Eternal Memories 1 - TimeOfDeath (Chris Balch)
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 949510 bytes -
Reviewed by: vdgg
One of the most talented speedrunners in the history of Doom and a very active mapper in the recent past, Chris "Infinite Ammo BFG" Balch brings forth this thematic WAD, based on and inspired by Eternal Doom (III). Despite the source of inspiration, Eternal Memories does not resemble the old Eternal at all. Instead of gigantic maps we have compact ones here; only stock Doom 2 textures are used; the most stunning difference, however, is monster density - you're not going to encounter small groups of sergeants, imps with and occasional caco, all so common in Eternal. If you're brave enough to pick Ultra-Violence difficulty setting, you'll soon find yourself desperately fighting for an inch of space to breathe.
Every map except MAP33 is a replica of a small portion of a corresponding Eternal map, all drawn from memory. These replicas are not extremely accurate, yet still I envy the author's good memory as all the references to Eternal were obvious for me on the spot (I played Eternal quite a lot 3 years ago). I had a lovely feeling of deja vu whenever I was given an opportunity to take a look at the layout (after all the monsters in my vicinity were dead, of course). Even monster placement resembled Eternal in a few spots (teleporting hell knights in MAP02, hell knights in towers in MAP07, arch-viles and spectres in MAP07, only more numerous). At the start of each map the player usually find themselves standing on a big pile of weapons, ammo and a megasphere. None of the maps contain any secrets, but beware! as some of them are confusing as hell (MAP04 with a strange switch hunting sequence, MAP10 with normal walls being activated like switches). Because of the whole map-from-memory concept, some layouts are not great (MAP01) and do not offer possibilities of an awesome monster placement, yet still the gameplay is varied and very creative, and there are a few real gems in the set. MAP05 is a short and sweet mini-battlefield, MAP09 is a fine rocket & plasma carnage with strategically placed cyberdemons and MAP11 - my favourite level - makes excellent use of enormous height variations and is probably the only visually impressive map (thanks to down-to-earth stock textures and nearly non-existent light variation, I found the remaining maps very ugly). As for the difficulty, skill 4 is for those who don't mind restarting a map dozens, sometimes maybe hundreds of times. On skill 3 and skill 2 the monster count is greatly reduced, and these settings are a good choice for less experienced (or less concentrated/drunk) players.
MAP33 is a Deus Vult-like gigantic map containing all the previous ones. No difficulty setting in this one, plus you get a BFG with infinite ammo at the start. Not my piece of cake, but I am sure many slaughterfest enthusiasts will adore this map.
Thanks to quality gameplay I highly recommend Eternal Memories for action-oriented Doomers. Eye candy seekers who like to admire the architecture, stay away from this WAD and play something else... Eternal Doom, maybe?
YOUR MOM - gggmork, TimeOfDeath (Chris Balch)
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 81361 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
The first interesting thing about this map is that it's possibly the first to have the layout as its titlepic. The next is that it apparently came from a picture that gggmork posted here on these forums. The next is...er...erm...maybe if you're a hardcore slaughter fan you'll enjoy the gameplay, as it's rather challenging (especially around the archie pockets), and the end will create a poser if you're going for the 100%. If you don't fall into this category, take one look at the screenie and move along.
Place - Boon Lived
Vanilla - Solo Play - 39892 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
A small brown brick map that is riddled with secrets, misaligned textures and other bad stuff. There isn't much to look at, and the blue key door is actually a yellow key door. Gameplay isn't as bad as you might think, although the words "not enough ammo to kill everything" in the /idgames review prompted me to conserve a bit (plus I got rid of the cybie in a sneaky efficient way, which was the highlight). Many of the secrets contain ammo, but although I didn't need the big stashes, I did need some of the others. So it's not really that good; might be OK for a brief time-killer, though.
td_DM1 "Simple DM" - Travers Dunne
Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 38285 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
Many Martian moons ago, a mapper created a Doom 1 episode, a Doom 2 episode and a Heretic map...all named after himself too. Then he turns up after all this time with a rather good-looking DM map. It's set in a warehouse, but it's not a crate maze as there's plenty of open spaces. Weapons and powerups are spread apart, some harder to get than others, and although there's no weapons at spawn, the spots are far enough out of the way (usually on crates) to reduce any camping issues. The text file says 2-4 players, but this map should be comfortable with at least 8 and possibly even with 16.
