Swift Death - franckFRAG (guest mappers JCD & Memfis)
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.51 MB -
Reviewed by: Voros
Swift Death is a Doom 2 megawad, replacing all 32 maps.
The name says everything...
Swift Death has the theme of slaughterfest and arena shooter. But the difference is there is no progression. You start a new game, and in one second, you'll find yourself desperately running around in the small space given, while trying to avoid the multitude of Revenant fireballs coming your way, with a pistol in your hand... all on MAP01. This on "Beginner Challenge", which replaces "Hurt Me Plenty". The author says to take "Toilet Break" first, which is basically "Hurt Me Plenty".
Visually, it's nice, with the new skies and all. Don't expect mindblowing details though. You won't have time to admire the sights!
The demons... demons everywhere. But used uniformly, so there's some chance of surviving. Unless you have a BFG 9000, your chances are pretty slim (but not impossible). Thankfully, such large numbers of demons in one place is bound to start infighting. Unfortunately, finding a spot to wait it all out seems impossible.
This is a well-executed megawad, and if you ever finished The Plutonia Experiment on Ultra-Violence, then you must try this.
The Last Sanctuary - cybermind (aka Mistranger)
Doom 2 - Single Player - MBF compatible - 9.03 MB -
Reviewed by: Ribbiks
The Last Sanctuary is a rather spectacular MBF-compatible map crafted by Russian author cybermind (aka Mistranger) for the 16th First-Try Demo Contest (FDC). For those unfamiliar, the premise of FDC is that participants race through a map that no one has played before and try and complete it as quickly as possible, so it's a contest of navigation and planning as well as combat. For this map there were 15 players in total, myself among them, with some familiar names scoring the fastest times.
Onto the map: first of all, this thing is huge. It boasts ~64k linedefs in its description, and Veinen's winning FDC time was more than 40 minutes, so expect to spend quite a bit longer if you intend to soak up the sights. Without spoiling the sense of "holy cow, there's a whole other area over here?" I had when first playing, I'll say the map consists of three main areas with distinct themes following the much loved tech -> hell aesthetic. Fans of the dreary narrative-implying semi-realism, sprawling jagged caverns, and diverse texture schemes that typify Russian releases won't be disappointed, as this map has plenty of it all.
The monster placement mostly suits the exploratory gameplay, with incidental mobs lining the rooms between the occasional arena-like setup. My greatest familiarity with the map is on skill 2, the setting used during FDC, which is designed to be very friendly for the player who's in a hurry and can't afford to hunt for resources when short stocked. The enemy composition is quite a bit meaner on the higher settings, and might be a smidge harder than the average fan of exploratory maps might be looking for, but that's why the settings exist, right?
To me the most impressive attribute of The Last Sanctuary is the amount of technical wizardry that cybermind managed to pull off in a mostly Boom-compatible fashion. The highlight feature is a grandiose outdoor section that transitions from day to night in real time using some slowly animated textures in conjunction with half a million voodoo dolls, very cool! Another absurdly neat feature is the implementation of a combination lock to open the exit. I've spent like an hour studying that thing in DB2 but still only have a tenuous understanding of how it was done. There are also quite a number of elaborate elevator and stairbuilding triggers, and some quirky conveyor mechanics. In general, the behind-the-scenes functionality seems to be of such complexity that I'd wager bits of it had to have been procedurally generated.
In short: Strap in for a gigantic adventure, ogle the cool technical bits, and don't be afraid to lower the difficulty if needed to blast your way through this beast; it's worth seeing!
Abyssal Speedmapping Session 24 - Various
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 2.46 MB -
Reviewed by: Jaws In Space
For the 24th entry into the Abyssal Speedmapping Session, mappers were given the theme choices of silent teleporters, use a max of four monster types, or use the textures and palette from AD_79's Violence. For the second round of mapping 12 hours after the first, the bonus of avoiding placing lines parallel to the grid was given.
Of the 18 maps submitted, 17 used the Violence textures; the only one that didn't was Joe-Ilya's map 32 because he started and finished making his map before the themes were revealed, which is why his map was put into the secret slot. Only two maps (4 and 31) use the bonus theme of no lines parallel to the grid; I don't read the themes before playing these wads, and I found that this theme was hardly noticeable. The other two themes are the most interesting from a player's standpoint and appear at least ten times each throughout the wad.
