Here we are with another mid-week edition of the chronicles, including selections by everyone's favorite reviewer, Remiel. Then there's udderdude, who seems to have no idea how to rename his screenshot files to fit the naming convention. Finally, there's Wills, who never includes any screenshots, but maybe since I'm pointing this out here he'll start including some.
Technician's Base - Paul Corfiatis
doom.exe - Solo Play - 51097 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
This is a map for classic Doom, starting on E2M1. It's a dark-ish techbase map. The layout is pretty basic. Very little height variation, and detail level is pretty low. Gameplay is pretty bland, nothing much happens other than monsters popping up right where you expect them. There's nothing bigger than the usual cannon fodder to kill, either. Overall just an average classic Doom map, that wouldn't seem out of place in 1996 or so.
HOM City - Pinky's ass
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 5056 bytes
Reviewed by: Wills
Pinky's ass, for those of you fortunate enough to not know him, likes to hang around the ZDoom forums. I'm not going to turn this into an attack on the author, but he tends to act like an idiot and claims everyone hates him (which is absolutely 100% correct, by the way). He's written in the textfile that he's going to use Giulio Galassi's strategy of making maps that will totally kick the "fat asses" of the trolls on the ZDoom forums. And we all know how that works out.
This isn't one of those maps; rather, it's more of a ridiculously annoying jokemap that's designed to annoy you to no end. Think Ruba, WOW.wad, and Mock 2 thrown in a blender. The "gimmick" is that a whole bunch of walls are HOMs, and... that's it. Otherwise it's a terrible, horrible map without gameplay to speak of. And just read the textfile. Either Pinky's ass is Giulio Galassi come back to haunt us/get on our nerves or he's the most annoying troll ever.
Hybrid Fragments - Lupinx-ressurected aka Lupinx-Kassman
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1213761 bytes -
Reviewed by: Remiel
The first three levels to megaWAD-in-the-making-#193 Hybrid Awakening, released as a teaser. You are an [x], out to stop [y] from doing [z] before it is too late, but this skeletal storyline that has been used in Doom levels for a century and a half and counting is important this time as here you are some kind of cyborg warrior out to stop [y], and as such own a chainsaw (if not, it's well within immediate reach at the start of every level) for the entire WAD; the chainsaw actually being switched for a sword through virtue of a handy-dandy .DEH file, and giving the '1' key more long-term usage by being a strong melee weapon; swings quickly, hits several times at once per connect, doesn't have the black gloves imposed onto the rest of the hand graphics [neither does the fist], and benefits from berserk [due to the nature of its attack, unfairly so], making running around maps shanking things step the boundary from "novelty" to "immensely satisfying." [Ed: congratulations, the preceding sentence is the longest I have ever seen here.]
The WAD itself encourages a very sharp playstyle to go with its new weapon, taking away your 50 starting bullets and giving you the sword to make do with instead. However, by the time you've gotten the chaingun at the beginning of the second level, the sword's grown on you and you're stabbing to death anything that moves with it instead of using any guns. There's fair item and monster placement, but these teaser levels are short and simple, and very tolerable even on UV; you can force nearly every demon in sight to try on your sword for a face ornament while taking heat yourself very scarcely, and rarely even have problems rushing chaingunners and sergeants and dispatching them before they can inflict any serious harm. As well, it seriously bothers me how MAP02 and MAP03's music is nowhere near as cool as MAP01's, and the rooms are kind of plainly-detailed sometimes, with a couple of rooms in desperate need of being made to not look outright boring, but these are all minor annoyances (even a certain lift at the end of MAP03 where you can fall and get stuck outside if you choose to walk out of one of the windows) in the face of the really damn fun new sword.
I'll bet that Noob Project 5 still has some real estate in your mind, or if you played it, is permanently burnt into it in a pentagram shape, but this author is apparently somewhat schizophrenic concerning WADs; with this release, his track record now amounts to releasing poor levels at first, then turning around and releasing better levels than those, then turning around and releasing Noob Project 5, then turning around again and releasing three maps better than Noob Project 5, with the rest of the entire megaWAD they belong to looming over the horizon. This, of course, came in from the more pleasant side, so please remove any possible doubts you might have from any prior creations by this individual and snatch up and play this three-level exercise in indiscriminate violent assault with deadly weapon, because oh my yes sword.
