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    The /newstuff Chronicles #441


    • Simplistic Evil - Flesh420
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 7049882 bytes -
      Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
      Simplistic Evil is a 5-map ZDoom minisode for Doom 2. This time around our silly hero got stranded on Pluto's moon Chi (a moon I never heard of), under the presumption that it would have been a nice vacation spot. It's obvious which forces show up to ruin the party, but this time there are a few (somewhat) new faces to murderize.

      The mapset blends oldschool layouts and gameplay with Realm667 monsters in a way that works surprisingly well. The levels follow a style reminiscent of Doom's original maps, in that they focus less on visuals than they do in forming interesting layouts for the player to navigate. I occasionally managed to get lost, but the small-to-moderate size of the maps made it easy to retrace my steps. Gameplay is pretty engaging, with monsters surrounding the player at almost all times during progression. Most of the opposition consists of the game's original cast, but occasionally one of the new monsters is thrown at the player, forcing them to learn new combat habits on the spot (that is if they haven't already played a hundred ZDoom maps using Beastiary monsters). The author made minimal use of the new monsters, which provided an interesting experience: blasting the original monsters that came from all sides kept me awake, but not knowing if I would face a new baddie around the corner kept me guessing what to expect next.

      My only complaints would be that for the first two maps and most of the third, the player will be stuck with only the shotgun as the strongest weapon to fend with, and that the PSX music used in the title and intermission screens doesn't mesh too well with the midi music in the maps. Overall however, its a satisfying short romp, and I recommend trying it out.

    • Fleisch - DooMWaR
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 435236 bytes -
      Reviewed by: MajorRawne
      In the long and distinguished line of Doom super-maps, every so often something comes along that makes our hair stand on end. Many maps do this by creating tension, excitement and a sense of awe. A few, like Flesich.wad, do it by generating the "getting a cat into a bath" response. Sorry DooMWar, this didn't do it for me at all.

      Well, the reviews on the archives all give the thumbs up, so maybe it's just me being hyper-critical again. Or maybe anonymous reviews are as trustworthy as the electrics in a Peugeot.

      DooMWar made twenty attempts at putting a map together. His twenty-first effort is a 1994-style techbase which takes almost no inspiration from modern Doom whatsoever, resulting in a relatively linear map which still manages to be a switch hunt. The use of textures isn't massively consistent, each new area seeming different from what came before. It looks like an Ultimate Doom map with a few Doom 2 monsters stuck in - including, unfortunately, the Nazis, since it's long been established that nothing shrieks quality more than a crossover with Wolfenstein. In fairness, the monsters and weapons are kind of spoon-fed to the player, and this along with the change in theme lends a sense of progression. This is vital, since the map takes so long to get through that my toenails were visibly protruding through my socks when I finally reached the exit. Make sure your diary is clear before playing this one.

      There's plenty of ammo and health, and you won't really be pushed hard on UV apart from a couple of annoying Pinky battles. There's a fight against four penned-in Barons using your shotgun and chaingun that nearly made my teeth fall out. Those should have been Knights or the player should have a super shotty.

      Many of the sounds have been replaced with low-quality samples from PSX Doom (yay!) and Quake or Duke Nukem (it's been that long since playing those games I can't remember), and there are no credits in the text file.

      Map 2 drops a bollock straight away by turning the start area into a simple maze. This in no way prepares you for the horror to come: the initially hell-themed map turns into a Wolfenstein door maze where some doors won't open. Those of you who play Doom to run down blank corridors opening doors are going to love it. When you finally find a room it's sometimes a dead end with trees growing indoors, apparently sustained by the power of national socialism. Providing coherent feedback on this map is beyond me because... well... it's a door maze, there probably isn't a way to improve that, short of binning it off and doing something else, for example checking Doom's "Containment Area" which provides a simple maze without causing the player's testicles to retract into his hips.

      There is room for improvement in map 1: many fewer switches, a shorter journey time, visual improvements based on what 99% of other mappers are doing these days, and perhaps a redesign to make the map less linear, in which case a consistent texture theme would need to be followed. As for map 2, say ten Hail Marys and never release anything like it again.

