Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions: Session 7 - Various
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 618855 bytes -
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
Here we have a WAD consisting of 14 maps produced from the seventh monthly Abyssal Speed Mapping Session. For those of you unfamiliar with the ASMS, it is a speed mapping/Skype session hosted by Obsidian about once every month. Anyone who wants to join is given two hours to make a speed map and an additional 15 minutes to choose custom textures and music, unless you're Alfonzo, who gets an extra few hours to finish the map because he's terrible. The session is held over Skype so everyone making a map can talk to each other, and whenever Tarnsman is involved he will usually make his map on his Twitch.TV channel so others can watch and listen in on the fun. For the seventh ASMS, the theme given by Obsidian was to make a map either using two textures/two flats, 10 sectors, or one tag. Only a few mappers attempted the one tag idea, with an even split between the other two options. During my play, though, I was not familiar with what the theme of the WAD was, so I have to give a hand to all of the authors for making some well-thought-out 10 sector maps.
As with all speed mapping wads there is a wide variety in quality throughout the wad, a few good maps, some more okay maps, and a few bad maps. The clear winner here is Jimmy's map which uses the 10 sectors theme, but given his past experience with pouring out large numbers of high quality speed maps, he had a bit of an unfair advantage here. Also of high quality is Tarnsman's map, which uses the two textures/two flats theme. Both maps have well-thought-out open layouts and smart monster placement to constantly put pressure onto the player, along with good use of height variation and lighting to boot. Jimmy's map is better mostly because Tarnsman does throw some bullshit at the player in a few spots, hello Arch-Vile horde!
Aside from these two good maps, there are some other decent maps; the 10 sectors-themed maps tended to be of higher quality than the two-textured maps. The other standout maps are from JMickle, Voltale, Adam AK, and RottKing. Obsidian was the only one who chose the one tag theme, and he made a decent-looking but fairly easy map. I would have liked to see the one tag be used in a more interesting way on a larger scale throughout the map. Of course there were a few joke maps thrown in here as well, but at least Obsidian was smart enough to put them into the map 13 and 14 slots at the very end so you can skip them easily.
Also shout out to the great music choices on maps 4 and 10 ;D
Don't expect this wad to blow your mind, but I think that the wad is still worth the short time that it takes to play through; heck I think I beat it in less time than it took to make.
Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions: Session 8 - Various
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 207584 bytes -
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
The eighth monthly Abyssal Speed Mapping Session had one of the smallest turnouts since the sessions started, as only five maps were made this time around. What is the ASMS you ask? Well it's a speed mapping/Skype session hosted by Obsidian about once every month. Anyone who wants to join is given two hours to make a speed map and an additional 15 minutes to choose custom textures and music. The session is held over Skype so everyone making a map can talk to each other and have a good time while making their maps. For the eighth ASMS, Obsidian gave three themes to choose from: the first was to make a map with a Wolfenstein theme, the second was to make a map in the spirit of Warrens, and the third option was to make a map in the spirit of Fortress of Mystery.
There are two maps each here using the Wolfenstein and Fortress of Mystery themes and one with the Warrens theme. The first Wolfenstein map is pretty standard stuff, 90 degree angles, uniform light level, no height variation, only uses Wolfenstein textures, but interestingly it hardly features the SS at all. The second Wolfenstein map is a bit more Doom-like, using non-90-degree angles, height and lighting variation, and this one uses about half Doom monsters/half SS, along with some Doom textures in addition to the standard Wolfenstein textures. Both Wolfenstein maps end with a battle against a cyberdemon. Of the two maps, Walter's map is the better one simply because it looks and plays better due to trying to be more Doom-like than a standard Wolfenstein map. Obsidian is the only mapper to tackle the Warrens theme; his map here is based on one of his own map from ASMS#4, which I have not played. Still it is pretty easy to spot where the Warrens part of the maps starts, as you fight your way back through the map as all new monsters are released. The two Fortress of Mystery maps didn't turn out the way I expected; I expected to see maps composed of two different types of enemies forced to face off against each other, but instead both are filled to the brim with many different types of monsters, but they do keep the theme of infighting as there is no way to kill all monsters without infighting.
