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    The /newstuff Chronicles #486


    Bloodshedder

    • Skirmish One-on-One Duel - Argent Agent [A.K.A. Zakurum]
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 2.15 MB -
      Reviewed by: Obsidian
      Don't mind me, just posting a DM review for Decay again. Cheerio!

      -Sid

      Skirmish 1 on 1 is a set of 20 duel maps that may or may not be cross-port compatible. There are allegations that it is, but I definitely can't be bothered to redownload the other source ports for verification. Not like there's anybody there to play the maps anyway, but I digress. Zakurum aka Argent Agent aka Argentum aka Burgeroni Supreme is the author, and I've had the pleasure of working with him on a couple projects and testing another, so now I am reviewing this! Though a disclaimer should be noted that this association will not really impact the review in terms of positivity or negativity.

      Skirmish has been two years in development, and actually this was the first project I remember seeing from Argentum. I never really got the chance to play it until now, in part due to the duelXX monopoly on Zandronum, and other parts apathy of dueling at the time of development. I dueled Marcaek and Argentum himself on these maps in Zandronum with old-school flags (no freelook, no item respawn, etc).

      Before playing it, I ran through the maps for a visual inspection and potential snag problems. Skirmish bears Argentum's trademark cleanliness, exhibiting a very polished look with a seemingly minimalist approach to detail. Although this pack truly reeks of Doom IWAD themes, it does an excellent job of refraining from DWANGO-style detail, and doesn't really remind me of old shitty map packs at all. Certain multiplayer authors here could refer to skirmish for inspiration of old-school theme without adding new-school-like detail. You might wonder why this matters, but in a duel you need to focus on your opponent more than anything else. Gothic99 is a perfect example of how to fuck that up greatly. A clean look is helpful to avoid a sense of claustrophobic areas, cramped-ness, and visual distracted-ness.

      Speaking of being clean, there is very little to hinder movement in these maps. There are only one or two instances I can think of while actually purposely trying to find places that could potentially fuck a player over because they got caught on an edge, like your jean belt loops getting caught on a door handle.

      There is a scheme here of having health in the exits. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and also an abundance of alcove spawns, and goddamn I hate alcove spawns. There are some questionable spawns, in terms of weapon balance in proximity to another spawn, i.e. shotgun spawn very close to a SSG spawn which also has a green armor and health bonuses nearby. There was a map that had a bunch of spawns behind doors, and that's really fucking dumb. Some of the BFG gimmicks are pretty well executed, and some maps lacked a BFG where I felt that it would've been appropriate, although I'm no big fan of the BFG.

      The music was appropriate; Arg is pretty good for music selection in general and this is no exception. No awful midi rip-offs of rock and metal. Appropriately, they gave off a proper Doom duel feel; you don't really get that with metal song midis, or truly new-school appropriate midis/OGGs.

      I asked Argentum to give me a few maps specifically for evaluation, since I didn't want/have time to play them all. I looked through all of them though on my own, but these are what we played. They are fairly representative though of what the entire pack would be like.

      MAP02: Fairly balanced map, seems to draw inspiration from the classic duel map ssl2. This is a map that was selected to go into the notorious Duel40. I find that overall, compared to the later maps I played, it was fairly generic. This one I would accuse more of being hallways around a central arena, though the ways that hallways panned out really lent themselves to staying inside. Staying outside was pretty dangerous for extended periods of time, and you really needed to stay on your toes here.

      MAP12: Guerrilla-style map. This one is really generic and plain to the point of being ugly. I got wracked on this one. It has a lot of interconnectivity, which is normally good and certainly characteristic of most of the maps, but I'm not inclined to care for this one. You would take some damage, and then by the time you figured out where that damage was coming from, your opponent is on the other side of the map. You can REALLY drag it out if you want to; I suspect though someone with a rushing playstyle, very aggressive, would do well here. Unfortunately, since I'm not an aggressive or hostile person, that's not good for me, so I ended up being picked apart fairly easily.

      MAP15: It's gothic that doesn't play like shit! Some of the spawns in this map made no sense; i.e. why have a shotgun spawn with a SSG spawn like 96 units away? You might as well just do all SSG spawns on this map, and it would be one of the few that doesn't really suffer for that due to the variety of fighting places in the map. The RL could've been better serviced here, or maybe a plasma rifle. Downside to that would be extra ammo for BFG, but that's fairly easy to guard anyway...

