HexQuak5 for HEXEN Final 5.0 - Yvon Lariviere
Hexen - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1415481 bytes -
Reviewed by: C30N9
HexQuak5 brings you 4 maps designed for Hexen. The authors were right at the beginning by saying: "Welcome to the beautiful and magical world of HexQuak"; it is beautiful. The detailing is a lot better than Hexen's original maps. There is good usage of ACS scripting, though not all. There are walls mistaken for doors, you use them and you die. Also, there are harmful, hard to dodge moving walls if you touch them. Forgot to mention, the maps use the same hub system as Hexen does. The maps also are kind of non-linear, and the layout flow will definitely puzzle you the way Hexen did. Also some nice new textures are included.
I was charmed by the beauty at first, but the boring gameplay disappointed me. There are nearly no monsters in each map (except MAP04); at least 1-3 minutes pass before I encounter another monster. They are put mostly in traps. And nearly always there was mana all around, it's like I always held full ammo of both types. It took me 10 boring minutes in MAP01 waiting for more monsters to come out (and also had no idea where to go).
If you are into these things (wandering around and searching for your way), you can play this. But if you like lots of action and fighting, you won't find it much here.
Spear of Destiny - Return to Danger & The Ultimate Challenge For Edge Sourceport - Raphael "Caleb26"
Doom 2 - EDGE - Solo Play - 41874049 bytes -
Reviewed by: ArmouredBlood
First thing to note, you need to use both .pk3 files to get it to work. Otherwise there are no monsters, or you can play Doom 2 with Wolfenstein enemies. Fun. Second thing is that I haven't played Wolf 3D, so this is going to be a "faithfulness to what YouTube videos I've seen of Wolf 3D review," as well as my take on how worthy of your time it is.
That out of the way, this is a Total Conversion of the Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny Mission Packs, Return to Danger, and The Ultimate Challenge. What a mouthful. So how does it play? Like Wolf 3D, with a couple Doom engine-specific mechanics that make it not quite like it should be. The player sprite takes up a small amount of space, such that I could get stuck in doors quite often compared to how large the Wolf 3D sprite looks to be, and prone to getting stuck on other sprites. The AI also seems slightly more aggressive. This forces a lot of doorway shooting, which looks to be normal for Wolf 3D. EDGE doesn't seem to support polyobjects, so sliding doors and secret retreating walls in Wold 3D are now vertical doors/ceilings raising, which can be somewhat weird. Treasures are in the map, and the health items are food as in the original, as well as silver and gold keys.
So what does this TC add? HD sprites, slightly better textures (YouTube quality isn't always good so maybe not), and a pretty nice soundtrack of cover music with no origin. The ability to play these mission packs without DOSbox or DOS itself is also nice. However touching up the game doesn't change the gameplay, and if you don't like corridor shooters, this will not keep you interested.
In conclusion, this TC is a decent addition to whatever EDGE-specific TCs there are out there, but in the end is a TC, not a new game, and a TC of a game preceding Doom at that. Download this to appreciate Raphael's HD sprite work or revisit some nostalgia, but I won't be playing this again.
Interception - The Interceptors
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 4030011 bytes -
Reviewed by: Marrub
"This megawad contains 32 levels of pain, action, and raw fear; all of which is co-op and DM compatible! With killer atmosphere and an incredible score by XenoNemisis and stewboy, Interception takes things back to basics."
Well, yeah. It's a megawad, and it's definitely painful. In both a good way and a bad way. I started playing this under the impression that it was going to be a simple, vanilla megawad like HR and the sorts... though I was wrong. This megawad is special in a strange way. Some parts of it look quite amazing (especially for vanilla compatibility), though other parts look... not so good.
For instance, there's a giant room with a bunch of detail and sliding windows à la The Focus, and then there's a giant outdoor area with ugly and somewhat misaligned textures with a one-way staircase that you can't even properly see down. I know this was by various authors but this occurs on the same maps, not just on different maps! And the atmosphere is almost non-existent, even though it's supposed to have loads. It's really a mixed bag, with a majority of the maps looking nice. It's kind of odd.