This WAD isn't nearly as interesting as some other ASMS, and you really aren't missing much by skipping out on this one.
FastDM - jwaffe
Doom 2 - Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 1125032 bytes -
Reviewed by: dew
FastDM is a 33-map deatchmatch set by jfwaffe a.k.a. 75. Yes, that's just a number. The megawad was a bit of a lightning bolt from clear skies for me, because I did not know the author at all before he contacted me in the final pre-release stage to give him some last minute feedback. That doesn't mean the author is some wet-eared newcomer; he certainly knows his way around a map with the SSG, and he even managed to kick my ass decidedly in his own Chex DM mapset. Although admittedly, I did not know Chex DM was a thing before that, heh. He hails from different circles, and he kept low profile enough to never appear on my radar, so such a large and good mapset appearing without my slightest knowledge was a pleasant surprise for me.
What we are looking at here is a very solid entry into the ambiguously both-school (OS/NS) SSG blastathon genre made extremely popular by Greenwars, UDMs or Onslaughts. Simply said, it's up to you how you prefer to play these maps, because they're non-specific enough that it won't make much difference whether you jump, always switch on pickup, or even use mouselook. This is markedly different from the "OS-NS" (yes, DM scene uses the best abbrevs) approach à la EonDM in which map design targets a mixture of vanilla gameplay enriched by specific advanced port features. The former approach usually generates more homogeneous, open or arena-like layouts with simpler map mechanisms and easier, uh, accessibility to all parts. Simply said, it's easier to run & gun in them, which goes hand in hand with prevailing good old SSG-on-spawn handouts.
That also makes the maps more port agnostic and better suited for FFA rather than complexity favouring 1-on-1, although some of the maps are just fine for both. To illustrate the difference between FastDM and EonDM, in the former wad it becomes less important where in the map you are at any given time, because there's usually a good weapon around, plenty of room to navigate, and you don't need to worry too much about denying your opponent of something important because the central gimmick is toned down. In particular, using plasmas as the desired power weapons often feels a bit demanding on the player, because wide corridors and easily escapable spawns don't favour spam, so you'll probably rack up frags faster by click-clacking instead. Again, think the wider layouts of Greenwar. FastDM runs on all three major C/S ports and you can mix your own cocktail of settings, but you'll need infinitely tall actors off, because jwaffe uses thing bridges in a few maps. That, by the way, also means a bit less effective rocket launcher spam, but truth be told, I don't even remember the last time I played FFA with tall explosions. It does rob 1v1 of some nice strategies, so I'd recommend offsetting it with mouselook allowed, so rocket whores like me can pretend they're playing Quake. Moving on.
As seen in many one-man megawads, style and layout homogeneity creeps in. The maps certainly aren't just clones with small variations, but the overall type of gameplay and certain author tropes start to surface as you grind through the pack. It means you won't remember the number or the name of "that map with that gimmick" if you play the set in long FFA sessions, but that applies to (you know it) Greenwar even more. It also means consistency across the set, so it's less likely to run into a map that breaks the pace and chases large amounts of players away. Speaking of common map traits, they all have a really oldschool 90's look. Walls and floors are mostly light grey and brown with high lighting levels, all very proper and mostly devoid of visual noise that'd distract your enemy-seeking eyes, but the stock textures are often mixed in... daring combinations that don't fit any standard Doom library model univ—oh who cares, it's all functional in order to create standouts and visual beacons anyways. Another rather non-orthodox trait of jwaffe's mapping would be his usage of long-winded stairways and low but sizable lifts. They're dispersed in the mapset very liberally, and the latter tend to have funny shapes. They're applied with care to not break freedom of movement (too much), though, so it's nothing to write George Fiffy about.
