Chill 2 - Nautilus
Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 171627 bytes -
Reviewed by: Wills
A collection of five or so DM maps. Good texture usage that's seldom garish. Isn't particularly cramped, mostly smaller spaces with a few more open areas. Seems like a good enough place to frag some of your buddies.
The Facility - Bejiitas Wrath
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 415121 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
Two maps for Doom II, replacing Map07 and 08. The architecture and design is about average, and I hoped the author had actually put out a competent wad. No such luck, I'm afraid, as the gameplay is terrible. The first level has 900 monsters on HMP and not nearly enought supplies - imagine Hell Revealed, but with 1/4-1/5 the supplies. I gave up fairly soon, and an iddqd through the rest showed I was right to do so.
So I warped to Map08. For a while I thought the map was actually decent, at least fair. Then I ran into the ridiculous horde of Barons and Revenants after flipping the switch in the church area behind the blue door, and with nowhere near the necessary supplies around, I simply quit. It appeared as if I had finished most of the level anyways, and such blatant ridiculousness doesn't warrant further playing. If the author could learn what makes a good challenge, then he might make decent levels, but until then, please don't bother downloading this.
Nightmare! - Bejiitas_Wrath
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 621894 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
One map for the Scythe 2 wad, running on Map28. I'll get through the design and architecture rather quickly as, frankly, they don't really matter much (read on). In short, the design is very random and so is the architecture, consisting mostly of Scythe 2 or modified Scythe 2 textures. However, like most maps from this author (read recent reviews of "Trinity 2.0", "Phobos Nexus", "Simple Hellgate", and "At Hell's Entrance"), the gameplay is simply abysmal. To put it clearer: this level is next to impossible, if not impossible, to finish. You'll face hordes of enemies all the way through and get only isolated batches of health to recharge. I gave up a few minutes in, after seeing a massive fight with absolutely no health supply around, and I was already beaten down even before this fight. The screenshot shows the situation I was facing, and, trust me, there was not one health item around.
So I iddqd'd the rest, and for the most part, that trend only continues, and there's at least one other deadly battle before you find any health at all. Ironically, the ammo is rather plentiful, but the author has to learn that abundant ammo doesn't make up for ridiculous health placement, and in the case of some of his other maps, vice-versa. This map might live up to its name for the best Doom gods out there, but for the rest of us it's a horrible exercise in frustration if it's even possible.
However despite all that, I don't necessarily recommend skipping this wad. Instead, I recommend that if you do decide to download this wad, simply remember to load this wad before loading the main Scythe 2 wad file.
Deimos Revisited Version 2 bug fixes - Sniper 109
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 1529990 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
Four maps for Doom II, in a sort of E2/E3 theme. These maps aren't awful, but they're not that good either - they sort of just miss the mark. To begin, the new guns need more work - the chaingun nearly flashes the screen, and the rapid fire pistol just didn't seem all that good, just to name the most obvious stuff I noticed. Also, while the levels vary in difficulty, the fights are all ordinary; few if any are that interesting. The architecture, too, is average, nothing more or less.
In addition, there are some definite annoyances in the maps themselves. Map01 has a teleporter "guessing game", where you have to enter through the correct of eight sides to reach a key. Map02 has an incredibly tedious fight about midway through, because you have only weak ammo against stronger monsters including a Pain Elemental. Map03 has the biggest fault, as it appears that even after killing the Spider at the end you can't reach the exit and are trapped, apparently a bug. Map04 seemed pointless, just run to the teleporter and then fire at a quickly growing horde of monsters until the game ends automatically.
Overall, as much as I wanted not to, I have to recommend skipping this. It was close, but they are just enough issues that I just don't think it's worth your time. But it's not downright horrid (other than the bug), so feel free to download and decide for yourself. I think with some more work the author could make much better levels.
Satan's Angel - Death-Destiny
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 129514 bytes -
Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
Well here we have a Plutonia map from Death-Destiny. According to the text file, this map was inspired by some other Plutonia map that I have probably never played as a result of having never been much of a fan of the original Plutonia, and thus I don't know how much this map resembles the original.
