Relentless Beating Deathmatch - Various
Skulltag - Deathmatch - 3206951 bytes -
Reviewed by: hobomaster22
RBDM or 'Relentless Beating Deathmatch' is a deathmatch map pack for Skulltag. There's a lot of good maps in this pack as well as a few bad ones. There were quite a few maps I enjoyed and many had some very nice detail to them as well as some excellent gameplay twists. A few (more towards the end and some in the middle) were very linear and uneventful. I think there were a few that could have used some fixing up or should have been cut out completely, as they detracted from the rest of the wad. A select few clearly had a lot of thought put into them, which showed in the overall look and gameplay of the map. I would still recommend giving it a try if you see in the server browser. There are some very good maps in this pack. I looked for a server but couldn't find one for it. My thoughts on each of the maps:
Map01 - Castle-like map with a void that you can fall in and die. Once I figured out how to get the BFG and the Minigun, I found the BFG easier to get. Good for 4 players.
Map02 - This map has a Brit11 and Gothic DM mix feel to it. I enjoyed the look and feel of this one. There is a BFG and a plasma rifle. From what I could tell, you could only get the plasma rifle through a spawn point. The BFG is cryptically hidden in a cramped hallway where you open the wall, shoot the face, backpedal into a teleporter, and finally open the green demon head and get out with your loot. Phew. Once you get good at it, it's pretty fun.
Map03 - This map dwarfs the first two in size; a bright, finely detailed toxic base with a nice outside area. It's all coupled together nicely with some tunnels. This one's going to require at least twice as many players as the previous two to have any action.
Map04 - Down to a smaller size map (even smaller) with interesting texture choices. Very linear with two hallways that link to a pit with a Minigun. Simple shoot-as-many-as-you-can-before-you-go-down map.
Map05 - An Episode 1-styled map. Simplistic and a luck of the draw BFG, because as far as I could tell, you can only get it by getting that deathmatch spawn right on top of it.
Map06 - A symmetrical map with a mish-mash of textures. Getting the BFG in the center arena is very difficult and the powerups even more so (this one took me a while to figure out). You have to jump onto the square pad into the center and jump to the mid-high column and jump off that back onto the jump pad and launch yourself to the BFG. Difficult, but very rewarding. Had a kind of neat Contra theme with the music.
Map07 - Another map by Cacodemon with a similar to feel to the first. Has all the power weapons. The plasma can be reached by hitting a lift revealing the room containing it. There's a small room with a switch and lift in a cage that can make getting the BFG very difficult with other players around.
Map08 - A tech map with a mixed up texture theme. Lots of railgun with a low gravity outside area you can tool around in with some cool detail in the sky.
Map09 - Some glorified boxes with weapons. Spray and pray map. Has an interesting look about it (not to mention the music choice) and still ends up fun to play, even if it's kind of silly.
Map10 - Very similar to Map07. To get the BFG in this map you have to open the face door, cross the bridge, and shoot the face opposite to the bridge, which opens a door to the teleporter. Similar to caco's other maps in how you get the BFG but different enough to keep it interesting.
Map11 - A symmetrical Heretic-styled map that makes nice use of the Heretic textures, a surprise that I was happy to find. There are some power-ups that take some very calculated jumps to get. Anyone can very easily ruin your day here. The BFG is a death trap, and even if you make it to a teleporter, you need to make a perfectly timed strafe-run and jump to the ledge containing it. Seemed so hard that is impractical. My only complaint here.
Map12 - Arena map with two different BFGs that you will probably get a rocket in the face trying to get (the rockets shoot out of the wall). There's some corridors that connect to another section that didn't seem to serve a purpose.
Map13 - A simple tech base map with an E1M1 tribute and some neat detail pieces. No power weapons that I could find. Seemed too basic layout and weapon wise.
Map14 - Two boxes connected together with some weapons and powerups. Too simple.
