Corrupted Techbase - Omegalore
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 14019580 bytes -
Reviewed by: scifista42
This is a very large modern-style map, fitting its title - it's a techbase with remarkable signs of hellish presence. It requires a ZDoom-compatible source port and an OpenGL renderer (but there are just a few, very minor visual problems in the software renderer). Your goal is simply to explore the map's entirety, find all keys and kill demons in your way.
The map is highly detailed, and it (ab)uses a vast modern texture pack, probably a mashup of multiple packs. The map excels in ZDoom's 3D floor usage. Visuals were crafted with an attempt for an epic feel, especially latter parts of the level. Textures plus design together make for a beauty, but it's not perfect all the time. There are monotextured or blandly-shaped areas, areas that are cramped, oversized or overly long—none of them looks downright bad, though. I noticed them, but they didn't spoil my experience at all. Such places can be viewed as atmospheric. Speaking of that, the map tries to create a little eerie atmosphere. There's ambient music with occasional unsettling sounds; to be honest, they weren't strong enough to work on me, though.
There are no custom monsters in this map, and the only change to stock monsters is fixing their blood colour (Cacodemon -> blue, Baron -> green etc.). Gameplay-wise though, I'd say this map is average. I've played on UV difficulty. When I selected UV, the game asked me if I really wanted to, and I had to confirm. I expected an increased difficulty then, but encountered the opposite. The map provides a good-to-inferior challenge for a casual player. It's possible to run through the map's entirety without saves or even much trying. Monster density is very low throughout the map, usually a couple monsters per one big room. You cannot lose attention, though. You'll encounter dangerous foes on your way, including Cyberdemons (but in a big open space, where you can outmaneuver them easily). Also, manage your ammo, or you can end up running out of it. I decided to not pick up a berserk near the beginning, and regretted it later. You cannot afford to lose too much ammo, and preferably use berserk for melee combat at least sometimes—as long as you do, the ammo balance is okay. At other times, you'll have more than enough ammo.
Corrupted Techbase is quite linear, sometimes branching into several paths. However, the side paths mostly contain mandatory switches or keys (by the way, there are multiple non-standard key colours, and an extended section on the status bar for them). So your possibilities to choose how to play are restricted. There are nearly zero optional areas. I have to admit: thanks to this, you'll be able to navigate through the map well, which I appreciated considering the map's size. The structure makes sense for a semi-abstract techbase outpost, and there's enough variation in height, lights, and visual theme so that exploring the map was satisfying for me, despite its linearity.
I find the map to be all-in-all good. The level design is satisfying enough, although not top-class. I recommend this map to casual players who simply want moderate (but non-trivial) challenge and shooting their way through a vast, colourful, detailed techbase—a strongly corrupted techbase—and who don't mind moderately limited ammo.
Random Deaths & Decoration - Mr. Chris
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 1444724 bytes -
Reviewed by: vtm
Mr. Chris presents us a mod with new deaths animations for almost all Doom 2 monsters. It also includes new decoration graphics. Some sprites are taken from different mods; it doesn't include any weapon replacement or graphics, making it possible to load it with your favorite weapon mod. It won't work with any mod that changes monsters in any way.
If you like to play Doom with visual modifications without altering gameplay, you will like to play with this one.
WTF is killer colours - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 146652 bytes -
Reviewed by: vtm
Here we have a short slaughtermap. It's simple, and as it's a slaughtermap, be ready to find large groups of monsters ahead of you. Progress is linear, and gets more difficult as you advance, but a BFG is found early and ammo is not scarce. It does resembles level 31 from Alien Vendetta.
I found it fun, and if you don't have something better to do with ten minutes, give it a try.
Uplift - Gwenvael Le Bihan (subject_119)
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 128397 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
"I've been here since the beginning and I still don't know what the hell's going on." - Barret, FFVII
Ultimate Doom, the game of Handgunners, Pink Demons and Lost Souls. There don't seem to be too many UDoom maps these days, but the ones we get are generally nostalgic techbase romps. Uplift doesn't deviate from the formula in that respect but its gameplay shines. Funny how something so old-school can feel so modern.
