CoreBinder - Raw Action - Callum Guy Oliver aka phobosdeimos1
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 267184 bytes -
Reviewed by: Phobus
CoreBinder - Raw Action is the first in a series of .WADs by phobosdeimos1 (the second being Digon Base, reviewed in t/nC #389). I won't beat around the bush here, these maps are ugly. They've not got horrendously clashing textures and you won't gouge your eyes out in order to save them from the pain of viewing them, but they definitely aren't for those of you who like your maps to have a nice, coherent theme and be full of detail. I took the screenshots after I'd already played through, so they're a bit rushed. Even so, those are about the best looking it'll get.
What the screenshots can't tell you, but I certainly will assure you, is that these maps are fun. Lots of fun. Playing through properly I didn't die once on UV, but I certainly felt under threat. You're well supplied (all maps are playable from a pistol start, I think) and there are some very helpful pickups just when you need them, but I'd not say this map set was easy. I'd instead say it's challenging. You'll have to keep an eye on the automap, or have a very good memory to not get stuck at least once following the path the switches and doors lead you through the surprisingly dynamic environments. Also the final map pits you against a couple of spider masterminds AND cybderdemons (on UV), though not all at once, so you will have your work cut out for you. I think it works very well though and would recommend this map set on the basis of how much I enjoyed it alone.
Bottom line: if you're after a distilled gameplay experience and don't mind your source of fun not being the prettiest around, then you can certainly do worse than the 4 maps in CoreBinder.
Hill - Peter Blacha
Heretic - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 65774 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
This is a sweet and short map for Heretic made by a newcomer to the big Doom community, and as a first effort is really good!
This level is the first of an upcoming (in a really distant future) episode, and according to the description you're the guardian of a prison on the summit of a hill (more than a hill, looks like you're the guardian of the Himalayan jails, as high as this place seems to be!), then you wake up from some strange noises coming from the prisoner block, then you go to investigate and your quest starts...
The level itself starts in the guardian room, and just from here the level looks really promising, due to detailed accuracy inside the room that makes it look built by a pro instead of a newbie mapper... anyway, when you're out of your room, a warm welcome is formed from a little crowd of imps waiting for you, and on reaching the prison you recognize somebody (or something) coming out from the jail...
In the exterior there are some little mistakes (like the misaligned rocks), but the level itself is great, due to the already quoted detailing work and the sapient use of texture choices (take a look at the usage of FLAT508 over the pillars in the "temple" chamber before the prison... a classic touch, in my opinion...), so the only recommendation I can give is to download this map since it is a little gem, and a promising author to kept an eye on!
Voyage to Deimos: E2M1 - Memfis
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 39026 bytes -
Reviewed by: Snakes
Voyage to Deimos is a not-bad map low enough on detail to remind everyone of the old days, though it's still too cleanly produced to actually come from the era. Constructed over the course of two years by one of Doomworld's resident speedrunners, one could expect it to be a bit of a challenge. It is, too. A somewhat tight ammo balance (including a prolonged tyson stretch at the start) and even tighter health balance turns what should be a cakewalk of a map into an actual challenge.
Stylistically, it's more reminiscent of E2's vine areas than the stone ones. Both easy-to-navigate and entirely coherent, this wad's only real weakness is a lack of anything memorable. Nonetheless, if you have five minutes of free time, it won't hurt to download this and give it a whirl.
Operation: Lightning - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1739743 bytes -
Reviewed by: Phil1984
There is no doubt that The Ultimate Doomer has contributed much to the Doom community over the years. This is not one of his more impressive contributions. If I could sum up this level set in one word, that word would be annoying. Annoying level layouts, annoying switch hunts, annoying lighting levels, annoying gameplay. This was is simply not fun to play for any length of time. It tricks you at times, there is a good trap here, or a nice piece of architecture there and it's like "hmmm maybe this is just about to get good!" and then you turn the corner and find yourself in yet another dark bland maze trying to kill those annoying spectres.
