XMANGA3.WAD - Various
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1967472 bytes -
Reviewed by: Ralphis
An X-rated wad from 1997, this is pretty standard fare for the time. The maps are what you'd expect from an average mid-90s piece with the addition of some Spanish sound effects and a lot of randomly textured walls of naked cartoon characters and women. Though there are some decent battles scattered across the nine maps, I definitely do not recommend this if you live with anybody that could walk by and see you playing.
Caves of Hell - Collin Pierce
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 24935 bytes -
Reviewed by: Ralphis
Caves of Hell is a single map for Doom 2 by Collin Pierce that is, unintentionally, a throwback to mid-90s PWADs.
Caves of Hell could easily be mistaken as a map created in the early days of Doom editing. A mish-mash of textures, wall transitions with awkward angles, and silly monster placement are featured prominently throughout the map. Monster closets are plentiful! Pierce is clearly in experimental mode with this map as he tries out ways to make lighting look interesting and create a non-linear experience. The map is relatively easy on Ultraviolence but may require some players to find at least a few of the secrets to truly be prepared for the final battle.
Pierce hasn't done everything right with this map, but he is clearly on the right path. Like a tradesman, having the tools doesn't mean that you have all the tricks; with practice comes experience. Hopefully we see more maps and growth from Pierce in the future.
mjs-01 - Mark St. Hilaire
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 23467 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Oh my God, what the heck did I just play?
Here's another map I played this afternoon from the obscure ages of Doom modding, and if for "Pandora's Box" there was a funny experience, with "mjs" I found the bottom of the pit of Perseus's uploaded maps of the day.
The level is just a huge linear bunch of random hallways that lead to a covered courtyard filled with Nazis and imps where the light adjustment is taken to an extreme (it is DARK or BRIGHT, without halfway points), and the detailing is almost inexistent, expect for that map31 staircase with the BFG9K in the right stone path of the metal hallways near the last hallway. The place itself looks bizarre, since you start with a dark tech section, and it leads to a hellish red rocks section, to turning back to a tech woods (?) at the exit section...
Gameplay is cramped and thing adjustment just sucks, especially in the ammo department (too many and too huge if this wad was a slaughter map with a huge amount of monsters, but here you face only weak monsters like imps and zombies, the hardest monster is the baron in the central section!), this level could be a "good" candidate for a secret level, not for a normal one!
One last thing: in the levels I played, you can grab all the guns in the game...
Nah, I don't like this map, skip it, for your sake!
Earth Outpost - John Cartwright
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 276799 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One map for Doom 2. From the very start, it appears that the BSP tree is fucked up, as there are slime trails everywhere. You start the map with a shotgun and turn a corner to find 2 stealth barons and an arch-vile. Off to a great start! I found even more arch-viles, stealth demons and enemies I had no chance of killing with my measly ammo count. Running around some more while looking for weapons or anything that would actually help me, I fell into an illusio-pit and couldn't get out. Yay. Maybe it's possible to complete this map, but I can't be assed to figure out how, as it has some serious issues.
I have no clue why the author would make this half-decent looking map and then release it with a fucked up BSP tree, invisible pits you can't escape from, and enemies that are far too powerful for the pitiful weapons you're given. I highly suspect he'll be releasing a fixed/updated version of this map soon. :P
Also, the map requires this Quake 2 texture set.
Tactical Chainsaw, Pistol Start Enforcer and Stocked Player - James "Phobus" Cresswell
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - SP/Co-op - 14589 bytes
Reviewed by: C30N9
Let's get to the point: this is 3 tiny useless files, except the Pistol Start Enforcer. The Stocked Player wad will give the player weapons and ammo automatically (what about IDFA?), while the Tactical Chainsaw wad was just made for fun. The Pistol Start Enforcer wad will force the player to start every map from "Pistol Start" even if you finished a map before it, only if you choose the specific difficulty.
If you love playing "Pistol Start", then use this. If otherwise, I say avoid.
