Oldschool Duel - Whoo
doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 45088 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
This WAD offers two 'old-school' duel multiplayer maps that were made within 2 hours.
Indeed it is very old-school with very basic architectures I consider as good enough. Barely any details, so on the upside, there isn't anything protruding that blocks your movements. It is apparent that the texturing was rushed, looking messy in places, but nothing that irked my visual senses. The layout designs are very simple and confined, restraining the two players to very close encounters with mainly super-shotguns (this could be a good or bad thing for certain people). One thing that bothered me the most is the player respawn location, particularly in map02; the respawn locations are both located on one side in close proximity. Consequently, the layout isn't ideally utilized and respawn killings would occur often.
Bottom line: It's not bad but not good either. Play it if you truly have redundant time to waste.
Demontia - Jacob H. Orloff
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1214940 bytes -
Reviewed by: 40oz
Demontia is a single player short episode for ZDoom. The maps are relatively short, but the tough monsters will keep you at bay, making each map at least 3+ minutes of gameplay. There's a good bit of detail, meaning lots of sectors, but the map design is a little quirky for my tastes. There's a strict tech theme going on, but the texture usage is very random in each room. There can be GRAY1, STARTAN1, PIPE2, and METAL2, COMPSTA and COMPBLUE all in the same room at times.
But the gameplay, on the other hand, is pretty solid. Ammo was pretty tight, and you often have to deal with many different species of monsters at a time. And there are tons of traps to keep the gameplay exciting. TONS. Like just about any interactivity with the map triggers a negative consequence. The expectations of a trap are pretty predictable; you'll be tiptoeing into every room peeking around every corner, but what monsters show up, where they come from, and what method of ambush they assume is surprising much, if not all, the time. Often times when acquiring keys you are forced to deal with ambush after ambush after ambush, all of which are enough to wear you down, but are rarely bullshit 60-revenants-and-archviles-warp-into-one-room traps. Which is good because these maps rely on autosaving, as you don't get a generous amount of firearms at the start of each one.
I didn't truly like the looks of the map (but it wasn't piss awful), but it gets a solid thumbs up for gameplay.
Four Maps - Brian Knox aka "Snakes"
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 252267 bytes -
Reviewed by: Remiel
Our story begins in the saddest damn LAN in the UAC base, having two whole computers, one of which is hidden behind a locked door whose key has been displaced to the other end of the building, sucks to be that guy, and no chairs... Even worse, the reception sucks from two levels away, so the guys at MAP03 may as well be on a different planet even though they've got a much better setup with chairs, the bastards. The player perseveres and quietly tries to make ends meet from day to day knowing it's best for everyone until a zombieman corpse and a clip enter the room, driving him to launch into the heat of battle in a furious rage. It is time to throw the hell down with Hell.
Okay, let's get into the meat of the thing. Four Maps is four maps.
What do you mean I can't just write that.
This is basically an old-style .WAD. It's a nice little thing but it's pretty plain. The best part was launching MAP01 with Eternity and getting snapped to the console because of its one sexy, sloped mound in an outdoor area, I suppose, but I'm pretty tired.
The layouts alternate between open and techbasey with bright light settings, and enclosed and techbasey with dark light settings. . . and the gameplay starts out breezy and nonthreatening and culminates in being mildly disruptive, the work of that damn difficulty progression; teleports, monster closets and medium enemies towards the thing's ending half, a lot like a... uh... nevermind, I have no idea. The first two maps look like Hell Revealed-style levels from here, I guess, with one recreation of HRMAP01's Extra Joy Demon Party Yacht Suspension Case and all.
Four Maps later, you win! All in all, it never stings a guy too bad, but it never means to. It's a quick little number and it's short too, so give it a call if you're looking for field to play.
