Castle of Combat for HERETIC, REG ONLY - Martin E. Ferris
Heretic Support - Solo Play - 72316 bytes -
Reviewed by: Lawstiker
This level suffers from quite a few flaws. One most notable was the symmetrical design of the castle, each side of the map being almost a mirror image of the reverse side. Another issue was the maps overabundance of health, ammo, and items, where in contrast there where a rather low number of enemies. There was very little challenge to the player because of this fact, leaving the most difficult task of the map being finding all the switches (which in itself wasn't even a challenge).
Quite frankly this wad did not leave any kind of impression at all. It is not utterly horrible, but there's nothing that stands out about it either. Generic would be a great way to describe this map. If you don't play this wad, you won't be missing out on anything spectacular.
Jenesis, Pt. 1: "Descent" - James "Jimmy" Paddock
Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2081276 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Finally I get a crack at a modern map! In fact, I get a crack at 11 modern maps! And one of them is a tribute to Hell Revealed, which I've recently discovered can kick my arse! Maybe I've taken on more than I can chew this time. But as the saying goes, only in death does duty end, and in Doom you technically can't die because you simply reappear at the last save point. If only it was that easy in the Imperial Guard! (But then we'd have to spend eternity fighting Orks.)
Anyway, given that this is a set of speed maps, you can perhaps forgive me for expecting a fething potty-load of cack, but instead the author has given us an extensively playtested and beautiful-looking set of maps. How come it only took him 10 hours to make some of these maps, and it takes me months? Feth take you and your skill, James "Jimmy" Paddock, nobody makes a member of the Tanith 1st look like an idiot and gets away with it! *Loads Doom Builder 2*
Although I'm a hardened veteran of the Tanith 1st and therefore rock hard and utterly unkillable, the maps were a bit hard for me on UV so I found myself dropping to HMP (which I hate to do because it makes me feel less of a man - James "Jimmy" Paddock has gone all out to destroy me!). The difficulty balance there was better in the early maps but still very hard. I just finished the Sabbat Worlds crusade before you mock my weakness, give me fething break, I'm knackered!
There should be a difficulty between HMP and UV these days given that UV seems to be "Haha, feth you and DIE" and HMP is more along the lines of "Right, I killed all the minions, where did the big boys go?" Maybe in the books, lasgun shots simply "crease my forehead", but in the world of Doom I lose body parts as quickly as the next fething plonker.
Map 1 is surprisingly long and intricate given that it was knocked together in the time it takes to watch that film about Ghandi. What was that called again? There are a lot of thoughtful architectural details which I appreciated as a lover of detailed maps. This was a serious relief after playing through two mid-90s maps and shows how far Doom mapping has come.
There were touches that reminded me of E1M1.
Map 2 is the HR tribute map and though I'm not so familiar with the super-hard megawad, even I recognised this. It's one of those rare beasts, a fully outdoors map that resembles a stroll through the gardens. HR aficionados should have a go. Maybe some will find it too similar and either be nostalgic or outraged.
Map 3 passed in a blaze of gunfire, helped along by a nice supply of Jaffa Cakes (I hope I didn't eat Teal'c by mistake, BOOM BOOM!). Well this map was called the Oasis Facility so I was hoping to put a shotgun blast through monkey-faced frontman Liam Gallagher's bad attitude. Unfortunately he was off somewhere punching a journalist then driving away as fast as he could (MY HERO!), so I had to kill some normal Doom baddies instead. It's an enjoyable romp through a toxin base.
Things start getting mental in map 4. I played each map from a pistol start on HMP but this mapset is quite hard and you're probably better off playing through as an episode. (I never know when I am supposed to be pistol-starting.) There is a lot of nukage on this map and I don't like being made to run through areas of nukage without protection - that becomes more of an issue in later maps. There are suits here, they're just guarded by Mancs and Revenants, so you get to find out how fast you can move. Not my favourite map but not bad either.