Map15 - A Quake DM map recreation that has its own changes and touches that make it its own map. If you're stubborn like me and don't use mouselook then you will find this map hard to play. The BFG takes lowering a lift, grabbing the soulsphere, and hitting the switch to open the bars. You then need to fall onto the ledge and run towards the BFG. Its very frustrating to time, and I couldn't do it before the bars close. You'll probably just end up giving the BFG to someone else if you open it. At least you'll get a soulsphere out of the deal.
Map16 - It's completely flat with some connecting hallways and doors. Didn't notice anything special here.
Map17 - Another Heretic map. This one has a BFG that's decently easy to lower a lift that jumps you to it. The hard part would be not dying and not having someone cut you to make the jump. There's a switch that shoots rockets from a head (and you're able to do this incredibly fast) but you don't seem to get credit for these kills.
Map18 - A square base with a square outside area surrounding it. Uses completely bright light levels mostly everywhere. Power weapons stuffed in the corner windows inside the base. On a side note, the music was awfully familiar but I can't remember what it is.
Map19 - Has a Plutonia feel to it due to the Plutonia brick texture which was applied everywhere. There's an arena with a grenade launcher. Nothing spectacular.
Map20 - Giant rooftop map. I'm not a fan of these, but the detail was decent and it had it a powerup that randomly changed so you wouldn't know what you'd get. I thought this was cool, don't know if it was scripted or part of Skulltag.
Map21 - On the small side and quite boxy. Has a plasma rifle, grenade launcher, a power up, and other stuff in cages that you wouldn't think at first that you could just walk right into. There's also a random spot in the library that spawns you into a room with the 'BFG10000' and no way out that I could find.
Map22 - A linear SSG map that doesn't look bad. Nothing to write home about.
Claustrophobia 1024 - Various
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 7999585 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
Quick review: Unless if you simply hate maps that revolve around the 1024 by 1024 scheme and the quick, intense, and/or cramped gameplay and design that often comes with them, I strongly recommend you download and play this excellent effort by the community.
Full review: This wad probably needs little introduction for many, since it was a while in the making and hosted right on the DW forums, but here it is anyway. Claustrophobia is a 33-map (or 34 if you count an only semi-serious level mainly designed to prevent crashes) community project that was done as a thematic sequel to 2005's highly successful Congestion 1024. If you don't already know, the rule here is that the player cannot go outside of a 1024 by 1024 square at any time in a level unless he cheats and/or dies immediately upon doing so. This helps focus quick, sometimes intense, and sometimes cramped gameplay.
Now with the introduction out of the way, here is my review:
2005's Congestion 1024 was certainly an awesome wad. Containing many impressive maps and generally short, intense gameplay, but often making some maps feel larger in a way, it is little surprise that it was received extremely well by the community upon its release. I, too, thought that it was a blast. It was received so well that some 2 and a half or 3 years later, Mechadon decided to start a thematic sequel to it on the DW forums, another full replacement for Doom II that revolves around the exact same concept, obviously titled Claustrophobia 1024 this time. So after nearly (or even over, I'm not sure) a year of work, can it be said that this is another awesome set that deserves the same classic status as its predecessor?
I'm happy to say that it indeed can be said - very much so, in fact. First the design, and some of these maps are just really well designed. In fact, the effort to use the limited space in the best possible way at times surpasses even the best maps of its predecessor. This is especially common in the later maps; I was impressed by how long it took me to complete all of the last 5 normal levels except for Map26. And on these maps, the size limit is used well in various ways, from intense and sometimes expanding battlegrounds full of fighting, to having to revisit the same area multiple times, and sometimes making all the rooms small so they take up little map space. I found even the cramped/claustrophobic areas that are certain to appear at times in maps like these to be well designed and not frustrating/annoying.
There is good progression in terms of design throughout this wad too; the early maps are generally just plain short (but well done nonetheless). Then there is a mix of map lengths and styles in the middle, and the later maps, as I mentioned above, are mostly quite extensive for maps made with this limit.