The monster usages are comparable; for example, I noticed that shotgunners+zombiemen to cacos to revenants to knights was actually a prominent layout in earlier levels. The same sort of layout goes on for a few levels and then changes.
Another thing is that I never really found myself running dry on ammo or low on health as there are a bunch of ammo piles and medikits everywhere, basically trivializing most of the game even on UV. I guess this isn't a bad thing but I even found Doom 2 harder in comparison! (Take note that this megawad is supposed to be hard.)
A good thing about this wad, however, is the music -- the music is pretty astonishing, and I think it's what kept me playing. Oh, and the Icon of Sin fight was pretty darn good. Yeah.
I'm sorry for bashing this wad so much, it's just not my kind of wad, though I'd definitely say that it isn't bad. It just isn't ready for joining the ranks of wads like Memento Mori and HR.
Dark Tartarus version 2 - lihanchi
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 36782053 bytes -
Reviewed by: ArmouredBlood
Ready for some speedrunning? That's pretty much what this megawad of ultra-tough (on the highest difficulty - lower difficulties are progressively more nerfed) maps set to a trance soundtrack is. There are some cool concept maps later on, but the focus is on managing the horde of monsters who want to mar your manly face. So how well does this megawad play?
BEFORE YOU PLAY: Set your gamma higher. Like 1.5+ high. lihanchi's light levels cover the whole spectrum, and will make it impossible to see where you're going at the default on some maps, for example 29. Parts of that are pretty much 32 brightness.
There is nothing quite like killing a town's worth of monsters, but achieving that satisfaction can vary a lot in how you do it, and how long it takes. Dark Tartarus has the kill count down, but many of the maps have large arenas with very little to do in them besides strafe, kill monsters, and pray to the flying spaghetti monster (or your personal deity) there's some cover you can cower behind the hordes of archviles that will periodically be unleashed on you. AKA every third map on Ultraviolence and possibly other difficulties - my god mode run was only on UV, and I only did the first map without it, though there definitely is a difference in monster count for ITYTD, HMP, and UV.
What's that? I didn't actually play the maps because of god mode? Not really. An essential part of speedrunning is knowing the map, and besides coop or mods like Russian Overkill there really isn't a way to play these maps without tons of trial and error. You could play on the lower difficulty levels, and in fact I'd recommend it if you just want to see the concept maps or to see some of the detailing in certain maps, but there will be certain fights that will just not feel right without every monster on UV.
So you noticed I mentioned detailing, and how you might be interested in it. Well the first map is a good indicator of how lohanchi has carved his maps out of the void; there are plenty of areas of immaculate detailing, such as the giant crane thing on the ceiling, the rocky transition in the eastern key room, or the deep gradient in light levels in much of the map. However the Archvile ledges and the two brain switch alcoves look tacky in comparison, as well as some of the ways he builds doors and techbase corridors. Functional, and sort of ugly. It reminds me of how I have to build maps detail before thing placement, or else it'll look bad. Well, worse than usual.
There's one more thing to keep in mind with megawads - the order of maps. I think lohanchi has done a pretty good job ordering them by difficulty as well as how much of a concept the map is. Each of the first 10 is a solid slaughter, with the late teens and early twenties getting into concepts, and moving into the serious slaughters in the last few. I managed to hit 31, which wasn't too unexpected, but could've used less barons or hell knights instead of barons on UV. I didn't get to 32, so have fun with whatever it is.
So final thoughts! Don't play this if you prefer classic Doom or even Plutonia style of play, but you might be interested in some of the concept maps like Contra or Charge of the BFG if you do more casual coop Skulltag/Zandronum stuff. Definitely give it a try if you like slaughter, and the music, while not to my taste or really Doomy, is a decent mood setter for speedrunning. If you like the Russian Overkill mod, this is another map that goes well with it. Just be careful of some of the tighter corridors in the early maps. And don't forget to change your gamma!
Where The Base Has No Name - Matt "cannonball" Powell
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 159048 bytes -
Reviewed by: C30N9
Where The Base Has No Name is a birthday wad for Larzuk, who is a playtester for the author's megawad. There's only one map included with one custom music track, and nothing else.