      The time it takes to play through these two maps could be spent playing through Brotherhood of Ruin: The Lost Temple. Very harsh, but hopefully DooMWar can use it for inspiration so his next release will be more competitive... and without Nazis.

    • Dragon Lich Demo - Doug Rasmusen
      Hexen - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1999 bytes
      Reviewed by: kmxexii
      A comedy of errors. Doug wants to demonstrate the "dragon lich", presumably a brand new enemy for use in Hexen levels, and apparently supposed to work in vanilla (but comments on /idgames says it crashes HEXEN.EXE). After loading it up I was treated to a bland rocky crater (not worthy of a screenshot) serving as an arena for a Death Wyvern fight. After cracking it open in SLADE3, all I found was the map - nothing to indicate that code for a new monster had been added. On opening it up in Doom Builder 2, I discovered that the death wyvern's name in the editor is apparently "dragon lich". I'm really not sure what Rasmusen intended with this upload, but as far as I can tell, it is entirely worthless.

    • fastlane250 vs the roblox admins: the final battle - chesse20
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 9498801 bytes
      Reviewed by: Rampage470
      Oh boy, where to start. You start up in a mediocre room with a bunch of super shotgunners that are reskinned to look like this 'fastlane250' guy. Apparently, you are an administrator on the Roblox forums, out to kill him due to his use of alts to throw the forums into chaos. Or something. There is a staircase that is designed in such a way that you get stuck about half way up it and have to jump. After clearing out the room, you go over to a spot in the wall that you open by pressing switches. Seems reasonable enough. However, the switches make no noise when you hit them and their texture doesn't change, so for a while it seemed like the door was opened by just running around at random. After that opens, there's an incredibly drab hallway where you kill a few more of them. Then there's a brick room with pointless walls in it with about five more that you have to kill. Then you run over to a large door, which triggers the level end. The text you get after beating Map06 pops up for no reason, then switches to the Doom 2 cast list.

      So, unless you want to play a broken, ugly wad with the only redeeming factor being the music, leave this one in the murky backwaters of the Internet from whence it came.

    • Brotherhood of Ruin: The Lost Temple - Kristian Aro
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 4893382 bytes -
      Reviewed by: MajorRawne
      Many hundreds of years ago, before Britain invented baseball, an adventurous Doomer named Kristian Aro created a series of levels known collectively as the Brotherhood of Ruin. Unlike baseball, ruinbros.wad was not torn cruelly from the grasp of its creator. In fact, the wad was so successful most members of the Doom Community invited Aro to sleep with their sisters.

      Was Aro to resist the temptation of five thousand pairs of boobies, or would he fulfill his destiny by bringing a ruinbros sequel to his eager fans? Well Brotherhood of Ruin: The Lost Temple has taken ten years to hit the archives, so I guess he got some shagging done. Has it been worth the wait? Let's put it this way: I hope your sisters are ready for the mapping typhoon we call Kristian Aro, because he's struck mapping gold once again.

      We need to get something out of the way. The first thing you'll think about when you load this map (there's only one new map in this wad) is Mishri Halek. Can there be a finer compliment for a map like this? Just like the revered and sadly missed Kim Malde, Kristian Aro entered the flow state and build an architectural masterpiece that will make people go "ooh!" ten years hence. This is what Alien Vendetta would look like if it had been made today. (Yeah, another bit of free advertising for AV.)

      The two maps just mentioned share a lot in common. They represent an ADVENTURE (in capital letters no less). They create a sense of location. Not all Doom maps manage to do this, constrained as they are by Romero's Law which states that a map layout must NOT resemble anything other than the doodles of a madman. Who are we to argue with the great god Romero? He created a legend. But Aro, as Malde did before him, shows us what Doom can do when the right hands, the right brain and the right heart are unleashed without such a restriction.

      There are many new textures used which give a strong sense that you're in an ancient temple of possible non-human origin. It's like a Doom version of Indiana Jones with a sense of exploration and adventure. Variable light levels and some clever use of torch light keep your eyes engaged, and there are plenty of glimpses of distant parts of the map. Keep your chaingun loaded.