Imperfection Has Its Charms - Josh 'Joshy' Sealy
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1234224 bytes -
Reviewed by: Patrick
If imperfection could be perfected, this is what it would look like (don't think about that too much.) When I say this wad reminds me of a 1994 wad, I don't mean it as an insult. This wad has a very classic feel about it and goes as far as to use Doom's original soundtrack to achieve the 1994 feel without the 1994 crappiness. The overall layouts of the levels are well thought out, but the switch hunting does get a bit tedious in some maps. Also, most of the maps start off in small, dark, cramped areas that don't really represent the overall quality of the maps, so don't judge the maps by the first few minutes. Upon exploration, I found some very cool areas and some really excellent map design. None of the fights really kicked my ass too hard, which is always good. While these maps certainly don't bring anything new to the table of the zillions of wads out there, it does stand out as a certain "standard" in Doom mapping. Overall, it was a good and fun experience and comes highly recommended.
Phobos Nexus - Bejiitas Wrath
doom.exe - Solo Play - 187577 bytes -
Reviewed by: 40oz
This is a less than interesting single player map for Doom 1. It's large but not long to play. The gameplay is a little annoying due to its immense size; monsters tend to snipe at you a lot over long distances. There aren't many weapons and ammo given at the start, but it tends to pick up toward the end (where it's less and less needed).
The amount of detail and sectors and aligned textures is way behind on the timeline. WAY behind.
The map isn't very memorable in itself and doesn't really live up to the standards that I would recommend someone play.
This map would be less enjoyable if it had more Spider Masterminds.
Doom 2 Reloaded - Andy Stewart
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 4375631 bytes -
Reviewed by: 40oz
Doom 2 Reloaded is a vanilla megawad. A full 32 maps. The plot is apparently a portrayal of what Doom 2 should have been given its interpreted storyline, as opposed to an assortment of random maps with text scene intermissions scattered about that DOOM2.wad really was.
This megawad is done in a hub style, meaning you often exit a map via walkover line in a hallway, and the next map starts in that same hallway, to imitate a Half-Life styled experience. Many other things, particularly in the architecture of the maps, make it feel like Half-Life too, including things like climbing through ventilation shafts and being able to clearly interpret what a switch's purpose is just because of the shape of the apparatus in front of it. The mapper ideally wanted to create a journey for the player, rather that just some random assortment of maps.
The wad's maps look like the places they are supposed to look like in real life, such as office buildings with the token bathrooms with zombiemen in the men's and imps in the lady's. This is something we saw a lot in 1995 when people creating their own maps that depict real life scenarios using MS Paint textures got popular (and yes, this wad does have MS Paint textures), but this style only works for wads like PHOBOS.wad, which are more made for show than for gameplay.
That said, due to that mapping style, gameplay is irritating. Monsters are often placed in annoying camper/sniping areas. Too many times I had to fight shotgun guys and imps on top of a really tall stack of crates, or on a bridge 2.4 miles away. To top that off, a lot of maps do not feature early weapon items, so if you are pistol starting something, look forward to fighting hell barons and mancubuses with a pistol or shotgun alone. I sort of rushed to get this wad over with, because I really was not enjoying it.
The maps are not very detailed by today's standards, and probably aren't very good looking for the past couple years of wads too; as a mapper who's listened to other people's criticism in my own maps as well as others, it has a lot to do with the textures. There are a lot of Doom textures, modified Doom textures, and some MS Paint textures that simply aren't fitting to grasp that "real life" effect the mapper was intentionally going for. There are definitely some good bits of cool architecture and nice rooms, but you really have to trudge your way through to see them, because there are too few. It is kinda like searching through Maximum Doom for all the good wads.
I admire one's ability to create a full 32 maps single-handedly, but without prior Doom mapping experience, the result simply is not that good.
CASTLE ZDoom Edition V2 - Joe Anderson
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 217438 bytes -
Reviewed by: Remiel
Here's a thing. It looks like a triple-role-fulfilling level set; solo/co-op and deathmatch all at the same damn time. It's kind of bad, really, but look at the ambition damn you.
There's a questionable half, which is the single player, and a useless half, which is the deathmatch. The deathmatch is... it's all either squares interconnected by doors, or literal squares, just with things in them. Present are teleporters that somehow fail to fucking work even though they're teleporters and they work in all the single player levels. I can relate, though, since I probably wouldn't want to properly tag all the teleporter lines in these levels either.
