Castle of Combat for HERETIC, REG ONLY - Martin E. Ferris
Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 63041 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Here we've got another level uploaded from the night of times by the phantom uploader (TM), Perseus!
This is a level of a never-ending (well, until now) Heretic level series called "Castle of Combat", and well, this level is really nice, although the limit of editors of that age (1997, if I don't wrong). There's some good usage of texturing and really cool usage of lighting, that make this one a really good looking hidden classic, forgotten in the dusty arcane memory of any level compilation for 90s FPS games...
Gameplay is addicting and make looks this wad a sort of slaughter map (oh well, maybe not so hard), and this castle could be a little hard to be defeated... probably the only thing can maybe somebody doesn't like is the huge amount of the ammo on the castle walls, but it could be accepted since is enough useful to the accomplishment of your mission...
So, this is a worth download IMHO, just for have some fun... but download play this one. Recommended for old-school lovers...
Chill 3 - Nautilus
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 566566 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
When a certain Scary Movie villain declared that not only was he chilling but killing also, any doubts as to whether matching death and kicking back could combine to create an ultimate out-of-this-world deathmatch experience were not just abolished, but obliterated. Shat upon, in fact. Chill 3 is one of the most refined set of maps ever to hit /idgames, and unlike so many others of its sort won't discriminate between one preference of play or another. It's much too cool for that. You could even call it promiscuous.
Featuring maps by circuit kings Ralphis and Rottking, Nautilus's Chill 3 is remarkably simple even for a set of maps designed for 1-on-1 deathmatch play. The maps all use stock Doom 2 textures for starters, which along with the arcade inspired title screen succeed in inseminating a sense of the old school, but they also have the good decency to abstain from excessive detailing for maximum manoeuvrability, which is something everyone should have come to demand from deathmatch sets by now. Each of the 9 maps are highly dynamic, with plenty of timed switches and spatial diversity with which to create opportunity in combat. To compensate for any perceived tone-down in the detail department, however, Nautilus has maintained in supplying the player with what is easily the defining feature of this series: a musical selection so intoxicatingly classy it'll cure dyspraxia and slip into you finer than a bottle of Johnny Walker Black (accept no substitutes!). Through this alone the beauty-gameplay balance is balanced high, the perfect deathmatch environment is created, and the murder may commence. And continue unabated. Simple; definitive; the master's craft.
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but chillin'? There's a deathmatch for that.
Shinobi - Richard Smith Long
Doom/Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 3966865 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
I have recently slid back into my bad habit of claiming wads, playing through them and taking screenshots, but then putting off the actual review writing process until my claim is automatically relinquished. Though this time I would blame that slip into misbehavior on Mobius, which I simply cringed at every time I even thought about writing a review. Anyways, in an effort to break out of that habit and get back on track, I decided to take a look at Richard Smith Long's "Shinobi" mod played through GZDoom.
The first thing that I must point out is that the weapon sprites just do not fit in at all, at least in my eyes. I appreciate the thought of using higher-res images on a port that can handle them, but these just look utterly ridiculous. It literally looks like I could've done these myself by taking photos of my hands holding the various weapons and then editing them in Photoshop or whatnot so as to put them in a Doom mod. The hands used in each weapon sprite look like the palest skinned person I could imagine, and most all of the weapons themselves just look downright silly.
The weapons occupying the first two slots, for example, look very strange. In slot 2 you are holding black "Stalker Darts", but in all honesty it just looks like you're holding 3 black pens/pencils. In slot 1 you have your fists which are equipped with "Tiger Bracers" but come on, it looks like some dude with a seat belt wrapped around each hand. There are several included power-ups which are nothing particularly special, the rest of the weapons are all things we've seen before, and the newly included wall-jump feature is useless in ordinary Doom. At the least I would've been more impressed if a level set had been included to be specifically used with this mod, but just using it in plain Doom or other mods is pointless.
Basically - nothing new/nothing we haven't seen before in other mods, only now we have weapon sprites apparently handled by the whitest ninja known to man. I attempted to look up said "Last Warrior" mod that RSL claims to have gotten these weapon sprites from but found no hint of it anywhere, so I am at a loss as to where these sprites came from in the first place. Either way you're not missing much by not playing this one.