The author claims this map was made in three months, with two months of that time spent doing nothing at all; let's be bohemian and say "one month" then. As of this moment, the only review in the archives is "Cool story bro", so thanks to whoever provided that incredible tidbit; it was most enlightening and surely rewarded the author for his work.
Uplift combines modern and nicely-detailed architecture with the mazey, tight layout of the classic game. Different areas of the map are visible but not usually accessible from each other, and this results in a constant running gun-battle. There are lots of hitscan attacks coming your way. Ammo balance felt a bit tight at first. You're probably not as horrible a shot as I am though. Health balance is good if you stick to cover and don't run in like a berserker of yore. Armour is not exactly plentiful. You'll be under pressure much of the time.
Difficulty ramps up as you explore the map. You are following a linear path, but there is so much to see that it doesn't feel like you're on rails. There are some nasty ambushes à la Central Processing and you are rarely safe. It's not your father's UDoom.
The dark rooms with simple maze-like layout wore on me a bit—I must be suffering franchise fatigue or something—but this is redeemed by some cleverly thought-out traps which regularly see the player surrounded, with enemies even attacking from areas you previously thought clear. It's especially impressive when you realise the author is 15 years old. This chap understands what makes a tense and fraught experience that modern FPS games don't always deliver.
Backtrack - Kris Benson
Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 49845 bytes -
Reviewed by: vtm
Backtrack is a 1996 map made for Heretic. The map detail is poor. All weapons can be found. D'Sparil is found near the end, but you don't have to fight him to finish the level.
You aren't missing anything special. You can pass on this one.
THE AQUADUCT - Adam Stevens (Shrew X)
Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 38110 bytes -
Reviewed by: vtm
The Aquaduct is a three-map set for heretic, replacing E1M1, E1M2, and E1M3. They are short and easy maps, and the most predominant texture is water as the map set name indicates. Most rooms are big and have little to no decorative elements; all weapons except firemace can be found. I played it in GZDoom and ZDoom latest version and the blue key in the second level can't be picked up, and an Ophidian is stuck near the end. The third level is very short, only a small fight with an iron lich and some disciples that can be avoided.
Innocence - Donnel "Jazzmaster9" Enriquez
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 243579 bytes -
Reviewed by: scifista42
Innocence is a short mapset (4 maps + 1 boss map + 1 secret map) designed by Jazzmaster9, the author of 32 over 32 series and then the Innocence series. He has recently released many maps indeed, and there's no doubt that his design skills keep improving. Well. Despite being a ZDoom-specific Doom 2 project, Innocence attempts to emulate the feel of classic Doom 1 Episode 1 maps. The design is influenced by Jazzmaster9's own mapping tendencies - for example heavy orthogonality (I'll speak about it later), so that the maps are unique on their own and don't really look like (pseudo-) John Romero's style. Also, unlike most other E1 recreations, Jazzmaster9 decided to not limit monster or texture usage in E1 vein, but fully take advantage of resources available in Doom 2 (SSG, some Hell Knights, Revenants, Mancubuses, Archviles). I like this "non-conservative" approach, honestly. It can only add to the gameplay value.
The levels in Innocence 1 don't pay homages to particular areas in the original E1, use their own varied texture schemes, and don't include any custom monsters except for the boss map. This is why I personally prefer Innocence 1 over further installments (2 and 3), that use "pointless" (from a gameplay standpoint) custom monsters and multiple IWAD homages. Back to Innocence 1: The feel of E1 maps is achieved through well-structured compact layouts, very simple (but efficient) detailing, moderately threatening monster placement, nukage pools, and also music selection from Doom 1. E1 maps actually seem just as a vague inspiration for Jazzmaster9's own work. His style is easily recognizable - many concept elements repeat (in varied alterations), and it looks like Jazzmaster9 crafts out his maps with an ease. He doesn't go for fancy stuff. Stairs, hallways and connecting corridors are as simple as they can be, often orthogonal, simply shaped and using a simple texture scheme. Overall structure is the thing that matters. The maps are beautiful in their simplicity, not bad looking at all! They're also spacious enough for a comfortable movement. Secrets in Jazzmaster9's maps are a weak point, though - they're mostly "cube-holes", opened more-or-less randomly (often remotely without the player knowing it), and contain a single item. Secret exit is in MAP03 and it's the only secret in the entire wad which I cannot figure out.