Happy Birthday Snakes - 40oz
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 50306 bytes -
Reviewed by: purist
I once made a E1 replacement for my girlfriend's birthday and what did I get in return? Well, no sex for a week for starters. Snakes, I'm sure, will be more appreciative of this gift from 40oz (well not in that way obviously).
What we have here is another speedily constructed, impeccably neat techbase map that poses little threat to the careful player (barring a few close encounters with mid-tier monsters) and enough medikits and shell boxes to allow you a few careless moments and still keep your skin.
40oz seems to have a great knack for monster placement and interesting, interconnecting layout. It doesn't quite feel like he's firing all cylinders with this effort, but it's a miracle he's produced something of this standard in 5 hours. A fun way to while away a few minutes before settling down for another night on the sofa.
EAGLEEYE.WAD - Tobias Radloff
Vanilla - Solo Play - 68256 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
A set of 3 maps from the mid 90's, with the usual expectations. The first one promptly delivers some randomly-textured areas (albeit with most of them fitting together), no detail, poor alignments, plenty of secrets, and weak gameplay (although some places are a bit tougher). The second is a small octagonal arena map which opens up nicely and has plenty of mobs in it, but again with poor alignments and no real challenge. The third is the deathmatch map, which ironically is the best looking and the worst playing for its game mode (excessive teleports, doors, lifts, 64-wide passages and very few weapons). Unless you like maps from this era, it's safe to pass.
Infernal Doomers Deathmatch - [idt]RevenantX, [idt]nrM, [idt]Bloodiness, [idt]3VisT
Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 1216702 bytes -
Reviewed by: 40oz
This is a Boom compatible 16-map Deathmatch wad made by 4 mappers of the Russian Doom community. I tend to avoid the trouble of navigating Russian Doom webpages, but it still excites me to know what's going on there. This is no exception.
All 16 maps follow a strict Plutonia/Gothic brown brick theme + wood and rusted metal. The maps are heavily detailed and pretty small, which is good and bad. Good because I never had any trouble finding my opponents, and bad because all the borders make movement pretty bumpy and cramped. There's lots of crates and doorways to poke in and out of to avoid getting shot, which is good for tactics purposes but bad for speed. Also, there is a BFG in almost every map, and they are relatively easy to reach.
This wad is very consistent. All four mappers have similar mapping talent, and all use relatively the same amount of detail and texture schemes, which makes it very consistent. I really liked this wad. It's definitely worth your time.
Vordakk's Keep - Stormwalker
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1285966 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
I'm beginning to get the impression that mappers don't actually exist.
Instead there must persist some sort of all-powerful quasi-sentient God Machine lurking somewhere in the dark beyond, endlessly churning out maps of infallibly human quality - both in error and in frequency - for labouring reviewers to mull ceaselessly over until the Doom universe comes crashing down about our heads with a loud 'thunk'. These forums and threads? They're just figments of my imagination; a by-product of my gradual decline into madness spurned on by a beard growing contest from 3 years ago and an increasingly reluctant desire to step outside and expose my retinas to sunlight. ...And yet, the question still remains. Could an "all-powerful quasi-sentient God Machine lurking somewhere in the dark beyond endlessly churning out maps of infallibly human quality both in error and in frequency" truly answer my call for any sort of map to be made from mere inception? Nein, Franco. It just seems too incredible...