Map 5 unleashed the apocalypse on me. There is a significant number of powerful demons on this map and once again the heights of certain sectors (like the lift with a Hell Knight standing on it) and you can be hit in the head without seeing your attacker, even with mouselook. Once you journey up the lift you see a Doomish vista and come under immediate assault from a Baron and other gribblies, which I felt was harsh in the confined space. This map uses 3D bridges which is a nice surprise. I died quite a few times on this map and great were the ululations of the demon spawn when I kept resurrecting to fight again - I've got the Sabbat Martyr watching over me, heathens! This is a challenging and original map with plenty of nice visuals, if harsh gameplay wise (Chaingunner and Revenant spam), so I'd recommend having a go on this one. Now I admit I found map 6 frustrating. Most of the doors are controlled by switches, which is a good idea, but when one switch controls doors at opposite ends of a long corridor you tend to waste a few seconds waiting around for the switch to become active again. There are some close range fights here with tough monsters. An Arch Vile was hidden behind a long, translucent wall texture, soaking up my randomly-aimed rocket fire while setting me on fire. I spent a lot of time in Doc Dorden's surgery having burn cream applied. As with the other maps this is very pretty and well designed, just a bit frustrating in difficulty. Give me a lasgun and I'll show these hellspawn. Why do humans in the Doom timeline still use shotguns when much more powerful technology is available?
Imagine my surprise when map 7 turned out to be a Mancubus/Arachnotron fight. Actually I enjoyed this map and didn't find it hard to beat, probably because it gives you room to run away. (A dead hero is no good to the Imperium.) The map itself was beautiful in a bleak, Doomy way, with new textures used to good effect. It's only a very small map but one that appealed to me visually.
Map 8 is a small but intricate Doom 2 toxin base in which you keep returning to the same areas. It's always clear where to go next and revisiting the same area always leads you down a newly opened path. This is good map design and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. One thing I have noticed about these maps is the mapper knows how to deploy his monsters to get the maximum effect from them. Unfortunately he tends to do this with Chaingunners and Revenants, who are the most obnoxious of monsters when cleverly used. We know your game, James "Jimmy" Paddock.
The only music track in the game that I liked belonged to map 9. Guess which music track in this mapset is the only one created solely by James "Jimmy" Paddock! He's fething haunting me! Get out of my head, accursed psyker! Unfortunately I didn't get too far into this map. Even veteran Guard like myself have our bad days, and I'm more at home sneaking through the woods than I am engaging in a meat grinder. Map 9 is hard from the moment you click the first switch and find yourself surrounded by Imps in a cramped room. There are loads of Revenants here, giving me the increasingly sinking feeling that this mapset was simply not designed for a player like me. That said it's still impressively designed and represents a tough challenge for the sadists among us.
When we come to map 10, I was immediately and powerfully reminded of the Alien Vendetta hell maps, particularly map 29, Fire Walk With Me. Playing the Alien vendetta megawad (on co-op mode, no less) was the best Doom experience since playing the original on PSX with my brother and our mates back in 1995. So this map, while excruciating in its desire to inflict death upon the player, brought a rush of pleasure long thought forgotten: that buzzing feeling that you've become the Doom Marine and you're trapped in a nightmare that is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Maps like this prove that Doom still has relevance in today's world of short, mission-driven, heavily-scripted shooter clones. That said, this does have a remake of the dreaded "Revenant scene" from Fire Walk With Me, and that is something that still makes me break out in cold sweat. Feth the Blood Pact, they're a load of nancy boys compared to Revenant spam.
Finally, map 11 is one of those wall-faced-monster maps that I hate very much but at least the map looks pretty.
There are some frustrating things. Mouselook is required, not a problem for me but if you're an old-school Doomer you might as well watch the telly for a bit instead of playing this mapset. (Use mouselook, it's 2011 you know.) I also don't know whether or not jumping is allowed so I didn't try it; jumping would let you get to some obscurely-placed items quite easily.
As for the music, I don't want to pass judgment on other people's hard work, but all I can think is that tastes have changed between your era and the 41st millennium. I would rather listen to a horde of Orks being disemboweled by Tyranid Warriors, but well done for your efforts anyway gents!
When you play mapsets like this it shows how much creativity has gone and still goes into a game which is essentially obsolete. The mapper has created a relevant and well thought out set of maps in remarkably short time. The layout of the levels and the attractive architecture appeal to me; unfortunately the gameplay was not my preferred style, although I will definitely be in the minority with this opinion. Picking screenshots for this wad was a pain in the arse since there were so many to choose from.