So the map design is impressive at times, but I'm happy to say that the other qualities are there as well. Let's start with the architecture. A number of the maps look just great, many other look good, and a few might look closer to just average, but I couldn't find any "ugly" levels in here. The lighting/light level is generally done well and the detail is impressive at times for 1024 maps, and areas the player can't access outside the playing area are often used extensively to enhance the architecture. Additionally, many new textures are included, and they mostly (if not all) blend in quite well.
Now on to the gameplay, and thankfully it's not lacking either. Firstly, I want to note that I played all maps from pistol starts, so my thoughts will be based on this. The difficulty progresses very well, with the starting maps not that hard but sufficient nonetheless, and some real difficulty in the later levels, but rarely if ever unfair. I played it on Hurt Me Plenty and certainly was pretty heavily challenged sometimes. I would imagine it would be a challenge even for very experienced players on UV. The last level is original and really bloody hard indeed, but I didn't find it ridiculous, nor did I find the levels leading up to it too hard overall.
The fights are all mostly good and entertaining, even in the earlier levels where the challenge is much lighter. Areas outside the playing area often contain monsters, adding to the challenge and allowing more variety in the fights. Also adding to the challenge is that archviles are used in some extremely dangerous spots, spawning in areas with lots of dead monsters, and some of the monsters are big. You want to kill them ASAP when they appear in such areas, but I rarely found it to be downright frustrating; you just have to keep trying and you'll always be able to get them dead fast enough. While cramped maps sometimes annoy me, I didn't even mind the cramped maps here for the most part; they were well done and not frustrating in general. The traps and puzzles are also quite good; they're not unfair or ridiculous, and are mostly well-done.
In terms of level progression, there were some maps that had the "flip a switch, go to the other side of the map, etc." style, but since the maps are small I didn't find this to be an annoyance, and the progression is otherwise good too.
In fact, I liked the game play on all but three levels: Map03 (a bit slow and boring as not enough shotgun ammo is provided), Map11 (who wants to fight a Cyberdemon with exclusively a Shotgun and Chainsaw), and Map32 (just should have had more ammo overall [and a plasma gun sooner], and maybe one fewer Cyber). Otherwise, I found some maps to be just excellent, most others good/very good, and only a handful to be average (and high average at that).
Finally, the music. Some tracks are really good, some are OK, but none are horrible. And I thought the music generally fit the mood of the maps. So no major complaints here either.
Overall, I feel that this mapset, like its predecessor, is a resounding success. In fact, I would argue to say it is even better, considering that the architecture is often even more impressive, and the designs sometimes show even better use of the limit than Congestion 1024 ever did. It is a lot of fun to play, start to finish practically. It is a very good challenge but almost always fair. It's designed very well overall, looks nice, and is topped off with a mostly good and appropriate soundtrack. I said it at the beginning but will say it once more: Unless you just don't like maps designed around the 1024 concept, period, this is a very highly recommended download. In fact, I would even go so far to say that it is a must play. Without a doubt one of 2009's most epic releases to date.
Tangent Synapse - xan.
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 7461939 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A map for Doom 2, using ZDoom. Lots of nice ZDoom effects used. It starts as a prison complex and turns into a techbase. Detail and architecture are good, but the map feels a bit flat at times. The final room was also bugged for me, the mirrors were definitely not showing up properly. Not sure if this is just the ZDoom version I'm using.
Gameplay starts off pretty tame, but quickly works up to some challenging fights, followed by some insane shit that's near impossible to beat without save/loading (and a lot of luck).
There's a "Secret switch" hunt that I didn't complete, but it appears the map has quite a few secret areas to discover.
This is a pretty good map, but it's extremely difficult towards the end on UV. It gets easier if you manage to get the BFG (guessing by doing a bunch of secret area navigating).
Also, this the author's first map, so for a first map, this is some sort of miracle from heaven.
AWesome Power - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 81506 bytes -
Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
Well here we have a map for Doom 2 that uses slot 05 instead of slot 01 for some reason.