I won't go into details about particular maps because they're mostly solid, well-tested, and should work particularly well in, say, 4-10 player FFAs, but I'll namedrop the maps that caught my eye for possible good duels: 01, 04, 06, 09, 11, 21. Quality is pretty consistent (maybe slightly front-loaded) in the first 20 or so maps, then some of the spacious, square-like open areas full of stairs that fill the last spots start to feel a bit filler-ish. Mapper fatigue, perhaps? Overall, this is a well-assembled and consistent mapset that deserves attention, especially from the crowds that enjoy SSG-heavy FFAs in the vein of Onslaught and Greenwar.
BUCKET DM 2 - "bucket" Brendan Bradley
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 568256 bytes -
Reviewed by: the_miano
Bucket DM 2 is a must-play for deathmatch fanatics who enjoy playing very odd looking deathmatch maps with super fun gameplay. There are 32 maps made by Brendan Bradley, who apparently goes by the name Bucket. The first thing I noticed was that the majority of these maps are tech-based themed, along with a few Hell-themed maps, and two Wolfenstein maps. MAP01 is a really interesting remake of E1M9, which is by far one of my favorite maps in the WAD. There is definitely without a doubt some inspiration taken from historical DM WADs when making these maps. Some of these maps look like they belong in DWANGO and omgmaps.wad.
Download this wad, it is definitely worth playing.
Arachnides - jameson2_fr
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 10788018 bytes -
Reviewed by: mouldy
"One level for zdoom gzdoom very hard very dark many secrets" says the text file, and he's not kidding. I couldn't get beyond the first few rooms, though after switching on god mode, I discovered that those first few rooms show you pretty much all you need to see. The entire map appears to consist of dark rectangular rooms filled with identical boxes, and occasionally long straight corridors between them. Doors don't always open, and aren't always visible. These things are the least of your problems if you choose to play this map, because it is also filled with spiders which skitter everywhere at high speed and kill you in seconds. Accompanying these spastic monstrocities are dark semi-visible creatures that are difficult to see in the low lighting, which means a lot of ammo will be wasted trying to shoot either. There is also a custom chaingun that takes a couple of seconds to start firing, making it the most annoying weapon ever invented.
These things conspire to make this map utterly horrible to play, and after finding myself completely out of ammo and stuck behind a wall of spiders in a narrow passage, and seeing that I had killed about 400 of the 1800 monsters, I decided to quit. Judging from iddt on the automap I missed a whole lot of maze-like and no doubt identical rooms and corridors. If you want to kill a lot of spiders then be my guest, but I wouldn't really recommend this wad.
Exitway v1.3 - Tuxlar
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 56695 bytes -
Reviewed by: Zalewa
A medium-sized, classic Doom 2 level with good gameplay. It took me about 20 minutes to beat, with some deaths and reloads. These were caused by my failures only, as the difficulty is very well balanced on Ultra-Violence. You're tight on ammo, although not too tight, but I'd still recommend relying on some infighting.
There's a small twist to the classic gameplay, as you're being stalked by a cyberdemon almost throughout the entire map. It teleports in several times, shoots some rockets at you, and then teleports away. This is really well done as these short encounters are threatening enough to do some damage, but not too out of the blue to cause forced reloads from a saved game due to sudden and unexpected death. The same goes for traps: there are a few in this map, but none of them seems unfair. You must react quickly, but your survival never depends on random factors and none of the traps requires beforehand knowledge to survive.
The visuals are decent. They're not overly detailed, but they're done well enough, and the map appears to be on a border between professional and odd, but in a good way. Still, there are some glaring texture misalignments that could've been avoided by not relying on editor's auto-align feature so much, or by using trim textures more frequently. Map layout is done very well, as you revisit certain areas of the map, but it never feels like backtracking, and I've never been confused as to where to go next.
Name of the map obviously references Doom 2 MAP01, but I don't see any similarities beyond that.
Verdict: it's a good map. Give it a try.
Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions: Session 9 - Various
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 514569 bytes -
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
The Abyssal Speed mapping session is a speed mapping/Skype session hosted by Obsidian about once every month. Anyone who wants to join is given two hours to make a speed map and an additional 15 minutes to choose custom textures and music. The session is held over Skype so everyone making a map can talk to each other and have a good time wile making their maps. Obsidian will give an option of three themes to base your map around; for the ninth iteration of the ASMS the themes were: a fortress on a cliff, an aqueduct, or a space station. There are three fortresses and aqueducts, and only one space station in this wad.