Difficulty of the levels resembles Doom's E1. While it's noticeably slightly harder (due to revenant usage, probably), Innocence is still a very easy mapset. You're unlikely to die, even if you headlessly push forward without any strategy - well, almost. As long as you don't make a mistake to expose yourself to chaingunners/shotgunners/revenants... Simply pay attention, and you'll get through without a bigger problem. All maps have quite an overabundance of ammo, too. I actually recommend pistol starts to everyone, even casual players who want fun and minor challenge. Otherwise you'd feel too overstocked.
Innocence doesn't provide much of eye-candy, challenging gameplay setups or ideas. It's mainly supposed to be fun to play for a casual player. And I've enjoyed playing through it. If you're a fan of short-and-sweet and don't demand a beautiful spectacle or exaggerated difficulty, give Innocence a try.
Daylight - Gwenvael Le Bihan (subject_119)
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 171916 bytes
Reviewed by: 40oz
Daylight is a Boom-compatible single level wad on MAP09. It's a map with a standard Doom 2: Hell on Earth vibe without the initial scrambling around looking for weapons, and with a modern-influenced visual aesthetic, and double the monsters and ammo. It's non-linear, in an obvious sort of way, in which shortly after the starting room you arrive in a central location where all three keycards are located if you can find out how to reveal them, and with three paths to take, each with a series of fun fights and traps. Each location has a token weapon as a reward. Naturally you'll have the best luck if you go for the super shotgun part first, but each path has its benefits.
Fun medium-long map. Has a clean 1998-99 wad look throughout, and exciting-but-not-overly-difficult traps, including a fun endurance round where you have to press a sequence of switches, each opening up a monster closet and one additional archvile in the arena. Though I had trouble with a cyberdemon and arachnotrons at the bottom of a pitfall that insta-killed me mid-drop. It's possible I missed an alternate way in though. Otherwise a very good and fun map. Look forward to more of subject_119's work.
Gwangi's Palace v2.6 - Mike MacDee (Impie @ Doomworld)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 54804 bytes -
Reviewed by: scifista42
Warning: The wad contains custom music which causes problems in Chocolate Doom 2.0 but everywhere else it works fine, as it seems - even in vanilla and Choco-render-limits port.
Gwangi's Palace features a small and compact single level, compatible with the vanilla engine. It lets you explore a demon-infested rocky valley and a small temple built into the rocks. I like this map a lot, because it feels like old-school, only in a good way. I can't explain it well; you'll best see it for yourself. It's like the map was designed with care for both gameplay and visual style, but not with maximum perfection or epic-ness as the goal. The result works flawlessly, though.
Layout is simple enough to be easily understood and navigated through. The structure is rational and can be imagined in the real world. Texturing fits the theme for the most part, although sometimes you encounter slightly garish texture choices or materials that you wouldn't expect in an ancient building (metal plates, pipes...). It doesn't really spoil the map's feel at all; I personally perceive this as a great example of oldschool-like mapping creativity. The map is not ugly, it is actually nice. Game mechanics show some creativity as well; the author wasn't afraid of incorporating unusual choices such as monster-only teleporting, lifts with the function of doors, and more. Most areas provide a lot of space to outmaneuver enemies. There are also smaller rooms and corridors, and even catwalks and mandatory leaping over holes, but movement is comfortable in all of them. I've enjoyed wandering around the level in these various conditions. Even secrets are connected with a little movement exercise.