Double Impact - RottKing & Ralphis
Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1374152 bytes -
Reviewed by: Melon
Double Impact is a very good Episode 1-themed episode for the original Doom. Note that I hesitate to call it an Episode 1 replacement in case you end up with the wrong idea; while Double Impact is largely Episode 1 style, primarily exploring nonlinear levels using low power weapons against weak enemies, it's also not afraid to stray from the formula occasionally.
The levels are way harder and bigger than their official counterparts; I found myself needing to drop down a difficulty on my first attempt. The difficulty progression across the entire episode felt like the progression you might find across a whole Doom 2 megawad, with the difficulty ramping up quite a lot for the later levels. Be forewarned that the final level is a huge shift in gameplay style and might not be to everyone's taste. I feel like a lot of people may not finish the wad without cheating even on I'm Too Young to Die because of it. There are a lot of secrets in this wad and on the whole they are hidden very creatively; the authors pulled out every trick in the book to try and hide all of the secrets in imaginative and varied ways.
Overall I recommend everybody to download this wad and give it a shot; even if you don't finish it, it's a very well crafted level set that deserves some of your time.
WARBABY.WAD consisting of TECH.WAD, BEN10.WAD, ASSMUNCH.WAD - Warbaby aka Ben Morris
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 181021 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
I seem to have a fetish when it comes to choosing a map to review. I seem to like reviewing early nineties maps. Perhaps it's the nostalgia and the simplicity, or the authors are mostly not around anymore so I can say whatever the hell I want without having my arse burnt off from all the criticisms coming out of the mouths of raving offended authors... still got the raving review critics though, so never mind all that.
Not that I'm saying I'd like to bad-mouth this early 90's WAD that includes three levels for Doom 1, Episode 2 (E2M1, E2M2 and E2M3); it was fun to play through for me, although there are some downers you have to be aware of:
Bugs: E2M2, sector 250, the lift apparently can only be activated via a walkover when it should have been a switch instead. You'll need to no-clip here.
UNMT (Unwanted Nineties Mapping Traits, not Ultimate Ninja Mutant Turtles): E2M3 has a decoy red skull key that leads to an inescapable pit full of barons. Nasty. A trap involves you teleporting dead-set behind a baron where you cannot escape, briefly giving enough time for the baron to slash you down (there is a way out of this though but was probably not to the author's intention). Nasty. These maps does not have enough ammo to allow for all monsters killed. You'll have to leave behind some when you exit the level. Very unlike the Doomguy, don't you think?
But I digress. If this WAD was actually from 1995, then it's relatively impressive! Architecture is quite solid for its time and quite dynamic (plenty of floor/ceiling height varieties and moving floors), gameplay is actually challenging (use save/load to embrace some of the nasty traps, although some were pretty clever) and texturing is decent, save for inevitable numerous misalignments (not what you'd consider worst case scenario).
Overall, give it a blast. Just make sure you memorise the no-clipping cheat, as it'll come in handy. (That's I-D-C-L-I-P). Try writing the code on the blackboard 200 times if you haven't memorised it already.
Kashimir - Memfis
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 60599 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
"All I see turns to Tenement inspired map replacements with a bit of Requiem map01 thrown in for good measure." Sorry, that's about as far as I can take that play on words. Take it or leave it.
Although it would probably serve better as an opening or intermediate map in a set than as an allegory for yellow desert streams and something about eyes filling with sand, Kashmir's simple gameplay and late 90's vibe give it an edge of charm that should certainly win over a couple minutes of your time. If playing Doom maps were ever considered a form of sustenance, you could probably liken this one to a granola bar, or even a packet of dried fruit. It's flavour packed, chewy, and though it isn't quite lunch; it will remind you of why you don't dig into the pantry* every second visit to masticate Joe Standard of the mapping archives.
*Let me take you there!
Digon Base - Raw Action - Callum Guy Oliver aka phobosdeimos1
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 344867 bytes -
Reviewed by: Mithran Denizen
This is a set of five small to medium-sized techbase maps for ZDoom, in a very "Classic PWAD" style which uses none of the engine's advanced features. The author recommends that you enable crouching and jumping however, with the latter being required to complete at least one map. Difficulty progression is fair but forgiving, while I feel that the above average layout, interconnectivity, and combat flow are somewhat marred by the repetitive and often confusing switch hunts which define the gameplay. Digon Base may warrant a quick play, so long as you aren't expecting any detailed architecture and don't mind running around without much direction at a few points.