The map is good looking, and it has some great action here and there. There seems to be some non-linearity. It has some evil traps; however (but not always), you'll be packed up with rockets to clear the baddies. I noticed that the author always used auto-alignment despite the texture's name. For example, there are bad alignments for METAL2 and the green tech textures. These textures should be aligned manually to make them look realistic. Also, some areas are bright without having light sources to make them bright. Some light source things should be added not just for this reason, but also for decoration. And why not add corpses around? They'll make the map look not so empty.
Anyways, you've got enough space to roam around, and you've got several choices to make. The author placed the Archviles in very mean places, but you've got a mind to solve the problems. I thought I was done with those Archviles that guarded the yellow key, but DAMN IT! There they are again.
I can say 2 things from this map:
1: Larzuk got a nice gift for his birthday.
2: We can see that a good megawad is coming from cannonball.
You're still reading? Download the map!
Pesha - dobugabumaru
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 538799 bytes -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
"Pesha" is a set of three maps (in the MAP28-MAP30 slots), loosely set around a storyline of sorts. All the levels are on the short side and don't have very detailed visuals, though that's understandable since the set was made for a contest in just under 24 hours.
The first map, "Galut", is just some eyecandy for atmosphere's sake and doesn't even feature any monsters till the very end. It's not even half bad looking (apart from the awkward attempts at implementing "realistic" areas, such as what looks like a bathroom), but it feels a bit pointless.
Map29, "Migdal Bavel", begins with some more nice outdoor scenery before dumping you into some underground battles. The cramped and dark cave passages aren't much fun to fight in, but thankfully the gameplay picks up a bit later on. The visual design is rather good throughout the entire map. (Incidentally, it's possible to skip one of the fights entirely because the bars you're not supposed to open until after the battle are widely spaced enough for you to pass through; I'm not sure if this was intentional. If you're quick on your feet, you can also skip the final battle entirely and just go straight to the exit.)
Map30, "Tehom", has some really damn brutal spots if you're playing on UV, as well as a battle in the blue key room which is based around a very annoying gimmick. If you persist, though, you're rewarded with a final Icon of Sin battle which is handled way differently from the usual way, and it proves to be surprisingly fun and fresh.
Overall, this is a good if somewhat uneven set (but hey, 24 hours), with the interesting parts managing to outweigh the less perfect ones.
Omegalore's First Wad - Omegalore
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 133043 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Ahh, a mapper's first wad... It's never a bad thing to find new and upcoming mappers opening up Doom Builder for their first time. With that being said, Omegalore has graced us with his first wad, titled all-so appropriately as "Omegalore's First Wad". Playing the role of a veteran UAC Marine, their soldier's precious vacation is abruptly cut short by the Icon of Sin, having settled into its new hideout in a little techbase-gone-hell cavern. Omegalore's chivalrous effort has produced this medium sized single player map with a large variety of styles. It's an erratically random piece, so to say. The player is immediately gifted with the SSG, and is sent into the fray. Let's start with the aesthetics portion of the map.
The visual design is peculiar at best. There are texture misalignments everywhere, as made apparent with anything that juts out from ceiling. Techbase textures awkwardly fluctuate into hell designs, and most rooms are large and orthogonal. Walls that aren't fixated at 90 degrees can probably stab the marine to death. Many walls consist of stretched textures that cover one wall too many. The amount of detailing also varies greatly depending on the area. Some areas have columns and thing decoration, while some are borderline barren. There's also a thing, well, about thing usage. Props like gore and trees are good for decoration, and can help immensely in exerting atmosphere. However, hundreds of dead marines surrounding a cyberdemon and about 20 monsters is plain ridiculous.
