The Prototype: A Tribute Mod - Richard Smith Long
GZDoom - Solo Play - 3695184 bytes -
Reviewed by: CowboyAndy
Richard Long (AKA: "Dick S. Long". *sigh*) brings us "The Prototype: A Tribute Mod". And "tribute" seems to be the best term to describe Long's efforts here. "The Prototype" is a practical love-letter to ZDoom weapon mods like "Zen Dynamics" and "Zero Tolerance". However, "The Prototype" isn't without its own ideas, and adds some more life to your old single-player WADS.
Story-wise, you play as special soldier (read: an edited 'Strife' sprite) whose mission is to finish the never-ending war between Earth and Hell.
But who cares about the story? You're here to gib some shit up, Doom style, and "The Prototype" offers plenty of firepower for that. You've got your traditional weapons, like a sub-machine gun pistol (from "Zen Dynamics") and a shotgun (from Duke 3D). And then you've got your more futuristic Plasma Rifle and BFG replacements (a fusion-cell powered assault rifle, and a plasma-rail-gun... thing, respectively). All guns have reloading, but only the chainsaw and plasma-rail-gun have alternate fire.
"The Prototype" also includes some additional enemy and item types. Enemies range from new breeds of Imps to a pain in the ass chainsaw zombieguy. On the items side, things are a little more interesting: we get a portable sentry-gun and a "nuclear booster" which powers up all weapons (think of a fancier version of Quad Damage from Quake).
I only have two complaints about this weapon set. First, you have no stock melee weapon. None. Out of ammo, and you didn't pick up a chainsaw? You're shit outta luck, friend. Second, all guns have a recoil, which makes things particularly difficult when you're using a straight-up keyboard configuration. (You might want to map "center view" pretty close to your fire button then).
Overall, "The Prototype" is a fun little weapon mod. If you've played "Zen Dynamics" or "Zero Tolerance" before, you're not missing too much here. But if you want to gib some shit up (and don't mind weapon recoil, a missing fist attack, or the fact that the author's nickname is "Dick S. Long"), give "Prototype" a whirl.
Malinku's speedmapping session 1 - Malinku, Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri & Philnemba
Skulltag - Deathmatch - 168903 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
Four quickly made DM maps within 24 hours. Two are decent (Map02 and 04) as a result of competent layout followed by sufficient structure/texturing and average gameplay flow. Map02 is a simple arena-styled map that plays okay as it provides nicely paced shooting spree sessions. Map04's layout is nicely done and the structure looks good utilising new textures; basically all is aptly done for a nice DM map.
So that's the decent maps; now we go to the maps under the title "best-not-mentioned" (well I'm sure you can choose an adjective that would aptly describe the maps). Map01 and map03 suffers from either bland monotonous designs, poorly thought-out layouts, and/or annoying gameplay flows. Map01 consists of rows and rows of copy-and-pasted pillars occupying a very orthogonal map with the occasional hallways, etc. (basically adding frustration to boredom which is akin to something that isn't worth looking up to compare with). Map03's layout is pretty bad and would only frustrate players with the amount of lumpy floors and pits easily fallen in with shoddy texturing added into the mix. All was made within 24 hours, but I believe Map01 and 03 are very below average compared to other speedmaps. Have a quick play on Map02 and 04; otherwise, give it a miss.
32in24-9: Return of DUEL CORE - The 32in24 Team!
Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 1886244 bytes -
Reviewed by: crisandwitch
32in24-9: Return of DUEL CORE was intended to be a 24 hour speedmapping megawad with its theme being duels, but it ended up spanning 5 days. As with all open community mapping projects, you end up with a wide spread of both gameplay and detail, and this project is no exception. Included are maps that have detail flowing out of every corner and are pleasing to look at, while there are also maps that use barely more than one texture and have bland boxy shapes.
Then there is gameplay flow and its spaces. Some maps flow beautifully with wide (but not too wide) areas, curves and connectivity between locations. Others have consistently tight cubic 64px wide hallways (or areas way too wide), dead ends, or that force game flow in one direction.
As this wad has 44(!) maps I'm not going to sit here and type out a mini review for each one; instead, I chose three that illustrate the best of the collection, and then randomly chose five others to give a good idea of what the rest of the maps will be like.