      MAP18: By now I'm getting this trend of map complexity. There are many different styles of play you could pull off in many of these maps, and that's due to the fighting space. Instead of focusing on hallways around a central arena, the areas of contest are really flowing in the map itself. There was fighting in pretty much every part of the map, and I could switch around weapons fairly comfortably for particular shots. The SSG was still king, but there was a degree of flexibility.

      MAP20: I really enjoyed this map, though it was one of the few that featured a snagging beam. Kind of annoying, but there is enough space to get around it; edges are the worst in cramped corridors, so it's OK. This map was a lot more centralized in where there was fighting, though that was due to two reasons. 1) My opponent was green coloured, and I could not see him very well against the green marble, so I dragged him out to the brown cavern. 2) In said cavern was a fairly easy access BFG that required watching.

      Looks: Overall, these are mostly old-school themes done right. There are a few bland maps that stick out like a sore thumb though, but for the most part, thumbs up from me. If you're looking to jam in a new OS themed wad, I would definitely recommend this.

      Game play: For the most part, I was really impressed how balanced the maps were. Most of the games I played were close matches, and really came down to who has better aim and evasion as opposed to advantageous spawns and weapon layout. There is a lot of flexibility here, and that is better than the slow-ass duel map he made for ProgDuel. There's little to no snagging and considerable thought to BFG gimmicks and item placement in general, with few problems here and there.

      Overall: This is a pretty solid set that deserves at least a play through. You could probably swing some 4-man DM on the maps, and if you're looking to make modern/good playing maps with OS themes, and by OS themes I mean IWAD and popular megawads, this would be a good source of inspiration. I'm looking forward to the next projects and maps he puts out.

    • The Brotherhood of Ruin Deathmatch - Kristian Aro
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 223.7 KB -
      Reviewed by: the_miano
      The Brotherhood of Ruin Deathmatch (ruindm.zip) is a one-level deathmatch WAD. According to the text file, it was made back in July 25th 2000 by Kristian Aro. The theme of the map is supposed to resemble ruins of some kind of ancient temple or tomb.

      Aesthetics: For the most part, I'm guessing that the author was influenced by some of the gothic themed maps from the 90's. There are custom green brick/vine textures which look OK. It seems very cut and paste. Almost every part of the map looks the same. The deep water effect was neat, but I disliked the script that tampers with the movement speed of the player when underwater. The outdoor areas are rather plain with nothing but rock textures, but the orange sky texture gives it a nice touch though.

      Layout: When testing this out online via Odamex, I wasn't very pleased with the layout of the map. There were many parts of the map that were too cramped with narrow 64 wide hallways (for all you people who map edit, you know what the hell I'm talking about). Many of the cramped corners had items that were difficult to grab because you would constantly bump into every damn edge around you. There were also a sector with narrow stairs. Going up is no problem, but going back down was a pain in the ass. The ceiling was too low and every time you tried running down the steps, you would hit the top of the ceiling wall as if you were hitting your head on it. It's a horrible flaw to be honest because you can easily get fragged behind by opponents. Because the layout was so cockeyed, most of the gameplay was spent getting lost in stead of fragging. There were too many moments of "Wasn't I just here?" and "How do I get there again?" A deathmatch map, especially one that is supposed to be implemented for 2-4 players should never have to be confusing. Inescapable lava pits were also unnecessary, especially when a player falls in one right after they pick up an easy to grab megasphere. It's a waste of time to sit and wait to be slowly killed in a pit of lava with 200 health/armor.

      Items/thing placement: The player spawns are just placed around in areas far away from other spawns. With a confusing layout, this delivers slow and uneventful gameplay even with 4 players. There are also pistol spawns which are annoying and a potential death trap when spawned near opponents. The weapon and ammo balance is weak. There are 4 super shotguns, 2 rocket launchers, 1 regular shotgun, and 1 chaingun. Too many super shotguns and not enough chainguns and regular shotguns. Couldn't there be a plasma rifle or BFG somewhere too? Health pack are also scarce.

      Overall, this is not really a good map mostly due to the horrendous layout. In all honesty, the layout should have been much better for something that was made back in 2000.

    • The Night Train - enderkevin13
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 196.85 KB -
      Reviewed by: Jjp
      Reviewed with ZDoom 2.7.1 on UV.

      The Night Train consists of a single map for ZDoom-based ports that predictably takes place on a moving train. It is a short, extremely linear map, and there isn't a lot of room to move. There's mostly brown texturing and fairly simplistic detailing. The illusion of a moving train is pulled off decently, at least. Meanwhile, the map has average gameplay. Some areas are poorly designed and are annoying to move around in, such as the train car with the really small boxes scattered around it.

