • Arena - Arakis
      doom.exe - SP/DM - 8125 bytes -
      Reviewed by: master lockwolf
      Don't waste your time like I did. Its a square map with Barons at 2 ends of the map and Cacos in the middle. No exit, nothing special. It probably wouldn't even run in doom.exe in the time period it was created (1994).

    • Chris K. - Chris Klie
      doom.exe - Solo Play - 384901 bytes
      Reviewed by: pcorf
      An excellent set of mainly beautiful looking base-themed maps for Doom 1 from 1995 replacing all of Episode 1 plus E2M1, E2M2 and E2M3. The gameplay is good with some excellent but at times frustrating puzzles, and be sure to save often just in case you get stuck since there are a few inescapable slime pits, etc. The architecture is basic but the atmosphere is very good. If you're looking for something old school I'm recommending that you download this. The author himself made a few of the Master Levels for Doom 2.

    • The D.M.Z. - Chris Klie
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 40812 bytes -
      Reviewed by: master lockwolf
      The D.M.Z. is apparently an outtake from The Master Levels. Obviously this map was made in 1995 and is very old school. I enjoyed playing through this map. A very simple design, plenty of monsters and a little bit of puzzles along the way. The only thing that I was disappointed with in this map was that there weren't many monsters. Otherwise, it's worth the 3 or 4 minutes it would take you to blaze through this map.

    • The C.P.U. - Chris Klie
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 45827 bytes
      Reviewed by: Traysandor
      This is a rather dull 1994 style wad. Pretty short techbase theme wad, but nothing anybody hasn't seen before. Resistance is pretty light, though ammo is tightly controlled. Other than that you're not really missing much, this is worth one play at best if you're feeling in the mood for how things were back in the old days. Not recommended.

    • Device One - Chris Klie
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 46962 bytes
      Reviewed by: Traysandor
      Meh, this map is very skippable, you aren't missing anything except for a poorly made 1994-ish wad. cpu.wad was better than this -- just barely.

    • EvilDead - A. Gartland
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 49701 bytes -
      Reviewed by: POTGIESSER
      This map looks to me like one of those first effort maps from an aspiring mapper. The map is quite simple and short, and will offer a quick play through. The architecture is decent, and there are some nice details. My biggest complaint about this map would be the sudden abrupt change in theme at the end of the map. It really detracted from the atmosphere the mapper created up until that point. I would also suggest a little more height variation. Thankfully this map does have height variation but could've used a bit more.

      If the sound of D_RUNNIN annoys you like it does me, you will want to mute the music and perhaps find your own piece of music. If you want a quick enjoyable Doom morsel to rip through, then perhaps you should be courteous and give this map an audience.

    • The Enemy Inside - Chris Klie
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 49883 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Joe Capricorn
      A fairly short 1994 style map that has its drawbacks, but it still a fun map to play nevertheless. The description claims that it is an outtake of one of the Master levels, which is probably not too far off. Still, despite the simple architecture, the gameplay is fun and there is a balance of health and ammo until you get to the Cyberdemon at the end. There, you'd have to be somewhat of a moron to die because there are five or six invincibility spheres even though I was using Ultra Violence. Regardless, there are very few flaws to be found in this map and it was still a fun map to play through - no switch or key hunting here!

      Not bad, but not too memorable.

    • TheCrypt - A. Gartland
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 54002 bytes -
      Reviewed by: POTGIESSER
      Here we have another map authored by A. Gartland. This map is an improvement over his first. First thing I have to complain about this map is theme. It starts off quite nice, in a setting that one would consider for something named The Crypt. Then suddenly it goes all TEK base, killing the concept of consistent theme, much like his previous work. D_RUNNIN will also grace your ears if you allow it.

      This map does play quite nicely. There are some spots where health might get a little tight or you'll drop dead if you aren't quick enough. It's reasonably difficult and has a nice items to monsters ratio. It also has a decent display of height variation and there are some nice bits of detail. I don't think you will want to play this map 100 times like the author has according to his text file. In fact, I think most people will be quite content at playing through it once or twice maximum. Always look beyond self perception.