The best few maps merge both detail and flow together to make a fully enjoyable duel map.
Map 19 is a bit large for a duel map but is small enough to work with only two people. It has a consistent theme and detail level. However, what sold this for me was how new paths open and close depending where the players are.
Map 29 is easily one of the better duels in terms of flow and detail. It is possible to get to nearly anywhere from anywhere, and it has a nice quick paced layout.
Map40 proves that not everything is a beauty pageant. It uses only a few different textures, but more than makes up for it in gameplay. It has a nice height difference and flows well, showing that all of its jumps were made carefully.
Now for the random five snapshot of the rest of the wad.
Map13 is a detailed frag box with an upper level that encourages getting to it as you can control both power weapons by doing so; however, it is easy to sneak up there out of sight with some creative jumping.
Map17, a raised circle above a lava pit that hurts you slowly if you fall off, has no way back up. Enjoy your slow death... not too fun to play, on honestly.
Map26 looked good but had some segmental flow issues in its back corners by trying to fit every texture theme into itself, but its cat-and-mouse/rocket launcher + window dynamic was entertaining and prevented camping.
Map33 is your standard duel map. It looks good, plays good, and you have to take a moment if you want that power weapon, always a good thing for small maps.
Map44 split me, I would have liked it, but it forced the game to go in one direction around its two rings with elevators that only go down...
Together these 5 maps show a good random sample of all 44: you have some great maps, and others that could have been omitted or polished. Overall, it's worth going through this pack to find the maps you like once, then playing them for a few rounds with your friends (or community), but don't expect it to dethrone the most popular duel wads.
Russian Arsenal - zer0 aka Jekyll Grim Payne
GZDoom - n/a - 5187376 bytes
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
Unlike so many others of its kind, Russian Arsenal is a mod that isn't left spluttering and flailing about on a sea of interminably shoddy weapon replacements, without so much as a hope of lasting longer than one rotation of the Earth on one's computer. Rather, it sits comfortably high aboard the Noah's Ark - or shall we say stolen freighter - of weapon replacements, and from the faithfulness of the weapons to their originals to the balanced gameplay, it shows. Everything feels pretty much bang on.
First however: the sprites. Jekyll said in the text file they weren't really up to snuff, and sure enough they do look to be a little washed out and noticeably cropped. The idle animations are usually exempt from this visual flaw, at least to the degree that they aren't distracting or anything, so it's evident mostly only during the firing frames. Ultimately however it's what comes out of the gun that matters, the sound that it makes, as well as the animations, and in this regard I'd be struggling to fault any of them even if I went searching on my hands and knees. The sprites issue, therefore, dissolves away in a matter of minutes.
What you're left with is raw, bloody carnage...
The shotty; the 47; the grenade launcher... I felt like a dog locked up at Furniture Superstore. The functionality of the weapons is just so well done that, even with semi-redundant numbers like the PM pistol replacement, you're quite happy to let rip a few rounds despite it probably not being the wisest solution to your current predicament (that, and it holds unique ammunition which warrants expenditure). In addition, you most likely won't find yourself likened to only a select one or two weapons after an hour or so of play because of this functionality, unless of course, like me, you reserve an insatiable lust in defacing demons with your bare hands: The fists are seemingly designed almost to dissuade you from gun usage entirely because they are such a joy to use. Or perhaps they are the ones that use you as you're dragged about semi-possessed, playing Jenga with the arms and legs of your victims.
To get a real idea of what I'm blabbering on about, try laying into a Mancubus with these fists. As you connect, it's almost as if you can see the thick lard rippling outward; feel the fatty folds curdle beneath your blazing hot knuckles...
I'm honestly finding it difficult to pick out any real flaws, and it's almost making me feel inadequate as a reviewer. I could point out the possible slowdown from excess blood formed by grenade shrapnel when combating large hordes, but this is from the fellow who brought you Beautiful Doom, so it's a given really. I could too question the zombies having their weapons replaced, and the arguable disruption that it causes to the monster makeup of some maps, but that would also be splitting hairs. So I'll just come out with the consensus: It's crisp, refined, very fun, and strawberry delicious. "Dribble down your chin as you stuff-the-last-one-in" delicious, even. Well worth your time, in other words.