The SP aspect wins the most bread. The player gets to experience difficulty that isn't difficult, and flow as disjointed as my writing that connects a spontaneously shape-shifting layout whose overall level of detail is situated between the early and mid-90s. It looks like a castle, and about as often, it can be whatever the hell else instead. I pretended it was an amusement park until the lighting drove me to power straight through to resist the evil threatening to corrupt me into a uniformly 255-light sector. For a small admission fee, you can observe the randomly consistent texture alignments, the doorways too narrow for the door textures, the inescapable hazard pits, the plasma cell pack located in a spot that gets the player stuck behind a fucking tree, the random crusher traps and even the particle fountains. It's all safe, even the Courtyard With a Bunch of Crap In It; the management's only warning is not to fall into the Elemental Plane of Water through the misconstructed deep water pool. You can just step out, but why risk provoking Acwalandar with your foolish trespass in the first place, mortal?
It's the usual cruft until its outstanding boss encounters, a debacle in MAP03 where basic cyberdemon evasion becomes silly on on UV once the player is asked to squeeze around two cyberdemons in a round room that can't fit one and one half shoulder-to-shoulder (then asked to drop back in from above and risk getting dragon punched by a rocket to escape), a cyberdemon battle on MAP04 that neatly trivializes itself by the volume of crap it awards as preparation (and by making the entire room a slow crusher to paralyze them for you), and the last map, a spiderdemon duel set in a completely open room that gets you shot at... from wherever you're standing, really. A BFG-or-bust fight that doesn't give you a BFG. You get a rocket launcher. Pretty ungreat. Not ungood, like Vile Flesh, just ungreat.
Business Complex - Brokenglass
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 569233 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
This is a single map that requires Evilution IWAD as it utilizes a lot of TNT textures.
This is a pretty less than mediocre map. The design is awful overall. I found myself using 'idbeholdl' often as it was getting increasingly frustrating with the lack of lighting variation. HOMs, bleeding and disorganized textures everywhere do not help either. It is often cramped at times and the layout design is confusing at times. It's hard to tell where to go most of the time, and there isn't much sense of progression (for me, that is). At one point you are meant to kill a single keen, concealed in darkness surrounded with tree sprites and that nasty TNT fence texture, to be able to proceed any further. The gameplay is difficult, but unfortunately, on very few occasions it made me shout out all the Bill Paxton quotes from Aliens in a positive way. That said, it is often frustrating. Most are teleporting ambushes that comes in hordes consisting of archviles, revenants, chaingunners and hell knights in smallish rooms. The rest are alcoves stuffed with hitscan nasties. It felt as if there was no variation and that was a major letdown for me. Health and ammo was just okay. It could've used a rocket launcher to dispel some of the tedious teleporting ambushes.
On the plus side, I could see some forms of creativity secreting in this map. Some interesting formed cars albeit textured badly. Some interesting layout designs. Some aspect of the gameplay was challenging to the point that was acceptable. I noticed that the author had tested the map with Doomsday which would explain all the HOMs but that is no excuse. A good effort from the author but there is still a lot to improve on.
The Bone Yard - Claude Matherne
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 118803 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
This WAD includes 3 shortish techbase maps for Doom 2.
This isn't a bad mapset at all. They are the fast and fresh kind where gameplay would last around 2-5 minutes each. I am a fan of these kind of maps as I have the attention span of a goldfish. The maps are mostly simple in design but they're "good" simple (if there is such a thing). There are nice lighting variations, the layouts are okay, texturing are mostly done with taste and the gameplay doesn't drag on with good variation of traps. My only qualms are some areas are too bare and the texturing are sometimes humdrum. The gameplay is too easy with the hell knight being the strongest enemy you will encounter. There are also some HOMs in Map03 (Thanks to the GZDOOM port the author used for testing).
Bottom-line: Give these maps a quick playthrough, especially if you're an avid fan of Scythe-like maps.
Sniper 109's DeathMatch - Sniper 109
doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 241958 bytes -
Reviewed by: Whoo
I've played Sniper 109's maps before and they didn't seem to be very impressive. Some maps in this, however, seemed to be much better. While some are worse than others, it's a pretty decent level set.
Let's start with the good ones. MAP01 is a prime example. This map plays very well; the item placement is good. However, there are some places where some impassible lines could be placed. I noticed this intensely when I was playing this and got blasted above a wall that separates the map from the skybox.