Mainframe Complex - "Catsy" (Brandon Bannerman)
Risen3D - Solo Play - 1612214 bytes
Reviewed by: MasterOfPuppets
Let me get all the good stuff about this map out of the way first! The architecture is beautiful and interesting, made more so by really great textures. The 3d architecture like rooms over rooms and bridges are well done and make for some tough vertical fights. The author manages to create a good dark atmosphere, in a Doom 3 sort of way, by using lots and lots of dark passages lit only by eerie ambient lights. Ambient sounds really add immersion as well; you can hear the storm roaring outside, the hum of ventilation fans, and the whir of machinery. It's tough enough to keep most people interested throughout.
Now, the bad...
You'll have a hard time finding where to go. I found myself wondering around aimlessly, often running past the ladder I need to move up multiple times simply because its dark and hard to see. In fact there is one point where you'll have to find a completely hidden door to progress at all (and later, lots of somewhat disguised doors). You'll sometimes be bereft of ammo as it falls through the linedef bridges you and your enemies battle on. There are a few points throughout the map where I really could not figure out how to progress any further. One section in particular where this happened was the giant sludge reservoir area. It seems you have to raise the water level to reach a ladder – except there is no way to do this. I tried jumping over the bridge railing to try and catch the ladder, but that didn't work. After NOCLIPing my way up to the higher room that ladder would have taken me, I found a switch. This switch raised the water level of the reservoir when activated... Did I miss something here!? Apparently none of this had anything to do with progressing any further, it just made the underwater tunnel you have to take visible (as before the water level was only knee high and you could not see under the surface). I was again completely unsure what to do once I got the yellow key. Honestly, it was about at this point where I had had enough of this map and gave up.
This could be a good map, but it feels broken to me. If you don't already use/enjoy Risen3D – this map isn't going to change your mind.
Escape from UAC - TomoAlien
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 304514 bytes
Reviewed by: prdarkfox
Hmm. There's one word I have to say about this map set: "basic". It doesn't do a lot wrong (except for random traps that don't make a lot of sense). It doesn't seem to do a lot right, either. There's some sparse detail, but it's mostly hallways, repetitive textures, and a few fights that are not that bad. It's not good, it doesn't suck either, so whether you take my review for face value or not, it doesn't hurt to at least have a look.
Deimos Anamoly Redux - CodenniumRed (Chris Oliveri)
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 291918 bytes -
Reviewed by: hnsolo77
Deimos Anamoly Redux is a well done remake of Doom's E2M1 that requires (G)ZDoom, and it kicks ass for a remake.
Short and simple for the most part, and pretty fun in my opinion. But I am easily pleased regarding certain things, go download this and blast through it for some old school meets new school Doom feel.
Lo Wang - RottKing
Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 1077240 bytes -
Reviewed by: Shaikoten
All in all a very good sprite rip. It looks great scaled down in ST. The sounds work fine as well, but I was disappointed there was no inclusion of a taunt, because I would have loved to ask all of my opponents "Who wants some wang?"
NOTES: Apparently the lack of taunts was a bug. The taunts work for most people I have asked, but not for all. Apparently there are 23 randomized taunts.
Spawning Fun - Pinky's ass
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 139026 bytes -
Reviewed by: hnsolo77
I am fully aware of the drama involving Pinky's Ass and I strive to be a neutral party in this situation. But to be completely honest this WAD fucking sucks so much words can not describe it...
Oh wait, they can, that's why I'm writing this right now. I'll run this down in 2 ways for everyone to understand this. The first way is simply this [img]facepalm.jpg[/img]. The second way is that the amount of monsters that can be spawned is insane, since even a supercomputer can't handle the amount of lag created by this wad; it got so bad that I timed how long the engine's clock took to register one second. It took 13 real seconds to equal one in game second. I had to scale my resolution to the lowest settings possible for runability. I say runability due to the fact that in order to have playability it needs to be playable, which it is not except for one level in this set that I actually really liked.