If the budget however extended to describing the level in two words, the second word would be potential. There are some nice ideas contained in this level set; there are some well designed places. The continuity between levels does make you feel like you are progressing towards your goal rather than just having a mishmash of levels thrown at you. The way you slowly accumulate weapons through the levels makes you feel like you really have to earn them rather than many PWADs just throwing you them right from the start - once again adding to the sense of progression. There is promise here, oh yes there is.
But is it enough for me to recommend you spend 3-4 hours of your life playing through this level set? Hell no. Plenty of better wads to enjoy out there in /idgames land. Give this one a miss.
MEGAHEX2.WAD (Fixed bugs in Megahex1.wad) - Kent The Hacker...aka: MEGAMAN
Hexen - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 25446 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Here we have a simple Hexen DM map uploaded by the phantom uploader (TM) Perseus, and how do we know we're playing a Hexen deathmatch map? Simply from these points:
1) Have ALL the guns for ALL the player classes, and in this case have ALL the items present in this game...
2) Have a simple layout that only needs "duck and cover" against other people.
Luckily, this level doesn't suffer from the bad alignment present in the original game, but suffers from being way too plain... it isn't an awesome map, but that's what moves the convent today...
Anyway, Kent the Hacker aka MEGAMAN is a smart and kind person, and so as you don't get bored of his creation, he's added some monsters to create some action in this little castle... the same way he's added the weapons and items. Like if Korax himself puked down all of his minions and magical stuff into this outpost... Oh well, this sort of thing will cause a bad time for many people!
Whatever, for me it wasn't so terrifying, but I recommend you check out some better things in the archives than this wad... so yes, pass on this map here and go check out something better!
Mainentance Sewers - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 27947 bytes -
Reviewed by: Joshy
So, according to Walter, this is an experiment of attempting to replicate Romero's E1-styled mapping in the fashion of "coming out from a sewer place". This is what I think of the result: It's okay. If I was to be a little more specific, just a little less than okay.
It's by no means similar to E1 (in my opinion that is). Yes, it does have a bit of nostalgia and old-school feel, but I found the texturing to be less than inspiring. It feels rather empty mostly, especially in well-sized rooms, lacking colour and lighting variation like a sad deactivated and aged wooden Ferris wheel. In other words, it could have been designed much better, but the layout wasn't half bad. The gameplay was too easy for my tastes. Overall, it's not bad, but don't expect a serious full-on Dooming experience here.
Hell Junior High - Joseph McDavid
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 672452 bytes -
Reviewed by: Snakes
When a WAD's title ends with an unfinished footnote, you can be assured that what lies inside is such a load of ass that you'll wonder whether it's meant to troll you. Joseph McDavid's effort here follows that trend in a remarkable fashion.
The architecture? Bland and orthogonal. The texturing? Redundant and nonsensical. The detail? Pretty much nonexistent. It's a flat building filled with random enemies. Hell, there's even a monster spawner lurking behind a door. What's more, almost all of the sounds have been replaced, with all of the monsters now saying such lines as, "Fresh meat," and "Kill him!" This somehow makes the experience even worse.
I assure you that when it comes to wads designed with the intention to anger the player, this one is the utmost example. Joseph McDavid, if that is his real name, can blow me.
The Complete Eternal DOOM Soundtrack - Rich "Weeds" Nagel
N/A - N/A - N/A - 2498137 bytes
Reviewed by: bgraybr
This archive contains the entire MIDI soundtrack of Eternal Doom, with a few bonus tracks and some other goodies. If you're an Eternal Doom fan then it's worth the download. If you're not, you should give it a try anyway—the tracks are simply marvelous.
REJECTS - Michael Jan Krizik (Valkiriforce)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 568977 bytes -
Reviewed by: Xeros612
REJECTS.WAD is a collection of "deleted scenes"-like maps by Michael Jan Krizik (Valkiriforce). The first three were meant for a project called "Reverie", and the fourth was meant for Plutonia Revisited. Maps 1-3 contain music from Ultimate Doom, which is kind of a strike against the set as to my knowledge you're not supposed to use resources from a different IWAD. The difficulty for the entire set of maps (played on UV) is fairly consistent, and a nice result of challenging-yet-doable toughness for a veteran player.
