Temple Ruins - Henri Lehto
Doom 64: Absolution - Solo Play - 270884 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
One map for the Doom 64: Absolution TC, running on Map24. This wad has been sitting in the "to be reviewed" list for almost two months. Since I just finished playing the Doom 64 TC and liked (almost) every moment of it, I decided to give this map a go.
And surprisingly enough, I found it to be a fairly good map. The architecture in general has a light brown/tannish/brick style to it. In fact, it might not look too different from some Quake maps I've played, but it isn't entirely the same either. In general, it works well, with enough effort taken such that the rooms have a nice look, even if a bit repetitious by the end. But hey, any map that is the same style all the way through runs that risk.
The gameplay is mostly well done; not overly hard or easy, no major problems with progression, and reasonably balanced. The puzzles aren't unfair either. In fact, aside from (potentially) if you want to find the semi-secret key (see next paragraph) or the other secrets for that matter, you probably won't need to use your brain (or eyes, to look for hard-to-find triggers/switches) very much. I enjoyed playing through it for the most part. The level is of a fair length - maybe medium-large.
There is one interesting twist to the level progression. While all three keys are used, you only need the yellow and red ones to finish the level. However, the blue key, which is accessed only by flipping a switch you have to look fairly closely to find, provides access to a bonus outdoor zone with a few more monsters but some useful supplies. Therefore, this makes it potentially worth finding. This could really be of good use toward the end of the map; I didn't realize this semi-secret until after I finished the level the first time and wondered, "Hey, what was that blue door I saw for?", and in my first playthrough, I ran just a bit short on ammo at the very end (behind the red door).
There are no new sounds, weapons, music, textures, or monsters in this map (not counting, of course, the Doom 64 TC resources themselves as being new).
Overall, this is a decent map for a good and rather underused engine. It won't knock your socks off, but you should have some fun for the 15 minutes or so you it takes to get through. Recommended if you enjoyed Doom 64 and you don't have anything serious agains the brick/brown/tan style of maps.
Disposal Duelv.1.3 - PUN1SH3R
Skulltag - Deathmatch - 144321 bytes -
Reviewed by: Sir Jimmers
The common theme amongst Deathmatch Levels in Skulltag is the steel base theme.
I found the overall layout of the level to be fairly small for Deathmatch, but if you like in-your-face Deathmatches, then I have no cause to complain about the size of the level.
The only small moan I have is that there could have been more Skulltag features, such as the doors sliding back and forth with the introduction of polyobjects and also ambient sounds, such as machinery, computers, etc. Also there could have been some outdoor areas too.
Other than those small omissions, I found the textures used to be consistent with the base theme: metal crates, computers, etc.
Chaos Order - Phml
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1214646 bytes -
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
This is a single map, occupying Doom 2's MAP01 slot. It uses the beloved "YOUSUCK" track from Rise of the Triad (famously used in HR's MAP19 and AV's MAP25).
The text file warns of the immense difficulty of playing difficulty 4. I took Phml's word for it, and loaded it up on Hurt Me Plenty to start off. I checked the monster tally (using ZDoom), and found that 736 creatures were after my blood.
The first fight is in a large hallway, with some wood, marble, ashes, and blood. You get a shotgun and some ammo, and fight off a dozen or so zombies (no chaingunners). Then you run up some wooden stairs, with doors opening in front of you to reveal imps and demons. If you try to run back, imps teleport into the start area (which is plenty large enough to give you fighting space). I beat that part by running in circles, sniping the monsters and having the demons chew on the imps. Run forward, and you hit a large cavern. It's very scenic; with the wooden platforms, the chaingun on a mini-intestine pyramid, and the mandatory lava, it's a good fighting area. Hell Knights and their imp minions pop out of the pillars and tell you very bluntly that they don't like you.
Now, here's the twist of this part: if you get the green armor in the lava, you can warp out. But you warp to your start point, where 30-something demons have suddenly decided to get smart and wait for you. Or you can fight some imps and hell knights sans armor. It's all very depressing, but clever.
And so the map goes. I quickly discovered its secret: take it slow. If you just rush from section to section in the mad hope that things will get better, you'll get obliterated. You must methodically clear out each area and loot it before moving on, or you don't have a chance.
I also discovered another thing about this map: It doesn't end. It keeps on going and going. But there is enough variety to keep it interesting, such as a massive ash cavern. The final area is simply enormous. There are four corners, each with a key, or the exit.