But moving on.....
This is a rather long map and can take roughly 20-25 minutes to beat. The map uses mostly brick textures; there are some metal textures used as well here and there, but for the most part the map appears to be aiming for some sort of a underground brick theme, and it succeeds in doing that rather nicely (just look at the screenshots). Some more texture variety would have been appreciated, however, as the level looks a little dull with all of those brown textures all over the place.
Overall though, the level looks great.
The map does however screw up a lot in the gameplay department. While the final portion of the map was pretty entertaining, a very large chunk of everything that happened before that can only be described as frustrating, annoying and just not fun.
The map is obviously intended to be very difficult, but that is not the problem I have with this map, since I have played and enjoyed a good number of high difficulty levels in the past. The biggest problem with the map is HOW it succeeds in making itself difficult to play.
This is a very open map (despite begin underground) and there are monsters all over the place, and the player spawns right in the smacking middle of it at the start of the level, so unless you enjoy gifts such as super fast reflexes, you will probably get roasted right away the first time you attempt to play the map. Once the map starts, odds are that the first thing you will is run around wildly as you attempt to find some place where you can catch your breath for a moment and just figure out what the hell is going on before the monsters (many of whom you can't even see right away) turn you into bacon. And after you have escaped from the early madness, the frustration doesn't end.
I remember this one particularly frustrating moment where I was in some sort of a hallway, and I pressed a switch that caused loads of monsters to attack me, and the only way to escape was by entering a teleporter that was located behind the monster horde, and a arch-vile just so happened to be dancing around on that same teleporter; I only had a limited amount of ammo, so I could not kill all of the monsters. "I know! This is a puzzle where I have to kill the arch-vile and get out of here!" I thought to myself. And then after dying over and over, I finally managed to kill the arch-vile before the other monsters vaporized me and entered the teleporter, but instead of ending up at a safe location where I just assumed I would be allowed to catch my breath, the first thing I saw once I had teleported to the other side was a horde of monsters that surrounded the teleporting site, and they blasted me to pieces little more than 2 seconds after I had entered the teleporter.
These sort of things happen all the bloody time in this level!
Here are just some of the issues I discovered while playing the map:
- Monsters shoot you from where you can't see them.
- Monsters are sometimes brought back to life by Arch-viles that you can't see, making it impossible to kill the monster that is being brought back to life until later in the map after you kill the arch-vile (this may not sound like a problem, but it really is, since the map makes it difficult to hide from monsters at times).
- You enter a teleporter and then teleport to a location where you are surrounded my monsters who kill you almost at once, unless you either just so happened to be holding a BFG with lots of ammo at the time, or if you already knew what was coming (very unlikely unless you have already died at least once).
- Arch-viles are sometimes located behind hordes of other monsters, and it can make it very difficult to kill the arch-vile since it just keeps bringing all of the monsters in front of it back to life. To be fair, I doubt this can be considered poor enemy placement since the Arch-vile's purpose is bringing dead monsters back to life in the first place, but this is a cheap tactic that I have NEVER been fond of.
- Monsters often ambush you in a way that, unless you already know where to go and how to react before they actually ambush you, then you are probably going to die.
In case you haven't already guessed it, this map has A LOT of trial and error gameplay in it. You enter a new area and die, load your last save and then attempt to prevent the same baddies from killing you again since you now know where they are located. It's not completely terrible or anything, but it is still tedious enough to damage the quality of the level considerably in my opinion.
There are, of course, those who would argue that all of this complaining about the level begin unfair is baseless since it adds "tension" to the gameplay.
And it DOES add tension, just like how knowing that you might potentially be stabbed in the neck from behind at any given time while opening your refrigerator adds tension to your lunch break........
The fact is that there is a difference between making a map challenging and just throwing the player into situations where no mortal being could be expected to survive without any knowledge of what is about to happen.
Still, the late portion of the level is pretty enjoyable, and the map isn't so hard that it's completely impossible to beat, even despite the flaws described above. You will collect all of the weapons except for the shotgun and the chainsaw and you will face most of the Doom 2 monsters (there don't appear to be any zombies or shotgun zombies in the level, though).