      If you need to kill some time then thecrypt might just be your Dooming ticket.

    • Aberration Caves - Kenny "KennyJC" Coughlan
      ZDoom - Solo Play - 335958 bytes
      Reviewed by: Wills
      Most people tend to either hate Quake or love it. Though it certainly had its flaws, I for one am a huge fan. One of my biggest issues with Quake was the fact that instead of having levels filled with lots of weaker monsters and a few strong monsters (like Doom), the levels often had just a few strong monsters (Shamblers, Death Knights, etc.), so I've always wondered what Quake would have been like if it had followed Doom's "kill a bunch of monsters" philosophy. KennyJC's wad is a fairly good approximation at this. It's also quite fun and well designed.

      The level takes place in a cave system, jumping somewhat semi-randomly between castle/techbase areas. The Quake textures are good at the dark and gritty atmosphere the author is trying to create. There are some larger caverns near the end of the level for the boss fights; overall the architecture is very well done. Some areas seemed quite familiar (as in they're practically ripped straight from Quake) - the blue key trap comes to mind.

      The difficulty level is balanced very well. I died once or twice, and ammo/health were quite tight (chainsawing those goddamn revenants). But I like my levels challenging. The Cyberdemon showdown was also hard, basically because you shoot at the Cybie from little niches that are no help whatsover involving splash damage. Oh yeah, and the teleports get you right next to the Cybie, who leaves your guts all over the walls from point-blank range. Not fun.

      The bad stuff. I FUCKING HATE REVENANTS. I don't know why, I just do. They're fairly well balanced, gameplay-wise - not too fast or powerful while still challenging if used correctly. I just hate the Revenants themselves. Second, this level is quite linear. I like linearity, but if you're the kind who goes for wandering endless corridors and wondering what that switch did, be my guest.

      So basically this is a great level. I would recommend downloading it, even all you Quake haters. Of course it's not the original, but for all you "too much brown" types this might change your mind.

    • INVASION UAC - David "Xsnake" Bernardi
      ZDoom Compatible - Co-op - 14947882 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Deeforce
      This deserves a cacoward, because there are 28 big levels full of action! Xsnake designed it for cooperative play and there is still a dedicated server on Internet Doom Explorer, which offers the wad with the superweapons included. So, don't read any further, play it!

      The first level is a map, which is to be found modified in the wad several times again, but not too often. There are enough different maps, so the play experience is very diverse. Very often you fight a huge number of monsters, but there are also maps which have jump and run features (map20). Furthermore, the chosen music is quite good too. The only point, which is to criticize, is that you need your time to find the right door or key to go further on in some levels, but when playing it with friends, you won't get any problems! Thumbs up! :-P

    • Brawly of Brownys - Ruba
      doom2.exe - Solo Play - 11294 bytes
      Reviewed by: pcorf
      This very small map consists of a room, with an exit in the middle, full of imps and many doors surrounding. There is a Super Shotgun (SSG) and a Megasphere in the room. Behind each door is a Commander Keen doll. In order to beat this level you must open each door, one by one - killing each Keen doll one by one to open the exit. The exit is revealed and right in your face is John Romero's head spitting out spawn cubes. With the SSG in possesion, Romero is easily dealt with and so is the level. Overall another boring and worthless map by Ruba and I recommend that you only download it if you have absolutley nothing to do.

    • The walker texas power ranger chainsaw massacre - The secret alliance for prosperity of sentai and tokuhatsu
      ZDoom - Solo Play - 27170 bytes
      Reviewed by: Wills
      Straight from the (retarded) textfile: "Another nuts.wad remake, this time is for heretic". Don't bother.

