Redemption Denied - Steven Searle, Agent Spork
Doom64: Absolution - Solo Play - 3912845 bytes
Reviewed by: scalliano
This wad has been around for a couple of years now, originally bundled with Kaiser's Outcast pack for the Doom64 TC. This is the same set of maps - 8 in total - released as a separate download. It requires the Outcast pack to run, mainly because of the extra monsters and items which that episode uses. If you feel a bit strapped for Doom64 maps, then you need these, as they emulate D64's visual style and layout very well, although they are a lot tougher and visually more demanding. This applies to the last level in particular, which follows the D64 tradition of "one cyberdemon is never enough"!
Gameplay is typical D64, with possibly a few too many teleporter traps for some people, and a couple of less-than-obvious switch moments (the red key platform on MAP02 is an example of this - I'm still not sure how I got it to lower). I also managed to break MAP01. In one area a switch reveals a number of alcoves containing Nightmare Imps, which you can enter but can't get out of again without jumping, so if you haven't beaten Hectic at any point previously you're pretty much screwed. A simple "impassable" linedef flag would have sorted this out.
Also, these levels suffer from the same "gaps in the walls" issue that the original TC has. I don't know if this is something to do with the TC itself, but it does seem odd that two wads have the same issue.
Other than these few issues, I enjoyed this wad a lot. If you like D64 and can see past the stock levels' shortcomings (which I can), this is a must.
GoldenEyeDoom2 TC - GoldenEye Doom2 Team
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3758586 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
I'm a GoldenEye fan; I know the game inside and out, and I've created my own missions for it. When I stumbled upon this years ago I was intrigued, but didn't expect much from it. That version was for EDGE, and I was expecting even less from this Boom-compatible version, but surprisingly, the only things that seem to be missing are some weapons, and the enemies in this version are a bit worse. Unfortunately, it still falls short of my (reasonably low) expectations.
The stealth gameplay is completely gone, of course, but the objectives are recreated by using switches and keys to block off certain areas. That worked out fairly nicely, but seems to drop off later in the game. The enemies are done poorly for the most part, and some even turn into their original Doom counterparts for a frame or two. The maps aren't true to the originals in many cases, use teleporters poorly, and most have lighting that is way too dark. There are mapping errors all over the place, and one mission can even be completed by walking backwards at the start. Some sound effects are ripped from GoldenEye, but most are still the originals from Doom, including the alert sound for many monsters. The music tracks are all MIDI conversions of GoldenEye tracks, and are a mixed bag.
Overall, if this wasn't hiding behind GoldenEye, I'm sure no one would pay it any attention. The maps demonstrate a lack of basic mapping skill, and don't even utilize vanilla features to their full potential. I know for a fact that it would be possible to create a decent GoldenEye conversion using an advanced port, but I don't think this team could pull it off.
But hey, at least the chairs explode!
Scythe X. Episodes 1-2 - Erik Alm
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 6904537 bytes -
Reviewed by: Mr. Freeze
The third installment in Erik Alm's Scythe series, "Scythe X" had me hoping that the "X" stood for "XTREME", and that the medikits would be replaced with Mountain Dew cans. Alas, this is not the case, and I was disappointed.
Funny names aside, Scythe X is in the process of being released in an episodic manner. This first installment is Episodes 1 and 2, which mostly feature techbases, although the later levels take place on a great-looking space station (the last area of Map 10 also deserves a mention, but I won't spoil what it is or what happens in it). The levels are well-constructed, greatly detailed, and easy to navigate. The music is well-assembled, with contributions from Paul Corfiatis, Bloodskull, Joe Beahan, Stewboy, and Jared Boice. The best part is, Scythe X doesn't bite your head off with impossible fights or ammo anorexia. To put it simply, this wad has a lot of good going for it and deserves a download (I've also never played Scythe 1 or 2, so I'm measuring this like any other wad instead of holding it up to the other Scythes).
You're probably asking, "Mr. Freeze, is that all you have to say about the third installment in the highly-regarded Scythe series?" [i]Chill[/i] out, young padawan. I do have something else to add, but it isn't a positive one.
Although the wad itself is well-constructed, releasing each installment in an episodic basis leads to a number of problems. The first is that if you want to progress beyond the 10 levels, you are screwed. Fuck you, you get to wait another couple of weeks/months for another release. The second is that with only 10 levels, there simply is not much to say at all about this wad, relegating a potentially huge megawad to the level of small projects. Again, I want to stress that these complaints are not detrimental to the wad itself, only its method of release.
