That Damn Cake - Janizdreg
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 264894 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This is a single-map, arena-style-combat themed wad with a twist - it celebrates the year that Doomguy can legally carry a gun (in the U.S.A.) and vote. To commemorate Doom's 18th birthday, the author has crafted a game with a rather simple objective - blow up all the balloons and light all 18 candles on a monster-sized, icing-covered, jelly-bean-festooned birthday cake. You start off with a pistol, immediately pick up a cigarette lighter, and are pitted against waves of floating balloons. Each balloon is easily dispatched with a single bullet or a single flick of the lighter (when used in melee range); the lighter is fueled by the puffs of smoke that remain after a balloon has met its untimely end. However, the author has nicely balanced the weakness of this enemy with a number of factors.
First, there are swarms of these balloons. I played both at UV and at HMP, and at each skill level there are plenty of balloons to keep you dancing. Second, these critters are vicious. A single bite can take deplete upward of 25% of your health. Third, the health you came in with is all the health you're going to get. (No armor, too.) Such a situation brooks no margin for errors. Fourth, the number of balloons you face far exceeds the number of bullets you get. In other words, ya gotta "man up" and put on your best Tyson impersonation (only with a flick of your Bic, instead of getting pissed with your fist). And finally, you have a limited room to maneuver - fall too far off the edge of the cake and you're well on your way to oblivion. All of these factors create a nice challenge, even for the seasoned Doomer, I'd wager.
There is a new mini-boss, and the author was not quite so cruel as to pit you against it armed with only a cigarette lighter. But, despite its potentially devastating attack, I found it to be a considerably tamer challenge than its smaller and much less threatening cousins.
Aside from the new sprite graphics, there are a few new sounds, a music-box tune, and a new TITLEPIC. All very simple, but effective in creating the tone and mood for the game. But to me, what makes this game stand out is the fact that so much was achieved with so little. Using only DeHacked, the author has relied on stock Doom tricks (e.g., voodoo dolls, Commander Keene/Tag666 special, etc.) to emulate special effects that would ordinarily require at least simple scripting. Opening the map in an editor felt like looking behind the magician's curtain to see how he pulled the rabbit out of his hat.
In summary, this is a different wad with a retro, 1990's feel, that is sure to provide 5 to 10 minutes of fun for most Doomers.
ITCM DOOM - JHJA
Doom 2 - GZDoom - SP/DM - 8708040 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
One map for Doom 2 using GZDoom. It's yet another map of someone's college campus. The biggest issue I have with these kind of maps in general is that unless you actually attend classes there, you'd really have no interest in running around a virtual version of it while shooting demons in the face. Because real life buildings and locations are not designed to be a playground of running around shooting stuff, they are otherwise flat and uninteresting from a gameplay perspective. Oh boy, can't wait to clear ... Conference Room 4A of zombies. Then room 4B, and 4C, 4D, etc.
These flaws are reflected fully in this mapset. You're basically running around a large college campus shooting stuff. It has some nice atmosphere and detail, and there was definitely a lot of effort put into making it as close to the real location as possible, but the layout and buildings are still uninteresting. Most of the campus is devoid of monsters except for a few key locations, making it feel very barren, empty and boring. Usually the most you'll find are rooms with a few zombies.
There are some sub-maps you can get to by going up flights of stairs. Things are also very, very dark in these areas, and the automap is blank (all lines set to not appear on it), so there's a lot of fumbling in the dark. They are basically hallways lined with identical rooms, anyway.
To make things worse, everything in the game is in Spanish, and there's no English option. There are messages that appear on the screen, but they disappear rather quickly, so writing them down to toss into Google translate or something is not really an option. So if you don't speak Spanish, your chances of actually figuring out what's going on and completing the map are rather low.
There's also some incredibly bizarre design decisions, like massive piles of shit on the floors in the bathroom, that if you accidentally run over, you take damage. When you do, it says "Pisaste popo!!!", which translates to "Stepped in poop!". I didn't know just getting some shit on your shoes would cause physical harm, but I guess this map proves me wrong.