So far it has gotten terrible reviews at /idgames, but i think they are being far too harsh. However this map is still less then awesome; I will begin with the bad:
For starters, this map is not really finished, and the author even says so in the text file. There are a number of doors (including some doors where the yellow key is needed) that have nothing behind them, and I was not very happy when I opened the first yellow door after having spent like 3 minutes looking for the yellow key only to find out that there was in fact nothing behind the door at all and that I had been wasting my time all along by looking for the yellow key.
Secondly, the map design throughout the map goes from being lackluster to being OK to being lackluster again and then to being very bad. And as you can see from the screenshots, a lot of the rooms (well most the rooms, actually) have very random shapes. The map also has more then one theme, it has a base and a marble theme but the two are not mixed very well together.
The map also has a stupid ending, the exit switch is actually just a random green switch on some random wall and I had no idea whatsoever that pressing it would end the level.
But if all of this is true then why do I think that the score at the idgames is too harsh? That brings us too the good stuff about this WAD:
Even though the map looks very bad visually in a lot of places, the actual gameplay is actually very solid and there is a nice amount of different monsters found throughout the map. It never gets too hard or too easy, and there is enough ammo too be found in the map as well.
I can't really recommend this map; it has some nice fights but it's not hard at all to find another better map that his. Unless you must play every map that is reviewed in the /newstuff review center, you should ignore this WAD and play something else.
Hell Gate With Lift - Nixot
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 19092 bytes -
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
"Hell Gate with Lift" is Nixot's first map, and it unfortunately shows. Beginning with a decent E1-style techbase, the .wad is a letdown by means of too little ammo, too many medikits (even on UV, my health never dropped below 80%), and uninspired level design (a really goofy moment is when several demons and imps cannot get to your position on higher ground, and simply sit there as you blast them with rockets. See pic).
I'd be more forgiving on a first-time author, but I'm suddenly hit with the worst part: THIS WAD HAS NO EXIT. Seriously. See my attached pic if you don't believe me. With no exit and no real sense of progression, this wad turns into a by-the-numbers switch hunt.
In the end, this wad seriously needs more playtesting. There is no way around it.
Evil Eye - Fatal
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 228969 bytes -
Reviewed by: Super Jamie
You might have played puzzle maps before, but you've probably never played anything like this.
First released as NDCP2 MAP22, Fatal has used the Doom engine in a very different way, resulting in a fun and rewarding map where the idea is actually not to shoot in most places--an idea which will be enforced by four teleporting Arch Viles should you choose to disobey.
Blocking lines, bridges, crushers, infighting and a rare few "silencing" areas will definitely make you think laterally to get past the tricks (and probably make you save/load few times too).
I don't want to give too much away, my screenshots are only the first puzzle, but believe me when I say this level really is worth the play. Check the forum thread if you need help or spoilers.
Bridges Gone Wild - ArmouredBlood-Chris Shepherd
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 419915 bytes -
Reviewed by: Craigs
This is a wad for ZDoom that's exactly what its name implies. It's all about the bridges. This wad is chock full of bridges. Everywhere you look you'll see bridges. It's a freakin bridge orgy. The author really does put the bridge feature to use in this wad, but I can't really say too much for the rest of the wad. The gameplay isn't half bad, and that's the only thing keeping me from wondering if the author even play tested it. Everywhere you look, there are bugs. Even at the start, there are a couple of misaligned textures as well as an imp that's stuck and can't move or attack. That misaligned texture isn't the only one either. There's bound to be at least one in every room and every hallway.
The first level looks horrible. The texture choice really isn't the best, and the architecture is extremely boxy and uninspired, but it seems the author improved a little bit with the second one. The texture choice is still kind of bad, but if you can look beyond that, the map is a big improvement over the first one. The only gripe I really had about MAP02 was that it was a bit confusing at times, but I eventually made it to the end. There also seemed to be one hell of a jump in the difficulty curve towards the end; well, at least there would be if it weren't for infighting. Before you reach the exit you need to go through a 7 cyber demons and a couple hundred assorted demons. Problem is, because of the way they're placed, you really don't even need to fight most of them. All I needed to do was walk in and then walk out. In less than 2 minutes, 166 of the monsters had killed each other. It might have been better if they were placed a little more strategically, so as to avoid a mass demon suicide.
