dib map26/27 - TimeOfDeath
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 631.61 KB -
Reviewed by: Alfonzo
No fancy title-work here; this is a straight-forward fusion of two maps from TOD's Drown in Blood megawad (a collaboration) with a few new twists and a gigaton of demonflesh. The source material isn't readily accessible like many works for Doom, but I was glad to have tracked it down with a little help from my friends – the comparison is interesting. TOD has bookended the more substantial map27 with two halves of the previous level, eliminating the coop segments and creating a more complete experience from a pairing that was already consistent, thematically. Make no mistake, though, visuals are the last thing you'll be concerned with in this technical exercise.
This "Jenga Doom" is a symmetrical layout with a methodical and slow-burning puzzle element. It's an hour-long experience, but unlike many levels of that length almost all of it is perceivable by the player before the tasks are executed: 30 minutes of the running-time is spent battling dutiful hordes enroute to the next SW1SATYR, for example. Once you penetrate the inner sanctum it's equal parts chin-scratching and hair-tearing as you try to overcome some of the more technical setups that are staples of TOD's brand: timed shootable swiches, two-shotting cyberdemons etc.. Play like this has its detractors – if it weren't for the relative level of difficulty I'd think it an absolute bore as opposed to a slight one – but TOD is not interested in playing to the home crowd. This /newstuff review will likely gain as many fans for the style as it loses.
Warning to the uninitiated: TimeOfDeath is a comedian. Keep on the look-out for any tongue-in-cheek terminations of your playing experience. F6 is your friend.
Lava Flow - Greg Hagedorn aka (The Poolman)
Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 32.88 KB -
Reviewed by: RottKing
Another mid 90's Heretic map which was also compiled onto the H!Zone collection. The last 90's Heretic map I reviewed was a pretty pleasant surprise, but this one not so much. This time it's single player and more along the lines of what I was expecting from a mid 90's map. Very haphazard and confusing progression, sloppy design, vomit item placement, and boring boxy rooms are the order of the day here. I actually thought this was meant to be a deathmatch map at first because the layout was so bizarre and interconnected, but nope, just a badly designed single player experience. If you enjoy 90's weirdness I guess you might be able to get a kick out of it, but otherwise don't bother.
Skulldash (Version 1.0) - Joshua 'Dragonfly' O'Sullivan
Doom 2 - Zandronum - Solo Play - 18.16 MB -
Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
This mod is the bee's knees. That was a horrible attempt at emulating the good ol' days. This mod isn't.
Now, I'm just about completely ignorant to things like mapper's names, trends of old and new (except older wads had a hard-on for marble), and partly the entire social economy of Doom. It used to be, the only time I'd visit Doomworld was to browse for wads or get recommendations for wads. I used to be a bit of a hermit. But Skulldash started getting me interested in Doomer society, for really no reason.
Skulldash is an arcade throwback, bursting with levels and intriguing gameplay. First off, the first half of the name refers to skull tokens that you must collect throughout each level. It really adds an encouragement for exploration and fast-paced gameplay. The bonus tokens also aid you with extra health, armor, time, or a whole lotta armor. The second half of the name refers to the hauling of your ass across the level before the time limit turns you into some nice cold cuts, with salt. However, you usually won't be salty after a time death. The maps give you flexible time limits, they're fun to replay, and you don't even need to collect all the tokens before leaving a level. You only need to collect 75% to open the exit (you still hit switches and all that jazz too, so don't think you're getting off easy!). But if you do collect all the tokens in a level, it usually gives you a decent bonus. If you get all the tokens in a mapset, or tier, you unlock a secret level, which are pretty gimmicky, but still pretty fun and imaginative. All levels also revert you to pistol start, which helps heal a certain condition I call "Megawad scaling disorder". When you play megawads that are continuous, you end up having all weapons on hand and the mapper has to scale up the difficulty. However, when the player has everything already, the increase in difficulty can feel unwarranted or over the top. But if it isn't over the top, then it's too easy, and you feel like it's a chore to plow through the last 10 levels. Skulldash knows this, and vaccines it with proper scaling item and enemy placement. You'll go a while without finding a BFG, and when you do, you might not find another for a while. The enemies are also superbly placed, knowing what level they're in and how powerful they should be. No bullshit revenant snipers on level 3 for you! All these mechanics coalesce to bring a classic Doom experience. Tense, action-packed, and incredulous fun are just a few words. It also helps introduce newer or less skilled players to the normal, speedy way of playing Doom nowadays.
