Do0minat0r, please turn down your gamma settings. Your screenshots are brighter than a hamper full of white shirts washed with Oxi-Clean. Udderdude, why bother putting a single PNG into a ZIP file? They're already compressed with the deflate algorithm. And I'm serious about that "all lowercase" filename thing. Finally, thanks Mr. Freeze, for not including any screenshots at all in your reviews. The rest of you, enjoy the semiseptcentennial edition of The /newstuff Chronicles.
HellBase - Archi
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 79302 bytes -
Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
Enjoyment is not something you are likely to experience once you reach the first exit of this WAD. MAP01 is quite good with some nice monster encounters and some mildly interesting ZDoom type scripts. But then you hit MAP02 and the only conclusion I can draw is that the author suffered serious brain damage between designing these two maps, as from MAP02 onwards the layout and game play become inexcusably bad.
After being lulled into a false sense of security by the competence of MAP01, entering MAP02 to find chaingunners who are virtually impossible to get away from hidden behind 1000 trees does not warm you to the map; then once you manage to find them and pump them full of lead you enter another area to find a hell knight which you dispatch fairly quickly to find yourself surrounded by far too many demons and cacodemons to deal with with the measly amount of shells you still have after firing randomly to find the chaingunners and then killing the hell knight. I ran down some steps across a toxic floor to find that on the opposite side was a door that needed a key I didn't have.
Next I IDCLEVed to MAP03 which has you cocking around on some small platforms killing monsters that teleport in as plasma rounds fire out of the walls. The big problem with this was that despite the weapons and ammo being sufficient, the platforms were surrounded by a toxic liquid floor, which once you fell on, there was no way back up. This became frustrating as it was so bloody easy to fall off.
MAP04 pitches you against many many barons and nowhere near enough rockets to kill them all so you end up punching them, which is not fun. Also this level is fabulously ugly.
This WAD is less fun than leprosy, avoid at all costs.
Level Up - Archi
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 84111 bytes -
Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
Level Up is a far better set of maps for ZDoom than Hell Base (also by Archie) is. For starters these maps are actually quite good, with quite varied and interesting game play. At times I was even getting dangerously close to enjoying myself.
MAP01 is a plain and quite ugly small base area with zombies that turn invisible. It looks and feels like a first attempt at ZDoom scripting, with the effects being forced into the game play rather than being a harmonious part of it.
MAP02 plays roughly the same except you are pitched against invisible arachnotrons and hell knights.
MAP03 is a quite weak map with an unintuitive layout and odd monster placement. Also the only way to the exit I could find involved jumping, which is not obvious in Doom wads. This map also introduces a new plasma gun which pretty much obliterates the players view when fired as its projectiles are so large and makes the monster projectile noise when fired which sounds pretty stupid.
MAP04 is where the wad gets interesting, it takes place in a quite well-executed arena, with a large block in the middle. It roughly consists of opening compartments around the edge of the arena, letting out groups of monsters that get more difficult as the level goes on. Despite the level not being very pretty and the concept being very simple, the level works very well and is quite enjoyable, and includes a fun archvile fight.
MAP05 is the finale of the wad and consists mainly of getting keys from platforms in the corners of a large arena which activates the spider masterminds and cyber demons dotted around the arena. Despite being rather easy and having some visual bugs in places, this level is still quite good fun. One last note after this level is that on the text screen afterwards, the text stays on one line and runs off the screen, another small bug.
Overall a quite acceptable WAD that is worth 15 minutes of your time, but don't go out of your way to play it.
Hirys - Archi
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 91736 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A map for Doom 2 using Boom. It's not really that great. Feels more like a 1995 map than anything else. Architecture is pretty boring, lots of hallway-itis and square rooms. The final room especially gets an award for ugliness and also has a pit you can get stuck in, with no way out. Gameplay isn't anything special, either. Seems like half the map's ammo is hidden in secret areas. At times I was resorting to berserk-fist a bunch of crap. By far the best moment was finding a Spider Mastermind, and I didn't have enough ammo to kill it, so I grabbed a secret Invulnerability I had found and just punched it to death. Quite amusing, but not exactly very fun. So yeah, if your standards are pretty low, you might enjoy this. Everyone else should pass.
The Fireworks Factory - Eric "The Green Herring" Baker
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 191428 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A short map apparently inspired by the 4th of July. You only get one weapon, and that's the rocket launcher. Pretty much blow up everything with it, grab the three keys (red, white and blue), kill a cyberdemon, and exit the map. It almost sounds like it could be generated by the Doom map idea generator. Well, there's really nothing spectacular, but it is somewhat fun to just go to town with the rocket launcher right from the start. Play this decidedly patriotic map today.