My only one remaining regret is that the magazine size for the AK-47 wasn't large enough to survive the whole length of "Gangster Johnny's" firing scene from Home Alone. Because that really would have made my day.
Get this mod.
And "keep the change, ya filthy animal."
Charmander skins from Attack of the Anatomically Correct Charmanders! - Kilkakon; KonfluxGames
Skin Support - n/a - 386183 bytes -
Reviewed by: Philnemba
A bunch of Charmander skins for any source port that supports skins. For some strange reason, most of the skins look the same and some have the same taunts. I really wouldn't recommend downloading this, but if you like Pokemon, then give it a go.
Axebreaker - Chris Wright
GZDoom - Solo Play - 31654 bytes -
Reviewed by: Philnemba
Another map created by Chris Wright who has been making a lot of maps lately. The main concept of this map is that there is a Spider mastermind guarding the exit and you need to find better weapons to kill it. Due to the small size of the map and with less than 40 monsters, this is a very easy task to do (even on UV). Although this is technically a speedmap, I find the map very dull looking and looks like it was made in 94/95. Despite that, I find this map somewhat enjoyable for at least 5 minutes of my time.
squipple - goldenhog
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 43075 bytes
Reviewed by: Hellbent
If you don't like trial and error in a Doom map, this wad might try your patience. If you like something that is a little bit off the beaten path of straightforward Doom 2 gameplay, then you might want to check this one out.
I liked this map. It has straightforward design with not much detail, but tastefully done, with some nice creative touches lending the map a nice character and atmosphere. Nothing groundbreaking here, just simple, effective map design. Despite what your first experience might be playing this map, it is well thought out. The map has an indoor dungeon-esque feel to it. It reminded me, in parts, of Wolfenstein 3D, in a good way. A nice little sojourn if you're looking for something not too difficult, with fun, if unorthodox gameplay dynamics.
There are some problems with this map that I encountered. I couldn't figure out how to get the one shotgun. I was able to complete it without it, but such a fundamental weapon should be easier to get. Also, the difficulty of the secrets wasn't really fitting with the simplicity of the map. A line trigger in one of the corridors in order to lower the shotgun would have been nice.
Upon my first outing, the ammo in this map felt extremely tight. If you don't do the map in the right sequence, you are going to have a difficult time, and not as much fun. If there had been more ammo, though, the map would have not been challenging at all, and would not have been nearly as interesting or fun, nor would it have been substantial enough as an outing. I found this map to have fun gameplay dynamics, but I suspect many will not care for it, because they will not give it a chance.
I very much liked the level's progression and overall balance in layout and sense of journey from start to finish. The author did a good job with consistency of design and motif. Though this map is simple, it has a well thought out and effective design, leaving me wanting more. I would like to play more offerings of this ilk from this author.
The map has good replay value as well. There are many different strategies you can try. The third time playing the map was the most fun as I figured out the right sequence to do it. Doing the different areas of the map in the right sequence is the key to success.
Brood of Hatred - Christian Lian
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1013700 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
One map for Doom II, which runs on Map22. The map is in the hellish style, with lots of new textures to boot. They all blend in well, and help create a slightly more original feel, unlike most stock hellish levels. It is also the author's first release, but don't worry, because it was extensively tested and critiqued right here on Doomworld before release. As thus, most of the typical first map bugs have been spotted and fixed. Unfortunately I do have to keep it at "most", because I spotted three things: a badly misaligned texture near a lift about midway through, a series of stimpacks in front of switches behind locked doors that rise too high to be picked up, and finally, the inability to get 100% kills much of the time due to a few monsters that get stuck and don't teleport when they should.
But on to the map itself, this is simply an awesome level, especially for a first release - playtested or not. To begin, it's quite long, and consistently took me a good half hour or so to beat. And while some long maps run the risk of getting old, this one stayed fresh right down to the last moment. Ammo and health might be just slightly abundant compared to spot-on balance, but the map has its challenge factor all the same - especially on the higher settings.