When I was done with the map, I loaded it on UV. It had a thousand+ monsters, and a lot harder ones. I died fairly quickly.
Gameplay: Hard. This is a tough map, such as one that would appear as HR's MAP20 or 29. Taking it slow really applies here. In fact, if you're careful, you can postpone a fight with about 40-ish cacodemons by a few minutes (until you get the SSG, rocket launcher, and plasma rifle).
Detail: This is a decently detailed map. The shading isn't really looked into, but the actual architecture (meaning different sectors with slightly varying heights) is very nice. There are dips and curves, and it all molds together nicely to create a good, abstract, Hell-esque experience.
Balance: Somewhat against the player. But then again, that's the point. The first half is a mad scramble for ammo, but you get more as you progress to the final fight. The megasphere secret is easy to get to, and boxes of rockets and energy cell packs keep you going.
Former Friend - Captain Toenail
Skulltag - Co-op - 38363 bytes -
Reviewed by: Nixot
Well first, everyone knows how crap ZCajun bots are, right? They just run about aimlessly. Well, this makes a much better experience! When you or a friend dies, after a while the corpse kind of spazzes out, then un-dies into a zombie with a shotgun and blood running down his helmet. I watched with notarget and fly mode on as my lone ZCajun bot fought off hundreds of copies of himself quite unsuccessfully. It was amazingly amusing. There's also a new death sequence from the Doom press release beta, so it looks better when they die. Overall, quite a fun thing to play with. However, it's not something I would use for hours on end - I see it more as a fun diversion. I would recommend a download.
Awash in Blood - Varant Yessayan
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 133160 bytes
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
This is a single-map wad. It starts off easily enough, with an SSG on top of a pillar and a bit of ammo. You're in a recessed, barred-off area that overlooks a much larger, bloody area with loads of monsters.
The play progresses steadily right up until the Invulnerability sphere. On difficulty three, it's a megasphere, which actually cuts off the challenge. I am historically bad at finding secrets (I only got 2 out of 9), so that was my only source of armor. On Ultra-Violence, it took me a while to take out all of the monsters in the first big fight. I get a plasma gun and some ammo, which really helps, but the monsters killing each other is what will save you here. The map gets fairly upsetting after this, including a series of slowly rising and dropping lifts.
The balance is good, if a little against the player on UV. The gameplay is iffy. The final battle has a Spider Mastermind, two Archviles, and two Mancubuses. Fortunately for me, the exit pad was large and inviting. I waited for the Mancubuses to be killed, then I squeezed past the S M and made it out.
Gameplay: I probably won't play the map again, but I don't hate it. This is another one of those WADs where the author has to decide whether he likes the map or not, and decides that he really doesn't know. The fights are dependent on monsters killing each other, but if you stay on your toes, you'll make it.
Detail: This WAD originated in 1996, so the fact that it looks like it's in beta mode before detail was added makes sense. There is some lighting, but the large blood caverns need a bit more work. It's just alternating textures between bloodfalls and rock, with no structural variance.
Balance: It was a challenge for me on UV (mainly because of the aforementioned invulnerability), but difficulty 3 was easy. I would have liked a rocket launcher a little earlier, and not in a secret cavern. Some more shotgun shells would have been nice.
Nukage Processing - Nixot
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 48109 bytes
Reviewed by: udderdude
A short, cramped tech map for Doom 2, with a nasty arch-vile trap. Has all of 30 monsters on UV. Worth a quick play, but don't expect anything amazing.
Siggi's "heh" Speedmaps - Stephen "Siggi" Finniss
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 87980 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
Five maps for Doom II. As the title suggests, these maps were made relatively quickly, in the author's words, "one about afternoon", which I assume he means "about one afternoon". Considering this relatively low amount of work put into them, they're not bad at all. The maps are all fairly small or at most low-medium in actual size, though some feel a bit longer as they require visiting the same territory multiple times. The architecture is very basic and lighting is minimal, but the texture choice is such that the maps, while I wouldn't call them "pretty", manage not to be ugly either. Aside from Map01, which has a few various styles (they blend together okay though), each map generally picks a style of architecture and sticks to it.