The only problem I had with the wad itself is that there is a distinct lack of impassable linedefs. It was all too easy to escape some levels and break the illusion when Erik could have simply added a impassable flag or disabled jumping. Small complaint, but I feel it bears mentioning.
Above all of that, the question remains: "Is Scythe X worth my time?" To that, I would say yes. Download it soon, for it is a very good wad and provides great fun. Just be prepared to wait out for the next release if you want more.
***"Meaga"*** - Ivano Lich
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 108140 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
This is a short, Boom-compatible map that was originally created to be the first level of a megawad. It looks pretty nice, but the gameplay suffers due to its length.
Sand Chain - Ashman
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3458 bytes -
Reviewed by: Snakes
I'm tempted to call this the spiritual successor to wow.wad. All Ashman has to do is never release a wad again, and it'll be perfection.
This is one of those rare wads where you download it, run it, and instantly realize you've been had. I read the text, I played the wad, and then reread the text with a smile on my face.
It's so well-thought! I mean, first you get to the line, "A small map for Doom II, but loaded with quality!" That's when it hits you: Ashman is a damn genius. Keep reading, though! Because you get these miraculous one-liners:
"Build Time: A few weeks"
"Known Bugs: None"
"May Not Run With: Anything that isn't DOOM II"
And then, just when you thought you couldn't laugh any harder about the pure awesomeness of this entire wad, Ashman slaps you in the face with this chunk of pure genius:
"Tested With: Vanilla Doom II, Boom, Eternity, ZDoom"
Clearly, Ashman is one of the following: a troll, delusional, or the subconscious part of your brain that hates all the time you dedicate to Doom. Ashman hates you. Ashman wants to kill your love for Doom. Whenever someone releases an incredibly bad map from this point over, it is my request to the Doom community that we refer to this as "Pulling an Ashman."
All humor aside, this is a rectangular HOM in which all walls are double-sided, and somewhat miraculously, there is a functional exit. Good news, Doomers! The text states that you MAY use the contents of this file as a base for modification. That's SO nice of him!
SNYPER2.WAD - Snyper
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 39816 bytes -
Reviewed by: Vermil
A pretty small somewhat maze-like map of narrow corridors that doesn't follow any particular visual theme.
Your objective on this map is to lower the yellow key platform in front of you. The switch that does this, though, isn't marked as anything special, so you could wander around the, by that point, nearly empty map for quite some time before you realize that the switch you pressed a while back was the one that lowered the platform. This isn't helped by the fact that the platform is up a lift and hence obscured from view from the rest of the map.
Ammo and health balance start off suitably matched to the very low amount of well-placed opposition present. However, this is spoilt as you get nearer to the above mentioned switch, where an unneeded ammo cache, high end weapons and a couple of health giving orbs can all become accessible, making it very easy to barrel over the small number of hell spawn left at that point.
This map looks very nice for a map of such age, though is extremely brown and dark, the latter of which can make it difficult to find required switches as they aren't lit up.
As such, a short, cramped, easy and potentially frustrating map.
The Court of the Crimson King - Jean Paradis
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 47958 bytes -
Reviewed by: Eligitine
It seems that I subconsciously pick the wads to review that I know will be bad. I take it upon myself to review these wads not out of duty, but apparently out of sheer idiocy. I am left to pick up the meager remains that the great reviewers such as Kirby, Mr. Freeze, and Vermil leave behind. So begins another review that will make a nice addition to my psychiatric profile once I snap. The Court of the Crimson King was originally meant to have a plot, but apparently the author scraped the idea of any originality in favor of the well known theme of "pointing things that shoot stuff at one another and holding down buttons until one of us die". This is one of those wads that should of stayed on Jean Paradis' hard drive. After being told that I am to harsh in my reviews, I will take it upon myself not to say one bad word past this point. This piece of material is Jean Paradis' first wad. Hooray! Another mapper has joined the community, one who will hopefully establish his talents and blow us away with his future maps. Until then, let's take a look at a review of the first part of the level review written like a D&D description.
