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    The /newstuff Chronicles #409


    • 32in24-11: Occupy Doomworld - The 32in24 Team!
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 8225222 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Snakes
      I've been hesitant to review this excellent piece of DM goodness. After all, one of the 45 maps contributed to the project is my own, and I am, at best, an occasional DM player without much expertise on the subject. However, I realized that 7 months(!) of sitting in /newstuff is too long for the 2% of the project that I felt I was involved in.

      Why did it take so long for someone to review this, anyways? 32in24 wads are a great Doomworld tradition, and from what I've played in the series, consistently entertaining, void of the self-seriousness that can drown other projects. The 11th iteration (given the silly subtitle "Occupy Doomworld") follows the tradition right down to the music selection and map names.

      Through the several times I fragged my way through the 45 maps of this wad, I can say the following things with great certainty: it plays wonderfully and, for the most part, looks great to boot. The attention to detail is perfect so that it looks great without ever becoming a distraction, the layouts are thoughtfully designed with asymmetry and connectivity (two things extremely important to an enjoyable DM experience) in mind, and heavily playtested by deathmatch guru and forum-superstar dew.

      What results is a consistently fun-to-play and entertaining experience worth running through again and again. With contributions from mappers such as skillsaw, esselfortium, Tango, and pretty much any good mapper you can think of, this isn't worth passing up. Download it now and get fragging!

    • SpaceDM9 - Esselfortium, Mechadon, [Jetsons]
      Doom 2 - Skulltag - Deathmatch - 17739177 bytes -
      Reviewed by: dew
      This is a review for SpaceDM 9 and you are not dreaming. Incredible, I know. If this was a different project, I would joke how writing this review took longer than making the wad, but this is SpaceDM we are talking about. The first excuse for taking so long to come out was that Richard Nixon stole the original map designs. Years after the authors missed the moon landing, they wanted to commemorate.

      Not unlike SmartCTF I reviewed the last time, this is a kind of a demo for the full product that will come sometime in the future (haha, riiiight). The textfile mentions a throng of mappers whose contributions weren't ready in time for the 1.01 release, so be ready for upcoming space-themed map bonanza from 40oz, Brinks, Pavera, TGH or Tango! On your hard drives when we're all cyborgs enslaved by a dominatrix artificial intelligence that will rip the authors from developmental Limbo and make them finish their WIPs by means of stripping their brains from their meaty vessels and hooking them directly to map editors. In these pathetic fleshy times we're stuck with just THREE completed maps - two by Esselfortium, and one a collaboration between Essel and Mechadon. Next time in my reviews: a single map megawad demo, in production since Leonardo da Vinci's first design drafts.

      Cut the crap, what is SpaceDM 9, you ask. It is a newschool deathmatch project for Skulltag, also known as Zandronum these days. Expected a joke about the name, didn't you? Well, the name is the joke, bwahaha! Suck it, Torrbek! To be completely honest, "Skulltag-exclusive DM maps" is not exactly a genre renowned for design excellence and thorough playtesting. The stereotypical newschool ST map is flat, thus not taking proper advantage of freelook or jumping, throws the annoying minigun into the mix without caring one bit for silly things like weapon balance, and its excuse for being Skulltag-only is having runes and advanced lighting. And tag 0 lifts. Simply said, they're not newschool enough and they waste a perfectly good port full of opportunities. Cue SpaceDM.

      S9DM01 - AIR SNARES

      A lovely looking map consisting of several platforms hovering in the skies of an alien planet. The central platform uses a great pseudo-3D trick with a glass floor, sadly just for show. This map means well, but runs into the very first pitfall of void maps. The platforms are too goddamn narrow, and it isn't trivial to run and jump around even with no opponents throwing bullets at you. Even worse, jumppads. Fill this map with players and there will be a lot of void diving. This can be helped by lowering gravity and raising air control so jumping isn't your worst enemy. Setting balanced values might take some testing though; too much air time makes players vulnerable, and too much air walking looks trippy.