Today's generation of self-obsessed celebrity wannabes would simply laugh at Doom, unable to believe how crude and simple it looks compared to Killzone 3 or Modern Warfare 2. The thing is, we know different. We felt that zap of adrenaline as we loaded Doom 95 or heard the Playstation jingle. We felt the fear. We were, and if we admit it still are, trapped in electronic mazes made of right angles, where in our absence the pixelated images of our nightmares simply move on the spot, pacing, waiting. Waiting for us. Because their existence is meaningless without us. We are all they've got. They know that we left a part of ourselves in their virtual realm, and although we have killed millions of their kind, the victory will always be theirs. They know we'll come back to kill again. And that's all Hell wants from us. In the year 2050, long after Modern Warfare 44 has been forgotten, there will still be men and women left alive who remember Doom.
This is a highly recommended mapset and will probably be the best set of levels reviewed in this edition of /newstuff, so download it or I'll get the Tanith 1st to come to your home planet and FETH YOU UP!
The black lands - Wraith
Limit Removing - Solo Play - 338421 bytes -
Reviewed by: Liam
A quick perusal of tbl.txt makes two things clear: Wraith is selling The Black Lands on its "non-linear design", and players must Activate Lots Of Swich If They Want To Arrive At The End. The former is not quite true, if non-linear level design is assumed to entail multiple possible paths to the exit. The latter is correct to a fault.
There is no better way to describe this map than as a switch hunt, and the constant backtracking required can make for a tiresome experience. This is compounded by the author's approach to health balance, amply placing medkits for the trivially easy early parts of the map but forgoing them almost entirely in areas housing more respectable challenges. I started off fairly carelessly and wound up playing much of the map on 1% health; I suffered a sharp pain in my groin every time I realized I had to go back through a field of corpses to hunt for yet another switch.
Visually, however, this wad is much stronger (as long as you're not bothered by there being more brown than a septic tank). It boasts satisfying variety within a consistent aesthetic and atmosphere, marred only by a sordid love affair with DOORSTOP and some minor errors in alignment and floor/ceiling height. While I can't recommend The Black Lands on fun factor, it's the product of a mapper with obvious potential who simply needs to renew his focus on gameplay design and pacing.
bildoom1.zip - Bill Ostrander
Vanilla - Solo Play - 66643 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
I didn't like this pwad after knowing that I had wasted half an hour of my life playing this when I could've been watching a perfectly funny DVD. A bit of Fry and Laurie anyone?
Yes, it's not good. It's from 1995, 3 levels for Doom 2 and the designs are just not pleasant to play through. Awful texturing and completely random layouts. When it is this bad, I can't really enjoy the gameplay (which is in itself not so strong either). The screenshots can tell the rest of the story; I'm off to make up for some lost time.
The Clinic - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 66143 bytes
Reviewed by: Megamur
The Clinic is a late-'95 WAD that is apparently modeled around the layout of a real clinic. Yes, with a description like that, you have every right to want to turn tail and run screaming into the night. And while this WAD certainly isn't some all-time classic, it's not all bad either.
The layout for this particular clinic actually lends itself fairly well to the gameplay, unlike many "based on a real building" WADs that usually sport congested hallways, spreading out into dozens of lookalike side rooms. The opening lobby area is actually somewhat large, giving you a decent amount of maneuvering room for combat while also giving the bad guys an opportunity to pour in en masse, and while we're not talking Hell Revealed craziness here, the opening minutes were more manic than expected. You're given plenty of shells early on, but no actual shotguns to put them in yet, and not enough bullets to feed your chaingun for long. You'll find yourself darting past enemies and peeking into side rooms, quickly rummaging around for supplies while dodging the incoming artillery. Demons will tromp out into the main area of the lobby while snipers stay stationed in nests around the perimeter to trouble you from afar. It actually manages to be a bit exciting.
While nothing else in the level really lives up to those opening moments, there are still a few larger-scale battles later on that crank up the pressure. As the author promises, you'll face nearly every enemy type in the game, including several Arch-Viles, Barons and even a Cyberdemon. Monster-filled traps also open when revisiting some old areas, which helps keep the backtracking from getting too dull. I was especially pleased with one that opened when you picked up the blue key. When you walked inside it, you find a window that looks out towards the blue door, halfway across the map, thus reminding you of where you need to go next. Nice touch.
