Luducrium - antares031
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 951.98 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Antares031 starts the text file description for this wad with the rather unpromising claim that "I usually don't make slaughtermaps, but I decided to create some levels that I normally hate." If you've seen the screenshots in Luducrium's release thread and have read people's reactions to it, however, you know that it's actually some kind of jokewad that pokes fun at slaughtermaps in general. For years, slaughter-themed jokewads have basically just been caricatures, consisting of thousands of monsters packed into a single room with no room for the player to move (even Nuts.wad, arguably one of the progenitors of the slaughter genre, was essentially a jokewad). Luducrium is better than that. As soon as you load up the first map, it gives you the split-second reaction of "Jesus, I've been trolled again," but then it completely overturns your expectations, and the results are genuinely hilarious.
Spoilers to follow, as I don't really see a way to review these levels without giving away the jokes.
Map 01 perfectly sums up what this wad is about. It starts you off surrounded by a circular wall of over 1,600 Revenants, packed in so tightly that you can't possibly go anywhere -- but as soon as the rockets start flying, the Revenants start dropping dead by the hundreds. Take a second to stop and laugh, and you'll still get pounded into the floor by stray rockets, but if you can somehow manage to herd the dozens of rockets that make it through and run for the exit, you'll make it out alive. I never managed to do it, but then again, I don't think winning is actually the point of these levels.
Map 02 forces you to fight a few unaltered, very lethal Arch-Viles on a narrow walkway before opening up the floodgates and pitting you against a big horde of AVs... whose attacks can't even hurt you. Let me tell you, it makes you feel like a god in a way that IDDQD never could.
Map 03 has you surrounded by Cyberdemons, and you have to run and hit a switch that turns off gravity or something. I'm not sure if this level has an exit, but it's pretty funny to watch what happens to the rockets after you press the switch.
In Map 04, you're immediately faced with a massive Imp rush and given a rocket launcher. The Imps don't shoot fireballs and just have their claws, so the obvious goal is to clear them out before they get to you -- and you should see the effect the rockets have on them -- without blowing yourself up in the process. There's an additional surprise, but I won't give that one away.
Map 05 features Pain Elementals that spawn Pain Elementals. The Pain Elementals that they spawn also spawn more Pain Elementals. You can see where this is going.
Map 06 starts you off facing a powerful plasma-shooting Marine who you basically can't kill, and hordes of enemies on all sides. If you can circle-strafe fast enough, the plasma misses you and wreaks total havoc on the hordes. If you survive this long enough, you win.
Even if you've read this far and had everything spoiled, these levels offer some really impressive visual spectacles that you have to see for yourself. Luducrium is a jokewad that's actually funny, and it may not have much replay value, but it's worth loading up every level at least once just to watch the gimmicks hit the fan.
Five Centuries Ahead - RaphaelMode
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 60.49 KB -
Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
To save time, if you're only reading this review to see if this level is any good, then your answer is a probable no. Now I'll say why.
Five Centuries is a single level, very short and hard (ba dum-tshh!). This level is pretty abysmal. It has no sense of pacing or rooms. As soon as you fire your first shot the whole monster count is alerted, although that's part of the map's big gimmick. There's a small beginning area, followed by a medium, stark courtyard filled with imps, barons, and archviles, followed by a claustrophobic corridor filled with one of five enemies, yet followed by a 3D floor, for some reason.
The multitude of archviles is disgusting, based on looking at them alone. Those bastards. There's just too much goddamn organic matter in your way to just run through it, and archviles can snipe you constantly. Now, if you plan to play the level, then avoid this next tidbit, or read on if you don't want to get confused and annoyed as I was. I originally thought that the whole hook of the level, the "outside of the box", was using some boxes to get some supplies, even though the door was a key door. It surely doesn't sound like something to base a whole level around (and it wasn't), but I assumed the author was a beginner. The trick turned out to be pacifism, not firing a single shot and just walking through the level. The enemies still activate when they see you, they just don't attack, and it's hard to tell the difference when you approach this level rationally, and expect gameplay to any extent. Now, I know it was a gimmick wad and an interesting experiment, but it has nothing else to offer. It's literally just a peaceful stroll through demon town. Leaves no gameplay element, and there's nothing to look at, as even the author stated that he was more focused on the trick than the aesthetics. I don't know why you would make a level that you can only look in because if you play you're screwed, look bad for the sake of showing a gimmick. But, even with these flaws, just walking through a horde of demons that you've come to know as your absolute mortal enemies and the destroyers of worlds gives an interesting feeling. But I wouldn't recommend it.