The layout is pretty general, though that doesn't mean there isn't any room for errors. Rooms distinctly transition, always clean-cut with a door, lift, or teleport, and virtually zero backtracking is required (aside from yellow key room). Aside from the layout quirks or design flaws, there are still many improvements to be made. In one of the star-shaped brick rooms, a voodoo doll of the marine stands idly in the corner for no good reason. Another example is of proper "preparation" for the final boss fight: several hospitals' worth of medikits and boatloads of ammunition, with no method of return retrieval. In the arachnotron room (disclaimer: tested with ZDoom), there are four random pits that are inescapable and lethal. The icing on the cake comes with the final "stage" of the map. In the room with the second set of Icon of Sin eyes (what a stalker, I mean, watching you from the yellow key room), a broken IOS mechanism is connected a Wolfenstein-esque room lined with explosive barrels and some SS Nazis. However, it all ends with the last switch: the exit is a Romero-head.
For the ups of the map, there are (again), many styles are varieties that would work well if modified a bit. The detailing in the first two rooms are decent, as well as standalone hell/brick rooms. The cyberdemon arena also tries to throw in some interesting ideas of a large lava cavern (though somewhat fails due to massive thing usage). I would suggest attempting more coherent designing ideas, and working on a flowing map layout.
Despite this seemingly overly negative review, I genuinely hope for this mapper to continue with their venture into the realm of Doom modding. The best method, in my opinion, is to receive strict and strong criticism to help pick out errors, rather than sugarcoating it. Praise isn't bad, but that alone will get mappers nowhere. To sum up, it's a beginner wad that can be skipped over, but is a foothold for future mods.
Realm Of Demonology (Updated version) - Demonologist
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 5641255 bytes
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
This is the same as the original upload, except with some minor changes. From the text file, gameplay changes were made to MAP03, and a linedef change in MAP06.
GibCity - Patrick Smith
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 481666 bytes -
Reviewed by: Memfis
Prepare your lump editors folks, it's a 90s wad with new sounds! Maybe not all of them are terrible and hilariously unfitting, but even the decent ones don't add anything to the game and will only distract you, so better just delete them.
With that said, GibCity is a long and very linear map. You start in a room with three locked doors and one normal door. You open that door, find the yellow key, open the yellow door, find the red key and so on. For its time, this level was quite a challenge, with many tricky encounters in cramped areas, four boss fights and tight ammo balance. For a modern player it shouldn't be too hard, just enjoyable.
If you're into Doom archeology, check it out, just don't expect any eye candy. This wad's design is very bare, with most details existing solely for gameplay purposes.
City Assault - Sergeant_Mark_IV
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3702670 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
City Assault is a medium sized single player map by Sergeant Mark IV. It is designed around a rescue mission where the player's convoy is ambushed and their mission promptly halted. The protagonist is sent by himself to aid the other marines pinned down on the other side of the city.
I did not like this map.
Though City Assault is a solid map that delivers an interesting experience with its combination of traditional Doom 2 textures into modern architecture, I feel that Mark does not do enough to provide a fresh experience. Most of the thing decorations littered around the map are rehashed from previous projects, and good amounts of the realistic detailing (e.g. cars) can be arguably stated as copy-pasted material. This is combined with lackluster firefights across the streets or their stale counterpart in the apartments, and an ultimately dull "final battle" which collectively ruin my experience with this map. Not to say I'm judging purely on detailing, but this map just did not pique my interest.
The layout itself, due to its mimicry of a city, yields boring battles. Monsters that roam the long rectangular streets can either be easily dodged or extremely annoying with hitscans, and other fights in the apartment complexes are cramped and easy with all the obstructions. For example, threats such as the mancubuses after the blue-key apartments can be dealt with safely from the comfort of the buildings. These pointless encounters eventually lead up to the grand finale of the map: a lone, harmless cyberdemon pokes at you with a stick from across the bridge. There is ample space for dodging alongside large amounts of cover, and only minor distractions hinder the player. (Trees can take the rocket shots for you.) Since protecting the marines (as per the original objective) is not mandatory, you can make a clean escape by your lonesome self at end the level.
As mentioned before, many of the thing decorations were taken from previous maps, and then spammed on Doom Builder. Even still there are clashing styles that conflict each other. The lamps and garbage bags utilize an entirely different art style from the newspaper or rubbish heaps. There are a few texture misalignments here and there around the map, though they do not detract from the gameplay. There is also a bug where the player can escape the map by first jumping on a dumpster in the starting area and then over the fence.