This map starts out with a group of zombiemen standing with their backs toward the player. I mention this because it ends up being a theme for these Reverie maps. Gameplay-wise, there are a fair few nasty chaingunner traps that can cause quite a bit of trouble on the player's first time through a section, there's little ammo, and a pretty big pile of tougher monsters to deal with. Challenging, but doable. There is a secret near the end that's absolutely horrible in a "that's a dick move" way, but I won't give away the details on that. Detail-wise, it's nothing special, but I didn't notice any errors or misaligned textures.
MAP02: Anastas' Pledge
This map starts the same way as Stormfall, but with a different type of former human. There is a fairly tedious segment whereby a large number of weak cannon-fodder spawns in for what feels like an eternity as the player needs to do no more than hold down the fire button with a chaingun. Overall it felt a bit less challenging than the previous previous map, but the berserk powerup near the end suggests it was intended to be before a difficult/"boss fight" map. Detail-wise, it has more varied settings and textures than Stormfall, which is a good thing, but I did notice a couple texture misalignments.
MAP03: Military Strength
This map starts out the same way as Stormfall and Anastas' Pledge, but with a different type of former human. Again. The gameplay difficulty spikes a bit here, with a large slew of revenants and archviles in relatively CQC spaces. As I understand, it was originally built in a 1024x1024 fashion with a couple bits added in sometime during development, which would explain the CQC nature. Detail is standard much like Stormfall, with no obvious errors and a fairly nice looking road. Nothing special overall, but it could prove to be a very frustrating challenge to try to play on pistol-start.
MAP04: The Gutterway
The biggest and best of the mapset. Very nice and enjoyable to listen to custom music provided by stewboy, even if it doesn't quite jive with the "kill lots of shit" nature of Doom. Detail-wise, it's leagues ahead of the other maps in the set, being more complex and polished while still avoiding the sort of detail that people love to hate. (a.k.a. the detail that impedes movement.) I feel this map is more up to "Doomworld standards", being a fairly large, difficult level with a fair amount of good secrets. Shotgun ammo is in somewhat short supply, so you'll have to rely on the other weapons a bit more. Unfortunately, there is a small section where it's nearly impossible to dodge a Revenant's missile if it locks onto you, so that's a strike against the map due to lack of any sort of cover.
Blood of the Damned - Jeff Brichta
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 227008 bytes -
Reviewed by: Scet
Boredom of the Damned is more like it. This is nine maps for Ultimate Doom, once again from everyone's favorite period of Doom mapping, 1995.
These maps suffer from just about every 1995 problem imaginable. As usual there's the complete lack of texture alignment, but texture transitions are also extremely glaring due to a lack of transitional textures. This issue extends to flats as well because these maps are incredibly flat; in E1M1, other than one staircase, the floor heights are all the same. There also seems to be a lack of play testing, with paper thin walls, stuck monsters and HOMs galore.
Fights are dull as can be, usually either cramped in some hallway or square room, or a room full of zombies after getting the rocket launcher.
Layout stinks. It does improve somewhat with each map, but these are still very linear key hunts. Half the maps start you in a room with each door needing a different key; some of the keys are even hidden in secrets. Architecture is practically non-existent due the mentioned lack in floor height changes.
Dooms E1M1 is included in the WAD and used as E1M9, which I'm pretty sure is a big copyright no-no.
Skip this shit.
Waste Vats - stewboy
Ultimate Doom - Eternity - Solo Play - 86525 bytes -
Reviewed by: Scet
Here we have single Doom map for the Eternity Engine. Waste Vats is an episode one-style map full of nukage and startan, which is fine by me.
Detail is well done, not too simple and not too much; it might even work in the vanilla executables if it were not for the Eternity portals. Speaking of the portals, while they do add to the layout and architecture of the map, they aren't doing a lot gameplay-wise. There are areas with dormant and non-targetable monsters. This, however, is the engine's fault, not stewboy's, but their use may be premature. Ignoring the portal issues, the layout is very non-linear and well done.
As for the gameplay, it's standard episode one fare, very easy even on UV. It's only a few minutes long, which I consider good, since a lot people these days seem to get carried away with limit removing ports. One thing I would have liked to see more of though is monster variety, something above the spectre. Using only a few monsters is fine if the map is part of an episode like the shareware maps it's modeled after, but as a standalone I don't think it works.