All right, that's the secret. But I wouldn't play it without knowing this secret, because even if you do find it out, you'll probably be pretty pissy just because of the confusion. Treat this level as an absolute puzzle, not in any way a Doom level. As I mentioned, the author does mislead you with a vastly inferior secret. The yellow card room gives you a bunch of rockets and bullets and weapons, so what did he think we would do? If you're going to put something as game-changing as this gimmick in a level, don't present alternatives or direct us elsewhere. In other games, I might appreciate this level more, but in Doom, it just seems like a test or concept, something that should not be considered a real level. I'm sure other wads have done this better, and I can understand the author trying to reach that, but I guess I would just say expect bad reviews. Also, the skybox had an unrecognized texture, so there were just checkerboards in the sky. The scripting necessary is moderately impressive, but that's about it. As the author even presented as a topic for criticism, this level only has one thing to offer, and doesn't even implement other factors to make said gimmick tolerable. It's like when they release AAA games with a "cinematic feel", but if they looked awful, broken, and had about a 10-minute runtime. TL:DR, Modern Art.
DWANGO: 21st Anniversary - Various
Doom 2 - ZDaemon/Odamex/Zandronum - Deathmatch - 2.08 MB -
Reviewed by: Decay
Dwango is a household name in Doom deathmatch and PVP. It is a series of old as dirt (mid-late 1990s) wads usually comprised of compiled maps with a few originals peppered in the mix. Out of about 350 maps, only four are played, and only two regularly, being Dwango5 maps 01 and 07. Dwango's biggest supporter today is Doomkid, lead author of this wad, catering to people like CombinebobNT and Zakurum who love that oldschool Dwango feel. The team that created this wad is large, bringing what looks like a variety of multiplayer and DM-mapping familiarity to the table.
Dwango is also known as a fairly terrible series, because, well, the maps are mostly awful. So how does a wad celebrating the Dwango series stack up? Let's take a gander. I played this on Zandronum with a few people with typical "oldschool" settings (no jump, no freelook).
I've seen some of the maps previously, and I had been hoping at the time Doomkid wouldn't make yet another 1990s set, but he ended up slapping on the Dwango name anyway. Let's start with the sounds.
The rocket launcher is god awful. It doesn't sound like it was even mixed right; the noise levels are off all over the place. The chaingun! Oh my goodness the chaingun. Absolutely deafening. Some of the door sounds, holy crap, that it is definitely one of the most obnoxious, ear-grating doors I've ever heard. Please grab some grease for those squealing tracks. The plasma is a typical Dwango replacement and actually sounds good, while the gib sound is Jean-luc Picard screaming "NOT GOOD ENOUGH DAMMIT, NOT GOOD ENOUGH" at you. And for real, the deafening sounds are good enough to make me want to quit before even starting.
MAPS! I feel like these maps were never play-tested, or maybe play-tested by the wrong people. I'm not even sure the authors play-tested this together, and maybe they should have. Advice given was never taken; you have chaingun spawns close by to SSG spawns (prepare to get WRACKED), you have a plasma gun deliberately in front of a BFG despite the standard tactic to use plasma guns as additional BFG ammo, pistol spawns, items scattered all over the place, shotgun spawns for days, and seemingly little thought given to spawns.