...But lo, look again. Christmas has come early this year! For when it was that I lifted up my head to the heavens and cried out for a "mostly cohesive, expansive and spacious yet almost contradictorily exotic" map to be built, it fell right out of the metaphorical sky and straight into my lap (correction: My laptop computer). You little beauty, you! Thanks, TODDFOSS! (Terminally Omnipresent Doom Designer From Outer Space. The additional S is just for aesthetic and acronymical effect).
Vordakk's Keep is a pretty good map, then. More explicitly, it's a map that is engaging on many different levels, colourful-ish, fun to play through, and appropriately difficult given the plentiful amount of space the player is allowed to bolt about in. The pacing is gradual, the environments are distinct and well implemented (for the most part; see below), there aren't any frustrating beachheads or surprise attacks that can't be overcome the first play through, and there is most of all a sense of progression. Stormwalker does a decent job too of sticking to the Plutonian theme and gameplay philosophy right the way through from texture management to Chaingunner/Revenant ambushes, and naturally there are a few rooms/layouts that replicate some of the more memorable locales from the IWAD such as the final room (here sporting a Spider Mastermind) of map09: Abattoir. Elements from maps 03, 12, 13 and 15 also feature most prominently in the level.
The map's "cohesive" attribute is, however, something probably more appropriate to its architecture than to its gameplay, although still with regards to the former there is room for improvement. While many areas function well by themselves and in of being faithful to the Plutonian design, they don't gel seamlessly together. Often this is evident merely in the transition between rooms, and other times simply by observing texture selection, but it's never too great an issue and I'm probably just being a picky bastard: On the whole the visuals are well done, and probably the greatest asset to the map.
Got the gist then? Splendid. That should take you a good 25 minutes or so to wade through. I'm off to consult Todd about making me an 80's B horror disco wad. Don't follow me.
The Nadir - otsego - Jason Hearn
GZDoom - Solo Play - 4542119 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
It's certainly the time for Hexen wads isn't it, as here we have another. This time it's a 3-map hub, which is also the author's first wad. There are signs of this throughout the hub, but also some neat stuff. The first map has a classic feel about it in terms of atmosphere and architecture, but it's the second map that defines the wad. The layout is a bit haphazard in a newcomer-sort-of-way and there's some unusual theming in some areas, yet the void bits stick out a bit as does the bastion-type structure at the end of it. Most rooms have some semblance of detail, but the passages are threadbare (this applies to the third map as well).
Gameplay will divide many of you for sure - there's plenty of new enemies (mostly from the Beastiary, that's what it's there for), and they're used throughout the hub without any specific pattern...yet I'm sure many will complain about it, despite the fact that's exactly how the stock enemies are used too. There's also a climactic boss fight at the end, which isn't too bad to get the hang of and is quite neat overall. And while it's great to see new weapons to ease Hexen's chronic shortage, you'll wonder why he didn't go to the Beastiary for those too, instead of including a couple of Heretic weapons (only one of which behaves differently per class) that look a bit rushed and don't function entirely correctly.
But overall it's not a bad start; it shows the author's potential in a field that's tricky to master (Hexen maps have always been rare), and with a bit more practice and ironing out the newbie tendencies, I'm sure we'll see greater things.
Hellhole.WAD - The Hound
Vanilla - Solo Play - 75469 bytes -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Well I think our friend walter had tried to review this before, but I think I share his sentiment about old maps that look like shit but are still fun. Maybe...in any case, his screenshots are good so we'll keep em :)
This wad is amazing. It is awesome. It fills you with awe (not in the blood fire death kind of way though), and amazes you.
Expect horrible texturing, semi-functional architecture, and inane monster placement.
All that noobishness aside, did I have fun playing this wad? Yes I did! Indeed, this is a very quirky level. First of all, it is extremely non-linear. Some modern mappers could take a cue from this guy...there are so many ways to progress through the level.