And this level is MAP10. Just warp to the level and use notarget, god and then shoot the barrels and watch the explosions raining down from the sky. Seriously just look up and try to make out designs, its like frikken' cloud watching, but with explosions! If you download this wad I recommend that this is the only level you go to for above stated reasons.
Seriously Pinky, I know you can make some better stuff. I'm asking you this because I'm almost positive you have potential locked away somewhere, how much I don't know, but at least make one serious map. It can be old 94 to 96 style for all I care, as long as it has good playability. I KNOW you can do that.
The Fury - Chris Klie
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 73718 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Green Herring
Of the six Chris Klie Master Levels outtakes uploaded in May (one of which I reviewed,) one level, The Fury, wasn't indexed in the HTML database because of an oversight on Ty Halderman's part that led to The Devil's Fury by Paul Derbyshire getting overwritten, due to identical filenames. Fortunately, the original fury.zip was restored with a copy from a defunct idgames/ mirror, and The Fury, having been reuploaded under a different filename, is now easily available. If you didn't like his Master Levels, however, this may not be for you.
This level appears to take place in a mountainous, volcanic region. The opening section has you fighting a very short battle outdoors, getting the red key, and then climbing down to a teleporter that requires jumping onto a very narrow bridge from above to use so you can return to higher ground. That's where this part is most difficult, as if you're not positioned just right, you end up in an inescapable pit and die. After this, you must enter a metal structure (triggering the level's only secret in the process) and then fight some zombies and imps, as well as a pain elemental who often uses the nearby teleporter to escape. There are also a series of three switches that removes the death pits around the teleporters, but you don't need to use it unless you want to get the shell boxes in them. Use the teleporters, and you end up in a cavern with a large, wooden tower and tall wooden staircases connected to it. Fall in one of the pits and you'll find some stairs leading up to series of wood and metal rooms with a touch of brick, featuring a very interesting staircase built out of the MARBFACE texture that almost looks like a slope, and a stranger staircase that can be ascended, but not descended, thanks to a funky physics bug in the Doom engine. Fortunately, Klie provided a teleporter allowing you to escape. After climbing some stairs and flipping a switch while killing hellspawn along the way, you find yourself in... an identical cavern, with an identical tower and identical staircases, along with identical wood and metal rooms! The monster and item placement is different, but it's still evident that Klie used the copy and paste function here.
Gameplay-wise, the map is a very simple affair. The opposition is generally very weak, consisting mainly of shotgun guys, imps, and the occasional chaingunner sprinkled about, with a single baron, cacodemon, pain elemental and mancubus making up the strong monsters. You don't get a super shotgun or plasma rifle in this level, but you don't need them, as the rocket launcher can take care of the strong monsters just fine. The presence of an easy-to-get megasphere early on in the level doesn't help matters, either. There are also no real secrets in this level; as mentioned above, you trigger the map's only secret the moment you step through the red locked door, because otherwise, the stat screen would claim you found 0% Secrets when there were no secrets to find to begin with. You need the other two keys to exit, and once you use them, the exit is very odd and somewhat anticlimactic. It's unique enough to work, but if you're expecting a fight with a Cyberdemon or something, you'll be disappointed. Overall, the map will not challenge expert players in the slightest.
The architecture is simple as well. As I mentioned in my review for The Hive, this was deliberate on Klie's part, in order to emulate the style of the original id levels, and to ensure that people with poor computers back in 1995 could run it smoothly. This doesn't mean it's ugly, however; as with his other levels, there is a consistent theme, all the textures go together, and there are no texture alignment errors to be seen, which is more than you can say about most of its contemporaries. The MARBFACE staircase is interesting, too, and I wonder if anybody will do something like that again. In general, the level looks pretty good for simple design.