      The map layout might seem confusing due to its large size and the requirement for backtracking, but I didn't get lost, even though there is a degree of non-linearity to the gameplay, so most players will be able to get through it. In this respect, the map outshines Mishri Halek, and the play time is considerably shorter here: no climbing mountains. In another respect, you may find yourself on a switch hunt, and one of the switch textures is rather hard to distinguish from the background, but it's only used a couple of times. The visual theme is somewhat like a matured version of the original ruinbros and will please long-term fans. This map also retains the original's excellent titlepic.

      There are some ZDoom specific features such as slopes and lava that you really don't want to land in. None of these are used gratuitously and nearly always enhance the atmosphere. The only clanger is dropped in the Cyberdemon courtyard where you cannot climb over the rock outcrops; it feels unnatural in this map.

      Speaking of monsters, you will need to be careful with your ammo at some points. The map can border on survival horror. There are two Bestiary monsters here, and one of them will cause you to foul yourself when it uses its special attack. As with most Bestiary creatures they possess multiple, devastating attacks and take a shitload of hammer, so watch your plasma. Ammo might be a concern right at the end. Monsters are used well in this map and the bosses did not feel overpowered, but there are a number of times where monsters have to run down long corridors to get you and they end up banging into one another. Explosives experts will become aroused.

      Finally, there are several new music tracks, including a replacement for the map 31 track. There might be a queue of people wanting to use these for their own maps.

      TL;DR - beautiful, memorable, tight on ammo, Indiana Jones, get it played!

    • sht04.wad - Ray "shitbag" Schmitz
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 162476 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Zed
      First of all, apparently this map was done for a community project, which is why it plays on MAP04.

      Having said that, this is a pretty cool map, medium-sized, mostly with Doom 1 monsters, the only exceptions being Chaingunners and a couple of Hell Knights and Revenants. It's not really hard, but the abundance of hitscanners makes it somehow difficult. I had some trouble trying to get past the first five or seven rooms in my first attempts, but that's probably because I was trying to speedrun, which is probably not a good idea in an unknown map full of zombies. There are also some traps, which may become predictable once you play through them a couple of times, but still fun. There are also seven secrets. I found just three of them, and they were quite easy/obvious, but the rest are not, or at least they weren't for me.

      I didn't find any obvious flaws, like misaligned textures or HOMs, but the level itself is quite strange, I'm not sure why. Also, some of the traps are "visible" on the automap, so they aren't that "unpredictable" if you pay attention.

      So, to sum it up, this is a pretty cool map by "shitbag"; not brilliant, but it gets the job done. Download it now for 10-20 minutes of fun. It's totally worth it.

    • Perfected Hatred - Pedro Arturo G√≥mez Blanco (pagb666)
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 117306 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Megalyth
      Marking the return of pagb666 after a seven-year mapping hiatus, we have an E4M1 replacement in the general theme of Thy Flesh Consumed.

      Obvious inspiration from various E4 maps is prevalent, yet is arranged in interesting ways with different approaches and melded with original areas. Overall design can be summarized as such: re-imagined staple areas and set-pieces of E4M2, E4M3, and E4M6 (with some new tricks) combined with the scope and scale of the larger and more vertical Doom 2 maps, such as map24 and map29. Detail and texture use is simple but effective, and the architecture is large and imposing.

      UV gameplay was a little on the easy side for most of the map despite the high monster count, but it was still fun in an old-school way, cranking shell after shell into crowds of imps and demons. Some areas can still get pretty rough though, and much of the combat takes place in tight areas or on platforms above lakes of boiling blood, so don't get too comfortable.

      If you're game for some straight-up Doom action, give this map a run.

      Side note: The archive is missing the accompanying text file.

    • Undesired Reality - The_trigger
      Ultimate Doom - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6209181 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Zalewa
      TL;DR: Excellent visuals, rather average gameplay and low difficulty level. Takes about an hour to complete.

      This is a ZDoom WAD, and as a proper ZDoom WAD it uses ZDoom gimmicks. We have slopes, room over room with silent teleporters, deep water, ACS, spawning monsters, custom monsters, and so on. Usually, the author uses most of them in appropriate manner where they don't bother the player and actually add to the architecture. My only gripe are the pools of deep water where you have to dive in in order to complete the level. These pools use a red sector coloring which makes everything very difficult to see, at least in OpenGL. Software is a bit better, but underwater areas are still very dark.