Some of the problems are exemplified by power-ups just sitting out in the open, i.e. the point is not really made a point of interest for players to converge on and try to control. Map03 has three green armours; for what reason do you need three? Most of the maps feature bad gimmicks for power-ups or the BFG, such as unwieldy switch-work out of the way in damaging pits, double switches for the BFG, HIDDEN SWITCHES for the BFG like what the hell, some switches for power-ups I never found (power up are not secrets, that's a good way to give edges to players with specific map knowledge only). One map features spawn gimmicks that force you out into the open from little cubbyholes; that is a terrible idea and whoever thought it was a good idea should be ashamed.
Layout-wise, there are lot of "arena" type maps, which honestly are really a bore at this point and rather, dare I say, noobish for an established and experienced mapper like Doomkid. To be fair, he did not make all the layouts. Other layouts, such as Map06, are ruined by terrible spawn and weapon placement. Being fairly clean maps, there is very little to hinder movement; they are very smooth to run around in. There is a good amount of height variation, nothing too dramatic but just enough in some maps to keep it interesting. Some maps suffer a bit of flatness, but overall I think it's a 50/50 mix in that regard. I never found it difficult to find my opponents, and it seems for the most part that these maps are good for no more than four players; I played some of these maps in a one-on-one setting and had no problems, but I can't imagine having more than four players on some of these maps. Realistically, these maps needed to be tested not only in four-person FFA, but also in duel and large-scale public games to get a better perception of the balance of spawns, weapons, and layout (points of interest, gimmicks, etc). One good thing at least I found in the maps is that they promote movement throughout, so at least you'll be moving around and getting a view of the whole map.
Detail-wise, at least it has a clean oldschool look; a few new textures were added and there are no misaligned textures and not TOO many plain-ass walls and floors, so it's not quite Dwango in that sense. The maps definitely don't look bad, and visually not busy at all. It might be a little on the plain side, but that's not really a big deal.
Overall, I give this wad 4/5 Dwangos, because while it lives up to the Dwango name perfectly with a bunch of terrible maps with a few tolerable ones scattered here and there, there are no memorable maps at all. If you're looking for that oldschool mixed bag rough and tumble DM set, this is for you. However, you're probably only going to want to play it once and then set it aside forever like the majority of Dwango. I further sentence the authors to actually play-test their multiplayer maps in more rigorous ways. I guarantee the wad could have been made much better if it received proper critical play-testing and not just happy-go-lucky fat smiles romps.
Meme Jon Doom - Nambona890
Doom/Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 46.64 KB
Reviewed by: gaspe
This "gameplay mod" replaces all the monsters with an overpowered picture of a face of a random guy and all the sounds (except the weapons sounds and the music) with the same groan. And that's all, I could have ended this review here. This wad is nothing. Albeit it's something to not to take seriously, as it's really worthless.
Demon Hideout - Agent Ender (enderkevin13)
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 85.68 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
A short and quite poor map. There's nothing offensive actually, but both how it looks and how it plays are really bland and uninspired. Not worth playing even if you really want to waste a couple of minutes.
Operation Slug - Diego Marcal (WartHogBR)
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 33.76 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Operation Slug is the author's first wad, and it's full of the usual first-timer issues. It's basically a linear series of rooms and hallways with large, flat walls covered in textures that don't tile well vertically. The key doors aren't marked with trim, so you have to try to open them to find out whether they're locked. It's very small and only has about 30 monsters, all of which come at you from the front. Level design is more or less nonexistent; at one point you pick up a radiation suit at the top of a nukage pit, drop into the pit and go to a room at the other end of it, kill one imp to get the blue key, and then go back up to the blue key door, which happens to have been right next to where you got the radiation suit.
The level uses several ZDoom features, basically for no reason. The opening corridor requires you to crouch, but there's no reason the corridor couldn't have been made high enough to walk through. The regular level music switches to boss music at the end while you fight an Arch-Vile that can't even move outside of its box, but the added drama feels out of place in such an unimpressive battle. For some reason, beating the level takes you to the endgame monster roll call, even though it's map01. All in all, I can't find any reason to recommend this level, but hopefully the author's next wad will be an improvement.
