Absolutely Killed - Ryath/scwiba
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Limit Removing - 697.33 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Absolutely Killed is an E1 replacement for Doom, though it isn't the stuff you can expect from the usual E1 remakes, or from Doom in general. It's a mapset of levels based upon concepts and gimmicks. The visual style is rather old-flavored, with detailing that seems made with vanilla in mind, and the themes go for totally abstract stuff, and it offers a quite varied experience. E1M2 and E1M5 are close to being normal levels. Then you have E1M1 where you have to use barrels to kill the barons, and maps based upon lighting and damaging floors. E1M4 has a pretty cool red colored lighting that's damaging and will restrict your movement a lot. I guess that many players will dislike E1M7, which is a pretty big level mostly covered with green toxic slime, and you have to be careful to remember where you left the remaining radsuits.
Overall it's a very nice episode that plays with the Doom mechanics to create interesting gameplay scenarios rather that just being a collage of gimmicks and puzzles. Recommended for sure, though if you are looking for something with more emphasis on action this won't appeal you so much I guess.
Terror Tomb - Claudio Sapere
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 90.82 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Terror Tomb is a single map for Doom 2, and it's allegedly another first map. It doesn't look terrible; it would be almost acceptable, but the visuals are really bare. The layout wasn't really bad, but this map has the problem that all the places are oversized; it would have been better if it was down scaled a bit. The gameplay is on par with the visual department: it's uninspired. Near the end there's a horde of hell knights, and with the monsters ahead you will certainly run out of ammo if you don't find the "optional" BFG. I have seen worse, but this is a forgettable level at best.
Wolf O'Donnell - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce)
N/A - N/A - Skin Support - 255.2 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Continuing with the theme of wolf-related skins created by valkiriforce, here's a player skin based on Wolf O'Donnell, the villain/rival/antihero from the Star Fox series, with graphics ripped from one of the Smash Bros. games. It doesn't seem super well optimized for the Doom palette, but it looks OK, and if you really like the character, you might have some fun with it.
Back to Thunder Road - ZaBigBoss
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 1.22 MB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Back to Thunder Road is a small episode with six playable levels plus an ending map. It's actually made in Boom format, but to play you'll need ZDoom because it uses music tracks from Genesis games, and I must say that those were pretty cool and added a nice touch to the mood of the level. There's a nice use of the stock textures with a great emphasis on the orange, green, and grey colors, and in combination with the lightning it creates a very warm atmosphere to the maps. On the gameplay, the author isn't afraid to throw in traps and put you in tough but fair situations. Most remarkable moment is the big swarm of Cacodemons in MAP06 which will require the player to act in a more unusual manner, and I guess that it will turn off many people, but personally I really liked it. Overall it is fresh and interesting and I hope to see more from the author. Definitely recommended.
Tapperoo - Overstory_Lover_63
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 119.98 KB -
Reviewed by: mrthejoshmon
Tapperoo is clearly a newbie's map, no doubt in my mind about that.
A very bad newbie map.
The map starts by throwing you into a square SHAWN room where you are surrounded by active low level enemies and 90's mapping furniture; not a good start.
From there you seem to just enter large bland square rooms with bad sector furniture for detail and loads of randomly picked enemies. There is not really much going on with this map that really deserves talking about except two particular rooms.
The first room I'd like to talk about is the giant room that's just one big damaging sector filled with enemies. This room is absolutely horrible to be in and is nothing more than constant frustration; luckily the author has provided many rad suits for you to survive in this room (most of them are hidden and will actually trigger more enemies most of the time, which makes them not worth it at all) so it is not completely unplayable.
The second room is without a doubt the worst part about this entire train wreck. The second room is a large and vacuous pitch black mess of high damage enemies that you can't see, leading to painful and miserable gameplay. There is a pair of light goggles in the room but they are behind a horde of said high powered demons making them somewhat more of a hassle to get than just blindly firing into the dark. My favorite part about this room is the secret in there which rewards you with nothing more than an Archvile being added to the mess and some backpacks (which is absolutely not worth it).