    • Ghostcity - Gijs van der Linden
      Legacy Compatible - Solo Play - 451341 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Kirby
      I knew this was a doomed wad from the moment I read the text file. You start out on a "beach" with several multi-colored houses that literally burn your eyes. To make it worse, it seems that the author had numerous unclosed sectors, resulting in shadows going through the floors. The map appeared to get better after a few minutes, however I was wrong, for I only found MORE unclosed sectors and visual bugs alongside the horribly basic Doom mapping.

      It seems that the author aimed for Hell Revealed style gameplay, but the map only makes it a terrible mess that really isn't that difficult. On a separate note, the author claims that you need to use ZDoom or Legacy due to 3-D floors, none of which I spotted while playing. AVOID THIS WAD.

    • Clan [SA] Duel mappack - Various
      Skulltag - Deathmatch - 571798 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Jimmy91
      [SA] Duel is an 11-map duel and deathmatch map pack collaborated by the members of the [SA] (Savage Assassins) Skulltag clan. As far as clan WADs go, I can say it's a fairly solid map pack.

      The maps are named SAD## to allow them to be played alongside the stock Doom and Skulltag maps.

      The overall quality of each map ranges from half-decent to very good. Each map has its own unique theme, and some have some sort of gimmick that makes them more unique in their own right - SAD04 has a set of switches that change the music, and SAD06 has a... very odd... skybox, as just two examples. The architecture and detail of most of them are well-balanced (despite some odd texture placements), however, the gameplay value of...about half of them, leaves a lot to be desired.

      Being duel maps, they are naturally small, although I think somewhere along the line the definition of "small" got mixed up with "congested". Duel maps are really meant to only be slightly smaller deathmatch maps, with equal maneuverability and spacing. Around half the maps are guilty of having small-to-tiny play areas on the map, and there are a couple of maps that feature the clichéd "square center room with a square outside walkway" structure, which leaves them structurally symmetrical. There are few open spaces throughout these maps, and most of the corridors are extremely cramped with sharp turns (particularly SAD08), which makes even 1-on-1 matches awkward in such tight spaces. The music choices aren't particularly fitting either - there are some MIDI tunes by Black Sabbath in there but also some very quirky techno tunes ("What is Love" by Haddaway is just one of them - what the funk...) that in all honesty don't fit Doom maps.

      On the plus side, there's a lot of variety, and a lot to enjoy about the maps in this pack. The new graphics (particularly TITLEPIC) are pretty dang awesome. Each map is, honestly, well-structured, and as a whole, the WAD is a good set of maps to have a nice duel-blast on. It's definitely Friday Night Fragfest-worthy. The WAD gets a recommendation from me.

    • P.K. Skulltag Final Release - Kuchikitaichou and Pluit
      Skulltag - Skulltag - 1460080 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
      I recognized the names of the authors, and remember pretty clearly playing Skulltag online with these guys fairly frequently a few months back. They obviously were pretty big fans of the game mode Skulltag, and this wad certainly expresses that.

      There are 5 maps in this wad. Each of them are pretty well done maps that heed attention to common Skulltag techniques. As were the stock Skulltag maps, these take a couple rounds worth of playing to memorize the area, and the directions of where to go once you find the skull. This was annoying, though it was not new to traditional Skulltag gameplay, so I'd hardly consider it a flaw.

      The maps are pretty well designed. Some have a main hallway in which all the battles take place, and few have alternate routes to arrive at the same destinations with.

      There are not a whole lot of Skulltag map packs out there, and the ones that are out there are generally the same quality as this, so I certainly don't hold any grudges. I enjoyed these maps quite a bit and recommend that common Skulltag players give this a whack.

    • Xenus 2: The new Nightmare - Alter
      Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2812521 bytes
      Reviewed by: Traysandor
      This is a 10-level mini-megawad. The difficulty overall isn't too hard, and slowly ramps up as you go through the levels, and there's a fair few nice melees here and there as you progress. However, these maps tend to suffer from "hitting multiple switches in order to unlock the next area while fighting monsters" syndrome. While most of the switches aren't particularly hard to find (I had to backtrack a few times when I ran out of progress to make), it makes the levels drag out a little bit. At least I give the author a bit of credit, as it looks like every map is definitely possible from a pistol start, and I never really had too many issues with health or ammo; I was happily SSGing away most of the demons. The traps became kind of predictable after a while, and could have benefited by some marine trapping walls, etc. to really make things tough for our hero. Detailing is passable, but there's nothing in these maps that particularly stands out.