      The layout itself is pretty cool - for hitscan battles. There's a rocket launcher on a hard-to-reach platform as the prize weapon, but its usefulness is questionable. It'd be a great spam weapon for populated FFA games when it's easy to harvest frags by bombarding a busy spot, but with diminishing player count it's going to be harder to surprise anyone with Doom's slowpoke rockets. Of course, splash damage is a horrible weapon of terror here because of knocking people off ledges into the void. Welcome to negative frag city! ZDaemon has this useful feature that controls rocket knockback factor; this would come in very handy here - keep the damage, but don't throw people around so much. There's also a secret plasma hidden behind a difficult Quake-like jump, but the weapon is pretty much useless because of above mentioned qualities of projectile weapons, minus splash. Should've been a BFG if you ask me. Also that little alcove is a terrible camper spot, although I'm not sure anyone would want to waste their time sitting there while people in the map increase their frag counts.

      Overall this map can provide entertaining FFA games, but it needs some server-side tweaking, and it's still going to be an acrophobic void map.

      S9DM02 - EAT AT PHOBO'S

      This is an oldschool map thrown into the mix, because Essel had it lying around. If I recall it correctly, it was intended for iPhone Doom when John Carmack fooled around Doomworld some time ago, but it wasn't used in the end. I guess everyone realized it was a silly idea to play manly games on iPhones.

      Eat at Phobo's is a smaller map, probably best fit for 1on1, although even larger games shouldn't suffer by aggravated Brit10 syndrome. Jumping is disabled in this map, so it behaves as intended in more vanilla-like settings. I really enjoy these strongly vertical layouts; they add a tactical element you just can't get on flat maps. The game flow is fairly straightforward with the BFG on top as the big prize. It's challenging to get all the way up there, but not crazy hard with extra crushers and lava fields and 30 seconds of waiting in a vulnerable position. It's a powerful weapon, not the freakin' Hand of God, especially when it's not trivial to actually hit something with it while having enemies in the death cone. Pace should be somewhere half way between judas23_ and dweller2 map11, two other famous vertical maps. Well done!

      S9DM03 - SHOGOUKI

      The collaborative piece. Words cannot describe how awesome this map looks! The visuals aim for Blade Runner-like futuristic neon-lit night city, and the result is simply stunning. You know you can expect clean and tasteful visuals from Mek and Essel, but this impressed even a thug like me. All the shiny transparent platforms, ooooh! And all that in software mode, no OpenGL silliness! The brutal downside to that is performance. The map was pretty much unplayable on my old laptop, and my new one pretends it's running a Bethesda game the way it uses up resources.

      The layout is fairly standard and homogenous for an FFA map, although all the ramps and platforms give it a novelty flare. It's technically a void map, but you'd have to be fairly dumb or unlucky to spacedive in here. Wider platforms and stuff. Running and jumping around in super-high speeds feels natural and easy, just how I like it. The map is fairly large and rich on weapons and resources, so I'd probably avoid a 1on1, because pace might drop below tolerable levels. It gets a little annoying when BFG meets RL meets blue armor meets soulsphere, etc. All of that is diluted and handed out in small portions in properly populated FFAs, so one gets to shoot people from close range with various weaponry instead of chaingun sniping your only opponent - the map is very open.

      Overall, I'm excited about this project for one particular reason: it shows what Skulltag can do, the path it can go to distinguish itself from its competitors. That is NOT what its DM scene has been doing so far, as putting miniguns in otherwise regular maps doesn't count. Implemented newschool, advanced port-specific ideas should feel as seamless, integral parts of the map, not as a gimmick in the center of the map screaming "look at me". I'm aware it takes a huge amount of time because of increased complexity, but that's what mature mapping is about. A shame it's such a small appetizer.

    • Wonderland - fiend-o-hell
      Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 3008197 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Phobus
      Wonderland is one of those "out there" .WADs - it's intended to be a surreal experience, as one might have in a dream. I've never played any of fiend-o-hell's work before, and I get the impression he's relatively new to the mapping game, so seeing a less-usual concept seemed like a pretty bold move. I do have two observations to make before we even go into the map set though:

      1. "readme.txt" is never a good name for your text file. Give it the same name as the .WAD so that we can tell at a glance what this "read me" is for!
      2. The .txt file includes a couple of lines of "strategy guide" for each map. This didn't bode well for me, as any map that needs explaining is probably going to be very unintuitive for the player.

