The Rebel - Richard Smith Long
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 3745752 bytes
Reviewed by: Bastet Furry
Graphics ripped from different places, mainly Blood, packed into a somewhat well executed weapons mod. This one replaces most stock weapons with magical artifacts, nothing special or unique. If its your kind of thing, give it a try.
Quaked Deathmatch - Conrad RDWS
GZDoom - Deathmatch - 9732329 bytes -
Reviewed by: WildWeasel
Quaked Deathmatch by Conrad RDWS (who I had not heard of up to this point) is an attempt at creating a deathmatch experience similar to that of Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. That seems slightly inaccurate to me, though; judging from the way the weapons handle, it almost feels like Quake 4 or TimeSplitters Future Perfect.
QDM comes with eight deathmatch levels, numbered QDDM01 through QDDM08. These levels make extensive use of dynamic lighting, translucency, and 3D models, meaning it will only work in GZDoom (or, in theory, Skulltag 98b - I never tested it in Skulltag though). The themes range from what appears to be a sewer system, to a Quake 2-esque tech base, to a sort of ruined area that reminds me of Quake, if Quake had a Stonehenge level. Details are relatively sparse, which is something Conrad evidently tried to compensate for with a pack of high-res textures (that don't look half bad) and decorating said levels with models like pine trees and tech lamps. What I'm not sure most authors understand yet is that the presence of 3D models and dynamic lighting does not cover up a lack of detail - however, a lack of light does, as is demonstrated in the first few maps. There is not a lot of light going on, making the levels a bit difficult to navigate at first.
This isn't just a map pack, though. QDM includes a set of eight weapons which seem pretty fun to use, if not for some odd issues. Players begin with a blaster pistol (Quake 2 style), slow-firing but apparently pretty powerful. This blaster can kill a freshly-spawned player in about five shots. The shotgun is accurate and powerful, killing a player in one shot most of the time. Actually, that seems like an all-around issue with these guns: all of them are almost unfairly powerful. The shotgun fires quickly enough that even if you miss with your first shot, you'll be able to squeeze one off not long after, and nine times out of ten you'll probably not miss the second shot.
Moving along with the weapons list. The machine gun, which needs to reload every 28 shots (a bit of a bizarre magazine size), also sports a grenade launcher that takes the same ammo as the separate grenade launcher weapon. In fact, it fires pretty much exactly the same way as the actual grenade launcher, meaning if you have a machine gun, you probably don't need to bother with the grenade launcher. Other weapons include a nailgun (feels more like a Diet Machinegun, as it does the same damage but fires slower and has no alt-fire), rocket launcher (which reloads after three rounds and apparently has a homing function?), and the "Electgun" which bounces off walls and is almost impossible to find ammo for, as the 12 cells you get for it are expended in two shots. Just as well, though, as the Electgun will one-shot kill just about anything.
The mod certainly looks pretty from screenshots. However, the level design and overpowered weapons tend to present gameplay issues. Like with the standard Doom 2 weapons, the shotgun dominates all because of its high damage. And, much like your average Doom 2 deathmatch map, the shotgun is the single most common weapon, meaning matches will often devolve into a contest of who can pull their trigger the quickest (or who can get to the shotgun pickup first without getting shotgunned themselves).
I should also mention the occasionally jerky weapon animations. The animations are well made, but the shotgun and other weapons seem to jerk around a lot when reloading. A little more care taken in either the actual models or the Decorate coding could probably fix this, and it's not too distracting, but it does bug the gun nuts (like me).
As this review is already getting to be quite long, I'll wrap things up - Quaked Deathmatch is a good attempt at providing something different for a deathmatch session. The weapons might be a little too powerful, but depending on who you ask, that might not be such a bad thing. Maybe some tweaks to the maps (especially the lighting levels) and weapon damage could benefit it.
Necropia Zone (2010 Final Version) for ZDoom - Omy
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 4485216 bytes -
Reviewed by: Melon
Welcome to the Necropia Zone Cookbook. Here we're going to show you how to recreate all those delicious levels you tasted in the Necropia Zone wad. The following recipe is called "Disaster" and makes 32.