Crazy Frog Doom - mapster10401
Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 328.25 KB
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
A music wad that uses only the midi of "Axel F" remix by Crazy Frog, a silly dance track that was a fad some years ago, then returned as a form of meme of two kids doing a dumb dance to this track.
This is funny for a couple minutes, but then becomes boring pretty fast.
Download this only if you are a hardcore fan of this song; otherwise it is something pretty forgettable that looks like it came from the ancient ages of the 1994 era.
Distress call - Oleg "CWolf" Vovk
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3.63 MB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Distress call is single Boom map that it's present in 2 versions: one for Freedoom and one for Doom 2. The differences aren't only in the textures, but they will also have different sets of monsters, while the monster counts don't change so much. The Freedom version has only hitscanners, while in the Doom one many stronger monsters will appear. It isn't very difficult though; unlike the text file says, the fights are pretty light and the supplies won't be missing. The mood is quite cool and there's a nice exploration of the place, which fit very well with the gameplay. The map is really well crafted and it's worth a try.
Italo-Doom - Dannebubinga & Ribbiks
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1.63 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
I suspect the reason this wad has been sitting in the review queue for so long is that none of us reviewers are skilled enough to play it. I'm no exception, but it needs a review, so here I am. For those elite few who regularly play Ribbiks and Danne's levels on UV, Italo-Doom is probably highly challenging but beatable -- essentially a set of maps that tests your skills to the limit. For the layman, however, it's simply unplayable.
There are basically no difficulty settings, because the levels only exist to be super hard. At the difficulty selection screen, you can choose between no monsters and full monsters -- except that "no monsters" actually contains 23 Cyberdemons in the first room of map 01. The rest of the levels really do have no monsters on this setting, but there's not much point in wandering through them just to look -- they're all competently detailed and nicely textured, but they lack the intricate structure that makes the authors' more serious efforts interesting to look at, and most levels consist of just a few rooms. The soundtrack includes a couple of Doomier tracks that sound like they might be by Ribbiks, but mostly it sounds like 80s pop midis (I recognized "You Spin Me Round" by Dead or Alive), dance electronica, or the kind of stuff that gets entered into Eurovision contests... so yeah, that's what you're in for.
In short, these levels are essentially B-sides, like Summer of '69 by the same authors, or maybe even C-sides, if that's a legitimate term. Given the pedigree, it's possible that the mapset is really good for what it is -- but I have no way of knowing. It might even be a jokewad, as everything about it seems to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it's gotten enough positive reactions from hardcore players that I think it's supposed to be more or less playable. I don't recommend downloading this wad unless you already know you're going to enjoy it.
Guns Akimbo! - TomoAlien
Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 180.65 KB -
Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
A basic mod that gives dual-wielding fists, pistols, shotguns, SSGs, chainguns and plasma rifle, plus a secondary railgun attack for BFG. Secondary attack makes the guns shoot together but slower and with linear recoil.
The mod could benefit from newer sprites and better animation. For now the most interesting thing about it is trying to guess how the marine holds and pumps two shotguns simultaneously...
Big circular room with Cybie - Topi Hattukangas
Ultimate Doom - GZDoom - Solo Play - 15.84 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
This wad is pretty much what it says on the tin, although if you read the title and thought this sounds like it's just wow.wad without the iconic HOM errors, that isn't quite true. In addition to the circular room that you start in with the Cyberdemon, there are a bunch of other closets and small rooms that open up one at a time around the outside; each time you enter one, it lowers a wall to reveal the next one. The idea is that you get plenty of armor and health, but you don't have enough ammo to kill the Cyber, as you start out with only one BFG shot. Therefore, you have to run around collecting the ammo from these other little areas, which also unleash new monsters on you, until you are able to bring down the boss and end the level. As a bonus, one of the side rooms allows you to fight a Spider Mastermind, also in a circular room.
Even though some actual thought went into making this, it's probably still not worth your time. After all, it really is a fight with a Cyberdemon in a circular room. That said, I hope the author is willing to continue to map, because if they can put this much trickery and design into one room, I'd be interested to see what they can do with some actual content.
The /newstuff Chronicles #498