ASS starts off slow and sweet with maps 1 - 4 being quite easy to blast through, and they all look pretty decent for speedmaps, Jimmy's map 4 being the standout visually. Map 5 is the first bad map of the wad; a combination of a huge lost soul swarm and damaging floors make the map annoying to play. In addition the map is quite bland visually, and seeing that it was only made in 45 minutes I don't find the lack of quality surprising. Maps 6 and 7 by Jimmy and TMD are two of the best maps in ASS 24; both maps look great and are very intense to play. Map 8 by Breezeep is another pretty good one; there are lots of nice boom effects used in this map, but the monster placement is a bit of an acquired taste, lots of Caco and Revenant hordes to be found here.
Map 9 is the worst map in the project; the author drew a 256x256 square and then copy/pasted it around the editor until he had a maze. Map 10 is where difficulty starts to ramp up in these maps; map 10 itself is an open arena style map with a few side corridors. Map 11 is another great map from rf`; it's the biggest map in the wad and is nicely detailed throughout. I'm impressed with what rf` was able to make in such a short time. Maps 12 - 14 are the end of the wad toughies, map 13 being a true BFG spam slaughter map. Of these three maps, Obsidian's map 14 is the best both visually and in the gameplay department.
ASS 24 has three bonus maps in slots 31-33. Map 31 is Return to Castle Funhouse by TMD; the gimmick here is a moving floor that circles the player around the map. This map is extremely hard. Map 32 is Joe-Ilya's map; aside from not following the rules of ASS at all, this map is OK. Map 33 is a visually updated version of map 3 that was done long after ASS had taken place.
Rezulux's First Map - Rezulux
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 15.78 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
This is a really short single map, and it's the first one by the author. Visually is okay; it's the usual techbase stuff, though some of the texture choices seem amateurish. The gameplay was rather fun; there will be only low-tier monsters to kill, but the section with the red key was interesting and there were also a few nice traps in there. Overall the map is all right, only thing is that it could have been expanded a bit.
Nevasca - Deadwing
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 23.15 MB -
Reviewed by: antares031
Nevasca is a ZDoom compatible single player wad, developed by Deadwing. It presents eight regular levels and one secret level to play, with a lot of custom elements such as weapons, monsters, background music in MP3 format, items, and powerups. Every level is played with ZDoom UV-Pistol Start during the review.
As I've just mentioned, this wad has lots of custom features to offer. Now you have a Freezegun, Railgun, and Biorifle from NeoDoom, instead of the BFG9000. And you have some tougher monsters than the original counterparts, such as dark revenants called Death Incarnation and insane zombie specialists who launch deadly rockets at you. The distinctive change in the replaced monsters is the speed of their projectiles. Even the new dark imp now shoots a speedy fireball, which is almost as fast as a plasma shot of arachnotrons. Not to mention that the new, irritating lost soul from Doom Alpha can not only charge towards you, but also shoots a plasma shot to distract you even more. To compensate your disadvantages, health items and bonus items now offer more health than before, and there are new powerup items you can get, such as regeneration, a power orb that boosts the damage of your weapons, etc.
Now it's time to talk about the level design. Like the author mentioned from the text file, every level features a non-linear layout, which is always nice to play. The architectural detail isn't superb, but it's good enough to express the concept and environment of frozen, tundra-like planet with ruins and tech-bases. And this is not a slaughter wad. Even the level with the highest monster quantity offers less than 150 monsters on UV. The difficulty of Nevasca is set by stronger monsters with faster projectiles and tricky moments to deal with. Some levels are easy to beat for intermediate players, but some levels are a little bit hard to go through with pistol start unless you've spent some lives to understand the layout.
Nevasca isn't a megawad, nor an outstanding masterpiece. But it is a modest, interesting, enjoyable single player wad with well-designed non-linear levels. Of course, if you're fan of the original vanilla Doom levels, you may have a chance of not liking this one with lots of custom elements. But to me, I spent slightly less than two hours to beat this one, and it was totally worth it. I usually don't play many ZDoom compatible wads with custom elements since I'm a huge fan of limit removing wads. But I will give an exception to Nevasca.