      The .WAD itself sports 6 maps. From the get-go the strange theme is apparent, as is the non-intuitive progression (shooting a wall-mounted torch to leave the first corridor). I'll be blunt, I can't recommend that you play the first 3 maps at all. MAP01 has damage thrust upon the player almost arbitrarily, and the illogical game play doesn't work in its favour. MAP02 shares its theme with MAP03, MAP05 and MAP06 (see screenshots 03 and 05), but is probably the most extreme example - frankly the way it plays left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Particularly when you're teleporting around randomly, trying to work out where exactly you're meant to change your choice of line to cross in order to progress, while being hounded by invisible enemies, hidden in the wall. MAP03 actually starts off all right, but you can then get inescapably stuck leaving the starting area, in the dark staircase. Not sure what exactly is meant to happen, but the door onwards closed and wouldn't re-open.

      MAP04 is a bit of a stand-out, as its one of the more normally-themed levels (looks good, I'd say) and actually plays pretty well, although good luck not getting frustrated with the trapped PEs that constantly pour out lost souls to augment the almost arbitrary teleport entry of most of your opposition. This map is also pretty easy to break, as shooting the "generators" doesn't seem too reliable - if they close without triggering, you're stuck in the level.

      MAP05 and MAP06 are solid though, although they still suffer from the slightly sloppy mapping (HOMs, etc.) and still aren't entirely logical - I'm not sure if I beat MAP06 legitimately or not, all told. I seemed to fight everything, but did just jump off the beaten path and strike out to where I figured I needed to be next through the sea of torches at one point nearer the end of the map (after an impotent PE swarm). Speaking of the sea of torches actually, that did cause a noticeable reduction in frame rate when viewed from one end, looking in. As I'm running some pretty hot hardware, that surprised me.

      In all, I liked bits of it (TITLEPIC [screenshot 01] and music were nice) and would say MAP05, complete with a "DV-II Minas Morgul"-esque flood of imps, is pretty damn good, with MAP06 being alright too. As an overall product though? Very difficult to recommend. I've seen a few positive reviews, so maybe you'll like it, but I honestly wouldn't bank on it.

    • Six Ways to Die - ReX Claussen
      Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 799902 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Phobus
      Six Ways to Die is a GZDoom map (playing on MAP31) by ReX, with a twist: Finding all 6 secrets in the titular map will allow you access to a second, larger map (MAP32). Obviously you can get to this map without playing MAP31, but if you want to do it legitimately and can't find the secrets in said map (they're not that difficult, all told) he's included a guide to all of the secrets in the download.

      As noted in the main text file, the maps do make quite a lot of use of 3D floors. You get water, multiple stories, decorative structures, glass panels and more. They are largely used functionally, as shown in screenshots 02 and 03 (both from MAP31). This functionality focus does seem to be quite a driving factor with the whole .WAD - you get no changed music or map names, and the general standard of texturing and visual complexity will displease some people, I'm sure. The tendency to have huge, open areas doesn't help in this regard. However, some areas of MAP32 do look pretty nice - screenshot 05 is the sort of thing I mean, although later parts of the level do have grander areas with plenty of arches and columns. The final main room in the cathedral is probably the best looking part of the whole .WAD, as it avoids having the big bare expanses that some of the other areas have. Theme overall is fairly mixed, with each of the "6 Ways to Die" having a different one and being accessed through glass tubes from an E1-textured area.

      Game play-wise, MAP31 is a bit of a Russian Roulette experience. If you start in the North-East tube and work your way round clock-wise, things get progressively harder and your armaments increase suitably. You can jump in any one though, giving replay value. I won't lie; some of the areas suck (floating platforms over swimmable lava, harassed by freshly spawned Cacodemons and Pain Elementals being the worst one for me). I quite liked tysoning the chainsaw area (first one in my progression) and the use of features in the area in shot 03 impressed me (although an Arch-Vile later put me off the area a lot). Ammo is pretty fairly balanced on UV (although certainly not generously supplied - you'll want to make use of your berserk fist), but health is lacking, even with the secrets.