I can't really recommend this to anyone except the map author himself, and his buddies who live on campus (and presumably also speak Spanish). But I have a feeling he would already know this...
X-Marines - Richard Smith Long
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 5450136 bytes -
Reviewed by: Sergeant_Mark_IV
The X-Marines is a weapons mod. The player can choose between two different characters, the Veteran and the Privateer. Each character has its own sprites and HUD.
All weapons have been modified. All hitscans are replaced by tracing projectiles. Every weapon has different behavior for accuracy or damage depending on which character you are using. (The .zip file includes a .txt file with detailed info about the weapons and how they change depending on the character using them.)
Monsters were polished too. Hell Knights have green blood, and cacodemons have blue blood. Almost every monster has an Xdeath animation with "nashgore" gibs. Some monsters have different behavior (like the Cyberdemon, which fires a bouncing grenade now).
This mod has some bugs. Sometimes the Veteran's rifle will just stop firing for no reason, and you need to use the alt fire melee attack to make it work again.
If you are looking for a different weapons mod, check it out. It's a cool wad, but it gets old fast.
Invasion of the Damned - Giancarlo Laso (Shadow1013)
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 480924 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This is a nine-map replacement of Episode I of The Ultimate Doom. The author created E1M8 for this compilation, and used previously published maps by other authors to fill in the other 8 slots. The text file credits the individual authors, and identifies the names of their respective maps. The author made "a couple modifications here and there to not use textures outside of DOOM1.WAD and to vanilla-ize" each map.
Considering that this is a collection of maps from seven different authors (three maps are by the same author), there is a remarkable consistency in the look and feel of the set. The architecture, detailing, and texturing are by-and-large very well done, and the ideas could conceivably have sprung from a single mind. ("Humanity moving towards a hive-mind" conspiracy, anyone?) Also, for the most part, the difficulty level and pacing are appropriate to the progression of the maps. While the original authors obviously deserve credit for their own work, this author deserves credit for assembling a set of maps that appear to have been crafted specifically for a team release.
The map design of most maps borders on the professional. They take full advantage of non-linear pathways without being confusing, use inter-connected areas and back-tracking very well, and occasionally offer side paths for optional exploration. However, the one map that overdid the whole back-tracking gig was E1M6, which made progress both tedious and confusing. But otherwise the maps had a smooth flow, even when there were constant switch-hunts. (E1M9 is a perfect example of switch-hunting, but the author provided clues regarding what the switches did, allowing for uninterrupted mayhem.)
The gameplay is typically quite enjoyable. Most maps are even- to fast-paced, and pit the player against a manageable assortment of hell-spawn. The player is generally given adequate resources to move with alacrity through the game. Several maps stand out for their clever use of traps, which will keep the player on his/her toes without requiring frequent reloads of saved games. In other words, the game offers a challenge commensurate with what one would expect of an Episode I set.
Alas, however, not every map is enjoyable. E1M7 suffers from a chronic dearth of ammo, health, and armor for most of the level. Even after making every shot count, maximizing monster in-fighting, and going Tyson on their asses (sans Berserk, mind you) whenever I could single them out, I was at 31% health midway through the level with no ammo and facing 6 imps in a relatively open area. I persevered, however, repeatedly bringing up my saved game whenever an imp had shoved his fist up my ass and ripped my intestines out. I didn't use any cheat codes, and finally eked out a win. Not my idea of fun. Additionally, the finale (E1M8) is very tame, despite starting off with some promise. The author could have upped the ante considerably, but instead created an easy final map and a boring boss battle.
Indeed, not every map is free of bugs either. E1M6 has, what appears to be, a node-building error. Either that, or the author messed up the floor and ceiling heights, resulting in the dreaded Hall of Mirrors (HOM) effect (see screenshot 6a). What's worse is that you're required to traverse that area in order to make progress, but once you fall in you're trapped. I went back and played the original map (Phobos Outpost (db_opost.wad) by DooMBoy) and saw no such error. Obviously, this error was introduced when the map was being modified for inclusion in this compilation. What surprises me more, however, is that neither the author nor the play-testers caught this. This is a "fatal error" that makes the map unplayable. (I tested it both with Chocolate Doom & GZDoom.) Another problem occurs in E1M7, and if it isn't a bug it's at least annoying as all get-out. In the northwestern quadrant of the map is a SoulSphere in a 32-unit deep slime pool. Once you pick up the goodies you're stuck in the pit until you dissolve slowly into a puddle of goo. But not before you've repeatedly thumped your forehead against the keyboard because you let the steenkin' author rip yet another orifice out of you.