Not only is it interesting and with reasonable balance in difficulty, but it's also a lot of fun. You'll start out with simple shotgun and berserk action, but by the end you'll have all the weapons and be facing lots of big enemies - and nearly every fight is well done. There are a ton of revenants, in particular, but it didn't bother me. The map progresses well too; I don't ever remember being lost or with no idea on how to proceed. The architecture is also good, save the misaligned texture, and as mentioned, the new textures make it look slightly more original. One area towards the end - a massive outdoor area with a volcano of sorts on top of lava - looks quite haunting and atmospheric indeed.
There is new music, which I found to fit well. In the end, this is an excellent map, well worth playing. The only faults I could find are the issues I mentioned in the first paragraph, and they're minor, and would be easily fixable with a 1.1 release. Even if you aren't a big fan of long levels, I'd still recommend giving this a try, as this one kept me about as interested as any. Download it, play it, and let's hope the author has plans for more.
Spacious Depot of Decay - Tolwyn (David Shaw)
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 174473 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
It's one of my favourite colours, sitting right up top next to sherry, purple haze and arsenic. When worn correctly, it can be a pretty stylish and savvy looking colour too... But tie a lace the wrong way round and the shit turns sour. It becomes far too easy to blend in with the masses.
The same applies in Doom as well.
This here map by Tolwyn, "Spacious Depot of Decay" (an interesting, albeit humorous name for a level), shows precisely how to bistre your burgundy, chestnut your cordovan, and fallow your liver. That is to say, lest we forget ourselves, that at no point when I was playing Tolwyn's level did I feel threatened or hemmed in by the destitute, morbid slovenliness of common browning, and not once was my memory cast back to the Entryway that ushered in this breed of Dooming mediocrity - even with map03's "Countdown to Death" track playing in the background. Truly an impressive feat.
The level itself (an abandoned though still functioning facility replacing map03) is pretty enjoyable to play through, and it's obvious that Tolwyn has placed a lot of effort into it. That having been said, no amount of praise here is given superfluously in light of this effort, and I certainly don't think the author would appreciated it if it were, because the map is very well thought out and feels like it's been made owing to years of playing experience. I particularly loved the way it opened up as it progressed, making inventive use of space as I scuffled about (hence the "spacious" part in the title, I'm guessing). It also jumped a major hurdle in doing so, which is that I knew precisely where it was I needed to go at almost any given moment, even with all the switches I needed to flick (of which there were perhaps one too many) and the brown corridors I had to navigate. Secrets were used well, offering the kind of rewards that affect the dynamics of play without empowering the player too greatly, as well as making the map feel all the more genuine and complete. Item placement, much along the same lines, wasn't too excessive, and a quick rerun of the map on UV showed that the player is made to work with every shell and magazine expended...
...But something was amiss. Askew. Cockeyed like a flawed magnet on a refrigerator. And for a time I was left pondering as to what it was, kicking at the recesses of my matter until it bulged blue with contemplation... but then it slapped me in the face like a wet fish.
I wanted more.
The somewhat anticlimactic ending to the map had left me subtly unsatisfied, and in a way I suppose the whole thing felt as though it might've better belonged wedged in between the opening and middle stages of a larger map set (in terms of difficulty, this is also where I would roughly place it). Thankfully though, this is a petty snag down fun creek: The whole affair is saved, not at all fortuitously, by its successful functioning as a concept map.
I don't know though. Maybe this map hits a weak spot with me. I can certainly understand it not being everyone's cup of tea (or coffee, since we're talking brown here) because of its common theme. Still, for appreciation of genuinely solid map making and gameplay, I urge you to give this one a quick go!
Half Measures - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 93857 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
A single map for Doom II. This map doesn't suck, but unfortunately I have to say it's rather average at best. The design is very mediocre and absolutely nothing special, even if it is not quite "bad". Same goes for the architecture - it wasn't the ugliest of maps I played, but I was never impressed in the least. The texturing in particular looks rather random. Difficulty-wise it isn't that easy because of some archviles, but there's much more challenging maps out there, even not counting Hell Revealed-type wads. Thing and monster placement seem rather haphazard too.
Overall, this map just isn't good enough for me to recommend. It's just too ordinary and random to be a good experience. I still hope that someday this author becomes a good map maker, but after releasing a few "good" maps (like Maniacal) he seems to be going back to old ways. That's a shame too, because Maniacal combined with his quick rate of releases had me hoping for better.