The Best Level in Hell - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 14975 bytes -
Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
The text file description for this level goes as follows: "A single-room map that should challenge even the wiliest veterans on Hard." However, do not let this fool you, as it is actually really rather easy thanks to the large amounts of health and ammo. The level design was competent and looked quite nice. except for one quite shonky looking hall of mirrors to the left of the starting area. I couldn't help thinking that the map design would have been far more successful as a co-op invasion map for Skulltag rather than single player which didn't really do the quite good design justice. Not bad for three hours work if the txt file is truthful, but will only keep you amused for about 5 minutes.
Alando's Funny Weapon - Alando1 (Alan)
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 200698 bytes
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
This is a weapon wad that took exactly one day. And it only replaces one weapon. Excited yet?
MAHLAZA.wad replaces the BFG with the ever-irritating "SHOOP DA WOOP" chantard meme. The weapon itself has no sprite, as it is presumably fired from the mouth. The weapon effects are just a couple of fast-firing BFG sprites recolored blue.
This would simply be an uninspiring wad if it wasn't for the weapon's sound clip. Instead of a charge-up sound, the clip is of a extremely annoying voice (presumably the author's) grunting "IMMA FIRIN' MA LAZAH", practically blowing out his $5 microphone, and then making a sound best described as a cross between uncontrollable flatulence and projectile vomiting. The weapon itself is powerful, but I got turned off the first time I used it.
There is nothing else to day about this wad. Avoid it at all costs.
Alando's Vehicles - Alando1 (Alan)
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3942733 bytes
Reviewed by: Craigs
Yet another weapons mod by Alando, only this time instead of actual weapons, you get vehicles. While it's not exactly everything I expected, I still found it fairly entertaining for a few minutes. You have a few different classes to choose from. Each has different starting weapons, moves differently, and has different maximum health, but that's about it as far as differences go. They all share the same weapons that you find scattered around levels, which I found kind of disappointing. It might have been a bit more interesting for each class to have their own unique arsenal.
Agonizing Planet - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 46751 bytes -
Reviewed by: arrrgh
Agonising Planet is an incredibly boring, incredibly short and incredibly ugly map. You are given the rocket launcher, SSG and plasmagun very early, and the map provides little to no challenge, at least up until the giant [ed: giant what?] Because you are given the rocket launcher from the very beginning, none of these things present a challenge, at all. After walking through a river of non-damaging blood, you drop into some sort of sea or lake or something full of various monsters such as renevant and chaingunner snipers, arachnotrons and cacodemons, none of which you need to kill to finish the level. I was actually able to finish the level in about 24 seconds by dashing across it and getting to the exit teleport. Avoid.
Centrum - Mr. Chris
doom.exe - Solo Play - 109406 bytes -
Reviewed by: BlackFish
Centrum is a E2M4 replacement which fits the theme of the old map. It's a blue tech base with some occasional flesh and brick. Map design is similar to the quality 90s maps, which gives a nice old school look. Ammo and monster placement are very well done, and I never had trouble with ammo (if you're good at storing rockets, Baron battles aren't that difficult). Battles are often balanced and health placement is good as well. There's also a number of secrets in the map, one which gives you access to a Plasma Rifle. The map also doesn't try to give you an epic climax, which is a good thing. Overall I'd recommend this map.
NECROSIS.WAD - CodenniumRed / SHADES
GZDoom - Solo Play - 12358778 bytes -
Reviewed by: BlackFish
NECROSIS is a series of linear levels for Hexen using the GZDoom port. It utilizes 3D floors, fog, has new enemies, weapons, and even new powerups. It sounds good on paper, but unfortunately there's a few bumps, but not enough to turn you away though.
