Sunlust - Ribbiks & Dannebubinga
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 23.26 MB -
Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
Among other things I'm a fan of Dark Souls. I love that mix of grim style, hardcore gamplay, and the masochistic pleasure of dying repeatedly. Weirdly enough, Sunlust was the first wad to become Dark Souls in Doom for me: it's grim, it's hard, and in many cases I was ready to scream in rage (mostly at myself for following the old habit of always choosing UV).
What amazes me most is that Sunlust has been sitting in /newstuff for almost a year. Either nobody's been able to complete it yet (which is quite possible) or none of the reviews could match its greatness.
So I'll start off carefully and quote the accompanying TXT: "Sunlust is a set of 32 Boom-compatible maps for Doom II, designed to be played from pistol start. The maps meander through a range of themes, from traditional bases and temples to abstract hellish, void, and tech aesthetics. UV is designed primarily for ubermensch Doom-gods, thus we encourage most players to start off on HMP or lower."
Imagine a classic Doom map. What do you see? Most likely lots of rooms and corridors packed with monsters, suddenly raising walls and hostile hordes teleporting at a predictable (or not so much) trigger. Now think of a classic slaughter map, what's that like? Huge arenas, waves of enemies, gameplay centered around fighting a big mob of demons while the actual layout is usually rather linear.
Sunlust is an amazing mix of both. Its slaughter aspect is brutal and unforgiving, while its level design is equally intricate and captivating, making you feel almost like you're playing one of the golden classic maps, but for the first time — being shocked by its difficulty and awestruck by its epicness. And the TXT doesn't lie about the visuals: I counted at least eight distinct styles, all of them complete and spectacular results of clever combinations of textures and visual effects.
Play this. Play this if you want something that looks good, something that plays good, something hard, and something well-executed. Ribbiks and Dannebubinga worked hard on this, now try hard to beat it.
Combat Redux v1.0.0 - El Magnifico (Robert Dyer)
Doom/Doom 2 - Zandronum - N/A - 44.91 KB
Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
When I open up a zip and instead of finding the file I need I find a folder, which contains the file in it, I immediately know something is not OK.
Combat Redux claims to try and make Doom more realistic. Well, we all know that realism doesn't always work well in Doom. Not in this case either.
Despite a lot of what looks like a complex code, the aftertaste is flat: the enemies are fast, the guns are hard to use. Basically that's it if you don't have the time to read.
The enemies aren't that much different except their greater speed and firepower. El Magnifico implemented decent headshot mechanics but you probably won't notice that at all. Partly it's because your guns are overpowered and headshotting is not usually necessary; partly because there are no animations or special effects that would indicate a headshot (except a laconic "Headshot!" statement which won't even tell you who killed who).
As for the guns, they look the same but pack more punch to compensate for stronger enemies, but this decision seems good only on paper; in practice it breaks the balance. The overpowered shotgun makes SSG obsolete in most situations, and a single shot of the new BFG (why, why do people keep using that boring beta-style BFG in their mods?) destroys a Spider Mastermind. What is worse is their recoil, especially with a Doomer's bread and butter — the shotguns: their recoil is long and quite slow and it makes the gun not only jerk up after the shot but also go down to its original position, which means it'll screw up your aiming all the time as you try to compensate for the recoil. As a result shooting is not as difficult as it is frustrating. Also for some reason the Chaingun shoots almost as slow as the Pistol, and the Chainsaw's sound is screwed up (it doesn't stop immediately after you stop attacking).
In any case, Combat Redux is a decent exercise in scripting but doesn't work as a complete mod: it requires more polishing, testing and some new graphics to make it look interesting in comparison to lots of huge and detailed mods we have had over the years. Also simply making everybody's attacks more powerful doesn't make the gameplay balanced.
P.S. I tried to start it in GZDoom and it didn't work because the new Hell Knight actor inherited from the new Baron of Hell, and you can't make the parent and the inheriting actor use the same user variable (which they do). I had to fix that myself before being able to play.