However, despite all of this, the difficulty is greatly tempered by the abundance of health you're given. A soul sphere is provided as soon as you start the map, and you'll find no less than three more as you move on, as well as two berserk packs and a megasphere (which is hidden, but not that hard to get). Aside from the teleporting Cyberdemon tromping around partway through the level, you really don't feel much threat of getting picked off, and even that encounter gives you an invulnerability sphere to ease your troubles.
Ammo gets a bit over-plentiful as you go on, as well. Those early minutes of praying that my chaingun barrels will keep spinning a little longer eventually gave way to me finding a plasma gun with a load of cells and never needing to use it. With a few supply balance tweaks, the difficulty could've been greatly improved.
Visually, the map is about on par with the stock Doom II maps, or possibly a little better. The theme gets lost along the way at points (a door in the clinic's lobby is seemingly attached to a flooded cave-like area for no sensible reason), but generally, textures are employed fairly well and complement each other nicely, and there's even some bits of detail, like computer consoles and fountains. I especially liked the hallways near the opening of the map with horizontal strips of lights running down them.
The map is mostly bug-free, aside from a few lines surrounding a toxic pool in the northeast corner of the map that are inexplicably impassible. Checking the map in an editor, they don't have an "impassible" flag assigned to them, so I'm not sure what's causing that effect.
All in all, The Clinic isn't really all that special. It's not terribly long, and it has some balance issues. However, I can honestly say I was never bored, and the action picked up pretty nicely in a few spots, even if the excitement was a tad fleeting.
The West Wing - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 48479 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
So I'm sitting down on my laptop, waiting for my mum before we go to the pub for our weekly piss up. I think to myself, what shall I do to fill in this gaping hole that manifested within my hectic schedule and reeks of boredom? Hmm, study? Screw that. Watch a movie? A movie goes on longer than my available time and I don't like leaving halfway in a movie (that really gives me the shits). Ah, how about playing a Doom map? Just perfect.
Upon reading the /idgames link review, I had myself a not-too-high expectation of the wad, and after playing through it, I wasn't let down at all. My minor gripes of the wad was that it was pretty easy (I'm not saying that an easy wad is something that can't be savoured and enjoyed). The texturing could have better transitions (such as using support textures between two different textures). It can be quite jarring when you see one texture on one side, and then a random texture pops up around the corner that just screams "OH HAI THERE" or whichever idiotic cheesy quotes that pervades through 4chan forums. Reason for this was understandable for I inferred that this wad was made in the early 90's (where are you 3D editing mode?). Still, with that said, it didn't really matter what year it was made: it's pretty good!
The texturing with poster/wallpaper-like characteristics was easily overlooked for the qualities of this map pretty much stood out. The gameplay and layout is old-school and organic. That's a good thing. It just felt like Doom again. The non-linearity allows for cool explorations with ease and the secrets are just begging to be unconcealed. Such layout designs is what I welcome with open arms; don't you love the feeling where you see one area that appeared unreachable, and all of a sudden, you're in that area and you see the area you were initially in? It's like being at the playground, you're standing at the top of the plaything and you see your mum in the distance, you can't help but say "Hi mum!" and attempt a pathetic visible wave.
I can't really add anything more, I'd only end up wasting a few more seconds of your lives. If you happen to be waiting for your cool mum (Okay, my mum's cool I tell you. Don't judge me.) before going out in a social setting, play this...
Well, if your mum isn't that cool, still, give it a crack, and if you can't stand misaligned and poorish texturing and organic layouts with bare details, then I pity you, sirs and madams.
Playmasters - Craig Gregory
Vanilla - Solo Play - 477397 bytes -
Reviewed by: Scet
When I saw the half-star rating on the archives, I had to see how bad this really is. Well, lets just say it's a half-star too many. What we have here are 25 very square maps for Doom 2 from (apparently) 1995. How square? Well the average map size is 58KBs, each map is literally just a bunch of square rooms, usually full of cyberdemons or arch-viles. Texturing is awful, alignment is awful, monster placement is awful, the whole WAD is awful. Just have a look at the screenshots, they'll tell you all you need to know.
