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    The /newstuff Chronicles #477


    • Rage CTF - Mechanix Union
      Doom 2 - CTF Support - CTF - 8231628 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Jjp
      Reviewed with Zandronum 2.0 while playing on a public server.

      Rage CTF consists of 19 CTF maps for multiplayer source ports that support the Doom in Hexen format. The maps are small to medium-sized, and the majority of the maps are techbases or marble brick castle maps, although other themes are present. The maps have nice architecture and detail for the most part, and more importantly, the detail does not block or otherwise annoy players.

      As someone who plays CTF occasionally, I thought that the gameplay of the maps are solid because of their excellent layouts. The height variation as well as the judicious use of bridges help these layouts stand out. There is also a nice variety of routes that players can take, and I never felt that two maps played the same way. Most of these routes are relatively straightforward, while a few routes requires some jumping or usage of switch-activated mechanisms that are mostly intuitive. I also like the strategic placement of windows on some maps, such as map10 and map19.

      The only map that several players, including myself, did not enjoy as much was map15. Its layout is a bit confusing, the switch-activated lowering bars are too slow, and one of the routes to the flag requires some annoying jumping onto stacks of crates. Also, map03's architecture seems a bit bland to me, but it does play well. Finally, it can be hard to distinguish friend from foe in map13's deep water areas. Those are the only real issues that came up for me while I was playing. You should definitely download this wad unless you don't play CTF at all.

    • Urotsuki: Radical Way - Lainos
      Doom 2 - Limit Removing w/ OGG support - Solo Play - 9804884 bytes -
      Reviewed by: DoomLover234
      I played this wad with Skulltag 0.98d.

      So, I wanted to contribute something in some way, so I grabbed this wad and started reviewing. I thought this WAD would be extremely cool, considering its original name.

      Was it, or was it not?

      I was greeted with a custom title screen and some nice music going on in the background. The title screen looked pretty cool, like some kind of town that is demolished.

      I really liked the city design, those bricks on the ground, broken buildings, demolished surroundings... like some ancient ruins. The custom music was playing in the background, but it was buzzing with a crescendo and it started being annoying. This map was built with perfect detail. It was interesting, and it had nice traps. They could be predictable, but they are nicely made.

      But this map isn't all golden. Almost immediately two Mancubuses and a bunch of Spectres attack. It isn't an enemy spam, but it is a pretty nice challenge. I needed a tough challenge to boost my skills, after all. You have limited space fighting these enemies, which gave away a feeling of claustrophobia. There was only a shotgun, a chaingun, and combined with limited health and ammo, and a bunch of tougher enemies like Revenants and Mancubuses, you got yourself a possible, but a hard map.

      After you finally get the blue skull, you meet a Spiderdemon. Armed with a super shotgun. Then, you grab the red key. More Revenants and Mancubuses! But a trap opens behind, revealing Pain Elementals guarding the yellow key. Behind the yellow key door, you'll see millions of boxes of rockets and some Cyberdemons. Climb two lifts and exit the level as fast as you can while avoiding their rockets.

      Overall, Urotsuki: Radical Way is an interesting map with a brilliant design, but the gameplay just ruined it for me. If you ask me, I enjoyed it, but it could've been better by a hundred times. I would've given it 4 stars if there were no Cybies at the end. That part ruins your dreams.

    • Jaxxoon R's Dark Ambient Pack - Jaxxoon R
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 17911631 bytes
      Reviewed by: joe-ilya
      A set of 17 OGG ambient tracks (including a track for the title, the intermission and the text). Some sound creepy, some just make you wanna relax, one of them is just lazy, and there's another special one which is annoying to listen to - it screeches your ears and is too loud compared to the rest of the tracks.

      The author states this is made for other people to use in their own maps, so use the good tracks if you want. Can't really recommend this to anyone. I generally liked playing Doom 2 with this set of tracks, except for MAP07.