The gameplay isn't the only thing on point, although I don't let other things ruin the experience for me anyways. All the maps look great, and it looks like the design of the levels allowed for great looking structures to exist. The levels are fun to explore, have a bunch of interesting nooks and crannies, and all feel like they're really the level it's titled. Although, on a bit of a lesser note, the music is forgettable. In fact, I can't recall the melody of a single song. I think I ended up playing my own music anyways. I know it's not bad, but sorta typical. Really felt like background music. But a very small mark, so very insignificant, to a masterpiece.
The only real complaint I have with this wad is that it is incompatible with most mods. Skulldash has a new HUD, a few new enemies, new textures, and defaults to Doom pistol when you begin a game. Weapon mods are out, except in a few cases (I remember either GMOTA or Contra Doom worked), enemy TCs can pass sometimes, texture mods... well, they just don't apply. Even mods that don't screw with the game too much, like Smooth Doom, usually change the HUD, and that's the only way to see how much time you have left. Only soft mods usually pass (aesthetic mods, like Ketchup Gore). I enjoyed the base game very much, but I imagined how much fun I could've re-had by replaying it with Trailblazer and Colorful Hell. I have the same problem with Valiant, too.
In conclusion, Skulldash is an amazing wad, filled with unique environments, awesome gameplay, and genius level design. With fast-paced gameplay and tension throughout, you won't need mods to enhance this level pack: it's the real deal!
The Trials 2 - Phil Walker
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 108.56 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Time for a more puzzle-oriented map I guess! Or at least, we'll see. The initial switch sequence is quite nice, but after this the map starts to go downhill. Gameplay is like nonexistent, but the worst thing is that the map is frustrating to play. You have mainly the pistol as your weapon, and health and shells for the (secret) shotgun are almost absent. When you reach the teleport puzzle the things become just repetitive tasks. The author missed the mark here.
Doom 2's Consumed earth - Various
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 627.31 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
"Doom has E4 and Doom 2 doesn't?" With this question joe-ilya proposed to make a community project of ten maps with the aim to tell the journey of Doomguy's return to home traveling through the earth's ruins after beating the Icon of Sin. There were also few rules set for this project, with the most interesting to make the end of a map as the start of the next one, to give a strong sense of continuity in the episode. In the end only seven maps were made.
After a very weird initial sequence to simulate the explosion of the IoS, you are already under a crossfire with monsters pretty much everywhere. Totally different is MAP02 with its more calm pace. MAP03 and MAP04 seem to be the best offerings of the wad. For what it's worth MAP05 drags on too long, and it doesn't really help that the midi of choice is D_READ_M. MAP06 is a quite uninspired city level. To end, we have a nice mess to clean up in a district infested by demons.
Making this to be like a continuous journey is the strong point of the wad, and sometimes it catches an IWAD feel. Even though there isn't anything terribly offensive, for the most part it's very bland.
Mevak - Freemanmod1338
Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 7.7 MB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
This is a really short hell-themed level for GZDoom. Both on the visuals and on the gameplay, this map is really simple and it doesn't offer so much. There's also an area which is ripped-off from Fortress of Mystery; the only difference is that the rooms of the star are revealed after you press a switch.
The music track is a low quality metal song which is just obnoxious to hear while playing, and it's this file that bloats the size of the wad to more than 7MB. Good to know that after finishing the level we have entered deeply into the infested starport and all the rest, and then it starts the cast sequence. You won't lose anything if you decide to not to play this level.
AHAHAC - Memfis
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 515.14 KB -
Reviewed by: antares031
AHAHAC is a limit removing single player level for Doom 2. It was created by Memfis, and it uses a custom soundtrack, which was composed by stewboy. The level was reviewed with ZDoom 2.8.0 + ultra violence difficulty. Speaking of difficulty, keep in mind that this wad doesn't implement any difficulty settings.