As for gameplay, one piece of advice needs to be given right off the bat: these maps are hard. Quite hard, as a matter of fact. There are no difficulty settings other than in how much bullets from monsters hurt you, and each map is quite intense when it comes to fights. You won't have a whole lot of ammo to spare in these maps, and in some places, I even needed to dash into an area before it was clear to get ammo that I needed to finish the fight. In fact, one map (Map04) even requires you to use a berserk pack and kill some relatively strong monsters with a fist if you intend not to run out of ammo. Map03 and Map05 are also based around very intense fighting, and Map01 and Map02 are no picnic either. That said, I didn't find it to be downright unfair, just a grinding challenge to say the least. If you conserve ammo, kill any archviles fast enough (before they resurrect tons of dead monsters), and of course your berserk where possible on Map04, you should be able to survive if you're a fairly experienced player. But if you are a noob, you probably want to stay away from these maps; they're not for the faint hearted.
As for the other side of gameplay (puzzles/progression), there are actually very few puzzles in these maps. Very little mind-work is required in that aspect, which may be a blessing as you try to figure out how to survive the next fight. The levels progress fine; I almost always was able to find out fairly quickly what to do next, and didn't ever get frustrated from being stuck.
Overall, these are decent speedmaps that are recommended for those who want a nice, grinding challenge.
At hell's gate - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 284962 bytes -
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri gives us his newest map: "At Hell's Gate". For all of you custom texture fans, stay away. The only new thing here is music, and seeing that it runs on vanilla Doom makes it all the more old-school.
"At Hell's Gate" is a large Hell map with a few great void sequences. Gameplay is usually pretty tight, with you getting a chance to empty chaingun rounds into about 50 monsters at a time. However, the gameplay isn't that white-hot all the time, letting you admire some finely-done scenery while hunting for those ever-elusive keys.
However, this wad does have a few minor misgivings. During a part where you are on a lift, a DOORTRAK pillar prevents several Spectres from reaching you. The tension of fighting Spectres in a dim enviroment soon faded when I realized that they could not reach me. After that, you run through a small cave and fight more Spectres, but the rooms are too bright and cramped for them to sneak up on you.
Additionally, there is a point where you pick up a soulsphere and a megaarmor. The wad does not throw enough monsters at you to justify receiving those items, and the last leg of the map feels a little underwhelming. Even the SUDDENLY BARONS OF HELL part at the end doesn't feel too challenging, which is a unfortunate surprise.
All in all, I think that this wad will be point where Daimon starts to make truly epic maps. He got his foot in the door with this wad, now lets see if he can top this one. Despite a few problems, this is worth a download.
Pancake Heaven - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 29569 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
The text file for this wad mentions being tested with GZDoom - that much is clear, since the entire map is surrounded by a HOM in every other port I tried. The map won't run with doom2.exe thanks to the Doom Builder 3D mode camera thing still being present in the map, but otherwise it should be vanilla compatible.
With that out of the way, this is a small, open, but mostly bare map. There are two buildings sitting on islands, one of which has the exit teleporter on top of it. There are a number of monsters on top of the buildings, and others littered around the rest of the map. Ammo is limited in the beginning, but infighting paired with the SSG and box of shells in one of the buildings means the map will be empty in no time. Even without the HOMs there are still a few visual oddities. Overall this is just a boring map.
Entryway - Poska
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 123714 bytes
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
Karmatix is a wad that I really wish I hadn't played.
This is due to a variety of reasons. Primarily, the time it took. I left the level at 12:38, after killing over 350 monsters. I don't mind long maps too much, but I do mind having to play poor quality maps when, in that time, I could have been doing something more productive (like ripping out my eyelids with toenail clippers). Secondly, the map itself. It's a bland series of boxy rooms, with gray and brown textures being dominant. Later, darkness and ashes are dominant. Thirdly, the monsters. It's just a progression of creatures. They're low-level at first, but there's no surprises. Well, there are a few moments of "oh, he's there, and not here", but no real twitchy areas where you must always be on guard.
The WAD is supposed to be in a base after the Doom 2 disaster. You fight through zombies, then imps, then heavier zombies, and then... a teleport. With blinking lights. You warp into another boxy area, but this time it's all ashes. There is no indication of what this base was used for. Just some rooms, stairs, more rooms, and some sky(boxes). Call me overly demanding, but I would like to know why this sprawling complex was built, other than to test "Switch Mechanics Version 2".