Hellbrary - Mr. Chris
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 180458 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One map for Doom 2. As you might guess from the name, it's a library full of demons. It's an extremely large library, sprawling across several smaller libraries, hallways, stairways and passages. Detail is pretty average; nothing really stands out and most of the areas start to look the same (only so many ways you can do a library, I guess). Monster count is pretty high, as there's almost always something coming after you. Despite this, the map still isn't too tough because there's health and ammo everywhere. And there's one really annoying area, the underground jail, that really could have been removed and the map would be better off. Overall I would still recommend this map--it's good for a quick playthrough.
Single Heretic Deathmatch Map - Scott (Schmup Fan)
Heretic - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 7859 bytes -
Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
This small Heretic deathmatch map is the author's first release, and as expected, quite humble to say the least.
Well, it has no player 1 start, so I had to run this map in deathmatch to test it. It consists of four square rooms connected to a small central room, forming a plus shape. Each room contains a wings of wrath item (not too useful due to the lack of height variety). In the center of the map is a dragon claw weapon that sits upon a frequently lowering/raising pillar (easily accessible whether using the wings or not). The new midi is okay, though a bit repetitive. In summary, the map is shippable.
The author asked for constructive criticism, so here are some tips. Even if the map is for deathmatch, please keep all items flagged for singleplayer as well as deathmatch, and please include a player 1 start so people can scope the map out. Secondly, well-interconnected layouts in deathmatch maps tend to be a lot more fun than maps containing rooms with only a single entrance. Also as a last minor point, if you are going to have skylights, such as the plus-shaped ones in each room, it's a good idea to raise the ceiling with the sky flat a bit, otherwise it looks awkward. With all that said and done, there is potential, and I am sure Scott will improve if he keeps mapping.
PANDORA'S BOX - Simon Manton
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 59348 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Hello to all, here I am again talking about another obscure wad from 1996 uploaded from our favorite (?) phantom uploader (TM), Perseus!
I played this map intrigued mostly from the title, Pandora's Box. It sounds cool, doesn't it? And well, it is a cool map as I expected!
The level itself is set in our usual Phobos techbase, but in some parts the base has been invaded by demonic presences, like in episode 2, and the author adds his favorite parts of original Doom for inspiration (I recognize E3M3 outdoor maze, E1M4 for key trick and secret room with lots of guns, E3M2 sp_rock2 outdoor, and conceptually also E2M2 crushers and E2M4 exit trick, here much improved), and I must admit, I loved this level. The texture choice doesn't really clash (umm... maybe the GATEx sectors don't look good due to bad sector alignment, but it can't affect the level detail) and the clean layouts looks like sort of a rejected map for Doom... but the PWAD fan-made parts are strongly visible here!
Gameplay fits with the clean layouts of the map and I can't find a real deal fighting against the 130 enemies of the map, but in some parts I found myself with 20/30% health! Tricks and puzzles are the best part of the map, I really loved them....
However, this is a fancy classic map straight out from 1996, with puzzles and layout that extract the essence of the game, if you're searching for some old-school action, you've got it playing this!
WAYBAC.WAD for DOOM ][ - Bruce A. Chastain
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 54595 bytes -
Reviewed by: C30N9
A first wad (and possibly last one) that contains 1 map. Some places are ugly and some places are nicely detailed. The map was totally linear and easy and it had randomized theme, but it was fun. It had nice traps and fun gameplay. I'd say it is a nice map for being a "first wad".
Worth the play for one time if you're bored.
Adventures of Salvo Jettison, or "The Quest" (for Weight Watching) - Richard Smith Long
Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6327131 bytes -
Reviewed by: Sodaholic
Here is a weapon mod for ZDoom, called Adventures of Salvo Jettison, or "The Quest" (for Weight Watching). When I first read the title, I thought it was a jokewad about some fatass trying to lose weight. Apparently it's about some cyborg mercenary named Salvo Jettison, who decided to join the UAC, but they didn't give him the special space marine uniform that allows him to carry everything.