The level starts with moderate combat as an opening, and the progression is pretty much linear. This wad seems not too harsh... until you reach the arena full of cacodemons and pain elementals. To rub salt in the wound, you also have three arch-viles to deal with. I suggest you to turn off the infinitely tall actor setting for this combat if you're playing with source port, since it was really annoying to get blocked by numerous cacodemons and lost souls, while I have to dodge arch-viles' flame magic. Some people may like this challenge, but it was not for my taste, in the end. After you get the blue key from that arena, you'll reach the fortress with switch mazes. This section is better than the previous harsh arch-vile trap. Certainly you need to check the automap often to figure out the layout of the maze and the structure of switch system. But I liked that kind of non-linear maze with proper size and complexity. The final room with the exit switch was a little bit disappointing, though.
Overall, it's an enjoyable single player level for Doom 2, if you're okay with that pitiless arch-vile trap. Other than that trap, the combat is decent and fun to play with enough health and ammo supplies for intermediate players.
Three-in-One DeathMatch for Everyone - JagDogger2525
Doom 2 - Zandronum - Deathmatch - 68.83 KB -
Reviewed by: RottKing
A set of three deathmatch levels that start on Map03 for some reason? The levels have all the trademarks of amateur level design: bad layout flow, linear paths, cramped spaces, symmetrical arenas, awkward room shapes, the list goes on. Map04 looks straight out of a DWANGO compilation. Map05 also has flats used on walls that'll cause HOMs unless ZDoom or Zandronum is used. Definitely not a recommended deathmatch wad.
Lava Pit DeathMatch - JagDogger2525
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 23.97 KB -
Reviewed by: RottKing
A small symmetrical DM arena filled with damaging blood. There's some weapons scattered about, and teleporters leading to some power-ups atop pillars. That's... about it, not much to say about it really.
Section 9 - Skumball
Doom 2 - Zandronum - Solo Play - 33.64 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
This is a really short techbase level for Doom 2. Visually it goes a bit for a KDITD vibe, and in the first half there's a nice usage of height variations, though the ending area is underwhelming compared to the rest. Gameplay is all right with a few traps, though the secrets are easy to find and you don't have to worry so much about the encounters. Overall it is quite decent, but there isn't anything remarkable here.
Lightbearer - Roxas
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 33.91 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Lightbearer is a short single level for vanilla. There's not so much to say about this one; the locations are simple and quite bare, and the gameplay is average though it flowed rather well. Overall it is decent for being a first map, though it's nothing special.
NH3 - TimeOfDeath
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 321.85 KB -
Reviewed by: antares031
NH3 is a compound of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms with its distinctive sme... oops, that's the wrong script. NH3 is a limit-removing single player level designed by TimeOfDeath, with a custom soundtrack composed by Ribbiks. Just like its prequel "NH2", the concept of this level is to survive a bunch of monsters with no health and armor supplies. While the previous wad has short and small rooms, this one is an actual level with more than 300 monsters, including arch-viles, cyberdemons, and most importantly, hitscanners such as chaingunners and shotgun guys... damn.
Compare to its prequel, this level has a nice visual and environmental detail with default vanilla Doom textures, except the sky texture by andrewj. About the gameplay: you need to aware that this level has no medikits, stimpacks, or even a single health bonus. Which means even a tiny fireball of imp can be fatal to you, and you need to dodge as many projectiles and bullets as possible. But honestly, the difficulty is just insane for blind play. A crowd of revenants and a horde of cacodemons are waiting to crush you, and some merciless arch-viles are hiding somewhere to piss you off. Not to mention that some hitscanners are just outrageous, especially a group of chaingunners at the middle of a steep, spiral stairway. To make it even worse, this level has no difficulty settings, making it difficult to scout the whole level with fewer monsters on lower difficulty. But thankfully, there are no pain elementals or damaging floors (Yes, the green slime is harmless. Just wanted to tell you.) unless you jump into the outside of the map.
I must tell you that I'm not a hardcore player, nor a speedrunner. So this kind of cruel level is way too much for me. But this does not mean that this level is unplayable. Do not try to beat this level in one go, and try to know the map first. This level is all about trial and error until you understand the location of every ammo and weapon, and tricky moments such as arch-vile ambushes. Once you understand the whole level after spending some lives, you won't have much trouble reaching the exit switch. Still, it is essential to have good movement and aiming skill, and of course, a spoonful of luck.