Not to say that this wad was a complete and utter failure, as this wad does have its redeeming features. The design of the buildings, albeit too realistically cramped, are consistent and interesting. I commend Mark for the interesting balcony jumping section, and creative integration of oldschool Doom 2 textures into a pleasing design of a city, as well as the hilariously useless ally marines. I'd recommend playing through to kill time, but if you've romped through Mark's other works, I can say that you won't be missing much if you skipped over this.
Computer Deathmatch 2.0 - Sal Vinces (The Immortal); Simon Howard (fraggle)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - SP/DM - 81802 bytes -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
An improved version of "Computer Deathmatch 1.6", an old, 1995 (?) mod which attempted to introduce deathmatch bots into Doom. Version 2.0, apart from fixing some bugs and making the mod more straightforward to run, also includes some maps from FreeDM to substitute for the modified maps originally distributed with version 1.6.
This is basically a nice little bit of Doom history trivia. The "bots" are simply monsters modified with DeHackEd, but they do a surprisingly adequate job of passing for human players; the most grating quirk is probably the way they fall back asleep when you die, allowing you to sneak up on them easily once you respawn. The mod is kinda fun to play with for a bit, though the novelty will probably wear off quickly.
Meep Keep, level one - Zan-zan-zawa-veia
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 75647 bytes -
Reviewed by: C30N9
Never heard of the author before, but it seems to me he/she is a new mapper. Meep Keep is a cute little map. I really liked the layout, and the map wasn't bad at all. It was nicely detailed, full of traps and it had a bizarre (but good) music track. My favorite part was the berserk fight.
The map lacks so much ammo at UV and some fights are unfair (you are thrown to fight 2 Barons with a shotgun). I cheated a little to get shells.
Hopefully level two will be better.
Back To Hell Episode 1 Beta 0.75 - Tomi Rajala & Timo Kuosku
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 560038 bytes -
Reviewed by: ArmouredBlood
The year is 1999. Two guys who play Doom have been making a couple maps for Doom 2 and decide to upload their map to a site. Their project is found and reviewed by a guy on Doom Underground, which sparks the interest of another guy. That guy contacts the authors, and gets their latest beta. Years go by, and the authors disappear. The guy tries to contact them, but no response - Compuserve has gone by the wayside and the authors have moved on. In order to preserve older works, the guy uploads the beta to /idgames, and now here I am reviewing it. That's what I think happened, but maybe Tomi is around somewhere and Graham offered to upload the wad since Tomi had no time for it.
Back to Hell Episode 1 Beta .75 is a nine map set of Plutonia-influenced vanilla Doom 2 maps, with a resource wad that includes a couple of Plutonia's textures. The music is pulled from various IWADs and a couple mapsets from the time, so the feel is classic Doom. The first few maps are relatively close to Plutonia-difficulty early maps, but gimped by some haphazard monster placement. There are some homages to the IWADs and some other mapsets of the time, but Tomi had his own style that shows through in these. Map 5 is where it gets a bit tougher, my first death, and saves. Nothing too bad, just, watch where you're going in that map. The SSG is hard to see and is just one example of some 1999 design flaws that happened then, and to newer maps throughout time.
Map 7 however, is bugged with tag 667, using a texture that (in prboom+, this might not affect vanilla or ZDoom) pushes a stair sector too high and cuts off the exit. Luckily this is right near the end of the map and doesn't really affect the gameplay. Map08 is really, I mean really, similar to a map in Knee deep in the dead that I can't name off the top of my head, but has a couple unique rooms that set it apart, while also wrecking whatever theme the map had. And then there's Map09, which appears like Tomi just got a hold of HR and wanted to experiment in that direction. Key word is "experiment". Good luck trying the beginning of this one. I had one attempt where I actually made it inside the second room, but I soon got cornered by a hell knight and baron. The rest of the map goes back to the Plutonia style of hard though, so maybe the beginning was made last.