Artifact - Archi
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1182888 bytes
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
Where to begin?
This wad features 11 maps. Not a single one of them is good in any way. From horrible texture alignment, to horrible texturing choice, to impossible fights, to broken triggering (I had to IDCLIP out of two separate levels due to bad teleporters), to illegal content (Map 07 has a MP3 - considering the rest of the wad, I'm assuming it stolen - and Map 04 is E1M1 with a retarded amount of Arachnotrons). The funny thing is that the first two levels are fairly mundane compared to the rest of the wad, which is a flat-out shitfest. I wonder if the author became bored and decided to halfass the rest of the wad. And if that's the case, why bother at all?
Map 06 has the only redeeming feature of this mess: the Artifact, a BFG-replacement modeled after the Soul Cube from Doom III. It deals an assload of damage, which you will need during the last levels. But even a moderately entertaining weapon replacement cannot save this wad from the bottom of the barrel.
There is no excuse for gameplay this bad in this day and age. Archi should have kept this idea in his head and waited another three years to make a wad.
Strogg Shooter - Aluqah
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 4523130 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
One map for Doom II, using ZDoom. But as you can probably tell by the file size, this is no ordinary "let's make a map and show it to the public" level. Just about everything in this level is new. Nearly all textures are new, tons of new monsters are used, and every weapon is replaced. Of course, there are new music and sounds as well. Oh, and let's not forget the length: This map is long. And I mean, VERY LONG. To put it in perspective, most huge maps take maybe about 30-40 minutes to get through. This one, on the other hand, took me an hour and 27 minutes - more than twice that much - and I did play at a reasonable pace. So in addition to all the new features, this map is certainly huge. In fact, even the text file warns you of that; it isn't kidding, either.
With such a massive map and all the new features, it is easy for a map to turn from an impressive work into a complete mess. But happily, I thought that this one was pretty well done. Starting with the design, the map has plenty of areas both outdoors and indoors. You spend most of the map in a base combined with a large outdoor area in the middle and a few outdoor areas surrounding it. Then near the end you drop down a hill and ascend into the main ship that this map's story is based upon. It all blended together pretty well, and nothing seemed too out of place.
Now for the architecture. As I mentioned, there are nearly no original Doom textures used in this whole thing, so it doesn't look that much like Doom. In fact, this map would remind me more of Quake 2 than anything else in terms of architecture; some of the textures look like or are similar to Quake 2 textures, and of course the name of the map sparks some similarity right there. It isn't really that detailed of a map, but manages to look acceptable anyways. This is also good as it won't slow your frame rate as much as many other massive maps could - always a good plus to more limited detail.
The new monsters I found to be pretty good overall, even if a few may be oversized. Some are based on/modified variations of original monsters, while others are completely new, and they all use the new weapons that come included. Occasionally you will find an original monster as well in here. Some look to me as if they might be based on some of Quake 2's bigger monsters.
On to the weapons themselves, there are some cool ones - a nail and multi-nail shooter, a saw and saw shooter, a flame thrower, and even a weapon that shoots out homing balls that explode when they reach a target. Like the textures and enemies, some appear as if they might be based on Quake 2 weapons. Additionally one weapon selection is a music selector - you get to choose between 6 or so different tracks; this can come into use so that you aren't listening to the same music throughout the whole map. Many weapons even have a secondary fire mode. The weapon selection seemed bugged from the keyboard occasionally, but fortunately the alternate weapons key(s) worked without any problems. The new sounds are generally tolerable overall, as well.
As for the gameplay itself, I found this map, oddly enough (for such a long, grinding level), to be enjoyable most of the way through. There are some challenging parts, some not so difficult area, and 3-5 areas where you have to fight big boss-like monsters. The difficulty is challenging but not unfair, despite many areas in which huge hordes of monsters are released all at once. The balance is decent; you tend to use up your ammo and health, then get more, etc.
As for the progression, I like that a videocam is used whenever you flip a switch that works a long way away or find a key that is used far away to show you where you need to go next to continue in the level. This is an excellent idea; it really helps reduce the confusion, and in a pretty big way, too. The puzzles themselves are all generally fair, and at times it seems just slightly mission based. Like, for example, you must activate an elevator, or restore power to/unlock some other device or door to continue on in the map.
So overall, while such a massive and grinding map (and one loaded with new features to boot) is not for everyone, I found this wad to be pretty well done. If you can warm up to the style, which took me just a fairly small amount of time, it's a worthwhile map - even for the very high amount of time you will be spending on it. In short, I would recommend this map. If it is not to your taste, you can always stop early. But if you can warm up to it, like me, it will provide you with a fair amount of enjoyment as you play it through. For what it is, it is fairly well done overall from all technical standpoints.