Begin by creating your base. This can be any design you like, although we recommend to make a large one with many empty sections, as that leaves more room for filler. When decorating your base with icing along the sides, each section should be mostly comprised of a single texture. Don't worry if they don't match up well or are misaligned, as nobody will notice.
Next, sprinkle in your fruits, nuts and other things wherever you please, preferably with little thought for composition, and ensure you fill in all of the cracks. When it comes to filling in a large space, ensure you fill it with only thing, and fill up most of the space, ensuring that each level contains more and more as you go along creating each one. This helps add a little bit of surprise as you consume each one.
Speaking of fruits, some people will tell you that you should remove the pits. This is false; you should add in as many as possible, as they help give your level a certain, how shall we say, inescapable quality.
Garnish your level with the widest range of extras as possible. The greater the variety of pictures and sounds, the better. Again, little thought should go into how well they work together, as just the presence of these extras is enough to ensure a high quality end product.
Finally, cook for as short a time as possible (we wouldn't want any further refining to get in the way of the initial creation) and then unceremoniously dump your creation onto the street for all to admire. Or into the bin. Preferably into the bin.
(Alternatively, and for those who hate ridiculous metaphors, this 32 level megawad is full of inescapable pits, bad enemy placement, "traps" consisting of large amounts of a single monster, and huge open arenas that look bad and play worse.)
Christian God Complex - Chris Wright
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 188093 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This is a relatively large level for Doom II. It's pretty average overall. The gameplay is somewhat random, and half the level concentrates on maziness, but it's not too confusing overall and is somewhat of a challenge. The architecture is rather plain and sometimes haphazard, but for the most part it stays short, if just short, of downright ugliness. Thing and monster placement is mostly random as well, but it turns out not too horrible. In short, I wouldn't go out of my way to play this, and I can't really say it's any better than average, but if you're simply bored, it could be enough to entertain you for a short while.
DooM: Assimilation (Demo) - UltimateLorenzo
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 685171 bytes -
Reviewed by: Melon
This single level "demo" shows off UltimateLorenzo's possible future project, a Borg-themed Doom wad. The level here contains 5 new enemies and some new textures and sounds, and despite there not really being too much in this wad, it looks very promising indeed.
The new enemies are for the most part extremely dangerous, spamming loads of plasma or fireball projectiles in a row, and if you're caught unaware you can die very very quickly. On the plus side I thought it helped add a bit of tension and definitely kept me on my toes. The new textures fit well and the level looks good.
On its own the level is pretty short and it might be worth a passing glance, but I think if this project continues and a bigger wad is made from it, it could be really good. The enemy roster could probably do with some less dangerous enemies though, or at least, more care might be needed with their placement. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but the enemy at the end is perhaps too powerful given the tiny space you have to fight him in, and I'm pretty sure everyone will die the first time.
ENTERPRISE NX01 - UltimateLorenzo
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2404778 bytes -
Reviewed by: WildWeasel
UltimateLorenzo presents us with something that the Doom community probably hasn't seen since 1996: a Star Trek themed WAD file. Actually, the connection to Star Trek itself is pretty tenuous at best. I'll explain...
Trek fans might notice that the title of this wad is in fact Enterprise NX01, not Enterprise NCC1701. This indicates that it's intended to be from the disappointing prequel series, Star Trek Enterprise - but it doesn't even really work that way either, as the map only bears a passing resemblance to the titular Federation vessel's corridors. The enemies are not Klingons, not Romulans, not even the (not canon in this case) Borg. They're just Doom demons. I'm sure the text file comes up with all kinds of justifications, but it might as well just be left at "a wizard did it" for all the good it does. And the weapons...uh, we'll get to that later.
NX01 has you fighting through the cramped corridors and not-entirely-safe loading areas of the Enterprise, your mission being to cleanse the ship of demons and then...uh...do something on the bridge (because that's where the exit switch is). In order to complete your mission, you'll need to backtrack a lot, because keys, buttons, and such are located on exactly the opposite end of the ship from where you need them. Ever wonder what it'd be like if Captain Kirk had to run all the way down to Engineering to launch a photon torpedo? Kind of like this. The problem with all this backtracking is that all the corridors look identical, evidently by design. Usage of the automap markers is almost mandatory if you don't feel like navigating by trial and error.