Strange! - Loki
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 120856 bytes -
Reviewed by: yylow30
Strange is indeed a word to describe this map. The entire map's theme is a strange grey structure situated on top of damaging water.
The map was quite short and the monsters aren't any stronger than 3 Arachnotrons at any point in the map. However there is a big catch: weapons are extremely rare, and you will be pretty much running around with just a pistol, or fist, that is, if you are unable to find the secrets that are hidden around the map.
Having a good knowledge and skill of rocket jumping and jumping itself would be a vast advantage, for it is much needed in this map. There is a tower where you will need to rocket yourself up. While there is plenty of health and armor, by the time you reach the key, your armor will have been drained off, you will be injured, and you still have one last final rocket jump in order to exit. I would say it will take a MIRACLE if you want to get out of this area alive. But miracles happen; I managed to jump back out with just 3% health only to immediately get killed by a sniping hitscanner.
You got it right. Sniping hitscanners. Chaingunners and Imps perched on top of vertical poles are all over the place to slowly, painfully, drain your health away while you are struggling to survive the nuke - just take a look at the screenshots - with few health packs to spare.
Sad to say, even though it is pretty decent, this map is not much in flavor for me. Give it a shot if you want some training with rocket-jumping.
MEINHAUS.WAD - Karl Minor
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 196268 bytes -
Reviewed by: bgraybr
meinhaus.wad is a collection of three maps for Doom 2. The author claims that he was "shooting for the flavor of the original DOOM levels". If he truly was, it certainty doesn't show in any of the levels.
The first level started off in a rather empty, square room which led into a dark, narrow tunnel full of demons and shotgun guys. After dying several times, I found the chainsaw secret in the first room and was able to continue. The hallway unfortunately led straight into a cramped outside area chock full of even more demons, along with a mancubus and a few imps.
After backtracking through the tunnels a bit I was finally able to unlock a yellow door and view the underground house described in the text file. It was cramped, full of lost souls, chaingunners, and revenants, and sadly was the most interesting part of the first level. After the house, what little structure the level had before vanished completely. I found myself fighting an archvile in an oversized outdoor area with no cover, chainsawing shotgun guys in more dark hallways, and even got to kill a Wolfenstein SS. After dying roughly half a dozen times and running out of ammo, my patience ran out and I skipped to the next level.
The second level initially looked a little better, with a somewhat impressive outdoor area at the start. However, it soon reverted back to the first level's style of small cramped rooms, this time stuffed with even larger monsters with less ammo. The third is more of the same, except with a jail.
Overall, not all of the wad is terrible, but it has more than a few glaring flaws that make it frustrating and almost unplayable. Visually, it's full of errors and randomness. Gameplay-wise, it's cramped, low on ammo, and full of unfair traps. There's some annoying backtracking, secrets that are required to finish levels, etc. If you're really that curious then try it. If not, don't.
Autosave - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)
N/A - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3474 bytes
Reviewed by: SeanWJF
A useful tool for challenging maps that saves your progress after a defined amount of time. Unfortunately, this is (G)Zdoom only and won't work with any other source port.
TMP.WAD - unknown
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 64019 bytes -
Reviewed by: The Green Herring
This WAD was the winner of a level design contest for the original Doom that was run by the late PC Zone in 1994. The contest entries were included in the cover disc for its December 1994 issue, which included 23 finalists and 94 other WADs. The finalists were uploaded to idgames/ all the way back in 1995, and one of the other entries, WHIPLASH.WAD, was uploaded last December. Yet, strangely enough, the actual winner of the contest was never uploaded to the archive until April of this year.