And then the fights. Oh, boy. The red key fight is one of the most boring, predictable, and overly difficult fights I've seen. All of a sudden, I received a BFG and 300 energy. I jump into an almost pitch-black cavern, with a red key a hundred feet in front of me and a load of barrels. I move forward a little, and dozens of Revenants and chaingunners come out of the "trick" doors. I had to play it through about fifty times before I could beat it. And there's no health. While you're firing green plasma at one group of monsters, the missiles/bullets of the other group come flying at you. It's incredibly frustrating. And when you grab the red key, I hope you saved some BFG ammo (and you didn't), because seven or so Barons come out at you. You must now fight them off with the SSG.
After that, you must come to the conclusion that the only way to proceed is to warp out of the effing room and go back to almost your start point, where a protruding section of gray is actually a lift. I had to check it in Doom Builder to figure where I was supposed to go.
There was one mildly cool area, with a floating cross with switches. But that's another problem with this wad--switches. To be more precise, the overuse of switches. Find switches, open another predictable trap with more monsters, kill them, and move on. The final battle is a joke. It goes something like "Backpack! Ammo! Overly-large room with no hiding areas with hitscan monsters far above you! Hundreds of zombies and imps! Overuse of mancubuses! And a megasphere IN PLAIN SIGHT! Oh, and don't forget the ominous stomping of a Cyberdemon..."
But there's just one problem: that's not the final battle. After you get done with this insanity, you have to fight through a dark outdoorsy area, destroy three archviles on unknown-texture pillars, and THEN go after a Romero Head that's behind a tiny bloodfall (apparently Poska couldn't construct a real BFD, so he put a lot of skullcube-spitters in recesses in the walls).
I exited this wad with a mixed sense of revulsion and relief. Then I deleted it.
Gameplay: Miserable. There's no need to elaborate on what I've already typed.
Detail: It's okay, I suppose. Actually, no. There is some attempts at lighting in some areas, but the constant, repetitive texturing and boxy rooms and the final laugh... err, fight, make the over detail incredibly boring.
Balance: Not really, no. Well, I suppose that one could consider it balanced, but... no.
ADDENDUM: I took a total of four screenshots for this review, but Skulltag stored them in such an obscure place I have yet to find them. Trust me, you're not missing out on much.
Tech Central - Captain Toenail
GZDoom - Solo Play - 5645894 bytes
Reviewed by: udderdude
A map for Doom 2, using GZDoom. This map was supposed to be part of a Doom 64 mapset, and as such uses large portions of the Doom 64 techbase texture set. It's a decent techbase, pretty easy from start to finish. The full set of Doom 64 textures is included, which bloats the WAD size a bit, but oh well. It's worth a quick play.
No Rockets For You - wildweasel
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 110770 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
Taking a small break from his usual weapon making schemes, WildWeasel has decided to try his hand at mapping. The usual bumps and scrapes of a first time map are apparent but in this case are not too jarring.
WildWeasel's "No Rockets For You" shows off a decent combination of monster placement and use of detailing. Most of what you see is fairly detailed, albeit a few rooms are left more bare than others. WildWeasel keeps true to the maps name by not providing any rockets whatsoever, however they are also not needed at all.
Ammunition is quite abundant in the form of bullets for the chaingun and shells for the shotgun. Look hard enough and you will find a plasma rifle, but I never had to use it once and I doubt anyone playing will have to either. There are also several secrets around to help you along, but again you probably won't be needing them. Feel free to look if only to complete the end of level stats.
Difficulty is pretty easy. There is a good attempt to make the map non-linear, which gives this wad points in my book. However, while it's got some good detail, there's not enough to keep me very interested along with a lack of challenging monster fights. Not bad for a first map, but plenty of room for improvement. This isn't a wad to worry about missing out on, but I'd keep an eye out for any upcoming maps from WW in the future.
Mine Camp - Parallax
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 127522 bytes -
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
Minecamp is a decent wad with a good story. Apparently, you were a convicted (but framed) murderer who was shipped to a mining colony. It was invaded by aliens while you were in cyro-stasis. It contains six maps.
MAP01 is okay. The super shotgun is rather too easy to get (should've been a shotgun on UV), but it's too much of a challenge. There is varying architecture, but no attempt to add any variable lighting. There's a lot of zombies (no chaingunners), and some imps and demons. Health and ammo are easy enough to find.
MAP02 is better. This one is a mine shaft, complete with cargo area, the shaft, and mine tunnels twisting downwards. There is better lighting here, and the tunnels actually look realistic. There are some chaingunners. There are some misaligned textures, but they're infrequent.
