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    The /newstuff Chronicles #497


    • zDMP2014 - Various
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 51.57 MB -
      Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
      After reading the only negative review on zDMP2014 page, I was expecting to see something indeed mediocre, write a short sarcastic review, and move on. However, the mapset turned out to be surprisingly interesting.

      zDMP2014 is a set of eight maps, which were made by different people without any rules and they aren't related to each other in any way. This is perhaps the main downside of the wad, because I see no reason whatsoever to combine these maps and call it a "project". Each one could easily be a standalone separate release with its own textures and in some cases even weapons.

      (Then again, maybe I'm wrong and all these maps carry a sort of post-modernistic theme where traditional Doom is weirdly mixed with other stuff, so perhaps that's the point...) So here are some words on the maps.

      Map 01: FireSeraphim
      A fusion of Doom and Hexen with Doom weapons and enemies, textures and characters from both games (and a little from Strife). Oh, and there's dialogue and a story. Looks and plays nice, although some of the environments could benefit from more detail and some SFX.

      Apparently this release is missing some OGG music that is supposed to be playing on this map which is bad for the atmosphere. Also, for some reason after completing it I was teleported to Map 29, which obviously shouldn't happen.

      Map 02: Scypception (Scypek2)
      My favourite map of the set which is also partly a jokewad. Lots of monochrome textures, some jokes about imageboards, mapping and glitches. Hell, there's a rocket launcher that fires small screenshots of E1M1 (you heard that right). The style is pretty unique, weird, and eye-catching.

      Map 03: Steinbrained (obake)
      A rather hard map with lots of open spaces and unusual design decisions. Includes stuff like shooting walls, weird texturing, and an extremely loud alarm turns on at a certain point. Somehow made me feel like I was playing I Wanna Be The Guy: it looks pretty regular at first, but it isn't.

      Map 04: Temple Of Peace (Eradrop)
      Very straightforward slaughter map. It's basically a very long and straight castle courtyard (and well-detailed too) with long waves of enemies coming at you. A little too straightforward (no traps or big surprises) but fun nonetheless.

      Map 05: Nazi Research Facility (the_miano)
      A "WolfenDoom" map following the traditions of the style: rectangular, lots of SS guys (and I mean LOTS of them), and secrets hidden behind walls with golden crests. Some parts of the level were invaded by Doom's style and enemies.

      Map 06: Getsu Fune
      A short jokewad about a Doom Simulator that shows how Doom may look in a thousand years. Let's hope it's wrong.

      Map 07: DMGUYDZ64
      A short map that looks more or less like regular Doom.

      Map 08: Toxie Rocks (The Fantastic Love Adventure of Lt. Feel Good)
      A huge and hard map. The best way to describe it would be to say that there are some regular Doom locations built around much more realistic locations (like a large football stadium complete with seats and even teams' locker rooms and showers) and some spaceship locations thrown in (plus a few secret jokes). Took me almost as much time to complete as all the other maps together, and I even got lost a few times. Lots of fun. Still don't know what those heart-shaped jump pads were about though...

      All in all, the wad is definitely worth playing. If you don't like a specific map, just skip it: they're all standalone and designed for a pistol-start.

    • DESPAIR - Chris 'Shades' Oliveri = the SHADESMASTER
      Heretic - GZDoom - Solo Play - 4.56 MB -
      Reviewed by: antares031
      DESPAIR is a GZDoom-compatible single player wad for Heretic, and it was designed by the SHADESMASTER. It has five levels with custom textures, items (such as various armor bonus items) and powerups, and even custom monsters based on the sprite of D'Sparil, Heresiarch from Hexen, etc. This wad was reviewed with GZDoom TASM-continuous.

      This wad uses the level design techniques of GZDoom, which means it has 3D floors and sky, deep water, and any other designs you might see from GZDoom-compatible wads. All of them are designed nicely with original Heretic themes and other custom themes for each levels, such as swamps and frozen fortress. And it's always nice to see some armor bonus items; we have some variations of obsidian scales in this case, for Heretic. The new mini-bosses are just okay, except the blue one who fires energy bolts from the original D'Sparil. I didn't like the new powerups, though. I'd rather have my faithful invulnerability rings and original chaos devices, to be honest.

      The layouts are just acceptable. They're not complex, and quite linear most of the times. So you may be a little bit disappointed if you're fan of explorable level design with lots of secrets, just like the original Heretic did. Plus, I'm not a fan of foggy environment like this; the fog is too thick, and it ruins the well-designed details I think. Compare screenshot #7 and screenshot #11, then you'll see what I mean. It could be better if the levels had more clear visibility. Still, the architectural details are designed nicely for each level's concept.

      Overall, despite some minor flaws that I personally don't like, it's a nice custom Heretic wad for GZDoom. If you're fan of vanilla Heretic with non-linear level design, you may not like this stuff. But if you're looking for a new-school Heretic with custom monsters for GZDoom, go on and give it a try. One more thing. Unlike the original Heretic, you can take every item whenever you proceed to the next level. So do not waste your items before you press the exit switch.

