fdc6.wad - Guest
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 431024 bytes -
Reviewed by: myk
For some time now, the Russian DOOM community has been having a series of first demo contests where the objective is to complete a brand new level, made specifically for this purpose, as quickly as possible, submitting a demo as proof. Something akin to "speed mapping" but where you have to record a demo instead of designing a level. As noted by the name of this WAD, this level made by Guest was designed for the sixth such contest, which took place on April 4th.
The map provides a largish DOOM II (vanilla) level with a nice old school DOOMish feel given by the simple texturing (such as with GRAY5) and the added music (Dark Halls). You start off surrounded, in a cement base, hearing a blood curdling howl in the distance as soon as you engage the minor enemies around you. The level suits its "first exit" purpose by being nonlinear and using consistent marks (such as switches and teleporter markers) to give smart players clues on progressing efficiently. The encounters can be challenging enough, delivering various situations where you may be under fire from more than one point as well as some ambushes. This gives the level enough of a challenge to keep you on the edge without being frustrating, especially if you're under pressure to complete the level, as were the participants of the contest.
A couple of minor visual glitches may show up (such as a slime trail), but they are inconsequential and weren't removed to retain compatibility with the demos of the contest.
Two of the contest demos (in Doom v1.9 format), one by Shadowman (second place) and another by entryway (third place) are included in the ZIP, to give you a taste of the contest activity. While these are long, clocking just over an hour each, they are pretty interesting to watch. They show each player's real-time efforts and style while tackling the challenges and figuring out the layout of the level. You can compare them to an optimized speed demo by Hitherto, who incidentally beta-tested the level, that completes the level in just under ten minutes. The rest of the contest demos are also available at the iddqd.ru forum thread where the contest discussion took place.
I recommend this fun level, and to spice things up you might want to record yourself on your way to your first exit, so as to compare your result with those of the contest.
DEATH IS JUST THE BEGINNING (v1.0) - Lorenzo "Toranaga" Davia
doom.exe - Solo Play - 586919 bytes -
Reviewed by: Scet
This wad is a replacement for episode 1 of Ultimate Doom; however, the maps are more in the style of episodes 2 and 4. Detail and layout is very well done with one exception being E1M6. I found the maps to be very difficult; they are packed with traps and monsters. Right from the start in E1M1 you are surrounded by imps and zombies. Also, ammo is very tight, especially in the early levels. If you don't use monster infighting, you will find yourself fighting off barons and cacodemons with nothing but the fist. The maps are as follows:
E1M1 - A small and very short tech-base level. You won't face anything bigger than a demon, but all you get is the pistol.
E1M2 - Hellish marble level, much larger than the first. Good, but be sure to use a port with a decent automap display. I spent a good ten minutes hunting down hidden doors and keys.
E1M3 - Large marble castle. A fun, but very challenging map. By the end of the map I had next to no ammo, only to have released dozens of large monsters via some trigger. At this point I recommend just running for the exit.
E1M4 - A tech-base level with a few hellish textures throw in. This is one of those maps that while overall good, seems to go on forever and gets boring. After beating both the cyberdemon and spiderdemon, that should have been it.
E1M5 - Another large episode 2 style map. However, unlike the last map, this one takes less time and doesn't get boring.
E1M6 - This one is just plain bad; it looks and plays like a Sandy Petersen map from episode 3. The map consists of five tall buildings using every texture under the rainbow. Inside each building you have to dodge projectiles while in incredibly cramped corridors. Plus the yellow key, the only one in the map, isn't even needed. I hate that, it makes me think I've missed something. Skip this one.
E1M7 - Well it's called the "Cyberdemons Castle". Basically it's a marble castle with the focus being on the few cyberdemons in it. Probably my favorite map out of the bunch.
E1M8 - A large stone "platform", not really sure what to call it. After you collect your ammo and pass the mid-point, monsters will being to teleport in. I recommend beating the two barons near the BFG to bring out the spiderdemon, then use infighting to finish the map. Only complaint is that again the only key in the map is useless, but by the author's description I think this was intentional.
E1M9 - Basically just E1M1, but with traps and cacodemons everywhere.