The monster and item balance is completely off the wall. There's at least two or three soulspheres and megaspheres, and tons of ammo. However, in certain places, if you haven't gone the right way or don't have a stockpile to run back to, you might find your health quickly diminished by hitscanners, or ambushing barons. It is also possible to run out of ammo - once again, it has to do with being in the right place at the right time :P
If you're really going to take on this level, I recommend playing on a low difficulty just to explore the level, then once you've got some routes set up play on a higher difficulty. I'm sure you're probably not retarded enough to do that, but in any case I had to play on ITYTD to survive reasonably (given the fact that I'm playing with keyboard controls, not my forte, as well as being sorta reckless at times).
There's some ironic stuff going on, such as the fact that while the whole map contains several secret areas and doors (which, by the way, you are required to find...have fun ^.^), there are in fact only two marked secrets, and they're right next to each other, and they both contain the super shotgun. What the fuck? Also, the text file has a hilarious line about how the "automap isn't finished"...whatever the hell that means. Finally, the blue key "puzzle" is completely bogus. I even guessed what the intended solution was but it's horribly constructed. There is a room where a switch rises out of the ground. You are supposed to run across the sector holding the switch, which is easy to jump from a nearby ledge. However the line is facing the same way you would jump on - meaning you have to stop on the thing and then move backward to open it. OK
Anyway, this is a really really old level which apparently was MAP30 of Heroes 2. It's full of nazis, the end battle sucks, most of the regular battles are kinda stupid or broken in some way, and the visuals are usually abrasive despite one or two nice touches. Recommended! Why? Because there are other things going on that mappers these days forget about completely - really, this level is more fun to explore and discover the secret workings of, rather than to experience as a traditional Doom slaughterfest. Or you could just skip it.
Temple of Skulls - Joe Dotts
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 462393 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
...And then Todd malfunctioned. Which is a shame, really, because it probably could have been avoided if only someone had bothered with the maintenance of the damn thing.
Yeah, it's true, I really wanted to like Temple of Skulls. And I almost did! But there are some things that are just too difficult to look past, either because you refuse to ignore them or because they are so glaringly obvious that you couldn't ignore them even if you swallowed your meds and waited for it to go away. Like seeing a giraffe waiting in line outside your local Natwest branch, or waking up one morning and discovering that you can speak fluent Gaelic. ...In this particular case, though, it's very much the latter of these former two, with the glaringly obvious things in question being paper walls, the infamous and inobscurable HOM effect, and what could only be described as a deliberate lack of texture alignment and disparity right the way through from start to finish. Infuriatingly, many of the map's faults - though not necessarily inclusive of those just mentioned - could have been easily rectified if only Mr. Dotts had decided to playtest the map in something other than ZDoom (the shootable switch in the very first room, for example, cannot be shot without the aid of freelook, though thankfully the bars separating the player from the rest of the map may be sneaked through regardless).
So on the pretty front it's not a very good map, no. Down right awful, in fact. ...But here's the clincher, Scottie, and why it was that I so badly wanted to like the map in spite of its visual faults: The gameplay is actually fairly decent. Quite "good" at times, even. There are a few neat traps and innovative spatial techniques, reasonable monster placements, and, disregarding a number of inescapable pits (pits which we can only speculate on Mr. Dotts' having jumped out of during playtesting), the whole thing is actually fairly enjoyable to play through. The overall design of the map itself isn't too bad either if you can somehow manage to look past all the missing textures and jarring offsets (which, as we've already concluded, is absolutely impossible).
Overall, however, it's a great big missed opportunity. Perhaps if the offsets had been ironed out, the missing textures filled in, and the numerous other potentially game breaking flaws eradicated, we might have been left with a decent if not otherwise average map. Alas, however, it is not the case, and as such the level is not fit for proper play through.