Unholy Bethlehem - Chris Wright
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 41985 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
Another Chris Wright map. I suppose I should just leave it at that, but nah, let's go further into this poor excuse for a map. It's basically a small outdoor area with a bunch of buildings. The readme claims it's not finished, or even completable (no exit). There's HOM in the sky everywhere. You hardly have enough ammo to kill everything on the map. Horrible texturing and general ugliness abound. By the author's own admission it's not even finished, so honestly, don't bother with this one.
Land Of NightMares - PhilibusMo
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 77835 bytes
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
Land Of Nightmares is a Doom II wad that makes absolutely no use of newfangled thingamajigs like custom sounds, music, graphics, scripting, transparency effects, or slopes. This wad is bare bones to the core and proud of it. Taking place inside a dark, moderately detailed brown slime pit, Land Of Nightmares balances health and ammo out with enough to keep you going, but not enough to save you if you screw up.
The only problems I had with this wad are some odd texturing choices (slime oozing out of... solid rock?) and a door that didn't seem to open unless I ran over a small linedef, but these were very minor splotches on a great map. I recommend this wad to anyone who wants a little old-school Doom II action.
Hell Gate With Lift (Second Edition) - Nixot
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 35431 bytes -
Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
This is the exact same map as before except for a modified exit which I really just claimed to avoid the sort of shit storm from /newstuff #348 from reoccurring here. Overall, as said before, this shows really badly at being a first map with many bad decisions and silly moments, such as the previously mentioned room of imps and demons shooting gallery and the unmentioned small room containing four or five cacodemons that is accessed by a quick lift. Drop down the lift to escape and you find yourself almost unable to proceed as the cacodemons block the small lift platform as they descend and then get immediately punted back up to the top by the lift before you have the chance to shoot them.
I found the new exit quite amusing, but don't think it was really worth a second release. If you want more screenshots look at /newstuff #348, really didn't think it worth taking one of anything but the new exit as that is this WAD's only noteworthy feature.
Fleshy Demise - AgentSpork, Mr. Reggins
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 99587 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A short map for Doom 2, using ZDoom. It's only got 38 monsters on UV, and takes about 10 minutes to beat. The final fight is a bit weird, 2 cyberdemons on a platform with a moving floor. Not much else to say, if you want a quick map, go for it.
Play When Bored 3 - Jon Vail
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 34176 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
One map for Doom II. This map, as the name suggests, is the third map in Jon's Play When Bored series. First of all, I must admit that I didn't like the first two maps that much. The main problem: they were both too low on ammo, the first one far too low. I'm happy to admit that this has been mostly fixed with the third installment. Playing on Hurt Me Plenty, I pretty much needed all the ammo I had to get to the finish, but didn't run out.
Otherwise, the map isn't bad at all for two hours of work; it only took me around 4 minutes start to finish, but I enjoyed it and it's also not quite as linear as the previous map (PWB2). The architecture is pretty nice for just two hours of work, too. So overall, this map has little to make it much better than average, but it is easily the best map in the series so far, and it is worth a quick play if you're bored or even if you're just looking for a few minutes of fun; a good one to play in your coffee break. Let's hope Jon releases a few more quick fun maps like this.
Doomworld Speedmapping Compilation #21 - Various
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 187187 bytes
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
MIA since 2002, the Doomworld Speedmapping Compilation returns with a vengeance, with 8 new maps and vanilla Doom II gameplay. If you are unfamiliar with speedmapping, the rules state that you have only 100 minutes to make one map, no more. Boasting forum alums like ArmouredBlood and The Green Herring, this compilation is very entertaining despite the short length.
As usual with speedmapping, detail level is somewhat inconsistent from level to level, with some levels looking like they were ripped from 1996. But no level truly looks terrible and every one is good where it counts: the gameplay.
Although there is not a specific theme, there is recurring "jam as many monsters as you can into a speedmap level" gameplay on several levels. For the last map (which requires quick thinking and situational awareness to avoid being blown to bits) it works, but MAP05 has 328 monsters when it could have used half of those. Its not a huge issue, but some may be turned off.
I didn't have any overarching problems with this wad except for MAP03, which has a seemingly broken door near the end. I looked, I pressed "USE" on every wall, I shot things hoping to hit a switch, but to no avail. Oh, and does EVERY MAP07 have to be a Dead Simple variant?
This isn't the best wad of 2009, but it certainly holds it's own with balanced, challenging gameplay. Check it out for a quick, dirty and fun fix.