Lastly, to speak about gameplay. I find the difficulty to be easy, but fun anyway. Monsters (ranging from low- to mid-tier, mostly) are not placed in maximally-challenging set pieces, but they're also not scattered around completely randomly. They often wait for you in small groups per each large area. You can choose to just avoid them, but the more you do it, the more you risk. Monster density is generally low. You are given enough ammo to deal with the monsters, but you won't be overstocked at all, and while there's a lot of "room for error", you cannot afford too many missed shots. If you paid attention, you shouldn't have problems completing this map.
Again, rather than reading this summary of my view, you'll get the best idea by trying Gwangi's Palace for yourself. I can recommend the map for a short and sweet experience and a good oldschool-like feel, which will be comfortable for modern players as well.
2 pistols - scifista42
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 15496 bytes -
Reviewed by: joe-ilya
A weapon enhancement for vanilla where the pistol is more useful and the chaingun is even more useful; the chaingun now acts like a minigun.
The pistol now gets a partner from the start of the game (you do not have to collect it or anything) and the second pistol has correct lighting.
The mod has a new sound for the pistols and the chaingun, which makes them SOUND more powerful than the original sound, makes up for a safer feeling. [???]
All Resurrecting Archvile mod - scifista42
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 3367 bytes
Reviewed by: Obsidian
This one's quite easy to sum up: it's a DeHackEd patch that gives the Arch-vile the ability to resurrect monsters it normally can't resurrect.
That includes Cyberdemons.
And Spider Masterminds.
And other Arch-viles. Be very, very scared.
The patch itself is quite well put together, with the author stealing frames from places you wouldn't normally notice in order to make the resurrection states: for example, the Former Human, Former Sergeant, and Wolfenstein SS now share gibbing frames, although you'd be hard pressed to notice. Being a DeHackEd enthusiast, I have to commend Scifista42 on being able to make this patch: it's a cool little piece of engineering, even if it's a bit too evil to see regular use in my Doom II folder. Download if you're feeling masochistic or if you're curious about DeHackEd. Or both!
Brawlers - scifista42
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 2579 bytes
Reviewed by: Tuxlar
A simple dehacked mod (play the wad in any Boom-compatible port, or else patch vanilla with the .deh) that's essentially Pacifist Doom. I imagine this would be fun for speedrunners, or as a base for some rather interesting game modes (maybe some sort of stealth game?). If you're gonna try playing this stand-alone, I recommend playing in Nightmare difficulty.
Urban Escape - James "Phobus" Cresswell
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 50802 bytes -
Reviewed by: Zed
This is a small speed map from Phobus to celebrate WildWeasel's birthday, and I have to say he's done decent work.
Despite its small size, I found it was pretty challenging right from the start, and you don't have more than one or two seconds to recover before you're under attack again, thanks to tight ammo and health, and the strategic placement of zombies (especially chaingunners) first, and then throwing some mancubuses, arachnotrons and a couple more nasty surprises. There's one secret, which you are unlikely to miss unless you rush through the level, though I didn't find it very useful, but it's a nice touch, given that many maps in this style don't have secrets. The only thing that didn't really please me was the texturing. It's not bad by any means, but I just feel it's "strange", like if it didn't "belong" there. Oh, and my favorite moment: the marine holding the card for you. Very nice.
Overall, a pretty decent job. Go ahead and give it a try.
Doom 2 In Name Only - Various, see below
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 6669812 bytes -
Reviewed by: Remiel
Based on a quick look from underneath the rock where I've spent the last two years, Doom 2 in Name Only interprets the original levels based on their titles, like when you put a castle in your map because there's a Castle in the name. It's different from projects with a similar premise (like projects) because... as far as I can tell, it's a remake that is unrelated except for sharing the same names, even though some of these maps do ape Doom 2 in Name Also. Who knows?
But, really, it cannot be stressed enough that this is Doom II in name only. Doom II can be finished in less than an hour, and none of its levels mysteriously freeze Chocolate Doom. D2INO missteps every now and then under the weight of its ruleset; The Courtyard is more like The Three Courtyards, Tricks and Traps is no trickier with its surprise arch-viles than any other level, Icon of Sin is an Icon of Sin fight, Dead Simple is a phased mancubus and arachnotron arena...