      MAP32 is fairly linear and quite a huge adventure with it. You'll get some pretty impressive architecture sometimes, but that doesn't make up for my game play experience. Screenshot 04 shows the kind of open areas Arch-Viles turn up in and the hordes you have to face with niggardly health and armour supplies (again, ammo is sufficient, but certainly not generous). This only steps up throughout the map, culminating in the final few large battles that seem to thrive on throwing Lost Souls and meat shields at you in big areas divided up by archways. Screenshot 06 showed one particular spawning area I took exception to purely on technical grounds (stacking imps... really?)

      All in all it doesn't look particularly good, and I can't really say I enjoyed it too much either. I've played a lot better by ReX, but I'll concede I do find his work hit-and-miss overall, so I'll chalk this one up as a miss. If you want to see how slopes and 3D floors can be used to make grand architecture, I'd recommend studying MAP32 for a crash course in the basics.

    • Demon Snare v3 - fiend-o-hell
      Doom 2 - PrBoom+ - Solo Play - 1813304 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Snakes
      A medium-sized Boom-compatible map set in a fiery-red canyon from fiend-o-hell, Demon Snare has many fine qualities. Namely, the visuals are very-well done. The cliffs look convincing, the textures are used competently, and the center fortress blends into the environment very well. However, this setting also can make for some annoying gameplay.

      What makes it so frustrating? Well, the main culprit here is a combination of narrow space and the need to find at least some of the 16 secrets for your ammo and armor's sake. The opening fight is probably the most annoying thing about the map. Just as soon as you shoot, imps, shotgun dudes, lost souls, and cacodemons all head in your direction ready to pounce, and if you don't find the blue armor secret soon enough, you'll be begging for space to dodge in. After that, it becomes a much simpler tread, aside from a moment or two of stuck-monster syndrome (the teleporting chaingunners).

      Speaking of which, this map isn't without its share of bugs, it seems. It's possible to finish without the blue key (not sure if that's intended), and there is a spot or two of noticeable misalignments that could have been fixed. Also, during my run-through, the switch textures rendered as HOM, which really hurt the wad's overall appearance.

      In spite of those few shortcomings, Demon Snare is a boom-compatible map from veteran wad-author fiend-o-hell that is worth a look or two should you have some free time on your hands.

    • DeathMatch of the Ages - JagDogger2525
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 10784 bytes -
      Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
      This is a little circular arena filled with guns, ammo, and few power-ups like the soulsphere and berserk pack, and the mapper (I suppose this is their first work, since there's no indication of other wads made by the author) added few weird curvy columns filled with ammo, health and other stuff.

      Well, this could be a nice DM map for 1994; the first time I played this I had that feeling and thought this was something uploaded by unstoppable uploader Perseus, but this map from JagDogger2525 was made in the obscure ages of editing, 2012. February 10, to be more precise. And it's a very big shame, because while it is somewhat fun to fight the bots (or the players) for few minutes, after a while it starts to become simply boring.

      I suggest the author add more environments and interconnected rooms with some obstacles (like, you know, greenwar) in his future maps.

      So, yeah, pass this map. There's something MUCH better to played in the archives.

    • Surge - Josh "Joshy" Sealy
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3462297 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Phobus
      Surge is an unfinished Scythe-styled megaWAD. It is also Joshy's swan song in mapping (for the foreseeable future). It's made up of 17 complete maps and one that appears to be a complete, textured layout with no functionality implemented, lacking line actions, enemies and pick-ups. Aside from MAP18 being half-done and the remaining 14 maps not existing, this map set has very little to show it isn't a complete product - the maps aren't named, there's no new INTERPIC, the TITLEPIC is pretty crap and there's a couple of subtle areas of sloppiness, like some invalid textures specified for the walls of a rising pit in MAP04. However the 17 maps are all fully playable, have music and skies specified and present a pretty solid, if perhaps a little unremarkable, experience. The biggest problem this lack of completion offers up is the text file lacking credits in my opinion, as that seems inexcusable when you've used other people's graphics and music.