So is this map bad or good? Well, I am sort of having problems deciding, to be honest.
If I had to describe the whole level with a single phrase, it would be "visually pleasing but pretty frustrating".
In the end, I can only recommend this map to Doomers who are looking for a tough and a difficult challenge, but even then you can probably find better maps out there.
Heretic Treasure Chest episode 1 - Heretic Treasure Chest team
Limit Removing, Heretic Support - Solo Play - 2941468 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
Nine maps for Heretic, and Heretic maps are indeed rare to begin with. These maps are decidedly a mixed bag. On one hand you have E1M5, which is an awesome level. It's huge, plays well, and is a challenge. However, some maps, like the first, are somewhat meh, and then there's some average—perhaps slightly above average—maps. The last level is also a disappointment: no big fight, and not enough monsters period. Most of the other levels seemed decent, but nothing special, although E1M4 has serious theme clashes. In the end, however, this pack definitely avoids the "this sucks" category, and Heretic wads are few and far between, especially compared to Doom, so I definitely have to give it at least a lukewarm recommendation, especially for Heretic fans. I did get some enjoyment out of it myself, and I do await future releases involving this project. But on the other hand, it's nowhere near as good as some Heretic classics, like Hordes of Chaos or the recent Curse of D'sparil.
Hellfire 2 - Shadowman
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3428597 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
Seven maps for Doom II. The first is sort of an introduction map, where your environment starts as a house but then gets run over by monsters. It's short, but a cool concept. The remaining six levels are of different themes. Map02 is a lot like Inflation Bay by the same author, right down to the music - you could probably call it "Inflation Bay 2", and Map03 is some type of tech base - reminded me just a bit of Kobal. Map04 is a train full of monsters, followed by hellish themes in the next two levels. Map05 is actually a remake of one of the hell levels in the first Hellfire (Map21). Finally, Map07 is a non-hub version of Map03 in Cheogsh 2 - also it is just a bit less confusing/frustrating, although not a whole lot is changed, which lead to a disappointing end for me.
All in all, these maps have good architecture, the difficulty is about right, and they are quite a bit of fun, so in short this is definitely recommended for download. However, you might want to just skip the last level if you've had enough of it in Cheogsh 2 already - although it's a bit less frustrating, there isn't much new to see otherwise, nothing to make it worth replaying, especially if you were bored to tears playing it once. The bottom line is that it's quite a nice episode, though I have to admit that the author's decision to slap on an existing (and tiresome) level at the end was a real disappointment for me - nonetheless, it certainly doesn't make the other six levels worth skipping.
January Ninth - Jon 40oz Vail
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 200241 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This is a medium-sized level for Doom II. By the author of last year's Play When Bored series, this map is certainly worth a go whether you're bored or not. To start, the difficulty and balance is pretty good, even though there are no difficulty settings. The progression is also good, with occasional backtracking, but nothing extreme. This makes for enjoyable gameplay. The architecture is also nice to look at, without interfering with other aspects, and the new/modified textures blend in well. Design is nothing special, but perfectly competent. Finally, the music: while I didn't find it the most fitting, it is okay, and also a track I haven't already heard to death. All in all, it's well worth a go, and especially good for a map made in a rather short timeframe. Recommended.
Plutonia 2 High Resolution Textures Add-on - T.V.
n/a - n/a - 779549 bytes -
Reviewed by: StupidBunny
A high-resolution texture add-on designed specifically for use with Plutonia 2. The new graphics look okay, I guess, but the only replacements anyone will really notice are the title/interpic screens and the sky replacements. One of the skull switches was touched up, although in practice nobody will really catch the difference. Also, one of the sky textures doesn't tile properly, which kind of kills it. You might as well just play PL2 with the old textures, which looked fine anyway and tile better.