      This map is okay, although the concept has been executed more competently in the past.

    • MAIN2.WAD - Guy M. Babin
      Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 103.41 KB -
      Reviewed by: Memfis
      This map was made in 1996, but 19 years later the author decided that it needed some minor texture fixes and that's why we have MAIN2.WAD now. It is a HOUSE.WAD in every sense of the word, complete with a computer on a wooden table, a toilet, and some cute attempts at faking 3D. The gameplay is very carefree, as you get lots of supplies everywhere, and the design is mostly bland, with the exception of the outdoor area which has a nice green color theme to it. There's really not much else to say; it's just a very typical 90's level that takes about five minutes to complete and doesn't make much of an impression. The archive also includes a Doom 2 version with some textural differences and an SSG, which probably makes things more fun.

    • What if Bobby Prince had punk rock albums instead of metal? - Ilya "joe" Lazarev and the MIDI makers
      Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 122.8 KB -
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      "How many licks does it take to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop?"
      "How do you type with boxing gloves on?"
      "What if Bobby Prince had punk rock albums instead of metal?"

      All of the above are questions people would ask as a joke. Unless you're bored, have four hours to waste, and - especially for the last question - a ton of karaoke punk rock midis! Yes, this is "Doom + Doom2" number of punk rock midis. Thy Flesh Consumed was not deemed worthy of replacements. Given that there are no melodies to be found in these midis, perhaps the title of this WAD could have been "What if Bobby Prince had Wesley Willis albums instead of metal?" Missed opportunity, Joe!

      So I decided to actually listen to these. Well, I tried. Almost three hours of it. What became immediately apparent is that the stock SoundCanvas guitar samples are absolute shit for punk rock, and since these midis are filled with Overdrive Guitar, Fingered Bass and Standard Kit voices, get ready for the most monotonous music pack possible.

      And most of these songs are what most would consider "deep" cuts - none of these songs are the punk songs everyone knows. American Idiot? Nowhere to be found. Wanna be Sedated? You might want to be after three levels in, but please, look elsewhere. The quality of the midis are all over the place, nauseating at best and nails-on-chalkboard at worst. And didn't we have enough of these wads in the mid-90s anyway?

      I cannot recommend this to anybody. Save yourself and do not download this. I'd rather hear the terrible "Head Like a Hole" midi, hell, any NIN midi from the 90s, than almost three hours of repetitive guitar samples.

      Bleugh.

    • Somewhere in Irem - Breezeep
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 210.61 KB -
      Reviewed by: Memfis
      Somewhere in Irem is a small map inspired by Map01 of download.wad, which I made in 2013. Design-wise it looks like something straight out of "Revelations of Doom": an atmospheric and well-detailed ancient temple with some lava and vines growing everywhere. The combat, however, is less hot. It relies a lot on repopulating previously visited areas with teleporting hordes of monsters, which feels cheap and isn't even that effective. In all these situations I found it trivial to secure a safe spot and then simply provoke infighting. And the rest of the encounters were like filler: just small packs of imps and demons to take care of. It wasn't very exciting. In summary, irem.wad is a beautiful level with somewhat rushed gameplay that takes about five minutes to finish. Check it out mainly for the visuals.

    • Metro 2034 Redux (Lite Edition) - XCVG
      Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 3.49 MB -
      Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
      A short and funny jokewad by XCVG, based upon the book Metro 2034, that was based upon the book and game Metro 2033, a game that I heard about some years ago from an Italian YouTuber (Farenz) and described with:

      [tl;dr from the video] "When I play to a game I'll take every aspects of it [...] with Metro 2033 I liked the fact they sets it almost in the Moscow metropolitan sections, it contributed to keep the tension high for the player in it, and the developers make a great work for keeping it, too bad that... I don't get a shit. I'll never played a game where the more you play and see the plot the more you've been disoriented... monsters, aliens, other dimensions... Christ, this game is a fucking mess!"

      Because of this I didn't play it, so I don't have any comparison with the original source, but since it is based upon the book, but this book is based upon another book that created the Metro 2033 game, so... Ahhh, I'm taking this review off track already, so let's continue!

      So, what about this wad?

      The story centers about a group of refugees after a nuclear war that devastated Russia, maybe the entire world, but the thing we need to know is that people live in the metro stations and they became like little cities in their own right, attacked by monsters and mutants that infest the abandoned railways. But one day the ammo and guns became scarce, so it's time for a squad of brave warriors to travel in the railways searching for stations with guns and such stuff.