The first four maps of this wad are not very good, and you really aren't missing anything interesting by simply skipping these maps. The maps by TheMionicDonut and Ribbicks on the other hand are quite good, and I had real blast playing through those maps. Both maps are very though though, filled to the brim with monsters and pretty tight on health and ammo, but in a good sort of way; they are maps that make you think and move constantly as you try to avoid dying. In addition to the good game play on these two maps they look great with a wide variety of texture usage and lighting variation. Darsycho was the only mapper to choose the Space Station theme and it's an okay showing; the map is sort of an arena hub-spoke, so it fails pretty hard in the game play department, but visuals aren't too bad and it is the largest map with quite a bit of micro detailing here and there, especially in the start room which looks quite nice.
I say that you should go ahead and check out this wad, but only for the final three maps.
Black Sheep - a Doom 3 gameplay mod - scifista42
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 2274838 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Thankfully, this wad bears no relation to the unutterably terrible horror "comedy" of the same name.
What are your memories of Doom 3? The genuinely fearsome atmosphere? The growing anticipation as you wait for things to go to hell? The long, boring trudges down miles of corridors as you gradually lose hope that you will actually see Hell or any of the proper boss monsters from the original game? Or the heavily-modified enemies who behave nothing, *nothing* like they are supposed to?
Scifista remembers little of this. Instead he remembers that everything was grey. I'm serious: GREY. No colours. Now at this point, some of you will be casting your minds back to the first time you played Doom 3. Was it all just greyscale, you ask yourself? Er, no. Mayhap Scifista's monitor was on the blink, because Doom 3 had a lot of colours. It had... well, red, green and some black, with a bit of yellow. Yeah there was a lot of grey actually. It was like being lost on board the NX-01. But the one thing I am completely sure of, with 100% certainty, is that John Carmack didn't say "I know guys, let's make everything look like a photo from the 1940s - what were you nutjobs THINKING by using colours in my masterpiece?!"
The only eye candy in this mod is the monsters. The zombiemen who replace the Nazis look awesome. The quality of the new sprites is actually really good, it's just that, well, Imps should have two eyes damn it, and only a few monsters have been replaced. It would have been nice to see the rest of the cast re-imagined. That's outside this mod's scope. Quite what the point of such a mod is, no-one can really say.
At least it's more entertaining than the film.
GZDoom Speedmapping Session #2 - Cyberdemon531
Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 4371453 bytes
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
According to the text file this WAD is a series of speed maps made in under two hours. At first I thought that meant that each map was made in two hours, but after playing through the whole WAD I believe that all 30 maps were made in a time period of two hours, because this WAD is really bad. All the maps here are just lame jokes with such features as unfinished maps, unbeatable odds against hordes of cyberdemons, unbeatable odds against hordes of Arch-Viles, or maps filled with suicide zombies.
It's wads like this that give speed mapping a bad name. Skip this one unless joke maps are your thing.
Pepsi - Canofbacon
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 65811 bytes -
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
Anyone who has played a Canofbacon map before should know that he doesn't take his maps very seriously, and this map is no exception. The goal here, according to the text file, is to kill the demons because they like Coca-Cola. The map starts off right away in joke territory with a scrolling Hitler portrait, but then descends into a rather standard map that could have easily been made by someone that is new to map making. Not until the very end does the Evil Coca-Cola monster show up, which is a fairly tough battle; it fights like a faster Cyberdemon, and given the confined space to fight in makes him pretty tough enemy. Once the Coca-Cola monster is dead the map ends.
As far as joke maps go, I feel that this one is pretty innocent compared to others. This isn't a map that I'd recommend, but it's not one I'd tell you to avoid either. So go ahead and grab a nice refreshing glass of Pepsi and play this map, or don't play this map if you're a fan of Coca-Cola.