Terra Hell - assm0
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6.09 MB -
Reviewed by: RottKing
The author describes this map as "just another crap map", and I'm inclined to agree here. I really tried giving it a chance, but there's just too many awful things about it, and they all come one after another right at the start. You start off in a helicopter that for some reason has a super tiny line horizon box surrounding it, then you jump down and, whoops, you find out there's fall damage the hard way. Gotta try a few times to land in the water, which then after taking an underwater tunnel leads you to the first major problem of the map. You're presented with a few Imps and a Cacodemon, and you only have fists. To advance the map, you have to kill the Cacodemon. There's a berserk pack but to get it requires you to perform a ridiculous series of jumps with a much stronger gravity than normal, so it's a huge pain in the ass. Once you kill the caco you're greeted by a horde of monsters that is way too large considering you only have fists, so you pretty much have to run by them. Once you reach the end of the tunnel, you get a chaingun that plays the BFG splash noise from Doom 64 every time you fire it. Yeah, annoying as hell and makes me wonder if the author was trolling with this entire thing. Then there's a bunch of other dumb shit I don't feel like mentioning or dealing with but believe me, this map is extremely poor and you don't wanna waste your time with it.
MBF Invasion - cybermind (aka Mistranger)
Doom 2 - MBF compatible - Solo Play - 461.97 KB -
Reviewed by: joe-ilya
Tribute to a game mode from Skulltag called "Invasion": a game based on waves of monsters. When you kill a wave of an amount of monsters, the layout opens up a little and you're given a small amount of time to collect some resources such as ammo and health which both spawn and respawn only on specific spots; sometimes you get new weapons and new powerups. You do that until all the waves are done and all the monsters are dead. It gets harder and more resourceful the more you progress.
This wad also has the announcer from Skulltag to literally speak to you and tell you to prepare to fight, countdown from 3 to 1, and fight. The map is set in a gothic castle; it has hot red furnaces in the walls that spawn lost souls. It's a pretty simple layout, but the bestiary is deadly and the map's somewhat cluttered in terms of size and direction. You go from imps and zombies to a cyberdemon and a few AVs, from shotguns and chainguns to BFGs and rocket launchers, and much more in between.
Not sure who'll enjoy this, but I do like the concept and the many other maps that were made using the "Invasion" game mode. It is nice to know that this can work in PRboom+ and not just ZDoom.
The Realm of Parthoris - 2015 - Various Authors
Heretic - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 4.14 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Each year, Heretic lovers are given approximately one major new wad, plus a handful of poorly-made deathmatch maps. For 2015, the major release was Realm of Parthoris, a single-episode community project with a relatively short development cycle of just 11 months. The project imposed a limit of 200 monsters per map, and although three or so maps exceed the limit on UV, they tend to be medium sized and relatively quick to play through.
Players who appreciate aesthetics will no doubt be pleased. The episode has a killer soundtrack that's almost all original music by the likes of Alfonzo and Doom Huntress (though E1M9 uses "Plasma" from Duke Nukem 3D), and the songs do a solid job of sounding like they belong in Heretic rather than Doom. ROP also includes a pretty large selection of new textures and flats. I had a hard time telling which ones were new, but that's probably a good thing -- the new resources blend in well with the originals, but they add a lot of depth, eliminating the feeling of uniformity that Heretic tends to have due to its small texture selection.
I don't have a great sense of what makes a "good" Heretic level in the same way I do with Doom, but it felt like all levels were consistently well made. The gameplay styles vary quite a bit, however. E1M1 is a short level that takes place mainly in a nicely interconnected outdoor canyon area. E1M2 starts out with a pretty intense fight in a large outdoor area full of exploding pods before progressing to a set of dark halls that are filled with surprises. E1M3 is a twisty little dungeon crawl with a funhouse maze of waterfalls and a pretty nice arena battle at the end against four Liches across four connected rooms. E1M4 has you fighting your way through a narrow, mostly linear canyon and feels almost like a side-scrolling arcade game at times, with enemies teleporting in from both sides or moving out of previously hidden nooks as you move into a new section.