    • The Fortress of Lucifer - Nambona890
      Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 2.77 MB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      This is a short single map for GZDoom. Some of its features are used, but they don't really improve the level, as the architecture is very basic and all the locations are bare square rooms. This is advised to be a slaughtermap, which seems to be misleading based on what this map actually offers. The monster count is quite low (75), but the fights aren't engaging. At the end there's a "boss" to kill: a Mancubus that just shoots more fireballs at once. It may seems hard at first, but it's actually easy to beat.

      This is mediocre in its best moments; I suggest you play something else.

    • Half-Life Blood Effects - sonic_HD87
      N/A - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 4.09 KB -
      Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
      Welp. I took this mod to alleviate some of the review center's overload of /newstuff and expected nothing spectacular. And I wasn't surprised.

      Half-Life Blood Effects is a blood mod that changes the blood system to imitate Half-Life's, obviously. It adds some blood spatter effects and changes the hit marker to sorta flash quickly like in Half-Life. It's a very soft wad, as in it won't change your Doom experience to any noticeable degree. One complaint, although this might be just to slacken strain on old computers, is that the blood splatters disappear very quickly. After using ketchup for so long, this was pretty disappointing. Actually, another thing is that it seems every time you shoot a rocket or some plasma, it'll spawn a blood splatter. The readme says it's on purpose or something, but I don't really remember that in Half-Life.

      On its own, it does exactly what it set out to do. But I don't see any reason you'd want this, unless you're playing the Half-Life conversion, and only then for accuracy's sake. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing really wrong with how it was made or executed, but there's just something inherently unnecessary with this more-or-less pointless mod.

    • Sheer Poison - Zan-zan-zawa-veia
      Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 443.68 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      Sheer Poison is a very long single map for The Ultimate Doom; it was also one of the winners of a past edition of the Cacowards. This map proposes a very different experience from the usual stuff you can find, especially nowadays, where most of the action revolves around the puzzles that you have to solve. The initial stage with the poor equipment you have is the hardest part of the map, which may repel many players from persisting in the journey. After you survive it you can start your descent into the madness of this level. You can also exit the level with different endings depending on the choices that you make. It will possible to get stuck and prevent yourself from progressing further in few points. Reaching the "true" ending is a task that will require lots of patience and time. Doing full justice to this level is kinda difficult especially after the long and very detailed kmxexii review.

      This is a level that really has to be played, though it's understandable that it isn't for everybody.

    • Hell Base - SSCminon
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 10.76 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      As the author states, this is clearly a "my first wad". Saying that, there aren't any reasons to play this wad. There's literally nothing: no gameplay, no work on the visuals, no effort. All the maps consist only of two square rooms slapped together.

    • Estranged - Foodles
      Doom 2 - PrBoom+ - Solo Play - 4.92 MB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      Estranged is a one-man megawad by Foodles. According to the text file its development started in 2010, made its first appearance on the forums in March 2015, then was finally released on /idgames some months later.

      The story doesn't follow the old progression of tech, city, and hell; after few maps you are already in hell, then to come back in the techbases where it all started, and then finally go back to hell.

      Before entering in a new episode (like Scythe 2) there will be a death exit so you will lose all your weapons. The wad is divided into four episodes:

      -The first episode (MAP01-04) takes places in techbases with a clean look and a somewhat E1 feel but with more rocky areas.
      -In the second episode (MAP05-11) we start our journey into hell. From the previous episode, things start to get more difficult here. Visually it's pretty much the usual hell stuff which personally I didn't like so much, as I found it was lacking more interesting things.
      -From MAP12 to MAP20 we go back to the techbase theme but the places are more ruined now and there's a vibe more near to E2.
      -To conclude, the rest of the maps are, again, set in hell. Though this time due to the harder fights and more complex levels (with cooler sceneries too) it was more interesting than the previous take on the same theme.

      Aside from the custom skies, only vanilla textures were used (from Doom 1 and 2). Even though this was made for Boom the architecture and the detail seem to be made with vanilla in mind; it's quite simple, but Foodles manages to do some really cool stuff with it. But what really shines in the visuals department is the lightning. From the more pronounced contrasts of the electric lights in the techbases to the softer gradients in the natural or hell areas, it was always really good.

      The maps tend to go for a more adventurous vibe where the path is more linear and give plenty of views of previous or incoming areas. Gameplay has some slaughter moments as well, and the raise in difficulty as you progress seems to be pretty constant. Being made by one person it suffers a bit from having some choices in the fights that have a feel of "already seen", though it didn't detract so much from the overall experience.

      Estranged is a cool wad that has nothing to envy to other modern one man megawads, and it manages to have its own identity. If you haven't already tried this wad you should play it, as it really deserves it.

    • The Gingerbread Knight - Omegalore
      Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 239.14 KB
      Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
      A little DECORATE monster that creates a modified hell knight that has the same type of attack and behaviour of the original monster, expect for a more brown palette, and when it dies, it explodes in a "wood sticks" fashion.

      Nothing special or new that adds game mechanics here, next!