    • For Jihad Ally Mujahid Items ACS Enter Script - Mujahid
      N/A - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 3002032 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
      Another in the "For Jihad" series by the self-proclaimed "Mujahid" (aka RV-007), whose earlier work was reviewed in other /newstuff installments and who is either completely insane or a clever troll. This is a gameplay mod which gives you "reinforcements", i.e. by pressing the "use item" key you can deploy either a Taliban with an AK-47, or a rocket launcher wielding guy, to help you against enemies. They tend to die quickly and there's a limited number of them, but when they die they usually drop an "ally Taliban fighter kit" (?!) which you can pick up to summon them again. They also drop a couple of random items every time they die, which means you can use them as a source of infinite ammo and health by summoning and killing them over and over again.

      There are a couple of new items which can get dropped by the Talibans, such as the "portable health kit" with a ridiculously huge sprite that doesn't fit into the box (portable my ass! it's bigger than the marine!), and a "jihad flag" which apparently makes you invulnerable for a limited time.

      So, yeah. This exists for some reason. You can try playing this if you don't mind frequently getting killed by your own "allies" after accidentally wandering into their line of fire. That, or if you're curious what would it look like if contemporary Islamic terrorists fought the Doom hellspawn--no matter who wins, we win...

    • Alfa 4 - Wraith
      Heretic - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 709665 bytes -
      Reviewed by: GooberMan
      There's two words that immediately come to mind for this E2M4 replacement for Heretic - large and slow. The map takes on an industrial theme, and features many crushers to give the impression of machinery doing whatever it is machinery does in the Heretic universe. You start out in one building in an industrial estate of some sort, and after finding the only door initially available to you outside of that building, you find three keys on separate pedestals and a switch that lowers one of them. It's a switch hunt.

      The three locked buildings all take on the exact same gameplay - massive maze filled with enemies and a switch somewhere within that lowers one of the key pedestals. Monster traps take the form of "spawn in at least 15 of a single kind of monster" and thus interplay between different monster types doesn't happen all that often. Health is limited to quartz flasks and mystic urns that are placed sparingly around the map at best - some vials to top up in an emergency would be well appreciated. Each of the mazes drops one or more boss-level monsters in big large areas with plenty of cover, which allows you to easily kite them or run past them on your hunt for that single switch.

      The single-monster-type mobs could be forgiven if it wasn't for the fact that this map is one idea repeated three times. No variance in gameplay plus a large size meant this was a rather dull affair for me. Only recommended if you don't have enough Heretic PWADs in your life, or you plan on a co-op session in the near future.

      This does come with two versions though - a hard and and easy version - in separate WADs. Only the hard version was tested, but I don't see how an easy version would solve the core issues I had with it.

    • Oblivion - Wraith
      Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 498501 bytes -
      Reviewed by: GooberMan
      A nice relaxing stroll through some castles in a lake. That's what is called for. Wait, the water is actually poisonous and you can fall in without an exit?

      Oblivion starts off with a single shot waking up a Spider Mastermind, and then proceeds to bore you for a solid five to ten minutes. There's no nice way to put it. The map starts out virtually empty, with only rare enemies encountered across its vast expanse. It leaves you with little clue as to where to go, except you can't go in to the areas where skull-key-marked barriers are in your way. After aimlessly wandering around you find the first key, only to realise it doesn't work on any of the barriers. Nope, you have to go find the single door available to you somewhere in the map that opens with that key and flick a switch, which proceeds to spawn enemies and lower those barriers. And I hope you've got a good memory, because no clues are left behind as to where those barriers were.

      The map continues in a wander-aimlessly/unlock-door cycle. Perhaps the most impressive thing for a map with such a grid-based layout is how illogical the layout feels. The ammo scarcity comes in to play when it suddenly stops spawning low-tier enemies and throws nothing but mid-tier enemies at you. Walk in to an ambush, kill everything, actually there hasn't been an Archvile lately to resurr- oh, wait, there it is.

      The map is competently made, if blocky, but its biggest crime is just how unremarkable the entire thing is. I can't recommend this one, although your mileage may vary depending on what weapons mod you attempt it with and how many friends you play it with.