#DooM Speedmapping Session 1 - Various
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 234430 bytes -
Reviewed by: scifista42
A compilation of 12 speedmaps from a session organized on #doom on irc.speedrunslive.com. Participants had to make a Boom-compatible map within only two hours, and the map's theme should have been either "Cyberdemon" or "Water & Lava".
Twelve mappers in total submitted a map. It's clearly visible how some of them were experienced (speed)mappers and some not at all. The wad contains ugly and badly playable newbie maps, odd concept maps, and then some pretty neat, but still half-baked maps, all next to each other.
I'd say that the "Cyberdemon" theme harmed quality of the submissions the most. Way too many of them ended up as unfair, unbalanced or just unfun battles, hide-and-seek or escape scenarios and such, where it's impossible to kill all monsters in the level. Themes were supposedly selected randomly, but I still think that this theme was rather bad for itself.
MAP01 was from the better maps, it was an elegantly shaped arena where you avoid monsters and rockets from Cyberdemons, press switches and eventually unlock the exit. Usage of height variation was not bad at all for an arena level, but otherwise nothing much. MAP02 was an awkward teleport puzzle in a STARTAN room, with bugged gameplay and not really worth playing at all.
MAP03 was probably the author's first map, it featured 1994-like texturing and gameplay: Ugly and cramped environment, default light level, tons of sergeants + several Cyberdemons who can kill you way too easily. But it's playable, I admit. MAP04 consisted solely of running past Cyberdemons in random ugly environments, blasting Romero's head at the end (hopefully you didn't waste all your ammo, or you're screwed then).
MAP05 was downright frustrating - not a bad concept to have high ledges, but I couldn't stand the unfair and seemingly lazy placement of Archviles and Cyberdemons, also the map looked pretty ugly. MAP06 - bad. First avoiding a Cyberdemon in a small room where doors are too slow to let you safely escape, then a tad primitive linear shootage, eventually backtracking, surviving the Cyberdemon room once again and exiting the level, that's all.
MAP07 - Linear cave-like corridor, too easily skippable fights, pretty uninteresting. MAP08 - Now that's much better! Some nice visuals there, and a reasonable structure and playability. Definitely a great result for a speedmap, even if it's not perfect.
MAP09 - Not bad, too. Nice compact layout, visuals are sometimes better, sometimes worse. Gameplay is all about dodging projectiles, usually with little cover provided. MAP10 - Simple canyon, rather thoughtless "easy slaughter" gameplay. Eventually running around a Cyberdemon, fighting him only if you found a secret BFG. The monster horde teleporting after grabbing blue key is kind of redundant, since you can easily exit the map before they even teleport in.
MAP11 - Not only a heavily unbalanced map, but even broken. Exit is actually unreachable. You can also easily get locked in the first outdoor area, because there's a one-time-only door opening switch, but monsters can close the doors down before you escape. MAP12 - Pretty nice layout, unified visual theme and thought-out gameplay. Unfortunately there are also misalignments and clippable metal bars leading to an inescapable pit. With a bit more polish and perhaps more height variation, this would have been awesome.
Overall a mixed bag, what more to say. Highlights: MAP01, MAP08, MAP09, MAP12. Download if you want to check out some speedmaps or simply the works of #doom community.
UAC Doom - Laus
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 35446 bytes -
Reviewed by: Zulk-RS
UAC Doom is your average Doom 2 wad made by a rookie. Game play is linear, easy and predictable, and the map suffers from various problems. It's pretty much rectangular from start to finish. It suffers from bad monster placement, texture misuse and design flaws. Some areas are inappropriately lit. But this map can still be fun to play and it's not too bad considering that this is the author's first map. As you'd expect, it doesn't have anything fancy. Some parts of this map are maze-ish but most of the map is straightforward. It consists of mostly lower-tier monsters except two. I recommend this if you just want to play a simple Doom map that you can finish in 10 minutes.
Nihilo - Jacob H. Orloff
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 151442 bytes -
Reviewed by: Zalewa
10 minutes of repetitive gameplay, where difficulty comes mainly from lack of medikits.