What caps this map off is the selection of Decorate-powered weaponry. I might be a bit biased here, though - the weapons included with NX01 happen to be the ones from my own WW-BSNI.wad, with some names switched around a bit (the Heater Rifle is now called a "Laser Shotgun"? It doesn't even act like a shotgun). Energy weapons in Star Trek make sense, though, right? Not these. Nowhere in Star Trek will you see a "laser shotgun".
In the end, what we've got is a series of corridors, demons, and replacement weapons that are only tied to Star Trek by the title screen. Taken on its own, though, we're left with a map that requires a little too much backtracking and too many arbitrarily locked bulkheads to have much fun factor left over.
Paradice - UltimateLorenzo
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2887369 bytes -
Reviewed by: Traysandor
Paradice is a single level for ZDoom 2.3 or greater, set in what appears to be some kind of spaceport or possibly techbase. The first thing I noticed about this wad was the sprites, sounds, and monsters were taken from Doom64, or rather the expansion pack wad that's floating somewhere around the archives.
I fought my way into the base and soon wrested the red keycard from the first portion of the level. At first glance, the level seems halfway decent, but as soon as you pass through the red door, things quickly change from there.
The rest of the level can pretty much be summed up as random monster placement. One room you could be fighting shotgunners, the next Barons of Hell, then charge outside to see a lonely spiderdemon waiting to get fragged behind the boxes provided as cover. The outdoor areas lacked any detail of note (and some areas just looked ugly).
As I killed off more seemingly random monsters, I stumble upon the blue key, which is needed to exit, but a not-so-thorough search turned up no blue skull that I could bother to find, barring a door in the spiderdemon area. Eventually I find the blue door and find some Arachnotrons and Archviles guarding the exit to this place, which I proceed to take a rocket launcher to and pump them all full of rockets.
Looking back at this recently-completed level, there's not much that I could say otherwise. The beginning of the level up to the red door showed some promise, but most of what you find after that isn't really worth your time. That said, perhaps the author can fine-tune his work and add some new stuff (monster pens, teleporting monsters, some scripting perhaps instead of just throwing all the monsters out onto the field at once) for something better on his next attempt at making a level.
Remember: Just because you add Doom64 to your level doesn't necessarily make it a good level to play.
UAC Jail - J.P. Grossman Tovi Grossman
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 162286 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
When I signed up for this job, the people down at the office told me I might have to play through a few wads.
You know, so I could write about them and stuff.
"It's part of the job!", they'd say. "You'll be able to write about them!". Of course, they told me loads of other really useful and important things too, like "don't forget to take screenshots!", and "don't listen to Walter, he's a narcoleptic!" ...But the one thing they never informed me of was how dangerous the job would be. They never told me I might get hurt.
UAC Jail (a single level for the Ultimate Doom by the Brothers Gross) tried to kill me. No jokes. The wad didn't manifest in my bedroom as some 556 kb monster per se, but using the means of indiscriminate skulduggery and duress it managed to frighten me so greatly that I injured my kneecap and spilled hot tea over my quadriceps and dressing gown. Though it may very well have been due to my playing late into the night, or because it was so unexpected that I should have discovered what I did, where I did, my final sentiments on the level were far less than chivalrous.
Having spent 13 years locked up inside the Gross computer (Top score!), UAC Jail looks horrendously outdated in almost every department. Many of the rooms feel extraordinarily cramped and cluttered even when there isn't much detail going on, and you sometimes get the impression that if a bomb hit the place it'd probably tidy it up a bit. Dysphemistically speaking. The themes are respectively dungeon-like and standard UAC material in design, a bit of hell thrown in here and there, and seem to be aiming for a greater sense of realism. But interlaced together they form something of a visual hodgepodge, clashing together disharmoniously and failing to make any smooth transition in places one might accept them to be made. That having been mentioned, some spots do look fairly decent taking into consideration the date in which the level was built, and it's worth noting that unlike many wads which indicate setting and location in their title, this particular level accurately portrays what it's supposed to.