In short, if you want an easy level to play, or you're fond of Klie's Master Levels, this level will be right up your alley. If not, look elsewhere.
P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the start of this level kind of looks like a face on the automap? I wonder if Klie did this on purpose.
The Devil's Den - Aaron "NJdEvil508"
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 355559 bytes -
Reviewed by: MasterOfPuppets
The author mentions he is 15 years old, so I assume he hasn't been mapping for very long. With that in mind, I must say this level is an acceptable offering. Aaron shows throughout the level that he is a competent mapper and fluent with the newbie hurtles of doors and lifts – and he provides a good amount of detail and appealing texture combinations.
The architectural details sometimes look a bit less than thought-out, or perhaps come off as a little abstract, but there is no doubt that the author is well beyond the "first map" skill level. Some inconsistencies common of newer mappers are still present, however. The theme of the level changes multiple times, very abruptly. Also, there is a bar-door (the kind where one set of bars goes up and the other set goes down to open the path) that has missing textures on the sides of some bars. There is another door later in the level that closes you into a small ammo cubby, and you'll have to NOCLIP to get out.
Of bigger concern, however, is the inconsistency of the gameplay. The map starts off innocent enough; you blast through some imps and zombies without much hassle, save for the occasional ambush (all the ambushes are simple, but some are nicely done). Once you get to the marble textured area, things get tougher. Unfortunately that pretty architecture gets in the way now, making those revenant encounters frustratingly costly. There is one section specifically where monsters will walk over a teleporter pad repeatedly, only to be teleported a few feet away, more than likely to walk right back over it again.
If a few tough fights against some of the nastier mundane monsters were all this map threw at you, it wouldn't be a big problem. But there is a cyberdemon near the end that, for the life of me, I could not manage to kill. See the screenshots. That cyberdemon is in a horribly vexing place, and your only exit route to avoid being blasted by its rockets is narrow and lined with pillars. Also, it is entirely likely you won't have enough ammo to be able to kill it at all. You'll probably have to run past him onto the un-obvious teleporter like I did. If you do manage to kill it, you probably won't have enough ammo to deal with the following battles.
The map ends with a climactic battle (in a very nice looking hellish room). Unfortunately, you'll have no problem with this skirmish as Aaron decided to give you the BFG and rocket launcher for this – with plenty of ammo to boot. After opening the final door to the exit switch once all the monsters are dead, you'll receive a mother-load of power cells... Cheeky.
Also, the wad contains some new graphics that don't really add anything to the experience (likely Aaron was just figuring how to use lump editors).
Overall, a decent map with some problems. I think the author, with some time and practice, could produce some quality work. I look forward to seeing how his skills progress.
The Beginning Of the End - James "MrSlapHappy" Ebert
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 179345 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
This is a short single player map for Doom 2, using ZDoom. The detail level starts out pretty high, but tapers out by the end. It uses a few ZDoom effects like deep water and colored sectors, which work well with the map and aren't overdone. The gameplay is decent, it doesn't really ramp up very far from the initial difficulty level. It's not too difficult if you're any good, either. The only spot I had trouble with was the very end of the map. Overall it's not poor, but not spectacular either. Some better monster placement and more variety would have really helped to keep things interesting. Note that one section of the map requires jumping, although this could just be because I couldn't find the way up without it. Pretty sure you need to, though.
Doom Guitarist - Lupinx-ressurected aka Lupinx-Kassman
Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 196127 bytes
Reviewed by: Remiel
A skin for Skulltag and ZDoom, amounting to the bright Doom player's helmet [with one robot laser eye behind the visor] on the dark Strife player's body, with a weird cape thing on one shoulder and a grey blob in his hands that I guess is meant to be a guitar. The cape is comically animated -- when one frame is compared to its versions in other directions, it's all over the place. He strums his guitar when firing, shooting guns with the Power of Rock appearing in the form of crackling lightning and music notes. He disintegrates when he dies, leaving behind a few pixels arranged into an unidentifiable shape for reasons known only to the author. He has no gib frames, causing him to blink out of existence accompanied by the gib sound, and gets a custom taunt for Skulltag which is a guitar riff more than ten seconds long, over which you can hear white noise from the recording. This is really... really something.