All was swell and dandy until MAP04 loaded. This was the first of the bad maps to come. This room, seemingly made in ten minutes or less, is simply an open hexagonal room. This map barely has any cover, the same for items. To add to that, the middle of this map is filled with barrels.
When I got to MAP06, I was seriously confused. This whole set had been using Doom textures, while this map randomly switches to Wolfenstein textures. This map would be a better fit at the end instead of in the middle where it interrupts the theme halfway through.
By MAP09 I was pretty convinced 109 was running out of ideas. This map is just a room of crates. 64 pixel width, and 64 pixel height. Everywhere. This not only gives a poor deathmatch experience, but also poor map quality as well. Almost everything is dark to add to it.
MAP10 tries to take on a city look, but the exterior of the main room kills it. It's very open, with few places to take cover.
109 also doesn't align most textures with flats in this set. Bricks suffer from this the most. The tops of sectors appear cut off with the used texture, and the same goes for the bottom of those sectors.
If you're looking for a decent set of classic levels, I'd recommend to give this a try. It's not worth playing constantly, but is worth it to check out.
Assaryth - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 82019 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
This is a single map that occupies MAP14 using Doom 2.
This is a mediocre map at best. The design is way too simple and random. Most are randomly shaped empty sprawling hallways occupied with only a few monsters. Texturing is monotonous, unclean and has random themes conjoined. Gameplay was too easy thanks to the sheer size of the hallways. At no point did I feel even remotely challenged on UV. You get the feeling there isn't much thought put into this, despite the fact that it was made within 12 hours.
Bottom-line: There isn't much to say about this unfortunately. Give it a miss.
Meaga - Ivano Lich
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 108260 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Green Herring
According to the oddly-worded text file, this level was apparently meant to be MAP01 of a Doom II episode, but the author no longer had the time to work on it, so he released the one level he finished. He also claims that the level should work in "almost all limit removing ports," but it uses Boom-specific linedef actions, including transparent midtextures, height transfers, and a few voodoo doll scripts, one of which renders the level impossible if unsupported. In any case, it's a short level that starts with the player being teleported through darkness, and then thrown into a techbase predominantly made of rusted metal. Set to the background music from TNT: Evilution MAP22: Habitat, this level boasts a reasonable mix of textures, with none standing out as out of place, nor any glaring errors in texture alignment. An interesting special effect causes imps to drop in out of pipes, although if you look closely, you can see the sectors lowering them in (screenshot 2.) Height transfers are used to make solid windows, but if you stand at certain heights, the use of the effect in the last room is ruined by the floor of the dummy sector being visible (screenshot 6.) Otherwise, the author effectively establishes the level's setting with a good level of detail, although perhaps a light beam or two could have been added somewhere.
That said, as mentioned earlier, this was intended to be MAP01 of an episode — and it shows. The opposition is generally weak, and the level itself is so short that the whole thing can be completed in less than a minute — or half of one. While the level is thus suitable for its intended purpose, this makes it inadequate as a standalone WAD. The author does make some interesting use of the space he has in the second room, but it's not enough to make the level stand out. If the author wanted to show a preview of his episode, perhaps he could have waited until he had two or three finished levels before releasing it — or, better yet, wait until he had the whole episode finished. Fortunately, apart from the compatibility errors mentioned above, there are no show-stopping bugs in this level.
In general, though, this level, by itself, is nothing to write home about. Perhaps the full episode, if the author ever finds the time to finish it, will be better. At this stage, you could try it out at least once, but don't expect a challenge.
Highlands - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 62068 bytes -
Reviewed by: Abyssalstudios1
Highlands is a promising map that quickly becomes too easy.
The start of the map is interesting and ominous enough: a silver and gray room, with good lighting and an impressive array of protective items. I immediately begin to feel uneasy, and open the door to the outside. But despite (or probably because of) the goodies that were so generously given to me, the map was easy. I mean, really easy. The thing that Mr. Wright must understand is, the plasma rifle is probably the perfect all-around Doom weapon. It has range, accuracy, speed, and firepower. When I'm never below 300 cells, I'm not going to use the SSG. So stop putting it in the map.