    • Plutocracy - franckFRAG
      Plutonia - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 121112 bytes -
      Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
      This is a map for Plutonia that uses map slot28 for some reason. It's pretty big, taking me somewhere between 14 to 20 minutes to beat. The theme is all over the place, containing both wooden and base areas. In terms of difficulty, it is hard but not brutal (except for the starting area, more on that later), containing many high-tier enemies such as arch-viles and large numbers of revenants. The map contains both outdoor and indoor areas, though I probably spent more time fighting indoors. While I liked the level design, there isn't very much logic to it, and it kinda feels like many different areas just slapped together.

      My only real complaint about this level is the brutally hard starting area. Literally at once you are surrounded by chaingunners, arch-viles, revenants, zombies, and other higher-tier monsters. After many failed attempts to beat this area (I played it on UV by the way), I just gave up and used god mode to clear the starting area, before then turning it off again.

      The unfair starting area is the only real black mark on this otherwise very good level though. I never really got lost for very long, and the combat is, for the most part, pretty fun. I wasn't really a big fan of the revenant hordes though, but thankfully they are easy to avoid.

      If you want a fairly solid Plutonia map and don't mind a challenge, then this map is as good as anything else. Just don't be shocked if you get utterly raped by the starting area.

    • Alive - Memfis
      Doom 2 - PrBoom+ - Solo Play - 544726 bytes -
      Reviewed by: antares031
      Alive by Memfis. Played with ZDoom 2.7.1 on UV.

      It's a castle-themed short single level with enjoyable gameplay. The visuals are pretty well done, making me feel like I'm entering the castle in late autumn, which is what the author intended. Overall level design is not linear but not too complex, and you will keep running around since it's wide open areas with little cover, and monsters are shooting projectiles at you from everywhere. Monster and item placements are designed nicely; it will not give you boring experiences, but fair challenges.

      The difficulty is not hard, if you find the secret with the plasma gun. There's two secrets which you can find easily if you explore the map carefully. Some people might complain that the level is too short; it took me four minutes to beat on UV-Max first try. But, it gave me a nice and enjoyable four-minute experience without any cheesy challenges or unfair traps. Bottom line, short map with cool level design and enjoyable gameplay.

    • Bricked - Rhys
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 135220 bytes -
      Reviewed by: antares031
      This will be my very first review for Doomworld community, so please forgive my poor reviewing skill. Played with ZDoom 2.2.0 on Ultra-Violence.

      Bricked features a tech-base themed single level, which took me 15 minutes to beat at first try. It has the original classic Doom design, something you might find from a 90's map or TNT:Evilution. I must say that the level design is not bad, but it might be boring to some people since it doesn't feature any new graphics and textures.

      The gameplay is also pretty much basic. There are no heavy bloodbaths or overwhelmingly complex puzzles. It doesn't give you a fresh experience, but just like one of the maps from classic Doom, you open the door and monsters will greet you, you pick up the blue key and the monster closet will open. The progression is a little bit linear, but it was acceptable for me.

      It's not a great level, but just another basic tech-base themed level. Still, I can say that the author gave his effort to design it. The item and monster placement is not cheap, and I couldn't find misaligned textures except a door near the blue key door. If you are looking for new combat experience, Bricked is definitely not the right choice. On the other hand, if you like classic level design just like the original Doom, you might try this one.

    • Beta Labs - Serious_MOod, Chaingunner
      Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1060508 bytes -
      Reviewed by: joe-ilya
      A tribute to the alpha version of Doom, due to the big reveal of rejected graphics provided by Romero himself, these two mappers decided to take a chance and use it all in this single-episode wad. It replaces the bonus items (armor bonuses, health bonuses) and uses compact layouts inspired by the alpha Doom layouts, the chaingun in now a machine gun, the pistol is replaced with a rifle, the fist is the same rifle but with spikes, lost souls are now the lost souls from alpha Doom, and the MIDIs are replaced with the official unused Doom MIDIs provided by Romero. And there's even a custom HUD.