Half Measures: Hard Mode - Chris Wright
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 47216 bytes
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This is simply a harder version of Half Measures. It is a bit more challenging, but it still lacks in the same departments the original did. Since it's more challenging, it's probably best to play this version if you play the map at all.
cacoland - Michael "Optimus" Kargas
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 267834 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
Once every couple of nights or so as I settle down in front of the fire, tentatively sipping at a hot mug of Tetley tea, I ask myself a whole host of fascinating questions. Questions which truly ogle the philosophical insights of man, and threaten to destroy our way of life on Earth. Questions like: "What goes through the minds of the men who build parking lots?" ...And I don't mean the people who commission them, of course, but the men themselves. The ones in the fluorescent jackets and overalls. The ones conducting cranes, eating sandwiches and doing all that other stuff that builders usually do. Do they ever stop and think about what it is they're forcing upon the world? What they're doing to the minds of the people who are made to gaze upon them on their way into work, or - heaven forbid - actually park inside of them...?
...Cacoland (self-explanatory) isn't the worst map in the world. I could never demote it to the position of being only good for parking cars in. I played it, completed it, then played it again, and wasn't once made to question my sanity. But as you have probably guessed, it wasn't exactly the cherry on the cake either. Or the cake itself. Or even the plate it came on. What morsels might we possibly collect from this effort to suggest that the author continue his works?
It's lacklustre, dreary, drab, and abysmally dark most of the time. The gameplay is pretty cumbersome, there are misaligned textures hither and thither, there are missing textures, next to no variations in texture where it mattered most, cacophonous contrasts between the textures that did vary (do I get a cookie?), and a couple of key switches, as well as a door, that simply refused to work.
Bearing all that in mind, I do have to give Optimus props for one or two things. The premise was fun, for example, and the map recognisably followed up on it well enough. Including a light amplification powerup when one was actually needed was refreshing, and blasting Cacodemons out of the sky with a BFG never loses its charm... but still, alas, I'm going to have to say pass on this one, although I wouldn't mind seeing a revamped version of this some time in the future. Maybe.
No Hands! - Kilkakon
n/a - n/a - 68582 bytes
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This is simply a wad that removes the Doomguy's hands from any weapons that have them. It is best when used with skins that aren't human, but it may offer a change of pace otherwise too.
Rangex's Entryway - Rangex
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 157645 bytes -
Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
This is according to the author, his second attempt at mapping.
This map is terrible.
The player spawns in front of 2 Cyberdemons who are watching a movie (the author's own words) and the player's only way of surviving is heading into the base that is located in front of him. After you are inside the base, extremely narrow corridors, horrible enemy placement, and a severe lack of good weaponry to deal with the attacking monsters are likely encourage you to quit the game and find something else to play. The map doesn't even appear to be finished; once I entered the cave area, I did not find a door or a switch or a exit of any kind, and even after I resorted to using idspispopd to look for new areas, I found none.
But the saddest part is that the actual map doesn't actually look that bad visually, and the architecture looks fairly cool at times, so with a little bit more work, this map could probably have been turned into something fairly decent.
In the end, I strongly suggest that you stay away from this stinker, as it is not worth your time. And as for the author, I suggest you keep trying (assuming this is not some sort of a joke map) since you did get a few things right in this map. Keep trying until you make something good: that's my only advice for you.
Walt's Anomaly - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
GZDoom - Solo Play - 521700 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
A relatively short map for Doom II and GZDoom. It's about average overall, though maybe a touch above. There are some new/modified monsters, none of which struck me as either anything special or terrible. The imp head on the floor made me laugh at first, however. The progression is linear, and the difficulty is about average, though the final fight isn't a walk in the park. The architecture, too, is middle of the line. It's neither ugly or beautiful: basically competent. Aside from maybe a script or two, I found little use of GZDoom features. All said, it's worth one playthrough, no more and no less. You almost certainly won't be putting it in your favorites list anytime soon, but I wouldn't call it "fail" either, as the name of the file must be trying to suggest.
The /newstuff Chronicles #363