      One negative point in the wad is that there's WAY too much ammo for the boss fights (Level 7-end and Level 10). The Level 7 fight was harder, killing off twin Cyberdemons. The "supposed" final boss on Map 10 was a piece of cake, barely a minute's worth of spamming the alien being with plasma fire while circlestrafing, and the thing was begging for mercy, not to mention I had huge caches of plasma and rockets to spare -- the beast didn't even scratch me.

      It's overall not a bad mapset, and is worth a playthrough if you need something to do on a boring Sunday morning, but it has a fair few flaws that could have been fixed in a map editor. Map 5 can be beaten without the blue key (there was a wall blocking the area after the blue door, but I found the exit even without going through that area). Map 6 had some badly placed no entry monster lines that blocked monsters from advancing towards the Marine, making for easier encounters. Map 9 is just big and confusing, the city theme not being presented particularly well here. Map 10 needs either a MUCH harder boss or some HR-style action that really tests the Marine's abilities.

    Like what you are seeing? Want to get in on the reviewing action? Visit the /newstuff review center and start writing reviews today! You need a Doomworld forums account to participate.

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    myk said:

    Opinions should not be censored to suit mass conformity. Such a precept also encourages people to write in reference to what they think others may be thinking; that leads to superficiality and a lack of tact. As long as the review is substantiated it should be good to go, and the author should proceed freely.


    Well, maybe my second point was stated too strictly, and maybe we have different ideas of what a review should be, but when I see a review that states that a map is bad, I want the reasoning to be "this map is a bad member of its genre/era," instead of just "this map is bad." The former case is already close enough to acknowledging the opinions of others, in my opinion - I don't expect or want more than that. In the latter case, we don't know whether or not the reviewer appreciates any maps of that style, in which case we the readers can't get a good idea of whether their opinion will match that of the reviewer, in which case the review hasn't really done its job.

    One nice thing about having a single reviewer is that we all get the chance to figure out "I tend to agree/disagree with this guy about this," but we can't work that our for ourselves when every review is written by a different person. So, to be able to weigh a reviewer's negative input, it's best if the reader can clearly tell whether the reviewer dislikes the map or dislikes the genre via the text of the review. Of course, it would also make a lot of sense if all reviewers only claimed wads of genres/styles that they are familiar with and tend to enjoy.

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    Creaphis said:
    "this map is a bad member of its genre/era,"

    If that is the case (that a WAD is good for certain people) a good review will make that clear without the reviewer having to speculate on whether a certain group is a minority or if the WAD really fits in the category or what such categories should be used (many of these just sound insulting). The reason is because one would need to make assumptions about others' subjectivity. Instead, if one substantiates the review properly* (often called "being objective") people of all sorts, even those not easily categorized (and most smart people aren't) can judge whether the WAD is of interest and how. They (can) decide.

    * Not that I think there is a way to quantify this, but you can tell whether a reviewer is pointing out why he judges the WAD in this or that way, characterizing the WAD as he does so. A review is a way of seeing a creative work through the point of view of another. If that point of view is clear, it will help you get acquainted with the work, even if you disagree.

    One nice thing about having a single reviewer is that we all get the chance to figure out "I tend to agree/disagree with this guy about this," but we can't work that our for ourselves when every review is written by a different person.

    That's easier with people who write better reviews; those who are more knowledgeable, pinpoint key elements and insights, and have a better grasp of language. In any case, this is not so different from having one or two reviewers as nearly all the reviews are by regular submitters.