Within the Bowels of Hell - Richard Potts
Vanilla - Solo Play - 85501 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Ever since my home planet of Tanith got bombed to bloody hell, I've been at a loose end. I can only run around killing boring Chaos cultists for so long before I need a change. So how about finding a load of demons and ripping them a cosmos of new ones?
I haven't written a Doom review for years, and the attractively-named bowels.wad seemed like an appropriate place to start.
Seriously mate: bowels.wad?
Having played the map, my thoughts are that the mapper actually chose the right name. This thing is BROWN. There's a whole sewer-type section with brown sludgy water, making me feel like a nugget of poo racing along some demonic colon. I was reminded at times of my stint with the Gereon resistance... but I don't like to talk about that, since I went insane on Gereon, although I'm much better now.
Anyway, what was I on about? Ah yes, the map. Well, it's certainly brown like I'd imagine bowels to be. Maybe someone should ask forum stalwart Maes for his opinion, although I hear he prefers to look at bottoms from the outside. The map itself is neatly presented with no garish texture clashes until you reach the Wolfenstein part. Yes, there are Nazis and 3rd Reich iconography in this map. It was at this part that I realised I should have read the text file: this map dates from 1995.
With that in mind my opinion of the map changes considerably. What before seemed like a somewhat dull but somehow nostalgic romp through a brown brick nest of Imps now seems impressive for its time. There are lots of little classic touches that we don't see in modern maps (at least, I don't), like rooms with secret areas that wrap around and lead you back into the same room from a hidden doorway, stairs that build themselves and so forth. When I compare this to some of the crap produced in those early days, Richard Potts (the mapper) shows that the fledgling Doom mapping community learned from its own mistakes. I was playing with the PSX music and PSX sound wads as well and they perfectly suited the tone of this map.
There are a few newbie mistakes. First of all, you need to find switches in "secret" areas, so look for misaligned textures in every room. Not every area that is apparently a secret was actually tagged as such. Also you will occasionally run into brick walls that somehow teleport you elsewhere. There was a bumload of plasma packs, more than you'd find on the average Forge World in fact, so much of the map consists of pointing your plasma rifle and holding the trigger; funnily enough I was never injured by my own gun, so I must not have rolled any 1s to hit (which would be a first).
Also I spent a lot of time running around the obligatory half-arsed maze wondering where the feth I was supposed to go. I hate this about early maps. A secret computer area map which I found when I backtracked to the start was a godsend, otherwise I'd have had to do the Emperor's Tarot for guidance. Maybe this technology stuff isn't so bad after all.
The map is worth a look for the nostalgia factor. It would be more fun as part of a 1995 episode. The author dropped a bollock by denying others permission to modify his work (seriously, who does that when they're making levels for someone else's game?), otherwise I would have loved to spend a couple of weeks tarting this map up. Wherever you are Richard Potts, whatever you're doing now, thanks for this reasonable map, but also thanks for not letting us tweak it to make it excellent.
Intersection - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 60993 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
It's lucky nobody is making maps these days, otherwise I wouldn't get to review and read about ancient E1M3 replacements that nobody will ever play.
Intersection has had some harsh reviews on the /idgames database, and I think that's unfair. True, this is not the kind of map that will make the Emperor sit up on his Golden Throne and take notice, but I enjoyed playing through it and I even got killed once. This is genuine Ultimate Doom nostalgia and it gives me a warm feeling. At first I thought I had wet my pants but then I realised I was having fun! (Having fun playing the map, that is. I hadn't actually peed myself. If I did wet myself, I wouldn't like it.)
The map is generally bright and has no real flaws in its design. I don't care about misaligned textures or weird-shaped rooms in old maps. It's a techbase type map which reminded me initially of Ultimate Doom's E1M4, ironically. I usually play Doom with the PSX sounds and music but forgot to load them. I understand that people grew up playing the PC version of Doom but IMO there is no comparison between the soundtracks: PSX Doom blows its PC counterpart away in this respect. This map would have been more enjoyable and much more emotional for me with the PSX Toxin Refinery track, which is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard in a lonely, wistful way.