      The first 10 maps have a pretty nice hell-contrasted-with-a-blue-sky theme, with MAP01 (screenshot 01) being very reminiscent of Scythe MAP21 in terms of texturing. The maps are all speed mapped, and present short sharp shocks for the most part. MAP01-06 were quite easy for me - although the opposition is fairly thick for the small, open layouts, and ammo can be quite difficult to come by, the presence of berserks and the chainsaw made tearing through the low-level enemies a non-issue. The very open layouts and monster placement do mean that (as happened to me frequently) you can tear-arse your way through the map: kill over 90% of the total opposition and still have no idea what the objective for the map is. It also means that a few unlucky decisions (particularly in MAP02 and MAP05) can mean the player almost tysons his way through said percentage of opposition, only to leave the map with a fully stocked shotgun. The fact that I could pull this off speaks to the quality of the maps in question, as I enjoyed myself fighting through that way and didn't feel unduly put-upon.

      MAP07 presents a sudden spike in difficulty, and MAP10 ends in a Scythe-styled episode transition, so you start off MAP11 from a fresh pistol start... which doesn't work in your favour at all. The use of cyberdemons is exemplary, as you get three different scenarios, all of which really worked well (close quarters in a frantic scramble; on a podium, keeping you on your toes; and free-roaming round the majority of the map when you're under-equipped for it, giving it real presence). Likewise, the non-linear layouts and chaotic opens seem largely well implemented to me, although those of you that hate it when you start off targeted or surrounded by loads of monsters will not be happy at all.

      I do have some complaints myself:

      1. Monsters popping out of rock or otherwise solid floors, just like in SoD
      2. A few traps that I can only describe as bullshit (MAP08 graveyard, I'm looking at you...)
      3. Boom voodoo doll scripting is used to produce an annoying cliché that is usually seen with scripting: having multiple switches where one would suffice
      4. MAP12 has a red key trap that is very easy to cheapen if you don't open the bars before killing all of the mancubuses on the other side

      However, those aren't enough for me to not recommend this to you all as a quick (like, 90 minutes) blast through some solid Dooming experience. It's not an all-time great or anything though, so I'd not get too hopeful when loading it up.

    • The Blood Of Virgins - zrrion the insect
      Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 434469 bytes -
      Reviewed by: fullmetalvaran33
      "The Blood of Virgins" is a one-map hellish nightmare that throws you into a green marble temple with small, cramped rooms and narrow halls filled with a red mist. The mist obscures your view of the distance, making things feel even more claustrophobic and intense. Flesh and blood textures add an ethereal effect to the already creepy temple, and the fact that teleports seem to function by using blood is just plain freaky, Man.

      "Virgins" is definitely quite the challenge on Ultra-Violence, as ammo is very tight and health is even tighter. It takes some time to come across health, which is in the form of blood-filled vials and flasks. You'll get the chainsaw fairly early in the game, and I must say you should use it more often than you probably wish to. There are a fair amount of Imps, Zombie Soldiers, and Pinkies in this WAD, so you should find it somewhat easy to opt out of using your guns.

      I really don't like how limited the ammo is. The limited health I could probably deal with, but I tried to be as careful as possible, and I still didn't have enough for the Baron assault at the end. If there's anything about this WAD that's unappealing, it's the struggle to keep your ammo in check. It was definitely more of a frustration than a thrill at times.

      If you'd rather play something with better ammo placement, then you should look elsewhere. Also, if you don't like heavy fog, you probably won't enjoy this map. But, it does have great atmosphere, and, if you really like difficult maps that push your limits, then you should be able to enjoy this.

    • Jailbreak - Glen McColl
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 90325 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Dragonsbrethren
      Jailbreak is a vanilla Doom map from 2001. In terms of gameplay and most aesthetics, it reminds me of an E2 map. There are a few areas that try for a bit of "realism" with jail cells, bunks, gun racks and such, but mostly this is just pure vanilla-style abstract rooms. Lighting is fairly boring outside of a few areas. The difficulty was fair most of the time, but there were a few areas with large amounts of monsters and little room to maneuver that I didn't care for. I thought there was way too much ammo for the shotgun and not enough for the other weapons. At one point you pick up a chaingun surrounded by two boxes of shells. This isn't a spectacular map, but it's fun enough to recommend.

    • The Park of Doom - Glen McColl
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 61212 bytes -
      Reviewed by: ReX
      This is a single-player map for Doom 2 that was completed in 1995 but was released to the public in 2012. It has a new, city-themed sky, a new ENDOOM graphic (apparently taken from NJDoom2.wad, but not credited in the text file), and a new map name graphic.