All in all this map should just be avoided. I'm sure you'll regret it if you don't.
Emerald Bathhouse - MorbidBrute
Heretic - Single Player - Vanilla - 94.13 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Emerald Bathhouse is a simple, smallish-to-medium Heretic level with a nice green and blue watery setting and a few new textures that help set the tone. It was intended as an episode starter and fits the E3M1 slot, so pretty much all of the combat is with the wand and gauntlets, unless you find the secret shot... er, crossbow. To balance the low firepower, you're mostly fighting the weakest enemies in the bestiary (Gargoyles, Golems, and Knights, with almost no ghosts), with a couple of other enemy types added toward the end to keep things spiced up. The combat is quick and easy, and the small selection of armaments doesn't get old or feel tedious; in a few spots, you're handed a Tome of Power and pitted against larger mobs of enemies, which helps to vary the pacing. It also helps that the level looks really nice for Heretic -- I don't think there are a huge number of custom textures, but the few that are used really work wonders, and the architecture has a good classic feel to it.
This level definitely feels like the start of an episode, with just the right amount of challenge to get your blood flowing, and the gameplay and general flow of the level make it feel like it could have been perfectly at home in the original game. It's pretty basic, but well designed and fun to play.
Vanished Colony - Abe87
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 6.27 MB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Vanished Colony is a 10-level episode for Doom 2 to play with your ZDoom-based port of choice. It's split in two halves where the first six levels are set in techbases while the last four levels are hell themed. It's also the first wad by the author, and for some thing it shows. Especially in the first maps you can notice how the unpegging isn't used, and the author uses a weird manner of making his buildings: instead of deleting the gaps in the editor to make the completely solid sector he uses raised ones, and most of the walls are 2-sided linedefs. Though there's nothing really critical, apart a bug I encountered on MAP03 that will get you stuck.
A thing that is done rather well is the non-linearity, and even in the most straight maps there are always some optional areas sometimes you can explore. The maps mostly consist of corridors, rooms, and corridors, and the gameplay unfortunately stays a bit too much on the flat side. The places look a bit bare sometimes but at least there are some attempts at detail that looked good. MAP03/04 is where it starts to pick up better. While MAP06 has a nice mood, it's probably among the worst of the bunch with its room after room approach, and MAP08 and 10 suffer from that too. MAP07 was rather nice; it's like a sort of a remake of Mt. Erebus and with MAP09 is the highest point of the wad. The skies are replaced by some very high quality ones; at first they clash a bit with the stock assets but they are really cool, I must say.
Overall despite its flaws and the fact that the visuals and the gameplay don't offer anything that's really remarkable, it's a rather interesting episode. Worth to play at least once.
Trap - CokeTheAyyLmao
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 52.37 KB -
Reviewed by: mrthejoshmon
Let's not beat around the bush here and just begin by saying that this map is absolute garbage.
You begin in a really ugly interpretation of Plutonia MAP01's starting room except this time you are surrounded by active enemies and you have hardly any ammo. After you die over and over again to the over abundance of hitscan enemies you are then ambushed by Chaingunners whilst a Chaingunner and a Revenant watches from a high balcony (I hope you like Chaingunners, CokeTheAyyLmao does).
This is just the first area of this single map wad; it actually gets even worse than this.
Every encounter in this entire ordeal involves a room textured with obvious trap.jpeg all over it (which then fills with Chaingunners and usually hell nobles). Every single room in this wad is just a "spam high damage enemies out the walls at the player" situation. I could honestly describe one more of the rooms in this wad and that would describe the rest of this miserable waste of kilobytes.
Anyway, if I were to come up with any points of "interest" in this wad then they would be the raising floor that never comes back down that leads to the exit room (making the map unbeatable if done wrong, which is great because there is a Chaingunner ambush up there and the instant response is to jump down), and the chainsaw pickup which warrants you six Chaingunners, two Hell Knights and a Baron all around you.
So yeah, avoid this.