noobs - Michael "Optimus" Kargas
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 159713 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
This is a ZDoom (Boom compatible) map for Doom 2. It's a gimmick map ... the only enemy in the entire map is the pistol zombie. And there's 1,520 of them on UV (977 on HMP). A map like this lives and dies by its gimmick, and in this case, it's not a particularly good one, nor is it very well implemented. The majority of the map takes place in a rather boring and mostly flat techbase. There is a part later on with a bunch of copy-paste hallways which is basically a giant slaughter - you can literally sit back and watch them all die without even firing a single shot. The zombiemen are packed in like sardines, and just feel like they've been spammed everywhere. There are whole rooms full of them. The subtle and clever enemy placement/usage you would expect to make a map like this work is completely absent. It turns into a chore to play. I'd recommend the 1 monster megawad over this any day.
Shoot! - Chris Hansen
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 212086 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
This is a classic-themed map for Doom 2. The level layout flows together well, with good connectivity and lots of height variation. The texture work and detail level is nice, with lots of variety. It's not too difficult on UV, but is still fun. A few rough spots, but nothing a good player can't handle. The ammo balance is decent, starting off fairly generous and then tapering out towards the end. There were a few spots where if I hadn't conserved early on, I'd have run out of ammo later. Unfortunately, the map has a few bugs - one being that you can keybump the orange skull key in some source ports, and another being a metal gate that closes while the player can still run under it and get trapped outside, with no way to get inside unless you noclip through the gates. Mind the bugs, and this is a very enjoyable map that should keep you on your toes.
Leviticus - Jon S
doom.exe - Solo Play - 10525 bytes
Reviewed by: hnsolo77
A first map that is really basic, no height variation/etc. Good for a quick play but probably not something you would ever play again. Nothing really more to say.
Doom Enhanced - The Kins
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 2094678 bytes -
Reviewed by: Remiel
Doom Enhanced is a graphical/gameplay enhancement WAD (because its called Doom enhanced) by Kinsie. Kinsie is also responsible for Night of the Homeless. If that does not say anything about the level of simple quality portrayed here, I'm not quite sure what could, really.
Kinsie's fairly thorough regarding the aforementioned graphical/gameplay enhancements, adding bullet/shell casings, ricochets, footsteps and terrain splashes, destructible props, projectiles that can use teleporters, lens flares, alternate death animations, a more pleasant Invulnerability Sphere screenfilter, pickup sounds for each weapon, item, and ammo type, healthier posture for the Doom player sprite, and more, including as last but not least -- the ever-popular Nashgore effects, crowned with lesser baddies being made in specialized D-ENH charm to outright explode into considerably satisfying Quakelike showers of Ludicrous Gibs! when overkilled, and the Cyber and Spiderdemons being made to erupt into a series of fiery explosions when defeated. All of these enhancements are rather minor, flavourful, and totally unintrusive to regular gameplay.
There is a framerate issue that, to my recollection, is unavoidable due to the scripting for gore effects existing in the first place; I am quite sure it had something to do with monsters spawning gore effects directly inside of crushing ceilings when being crushed by them, but it's really effectively worked around by yourself by the magic of adjusting the resolution.
Anyway, Doom Enhanced is good and has a lot of cool, fun little enhancements. (because it's etc. etc.) If there's a reason you don't want to have it, it's probably a dumb reason. Maybe not, but you should get it anyway.
The Detailed Cliche - X'tyfe
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 226794 bytes
Reviewed by: Cutman
This is X'tyfe's first ever released WAD, and it happens to be a semi-jokewad. The WAD is basically a small arena filled with a bunch of Cyberdemons, Nazis, Megaspheres and a BFG with plenty of ammo. The "cliché" is the fact that the arena is pretty detailed. This is a pointless WAD, however, and from the comments already posted, it seems that the cliché part is actually correct as many people are giving it lovely ratings despite the 1994 gameplay.
uactomb - deathbecomesme
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 89404 bytes
Reviewed by: Wills
In the textfile the author claims he worked on this map for "2 months". He obviously spent that time trying to figure out how to use Doombuilder. It's all here, ladies and gentlemen - unpegged doortraks, HOMs, mazes, bizarre detailing, misaligned textures, hidden doors, and completely useless secrets.