      Custom monsters are usually imp variants and come from Realm667. They're okay for the most part, but that black imp ghost that makes pose like it's shitting in the forest (screen 11) is overused in all WADs and I hate it. There are some other ridiculous situations where a chaingun-pinky or a very thin imp-like thing don't die after being shot with SSG from point blank. All in all, I'm indifferent to usage of custom monsters. At least they add some variety.

      And yes, this is a Doom WAD that has a super shotgun (a KDiZD rip). Why not use Doom 2 instead, especially if you already mod pretty much every aspect of the game?

      As for the visuals - they're excellent. The level isn't super detailed, and yes, there are other WADs that have better visuals, but still this one is pretty impressive. This map is huge. You go from room to room and it seems to never end. The odd thing is that the themes are mixed. You basically go from base, to hell, to temple, then to some outdoor or cave-like areas. It's all over the place but it's also seamless and you don't notice any abrupt or surprising changes. Architecture of this level is done well.

      Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the gameplay. This WAD is so linear that it hurts. There are arenas where you can simply circle strafe around monsters. The enemies aren't dangerous at all. I was running with over 100% HP most of the time. You can get a BFG from a 4-part secret but in my opinion it's rather useless, and you get it anyway during the boss fight. This level is simply too easy and too straight-forward. Please, consider ways to make the monsters actually threatening to the player. Don't just put enemies in your map, but build your map around them.

      Below is a list of other things that struck me as odd or wrong:
      1. There's a computer wall that is actually a door, and opening it is mandatory to complete the level. It looks like a background wall detail, so it took me a while before I even considered activating it.
      2. You can jump into some pits from which there is no escape. These pits don't kill you, and you have to noclip your way out of them or reload.
      3. At least one of the enclosed elevators (floor and ceiling moving) can be activated and then quickly escaped by the player. The way becomes blocked and there's no way to bring the elevator back up, so the level becomes unbeatable (or you have to noclip).
      4. Doomsphere (quad damage) - the area where it's located has next to nothing to kill. Useless powerup.
      5. One of the secrets can only be opened by picking up a medkit but you can't pick up medkits if your health is over 100%. To get all secrets you may need to damage yourself, and that's just silly.

    • The Keep - Walt Barrett
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 27529 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
      A December 1994 level, set in an "Arabian town" (not that you'd know it without reading the text file). For a map from that era, it has surprisingly good detail and architecture. The gameplay suffers a little at the beginning where you're given little space to maneuver, with chaingunners and sergeants firing at you from seemingly all sides, but things pick up later on. Overall, it's a quite nice map to occupy you for half an hour or so.

    • Escape the Cavern - Peter Kasting
      Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 91127 bytes -
      Reviewed by: ReX
      This is a single-player map that plays on Map01 of Doom 2, and requires a limit-removing source port. It is a compact, but intense, level that will keep you on your toes almost continuously.

      The map is designed to be inside a vast cavern, and is nicely non-linear to the extent that you can see virtually all the places to which you need to get. The trick is to find the least punishing way of doing so. But more on the gameplay later. The main path you need to trod loops around onto itself, and you'll criss-cross the path a few times. By and large, however, the direction you need to take is quite intuitive, and you will not find yourself getting lost. On a couple of occasions you'll need to get paths to rise up out of the lava; I admire the way the author has put all the geometry into a fairly compact (didn't I use that word before?) space, while ensuring that you will not get stuck behind a rising wall or stairs. There are four secrets in all, with two of them being quite easy to find, and a third relatively easy to find with some exploration.

      As the name of the map suggests, the theme is mainly one of rock and stone (although the author makes a curious choice of creating one path and stairs in grey concrete). The "architecture" of the map comes reasonably close to representing a huge cave with tunnels threading their way through the rock. The cave floor is damaging lava, and is an important element in hedging the player in and restricting maneuverability. The rock walls are mostly bare, but you probably won't notice as you flit from cover to cover as the enemy harries you. The metal interspersed with the rock provides a pleasant contrast, and texture alignment is competent. The final "arena" is meant to represent a hellish temple, with marble texturing and the obligatory MARBFACx textures, and it has a pleasing appearance.