There's nothing lonely about Intersection. It's crammed with over 200 monsters. Being an Ultimate Doom map, this means you'll be facing the same nasties over and over, but I still found it occasionally tough on UV and the map keeps linking back to the titular intersection very smoothly. An architectural high was the nicely-shaded staircase.
There are a few hard to find secrets offering items that you mainly won't need, such as a backpack and two soul spheres (in the same room). There was a chainsaw in an apparent one-time secret which I missed because a platform raised up when I stepped on it and I reflexively jumped backwards off it. Therefore I missed a chainsaw which would have allowed me to take straight silver to the foe, although I didn't really need it. I made it through with only finding a single secret. Having a load of soul spheres is just overkill courtesy of the early 90s. Was everyone crap at Doom back then to need all that health?
I didn't find the exit to the secret level because a) it's too well hidden, b) it would only take me to the Military Base and c) I couldn't be arsed. Secret artifacts don't mean so much to me that I need to hire Indiana Jones.
As a parting gift, the map offers you green armour and a secret soul sphere right by the exit (just when you need it the most).
I'd recommend this to anyone with a sense of nostalgia.
The Keystone - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 49951 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
When you're browsing through the list of wad files to review for /newstuff, sometimes you feel like you're back in comprehensive school reliving a period of your life that doesn't seem so magical the second time around. In fact this is my first week of writing reviews for you lot (I hope you're fething happy with them!) and I've already done more archaeology than Daniel Jackson. Surely there are more modern maps to try? Some half-forgotten classics, like a one-map version of Requiem that is neither a Deathmatch or a Hexen?
But maybe Keystone will be different - maybe it will be like discovering a video you and your mates made back in the day, charting life as it was during those simpler, magical times. Anyway, let's give some insight into a map described by the Doom Community as "the first and second reviewers are faggots" and "the third reviewer is a faggot". Welcome to Doomworld, where we are ALL faggots!
Keystone is a decent attempt at an E1M2 replacement. As with all the early custom maps, this level is heavily influenced by id's original, which makes me wonder how hidebound mappers used to be - and to an extent still are. We're still seeing Doom 2 map 7 replacements that are Manc/Arachno fights and every megawad ends with a Baphomet fight. We've been remaking the originals for 20 years, no matter how innovative some of us think we've been. That's not an insult by the way, just an observation. We Tanith are good at observation, just before we STRIKE!
There aren't any jarring texture clashes or startling changes in decoration that I noticed, so at least it's consistent. It's decent to look at, it knows its theme and sticks to it. There are some very old-school tricks like a room whose lighting changes to a menacing darkness with flickering that makes you think the map itself is attacking you. Fans of E1 will be happy here, I think.
My main problem with Keystone is that it's boring in places. Expect much backtracking past piles of corpses you killed several minutes ago. There are a lot of large areas with small numbers of minions who represent little threat. I sometimes wonder why someone would release a single map that is populated mainly by Imps and Handgunners. Heavy support is provided by minimal numbers of Cacodemons and Hell Barons.
One thing that got me is the way large areas of this map are either secret or optional. You don't even need the yellow key. It leads you to more items and new adventures... while this adds to the replay value, I would question whether many people would replay a map like this when Alien Vendetta exists, though I suppose in its time people would have little choice but to play the same maps again and again.
Sometimes, the Doom Community's comments are more entertaining than the maps they rant about. On the other hand I don't want to do a disservice to Kevin Eudy. His maps are some of the first custom maps I played and there is little to complain about here apart from the backtracking. Kevin was one of the pioneers of Doom mapping in my opinion. Wherever you are Kevin, whatever has happened in your life over the last 20 years - whether you became chairman of your own empire or died of syphilis after being bum-raped in an alley - this is a time capsule to the Doom Community, and it's one of the few maps the fething Phantom Crap Wad Uploaders should be THANKED for uploading.
If I Ran The Zoo - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 25195 bytes
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
The Phantom Crap Wad Uploaders strike AGAIN!
I feel something of an affinity for this mapper because his maps were some of the first custom levels I played. In fact I've reviewed almost his entire Doomography by now. I wonder if Kevin Eudy knew that almost 20 years after he made his contribution to the Doom Community, his work would be reviewed by a character from the 41st Millennium. Unfortunately this Tanith tree rat hasn't got anything nice to say about Zoo.