The main gimmick of this mod is that you can only carry so many weapons, and you must drop some to carry others if you max out your carrying limit. It has some pretty cool weapons, like a pipebomb nuke that launches shit sky-high when it explodes, a shrink ray, some sort of BFG replacement that has green bouncing balls flying everywhere (similar to those orbs in Half-Life 2's citadel), along with a few other cool things.
Quite an interesting proof of concept, and you should check it out for a few minutes. My only real gripe about this wad is that the status bar isn't set up to offset the game window up a bit, so the screen looks chopped off.
Sacrament - Clan [B0S] members
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 22540647 bytes -
Reviewed by: duncan
Here, the [B0S] clan have clubbed together to provide a mapset containing 13 levels of extremely varying quality both in appearance and in gameplay. My opinion on this wad was rollercoaster-like: occasionally reaching the heights of awe, but sadly often reaching the depths of despair.
I normally refrain from doing this when reviewing mapsets, but I think the only fair way to review this is to look at each map in itself. Really, most of the maps stand on their own, as their themes, difficulty, settings and styles vary in such a disjointed way that the only reminder that this is a continuing mapset is the same intermission screen each time.
MAP 01: A short and atmospheric introduction, set in a well detailed house/office building which spirals into underground caves and eventually teleports you into a city park. It's a very nice and promising start and filled me with some feeling of good things to come. The contrast between themes works well and gameplay is typically easygoing for an opener.
MAP 02: This is the first map which poses a recurring problem in this set of maps. The levels never seem to be able to get both appearance and gameplay right. They are either glorious and beautiful but a real pain in the ass to play, or run-of-the-mill in appearance but a lot of fun. This map is intricately detailed and easily one of the best examples of a city/outdoor map I've ever seen. It's realistic, imaginative, innovative, large scale and ambitious, and it goes a long way to prove that Doom can still be new and surprising. But a level can look sublime and be utterly worthless if it's no fun to play...and this certainly wasn't. The level is absolutely huge, dark and hard to find your way around. I wandered mindlessly for long periods of time, occasionally bumping into a spectre and nothing much else. I had no idea where I was meant to go and I ended up accidentally exiting the level with only 9% kills. Bizarre, and a sheer disappointment...frustration almost had me turning it off at this point.
MAP 03: Gameplay steps up a gear here and becomes less about exploration and stealth and more Doom-like. The leap from a horror movie approach of sneaking through creepy parks with atmospheric music to blasting through waves of monsters is quite apparent...this is a mapset that can't seem to decide what it is. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable level, challenging at times and with some decent outdoor cliff areas and tech bases. There is some frustrating acid exploration to undertake, but overall, I enjoyed this (despite spending over ten minutes hunting for the yellow key! HINT: be sure to check every nook!)
MAP 04: This map starts you off in some dark, stretching and vine filled caves and leads into a tech base. There are some intense fights (and a particularly irksome chaingunner and shotgunner ambush!) and lighting variants are used to good effect.
MAP 05: This was far more like an old school Doom map again with less detail but more emphasis on gameplay. There was a bit of backtracking to undertake, but it was never too much of an issue.
MAP 06: The level starts off as an epileptic's nightmare as you head through flashing tunnels and end up in a huge medieval styled courtyard. There is some forestry, a castle and some church ruins and a heck of a lot of teleporting to do. Once again, progression can be made difficult as it is not always clear where the player is meant to go. The main outdoor area is done fairly well, but generally areas lack the detail held by earlier maps and gameplay becomes tiresome.
MAP 07: We go from creepy exploration, to tech bases, to lava canyons, to caverns, and end up in a random slaughter-like map which, I guess from the arena-like set up and the constant hordes of Arachnatrons and final wave of Mancubuses (swapped them around...I see what you did there) that it's no coincidence that it bears a "Dead Simple"-like resemblance with added areas. Gameplay is simplistic and formulaic to the tee...you grab a key, get ambushed, hit a switch, get ambushed, get another key and so on...Some fights are well placed and a good challenge, others are simply too easy (the final battle ends up as a group of Mancubuses infighting a Cyberdemon and you just have to pick off the last few), and one is too frustrating for words (a huge horde of spectres in yet another black room with an arch vile at the back who can get you but you can't get it).