I know it probably all sounds rather negative, but overall there are seven maps that I think are well done and worth the time. Recommended.
Stone Stratagems v1 - Alias Zeratul 982
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 1053353 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
21 maps for Doom 2. The maps start off short and easy, and eventually progress into larger and more difficult maps. Themes range from the usual, tech maps, hell maps, etc. If anything, they remind me of some of Doom 2's maps. There's not much challenge until the very end. The author also seems to like putting killer crushing traps around in the later maps, so watch out. There's also a few places you can get stuck or trapped in the later maps. Seems like it needed more bug testing. Overall it's an average mapset, at least somewhat entertaining for awhile.
The Warrens - Pope Guilty
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 66621 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
Jesus, what a waste of 5 minutes. This map is exceedingly basic and boring. You spend your time running around a marble maze looking for switches to get to the exit. Now you might first think that you need to get the blue skull and the exit is behind the blue door, but no. You may go right on through the blue door and get all the way down to find the yellow skull which goes NOWHERE! There is no yellow door in the map, which makes me wonder if the mapper actually tested his map to see if it is consistent or even if he bothered to clean up his map in the first place. Not to mention there is a seemingly random sky texture plastered on a crate in the yellow skull key room.
Boring and unchallenging. Don't bother with this one unless you want to damage some brain cells.
aloha778 - Alamain
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 90866 bytes
Reviewed by: udderdude
This is a minor upgrade to a map that was already reviewed in the last /newstuff, so I'm not going to do a full review. Instead, I'll just take the previous reviewer's point of view, and add one thing: It still sucks.
AD CTF - [AD] clan
Skulltag - CTF - 14506992 bytes -
Reviewed by: Wills
This is a set of 29 CTF maps for Skulltag by the "[AD]" clan (never heard of them, but then again wannabe-clans are a dime a dozen these days). The first map is small, with a marble and slime theme, and the music is pretty nice. From this I thought the rest of the maps would be similar - smallish, above-average maps split between two symmetrical color-coded sides with no "neutral" fighting ground (a mistake, in my opinion). But my hopes were to be smashed, as the rest of the map pack went quickly downhill from there. And when I say "went quickly downhill" I mean "jumped off a cliff".
I'll go ahead and get to it: these may be the worst Skulltag maps I have ever played. Ever. It's all here, ladies and gentlemen. Bizarre/ugly texture combinations - blue-Wolfenstein-rock ceilings or computer + yellow cracked rock, anyone? Hideous powerup/item placement: health bonuses, weapons, and ammo are scattered everywhere, indiscriminately, without any regard to where they may be appropriate or needed.
Then there's the really, really bad map design. Take a look at the pics: 2048-long hallways with no cover, anywhere! "Gimmick" maps (F-Zero)! A giant open room with a Mario star in the middle! "Slough of Despair"-style rock labyrinths! Impossible jumping sequences just to get to the enemy's flag! Sewer mazes!
And don't forget some of the possibly illegal music, such as a song from Super Smash Brothers Brawl, or the uninspired level design that rips off good maps in a very bad manner (see: that one with the TS2 music that's also "inspired" by its Mexican Mission map. And I'm pretty sure the "Subterra" one is a bad take on Just ZDoom It's "Blackout" level.) Or the really bad map design (it really is that bad!)
I actually quit halfway through this because of the sheer offensiveness of the maps, but then I finished it to see whether the maps improved or if there were even worse maps yet to come. I'm getting nauseated just thinking of how bad these maps are, so I'll just finish this up with my official nomination for this pack as Worst/Most Depressing Multiplayer Experience of the Year.
Knee Deep in Phobos - Sniper 109
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 3138626 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
Nine maps for Doom 2, that closely resemble the original maps from Episode 1 of Doom. There are areas from the original maps used throughout, although there are some entirely new areas. The Plasma gun and BFG are replaced with a rifle and machine gun. I suppose this is to fit in with the Episode 1 theme, which had no BFG or Plasma. There's a small number of custom monsters used, including replacements for E1M8's Barons. The difficulty level is pretty low, and it's easy to overflow with ammo without even trying. Detail level is slightly above average. Overall this isn't a bad mapset to spend some time on, but don't expect anything amazing.