You start off in a nondescript brown brick room. A window is on your left through which you can see a vine covered courtyard (1). A teleport pad is in the far corner of the room, surrounded by knee-high walls. There is a shotgun and a box of shells in front of you. Past them, you see a stairwell descending into unknown depths. As you grab the shotgun and proceed forward, you spy a line of helmets with a strange magical green glow. As you walk near it, the helmet disappears and you feel a slight tingle as your armor becomes slightly stronger. At the bottom of the stairs you see a large chamber where a horde of imps await your presence. They are all lined up facing to your left, as if they are awaiting something. One lone imp sees and steps towards you. He snarls and unleashes a fireball at you (2). You pull the trigger of your shotgun, blasting the lone imp out of his misery. Your situation then takes a dire turn, for your gunshot has alerted all of the other imps in the room. In panic you forget to dodge the imp's lone fireball. As it slams into you the force of the blast knocks you back a few inches, your feet sliding on the ground. Intermixed with the horde of imps are another one of your most deadly foes...chaingunners. You let your buckshot fly, slaying countless monsters, but alas, the continuing swarm of demons proves to great and you are slain. As the last shot hits your body, you can feel that you are going to die. With your last breath, you grab an imp and let loose your shotgun at close range. Its brains splatter against the ceiling and it collapses with a sickening thud. As you fall to the ground, your last thought is, "I have lost." (3) As your soul leaves your body, you can already spy your corpse being resurrected as a agent of the darkness. You have failed, but many others will come for a chance at fame and glory.
The wad itself was made in 1995, and is decent for that time period. It is incredibly hard, taking me over 20 attempts to complete. It was made inside the confines of the Doom 2 engine, so jumping and crouching are basically cheating. It does have its moments though. There is a trap that I have never seen before ever in any wad. It is a narrow tunnel that lost souls and a pain elemental are hiding in. The only thing is that the pain elemental is stuck at the end, so it keeps launching lost souls out into the corridor. The rest of the wad isn't that great. The outdoor area is just all one texture, and without jumping you cannot even get the red key. All and all, this is one of those wads that should have been left on the hard drive. If you're wondering, yes, it does have a cyberdemon in it.
Good first attempt.
DM2ARD1.WAD - Andy Richards
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 55245 bytes -
Reviewed by: Never_Again
Despite its file date, DM2ARD1 is a 1995 Doom 2 WAD, only recently uploaded to the archives. It is a medium-size level with no particular theme, but the design is far from haphazard.
You start in a rectangular room with two low shiny metal platforms in front of you, occupied by a few zombies and an imp. The center of the room is lit by two sets of round blue lights over the platforms; the walls are shrouded in the darkness. That is just as well, as they are ROCK3 - a somewhat odd choice in the otherwise lab/tech room. However, you don't have much time to dwell on the surroundings, as one of your former buddies recognizes you and shambles forward to say hello. A couple of rounds stop him short and at the same time awaken the rest. You spot a shotgun behind them and gleefully sprint to it. As you pick it up, a bunch of demons and specters are released behind your back. The small chamber that houses them also contains the switch that opens the door straight ahead of your start position, as well as an SSG and a green armor tucked away in a dark nook, the first secret. You press the switch and go up a brick staircase, guarded by two chaingunners, and head outside. As you emerge in a small courtyard, the stairs are cut off and an assortment of imps and sarges teleport in, along with an odd caco and a chaingunner.
By now you get the author's idea - classic Doom 2 gameplay. There is a steady supply of baddies to keep you going, with some of them teleporting in behind or around you, but most of the opposition is the lesser crowd, with an occasional pair of mancubuses and revenants, and an odd PE and hell knight here and there, so while challenging, it is never overwhelming. Early on there is a spider mastermind, but you can easily get his neighbors to distract him while you work on him with the SSG. If that sounds tedious, a side trip gets you a plasma rifle and a cell pack. There are a few of these later on as well, and IMO that negatively impacts the balance - the whole level would be much more interesting to play with just a shotgun, a SSG, a chaingun and some rockets for a few select targets (like the Arch-Vile/Revenant platform and the secret chaingunner windows in the north-west). Nevertheless, with close to 200 monsters, there is enough action even with plasma.
The author wisely avoided creating wide-open, barren areas that plague many of the WADs of the era; the design is fairly linear and tight, although a couple of areas - like the mancubus/chaingunner cave in the east and the dark mini-maze in the south - seem to have been tacked on as an afterthought. The stock Doom 2 textures (mostly brown/gray rock, stones and brick with a few base element) are generally well selected and aligned, the lighting is good (tending to the dimmer side), and there is a surprising level of detail in some areas (like the start), although some rooms (like the blue key one) look barren. Your maneuverability is often limited yet rarely cramped, and that is a good thing in my eyes, as with such a layout you're not likely to breeze through the level holding down the trigger and sweeping out of your way everything in sight with plasma. The terrain offers a good variety, with raised platforms to command the view and pits to dive into. There are usually lifts and teleporters to get you back to the main level; however, one drop - to the SSG near the start - is a one-way lane, and as such can get you stuck in the starting area if you missed a switch after the yellow key door.