An unrelated irritation which presented itself right from the word go however is the incessant and disjointed use of linedef actions. It might sound a bit of an imprudent point to make, but the amount of things I had to repeatedly either walk over or press, particularly at the onset of the level, quickly became both frustrating and stymieing. It is responsible only in part, though, for a level progression which is on the whole pretty cumbrous and awkward anyway, my rarely having a clear sense of where it was I was supposed to go; so by the time I'd pressed the innocent looking green button, fractured my kneecap and involuntarily deposited my bedtime drink all over my lap in 8th degree burns, I had already made up my mind:
Bb Major with added F#
Uncertain Doom - Mr. Chris
doom2.exe - Solo Play - 74363 bytes -
Reviewed by: Philnemba
A medium size "generic" techbase map for Doom II. For the most part, it's well balance with great monster, ammo and health placement on the map. Difficulty is easy to medium, with some clever spawn traps that caught me by surprise as monsters tried to overrun me. Layout of the map is good, but I did find it odd that the red and yellow card keys were in the same room and were very close to the exit door, but a monster spawn trap prevents the player from getting there quickly enough (as shown on the 3rd screenshot). I enjoyed this map very much, so I would highly recommend playing this.
The Wizard's Study (Hexen) - Ceeb
ZDoom Compatible - Deathmatch - 59983 bytes -
Reviewed by: Philnemba
A small Hexen deathmatch map. It's a decent map except for the "Library" room which I feel slows down the flow of the map. This map is nothing special, but it's rare these days that you get Hexen wads in the archives. Give it a go on Skulltag with a buddy at least once.
Crawl's Crappy WAD - Crawldragon
doom.exe - Solo Play - 23960 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Just a cramped marble room with a spider mastermind and few enemies....
Really, it isn't more than a cramped room. Unfortunately.
However, this is a "hellish" theme map with some traps and puzzles and weird stuff like the stuck Cyberdemons in the first screenshot. It has some crazy psychedelic lighting, and the theme/texturing choice isn't really accurate. (I am a fan of these human stations converted in hellish vanguards, but the author would be much better inspired by the Shores of Hell instead of this weirdness...)
The structure of the map really sucks, something like the worst experimental maps of 1994.
I, too, made joke wads or simply ugly maps at my first moments of mapping (wolfenshit, bleha, the last joke etc), but I think if this could be a joke wad, it needs a little bit more fun parts and better design. This is still only an ugly map.
Skip this one. Trust me.
Chambers of Dis - Trey Azagthoth
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 60311 bytes -
Reviewed by: MasterOfPuppets
Oh what a sweet treat this one is! Here you have a map put together by mister Tray Azagthoth, guitarist of well-known death metal pioneers Morbid Angel. You can actually find this for download on the official Morbid Angel website, but that download illegally includes the Doom 2 IWAD, as well as a super old ZDoom distribution - because Tray honestly doesn't give two craps. That's just how he rolls. DEAL WITH IT.
Anyway, onto the level itself. Its a worthless abortion that you can't complete. There are swarms of powerful monsters that you don't have the ammunition or health to deal with, and you will not be able to find the right color key to advance without using IDCLIP (I never did find a blue key, even then). All of this is set within my-first-wad-type architecture. There is either too little detail, or detailing that makes zero sense. The choice of textures is eye jarring, and the lighting always either far too bright, far too dark, or pulses annoyingly.
The fact is this map was pumped out as an uneducated experiment in between episodes of Sailor Moon and writing for Heretic (which was equally bad, I might add).
Some guy who plays in a band that happens to have sold a couple million records put this together. Other than that tiny bit of novelty, Chambers of Dis is a waste of time.
French Doom translation - Simon Howard
doom2.exe - n/a - 77779 bytes
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
This file is a program that converts your doom2.wad file to the French version of the game (doom2f.wad). It was made by comparing the two IWADs and then compiling a series of modifications to account for the differences. So if you were wondering what French Doom II was like, then download this patch and find out.
A World in Strife: Raiding the Dam - Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 12351329 bytes -
Reviewed by: Vermil
A single player map for Strife. It's nice looking, if a bit devoid of scenery mobjs, large and generally well playing; however, I felt that it had several small issues, some inherent to a map of this sort in Strife rather than anything to do with the map itself.