The Journey of King REoL - Mr. Freeze
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 30927 bytes
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This is one map for Doom II, and as the name hints at, it is some form of joke. I say "some form" because it does a really terrible job at it and manages to be 100% pointless and not even the slightest bit funny, not to mention it has absolutely nothing to do with the King REoL who used to make lots of maps (#fiffy#.wad) many years ago. [Ed: Sure it does. Georgef551 on the forums is King REoL.]
What we have here is two rooms, no monsters or items, and a lift that takes nearly two minutes to descend. The automap shows the author's name to the south of the playing area and "GTFO" (get the fuck out) to the north, which I have no idea what it means. Meanwhile the exit has "POST HELL" written besides it, which of course must be referring to the Doomworld forums section, but for what reason I have no idea, even combined with the aforementioned "GTFO" right above it. If this is supposed to have even the slightest point to it other than to get attention, I completely missed it. It certainly isn't worth my time to take any screenshots. I actually had a lot more fun writing this review than I did playing this level, and you might just have more fun reading it. Avoid at all costs, even if jokewads are just your thing.
Into Hell - Brian Knox aka "Snakes"
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 716970 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
Snakes has been bunking off college homework to bring you this little number.
It's a three course meal, jam packed with many tasty comestibles, and while it certainly isn't a Francis Bacon or a Pablo Picasso, it should sate the hunger of even the most seasoned Doom player.
Originally intended to make up an entire 11 map episode charting the marine's decent into the bowels of the Earth, Snakes' computer was affronted by a virus, so, alas and alack, we are graced with but three representatives of his work.
The first map is a preparation of the palate, really. A gun warmer. Demons lollop around the trench below as you frisk from room to room, dismembering all manner of hellspawn therein. In doing so, you begin to form an idea of Snakes' application of design, gameplay and architecture, all of which is pretty well done. Only a few tidbit flaws caught my attention.
For instance, it's always going to be a bit risky when you select "ashwall4" as your primary texture base. And there's lots of it. Granted, it is a subterranean map set, but I feel that if you are going to take the map to brown town you've got to ensure that it doesn't fall into the trap of becoming too mundane, and there sometimes isn't enough here to hoist it back into real vibrancy. Computer terminals also seem to crop up in the most unlikely and unconvincing of places at times, and the result can be quite dissonant.
But let's cut him some slack, Jack, because honesty speaking there's far more here to be held in reverence than otherwise.
There's plenty of space. The mood is dank and brooding, just like it ought to be. Health is sufficient, and ammo reserves never sink too low lest you get happy on the trigger. Moreover, more importantly, it's all very enjoyable to play through.
Past the first map the difficulty starts to pick up as well, and overall impressions are truly lifted by the end of the second, then all the way through the third. It's interesting, because these two maps are the ones the author was most speculative of with regard to their quality, yet I preferred them both over the first.
Other than that, there isn't a great deal more to promote here. I certainly hope, in the mean time, that the completion of the map set becomes a reality. Give it a spin.
Dagobah - Chris Wright
GZDoom - Solo Play - 34778 bytes -
Reviewed by: Farm Fresh
Sometimes, WADs with a very simple idea executed properly can be astoundingly good. Unfortunately, Dagobah is not one of those WADs. To quote the author, the map is "a series of six rooms with emphasis on intense battles rather than delicate architecture." This essentially boils down to some very dull moments of holding down the trigger and having monsters come through doors to their doom or imps getting hit from behind by a Cacodemon and infighting. Even on UV (the readme claims difficulty is not implemented, yet the monster count was higher on UV when I tested), the only times most players will die is either getting impatient and rushing into a room or falling prey to the one trap which will most likely send a dumb-fire Revenant rocket straight into your back before you even realize you triggered it. Health is enough to keep you going even if you make some mistakes and the ammo is just enough to let you get through, keeping you in reliance on drops from Former Sergeants and Chaingunners. In total, the map will probably take less than two minutes to complete, and I sadly can't say I really enjoyed the two minutes. The architecture is not horrible, but it's puzzling why the author would choose to create such a simple and tiny map instead of a decent sized one. There may be a few people who will appreciate it, but it's not going to be going on my hard drive any time soon.