MAP03... I'm not entirely sure what it supposed to be. It revolves around a large stadium-shaped room. A control panel is up on "stage", and there's some hidey-holes surrounding it. When that room is cleared, you go into some back rooms (dressing rooms?) and clear out some monsters with the plasma gun you could've gotten in MAP02. A few more misaligned textures, but nothing serious. Gray is the dominant color here. There are cacodemons and a few Hell Knights, and even a Mancubus in one of the "dressing rooms". Still, nothing too difficult.
MAP04 doesn't seem to have much of a point. It's very easy (including a nice spot for mancubus vs. baron infighting). The plasma gun and ammo are too easy to get to, the fights are simple, and the map itself is short. It's more metal and crates than gray, and it ends by the player going up some stairs and going outside.
MAP05 is a big outdoorsy area. There's a pseudo-hedge maze, and TWO soulspheres in plain sight. It's way too easy. You run around shooting things, then leave. The last fight is kind of aggravating: some chaingunners up on elevated tech platforms. But I did get 300 plasma for that fight, so it was once again way too easy (what with the soulsphere in the next room and everything), even with an arachnotron.
MAP06 is the final level. It's in a desert-type area, with a large, black building in the center. You kill a few monsters and begin your ascent. I finally found the rocket launcher, and obliterated everything on the building without too much trouble. After operating a complex switch pillar, I warped into what the minimap told me was a spaceship (apparently the one I must use to get to the space station to warn them about an alien invasion). There were some imps, Hell Knights, a baron, and oh yes: some SS. Seriously. Actually, the kinda fit as mind-slave guards, but still... Then there was an entertaining fight with a Cyberdemon (I've never fought one amidst crates and black techwalls before). And that was it.
Gameplay: Way too easy. Ammo, health, and armor is plentiful, and the monsters never seem to get hard to fight. I would have liked to have seen this skin cavern that the story ominously mentioned, but I never got close.
Detail: Lacking. There's some attempts to make it look nice, but the author's heart really wasn't in it. One good detail test is fencing: if there are fenceposts, then the author at least tried. If they just hang in the open, then the author wasn't particularly interested.
Balance: Way in the player's favor. Ultra-violence couldn't have had more than 150 monsters (over six maps, remember), and ammo is everywhere.
It's a shame the wad itself was so lacking. The storyline was quite promising, but the maps ultimately fell short of my expectations by a long shot. There was some effort to create slightly interesting-looking areas, but the fights and balance were completely out of whack. I would like to take the storyline and make a new mapset to accompany it. Perhaps Parallax could re-visit this idea and come up with something better when he gets more experience.
Runaway Items - Captain Toenail
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 11491 bytes
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
This is one of the funniest mods I've ever played. If you want to play a serious game, then this isn't for you. The basic idea is that all items (minus weapons and keys), when you enter the line of sight, giggle and run away. It's incredibly, frustratingly fun. My first test of the mod was to load up Doom 2's Icon of Sin. I started it up, and the equipment... warped... away... I tried to chase it, but it all split up on the ledge and went dashing off. It's a very odd feeling to have to chase your ammo and soulsphere across a ledge while the BFD is getting ready to pwn you.
My second test was on another final map, this one of Alien Vendetta. Much of my time there was occupied with hunting down my backpack (31 seconds), and then the boxes of rockets and energy (1:03).
Finally, I started a standard Skulltag deathmatch map. It was a nightmare. I could pick up minor items (like shells, a health potion, etc) all right, but bigger stuff? No way.
The point of this wad is to infuriate the player, and it performs admirably. I would like to see someone host this WAD on a DM map (perhaps Dwango5) at some point. The readme mentions that weapons couldn't be similarly modified due to technical issues. It's a shame, because that would have made this mod completely insufferable.
Peyote - Eye del Cul
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 466395 bytes -
Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
One map for Doom II. This map looks good, despite no new textures. The music is a nice track I haven't heard before as well. However, while the gameplay is structurally fine, clearly not all will like it. I didn't mind the non-linear progression; it's a change in pace from many maps nowadays. However, the map requires you to berserk or chainsaw numerous pink demons throughout or you will run out of ammo. I didn't know to do that, and ended up having to chainsaw much harder monsters later on (see first screenshot), so I assume that is what's meant, especially since a berserk pack is provided right near the beginning. If you don't mind this type of gameplay (it can be a bit tedious sometimes), then this is a fine map, but if this sounds like it's going to annoy you, you might want to skip this one.