In summary, this is a decent Episode I replacement that could have been outstanding were it not for a couple of laggards in the bunch.
Eviltech: Soul Of Megawad (compatibility fixed version) - Nicolás Monti
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 6367905 bytes
Reviewed by: glenzinho
In the age of visual and structual beauty of the modern day wads, such as levels I have recently discovered such as Demons of Problematique, Ultimate Torment & Torture, and the all kinds of awesome Jenesis, comes a new entry into the modern day field - Eviltech: Soul of Megawad. This is not one of these level sets. And it absolutely rocks. If you take the time to play this 34 level megawad, stop and cock your eyebrow and smell what Nicolas Monti is cooking, 'cause it smells like pure basic honest-to-god Doominess!
Maps 1-11 comprise classic tech base goodness and are levels made and raised in 2002. Plenty of blasting non-stop action to be found here. Maps 12-20 constitute a massive change in gameplay as they are the newer 2011 levels, but to me it slots in theme-wise with the rest of the set. Really long levels are to be had here, play these with patience and you will be rewarded. Maps 21-30 return somewhat to a base-ier style. A few 2002 maps are peppered in along with the new ones. Map30 was one of the few boss levels that has satisfied me in quite a while. Not too easy, not too hard, just about right, and a great if somewhat nervous buildup to the final confrontation.
This set isn't gonna break new ground in the visual art of Doom, but it breaks old ground in the good old fashioned fun playability of the great game. Download this and just play!
And to Nicolas Monti, I thought nothing good would ever come out of Argentina after Dario Conca, but Eviltech is certainly very good. I salute you, hermano.
Doom 2 crashed - Chaingunner
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 109767 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
A short techbase map for Doom 2. The text file claims it'll take you two minutes, which is probably an overestimate. This map looks and plays all right, but it's pretty straightforward. It could really benefit from some teleporters or monster closets to repopulate the areas of the map you revisit. It could use more monsters in general, actually; the area around the yellow key is completely empty. The cave connecting each section could do with a little more brightness.
There's replacement music for the title and intermission screens, plus the map itself, and a stupid sound effect for picking up a shotgun. The sound effect won't play back in vanilla.
Doom: RV-007's Possessed Marine Player Skin Version 01 - RV-007
Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 215635 bytes
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
The standard marine sprite, now with a red visor and new sounds!
Doom: RV-007's Icon of Sin Boss Fight for Doom 2 Version 03 - RV-007
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 51187 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
This is a ZDoom wad that makes the Icon of Sin breathe fire and shoot lasers out of its eyes. Yeah. Neither attack is very damaging and both are likely to miss you anyway since you'll be running around avoiding attacks from the spawned monsters. This really changes nothing about the fight; it's not even a threat when you're on the lift because the attacks will hit below you.
Doom: RV-007's GateWatcher Boss Fight for Plutonia 2 Version 03 - RV-007
Plutonia - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 59501 bytes -
Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
This is basically identical to RV-007's Icon of Sin fight, except the Gatewatcher doesn't shoot lasers out of its eyes. That job is instead taken over by skull cubes. You'll need Plutonia 2 for this, obviously.
Doom: RV-007's FlashLight Player Class Version 01 - RV-007
Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 24725 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This mod replaces the Doom fist with a flashlight (via a new player class). Pressing the "fire" key casts a light that brightens the area in the player's vicinity. It never runs out of battery charge, and can be used at will. Using the "alt-fire" key swings the flashlight as a melee weapon. Picking up a berserk pack gives the player the corresponding increase in power when using the flashlight as a melee weapon.