E1M5 is a well-crafted combination of dark, creepy passageways and larger set piece caverns/rooms, with a fair share of lava to force you to think about how you move around; the unpopulated intro area, detailed ruins, and nonlinear layout with a central hub create a strong sense of atmosphere and exploration. E1M6 uses bigger, more dramatic fights than any other level so far, including several boss arenas. E1M7 is a bit of a pleasant calm between storms, unpretentious and with little in the way of major set pieces, just the right amount of fighting to keep you on your toes, a few good ambushes that don't feel cheap, and a great flow.
E1M8 makes a vague attempt to stick to the project's monster limit by keeping it under 300, but don't be fooled -- it's a massive level with plenty of big, beautiful spaces to look at and mostly higher-tier monsters to fight through. It ends with a battle against D'Sparil and a huge swarm of Disciples, all while the bars to the exit slowly lower over the course of many minutes (presumably from the last few Liches you fight before teleporting into the final arena).
E1M9 is a pure puzzle level with only three Liches for combat. Some of the puzzles are actually pretty interesting and require careful observation, though a couple of them are really just switch hunts. I have to admit I didn't quite have the patience to finish the whole level, but it was pretty good overall, and it has a nice atmosphere.
The bonus level, E2M1, is the only really weak map in the set, which is probably why it's a bonus level. The layout and monster placement seem pretty random, including Sabreclaws that can't reach the player and boss fights in spaces that are too cramped. The music is great, though, and I ended up playing through the level just to listen.
If you like Heretic wads, you've probably already played ROP, but if you haven't, I'd recommend it. It's no History of Fruit or Curse of D'Sparil, but it's a satisfying dose of new Heretic levels to blast through.
Violence - Brayden "AD_79" Hart
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 27.92 MB -
Reviewed by: antares031
Violence is a Boom-compatible single player wad, created by AD_79. It features four single player levels, custom textures, sprites and sound effects for player's weapons, and even a custom color palette, which is one of the distinctive features for this wad I think. It was released to the public for the first time on November 26, 2015 to celebrate the author's birthday, and uploaded to /idgames as a final version three days later. Every level is reviewed with ZDoom 2.8.1 UV-PS.
To begin with, you'll see the beautiful, but not too garish purple color palette. The brightness and the saturation of purple color is just perfect to replace the original green color of Doom (but that being said, if you're a huge fan of green, you may have a few chances to hate this wad). About the level design: to sum the level design of this wad, it's "Valiant meets purple". The scenery with rocky cliffs and "purple" grass, structural designs, weapon replacements; I must say that this wad is highly influenced by skillsaw's masterpiece. And thankfully, the difficulty and combat is also well-designed, and the non-linear layout is highly explorable and enjoyable, making this wad really cool stuff to play.
MAP01 is a moderate wad opener, with not so many tricky monster closets and traps. It's a good combination of standing monsters and some monster traps which are not that annoying. You don't need to deal with an angry bastard called arch-vile unless you find the secret area. Speaking of secrets, finding secrets is another joy of this level, and even the entire wad.
MAP02 is simple, but a tough one. Getting surrounded by hitscanners at the very beginning is usually not a good design. Still, it has beautiful purple scenery and architectural design from Valiant. Other monster placements are fine, although that sinking trap, featuring the arch-vile, was a tough one for beginners.
MAP03 is an open island above the lava. Again, if you're designing a level, please avoid placing hitscanners around the start. Speaking of hitscanners, because of the open level design, it would be wise to deal with shotgun guys and chaingunners as soon as possible.
MAP04 is a great level for closing the wad, with a complex but explorable layout and lots of supplies to deal with lots of monsters. The combat is just fit to my taste with another well-designed combination of monster placing methods. A trap with a timer was hilarious. I was expecting a horde of arch-viles spawning from the center when the time ran out. It's just my personal opinion, but it could be better if there was a boss monster encounter at the end of level to spice the final combat. But overall, this level is still fun and worthy to beat.
There are two complaints about this wad from me. First, there are few levels to play with this awesome theme. But I can retract this one since the author released this one to the public to celebrate his birthday, which is always a nice thing to do for the community. The last one is the custom music. For some reason, I don't like the music replacements in OGG format. And not because of the format; the music itself is somehow not matching with this wad in my opinion. It could be better if the music was replaced with MIDI music, composed by community members.