The architecture is... different. In same cases it's appealing, but it looks as if Chris lost his desire for excellence after the first few rooms. One building is constructed entirely of lava, which gave me the odd feeling of walking in Jell-O.
But two invincibility spheres kill off any semblance of difficulty. Perhaps (on UV at least) these spheres could have been removed, but I took out all monsters (fodder and boss alike) without any difficulty.
Gameplay: While it can be fun to slam into a horde of enemies with a plasma rifle or BFG9k, that usually gets old very fast.
Balance: In my favor. There are stimpacks and large amounts of ammo liberally scattered all over the place. I believe I picked up three Soulspheres and two blue armor sets.
Detail: The lighting is fairly good, but a lot of the texture choices don't make sense to me. Shimmering blue circuitry isn't supposed to stick out of solid rock. But the "hovering" pinkies were a neat trick.
Stomping Grounds - Morpheus
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 393911 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Green Herring
This is Morpheus's third solo effort, after Technophobia Overdose and Communications Center. Although the WAD's text file claims that it was created for "any limit removing port," you specifically have to use a Boom-compatible source port to play it, as it uses several Boom-specific features, including transparent midtextures, generalized doors which will impede progress if unsupported, and even a voodoo doll script. The setting is a techbase with a healthy variety of textures that never seem out of place, with an outdoor section that can be safely skipped, all set to an adrenaline-pumping MIDI (by Lexus Alyus) which is put together quite well. For the most part, the design is up to 2009 standards, with detail on the walls, floor, and ceiling that, unlike some more amateur efforts at such, don't appear to have been added for the sake of increasing the number of sectors. However, the bending BRICK6 pillars near the start of the level look a bit off (screenshot 3,) and the red key pillar looks incredibly silly once it sinks into the ground (screenshot 7,) which could have been avoided by using a "lower floor to 8 above highest floor" linedef type instead of a regular floor-lowering one. There's also a spot of odd lighting where an octagonal sector with three small light sectors in it is brighter than its surroundings despite having no visible light source of its own (screenshot 5.) One flat (TEKWALL4) is not the required size for a flat (256×64 instead of 64×64), which means it looks a bit strange in Boom, but fortunately, it does not prevent the level from running.
The gameplay generally has you running through the base, slaughtering anything in your way, as the average level is wont to do. Generally, the level is on the easy side, although novice players might have a bit of trouble in some parts such as the ending fight. There are just a few traps around the level, and adding a few more might have made things more interesting. That said, there is a good "fake-out" at one point in the map, although if you're using Boom, you can outrun the script once you're familiar with it, and once you know what to do. Like I mentioned, the outdoor section is optional unless you're going for 100% Kills, as it contains a few extra monsters. Even then, though, it's so optional that it's easy to forget to go there. Sadly, if you're playing the level in Boom, the one secret area in this level is sealed off by a compatibility bug: the secret door cannot be opened because it's a switch-activated door without a tag, which only works in ZDoom-based source ports. Not only that, but even if you're able to open it, there's a blatant visual glitch where part of its texture moves with the door, but the rest of it doesn't. It's a bit strange that this wasn't caught by either one of the playtesters.
Overall, apart from its few compatibility errors and some visual oddities, this is a decent level. You ought to try it at least once, although you'll need a ZDoom-based port if you want to reach the secret.
Planet Hell - Ralf Wueltener
doom.exe - Solo Play - 387825 bytes
Reviewed by: Mithral_Demon
This is a magnificent episode to play through, it is as it claims to be, its difficulty is of episode 3 Inferno and the design is great.
+It has a well balanced monster and health placement.
-But not so much on ammo, had to go fisting about 75% time due to some ammo shortages.
+Architecturally designed well, decent traps like on E2M2 at the beginning where you have to step off or get crushed.
-Damaging floors were used a little too much.
In all, this is a great map set, has the classical feel, but with the design, as much as it is good, it is better off placed in E3 instead of E2 (E2 is mixture of hell and tech and E3 is mainly hell). Anything from Ralf Wueltener seems promising on gameplay and classic feeling.