Despite having no less than 3 names (Zoo, Zoo3 and If I Ran The Zoo), the map itself is a piece of poo. It's simply a wide open space into which every type of monster in the game is released. That's it. It's a 1994-esque, "my first map" with Doom 2 monsters. The infighting would be fun but there are several Arch-Viles who simply waste you across the open space. You can't see the carnage because you're constantly on fire. There are loads of invincibility spheres which take any relevance from the battle and make things even harder to see (and therefore "enjoy"). I've just spend four times longer writing about this pile of feth than I did playing it.
In closing, Kevin Eudy says in the text file that we're not allowed to use this map as a base for our own projects, meaning nobody else can base their dream level around a giant empty space the size of Wembley Stadium. I'd rather French kiss Dot Cotton to be honest. Seriously, why would someone upload something like this? STOP IT, you fething spammers!
The Hall - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 61218 bytes
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Here we have a wad apparently dated from 1996. Can someone start uploading modern wads please? I love this old stuff but I'd rather be blasting Mancubuses, Hell Knights and Arachnotrons than ten million Lost Souls and Pinkies.
That said, here's an unbiased opinion of this map - honestly.
I love the music for E1M7, it's full of foreboding and sounds sufficiently hellish. The map itself seems strongly influenced by Containment Area from the original Doom. While that isn't one of my favourite maps, especially the longer PC version (compared to the PSX version which had some frankly unnecessary detail cut out), it's one of the first long and "complex" maps in Ultimate Doom, so it stands out in my memory. Some of the later areas also reminded me slightly of the Computer Station map as well which was another intricate one. This is one of the few cases where the PC music suits the map better than its PSX equivalent; the PSX music for map 07 is one that has already scared me and invoked a feeling of paranoia which is too heavy for a map like this.
The architecture is scaled quite large with very tall sectors that seem to loom over the player. I really like this style of map and while oversized rooms are not to everyone's taste these days, they are a product of their era. There is good use of location, with the player having a choice of directions to go at the beginning and some nice views out of all the windows - I found the red key view particularly Doomy. Playing these old wads really reminds you of what drew you into Doom, even if things have since moved on. As a player I'd advise you to look around before heading out into the map as there is a handy chaingun.
There are some basic traps waiting for the intrepid collector of weapons. Unfortunately, as the Imps started teleporting in, the map crashed. I was running it in GLZdoom at the time. I restarted in standard ZDoom and it crashed immediately.
Doom95 wouldn't even load it up although that seems to be a problem with my computer rather than the map. I had the same errors using ZDoom Launcher 3 and Doom Builder 2 (DB2 also reported no errors whatsoever with the map, impressive for something that was built so long ago with comparatively crude technology.)
I finally got it working in PRBoom-Plus and managed to get through the level without it crashing even though there was a lot of unexplained slowdown. Overall I found it frustrating due to technical errors but a worthy map for its time.
Hopefully you'll be able to play it without issue. You'll enjoy it.
The Darkness and the Light - Kevin Eudy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 41822 bytes
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Greetings from the grim darkness of the far future. I have the privilege of playing one of this author's earliest maps. I say that guardedly because most people's early maps can be described as "excrement with vertices". Also, this is either a 1995 or 1996 job. As with sending a bunch of Cadian conscripts to fight against the daemons of Khorne, it's best not to expect too much.
I'm interested to note this author also did zoo.wad - I've got this on an old Doom shovelware CD somewhere and I remember playing it in 1998. Crikey, how about that for a blast from the past. Mind you it was a load of poo. How will this map stand up?
After I loaded the map, I marveled at the clash of textures and amused myself by spotting influences from the original Doom maps. However, I found that I wasn't able to complete the map, mainly because I only had a yellow key and I'd seen neither sight nor sound of a yellow door. The blue and red doors were mere moments away, of course, but I couldn't find their respective keys! This wouldn't happen if I had Domor handy. He's blind, but he can find mines. Giant glowing keys should be no problem!