MAP 08: I liked this map. It was back to simple Doom roots and housed a small tech base and underground acid complex. It was a quick and relatively easy level, but there wasn't the same huge amount of backtracking which other maps get so badly wrong. It's quite linear and lacks a lot of detail (and three doors are used in places where just one would suffice), but it wasn't "stressful" to play like some maps here sadly are. There was a fairly ugly brain textured area and some acid areas weren't damaging whilst others were, but overall it wasn't a bad effort.
MAP 09: This map was set in a gloomy marble courtyard complete with Plutonia-style vines and several hell knight fights and a Cyberdemon showdown. The theme was consistent up until an interesting addition of a sky fortress. A decent mix of gameplay and, whilst it was nothing special to look at, this was a well made map.
MAP 10: This is another of those maps which is huge scale, beautiful, well detailed...and mind numbingly dull to play at a minimum. The level takes place in a huge outdoor area which branches into several buildings and, while I like my levels to be non-linear, it's just far too easy to get lost here. The fights were largely uninspiring, and there were times when I had no sense of purpose or direction...more like stabs in the dark (literally as I ended up lost in a pitch black corridor filled with hitscanners for over ten angering minutes!) Beautifully detailed however, and, like map two, I think it's important to congratulate this: the structure of the level is like a work of art...it's the gameplay which pulls it down.
MAP 11: This is a map which delivered for me something which most of the others failed: a fine balance of good looks and good fun (much like me). There was some great texturing and details, and the outdoor areas and internal white caverns were particular highlights. Gameplay was easy but quick-fire and didn't get dull. Textures were mixed and well chosen and lighting was utilised effectively. This was an impressive map for me and, while on face value doesn't seem much, when played it is one of the mapset's strongest offerings.
Here, there was a bizarre intermission message which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Either the authors were trying to be deliberately wordy to sound intelligent or they didn't really have a clue what the story was, but either way, it was pretty confusing and pointless.
MAP 12: This was a tech base set, once again, in darkness. If there's one thing which this mapset does consistently, it is repeatedly creating extremely dark areas and filling them with spectres. For the second time playing this wad, I found myself in a sea of spectres unable to get the arch vile at the back. Thankfully, I found that this area was optional, so I didn't bother even tackling it. The parts of the level I could see were well detailed and there were some decent fights and traps to keep the player on their toes, but this was overall not very fun to play.
MAP 13: This map started off atmospheric and with a feeling of growing unease and a foreboding showdown of epic proportions. It began so well, and felt climatic and a positive end to what is a very mixed bag of maps. Sadly, despite yet again displaying some wondrous and pretty epic scenery and expert detail, this was easily the worst of all the maps to play. The level is absolutely huge, with the keys and the key switches/doors spread at opposite ends of the map. You pick up a key and have no idea how to find the place to use it. You hit a switch and have no idea what it's done and can't bear the thought of trekking for ten minutes on the off chance that it's brought a key down. It relies heavily on the player finding a subtle, same textured cliff ridge to climb on; this is how to progress many times, and while often it is cleverly done, other times it is nigh on impossible to find and infuriating (particularly when you travel for five minutes thinking you've finally gotten somewhere, battled a Cyberdemon and a Mastermind and then discovered it was all for a MegaArmor secret).
I don't want to shit all over this map because it was genuinely beautiful and the mapper is clearly extremely skilled, but when you have to resort to IDCLIP and still can't find the bloody blue door, it's clear that there are some serious gameplay flaws. Also, I fell down a pit in the Mastermind rooms after hitting a switch and found myself stuck. The floor wasn't damaging, but there was absolutely no way out. So, if you plan to tackle this, watch out for that.
The members of [B0S] who have collaboratively put this mapset together should pride themselves on some brilliant mapping capabilities with real potential, and for that reason alone I would recommend playing it. Add on plus points for the fact that some levels are genuinely a delight to play and the music fits in well and you've definitely got a project brimming with potential. Unfortunately, the glaring gameplay issues drastically outweigh the positives at times and at the end of the day, Doomers play Doom to have fun. If the fun is not there, suddenly the beauty of the maps is extremely insignificant.