      The map starts nicely, requiring you to leap across the lava and amidst enemies to acquire your shotgun. After that, all Hell breaks loose. (Okay, so I exaggerate. At least *some* hell breaks loose.) Enemies from around the cavern take aim at your cojones, with the singular aim of putting an end to your lineage. Of course, this presents good opportunities for monster-infighting. The risk of dropping to the damaging lava below as you evade the fireballs makes for some tense moments. There are traps. Oh, yes indeed, there are traps. Nary a step of your progress will be cheaply bought, as successively tougher baddies suddenly reveal themselves. Mostly, it is well done, but eventually I learned that reaching for a key or some goody would inevitably result in getting my hand slapped down. Still, I didn't mind, as the fights are generally fair.

      At the beginning there is just enough ammo with which to manage, so long as you play carefully. Your ammo situation gets better as you make progress, and once you pick up the backpack you'll be well-stocked. However, I felt that there was a serious shortage of rockets, especially as you are pitted against some real heavies. This required a lot of cowering behind walls and waiting for the trembling in my knees to subside, when I could have been charging in, guns-ablaze, as any self-respecting Space Marine ought to do. The weaponry is mostly adequate for the task, but the muzzle of your shotgun and chaingun will seriously overheat while you seek out heavier armaments. Armor is lacking for virtually the entire map, unless you get lucky and find the green armor in a secret area. Additionally, health is doled out in meager quantities, requiring you to play carefully. Or save often.

      This map is fun and chaotic, if somewhat difficult, and looks very nice. Seasoned players may be comfortable at HMP or UV skill, but others may want to try a lower skill level to avoid the tedium of constantly taking damage and restarting the map.

    • Templo en el Planeta Rojo / Red Planet's Temple - Eye del Cul
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 210274 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Memfis
      A 10-15 minute level where you explore a temple somewhere in a red sea. A lot of effort went into making this map look unique. Eye del Cul drew a beautiful sky texture that seamlessly extends to the sea, resulting in a very convincing horizon effect (screenshot 3) and used red color very well to create a memorable environment. The gameplay I feel isn't as good: the author often places large groups of the same monsters, which usually results in simply more time wasted rather than more challenge given to the player. That isn't to say it's all just a walk in the park: occasionally it gets pretty intense with all the teleporting monsters and other traps. The most memorable fight for me was in the library: very interesting location for fighting demons; you really have to plan your movements there to avoid getting cornered.

      Overall, this is a high quality map of medium difficulty, somewhat similar to the author's other later works, such as "Peyote" and "Cybie, our friend".

    • merkin - TimeOfDeath
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 60816 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
      This seems to be a standalone release of a map included in the jokewad WOOO. I'm not sure how different it is from that version (apart from having no custom textures). In any case, the map itself is as trippy and weird as possible, with giant HOMs, bizarre architecture and stuck monsters.

      You can have some interesting experiences with this map if the craziness is to your taste or if you like unorthodox challenges, but if you prefer serious gameplay, stay away from this one.

    • intercepts overflow - TimeOfDeath
      Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 19917 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Memfis
      A demonstration/test map where you can reliably trigger the rare intercepts overflow bug if it is supported by the port you're using. To enable its emulation in prboom-plus, the recommended port, go to options->general->emulation and set "try to emulate intercepts overflow" to YES. In the map just pick up the chaingun, take the teleporter, shoot and observe this amusing effect. Another curiosity: the wad includes a demo showing the player dealing damage to the monsters after intercepts overflow occurs, which was believed to be impossible for many years. Port gurus, explain this please?

    • tinytod - TimeOfDeath
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 17233 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
      A map made for a half-hour speedmapping competition, so bugs and bad visuals are a given. The theme here is cyberdemons; they keep appearing in droves and require some advanced BFG skills to take out.

      I suppose you can treat this map as training ground for Cybie killing, but not much else. (By the way, the text file promises new music, yet I didn't hear any.)

    • Hellish Adventure - Kurtis2222
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 516516 bytes -
      Reviewed by: MajorRawne
      Here are ten very short maps which seem like a good start to a mapper's career. The gameplay of a couple of maps could do with improvement. There is a ton of armour in each map and most players won't be pressed to beat them (except for patience with map 8).