Alternative Speed! Demo - Alter
doom.exe - Solo Play - 76877 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A short techbase map for vanilla Doom. It was done as a speed mapping exercise, the entire thing created in 8 hours. Considering this limit, it's not bad. You won't see anything amazing, and it's pretty easy, but it's still fun for a quick playthrough.
Final Heretic Chapter One: The Docks - UltimateLorenzo
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3585141 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One level for Heretic, using ZDoom. It's a retelling of Heretic's first level, The Docks, using a whole lot of ZDoom features. Thankfully, it's pulled off well, and never feels frustrating or poorly made. When you start, you are given a brief cutscene, and then set loose. There are tons of civilians wandering around that seem to have no other purpose than to get in your way and die horribly from D'Sparil's monsters. You aren't punished for killing them off, either. There's also two monsters from Hexen 2, the spider and archer. Unfortunately, they don't look too great, as they're low poly 3D models converted to low resolution paletted sprites. There's a new weapon that has multiple firing modes depending on some crystal things you can find. There's also a new boss that's a remake of the undead knight. The level isn't very lengthy, but that's not a bad thing. There's a few more short cutscenes as you progress. Overall, if you're a fan of Heretic, you'll like this. It has enough new stuff to keep things interesting all the way through.
NewDoom Community Project II - Various Authors
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 19888334 bytes -
Reviewed by: Traysandor
Epilepsy Warning! Map17 features a rather large section of map that features extremely annoying colored flashing lights (screenshot provided, first one on the list); avoid this area if you may be epileptic or prone to video game-related seizures.
With that note out of the way, NDCP2 as you probably already know is a collection of 32 levels made by various authors, melded into one giant megawad. As such, the megawad as a whole is kind of a mixed bag. There aren't any bad or horrible levels in the set aside from the epilepsy section of map17, and most of Map22 and 32 are kind of annoying, but there's several others that are very average and feel run-of-the-mill, or just aren't that great.
But there's also some pretty good levels as well like Maps 1, 4, 6, 9, 14, 20, 21, 23, and 27 (just to name a few, there are more). And a couple of gems as well, like Map19. Also notable is that for many of the levels, you feel a sense of progression as you complete each level--the authors have put in some effort to blend their exit into the start of the next level.
The difficulty starts out fairly average, and stays that way until about Map19 (except for Map12's ending)... Then it becomes quite difficult after that. I didn't have much trouble with ammo most of the time. Health was a bit tricky at times, especially on the later maps, but overall nothing majorly annoying. Detailing on the maps was somewhat varied, ranging from decent to excellent depending on the map.
Overall, this is a pretty good megawad for the most part. Sure, there's some dull moments, and some ridiculous moments (both in terms of difficulty and wtf-ness). But putting those aside, everything else in this wad is certainly worth the time it takes to play through it all.
DuduKrazy's Guns III - DuduKrazy
GZDoom - n/a - 4028283 bytes
Reviewed by: Kirby
For DuduKrazy's third weapon installment we have a whole new arsenal of weapons.....which seem to be weapons I've seen before. I'm not talking about the weapon skins, as most of those I have NOT seen before, but rather the way the guns work. Weapons 2-6 basically resemble the same workings of the original weapons, save for the second slot of #2 which has Kunais (throwable knives that you can pick back up). The chainsaw is replaced with a ninja sword that can deflect projectiles using the secondary fire button; however, I was not too impressed, having seen this done before a few years ago with Cutman's recreation of the light saber from the Star Wars games. The BFG's equivalent has been replaced with a Fusion Cannon that shoots out the same projectile but explodes with the force of a nuclear bomb, giving off a green mushroom cloud and basically killing you if you stand some 20 feet near it. I have also seen that attack when the ZDGuns wad was released some years ago as well. Extra weapons that are new include a railgun, a minigun and a pulse rifle of sorts that shoots out little lightning projectiles which do not last longer than 10 feet.