That brings me to my conclusion of this mapset; by 1999 standards, this was going to be great. The first seven maps were pretty solid, maybe a little narrow in places and could use a more cohesive theme, but a good challenge on UV while not being overwhelming. Then the unpolished map 9 of the beta, as well as the curve ball in difficulty in 8, shows up, and I get the feeling HR changed Tomi's interest such that he didn't want to finish it. That or someone tacked on 8 and 9, since Doom Underground's review only covers 7 maps. Perhaps these maps were meant for much later in the mapset than their number implies. Despite this, I'd argue the maps are worth playing, since it gives insight on what people in 1999 thought HR style gameplay is like.
Water Treatment Plant - mrthejoshmon
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 41190 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Water Treatment Plant is mrthejoshmon's first attempt at vanilla mapping. The map itself looks all right as nothing's particularly out of place and it's easy on the eyes. The layout works well in being a simple key retrieval quest. My only complaints lie with the long blue key corridors, where the monsters that populate the hallways block the player from maneuvering well due to their narrow width (think slightly larger than 64px).
Other than that... not much to say. This map can be skipped over knowing you haven't missed much, but it doesn't hurt to kill a few minutes of time.
Lost Sanctum - EANB
Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 137879 bytes -
Reviewed by: Megalyth
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Lost Sanctum is a beautifully crafted map with a solid challenge factor. Do not let your Doom-jaded hubris misguide you, as it did me. I know there are those among us that could do it, but notwithstanding, I dare you to survive this map on your first attempt. LMPs or it didn't happen.
Anyway, a bit of details.
The visuals are based mostly on Thy Flesh Consumed with flavors of Inferno, and it's a great mix. The author combines red and green, marble and blood, fire and metal, flesh and rock, all in a classic package with modern design standards. Try not to let the design distract you too much though...
As for the game-play, it is brutal and unforgiving. Don't be fooled by the relatively easy opening fights; this map will kick your ass up one wall and across the ceiling if you're not on your guard at all times. Once you descend into the innards, there are several options for approach, but none are easy. Choose your steps wisely.
As a mediocre Doomer at best, I highly recommend this map for the excellent challenge and design, and its modern take on classic game-play.
Zmatch 2013 - Doomkid (aka Faceplant92)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Deathmatch - 562639 bytes -
Reviewed by: C30N9
Zmatch 2013 contains 10 maps for DM, Duel or LMS, so play it with Skulltag or Zandronum. All maps are detailed well and non-linear. There are new sounds included, but I didn't give any attention to them. By the way, why did you add monsters? These are supposed to be deathmatch maps.
MAP01 - Z-Match Arena
Nice small non-linear map, but ammo needs to be scattered more. I mean there's an area that contains a shotgun with a shell box, while others don't have a shellbox.
MAP02 - Technobase
A bigger one. This one does a better job at ammo and weapon scattering, and it was great to add a hidden way to get the BFG.
MAP03 - Tavern
A small flat one. Didn't really like it. Pass.
MAP04 - Darken
Even though this map suffers from similarity, I liked it. It was a great touch to add the requirement to jump in order to get strong weapons. Everything looks good here. My only complaint is that it's easy to get the BFG.
MAP05 - Circle of Blood
A tiny circle. I guess if deathmatchers played this lots of blood and frags will be there, since it's very easy to see each other.
MAP06 - UAC Rebellion
2 flat corridors with columns in the middle. One edge has a plasma gun, and the other one is the exit. The player also could hide behind some metal bars while accessing the BFG secret.
MAP07 - Command Hanger
Now that's a deathmatch map. Lots of non-linearity and great detail.
MAP08 - Greenmatch
Pretty much the same as MAP07.
MAP09 - Battle Center
A boring map. Non-linearity is missing here.
MAP10 - Last Man Standing
The best one of all. This map is enormous so lots of running is needed here, oh and it's good looking too. This map ideally fits a large deathmatch. There are lots of hiding places.
Overall, a very good mapset, I'd recommend playing 01 + 02 + 04 + 07 + 08 for small deathmatches, and 10 for a large deathmatch. Don't forget to use -nomonsters.
The /newstuff Chronicles #431