Random SP (Random Single Player) - Cheetahmen
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1887729 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
The aptly named "Random Single Player" is a tantalizingly tasty treat of demon-gibbing goodness. Playing it may be likened to stealing into the pantry at night and gorging on French fancies, or (if you don't like the French) running over cane toads with a 4 by 4. The two seem rather dissimilar, but they both reward the partaker with that same vital sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that you don't get with many map sets. All in only 12, relatively short levels. So grab a beverage, sit yourself down and strap on a bib. This shit's about to get messy.
You're a marine (well you're dressed like one. You could be Nelson Mandela for all I know). Like most other marines, you like to spend the vast majority of your time waiting for the next demonic invasion in the backwaters of some Earth-based science facility. You have a gun, an implement with which you may spatter and spilleth the bloody bowels of your enemies, and a room, booked in advance, overlooking the briny brimstone shores of Hell.
So the premise isn't particularly particular... and bearing witness to the amusingly lackluster titlepic and the backs of three former humans upon start-up [HMP], you might be excused for conceding thoughts of asphyxiation. But the premise knows it's not down with the cool. The author knows it too, having not spent an overly long time writing up the interjecting plot lines, and it's part of the reason why this map set works so well.
The levels progress quite quickly through from tech to tech pit to tribute to town, and swiftly through the remaining compulsories, yet there remains a certain application of design at work all the while, keeping things interesting. It's mostly recognized by some focal area from which the rest of the level fans out, as well as the sometimes tedious trap settings. You are often entering and re-entering rooms with a clear sense of direction maintained, which is an achievement, all the while painting demon-spawn across fresh canvas as an enclave or passageway reveals itself.
Of course it's nothing new, and it's so linear that you'll probably never have back problems again, yet the way it's constructed means that the levels are all the more memorable. And then there's the quite frankly (who is Frank anyway?) awesome map names, which also might have something to do with it. The Degeneration Game? Kill It, Bang? Spline Reticulator? I have no idea what a spline is (possibly a blend of spine and spleen), but it sounds like it needs to be smashed.
Architecture is sound, and the detailing sits comfortably buoyant, being never too great or too little. Most of the time it's bang on the money, if ever so slightly underdone at times.
There are pockets of panic-ridden difficulty here and there, most of which don't make their debut until you waltz on into map05, but it's largely a tame game held aloft by a healthy surplus of ammo, health and a variety of powerups when the need arises. And it all paces itself pretty well.
That having been said, the near ending felt like it had spent most of its time "on the back burner" right up until release date, and as a result feels like a bit of a downer. All is forgiven though with the unequivocally ultimate, supremely sublime 12th map, a towering testament to map making mastery.
In conclusion, this is definitely an interesting slice of mapcake(?), and a few bugs aside (stuck monsters - a missing Cyberdemon), there's no excuse not to give this one a quick romp. It takes a while to reach full throttle, sure, but don't be put off, because in the end "Random SP" prevails (I've changed my mind, it's a great name!). It'll light your fire. Float your boat. Bustle your muscle. Genghis your Khan. Kama your Sutra.
Whatever turns you on, captain.
WARNING: This wad features several naff sounding custom sound replacements, a backward chainsaw and an ambidextrous Doom guy.
Alexmaxx - Chris Wright
GZDoom - Solo Play - 9220 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
One new map for Doom II. This level is extremely short, but actually isn't bad while it lasts. Unlike many tiny levels, there is some gameplay and the difficulty is there. The architecture is rather bland, but clearly that's not what the author was going for; he was going for quick, intense fun and succeeded in general. The map's so tiny that there really isn't much more to say. Overall, it's too small to really be that good, but if you only have a few minutes to kill, then consider downloading this.
Latchhatch - Chris Wright
GZDoom - Solo Play - 12234 bytes -
Reviewed by: printz
A simplistic map. It's made of a winding one-sector hallway followed by what you see in the screenshot. The combat ain't bad, though. It's exactly what it says on the tin. Also, it does not require GZDoom, it's a vanilla map.
The /newstuff Chronicles #362