VILE FURY 2 - jukenukem3d
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 156340 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
From the author of Vile Fury comes...more of the same, but this time with slopes, mirrors, midtex bridges and lazy decorate monsters. Six small maps with very little detail, but the texturing is a lot better than before, and the ZDoom features aren't used too much, certainly not in a noobish way. The new monsters are lazily slapped together using the Scale property and monster code pointers, although the boss is perhaps a bit better than the others. Excessive amounts of health and ammo, but gameplay has, again, some almost decent set-pieces (including a neat mirror one), and one or two areas stand out. So a bit like last time then, more likely to interest those interested in the early stages of mapping, but with ZDoom stuff too.
Impire (Remake) - Ryan Albright (High Flyin' Ryan)
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 31085 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
A short hellish map for ZDoom made by Ryan, sets in the usual old school green medieval stone (not some episode 4 stuff, I mean regular Doom 2).
Map is short and fast, there's some nice tricks here and there (damn Mancubus!) and it was a enjoyable effort and I felt pleased playing it.
This map looks maybe too basic for the new generation/detailing obsession mapping of nowadays, but is perfect for classic mapping style.
The Hell Cave - Sonikku7
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 417839 bytes -
Reviewed by: StupidBunny
This was a very large map. This turned out to be unfortunate as it was also a very tedious and at times incredibly frustrating map, meaning I came very close at times to quitting out of annoyance or at least cheating. Fortunately, I was able to resist, especially once the map reached a certain level of playability, but the fact that it so tempted me at all isn't really a good sign.
The first bit of the level, fairly enough, is shit, and I suspect that a lot of people who tried playing this map were turned away by it before they got to the rest of the map. In this first part, you will be fighting your way through some very cramped hallways against hell knights, barons, cacodemons, and other nasties equipped with nothing but a shotgun and your pea shooter. This would be bad enough if it weren't for the fact that you are given a pitifully small amount of shotgun ammo to fight them with, and what caches you do find are expended rather quickly against the monsters you're being constantly cornered by. You get huge amounts of bullets, to be sure, but you know what? I don't want to take down 3 barons of hell with my pistol. That isn't fun. Especially when I have no room for sideways movement and backing away too much will take me into another cluster of enemies I don't have ammo for.
It isn't until much later that the player is finally given more weapons and adequate firepower, but by that point most sane people would've given up out of frustration. However, I had a review to write and so persisted to this point of amnesty.
Of course, that amnesty is relative, because you will still be more or less constantly laid siege to by hordes of enemies given woefully inadequate space and cover. One thing about this map that fascinates me is how areas as large as the central cavern come out feeling so cramped. This is a result of the fact that most of the space given is damaging floors, and for the most part you will be doing battle on very narrow walkways and stairways with no cover while monsters and projectiles are coming at you from all directions. I had to save constantly, because any misstep would either put me in the path of a projectile or, more likely, send me careening into the lava below. Maybe I just suck, I don't know, but I personally don't have the skill to run fast enough to dodge fireballs while running along a spiral staircase barely wide enough for myself or the column of imps and hell knights climbing towards me.
As the map continues, it starts to enter a pattern where the battles are either immensely frustrating or simply tedious, depending on which strategy you use (if you have an option). Often times, I would find that I had no space or cover to do battle with the hordes of enemies I was facing, and would quickly be surrounded and pummeled to death on all sides; however, if I ran the gauntlet of foes there was often a safe point I could reach where I could simply sit and wait for the enemies to bottleneck, and then simply take them down as they walked into my line of fire. In other words, it would be either nearly impossible or too easy.
After many, many such battles, you get to the final Battle Royale. The first wave is easy, given the large quantities of health and the invulnerability spheres provided. The second one is harder, due not only to a numerous arch-viles but also to the stupidly large number of pain elementals that quickly leave the sky choked with lost souls. This final battle continues, and...turns out not to be the final battle anyway. There is yet one more stage to the level afterwards, before finally, FINALLY, it ends.