From the start of this level till the end, it's obvious it's set in a demonic temple built out of a UAC base. The texture alignment and unpegging falters at times (witness a door those textures don't move while its door tracks do,) but in general, the textures make sense for each location where they're used. The enemies don't put up much of a fight in comparison to modern levels—even the cyberdemon, who can be defeated by pecking at him from a nearby window, using the walls for cover—but the level's fun to play through. The secrets are mostly rather obvious, but the design of the remaining ones is interesting; none of them are required to finish the level, and they can be found without cheating, even without the secret computer map that gives them all away—all of which is more than you can say about its contemporaries, which tended to go the "completely unmarked door" route for their secret areas while sometimes putting required keys in them. Lastly, further differentiating it from its brethren, it is obvious where you need to go next, every step of the way.
In general, this level may have a few blemishes here and there, but given its age and the reputation of "1994 levels," this is a good one. If you're looking for a fun layout that doesn't throw cheap surprises at you, you can't go wrong with this one. Experienced players should not have to spend more than 15 minutes on it the first time. Now if only we knew who the author was, they could be properly recognized here. Is there anyone with a copy of the December 1994 issue of PC Zone willing to upload some scans? Maybe we can find out from there.
SWFORT.WAD - unknown
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 61967 bytes -
Reviewed by: Macro11_1
After having played through SWFORT.WAD a few times on different difficulties, I would compare it to a box. One never knows what's inside a box until they ventures a peek. Having taken in my fill I would say that the spiraling game play was more about exploring said box than it was about any challenge, and it was this I enjoyed.
I found no glaring or obvious errors, and the textures represented the level pretty well; the actual geometry of the level was simple and the layout is open. The battles were simple and short and there was an overabundance of items, making the game less about survival and more about exploration. I personally just wish that the author had put more to explore or to look at or play, because it feels lacking in its aforementioned approach to game play.
Starship.wad - Alex Mayberry
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 60915 bytes -
Reviewed by: Snakes
Starship.wad is another one of those 1995 maps just now getting uploaded to the archives, and as always, playing through the thing makes it quite obvious. Playing through thing brings "Good news, bad news," mind.
Good news: for its era, it looks pretty decent. Sure, there are some ugly moments, like the misalignments in the ill-advised maze section, and the use of REDDOOR textures at inappropriate shots, but as a whole, the architecture holds together nicely quite well.
Bad news: gameplay's a mixed bag. Its nonlinearity hurts the map's quality, oddly, as if you take the wrong teleport at the start, you could be staring down an arachnotron with a pistol. After the start, it gets a bit better, but the flow is completely off. After a fast-paced first half, the aforementioned maze comes and effectively ends the map's entertainment value.
All in all, it's a worthy map for its age and certainly worth peeking at. Just know that sections of it are poorly put together and finding the exit switch can be a real pain.
Haretick - Ben-James Tippey
Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 41088 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
I don't play a lot of Heretic so I thought I'd take a stab at this for reviewing. According to the textfile, it seems as if though it was made perhaps in 1996 or earlier. I'm not sure when Heretic was released so never mind about that. The point is it looks pretty cheap and below average. Hardly any variation in texture usage with a simple layout design and it's pretty easy. Not sure what else needs to be said here.
Heretic - Call of the Apostate - Stormwalker
Heretic - ZDoom Compatible, Vavoom - Solo Play - 2185647 bytes -
Reviewed by: yylow30
This is an episode replacement for Heretic. It is, you could put it this way, 3 mini-episodes in a episode. Or rather, 3 mini-episodes formed into one masterpiece.
This wad starts off slow, with small maps, and gradually builds up difficulty, until to a point where it feels like a weird slaughter map at the end. I find it quite irritating when every inch I took was blocked by a monster that I could not see. Thank goodness the ending fight was pretty straightforward. The only main problem I encountered here was at M9, I could not figure out any way to continue after the green door. The very last boss caught me by surprise (blame me for not reading the text file beforehand) and yes, it can put up a good fight.
Ammo wasn't much of a problem here. In fact ammo should not be a problem in any Heretic map because the monsters themselves drop all kinds of them. The text file claimed that all maps can be played with Elvenwand start, and so I tried. Yes indeed, it is VERY possible. It is rare to see weapon placement that I actually find good.
Map design is also better than what I initially thought it would be. I mean, just look at the screenshots! Where can you find Heretic maps that would be so breathtaking? Okay, just before anyone starts asking, I was in degreelessness mode when I took the screenshots.
Overall, except for some parts of the gameplay, everything was good. Give it a shot. You will like it.
The /newstuff Chronicles #389