...until it reveals its true nature as a giant scavenger hunt/whack-a-vile made entirely out of triangles that goes on for another half an hour. Like Hive Mother on the level of To All My Haters.
This is not an outlier, it's a trend-setter. The shorter levels are front-loaded, creating a snappy beginning that does not last long until everything is a scavenger hunt/whack-a-vile that goes on for half an hour. The WAD develops a case of stray imagination, resulting in environments that are ~*arty and adventurous*~ to the point where they have been padded with anything possible (much like this review). Like offices and locker rooms! I love prowling symmetrical hallways and exploring rooms full of tiny beds and chairs. Are there really people on this earth who enjoy simulating violence in cramped, packed urban structures besides 40oz?
For all its scale, D2INO doesn't seem to know what to do with it all. These large levels turn out unfocused, with rarely a sense of exploration that lasts as long as the level itself without turning into confused backtracking. The combat often felt like drifting from monster closet to teleport trap with no personal momentum. MAP20 has a fun obstacle-course gimmick, and MAP22 and the secret levels by Xaser and Adam Windsor stand out for their gameplay, Xaser's in particular for succeeding at the kind of scope the rest of the WAD aspires to. So many more levels were such a bland slog that I don't feel that I have anything to show for the experience.
Forgotten Estate - riderr3
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 144836 bytes -
Reviewed by: scifista42
Here we have a truly oldschool-feeling, really extensive vanilla map, occupying the MAP07 slot. Apparently this is one of riderr3's first releases. First thing you need to know is that due to the author's oversight, the map cannot be completed in ZDoom-based ports. Riderr3 included a custom MAPINFO to modify the map's name, disable jump etc., but he forgot to give the map "map07special". As a result, killing Mancubuses in the level will not trigger a special and you'll get stuck. If you want to play this level, you need a non-ZDoom based port, otherwise you have to edit the MAPINFO yourself.
The wad takes place in a (sort of) castle. As I've already mentioned, this map has oldschool-like aesthetics and structure, and it's the kind of beginner's map that drags on and on, and never wants to finish. There is a sprawling web of rooms and corridors, mostly narrow ones filled with low-to-mid-tier monsters, occasional courtyards... I know this, I've made such maps myself. I don't actually mind maps for being long. I also admit, the map's texturing is not entirely random à la 90's; it fits the place well and some rooms are nice. Anyway, the overall experience turned out bad for me.
The main problem of this map is that it is unintuitive. The player doesn't have any clue what and where his objectives are. It isn't actually a problem, because exploration of an extensive place can be enjoyable; I tend to enjoy it myself too. The problem begins when I press a switch and don't know what has happened and where; I don't even know if the switch was anything important or not. Unfortunately, such a switch sometimes opens a random place on the other side of the map, which the player cannot know anyhow, but he needs to find the place in order to progress. There's also a point where, in order to get the red key, you need to fall into an obvious trap right in front of the red door. I didn't want to, but I eventually had to cheat to know where to go; I was also stuck because I played in ZDoom with the above-mentioned flawed MAPINFO. This ruins any fun.
Another problem that increased my negative feelings was lack of ammo. I've often found myself running out of ammo while facing a group of Hell Knights in a narrow space, just because I've chosen a wrong path which I couldn't have anticipated. Also, powerful weapons were introduced very late. I needed a lot of trial-and-error and save-load abuse to manage some situations. That made me annoyed as well.
I don't want to discourage the author from mapping, but he should have probably started with smaller and simpler maps first. Big beginner maps like this lead to a fail, because the mapper can't yet realize what the player appreciates and what's annoying on the other hand. Regarding this map, give it a try if you want to explore a sprawling oldschool-style map and if you don't mind prolonged time by getting lost and some trial-and-error gameplay. It's not a bad map at all. It's just not very modern-player friendly.
The /newstuff Chronicles #459