The premise of the levelset is that there are 9 levels, mainly linear, which have different themes, ranging from icelands to swamps. Unlike Hexen's core gameplay however, it's not the traditional hub format, which may turn away people who have been waiting a good while for a decent Hexen hub. Luckily, the level design makes up for this, as the author made some good use of the 3D architecture (see screenshots) and constant fog. The author put good effort into the level design. (Also, as a tip when navigating the levels, you'll easily miss some two sided switches that are crucial, so just pointing this out.) It's probably the saving grace for the levelset as well, as many of the gameplay changes are a mixed bag.
If you're expecting Hexen-style weapon balance, you're going to be a bit disappointed. I mainly played through this as the Fighter. Players will immediately notice that the first two melee weapons have been buffed significantly, and they will probably feel disoriented as I did when I was expecting to do the 3 hit combo with my fists on the starting enemies (now golems), when it only took a matter of one or two hits. The situation with the Axe is a bit worse, as you can now one shot centaurs. The levelset also introduces a 3X Damage Amp as well as the Tome of Power. I only ran into the Damage Amp twice, which I think is a good thing considering I one-shotted the Death Knight that acted as a miniboss in the second level by combining Timons Axe and the Damage Amp. The final boss battle gives you a Chaos Sphere that acts like some sort of soul leech, but the purpose for this is easily defeated when you use your purple sword weapon (fighter) combined with a Tome of Power and the Damage Amp, literally 3-4 shotting the boss. The other classes have the Cleric getting a bow as a starting weapon and the Sunbeam weapon from Hexen 2, and the Mage gets a few more interesting wands. The Tome of Power effects are pretty neat, especially how the Gauntlets become a free ranged weapon for the fighter.
Besides the odd weapon balance, the new enemies are a mixed bag. The KDiZD Satyrs are present, but this time they have an Ethereal Bow ala Heretic and shoot them at you; interesting effect. Other enemies, like the mini-boss that's a massive golem shooting a green laser, can get really frustrating. There are instances where you may not have enough mana and have a bunch of strong enemies to face, and the situation gets pretty bad.
There's also a few glitches in terms of graphics (odd alignments with HUD sprites at times, Death Knight special projectile lacks translucency), and the fact that giving yourself the weapons cheat as the Cleric leads to a hard crash.
I'll recommend this to somebody who's looking for some more Hexen action, but don't expect it to be what you're used to. It's unfortunate that it needs more polishing. Strong effort, I will say.
One thing to note, the author says that he's working on an update as of this writing, so some of the issues may be resolved by the time this is published.
TIME WARP 4 - Joe Anderson
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 59766 bytes -
Reviewed by: Scet
After reviewing Time Warp 3, I was expecting more of the same short crap from this. However, it seems Mr. Anderson finally decided to read some guides on mapping. Unlike Time Warp 3, there is quite a bit of lighting and height variation, and some specials such as lifts and doors. Texture choices are much better, although there are still plenty of misalignments, especially on stairs. Architecture is still unfortunately mostly rectangular and uninspired.
While Time Warp 4 is much better than the previous releases, it still isn't really worth downloading. The author continues to make crappy Nazi themed levels with Doom monsters, which make up about half of the ten levels. The Doom style maps show some promise though. Hopefully the lack of a Time Warp 5 means Mr. Anderson is putting more effort into map making and hasn't quit.
Doom Monster Randomizer - Snarboo
ZDoom - Solo Play - 3130705 bytes
Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
This is a WAD that adds and replaces enemies in Doom 1 and 2. The text file claims it is suppose to make the old good levels of the two originals fun once more!
And does it? Well, no...
When I first saw the name of this file I felt exited, because I thought this mod would replace the original monsters in the levels with other random ones, but it only replaces a handful of them, and only adds a handful more. So if you use this mod while replaying Doom 1 and 2, then the only thing you get is a handful of new enemies thrown into the original levels. It's boring, it's not fun, and it sure as hell does not make the old levels feel fresh again.
And the fact that this mod needs the latest SVN version of ZDoom to run and won't work with other versions makes it feel even more pointless to go through the effort of using it.
The author actually appears to have put some effort into this though; it's a shame, because I can't recommend this mod to anyone.
The /newstuff Chronicles #348