Swarm4 - JAS!
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 234049 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One map for Doom 2. This is a very large wood themed map, with a lot of very mean, nasty things going on. Shotgunner traps, instant death crusher traps, chaingunners hiding in every nook and cranny, and tons of enemies in wide-open areas.
Unfortunately, it goes on for way too long, and the author runs out of new tricks to throw at you about halfway through. After the zillionth time you're completely surrounded by shotgunners, or slowly having your health drained by a chaingunner hiding in a dark alcove somewhere, the frustration and tedium start to set in hard. It really doesn't help that the map's theme never changes, and you're stuck looking at identical brown-as-fuck wood and metal hallways for the entire length of it.
The map looks so identical and the hallways and connecting areas are very bland, so it's easy to get lost or stuck. Proceeding in some areas feels like blind luck. Some areas require you to find secrets to proceed.
The final battle is completely retarded. You've pretty much run out of ammo and health at that point, and have to kill a cyberdemon and spiderdemon while an enemy spawner is shooting spawn cubes from the middle of nowhere.
To top it off, there are no difficulty settings, so no making it any easier on yourself. I can only really recommend this to extremely hardcore players who don't mind dying over and over and save/loading every step to complete a map. Even then, they should be ready to put up with the map slogging on seemingly forever.
Beautiful Doom (version 5.3) - Jekyll Grim Payne aka zer0
Doom/Doom 2 - GZDoom - N/A - 6948825 bytes
Reviewed by: Xeros612
Beautiful Doom is a mostly aesthetics-based mod for the classic Doom games, focusing primarily on improving visuals through smoothing weapon animations and similar changes. In that regard, it works wonderfully. Animations are pretty much as smooth as you can make them for sprites (without going overboard like a CS weapon mod for EDGE I've played in the past), and the replacement sounds are mostly clean and provide a good noise while you're blasting demons to bits. Added effects such as blood and explosions are also nice without being over-the-top, and the Zombieman replacement is a nice turn, if somewhat unnecessary. (I guess it's more sensible for the guys who drop pistol ammo to carry pistols instead of rifles.) Many of these effects are toggleable in case you don't like some of them... or are trying to run GZDoom on a toaster.
The mod is also split into four separate modules, so any combination of "weapons", "monsters", "objects" and "lights" can be used to your personal desire.
The one issue I have with this mod stems from the statement "[...]and at the same time introduces virtually no gameplay changes." that exists within the wad's readme. Punching and pistol fire seem to be faster (I've no proof of this, but they definitely feel faster). The SSG has a secondary fire that only shoots one shell with the same spread pattern as the primary fire, and its reload animation seems longer with the one-shell-at-a-time loading. The chaingun has a little delay on primary fire and secondary fire is basically Skulltag's minigun in terms of firing rate. All of these are minor, but are enough to kind of invalidate such a claim as "virtually no gameplay changes" and would certainly turn off a few purists.
Overall, judging just the mod itself, I can say I'm disappointed. I can't find anything negative to say about it.
Quad Barreled Shotgun - Brandon Gray (bgraybr)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 74843 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
A mod for ZDoom. It's a quad barreled shotgun, whoopie! Basically the Doom 2 double barrel shotgun with some edits and a repeating reload animation (really, one shell at a time?). It also replaces the double barrel. Really not an amazing effort overall.
Alone on Deerspeed Base - David Law, Jr (deertagg)
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 51678 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One map for Doom 2 using ZDoom. It's a rather small and cramped tech base map, with a lot of secret areas packed in there. You will likely need to find most of them in order to survive, as there's quite a few monsters as well. Usually I don't like finding secrets in order to survive, but the secrets are pretty easy to find and there's a ton of them. There are some questionable design decisions (silent teleports and stealth monsters, eww), but overall it's not a bad map. Detail is above average in most places.
The /newstuff Chronicles #393