Ah yes, the yellow key door. It is amusing that most of the level's problematic spots are located in its vicinity. First, opening the door exposes a HOM over its threshold, visible from both sides. Immediately to the east, there is secret chamber with rising stairs, every step of which a secret in itself, and in a corner of it there is a tombstone (sector 236) with a lamp on top that is impossible to climb on, yet is also marked as a secret. Thus you can only score 21 secrets out of 22 (!), but don't let that number upset you: there aren't really all that many secret areas in this level. It simply seems that some of the initial secret sectors were later split up when creating stairs and such, and the new segments inherited the secret special from the parent sector. Such cases are quite common, with E4M3 from Thy Flesh Consumed and ALBILLO.WAD being classic examples. One such area houses a total of ten secret sectors, and as it is the hardest to get access to - it is accessible, but I won't spoil it for you here - you can easily end up with 50% secrets just as you start thinking you turned the map inside out.
Then right after the yellow key door there is a stack of crates, with a medikit (thing 518) half-stuck in one. Depending on your resolution, it may not look too bad, but it's not a pretty sight at the intended 320x200.
Finally, there is an unknown thing (#378) at -2520, 1408. It is in the above-mentioned blue key room, sharing the same coordinates as the dead sarge by the window. Fortunately, it has no effect on the gameplay (tested with vanilla and glBoom+) so you'll never even know it's there.
Overall, this is a good level much in the classic spirit of some of the maps from the recently released Heroes' Tales, though tighter and cleaner.
Blue Lagoon - Roger Rice
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 74951 bytes -
Reviewed by: Vermil
You start off pretty much in the thick of it in this combat heavy map from 1995, at least if you run out into the arena.
However, once you are out of this initial strangely textured area, the map becomes pretty much just a series of 64-128 wide tech, wood or marble corridors; as you can tell, the map doesn't follow any particular theme. At this point the difficulty drops off and repetitiveness takes over. It's just turn a corner, blast the Imp or Zombie, turn another corner, blast another Imp etc., all the way to the unmarked exit.
Some of the doors on this map use the same textures as their surrounding walls, though they are easily visible on the automap. It is actually possible to inadvertently skip the entire northern area of the map, in the stalagmite room. This seems intentional because of how blatant it is.
Note that it is possible to trap yourself behind the door to the left of your start position due to a bad choice of trigger on the stairs down to the red key, if you re-enter the area after having pressed the single use switch that opens the door from the inside.
The transport tycoon's epic fall - Aluqah
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 786831 bytes -
Reviewed by: Stale Meat
I am a big fan of wads with a realism style, so when I saw the theme of this level was going to be a transportation system leading to a city, I was hopeful that it was gonna be a good one. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.
This level really does show some great scenery and provides a good sense of progression as you travel from a crashed plane through all kinds of scenery related to transportation, such as destroyed trains, a boat, a road covered in [Ed: covered in what?], city streets, and straight to the "headquarters" of the transport system. All this scenery never fails to amaze the detail seekers and realism enthusiasts, and the new textures add to the uniqueness of the theme itself.
The enemy placement is somewhat tough at times (such as throwing in a revenant and some chaingunners VERY shortly after the starting area, or using pain elementals placed at a distance to release enough lost souls to REALLY cause some harassment), yet can also be somewhat light at times; in some spots it can be fairly empty, but in general it still ends up getting heavier as you progress until it's to the point of being a slaughterhouse in the open city streets. Difficulty-wise, it is fairly tough, but not enough to be a real challenge for seasoned veterans.
Item placement is decent; there is a fair abundance of ammo, but not enough to waste. Every weapon is present normally (except the BFG, which is happens to be the only secret on the map), plus soul spheres and partial invisibilities provide a lot of relief with the fights. However, health is in a lower quantity, so this can create some tight spots for newer players and some annoying situations on higher difficulties.
Overall, don't let the few minor annoyances turn you away from a quite detailed map that shines in a great theme and some beautiful architecture. Highly recommended!
Classical Music for Doom v2.0 - Scott Kearney
doom.exe - n/a - 273754 bytes
Reviewed by: Traysandor
So apparently, someone made a classical music wad for original Doom.
Or rather, took classical music from Beethoven, Bach, Tschaikovsky, Mozart and other artists, and converted it all to MIDI music... I honestly don't know what else to say about this wad, really. It doesn't add anything else to the game aside from the music. The MIDIs sound decent I suppose, but it's not exactly top-quality stuff.