Still, this one is an awesome single player wad thanks to its beautiful level design with a custom purple palette, well-designed monster and item placement, secret areas with enjoyable difficulty, and highly explorable non-linear layouts. If you haven't played this one yet, I must say you should definitely check out this birthday present.
UAC's Deep Quarry - Gustavo Ramos "Gustavo6046" Rehermann
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 64.28 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
The text file states that this is a long map. Thankfully, it isn't. It seems that all (even if low) the effort went on making the first room. Both visuals and gameplay is bland and uninspired. Instead of music we have to listen to an awful mix of random notes. This is another really poor level by Gustavo6046. Just skip this level; you have nothing to lose here.
Switches room - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 86.35 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
In the text file the author says that this is like collage of areas that were initially made for other projects, and the map shows that these are all disconnected pieces put together. Visually it is very simple, but a few locations have some nice touches in them. The gameplay is on the easy side. What I don't understand is if it was necessary that the last area have the walls covered with switches; if it was cut out it would have been better. Overall, nothing remarkable in this map.
oh - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 36.9 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
One day Walter in the Post Your Doom Picture thread posted a picture as a joke response. It looks like he decided to actually do something with what he started and made this very short map. It's nothing special, a few bland areas with monsters thrown in them. It's stated that the map is also inspired by the works of joe-ilya, which explains many things. I guess.
InstaDoom WAD Of The Year Edition - Linguica
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - SP/Co-op - 1010.21 KB -
Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
So, I didn't pick this up back when it got a Cacoward. I saw it, and knew that it was a short joke. Funny, but you're not going to apply horrible looking filters(in terms of gameplay) just so you can get that perfect selfie on map 27. If you're dedicated, loading this up without a filter on ZDoom ports can be unobtrusive and occasionally useful. But this is about the WAD of the Year edition.
This edition adds 17 filters to Doom, and therefore InstaDoom. The filters are just as good as the originals. The problem lies, however, in the fact that there are over 50 filters to test. You can't always tell accurately which filter is which, so you have to test each one, removing the ones you don't want, or try to remember each one. While this is a problem with InstaDoom at its core, it's shown even more with these extra 17. There must be cvars or something for this. It's wildly inefficient and a huge hassle to deal with so many filters. So, I recommend InstaDoom #nofilter, as a little added something for your Doom experience for some laughs every once in a while. But, that means that this edition is pointless, because all this adds is more filters. So, grab InstaDoom if you want, but don't fret over getting the original or WOTY.
Valiant: Vaccinated Edition - Paul "skillsaw" DeBruyne
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 26.94 MB -
Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
So, I think we all know Valiant now. Great mapset with good pacing and gorgeous levels with intricate level design. I'm not here to sing even more praises to skillsaw, regardless if he deserves it or not.
The vaccine is taking all the Dehacked work out, making it vanilla, excluding textures. This is actually a point I made in a previous review of Skulldash, that you can have your own mod in a level pack as long as it's overwritable or compatible with most mods. Vaccine takes it a bit further by making a separate wad with vanilla weapons and monsters. It does this, uh, well, I guess. There are no custom weapons or monsters. But the real question is, does this detract from the Valiant experience?
It actually does. With some good mods, the addition can match or outweigh the subtraction, but the fact is that some awesomeness is lost. Enemy placement and behavior is a lot more predictable, and boss battles are bland compared to the original Valiant. A cyberdemon + icon final boss is pretty much expected at the end. It limits the surprise and unique factor. I definitely wouldn't play it just vanilla. But everybody wanted it, including me, and I'm glad that he did do it. Maybe with this example, idiots will stop clamoring to make mapsets centered around a weapon TC compatible with Russian Overkill or Brutal Doom.
P.S.: I don't mind either of these mods, but they're popular enough for morons to cling to blindly.
P.P.S: Mods in screenshots are: Trailblazer, Colorful Hell, ZDoom HD textures, and Ketchup test v4.
The /newstuff Chronicles #496