      Maps are primarily using the alpha Doom resources. Gameplay in each map is varied; it goes from normal to hard, which means you're starting in a challenging map straight away, no introductions here, they're very colorful and varied for a single theme. They're usually short and have huge amounts of traps in them. E1M7 is the only normal map here and probably the harshest. The boss map which is E1M8 has the player finally going outdoors. The exits of every map are inspired by the alpha Doom exits: it's a switch next to the exit door that you have to push instead of a plain button. It's a frenzy yet harsh episode wad and only people who have the patience to survive all the deadly traps and go through a completely claustrophobic set of 8/9 maps on the ultra-violence difficulty; the guys who aren't all hardcore should play on a lower difficulty instead.

    • Reconstruction/Decomposition - Da Werecat
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible w/ OGG support - Solo Play - 5887037 bytes -
      Reviewed by: joe-ilya
      An atmospheric map that even made it to the runners up during the most recent Cacowards. The wad contains upgrades to the bullet weapons (pistol and chaingun) and the mugshots are removed; you have a cracked screen instead, possibly to keep the quiet atmosphere in place (there's an ambient MP3 track).

      The map's atmospheric, professional, and creepy as I've said, but it still keeps up the action, the difficulty, and the pace; there's even a cyber and a warning of a wet floor. The progression in this map is great, first you start in pipeworks and get out of it via vents to a sprawling non-linear base with lots to do and explore. After that you go to a room with a locked door only to find out that the door you just went through is now leading to space (?) instead of the base. After grabbing the blue key you return to the base only to find out it got infested by arch-viles and a cyberdemon, so quick? Oh yeah, time in space goes faster, heh. Anyways, after killing the cyber or just rushing into the room behind the blue door, you have to jump into space again, but to exit this time.

      The next map is a non-event; it doesn't even have an exit, there's absolutely nothing to it apart from the nice campfire light, the architecture, and the fascinating sign you have in the final that says "The end?" Will there be a sequel? It was fun, and I'm sure it will be for everyone. Everyone should play this amazing experience!

    • Glitched Ending - Doomguy 2000
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 2142865 bytes -
      Reviewed by: Obsidian
      A wad file that replaces the BOSSBACK and monster role call with MissingNo; it's a slightly neat idea that has the potential to be applied interestingly, but as it stands it's nothing to write home about. Although to be honest I don't think anyone writes home for anything anymore; Twitter home about, perhaps? Eh, I'll work on it. Either way, I'd recommend downloading something else.

    • Metal Vault - Ioan Chera
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 33903 bytes -
      Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
      A short E1M1 replacement, set in a "mysterious hellish vault" with eccentric architecture. The architecture is creative; it really looks like a bizarre, incomprehensible structure, and if that was the author's goal, he succeeded. For instance, the gargoyle faces which slowly erase themselves when activated are a quite memorable weird feature.

      The map can be a bit tough the first time you play it, as for a long time you get almost no health pickups. The ending feels a bit abrupt and the fights with the barons are nothing special. Overall, I see potential in this map, but it's way too short and the theme of oddness isn't developed enough. The visuals are rather sparse; if you're allergic to 1994/1995 simplicity it might bother you, but personally I didn't mind it.

      Oh - and why is it called "Metal Vault" if the building is obviously built of brick?

    • Phobos Tunnel - Ioan Chera
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 56809 bytes -
      Reviewed by: joe-ilya
      One lazy un-playtested map this one is. First of all, it's not creative at all; its layout is lazy and uninspired, as you just go through cramped tunnels (hence the title of this wad) and kill monsters at the end of it. Sometimes it makes you look both ways or backtrack for a trap, but that's about it. The map has awful mechanics; you need to go through weird lift activators and forced nukage walks that even make you backtrack through them, no health, no radiation suits, nothing. Everything sucks about this wad, the theme is pure randomness. Don't try this at home, this is impossible to even beat.