      The start of the map belies its origins back in 1995. It is a multi-tiered area that is nicely constructed. However, as soon as you move outdoors you step back in time. The buildings are blocky and uniformly tall, the walls are straight and plain, and there is little attempt at decoration. The new sky is a nice touch, but it fails to significantly improve the visual appeal of the map. Despite it being an early-era map, the author could have done much to gussy it up before releasing it in 2012.

      Gameplay primarily consists of mowing down the opposition while finding switches and keys to progress (which, I hasten to add, is not necessarily a bad thing). In most instances it was clear what had to be done. However, the start area was frustratingly obtuse to me, and I initially gave up and quit the game when I couldn't figure out what the switches do. (The author has placed "door open" and "door close" switches for remote doors right next to each other. As you can't see what the switches are doing, and as the doors in question are not marked as such, you could wind up opening and closing a door without being the wiser.) On my second try I made it past the start area, and after that I had no problems with navigation. Fights are mostly manageable, with a couple of traps that include fierce combat. In particular, the fight after picking up the red key involves swarms of enemies, and is best survived by quickly exiting the building after picking up the red key. There is plenty of ammo, health, and heavy weaponry, but some entirely unnecessary power-ups. And, of course, there is the obligatory 1995-style maze. Finally, to round out the 1995-map features, most of the "secrets" are areas that you'll be traversing to make progress in the game (but, thankfully, are not hidden away).

      This map may be lacking in the looks department, but it makes up for it in the fights. If you're into nostalgia and you're looking for some decent action, give this map a shot.

    • s4MAP01 - Lukas "Omegamer" Wilhelm,
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 39601 bytes -
      Reviewed by: ReX
      This is a single-player map for Doom 2 that uses a self-imposed limit of 400 linedefs. It is a very small map that has light- to medium-resistance opposition, a new MIDI music track, and one new graphic.

      The premise of this map (and, eventually, each map in the planned set) is that the map will not have more than 400 linedefs. This is a worthwhile objective, couched within a fairly restrictive limit, and would take an inventive and imaginative mind to pull off effectively. The author has done a commendable job of making the map look attractive. Unfortunately, by using up the allowable linedefs to make the architecture appealing, the author has been forced to create an extremely small map with few playable areas. Arguably, some of the areas used for decorative purposes (e.g., the nukage fall and pool, and the outside water) could have been sacrificed to make some linedefs available for an additional playable area.

      Because of the size of the map, the fights are short and mostly devoid of tension. Your standard issue sidearm has to suffice to dispatch some lowly hell-spawn, but you are put into a fairly tense fight when you make a dash for some heavier fire-power. After that, the fights are more pedestrian, with a narrow entrance near the lowering pentagram (inadvertently, perhaps) serving as a bottle-neck to keep the wider enemies at bay. This allows the player to safely stay within the entrance and take potshots at the swarming hordes. Had the outside area been larger, and the enemies further away, the author could have made it feasible to dash to the switch that facilitates chaingun access. As it is, you'll get the chaingun too late to put it to best use. There is a reasonable amount of health and ammo available, and I doubt you'll be scrambling to survive.

      As a concept map this effort has merit. Unfortunately, because of the fairly tiny map size allowed by the 400-linedef limit, this map can be completed in short order and has virtually no replayability value. Perhaps future maps that the player intends to create using this concept will overcome this obstacle.

    • Hells Hole - Matt "TheBraggle" Napier
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 29708 bytes -
      Reviewed by: fullmetalvaran33
      "Hells Hole" is Matt's second map, and it's better than his first, as he puts it. While I admire his efforts (and any serious mapper's efforts), it's a bit...lackluster. For an early effort, it's not bad, but it does need some major expansion. The map takes place in a tan brick castle or keep, and the lighting is rather poor—it's too dull and lifeless, and, depending on what port you use, it can appear far too bright.

      Game play is pretty easy, and I think everyone can beat this map without cheats. The Arch-Vile might make you jump depending on how you feel about them (I hate them, so my hairs stood on end for a moment when he popped out). But it's a piece of cake otherwise. This would make a good first map for a longer multi-level WAD or even a megaWAD, but, on its own, it's too short.

      Overall, it's not highly recommended, but it's a decent way to pass the time if you're bored or something.