Tramplak - KJS
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 212.06 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Tramplak is a single map, and the first made by this author to be precise. The setting is a "techbase" building which has also some bits of hell corruption. Visually it is quite good though there's nothing remarkable, but the lighting was really nice. Gameplay isn't really hard but the ammo is really tight, and there won't be the usual stock of only zombies and imps. In particular the room with the chainsaw and the plasmagun that traps the player was quite nice. That said, it's really good for being a first, and there are some interesting things in this level.
Village DeathMatch - IMMODIUZ
Doom 2 - Deathmatch - ZDoom Compatible - 82.78 KB -
Reviewed by: Voros
Village Deathmatch is a simple DM map for ZDoom-related sourceports, but poorly executed.
The lack of environment variations makes the whole map look like the suburbs than a village. It also has tight corners and claustrophobic paths between the houses, not very ideal for a Deathmatch map. All the houses are the same, non-interactive and placed uniformly, with a few not in order. There's also a well that contains the BFG 9000, which I think is an OK hiding spot. Suburban Deathmatch might have been a better name.
But the main problem: lack of weapons. There's one of each kind on the map except for the chainsaw and shotgun, the latter having around three. And the ammo for these weapons is pretty scarce, but the plasma rifle and rocket launcher ammo seem only possible to obtain by rocket jumping. There isn't even a single health-related pickup!
It probably doesn't sound fun to play Deathmatch with your friends (unless you like "no health packs"), but I forgot to mention: this is a first map. Frankly, it may be unbalanced, but it shows the author has potential in map making. If the author chose to put in some more guns and reduce the houses, it would get my stamp of approval for any Deathmatch.
Debrecen - HUNdebLeonidasX
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 2.41 MB -
Reviewed by: Hornbuckle
Debrecan is a single level with new textures and decorative sprites. Altogether, this is a very good level. It's more or less a slaughtermap, engaging a few large mobs whenever you explore a new part of the city. The whole level is modeled after the author's hometown. All the weapons you'll pick up are from zombies, except a rocket launcher I didn't even notice I picked up until a showdown with an archvile. Most of the enemies you'll encounter will be grunts, zombies and imps. In the big street segment, you'll find some heavy resistance.
The textures really make it feel like a Doom level, be that good or bad. I like it, but others may be spoiled by some of the recent HD textures to really appreciate the old-school feel it gives off. One complaint is that, at least in the latest developmental build for GZDoom, there is an invisible hell knight. Before I noticed it, I was hugging it while it was scratching me up. Another, although very minor, is that there is a stimpack next to a tree that is unattainable. I was at 7 health and scouring the map for packs, and this one just teased me mercilessly. Very fun, a bit challenging (maybe I just suck), and looks very good. The architecture was a joy to explore, and it was fun finding monster closets. I definitely recommend it.
Trick Or Treat? - Federico Milesi (aka MrFroz)
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom - 1.47 MB -
Reviewed by: yukib1t
Trick Or Treat? is a single-player level for ZDoom (I used GZDoom) by Federico Milesi, aka MrFroz. The level has apparently gone through some revisions since it was first released, with this version specifically adding some ZDoom features.
The level is split into two main sections, which can be played in any order. A third section acts as an exit chamber, as well as containing a nice health fountain. I played through on UV and found it to be be pretty easy, mostly due to the low number of enemies. In fact, nearly all the damage I received was from some careless treks through hellslime or nukage. But there also isn't much health or ammo, and I found myself with nothing but a few rockets more than a few times. This did help to balance things out in the end, though I still feel as though the level needs more challenge.
Despite being for ZDoom, the level looks and feels much more like a level from the mid-90s. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is the weakest aspect of this level. Most rooms are pretty bland, with only a few nice decorative touches here and there. Light levels are also simple, but effective, though the differences between bright and dark sectors can be a bit jarring in places. As far as texturing goes, there really isn't much variation, with the bulk of the level sticking to the brown city/hell textures.
Overall not a bad level, but doesn't feel too memorable either.