You could call the map "a Doom map in the Strife world" as there isn't much, if any use of Strife's most prominent differences from Doom. There's no plot, missions or people to talk to; it's simply find the key to open the door to the next part of the map. There are a few shops on the map, but they seemed bolted on, given that the tiny amount of gold the player can find leads to them being little more than a way of "choosing between a single med kit or a single box of ammo" a few times.
The map is, as mentioned, huge, but ultimately doesn't really make much use of the space, with several large open areas that don't really serve much purpose. These areas also demonstrate that many of Strife's foes and weapons seem designed for close range fighting rather than long.
If these large open areas had some sort of cover (e.g. rocks, etc), for both the bad guys and player, it might have allowed for more tactical variety, with braver players venturing out into these areas to engage the foes, rather than sitting back and waiting for the bad guys to move across the area and into the structures, where there is more cover.
There's also a bit of backtracking across the map after the first couple of keys, which seemed unnecessary, as no new bad guys spawn for the return journey. Maybe a couple of teleporters could have been added to remove this little chore.
Whenever bad guys do teleport in for whatever reason in this map, I felt it was a little immersion breaking (i.e. the teleporting didn't seem "natural", to probably use the wrong word); for instance, a Stalker teleporter trap in one area (I'm trying to avoid spoilers) would have perhaps been better if the Stalkers had teleported onto a nearby high ledge that the player can't see the top of, and then they would drop off the edge into the water to engage the player, rather than them simply teleporting into the water in one big block as they do.
The new MP3 music included, which makes up the majority of the file size, is good and fits (even if it is a bit quiet), but it isn't that different in theme from some of the original tracks, so I wondered why the author didn't just use select tracks from the original game.
For all my nitpicking, in no way would I call this a bad or even average map; it's a pretty good map that will probably be rated higher because it's a Strife map versus a Doom map. But it is notably not perfect in my opinion, though most of the small issues could probably be fixed.
Note that all screenshots were taken from a specific screenshot grabbing run of the map with no clipping on.
Awakening - Emil Brundage
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3668648 bytes -
Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
One map replacing E4M1 of Ultimate Doom, but don't try to play this in your coffee break. This is a very long, drawn-out map that will probably take at least 45 minutes to beat. But it's well worth the time, because this level is quite awesome. And now I'll explain why.
First of all, there's good architecture all over, using few (if any?) custom textures and quite varied textures throughout too, but still managing to pull it off by making a map that's interesting to look at nearly everywhere you go. I found the detail to rarely interfere with gameplay. The skyline in the background at least in the ending is an excellent touch; it gives a real sense of trying to "escape", which is precisely what your goal is in this map.
But good architecture alone does not make a good map, and I can fortunately report that the gameplay is indeed quite good as well. Of course, this is no normal map. There is no definite order of progression through most of it; instead, you can do most of it in whatever order you'd like. Ultimately the progression goes something like this: you have to hunt for three keys with no monsters around, then you journey to the center and, needless to say, all hell breaks loose. You will see the blue skull key you need to exit at this point, but don't look for victory, because you must endure a major fight in five side areas (which order you fight them in doesn't matter) before it is lowered within reach. There is no final battle in the map; however, all the fights are quite intense and will require thought and skill to beat.
In general, it kept me on edge without being frustrating. There were perhaps just a few points that marginally frustrated me, but nothing too ridiculous. Watch out in the area with the slime; if you fall in there's no way back out, which probably is the most frustrating fight you must deal with, although with saves it still wasn't over the edge. Note that I played on HMP; UV has new monsters and is even harder, definitely not for the faint of the heart, and it might be more prone to frustration. The author himself admits that this is not the ideal way the map was made to be played, just a final touch.
The music is the often dreaded Metallica track, but I actually found it to fit the atmosphere of the map. idmus can be used, of course, if you just can't stand it, but I'd give it a try; personally, it didn't bother me at all.
Overall Awakening is an excellent map with a pleasantly unusual level progression combined with tough fights and excellent architecture. I can't say it's for absolutely everyone, but I'd give it a go for sure!
Oh, and be sure to look at the monster count. Coincidence? Probably not.
The /newstuff Chronicles #365