On the face of it, this is a useful mod, with nice-looking graphics and a nice alternative attack mode. There have been many instances when I've treaded warily along darkened corridors in Doom and wished I had a flashlight. Such an inventory item would have made me less jumpy, and made me less apt to hurl my empty cup of coffee at whichever hapless mook poked his head through my doorway. Alas, as I discovered, this mod became less and less appealing as I dug deeper. (Before I get into the details, let me mention that this mod is a virtual copy of the flashlight in a mod named 6axis_beta1.wad, created in September 2011 by James "Jimmy" Paddock. The sprites, sounds, and the core behavior are 100% rips from 6axis. In his favor, the author does credit Jimmy for the original work.)
The first issue I had was with the nature of the light cast by the item. It behaves more like a naked light bulb (radial glow) than a flashlight (focused beam). (I know that this is not a review of 6Axis, but for an example of how one expects a flashlight to behave, check out that mod.) The second issue I had was with the weak glow that it cast. Take a look at the two screenshots to see the degree and nature of the brightness when the flashlight is activated. The third issue I had was that the fist has been completely disabled (unless you use the IDKFA cheat code, in which case the fist becomes available to you again). (Admittedly, the flashlight does the same thing as the fist, but I saw no reason to disable it.) The fourth issue is that the text file makes no mention that the item serves as a melee weapon by using alt-fire. (I happened to notice the relevant section of the DECORATE definition, which is how I figured it out.)
I opened up the wad in a resource editor and looked over the various bits of code. The flashlight DECORATE definition is lifted from Jimmy's code, sections of it commented out (e.g. the parts that require the battery to be recharged), and four or five lines of minor code added in to change it from a beam light to a radial light and to assign the click sound when the flashlight is selected and de-selected. The SNDINFO code is a copy-and-paste of Jimmy's entire code, including sound defintions for actors that do not exist in this author's work (i.e., bloatware). In addition, while the sound definition includes two alternative sounds for the flashlight swing, the wad itself only contains one of the sound files.
All-in-all, this mod has some utility (albeit limited) but lacks spit and polish. If you want a flashlight that does not need battery recharges and casts a weak radial glow, then this wad may be for you.
Base Ganymede: Complete - Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 2157227 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This is a replacement of Episodes I, II, and III of the Ultimate Doom. The text file indicates that the construction base of the wad is "new from scratch". However, it would be more accurate to say that Episode III is new from scratch, and the secret levels in Episodes I and II are from scratch. The 8-map Episode I was released by the author in November 2009 and the 8-map Episode II was released a year later. Therefore, this release is a compilation of earlier releases (plus some bug fixes), a couple of secret levels for those episodes, and a new 9-map Episode III. As the first two episodes were already previously reviewed on The /newstuff Chronicles (#359 and #379 respectively), this review is limited to the third episode and the two new secret levels.
I played each map with a pistol start on UV skill. While I kept an eye out for secrets, I avoided using the items in the secret areas as much as possible to make sure the secrets were not essential to the completion of each map. I used GZDoom with no cheats to "combat-test" the game, and my review is based on this version. (I did, however, play through using Chocolate Doom [and cheats] to ensure that the game played as intended.) Aside from mouse-look, I did not use other features of GZDoom; in particular, I did not use jump or crouch at any point in the game.
The compilation has many new aspects, including a new TITLEPIC screen, new demos, and new music, all of which add layers of appeal to the game. The level design varies from competent to superb, the architecture is uniformly well-done, and the gameplay is often inspired. Overall, there is a good balance between opposition and weaponry, ammo, health and armor, and powerups. (Although, in a couple of maps I found I didn't need the blue armor that was provided, and in one map the BFG was entirely superfluous.) Traps abound, but few are truly cruel, and the author generally provides a "back door". The Jupiter sky lends an otherworldly air to the game, and the new music provides a decent-enough backdrop for the slaughter at hand.