      The layout and gameplay is pretty simple and straightforward; it contains some cool voxel items (oh, I really like the arch-vile mutant guy for the non-voxel things) and little detailing, but the strength point of this wad is its scripted story and cutscenes. There's some nice comedy here; if you want to play a funny comedy wad, this is the map for you!

    • The Backyard - gaspe
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 590.74 KB -
      Reviewed by: Memfis
      "The Backyard" is a small wad inspired by Eternal Doom. You load it and immediately notice the main problem with the level: its rather nonsensical texturing theme. Yeah, for some reason the author thought that computer panels, electric lamps and other techbase parts go well with castles. And maybe sometimes they do, especially when you're going for an abstract style that was so popular in the 90's. However, this map was clearly made with modern approach in mind, therefore I see the incoherent texturing as a rather serious flaw.

      What else is there? Switch hunting, of course! We are in Eternal Doom after all. Now, this part of the map worked much better in my opinion. I enjoyed exploring the castle, which was a tad bit puzzling but not annoying in the slightest. Unfortunately, the playing area was simply too small to provide a real sense of adventure (I reached the exit in five minutes) and the action was too basic to be memorable. So unfortunately, I don't have any strong reason to recommend downloading this wad.

    • THE ABYSS - H2SO4 & MrElusive
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 1.72 MB -
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      Well, this was a long time coming.

      Ever since Kaiser found THE ABYSS while crawling the id Software servers around 2003, I have been pushing to get this WAD into the archives - even going as far as to modify it to follow the rules, with Mr. Elusive's exclusive permission to do so. Eventually, I realized that butchering the wad to make it follow the /idgames archive rules (and reshuffle markers to allow coop play on Skulltag at the time) was not worth it. I then attempted to upload the file as-is, and was rejected. Bummer.

      After several posts of "heated debate" on Doomworld Forums about the legality of uploading this WAD, since it contains modified stock Doom and Doom II levels, I gave up on uploading the original, and asked Esselfortium to host the modified file for Skulltag coop on his server. Then, the unthinkable happened - his server disappeared entirely, and not even a day later, my hard drive crashed. I had lost the modified version entirely, and there was no getting it back.

      After Ty's passing, I decided to give it another chance. I had been meaning to talk with Ty about the matter recently, but as he was busy dealing with the Terrywad bullshit, I refrained from asking him once more about it. When TheGreenHerring took over some of the /idgames administration work, I gave it another shot after heavy debate on IRC. The decision was eventually unanimous - we as a community can't risk losing another WAD, especially one created by one of John Carmack's best buddies. This time, things would be different.

      After twelve years of trying, and after the routine confirmation email, it was finally in the archives.

      Now what? After all that, what exactly is this WAD? Well, it's a 1995 WAD. If your expectations are already lowered, you'll need to re-calibrate, because this one might short them out.

      Within these 24 levels are the most non-linear dungeon-crawling maps I've played. Map design is extremely competent, with clever architecture throughout the levels, including Roman, Gothic, and even Bauhaus styles. Clever use of textures to fit the map creates a "clean" look, a technique that would be rediscovered by Espi in Suspended In Dusk many years later. There are secrets everywhere, including some that must be discovered to progress, although these are few in number and can be spotted if you look hard enough. Switch puzzles, room-over-room effects, and elevators are included, years before these became mapping trends. There's even flat detailing.

      Did I also mention continuity? THE ABYSS has it, including a story told through its map design. From what I gather, the protagonist is a dungeon crawler/amateur archaeologist looking through mountains for mystical artifacts (represented by weapons, strangely enough). He gets trapped near the entrance of an old mine, and has to find a way out. Of course, not everything is as it seems, as demon guards hear his footsteps. The only weapons are pistol, chainsaw and berserk fist in a dedicated Tyson map. The rest I won't tell in this review - find out for yourself!

      Gameplay-wise, it ranges from "super-easy" to "imp fireballs from all angles". Solo-net play may actually help in some cases - I haven't had the time to analyze the differences. Multiplayer, though? These maps flow very very well, with a few exceptions. My personal favorite is MAP01 - with 4 players and berserk powerups everywhere, it's hilarious to see who gets beat to a pulp first.

      Yes, the WAD plays smart, but it's starting to show its age now. I mean, it's 20 years old. That's older than the Brutal Doom target demographic! But that it's held up this long is a testament to its replay value. If there's a new weapons mod out there, I test it with ABYSS. If there's a graphics replacement wad, I usually test it with ABYSS? Why? I dunno. I just do. It's fun.