    • Blood Lake - Glen McColl
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 29290 bytes -
      Reviewed by: fullmetalvaran33
      "Blood Lake" surprised me, as I wasn't expecting too much from it upon reading the text file. This is an old map that the author tweaked this year and re-released after a long hiatus from the mapping world. I was anticipating a sub-par experience, but what I ended up with was a nice, fun challenge.

      The map is medium in size, taking place in a circular area made of white rock with a lake of blood within. The concept is simple: grab the yellow key, hit some switches, try not to die, and exit. Nothing special, of course, but it does some fairly intense game play. Ammo is very tight, and while you do obtain a berserk pack, plasma rifle, chaingun, and chainsaw, they come to you one at time. Definitely get some in-fighting going, and plan to duck and cover from time to time. It's certainly no slaughter fest, and maybe the more skilled players will find UV to a be a bit on the easy side, but it still a decent experience all around, especially if you like classic-style, old school maps.

    • TOWN1 - Matt "TheBraggle" Napier
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 19109 bytes -
      Reviewed by: ReX
      This is a single-player map for Doom 2 that, the author states in his text file, "is based off of a town I went to once. It includes a warehouse and theater." It is the author's first released map.

      For being the author's first map, it doesn't look too bad, but it is rather plain. The author could have introduced some variety to the appearance by throwing in some non-90 degree angles. Texture selection is generally acceptable, with a fair variation. However, the texture alignment is somewhat sloppy, even though it doesn't show as much because of the types of textures used. The most obvious evidence of this is caused by the absence of texture unpegging on the windows near the blue key door. Also, the lower textures at the blue-key switch show the tutti-frutti effect in vanilla Doom because of the y-offset applied to the textures. Overall, though, it does give the impression of being a city-themed map, particularly because of the lane-striping on the asphalt street.

      The gameplay is relatively straightforward, with the player being required to pick up 2 keys. The map design is mostly linear, with really no options for alternative paths. Back-tracking is required, but you'll be traversing empty areas that you've previously cleared. Virtually all the resistance is cannon fodder, and you can mow them down from a safe distance with the chaingun, which you pick up near the start. To the author's credit, the map does not contain most of the over-powered weapons (and mega-bosses) occasionally found in first-time maps. It does contain a super-shotgun, which experienced Doomers will not need, the type of opposition at the exit notwithstanding. There is an excess of ammo and a fair amount of health that I was able to ignore (especially in my second run-through using Chocolate Doom). Moreover, skill levels are not implemented, meaning that you can't up the ante even if you wanted to.

      For being the author's first map, there are certainly signs of promise. However, you won't find a warehouse or a theater in this map.

    • Eternally Yours - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce)
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1405569 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Phobus
      Eternally Yours is the third and final part of the "Doom Core trilogy" - something I've now reviewed all of! Unlike the previous entries, this isn't an entire megaWAD, but instead an 11 map "episode". I consider this a good thing, as one of my main observations is the way a full 32-map set feels like a slog. Much like the other two entries, the maps are very varied and could conceivably be a collaborative effort by a range of 90s mappers. Three of these maps are rebuilds of previous creations (that I don't believe I've seen), and two of them are birthday maps (for DeathevokatioN [MAP08] and yours truly [MAP05]).

      Continuing on with the "business as usual" aspect of this review, the text file is detailed and interesting to read, and the presentation is pretty solid (no map names in the automap, otherwise it's all there - complete with a neat little ending map in MAP12). Earlier maps see a lot of sector-based furniture, particularly MAP01, which sees our old friend the giant blocky toilet (the berserk it bestows you with lead me to conclude Doomguy is constipated this time around).

      I'll get the negative out of the way now, as there's not much to say here - basically, MAP08 felt a bit big to me and MAP04 was definitely my least favourite map, with nasty traps and a skippable (short) sequence thanks to a switch that can be activated from below.

      What really got me with this map set, more so than with the previous two installments, is the sheer technical mastery on display. MAP09 sports plenty of the "3D" bridges we're used to, but it also has the very impressive 3D effect shown in screenshot 05 - I may have to check out how that's done one day, just to truly appreciate it. I've certainly not seen it done before. Having an entire secret building in MAP01 was a nice touch, and the ship at the end of MAP02 is very cool. The multiple-path junction near the end of MAP08 was also a pretty novel construct, which I enjoyed seeing. My favourite map is MAP10 though, which had fantastic music and a great, multi-themed, hub-based layout that really worked for me.