      Map 1: Short and sweet tech base with a distinct old school flavour. Few people will find the difficulty a problem on UV. There is a lot of doubling back, but locations are close together so it doesn't get annoying. The lowering bridge at the end of the map was excellent, as it actually descends from the ceiling. Never seen that done in a map before.

      Map 2: A very short corridor fight against Barons, Imps and pink demons. The map was over before I realised what was happening. Ammo and health are placed where you cannot avoid picking them up but that's only going to matter from a pistol start.

      Map 3: This is where the ZDoom features become apparent. It looks like a golf course with hills and trees. You run through the mist gunning down shotgunners. You hit a switch and, er, that seems to be it. I must have missed something here and eventually skipped to the next map using cheats. There are a shitload of invisible walls which bring you to a dead halt as you try to explore; it's a bit like playing COD.

      Map 4: In the most impressive map yet, you find yourself in a green marble prison with 10% health and no ammo. There are walkways which lead to rooms above rooms, sloping corridors and gibbet cages to provide eye candy. Bizarrely you will also see your own voodoo doll in a cell for some reason. Difficulty wise it's no challenge, just a relaxed cruise.

      Map 5: A switch hunt inside a brown brick building. There is more ZDoom trickery here including teleporters which only work if you hit their activation switch. Gameplay wise it felt a bit bland with lots of back-tracking.

      Map 6: The ever-popular "hit three switches to activate something" features here. So does a rather obnoxious canyon where you must jump from ledge to ledge and you die instantly if you fall. Mouselook recommended for this one. Make sure you check all the cupboards inside the rooms when you're looking for switches at the beginning.

      Map 7: Basically a square courtyard where you fight a Cyberdemon with your rocket launcher, something most maps don't make the player do any more. You can exit when the Cyber is dead. At least it's not yet another Arachno/Manc fight!

      Map 8: This one is a nightmare. It's a series of twisting cave tunnels, most of which come to dead ends, so you're going to be doing a lot of backtracking. None of the caverns have any distinguishing features so you will need to keep checking the automap. Definitely the weakest map of the set.

      Map 9: A battle against a Cyberdemon and Lost Souls on a platform above instant-death lava. There's a secret which may be counter-intuitive near the beginning, requiring you to take a leap of faith. This secret is possibly essential from a pistol start.

      Map 10: While map 9 is called The Final Encounter, map 10 is really where it ends. You start in a ruined techbase and hit a switch to blast through a wall which takes you to the Baphomet arena. Your reviewer really hates boss shooter maps, so I'll just state this one seems simpler than usual and you don't get much ammo.

      In summary, short, generally fun levels with a couple that felt boring (maps 5 and 8), mainly due to a lot of back-tracking. Switch hunts seem to be the way that mappers stretch out the gameplay of tiny maps. I'd personally rather play fewer, bigger maps than lots of small ones where you run through the same area five times. There are interesting ZDoom tricks used throughout, so it's worth downloading unless you hate ZDoom.

    • Obsidian's 30 Minute Maps - Obsidian
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 121875 bytes -
      Reviewed by: MajorRawne
      A set of maps that took 30 minutes to build? Sounds like a recipe for a nightmare -- and it most certainly is. Every second of those thirty minutes was spent crafting something horrible, something different from the normal Doom experience. Let's head into the hell Obsidian has dreamed for us.

      Map 1: Unusually, you get a chaingun to face zombies, a Hell Knight and a Revenant at very close quarters. There are no shotguns, no armour and no health. Unfortunately, 90 year old women play this map better than I did and I fell victim to what I felt was an unfair Chaingunner trap. Curses! But you get further each time and it seems well-designed.

      Map 2: This map should have been called Tyson Sphere. You face several enemies with a berserk pack. Again, there is no more health, which is going to be rough on those who do not typically bother with close combat. The map's other "gimmick" involves crushing ceilings. I escaped this one by the skin of my teeth. Exciting and exhilarating.

      Map 3: Now this is one of the most frightening experiences I've had in Doom. It's just you, a corridor and a Cyberdemon. Good reactions are essential here otherwise you'll be eating a missile. Genuinely harrowing stuff.