After checking the map in Doom Builder 2 it seems that you need the blue key to be able to get to the yellow door, and in order to get the blue key you need the red key. But the red key is beyond the yellow door... surely this is some Tzeentchian conspiracy? I could almost hear the Fateweaver cackling from both of its beaks, the two-headed bastard, so I simply clipped through the map having a look around. It turns out that on co-op mode you get a Spider Mastermind in the courtyard outside (good luck taking that thing out with your shotgun and limited cover), plus there's a Cyberdemon at the end of the map. I think including two boss monsters in a map like this is a case of overkill.
So what are this map's good points? Well, there is some attention paid to the use of darkness and light, and I didn't hate the map, I just couldn't beat it. Not that I'll cry over it or ever play it again. You also don't get any screenshots because there's bugger all worth snapping.
I'll brace myself for the inevitable flak from people who are going to tell me I missed something obvious, but I don't care because I've got an invulnerable save.
4thjuly - Jeremy L. Wagner
Vanilla - Solo Play - 586996 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Sometimes, when browsing the archives, you come across something that should have been uploaded to ratemypoo.com instead.
This wad file replaces the rocket launcher, plasma rifle and BFG 9000 with weapons that behave identically but look significantly worse. Good luck at working out what the glass jar thing is supposed to be without reading the text file. The "ultimate weapon" has a nice explosion (which actually looks dreadful in the screenshot) yet it begs the question why anyone would replace the terrific BFG graphics with an insultingly poor grey box? If you're going to make a weapons mod, just do an Imperial Guard one, we are winning wars all across the galaxy despite having AP- on our main guns.
The positives? Well some work went into it (probably). If you need to hurl badly-drawn fireworks at Hell Barons this might be your dream mod.
Hellhold - Jason Morris & George Fiffy
Vanilla - Solo Play - 319429 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
The whole King REoL thing happened before I joined the Doom Community, so maybe someone would like to elaborate on the story. Anyway, some fething muppet called Perseus (the Phantom Crap Wad Uploader) has been spamming /newstuff with archaeology from the dawn of Doom mapping, and in a way it feels like a retarded honour for me to review some of them.
Please though, Perseus, if you don't stop uploading so many archaic maps we will send the Ordo Hereticus after you.
I have played some of Fiffy's more "renowned" (in a good way, if such a term applies to the much-maligned King) maps, and I've got to say I enjoyed them. There was one with a yellow sky and loads of Cyberdemons on platforms that you had to run between with the objective being to stay alive rather than spamming them all with BFGs. It was one of the most exciting maps I played in those days. So I went into this one with some hope... until I saw the comments on /idgames. Gulp.
Then I loaded up the first map and my eyes started to bleed.
There are three levels in this "series" and the first two are, frankly, crap. Thanks for uploading them. They're little more than uninventive meatgrinder battles crammed with minor enemies and a melange of clashing textures that seem determined to rape your eyeballs. There are no Mancubuses or Revenants in Ultimate Doom, just hordes of monsters who die in droves. In an interesting twist, some of the ambushing monsters are all deaf and facing the wrong way. They're probably just hiding from shame, pretending they aren't even in this map. The wad as a whole offers a bloodthirsty style I haven't seen for a while, and I haven't really missed it.
The second map is a huge improvement over the first in terms of aesthetics if not gameplay. There's a nice graveyard area (perhaps nice is not the right word to use about something like that) with a rather obvious secret crypt, given that its door suddenly flies open when you get within 500 yards. Then the map spoils itself with a fething wreck of a texture that is simply a repetition of a pair of animated eyes... to borrow a phrase from the Angry Video Game Nerd, what were they thinking? A super shotgun would turn you into a god in this map.
The third map was a further sign of progress. The action takes place inside a hotel which has no vacancies... with fifty minions in every room, surely contravening safety laws. There's a decent diner area and a few startling texture transitions between areas. In general though this was a better-designed map and even appeared thoughtful. A pity the same can't be said for the monster deployment. This is like a primitive Hell Revealed.
Hellhold.wad would be suitable for anyone whose idea of fun is a relentless meat grinder with dozens of the same monsters around every corner. This is a very old fashioned wad. I recommend the third map though; I reckon slaughtering all those baddies would be good stress relief after a shit week at work, and it's a very satisfying exercise in infighting if you decide to clip straight through all the rooms.
Say what you like about Fiffy, he showed consistent progress in his mapping and he offered a lot to the Doom Community in his day - even if the Community didn't always want or need it.