Nine anomaly's - Hardcore_gamer
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2856759 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
This wad is an older version of Nine Anomalies Bug Free Edition (os3.zip) - it has a missing texture in Map01 (see screenshot) that was later fixed.
MARSWAR V3.01 - Nathan Lineback
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 4436930 bytes
Reviewed by: Traysandor
This wad shows some slight promise according to the textfile, but upon launching this wad and playing the first few levels, you quickly realize that the entire wad feels like levels you might have played during the mid to late 90's and thought it was okay.
To today's standards though, the wad works and plays as intended. However, the detailing and texturing are rather unimpressive, and somewhat random in a few places. The difficulty seems to bounce around a little at times, but overall isn't that hard aside from groups of hitscanners placed in large rooms taking chunks out of your health.
Overall, the wad might inspire some nostalgia in a sense for a handful of Doomers. And in that sense this wad is tolerable, but gets pretty boring after a while. If you're not in that nostalgic mood though, you should just avoid this wad, because you probably won't get anything good out of playing through 32 levels worth of 90's mediocrity.
Nine anomaly's bug free edition - Hardcore_gamer
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2856728 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
Eight maps for Doom II. Oddly enough, considering the name, there is no ninth map. The maps are generally in a hellish style, most similar too but perhaps not exactly matching the original E3 (Inferno). There is really nothing special or extraordinary with any of these levels, but what's there is general decent and I thought it was worth my time overall. The architecture is simplistic with not a whole lot of detail and even some misalignments, but it isn't simply ugly either. As for as playability, I found it pretty playable and balanced decently overall, although there were a few maps I though the ammo balance could use a bit of work on. Also, while I didn't mind, note that these maps are not playable from pistol starts as it is clear that this is intended to be played as an episode. The new sounds and music tracks are fine, and the final map has some decent new monsters. On that note, the final map is definitely somewhat broken and unfortunately the weak spot of the set - you can exit without killing anything at all (see further down). With the overall summary out of the way, here are map by map comments:
Map01 is a little tight on ammo early, but I managed to have enough (though I don't like fighting Imps with a pistol (at the beginning). But a short and simple map overall, not a bad start to the episode.
The second map I enjoyed, though at times I thought there should have been a little more cover when fighting the hoards of monsters. However, there is a good bit of health around, making it fair (although I didn't like it throwing four or so Chaingunners at you after you pick up the first key). Longer than the first map, as you'd expect.
Map03 is pretty decent length, and the ammo is just a bit tight, making for a reasonable challenge. The design consists of many areas branching off from the main room you start in (6 or so; you need to explore four of them as the other two just contain health or weapons), and it is actually the first of three maps in the set like this. A fine map overall.
Map04 has a few hoards of monsters near the start that you never need to fight (they are triggered when you pick up items not absolutely necessary to complete the level). I fought them anyway, since there are plenty of items you can get if you fight the monsters. I was a bit frustrated when at one room midway through, I ran out of ammo for everything but the rocket launcher and had to use my rockets to fight fairly weak monsters; I had enough ammo easily with the rockets, but it felt like a waste. Otherwise, not too different from the previous level.
Map05 is more of the same, though a bit shorter and I found plenty of ammo in this one.
Map06 has four areas branching off from a main plus-shaped intersection (the second map like Map03). However, you only need to visit three of them, but the fourth one has a BFG so is worth visiting. The rest is little changed from the map before.
Map07 once again has four areas branching from the main room (the final map like this), but this time you need to visit all four of them. The fights intensify in this level compared to previous levels, but I found sufficient supplies laying around. In fact, there are even some boss monsters to fight, notably a Cyberdemon surrounding the blue key (and then a HUGE horde of Cacodemons for picking it up) and a Spider Mastermind at the end.
Map08, unfortunately, is a rather broken ending to the set. It could so easily have been a nice slaughter map, but the author didn't bother to put in any linedefs and you can actually, if you're lucky and go fast enough, hit all the switches and finish without even killing a single monster. This makes the map feel rather pointless and as I said, broken, and it's even more of a pity considering that I found a few cool new monsters that show up in this level (the only map to use new monsters, in fact). Too bad the author didn't bother using linedefs to make the switches available only after the monsters are dead; as is, it is, for that reason alone, a disappointing end to a relatively decent set of maps.
Overall, I found these maps to be nothing great, but probably a touch above average for the most part (except the last level), and worth at least one quick playthrough. Of course, if you mind simple architecture or the lack of pistol start playability, you might want to skip this. But otherwise, it's probably worth your time and I'd recommending at least giving it a try overall. Pity about that last map, though.