      Map 4: You start in an area which seems a bit crippled with invisible lines, causing more than their share of cursing as you dodge about fighting an Arch-Vile with a shotgun. You go through a series of fights with the most dangerous being a large group of Pain Elementals. You get tons of plasma, a BFG and a megasphere to kill a single Mastermind, which can easily be done in one shot.

      Map 5: The difficulty takes a turn for the mental here and there was presumably no time to implement skill levels. You must make an immediate move here. If you don't, you're dead. This arena map is extraordinarily brutal. There is a mandatory damaging floor which takes 20% health with each hit, so having less than 40% health when you kill the first few monsters is not a guarantee of survival. There's a megasphere if you get past the nukage but it may not last long. This is the most intense map of the lot and gave me pride to beat it.

      Map 6: Entitled simply "Kill John", this is one of those lift maps. Monsters simply walk onto the lift as you pass their level; you don't get endless teleporting Imps followed by a Cyberdemon like in all the other lift-themed maps. The exit area is a small arena with a large number of monsters. Having plasma ammo left over from the lift is necessary, as much as you can retain, but since there are Archies on the lift it's a balancing act. The music is from the Omega Dungeons of FFX. God, the Omega Dungeons, another experience that I've never been able to forget.

      Map 6 ends with Obsidian threatening to release more of these maps in future. I sincerely hope he does, even though this wad has scarred me for life!

      All of these maps should be played from a pistol start, otherwise you'll bugger up the experience. Each is a test of a different skill. If you're not that good at Doom, you might find these maps frustrating, but I'd say persevere and see if you can learn something. It's hard to see someone beating all six maps without feeling some kind of pride in surviving the horror.

      The visuals are quite basic on some maps, but do their job. Maps 1 and 5 seemed the standouts. Playability leans towards very hard. Map 3 is definitely the one that sticks out from the rest and I won't forget it.

      There's no need to eat a shitload of Edam at bedtime to guarantee a terrifying and surreal Doom experience. Just load this up and find out what kind of man you are.

    Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.

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    Oh cool, my first review!!

    I just wanted to say that for some strange reason I couldn't take the screenshots when monsters were around, I don't know why (I never encountered this problem before), so that's why they are taken with -nomonsters.

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    A rather...interesting review from MajorRawne: I'm glad you enjoyed my maps, even if they did leave you with considerable mental fractures. :P

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    Pretty good reviews here - ample detail and various personal quirks make for an entertaining read and quite a few of these projects look worth checking out. Nice to see some maps coming out for ZDoom that hit the Doom/ZDoom balance reasonably well.

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    kmxexii said:

    Dragon Lich Demo[/b] - Doug Rasmusen
    Hexen - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1999 bytes
    Reviewed by: kmxexii
    A comedy of errors. Doug wants to demonstrate the "dragon lich", presumably a brand new enemy for use in Hexen levels, and apparently supposed to work in vanilla (but comments on /idgames says it crashes HEXEN.EXE). After loading it up I was treated to a bland rocky crater (not worthy of a screenshot) serving as an arena for a Death Wyvern fight. After cracking it open in SLADE3, all I found was the map - nothing to indicate that code for a new monster had been added. On opening it up in Doom Builder 2, I discovered that the death wyvern's name in the editor is apparently "dragon lich". I'm really not sure what Rasmusen intended with this upload, but as far as I can tell, it is entirely worthless.

    The death wyvern is an enemy that cannot be used like any other, since if you just plop it down in the map, it'll just stay in place without moving. You need to do some work to set it up, which I guess is what he set out to demonstrate. I suppose the interest of his bare-bones level compared to the official Hexen (and Deathkings) levels where it's used is that there is nothing else to distract from what the death wyvern needs... But if it crashes vanilla, the demonstration is faulty.

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    memfis said:

    Another curiosity: the wad includes a demo showing the player dealing damage to the monsters after intercepts overflow occurs, which was believed to be impossible for many years.

    Well, I dunno about "believed to be impossible", just unexplored? It looks like an effect specific to prboom-plus' emulation. Just partial corruption, perhaps? skepticist did some research of his own back in 2011, here is his test wad.