Most maps have good progression, with optional paths and back-tracking required. Combat is frenetic, with some nasty traps. The author often puts you in a situation that requires you to take punishment until you've found a safe place. The trick is to find the "safe" areas where you have some cover or are not surrounded by enemies. This style of game design is characteristic of this author, and requires occasionally bold tactics on the part of the player to find ammo or cover, or to encourage monster in-fighting. In the early maps the traps start becoming predictable, but then by mid-game the author throws you a curve ball by shedding what some players would probably label "cheap tricks". The author uses vanilla Doom editing tricks to good advantage, providing for some truly surprising and jerk-inducing moments.
The author made a few choices that I found questionable. The Episode III secret level was a disappointment that almost seems to be thrown into the set as an afterthought. Aside from being fairly brief, it was populated by only the weaker enemies and felt out of place among the tension-filled maps of the set. (In contrast, the secret levels of the other two episodes are very nicely done, with appropriate use of enemies and difficulty levels.) Additionally, the bright, grey-hued base theme of E3M4 did not fit alongside the darker themes of the other maps. There were a couple of instances in E3M7 where an enemy-blocking linedef and a narrow, bottle-necking passageway made it possible to camp at a safe distance and whittle away at the resistance. But these are minor objections that do not deter from the overall quality that comes shining through.
In summary, this map-set is full of pleasant twists and turns. Like typical maps made for many of The Ultimate Doom episodes, you may have expected to be met with light to moderate resistance and be able to blaze through. That was likely your first mistake. Using only Doom I enemies, the author has made these maps extremely challenging, to the point where frequent save-games is recommended. The second mistake you may have made was that you expected the game to resemble the blocky, simplistic-looking maps of yore. To your surprise, you find that that this ain't your father's Oldsmobile. (Oops! Wrong cultural reference.) The author has crafted maps with interesting-looking architecture, proper texturing and alignment, good lighting, and detailing appropriate for a vanilla Doom mod. The third mistake you may have made was assuming that there would be "standard" traps. Instead, you are faced with enemies popping up in your face (via clever use of instantly rising or lowering sectors). Finally, perhaps you were figuring that with your eagle eye all the secrets would be revealed to you. There again, you'd be dead wrong. The author has brought all his ingeniousness and deviousness into concealing the secrets (perhaps as a way of giving the figurative middle finger to those that criticized his earlier released episodes for lacking secrets). In my opinion, this is as good a way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon as any other. You'll be glad that you dis (sic)!
Akuma's Super Fun Time - Anotak
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 94940 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This is a single map for ZDoom, and it features both indoor and outdoor areas; close-range fights in cramped areas, and battles in a big, outdoor area; and the option of causing monster in-fighting, or going toe-to-toe against enemies individually. In other words, you get a little bit of everything.
The architecture, detailing, and texturing of the indoor areas are nicely done; the detailing of the large, exterior area is not. Admittedly, it requires a good eye and a great deal of patience to properly detail landscapes, but ZDoom facilitates the creation of natural-looking terrain. So it was a little disappointing to see the long stretches of somewhat plain rock walls and pillars.
I found the progression of gameplay suited my playing style quite well. It starts out with light resistance and gets increasingly more difficult, with adequate weaponry provided at appropriate points in the game. Once you become familiar with the layouts you can play more daringly, taking greater risks to get the adrenaline going. In the big, outdoor area the author has provided strategically-placed cover, but the swarms of enemies leave little chance of camping until you've thinned out the ravening hordes. The two battles that do not give you the opportunity of ducking out of sight and sniping are frenetic and unpredictable, and exactly why so many of us play Doom. Additionally, at no point does the gameplay become overwhelming or frustrating.
The one thing that puzzled me is why the author chose to use ZDoom, rather than making it playable on any limit-removing port. With the exception of the MAPINFO lump, the wad contains virtually nothing else that specifically provides ZDoom features. Even the MAPINFO lump, in my opinion, could have been omitted - it serves only three minor functions: changing the map name, changing the music, and preventing jumping.
Oh, and this is the author's first released map.
In summary, this is a mixed bag. For a debut release it is quite respectable - it avoids many of the pitfalls of first-time wads, and provides five to ten minutes of entertainment while mostly looking good. On the other hand, it is somewhat inconsistent in the detailing department and at UV there is an excess of armor, ammo, and health - which, in turn reduces the level of tension that many players look for. However, having said this, let me conclude by saying you could do worse than playing this map. Far, far worse.