    You can give that sort of schematic advice and some might pick it up but from experience (here or in regard to literary criticism) its a "handbook tip hack" sometimes used in some commercial environments where you need to set up buyer categories. I think this community is mature enough that reviewers can be frank and trusting in their (possibly increasing) ability to provide a to-the-point review by focusing on their insight and experience, and not what they assume others think, or general community categories based on that (which ease things by making them stupider).

    I understand the issue you're trying to tackle, but I think it's better for people to really learn to write good solid reviews, rather than use invasive clutches that still lead to poor reviews.

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    I never intended to lay down a set of hard guidelines, which seems to be how you're interpreting my posts - I'm just looking for "good, solid reviews" as you said, and the things I stated as important for a review will already be implicitly present in good critical writing. I stated what I was looking for in overly-specific terms because the only alternative is the vague request for "good reviews," which would be a fairly unhelpful post.

    I think we agree that a review is better if the reader is able to guess whether or not he will like what's being reviewed, even if the reviewer doesn't like it. This is all that I expect. I don't want the reviewer to make that guess for me - I just want enough quality information in the review so that I can guess for myself.

    You're right that there's no specific procedural rule that could replace good writing.

    I brought this up in the first place because I felt that Bloodshedder is occasionally too lenient in accepting reviews that are rambling, incomplete, or judge only by an inappropriate standard - that are "bad," to put it simply. I mentioned one way in which a review can be a bad one. But, as writing can't be divided into "bad" and "good" by an objective standard, and as Bloodshedder has not expressed any wish to subjectively divide them, I suppose that this lenience will remain. I have the impression that you would suggest that the review writers should be given this lenience so that they have the chance to improve their craft.

    Still, until the writing is all up to my high standards, perhaps we should implement a second-review system. Not for the wads, but so that other writers can review the reviews themselves. ;)

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    Ayieeah! MekaWad overload O_O

    After reading through my wad reviews, it occurred to me that I'm a big ole dummy. Those discrepancies in the readme's are from me using the previous wad's readme as a template for the other wads. I was organizing my releases to upload to /idgames all at once, so...yea. I suck.

    Thanks for the honest reviews though :D

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    Creaphis said:
    I think we agree that a review is better if the reader is able to guess whether or not he will like what's being reviewed, even if the reviewer doesn't like it. This is all that I expect. I don't want the reviewer to make that guess for me - I just want enough quality information in the review so that I can guess for myself.

    In fact I apologize because I misread something you said (ironically I even quoted it), mainly because I was thinking of a review the other week that started with the type of explicit disclaimer I talked about. So it was something I had in mind but there really wasn't a reason to make it into a reply to what you said.

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    Haloless0320 said:

    I'd like to get involved in these reveiws,how would I start?


    The page your looking for is linked at the bottom of the /newstuff review page, and this thread's first post. I'll just give you the link here though. All wads are claimed/approved at the moment.

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    Yeah I'm still waiting as well.

    All the wads have had reviews submitted... wonder when it's going to be posted.

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    myk said:

    (RL) vacations.

    I'm hoping that doesn't mean Really Long - some of us are already exibiting withdrawal symptoms.

    In the meantime - I have good news and bad news for reviewers.

    The good news is that there will be a steady trickle of wads into /newstuff. The bad news is they'll be mostly 94-96 maps from my collection of lost & forgotten wads. Not to everyone's taste but will at least keep the review centre ticking over.

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    GreyGhost said:
    The bad news is they'll be mostly 94-96 maps from my collection of lost & forgotten wads.

    If you're selective like RL is and tend to upload the better stuff, this is quite good news.

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    No guarantees but I'll do my best - maybe I'm chasing Funduke's crown as chief archive spammer. ;-)

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    GreyGhost said:
    I'm chasing Funduke's crown as chief archive spammer. ;-)

    You could partner with him, as he said he'd still be uploading stuff... but with a better criterion than in the past. He initially uploaded a lot of junk because he was working on a Maximum DOOM index.

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