If you're an intermediate-hardcore player who likes to play challenging levels with a handicap (no health supplies), just give it a shot. And in the end, you'll be able to tell your friends proudly, "I just beat NH3.wad with no cheats and quicksaves on UV. Man, I'm awesome." But if you're not, you may still have a chance to beat it if you have a strong will to win, but I don't recommend doing it. To me, it was arguably frustrating until I beat the level once. Then, it was rather challenging and interesting to play.
Dooms day of SJW (SJW_DEAD.WAD) ver 1.0 (FINAL) - Linguica
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 139.9 KB -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
This is just "Doomsday of UAC" (UAC_DEAD.WAD). The textures, and the famous giant UAC sign, have been modified to replace all instances of the acronym "UAC" with "SJW". And... that's all. What was even the point of uploading this? Completely worthless.
Double Apocalypse - Damson
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 501.98 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
This is a small episode for Doom 2 made entirely with stock content but with a new sky. The story isn't entirely clear, but it's mainly told in the progression of the levels. Looks like we start outside of an underground base, and the places get corrupted by hell as we proceed in our journey. And we will actually return to locations that were in previous levels. The gameplay is nothing really remarkable. Though I must mention a mastermind fight which has an interesting setup. Also, there's a nice usage of teleporters to create real 3D stuff in a vanilla way, like the sewer system in MAP02.
Overall there seem to be some nice and interesting ideas behind this wad, but the execution is a bit lacking. The levels are mostly made of mono-textured rooms, and the lighting is almost absent, though there are some small improvements as you go through the levels.
If you don't mind some more weird design decisions and you like particular stuff, you can give this wad a try.
The Warlock's Hearth - Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey
Doom 2 - Limit Removing + OGG Support - Solo Play - 11.51 MB -
Reviewed by: Baratus
The moment I started playing, I noticed the map's atmosphere, created by the use of darkness, the huge gothic setting of an abandoned cathedral of occult nastiness, and the heavy, ambient OGG soundtrack with a slow pulsing beat, with distorted but clearly human-sounding noises and distressed voices. This created a claustrophobic feeling of dread and unease with the player that is very much deserved, due to the map's difficulty.
Ammo is scarce, causing players to be careful with their shots while having to deal with frequent ambushes and tricky encounters, with just enough bad guys spawning in to keep the player on their toes while still being challenging and fair. Some encounters will take the player by surprise and catch players off guard, and will require a few attempts to beat, but this forces the player to get smarter about how to approach the situation and deal with it as best as possible with that little they have. Suddenly the player is thinking in order to continue their fight for survival, making their struggle that much more authentic and involved. There were moments in the map where I had to pause the game and take a deep breath before continuing, so immersed I was in the intensity of the map's atmosphere. Be warned, this is definitely not a casual experience for fans of fast-moving action run-and-gun romps, like myself. This map will get the adrenaline pumping with its challenging encounters and oppressive atmosphere, which may prove tiring to some.
But it's not all mind-crushing dread. While there's seldom a quiet moment in the map's gameplay, navigating the map itself is a pretty smooth experience, and I found myself having a great time exploring it. I spent very little time running around looking for where to go next, as the layout was composed of distinct areas, from grand rooms with impressive architecture to smaller, more nuanced areas that all stick in the player's memory, which makes for a great navigational aid. The map is very open and interconnected, and the player can easily find their way between any two areas of the map. Objectives are made visible and clearly indicated to the player, so there is a reason to beat the next room full of expertly placed baddies, and each victory is made all the sweeter when the overwhelming odds are beaten. Later on, the odds are shifted somewhat more in the player's favour, with more action being packed into the last areas, just to keep things interesting.
Khorus brings us an excellent map in The Warlock's Hearth. The difficulty and stress-inducing atmosphere may not be the preferred kind of experience for some players, but it is incredibly well executed, and the masterfully crafted aspects of the map serve to maximise the rewarding feeling of overcoming its challenges. I recommend playing it all the way through in one sitting, as it can be finished inside an hour, and it's a self-contained map that is consistent in its quality, subtly drawing the player in to keep going. You really need to play this map, right now.
The /newstuff Chronicles #494