But seriously, classical music in Doom?! There's a few places where I can see that classical music can help set the mood before the chaos, but not in every single Doom map there is. But, I guess if you've ever wanted to listen to mind-calming music while you're running around blasting imps, demons, zombies, etc... Then I guess you've found the wad you've always wanted.
Everyone else though, you can feel pretty safe skipping this wad.
Sycraft Doom 2 soundtrack - Mr. Chris
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 46158913 bytes
Reviewed by: Stale Meat
This is a music pack replacing all of Doom 2's Soundtrack with a "remixed" version of sorts. Unlike most remixes, it focuses on staying close to the original songs' "styles" by using as many of the real-versions of the MIDI instruments found in the songs as possible. The result however, is somewhat mixed.
While the song quality certainly sounds nice, it really does not provide anything beyond being a remake using higher quality instruments. The beat is (mostly) the same, so you may have to literally be a die-hard fan of the original music's styles to find the whole pack amazing.
Overall, it is a painfully average remix pack that I would only recommend for the people who dig the songs to being with. As for everyone else, it is worth a peek just to hear your Doom 2 favorites, but is just too plain of a remix to give full enjoyment.
Sycraft Doom soundtrack - Mr. Chris
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 34539857 bytes
Reviewed by: Stale Meat
This pack remixes The Ultimate Doom's soundtrack in the same way that Sycraft remixed the Doom 2 track. However, this pack actually fares worse in comparison. Why? Well...
To start off, most of the "rock" soundtracks (E1M1, E1M4, and E1M9 just to name a few) sound horrible, mainly due to the fact that the guitar sounds painfully dull. Secondly, it also has the same problem that the Doom 2 Music pack had (very basic remixes). And finally, the music pack either does not have or won't load the music on E3M9 correctly. The only redeeming factor is that there are actually a few songs worthy of checking out, but they are not nearly enough to redeem the wad as a whole.
I know that it is hard to avoid being biased when it comes to reviewing music, but I'm sure that you will agree that this music wad is just mediocre, at best. Overall, give it a peek if you must; otherwise, avoid.
Green Tea Brick Factory - JCA
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 137446 bytes -
Reviewed by: Stale Meat
This map is the author's first map, but does have some promising quality to it.
First off, it has quite some detail when compared to firsts by other authors, so it checks out in detail. Now, the theme is an odd one, taking place in a "green tea factory" as the title explains. It is a brick base with green toxic waste as the "tea". While the theme does get a little carried away (the final room has a toxic ceiling), it is a somewhat generic brick base. There really are not many architecturally noteworthy areas in the map, although using the green toxic texture for "tea" is quite imaginative.
Sadly, the enemy placement is what was the major turn off for the map. At first, the enemy placement seemed innocent enough, but then the level begins to throw Revenants and Mancubuses at you in tight quarters. Ambushes are also present on the level, so expect some tough fights overall. This map being a smallish brick factory makes for some tight fighting. Essentially, the 200-something enemies are all tightly packed into fights that tend to get claustrophobic, but are manageable if you are careful. However, possibly the most annoying part of the level is that the author used an excessive amount of Arch-viles toward the end. At first it is not a major problem, but (SPOILER ALERT) by the time you are in the last room, the auther makes you fight at least 6 Arch-viles BEFORE opening the exit door, and 3 AFTER opening the door, all while in an enclosed room where you just killed around 10 Demons (Pinkies & Spectres). (SPOILER END) Basically, there are just too many Arch-viles crammed in the same place.
Item placement seems abundant at first, but you eventually start to run dry due to ambushes and Arch-vile harassment. There ARE secrets (although I've only found 2), so finding them is VITAL to surviving the last room and the toxic area ambush. The strongest weapon I could find was a plasma gun, so saving its ammo is important. The health placement is also painfully low, considering the punishment you can take from the ambushes through the level.
To sum it up, it's a fairly generic map, yet shows promise in the surprising detail for the author's first time. However, it does suffers from some quite annoying enemy placement. Worth a peek, but is nothing truly special.
Cursed Black Diamond - Impboy4
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 91142 bytes
Reviewed by: Eligitine
Cursed Black Diamond is a short single level wad that shows a high level of detail in a very small space. You start inside of a small black room that is shaped like a diamond. You then proceed to move through a sewage treatment plant to re-enable the lift to exit the compound. It is not as simple as it sounds, however. The sewage plant is littered with hellspawn. While the most menacing thing you will face is a baron of hell, the level is extremely hard to beat. It seems that chaingunners are placed in the least convenient place, ready to blast you into a million bits. The level is extremely short, taking about four minutes on UV. Overall this is a great download, if only to play it once.
The /newstuff Chronicles #355