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    Gez said:

    The death wyvern is an enemy that cannot be used like any other, since if you just plop it down in the map, it'll just stay in place without moving. You need to do some work to set it up, which I guess is what he set out to demonstrate. I suppose the interest of his bare-bones level compared to the official Hexen (and Deathkings) levels where it's used is that there is nothing else to distract from what the death wyvern needs... But if it crashes vanilla, the demonstration is faulty.

    A more authoritative review would have included this information, I suppose. I'm not sure what goes into using the Death Wyvern in a level but I suspect setting up rails for its flight pattern has something to do with it? Since it's used in Deathkings as a non-boss monster. The intent is presumable, but the execution is fairly flawed.

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    Yeah, but your rockets become ghosts as well, so they pass through walls. However, skepticist's wad I linked shows that prboom-plus is capable of creating just partial corruptions where parts of the map remain corporeal. I think this is a similar case.

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    It's worth mentioning that tinytod and merkin also contain demos, so that you may experience the WADs without playing them. This was my case with tinytod, BTW. This map actually doesn't look like a TimeOfDeath's map, but rather like a parody of a TimeOfDeath map :)

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    ToD's maps often contain demos. I can understand his passion for recording on his own stuff asap, but putting the results alongside the level itself is a questionable decision. Not only it could potentially kill all interest towards the map since you may just watch demo, but it also pretty much prevents other speedrunners from even trying their hand in it because beating ToD's time is a chore.

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    I feel the same Demonologist. But I believe that ultimately it is not Chris' problem if other people don't want to record inferior demos or if the fact that a "solution demo" exists makes them fell uncomfortable. The problem is with our attitude where the fun somehow depends on silly outside factors. ("omg someone made a great demo, I can't play now")

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    Third member of the club. True, you can say this is our own problem. You can pinpoint pretty much every problem someone has on willpower. "Don't like it, don't use it". If you let this line of thought run its course then at some point you can never exchange on anything, the only discussions left are circlejerks. So whether there's a significant amount of people who have this problem or not is more relevant, IMHO. But I'll give you we're probably a minority.

    Still, there can be ways to handle things without alienating "weak-willed" people. If there's an insanely good demo on DSDA, sure, whatever, that's the point of the place. If I'm visiting DSDA or the speed demos forum, I'm making an active effort to get to that demo. Having it included in the wad, or in the OP when the wad is posted... feels like having someone hovering around my shoulder with a strategy guide. Psst! Hey! Here's how you should beat this part! Kind of an enabler, pusher dynamic.

    That isn't to say TOD should do anything different, there's two sides to that coin and some people like the idea of watching a demo to learn a map, or watching the demo instead of playing the map. So you can't make both parties happy; but it is a questionable decision, as Demonologist puts it, and it's worth talking about if only to note there are people it bothers.

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    dew said:

    Yeah, but your rockets become ghosts as well, so they pass through walls. However, skepticist's wad I linked shows that prboom-plus is capable of creating just partial corruptions where parts of the map remain corporeal. I think this is a similar case.

    I've experienced this in ZDoom making a map using the Hexen format and normal nodes. You basically get areas of the map where collisions don't happen if you build outside of a 32768 square unit area, I think. Means only enemy melee attacks and all splash damage work. Using extended nodes or not making maps quite so wide/tall/huge solves the problem sufficiently most of the time.

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    ToD's demos seem mandatory for some of his maps. That horrible HOM-fest map requires the player to open a random wall to access the rest of the map, something I missed until I watched the demo. Not that I played the map after watching the demo, but hey ho.

    For a ToD map actually worth playing, there's one of his slaughter maps awaiting review that is really exciting.

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    Thanks ReX for the kind review of my map (Escape The Cavern)! As the first level I'd built in 15 years I wasn't sure what reception it would get :)

    You noted "the author makes a curious choice of creating one path and stairs in grey concrete"; I did that because I wanted any architectural elements that obviously moved around due to player interaction to be made of manmade materials (wood, concrete, etc.), since it seems weird to me when chunks of the cavern rock shift around -- more sensical that somehow humans found this giant cavern and then built moving parts inside it. Of course, a bunch of monster closets in the walls and such have rock "doors", but generally those are supposed to open instantly outside your vision so you don't really notice them...

    In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed your playthrough!

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