      All said, play this map set. I really enjoyed my over-two-hour playing experience, and the technical proficiency in some of the maps is a sight to behold.

    Does this /newstuff Chronicles suck? Does your wise ass think you can write better reviews than these jerkoffs? Then get over to the /newstuff Review Center and help out. I know you must have a Doomworld Forums account because you like griping about every edition in the comment thread, but if you don't, you need to get one to submit reviews.

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    Exultations to dew and Snakes for making sure SpaceDM9 and 32in24-11 have FINALLY been reviewed!

    (also, fp!)

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    Ugh, Phobus, turn off "stretch short skies" please. This is horrible.

    Also, the 3rd link in the TOWN1 review is incorrect: it shows me map01 from 32in24-11.

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    Memfis said:

    Ugh, Phobus, turn off "stretch short skies" please. This is horrible.

    Doesn't bother me! :P If you don't like my screenshots (or think you can do better than this jerkoff), review more .WADs and take your own ;)

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    Space DM 9 is really making Essel show his worth as an environmental designer. Possibly the best one (for bases) that Doom has seen (Sorry Mek, maybe I'll change my mind about that after playing your WAD with all those massive maps in it, looks very interesting). I'm not as convinced by the game play of these maps however. But anyone reading should take that with a fist of salt, as I've only run around the maps in SP so far and that's not enough to learn the ins and outs of any map, especially not a Deathmatch map.

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    Memfis said:

    Wow, really? But you get worse texture quality and see only part of the sky!

    It's worth noting that I do make heavy use of vertical mouselook, so I generally do see all of the sky in any map that makes any real use of the z axis.

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    Every time I see that SpaceDM9 map, it baffles me. Really spectacular stuff.

    I've tried all of the 'big' releases for this edition of /newstuff (SpacDM9, 32in24-11, and Eternally Yours), save for Wonderland, but I may give a couple of the others a whirl. Hells Hole certainly looks solid for a second map.

    Thanks for keeping the /newstuff Chornicles rolling these past couple of months, Phobus :)

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    This edition of NSC took AGES to come out. I thought new reviews were posted every 10 days, or did I read it wrong?

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    valhallaist said:

    This edition of NSC took AGES to come out. I thought new reviews were posted every 10 days, or did I read it wrong?

    They're posted whenever there are enough to post. More reviews, more frequent posts of the chronicles.

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    Space DM 9 is absolutely insane. I would use map 3 as a marker as to how far the Doom engine has come along since it's source release. Brilliant.

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    Snakes said:

    I've tried all of the 'big' releases for this edition of /newstuff (SpacDM9, 32in24-11, and Eternally Yours), save for Wonderland, but I may give a couple of the others a whirl. Hells Hole certainly looks solid for a second map.

    Thanks for keeping the /newstuff Chornicles rolling these past couple of months, Phobus :)

    Cheers :)

    I'd give Surge a go if you want to cover the "big" releases from this /newstuff Chronicles, although it probably would benefit from being complete.

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    Derp. Forgot about Surge, but I have played that as well. Gave it a go just after Joshy released it. Simple, fun stuff, though as Joshy and dew will to you, Map01 sucks :P

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    Ha, I appreciate the reviews Phobus and I'm honored to be classified as a veteran mapper now. I've been releasing maps for a year now, but I think I have come a long ways since my first level (Fight On) in terms of game play and level design. Still, I'm disappointed that my maps are still hounded by bugs from my "sloppy" habits (mainly rushing to get the damn thing finished and out as soon as possible!).

    Anyways, I've started expanding the level count and streamlining v2.0 of Wonderland. I was not at all surprised by your bad (in some cases bitter) and good reactions to it. I'll take your remarks to heart for the update since I've noticed its gotten a couple votes for the cacoaward this year.

    I've played Surge. Awesome set of levels. Sucks that author has retired from mapping (last I read).

    DM sets look intense from what I can see in the pics! Unfortunately, I don't DM as much as I should these days...

    Great job on reviews everyone. Keep them coming!

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