      So yeah.. uh... play it. Throw it on some Zandronum servers. Please? It needs to be played in all its marbled glory.

    • Vanillic Acid - Doom14
      Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 151.59 KB -
      Reviewed by: Sulfur Occult
      In a word: "decent." Doom14 is clearly a competent mapper, and my play-through of this single level has certainly convinced me to keep on eye out for his/her name in the future. The action unfolds throughout a mostly grey bunker/base type structure, starting the player off against the typical smaller enemies and ultimately prodding you with a few tricky situations against some tougher baddies. The general formula is a familiar one: player sees obstacle, player finds switch, switch opens monster closet, monster closet contains switch to bypass obstacle. Ain't broken, don't fix it. The visuals are good overall; the level has some good details spread throughout with lots of computer banks and techno/industrial looking... ya know, stuff. Difficulty is a little on the easy side, though I grant that some of the encounters are potentially very difficult. The final trap, for example, is likely a "you managed to get through the level with enough resources to survive the final fight or you're just dead" situation (I had 200 health and armor at this point, so even taking 3-4 really nasty revenant attacks did not really endanger me). Although not a whole lot of content to be had here--the map takes about 10-12 minuets to complete first time through--it's worth a shot if you are the type who enjoys getting a reader's digest version of Doom fun each week. If Doom14 could consistently produce maps of this quality and compile them into a megawad, well, that would certainly be quite a respectable body of work!

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    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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    Memfis said:

    "The Backyard" is a small wad inspired by Eternal Doom. You load it and immediately notice the main problem with the level: its rather nonsensical texturing theme. Yeah, for some reason the author thought that computer panels, electric lamps and other techbase parts go well with castles. And maybe sometimes they do, especially when you're going for an abstract style that was so popular in the 90's. However, this map was clearly made with modern approach in mind, therefore I see the incoherent texturing as a rather serious flaw.

    What else is there? Switch hunting, of course! We are in Eternal Doom after all. Now, this part of the map worked much better in my opinion. I enjoyed exploring the castle, which was a tad bit puzzling but not annoying in the slightest. Unfortunately, the playing area was simply too small to provide a real sense of adventure (I reached the exit in five minutes) and the action was too basic to be memorable. So unfortunately, I don't have any strong reason to recommend downloading this wad.


    At first the plan was to put more tech stuff but in the process I went to put more castle stuff. I wanted to try to achieve that particular quirk style of mixing gothic and futuristic. I think that the flaw here is in the short lenght I decided to give to the map, which didn't allow to make more distinct parts and to develop them in a more interesting way.
    Also, what do you mean with "modern approach"?
    I'm glad you liked (at least :P) the puzzle side of the map.
    Thanks for the review!

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    Memfis said:

    Somewhere in Irem is a small map inspired by Map01 of download.wad, which I made in 2013. Design-wise it looks like something straight out of "Revelations of Doom": an atmospheric and well-detailed ancient temple with some lava and vines growing everywhere. The combat, however, is less hot. It relies a lot on repopulating previously visited areas with teleporting hordes of monsters, which feels cheap and isn't even that effective. In all these situations I found it trivial to secure a safe spot and then simply provoke infighting. And the rest of the encounters were like filler: just small packs of imps and demons to take care of. It wasn't very exciting. In summary, irem.wad is a beautiful level with somewhat rushed gameplay that takes about five minutes to finish. Check it out mainly for the visuals.


    Honestly, I don't really see how the gameplay is rushed. I wanted the map's gameplay to be a bit challenging and nothing too hard, but thank you for the review.

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    Glad to see that my 1v1 wad (Skirmish) was finally reviewed (by none other than the bourgeois Decay). A quite detailed and fair review which pretty much captures the essence of Skirmish 1-On-1. There are a few things I'd fix now if I had delayed the final release even more than I already had, but I think it stands fine as it is now. I hope to see more Multiplayer Wad reviews like this.

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    Ive been away from the community for a few years. I thought it must be dead by now but Im pleased to see Doomworld is still alive and kicking. The Newstuff Chronicles was always my favourite feature at doomworld. Some good reviews as usual, Im about to give 'The Abyss' a run and will return with my verdict.

    EDIT: I just tried 'Abyss' using gzdoom and enjoyed it very much up to the point where I gave up looking for one of those secrets that are needed to continue, somewhere on level 2 I think. I will investigate farther after I get fed up re-discovering my own old (mostly 'legacy') pwads which I think will need some design mods to improve gameplay and make them gzdoom compatible now that it looks like Legacy wont be using opengl anymore.

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