Alpha Accident: Terra Nova - Wraith777
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Limit Removing - 2.99 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Alpha Accident: Terra Nova is a 9-level partial conversion that replaces E1 of Doom. I didn't follow its development, but judging from the title and the types of new resources used, it looks like it's one of those projects that takes its inspiration from the Doom alpha (and is the only one that's ever been completed, to my knowledge). The story takes place at the same time as Doom 1; all your comrades are sent to deal with the distress call from Phobos, but you somehow end up stranded on Mars itself and start investigating the invasion there.
The episode includes a host of new textures and a bunch of cool Dehacked-driven features, such as supply boxes, a more powerful armor bonus, empty nukage barrels that fall over instead of exploding, and a couple of different types of destructible pillars (make sure you figure out how to recognize these, as it will often be necessary to progress; one of them can only be taken down with rocket splash). They're the same sorts of goofy faux-realistic features you could have seen in any of the mid-90s FPS games that tried unsuccessfully to one-up Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, and they give Alpha Accident a distinct old-school feel. The soundtrack adds to that classic aesthetic with a set of mostly obscure tracks by Paul Corfiatis, NMN, and others, most of which I had never heard before (the tracks in E1M4 and E1M7 were particularly good).
You'll also be dealing with a few new monsters. The main two, which you start fighting around E1M4, are a stationary turret and a fairly fast-moving floating brain drone. They're both hitscanners that fire twice in a row and never flinch, so they're basically the same enemy except that one has very versatile movement and the other doesn't move at all -- which also turns out to be pretty dangerous, because if you're keeping an eye out for enemies in motion, you may not see the turrets before they start shooting you. There's also a nice boss battle in E1M8 against several plasma-shooting ghost marines that can only be hurt by hitscan weapons (and possibly splash damage?). Wraith777 created all of these enemies in Dehacked but managed to do so without replacing any of the Doom bestiary, so you'll still face Lost Souls, Cacodemons, Barons, and even a few Cyberdemons alongside the usual E1 fodder and the new additions.
The levels themselves are enormous and highly nonlinear, with branching paths in just about every room you enter. These complex layouts often allow you to do strange things, like enter another main area through a secret passage that doesn't count as a secret, or completely bypass a locked door without getting the key. I got the sense that all of this "back door" stuff was intentional, and it gave the map a very sandboxy feel, since there are multiple ways to accomplish objectives. The real secrets tend to take their cues from Wolfenstein 3D; they often have very little visual indication of where they are, and they're frequently stacked one inside another.
For the most part the layouts feel natural, albeit mazey, and you can find everything just by keeping an eye on your map, but there are also many places where the levels start to feel confusing. Wraith does a good job of giving every room a distinct shape, but since the texture set is relatively limited, it can still be hard to remember where you are, and, more importantly, how to get back to where you want to go. The levels are very much switch-oriented, too. It's not exactly a switch hunt, because the switches are always in clear view, but getting to the exit often requires you to hit switches all over the level, and it's easy to miss some small side room and then get lost for 15 minutes while you try to figure out where it is. Many levels are full of cramped spaces, and in spite of the size and complexity of the maps, the author doesn't do a very good job with interconnectivity at all. Most really refined mappers ace this test; in a nonlinear map, they'll always have teleporters, lifts, and lowering walls to get you right back where you want to be. In Alpha Accident, however, you constantly find yourself having to take the long way around to get back to a part of the level you haven't explored yet (sometimes you hit a switch and can actually see where the bars lower but there's no good way to get back there), or falling off a crate while trying to take a secret path across the top of the crate maze and having to spend a couple of minutes re-navigating the whole maze to get back to where you started. This can be incredibly frustrating, and it's by far the biggest issue that keeps Alpha Accident from being one of the best Doom 1 episodes I've played. Even if all of this drives you crazy, though, it's worth playing the last two levels in the set, which are easily the best. They're both nonlinear like the earlier levels, but they utilize much larger hub-type spaces and have much more comfortable layouts with a lot of really interesting ideas. They also look very different from the repeated alpha-style setting of the previous levels, which starts to get a little old by the end of E1M6. E1M7 is a very open city-style base complex with many individual buildings to explore, and E1M8 is set in a hellish cavern.