There's also a mini-missile launcher that seems to do nothing but splash damage, since it can kill everything except a Cyberdemon whom I emptied an entire 400 missiles on and had no effect.
There's three new items, two of which come packed in your inventory. One is a powerup scroll that will last for about 2 minutes, increasing your speed and acting as a powerup for all of your weapons. Right after that is a small device that teleports in a friendly computer player to help you combat the forces of evil. Finally there's the Time Stop device which grills cheese.....er stops time. Yeah, that.
The last qualm I have about this wad is the ambiance DuduKrazy put in with the torches. It includes some new fire sounds and a nice ringing ambiance with green fires, but they are loud as hell. Torches everywhere had me running out of rooms to get away from the noise rather than sticking around to enjoy their peaceful sounds that they now had.
Well, if anything, you can also jump higher in this mod, being a ninja and such :P
It's all probably nothing you haven't seen/heard before, but check it out if you want to see some new sprites. The gameplay remains the same, so nothing too challenging comes out of this. If you're not interested in playing with weapons that seem all too familiar, then you won't miss anything by not playing this one.
Ash Cave - DuckReconMajor
doom.exe - Solo Play - 12925 bytes -
Reviewed by: StupidBunny
This is a weird set of maps. I'm pretty sure that this is either a jokewad or some sort of concept levelset, rather than an attempt at playable maps.
The level design is extremely simple on all the levels. Each level is a very compact set of corridors, all of which are basically composed of 64x64 squares (like Wolfenstein, but much less space). There are no elevation changes either, except for on the secret level and for a water pool in the final level. This would make the gameplay very monotonous except that the levels are all short; all can be completed in under 15 seconds, except possibly level 7, and one of the levels can be finished in under a second. The enemies are mostly small and never pose much of a threat to the player (even the Barons on the final map are both extremely easy).
Visually, the level is equally minimalist, and I don't think any wall textures besides ASHWALL1 were used. Even the doors are the same texture as the rest of the walls, although the levels are all so small that finding the doors is never a problem. There are no decorations of any kind, except for some trees and stalagmites around the water mentioned earlier.
It's difficult to rate this properly since the author didn't give much indication of what their intentions were with the WAD, if any, but in the end the levels are not very interesting to play.
MAP07 Clone - Mr. Chris
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 7621 bytes -
Reviewed by: Wills
A "redo" of Map07 with virtually no changes except that it's slightly larger, uglier, and completely pointless. Talk about lazy and unoriginal.
KS5.zip - Cory Banket
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 75161 bytes -
Reviewed by: Wills
A small, short map with an "earth" theme (stone, underground, grass...). Nothing particularly wrong with it, except that maybe it's too easy and generic. I got stuck in the courtyard where you get the BFG9000; after opening the map in an editor I found out that to get back out, you have to shoot a wall in a room above that gives absolutely no indication that it's the one you have to shoot to raise the floor. Yes, the window ledge was lowered when you fell into the courtyard, perhaps giving a clue, but I assumed that was only to make room for the lift that I thought the other switch (the one next to the plasma gun) would raise. This just screams bad map/gameplay planning. Now that I've warned you about that part, go ahead and enjoy this adequate, if unspectacular, map.
KS7.zip - Cory Banket
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 109997 bytes -
Reviewed by: Wills
Another map by the author of KS5. This one starts in a, uh, place that I can't really tell (brick techbase?) but turns into a sewage disposal plant area by the end of the map. Texturing is very spotty: in one place you'll have a nice, balanced set of textures, and in another place you'll have something such as red brick walls and green marble floors/ceilings, or Wolfenstein doors (a note to budding mappers - don't use Wolfenstein textures/enemies in your levels. Ever.) Layout is adequate but a mite unimaginative; gameplay is challenging (there were a few places I was down to 1 health).
Oh yeah, and there's this one part where you go down five identical hallways, through a series of rooms with enemies in them, to activate a switch at the end that lets you go into the next hallway. It's easily the worst part of the map and makes you wonder what kind of sadistic person would put that kind of thing in an otherwise okay level. Download if you have a few minutes to kill, otherwise you're probably better off with other wads.
The /newstuff Chronicles #342