    • High-Tech Outpost Facility - Omegalore
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 7565444 bytes -
      Reviewed by: GooberMan
      This WAD is a collection of a new map and a remastered version of an old one.

      The MAP01 slot showcases the new map, and is a techbase map with new monsters and detail straight out of Tormentor667's guide. It's a rather undemanding map; running through this on UV shouldn't present a challenge to anyone that's been playing Doom for quite some time. The new monster usage is rather restrained and welcome, which is more that can be said for the sprawling nature of the map. Such a large map, filled with mostly low to a few select mid-tier monsters and no surprises. The author says that this map is his first attempt to make his maps less linear, and it seems that the solution used is to put the two keys and one switch required to finish it in seemingly arbitrary locations. There's no real flow to the map, which is quite possible in non-linear maps (the original IWADs are full of examples of this), and seems to indicate that the mapping style employed is to just lay down rooms until the author is satisfied.

      The MAP02 slot just further hammers this home. The map sprawls even more, with a single keycard needing to be found somewhere in that map to get to the end. I had done a complete lap of the map and had to go automap hunting to spot any potential areas I may have missed to guess where the card was. The most encouraging sign of this map is that the author actually has progressed and learned lessons which have been subsequently employed in MAP01.

      I would suggest that the author actually reign in and focus his maps in to more tightly controlled experiences. The first map reduced in size by 75% and with more inventive monster encounters would provide a solid first map for an episode replacement. A map of this size really needs a plan and a flow sketched out before committing to detailing. Before too long, we may see some good maps from Omegalore. As it stands, this WAD is a curiosity displaying an author still trying to find his feet.

    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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    Don't take my review as discouragement. My early released output needlessly sprawled too. I certainly approached Doom Arcade with a "oh, sweet, now I can put this here" mentality. It was well received then, but I find it absolutely painful to play these days.

    If you intend on making a large map, map out a flow with the most basic geometry imaginable and then build around that. Make that flow constantly interesting, and then worry about adding extra fun rooms and detail.

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    Nice, my review made it :)

    Also, is it Mancubi or Mancubuses? I wrote Mancubi, but someone replaced it with Mancubuses so I wonder...

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    Mancubuses sounds infinitely sillier, though. And it's also a made-up monster name created by mishmashing real Latin words into one. It's already psuedo-Latin designed to sound demonic and cool, why try applying grammatical rules to what is already a linguistic abomination?

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    DoomLover234 said:

    Also, is it Mancubi or Mancubuses? I wrote Mancubi, but someone replaced it with Mancubuses so I wonder...

    Mancubuses is a regular English plural; you can basically pluralize any word by adding -s (or -es if the word already ends in -s) and in most case nobody would find it a mistake.

    Mancubi is a Latin-looking plural which might work if mancubus was a word in the same group as succubus (for example); however mancubus is a made-up word so it has no official Latin plural. And no, Latin words in -us do not always pluralize in -i (examples: corpus => corpora, opus => opera, virus => virus, octopus => octopodes because that one is actually borrowed from the Greek) and not all English words in -us take a Latin plural anyway (schoolbus => schoolbuses, definitely not schoolbi or schoolbera or whatever). So in doubt, "mancubuses" is more correct than mancubi.

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    What other words exist besides made-up words? They don't just come out of thin air.

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    Gez said:

    Mancubi is a Latin-looking plural which might work if mancubus was a word in the same group as succubus (for example); however mancubus is a made-up word so it has no official Latin plural.

    But AFAIK it's specifically constructed to derive from the word "succubus".
    In a different example, if you made up the nonexistent word "supersuccubus" it would still have the plural "supersuccubi". Likewise, if you simply replace the first syllable the rest of the word should still have the same declension. Thank you for reading my spirited rant about the proper declension of the plural of an imaginary character from a silly video game.

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    Language is when person one says something and person two understands what person one wanted them to understand. So far everyone in this thraed is succeeding, therefore we have no problems regarding language.

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