One of the level's biggest problems is that the wearying gameplay is complemented by equally wearying architecture, which while not terrible and at times imposing is mostly pretty lackluster and uninteresting to look at. It serves to enhance the feeling of monotony that the layout and sheer size of the map already produce.
As a last note, any mention of this map should be accompanied by the fact that this map is meant for ZDoom, not because of any special features or limits but because otherwise you'll have hanging corpses blocking you half the time. This seems rather easy to fix, but the author's cavalier attitude towards the issue probably means it isn't changing any time soon.
This map has its shining moments, but they are few and far between, and for the most part there simply isn't much motivating one to keep plowing on through. As it is, the level is a slog and I wouldn't recommend it.
The Central Core - ProcessingControl
Vanilla - Solo Play - 173818 bytes -
Reviewed by: Xeros612
A recent topic on the forums includes a member wanting a "Kazio Mario" style mod for doom. Well, good sir, I must say this wad already has that slot taken. Although the author states HMP difficulty is recommended, this review and its preceding playthrough are based on Ultra Violence, considering general player preference. The beginning parts of the map hint at difficulty with some large hordes of zombiemen, shotgunners, and imps, with the occasionally higher level demon or zombie scattered about, especially hinted at by the lack of ammo and health, and two health packs on the platform you start on, which it doesn't allow you to acquire at all normally. (Hint: it's a secret.) The map progressively gets harder, as is normal. Unfortunately, this is also where the ridiculousness of the difficulty begins to set in. One optional passage is completely pitch-black, with a dark strobe-light effect, and even while shooting it's impossible to see anything without resorting to idbeholdl or maybe using a GL port with dynamic lights, and this means a lot of trial and error and deaths. Fortunately, it's optional. Unfortunately, the rest of the unfavorably hard portions of the map aren't.
There are many "surprise!" moments with a door you need to open having an archvile or revenant standing right there, but that's not much for an experienced player. Or at least it wouldn't be, but for half the map you only have the pistol, shotgun, and chaingun for weapons with little ammo (though you'd be hard pressed to run out of shotgun shells 'til the end), so you aren't well equipped for much of this. What the real sinkers for this wad are are the last two rooms. The first of the last is a large rectangular room split into hallways with three Masterminds, a dozen or so Cacodemons and Barons, and surely more than a hundred Barons and Hell Knights, plus Pain Elementals. With such an amount of enemies, the room is disturbingly difficult and cramped, making for some frustrating gameplay as nowhere is safe but the platform you entered the room on, and even then it's not safe. Oh, and you can't go back to get any ammo and health you may have left behind. If you can manage to hit all the switches in the room (3 on the outside, 4 on the inside I believe), you open up the passage to the final room. Killing all the enemies in the large room isn't necessary, but obviously makes it easier to get places. So long as you have picked up the BFG in the room, your level of health and ammo doesn't matter; the final room has two megaspheres and plenty of cells.
That brings us to the final room. This is the straw that broke the camel's back of the mod. Here you have a small, cramped circular room with four Cyberdemons, and to fight them you have to stay on very narrow ledges, and if you fall off there's nothing but inescapable lava and rage. There's simply no way to legitimately do this, as if you stay on one of the platforms that you can't fall off without running for the center, you have four cyberdemons shooting rockets at you. If you get hit once on the smaller paths, you fall off. Unless ITYTD or HNTR drastically change this area, I wager it's not possible either.
Summary of the gameplay is: It starts off very challenging, a good thing for a player looking for such, but then delves into the ridiculous and then impossible.
As for the design of the map, it wasn't anything special, but it wasn't bad. Aside from a few missing textures, overly cramped corridors, and the pitch black hallway, the design and architecture are nicely detailed, and I didn't see any misaligned textures or anything that looked particularly poor.
Overall, if the author polished out some of the design, dropped the cramped corridors and total darkness, made sure those textures were in, and made the difficulty sensible, this could have been a good map. As it is, however, it barely makes "decent" due to its severe flaws.