    • Doomworld Roulette: Session 1 - Various
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2.75 MB -
      Reviewed by: Surreily
      The Doomworld Roulette contest started a few months back on the Doomworld Forums. The contest, inspired by Russian Roulette, was led by Alfonzo. Instead of a bullet, the "gun" was loaded with six random themes (from jmickle66666666's level theme generator) for authors to base their maps around. However, one of those themes (flagged as eccentric) would involve something unusual that would force the mapper to think creatively. The contest was popular enough to attract more than six mappers, so some additional "guns" were introduced. At the end, the top twelve maps were chosen and compiled into a WAD, and that's what we're looking at today.

      It's interesting to see how each author interpreted their theme. Some chose to base their map entirely around their given theme, letting their imaginations run wild and giving birth to some very unique levels ("Yuletide New York" and "Macro Station" are probably the best examples of this). We've also got a few maps that I feel could have incorporated their theme a tad more, but that doesn't make them bad.

      It's a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to visuals, but there are some damn good looking maps in here. "The Mystic Temple of Ka'qun Babu" pulls off a neat sandy theme, "The Brutish Strait" goes for a more traditional Doomy setting, and there's also the dark rocks and waterfalls of "The Grain House". However, my favorite in the visuals department has to be "Tropikal" due to the immense amount of work that must have gone into making the natural cliffs and plants look amazing in the Doom engine. Bonus points for Crash Bandicoot 2 music. Even the below-average maps look neat, and there aren't any maps I would consider ugly.

      And finally, we come to perhaps the most important aspect of Doom: the gameplay. The good news is that it's definitely above average, with maps like "Tropikal", "Yuletide New York", Voodoo People", and "The Brutish Strait" bringing us some traditional gameplay. Several maps feature more gimmicky gameplay - there's "The Bunker" with its little cyberdemon party, and then there's the hordes of enemies that inhabit "The Pleasure Dome". There are a few minor things that I wasn't too keen on - like the emphasis on revenant punching in "The Mystic Temple of Ka'qun Babu" and the rather dull bridge section in "Yrttpt".

      Overall, I think this is definitely worth a playthrough. There are parts I found a little tedious, but every map has something unique to provide to the player. I also recommend checking out the text file afterwards for the themes used and for author commentary.

    • Rayzik's Birthday Doom 2015 - Various
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 616.92 KB -
      Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
      This is three maps (out of five, as two authors chose not to appear in this thing for some reason) made for praising last year's lord of computer area maps Rayzik's birthday, a funny exercise that I did too, years before this installation and reviewed some time ago by our friendly W3D2prince guy. I'm pretty sure that is his nickname here. That or ronfKing.

      Anyway, stop with the dumb jokes and start with a short summary of what you're going to encounter in this short mapset!

      MAP01 (AnonimVio) is a really cool map set in a green cavernous meat and bricks land, something much more similar to an alien world map from Duke Nukem 3D episode 2 instead of a Doomy classic level setup. Gameplay is challenging and puzzle-ish sometimes, with lots of nice details and an eerie atmosphere. Pretty good diversion here.

      MAP02 (antares031) is the classic level you expect to see in Doom: another techbase filled with good detailing and again, challenging gameplay and some hard encounters in the final parts of the map. Another pretty good map here.

      MAP03 (joe-ilya) is a straightforward cavern map that looks like it comes directly from 1994, and I like that kind of stuff, because I'm a pretty strange person sometimes. Run until a teleport, raise one of that obnoxious catwalks from "The Chasm" or WOO MAP32 with MAGIC, reach another platform marked with a blinking arrow, follow that path, and then exit and return to your regular Doom. It's an OK map.

      Overall a good short mapset, if you take the chance play this! It could be a nice diversion from your life routine.

    • Verification Station - Gunsmith
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 856.96 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      A quite short map for ZDoom. It looks quite good with its detail, even though the overall impression is of anonymity. Gameplay is on the easy side, with lots of shotgun action, but it isn't really critical here. The choice of the music was good and helps to set a fitting mood. Overall this is not bad at all.

    • Ore Treatment Facility - Gunsmith
      Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 519.9 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      For the most, what I said in the review of Verification Station applies also to this. It looks quite good, but the gameplay isn't particularly engaging. The author states that he wanted to train with some scripting. Indeed there's some basic stuff done with it, but it was nice and not at all intrusive or overdone.

    • Andra Labs - Gunsmith
      Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 87.78 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      And now, the last of three maps uploaded by Gunsmith. This one is really short, and shares the good and the bad traits of the other two maps. The level looks nice, but the gameplay lacks substance. It gives the impression of being a speedmap, and also that this level was made for training.

    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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    Several maps feature more gimmicky gameplay - there's "The Bunker" with its little cyberdemon party

    Great to see more frequent /newstuff updates again!

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    thanks for teh bump on Sheer Poison, maybe now the idgames page will get ratings comments that aren't from troll accounts :3

    Estranged was a good level set imo, very worth revisiting

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    Hey, just checking in to say thanks to gaspe for the review of Estranged, thanks for taking the time to play it and I'm glad you enjoyed it

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