Yes, it's a very amateurish map, but it actually has some okay ideas - the whole concept of going deeper and deeper into a tomb hidden beneath the UAC I kind of like; unfortunately the map is very badly done and ends up splattered everywhere. But this is due to inexperience. I'm sure "deathbecomesme" will improve his skills rapidly, and I'd like to see his maps when he gets a lot better.
El Crepúsculo de los Idolos (Idols' twilight) - Ignacio Zuccari aka El Loco Chávez
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 51577 bytes -
Reviewed by: Black Metal
Quick summary: AVOID THIS BUGGED WAD.
Wow. How the hell did this take 15 days? I can do this crap in one day alone easily. I have never seen so many errors in a map in my life. In fact, there are so many sky glitches in this map, that I got stuck in one of them. The trigger didn't even fire (was there even a trigger?)
At first, the map looks cool, but you notice something is wrong outside when you see a megasphere that you can attain easily. On Ultra Violence this map is a joke, and I'm sure if I wanted to I could re-do this on nightmare... and I'm good but not *that* good.
The levels don't really take you anywhere. They are boxy, unaligned, and probably made by an author in a small amount of time. Textures are out of place, there are cyberdemons in random pointless places, and worst of all, places where you run out of ammo. I actually had to use a revenant's missile to kill the remaining enemies... because I just ran out of ammo.
The author put secrets in the level, but the secrets have nothing in it. The secret is actually like a Doom trap, where a door opens after you get a keycard... and a few imps and demons come out. I went in there for the hell of it to see "SECRET REVEALED", even though there was nothing in there and no point of going in there. The most irritating thing actually is the flats.
Obviously there is an ample amount of bugs in the map since the F_SKY texture appears randomly at pointless locations. Maybe the triggers were done bad? I don't know.
Now, luckily I'm a smart Doomer, but anyone missing their brain on one day will not complete this map. The door necessary to get through to the rest of the level looks like the rest of the walls... and I had to use automap to figure out it was a door. There is no way in knowing half of this crap.
The author tried making it seem cool by adding the "Megasphere!" Quake 3 sounds, but in the end it was just stupid. In fact, the abundance of megaspheres means that I almost never went under 100/100. With that being a nice gift, the best gift was figuring out crates were actually a tagged lift to get a keycard. That took me a good 10 minutes to figure out, since I thought it was just a bug considering the moving pedestal was completely untextured.
There was also no point to the huge demons (cyberdemon, archvile...etc) because you don't have enough ammo to kill them... and there is no purpose to kill them anyways.
Whatever, there is no point in getting this map...
The first 20 seconds of the level was pretty nice (I use that vaguely, it isn't that good) before you walk around for 3 seconds only to find an F_SKY randomly there which you can walk over and does nothing.
Avoid... if you're not bored.
To quote some other guy who has a small review on this piece of shit:
"This is one of those "My first maps" that really should've stayed on the author's computer."
Summed up my point exactly.
EXTREME - Juan -MOD-
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 252307 bytes
Reviewed by: Traysandor
This is an old-style mansion built in 1996 (according to the textfile), and its age definitely shows. The beginning starts out pretty lousy, as the outside is littered with over 100 boxes of shotgun shells, and lots of lost souls flying around. The inside of the mansion is a little better, there's a few clever traps, but the maze parts get boring and tedious after a while. And in the biggest maze you have to face chaingunners on the ground and barons from the sides, not very fun at all. The detailing is passable for 1996, but there's not much of anything worthwhile. And for some reason, at the end you escape by train. Don't ask me why or how that would be included in a mansion-themed map.
Overall, I give this map two thumbs down. You won't miss much passing this level up in favor of something better.