Vertigo - Xaver
Doom 2 - Skulltag - Solo Play - 1585474 bytes -
Reviewed by: udderdude
Four Maps for Doom 2, using Skulltag. The first thing I noticed in this mapset is that the enemies are all beefed up. They have more health, move faster and shoot faster projectiles. It's not as tough as Nightmare, but it's definitely above UV on the difficulty scale. There's also the addition of Super Shotgun Guys. They also take quite a beating before they die.
The one change I didn't like was the addition of more monster health - it makes the maps feel like they take much longer to complete than usual, as you have to play much more cautiously. Also, not being able to kill an imp or sergeant with a single shell just feels wrong to me for some reason. That's what you get when you fuck with numbers that have been used to for almost two decades, I guess.
Also, the automap is completely hidden the entire time. You can't see anything on it. The maps aren't too complex, so it's not a big deal.
Map 1 is a short travel through some snow and ice covered terrain to the tech base in map 2.
Map 2 is a tech base, and the biggest map in the set. Unfortunately, its flat and uninspired layout doesn't really deserve any praise. Square rooms full of crates and connecting hallways abound.
Map 3 is a short train map. Nothing too exciting here.
Map 4 is a boss map with some Cyberdemons and a Spiderdemon. For some reason, the Cyberdemon health values have actually been lowered to almost half of their original value (2200 vs 4000). In comparison, the Spiderdemon now has more health (4400 vs. 3000).
This map is worth playing if you want something a bit different, as the monster changes definitely make it play differently than usual, even if the maps themselves are kind of generic and boring. But if you can't stand it when authors fuck with the default monsters, you may want to stay away.
Deployment Base - Scott Sutherland
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 44221 bytes -
Reviewed by: ReX
This is a single map for Doom 2, originally created in 1996 by Scott Sutherland but uploaded by Perseus in 2012. It plays on Map01, but has enemies and weaponry more suitable for a later map. It does have its moments, but for the most part the game is no different from the hundreds of maps that were released when players discovered the wonders of creating sectors with DCK.
The first thing that strikes you is how uniform-looking and featureless the map is. Done largely in the GSTONE texture theme, the appearance belies the theme suggested by the name of the wad. Long, straight walls characterize most rooms, which are connected with narrow corridors, all bathed in the same level of lighting. There is little height variation, generally poor texture alignment, and improper texture pegging of doors and lifts that result in the "disappearing" door/lift effect. All of these are hallmarks of a first-time mapper, which the author probably was. On top of everything, many doors are unmarked, requiring frequent referencing of the automap. Fortunately, the author provides a computer map early in the game, making progress somewhat easier.
Thankfully, the map design is less amateurish than its look, but that's still not saying much. There is a considerable amount of backtracking required, not all of it intuitive (e.g., after picking up the yellow key). In addition, there is some interconnectivity of areas, which adds a veneer of interest to an otherwise uninspired design. Gameplay is somewhat better, with the player being pitted against tougher enemies right from the start. Most of the time you have plenty of room to maneuver, virtually eliminating any semblance of challenge. To his credit, however, the author has avoided the tendency of new mappers to throw wave after wave of bosses and mini-bosses in impossible-to-win situations. The game is liberally sprinkled with cannon-fodder, and they can be used to create monster infighting in many situations. Not that you need to conserve ammo or health, as they abound throughout. There is also an excess of armor and powerups, and you get overpowered weapons fairly early in the game without having to work for them at all. The boss fight at the end is laughable, given that you are amped up to the gills with powerups when you arrive there. The author has even provided an invulnerability at UV skill.
If you have an itch that keeps you up at night for an early-era map that reminds you of how far Doom mapping has come, then this map may be for you. Otherwise, give it a pass.
Joe's FUCKIN MEGA BFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and supre shotgun to - Joe
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 2171292 bytes
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Let's test out my 10 word wad review skills!
Terry-style shitty sound replacement sped up overpowered SSG/BFG9000 with fail gibs.
Oh shit, that was eleven.
The /newstuff Chronicles #406