Overall this feels like it would do well in a full episode for Eternity when the portal issues are fixed, but right now it's just average.
Severed - Joshua Dickerson
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 19986390 bytes -
Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
Severed is a short map for ZDoom, making use of many engine features, such as colored lighting, slopes, and deep water. New sounds are taken from Doom 64 / PSX Doom, giving the map a horror feeling. New weapon frames from Beautiful Doom are also included in the WAD, adding a bunch of megabytes to the file size.
The map is pretty short, and can be beaten in about 10 minutes. Difficulty is about average; most of the challenge came from a low amount of health. The fights aren't that interesting, but because of the shortness of the map they don't become boring. There are some frustrating parts, including a room you have to run through before getting blasted by unkillable Arch-viles.
The best aspect of the map is the layout, which I had a good time navigating. There's a secret exit (which purposely doesn't work) that's fun trying to find. Some parts of the secret areas are visible from outside them, making it interesting learning how they all fit together. However, there are some annoying things such as the impassable tag being applied to openings that you are clearly able to walk through. Detail is pretty low, and some sections are very ugly looking. There were some nice areas though, such as the main room.
Overall, Severed is a fun little map and worth your time despite some flaws. If you have 10-15 minutes free and you want to play a short Doom map, Severed would be a good choice.
RDC SpeedMapping Contest 6 - Russian Doom Community
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3489315 bytes -
Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
RDC SpeedMapping Contest 6 is a speed map contest by the Russian doom community. According to the text file, the contest theme is "City ruins." Some of these levels, such as maps 3, 7, 8, 12, and 13, were very good for speed maps. There are many types of gameplay throughout the set, and the difficulty level varies, meaning that there's about something for everyone in here.
This map takes place in an infested house. It can be beaten in a few minutes and is pretty fun to go through, except for an annoying arch-vile fight at the end. Detail is high for a speed map; the author probably spent a lot of time on each room, which might be why the level is so short.
Like the previous level, this one is very short. You travel through what seems to be the ruins of some city. Despite poor texture alignment (excusable for a speed map) some areas look very good. Worth the minute of your time it'll take.
Unlike the previous 2 maps, this level is HARD. REALLY HARD.
Too hard for my not-so-high Doom skills, which meant that I was forced to use saves (something I try to avoid.) It's by far the hardest level in set. The gameplay is great, but ammo is a little too low. Still, the layout creates some interesting scenarios. It shouldn't take long to beat, if you have the ability to do so. Doesn't fit the "ruined city" theme well.
This one is just okay. You travel through and over a bunch of destroyed buildings. The fights are bland, the amount of ammo is too low, and it's possible to get stuck. Not sure how this was awarded with "first place."
It seems like this map's author didn't have enough time to add monsters to this house level. The only resistance you have is a single imp. It's still a little fun exploring the rooms.
In this level you fight hordes of monsters down on the city streets. The fights aren't interesting, and some of the hanging corpses can block you. It's hard, but nothing compared to MAP03. Also, there's an Elvis song for the music (because when I think of Doom, I always think of Elvis!) I suggest you skip this one.
Now this is one fun level! Most of your time will be spent in an epic fight with a group of cacodemons and bull demons. Most players should be able to beat this, but it's easy to die if you're not careful. The only downside to this map is that some of the pits are inescapable. This is definitely one of the WAD's best levels.
This map's another great level! Like the previous level the fights are very fun, but here the visuals are much better; the author does a very good job of showing a destroyed city. The difficulty is also similar to the previous level, and the inescapable pit problem is still here. This is definitely my favorite level in the set.
This level has a much slower pace than the previous few, but still is about the same difficulty. It looks pretty good, and you couldn't really tell it was a speed map if you didn't know beforehand. This is one of the better levels of the set.
The size and detail of this map make it very impressive for a speed map. Still, the gameplay gets pretty tedious, as a lot of the level takes place on platforms above a huge damaging pool of slime. The difficulty is high, but it's not as hard as MAP03.