Same Linedef Challenge Example - Royal_Sir
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 459.7 KB -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Let me preface this review with some context - these maps are Royal_Sir's second and third completed maps in the entirety of his or her mapping career. The two maps bundled in "Same Linedef Challenge Example" (or SLCE for short) are constrained by several gimmicks. In addition to the already well-practiced 1024x1024 size and the symmetrical layout, each map must look and feel different from each other despite using the same layout. While the maps in and of themselves accomplish this challenge, that is unfortunately the best, or perhaps the only, positive feedback I can sing about this project.
Starting with the non-gameplay related quips, there are about 620 loading warnings, specifically missing patches when loading textures. I don't think that this affects the maps at all, aside from an overhanging HOM sky texture in the first map. Aside from the slight patch mishap, there is also a custom palette provided in addition to all the textures needed to play the map standalone, and some nice custom tunes.
The maps are undeniably both cramped and ugly. Both maps feel terribly claustrophobic, and not in the sense of the acclaimed megawad of the same name. Many 1024 maps attempt to creatively sculpt an atmosphere that emulates areas larger than what they actually are, but SLCE boasts a "what you see is what you get" feel; you're stopped short at literally every corner due to the countless little bumps and protrusions that exist solely to hinder player movement. If you're not all banged up and bruised from faceplanting into every other wall to fight some demons, you'll find that the first map is extremely rough with ammunition. Unless you've struck a deal with the damage roll and bullet spread gods, you'll need to fist your way through at least a few mid-tiered monsters (bonus brownie points for each one that the archvile revives). On the offhand, the second map is much easier and lax with supplies. There's nothing appalling about the gameplay designs that stick out - and the combat is decent, relative to the cramped maneuverability conditions you get to fight in.
In the visual design department, the map suffers from multiple cases of doors opening into the void, paper-thin walls and stairs, misaligned textures, the occasional HOM, and corners sharp enough to slice regular passers-by. The themes are consistent, but the sloppy and inconsistent texturing ruin the sense of atmosphere. Any sense of architecture also crumbles under the tiny map boundaries and poor texturing.
All in all, these are decent first maps, but there's nothing worth playing through, even out of sole curiosity; move on and look forward to something else.
Outpost HW - Topi Hattukangas
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Limit Removing - 144.82 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
A while back I reviewed this mapper's first wad, Big Circular Room With Cybie, and my verdict was that they had created an almost interesting level from a crap concept, so I was interested to play a real level by the same author. I'm not sure Outpost HW really delivers, although it does have some interesting moments.
Hattukangas continues to build a mapping style around tricks, traps, and forcing the player to think and observe, but many of those tricks just feel unreasonable. In the first half of the map, I had a monster closet open up literally right next to me while walking along a narrow catwalk and was expected to drop down into a tiny pit with two Pinkies to pick up a rad suit. On the other hand, there were also several situations where I was able to eliminate monsters without fighting them directly (via barrels or crushers) or even sneak up on them from behind -- not that it really felt necessary to do any of this, as there was plenty of ammo and most of the enemies in question were Imps and zombies, but at least it was interesting. The last few rooms of the level really drive the concept home by pitting you against more enemies than you're likely to be able to beat with your ammo (though you do have the chainsaw) and giving you opportunities to use barrels and infighting to your advantage. There were one or two bugs (I remember an Imp that was stuck until I shot it), but most of the frustration in this level comes from weird progression. A Soulsphere secret dropped me down into a previous part of the level and forced me to re-traverse a bunch of the map for no apparent reason. At the end, my way back to the rest of the map was completely cut off, and I was faced with four Barons that I really didn't feel like fighting with only a few rockets, so I ran past them to the exit switch.
The author seems to have taken great care with secrets in this level -- there were many, but I only figured out how to get a quarter of them, and they may be the sort of secrets that rely more on timing and hidden switches than the more traditional visual cues. The level's big megasecret revolves around an enormous and presumably extremely annoying single-textured maze, and at the end of it you find...the author's entire first level, Big Circular Room With Cybie. Of course, if you want to play that level, you can just download it separately. Needless to say, I didn't feel compelled to try to go for 100%. This mapper does show some promise, but I can't condone this kind of trollish nonsense. Still, if you enjoy levels where the combat situations themselves are sort of like puzzles and half of the content is secret (in some ways, Hattukangas almost reminds me of yakfak), then you might like Outpost HW.
The /newstuff Chronicles #500