There are a few other minor issues in addition to the layout problems mentioned above that make Alpha Accident feel a little unpolished. I frequently found myself coming up behind enemies that didn't know I was there until I shot them. I'm not sure if the author considers this to be a feature rather than a bug, but it's not something you normally see in a level that's been fully playtested, and it didn't feel right. There are also some spots that just don't seem like they were thought through completely; for instance, when I grabbed my first chaingun from behind a storage crate, it unleashed a Demon trap in the hall where I had come from, but the Demons couldn't reach me through the most direct path, the narrow gap between the crate and the wall, and I was able to pick them off easily.
Although these issues can be annoying, they don't create major problems, and if you want, you can see them as adding to the classic aesthetic. Alpha Accident feels a bit like Nicolas Monti's work in some ways, but the intentional weirdness is less extreme and therefore will probably appeal to more players. The new resources and the hugeness of the levels really makes this set stand out from a lot of other basic E1 replacements, too. If you like exploration-focused levels and have a lot of patience, you'll get a lot out of playing this episode, and I'm sure you'll feel like it rewards the time you put into it. However, if you hate cramped hallways, mazey layouts, and constantly running around looking for every last switch, you may want to seek your fun elsewhere, or just skip straight to E1M7.
Hell Returns for Last Time - CaptainManiac
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 1.24 MB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
How beautiful, it's time for another review. Here we have Hell Returns for Last Time, a small wad with five maps designed to be played with Brutal Doom. I thought that this is a nice chance to try something different in the review, a little experiment, because the words won't be enough to make you understand how this is, and most likely I don't know how many of you will actually play this crap after you read this. So to make you suffer at least a bit you'll notice later that in the sentences there will be numbers, like this (1), which will refer to the corresponding screenshot.
"This mapset has good story and good graphics..." this is taken from the text file. I don't know what the author means by "good graphics"; there aren't custom textures, the two custom monsters appear only one time, and the look of the level is at the opposite of being good. The story doesn't seem to be really special: We are on the Earth, year 4599, in a deserted land. Maybe it's something post-apocalyptic, I don't know; probably the wad will explain all later, but let's begin our journey... ...inside our house, that is burning (1). Before the door there's a pit full of weapons which I though it was inescapable because the ladder doesn't really work well. Look at your house (2)! That red lava strip you see on the right is a little pit from where monsters start to spawn if you make noise. You don't have to fight here, instead we have to move to... a car? (3) and finish the level. The next map is like MAP01, a big flat area with a building the middle. After we kill an unfriendly marine we can enter the building (4), yes the key is placed in front of the door. Or we can just exit the level, to the left there's a truck I suppose, it's like the car of MAP01 that's twice the size, but let's go explore inside what is a military base supposedly. There are some enemies to fight, finally we do something. The place is made of big monotextured rooms; I really wanted to enjoy the good story but the dialogue seems messed up (5). There's also a bunch of friendly marines that appear (6), you can also admire how the inner areas are now. Next level: we are in the truck now (7), and it's moving, at least the floor is scrolling but what remains of the enemies keeps following us (8). I thought that this map was bugged; after you kill everything nothing happens for a good while, but suddenly you are teleported here (9), where endless hordes of monsters start to spawn, but don't worry, to end the level you just have to sit in the lava and wait to lose almost all your health. The next map is the closest one to being something acceptable (10). Then follows the last map, a boss map. After a boring cyberdemon fight we get to fight an afrit (11) which is the real boss; good thing that you can step into the teleporter and finish the level without having to kill it.
And it's over. If I have to force myself to find some good things in this mapset, it is that least it was short, and it was rather entertaining although for the wrong reasons. Even if you are interested because it requires Brutal Doom, leave this wad alone; you deserve better than this.
The /newstuff Chronicles #516