Visuals of this level are quite decent, with a lot of detail strewn around. This is definitely a strong point of this WAD, as the author makes sure that no wall and no flat remains undetailed. The good things end here, however, and the remaining stuff feels mediocre at best.
Layout consists of 128-units wide corridors with small rooms placed in between. While these corridors branch off into various directions, the map is completely linear. You basically run from switch to switch opening new branches, and you'll be pushing a lot of switches here. The positive is that you never get confused where you need to go next, and, as the map is quite small, backtracking is minimal. The negative is that these corridors are filled with more monsters than they can contain. All fights consist of fighting off incoming waves of enemies that just cram themselves into the corridors. To add some variety, some waves are designed to also teleport behind you, but nevertheless, it gets repetitive very quickly.
There are some floor level changes, but they usually don't make sense. You either go two steps down only to immediately go back two steps up, or the floor level change is gameplay irrelevant and only serves a purpose of providing even more detail to the visuals.
There's also one instance where you fight a wave of respawning revenants where one revenant gets spawned after the previous one dies. This iterates 5 or 6 times, just enough to start me thinking that perhaps some script is broken and stuck in an infinite loop (there are no actual scripts in the WAD, though).
Although this is a ZDoom WAD, it doesn't use much ZDoom features. Those that are used are pretty much limited to modified speeds of sector movement and texture scrolling, and some activators are triggered by monster deaths.
Text file states that the WAD requires ZDoom 2.7.1 to run, but I completed it in Zandronum 1.3 just fine (it's based off ZDoom 2.3).
The zip file contains a directory which in turn contains another directory which contains the .wad and .txt file. Please, don't add any directories to your zip files unless it's necessary. Source ports can load WADs directly from archives if WADs are placed in archive's root, but they get confused when WADs are nested in directories. Having WADs directly in root makes running the game slightly easier for all of us.
Enforcer - Gwenvael Le Bihan (subject_119)
Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 105040 bytes -
Reviewed by: Zalewa
Standard Doom map with standard, undemanding gameplay. There isn't much difficulty, and, thankfully, there are no instances where you have to fight durable monsters with puny weapons, which sometimes is the case in Doom 1 WADs. Detailing is abundant, but also pretty standard: computers in walls, some trim textures, some nukage waterfalls, lamps, holes in the floor or ceiling, and so on.
Layout consists of rooms with rounded, but nevertheless right, angles. While this sometimes translates into a boring map, here it's not that glaring. That's perhaps due to partial non-linearity. There are no major flaws, and the minor ones are just misaligned textures.
From the .txt file we learn that the map takes the spot of E2M9 as it was meant to be a part of a megawad which was cancelled. Moreover, another mapper (the author of the mentioned megawad) is credited for working on this map too, so I think we can say that it actually has two authors. The text file also states that the map will run in doom.exe, but as it contains a visplane overflow, it needs to be run in a limit-removing port instead.
It also seems to be safe to play in cooperative. Text file mentions that cooperative is "player starts only", but I don't see any locations in the map that would get forever cut off due to one of the players dying in a unfortunate spot.
Verdict: it's worth playing, but don't expect a big challenge. The map isn't very long anyway.
World War II Deathmatch - Donnel "Jazzmaster9" Enriquez
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 2181043 bytes
Reviewed by: the_miano
This is a pretty neat wad that contains World War II weaponry. There are three different classes of soldiers you can play as: American, German, and Japanese.
Description of the new weapons:
Grenades (these bounce around a lot which is quite annoying)
M1 Garand rifle
Winchester Model 1897 (pump-action shotgun)
Long range double barrel shotgun
Semi-auto shotgun (I don't know what model this is)
Type 100 (Japanese submachine gun)
M1928A1 (Thompson submachine gun)
MP40 (German submachine gun)
M1919 Browning machine gun
These weapons are fun to use, but you are going to have to enable free-look because the recoil on some of them requires control of the mouse. It would be cooler if there were replaced player sprites with new sprites of WWII soldiers along with realistic weapon reloading sequences.
Overall, not too bad. Give it a download and maybe host a Zandronum server of it.
The /newstuff Chronicles #468