Urania - riderr3
Plutonia - Single Player - Vanilla - 3.74 MB -
Reviewed by: Ofisil
Here in Greece, Urania is considered to be one of the most... third-age sounding last name. Urania makes me think of old ladies who pass their time knitting, watering their plants, or baking cookies. There are no cookies in riderr3's 32-level MegaWad, though. THIS Urania is tough, unrelenting, merciless, and, in all honesty, great fun. Needless to say, however, that it's veterans-only material, as it's actually much, much harder than the levels in Final Doom, with every single one of them being quite long, labyrinthine, and choke full of devilishly placed baddies.
Perfect? Far from it, as it does have a couple of issues. For starters, an annoying overabundance of hitscanners, with Chaingunners especially, being hidden in every crack and crevice - which, coupled with the fact that medkits are quite scarce, makes things a bit aggravating. In many levels, the actual steps required to progress tend to be so well-hidden that one can find most of the secrets before finding that blasted blue key-card – if you are the kind of Doomer who hates squinting to see where the damn switch is, and then spending a couple of minutes running around to see what it did, stay away from Urania.
The last flaw is that most levels feel kind of samey. Hitscanners all around the place, lots of Revenants, and lots of - pleasantly - interconnecting corridors. In other words, few stages stand out "thematically." That's not to say that levels are bad or anything, but the fun tends to wear out after a few hours. That being said, great work riderr3! I've enjoyed breaking my keyboard in half...
Absolute Dishonor - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce) & Jon "40oz" Vail
Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 1.52 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Valkiriforce and 40oz may sound like a bit of an odd pairing -- or at least, they wouldn't have been anyone's obvious choice for a team-up. Valkiriforce is an extremely prolific mapper who has pretty much always worked within vanilla Doom's limits using few custom resources, creating levels that are often described as throwbacks to the era of Memento Mori and Requiem. 40oz is best known for detailed, atmospheric maps that make heavy use of custom textures. What the two share is a love of classic gameplay, and that love definitely shines through in Absolute Dishonor, a set of eight mostly stock-textured vanilla maps.
Valkiriforce's and 40oz's maps in this set couldn't be more different from each other, but what's most interesting is that neither of them were working in their own established styles. Instead of medium-sized, semi-linear maps with arena-oriented combat setups, valkiriforce created a bunch of huge, sandboxy, very exploration-oriented levels. As for 40oz, not only was he working with few custom textures, he also eschewed the large spaces and bigger, more complex combat setups that characterize most of his maps in UAC Ultra and Mutiny in favor of compact layouts, low monster counts, and nerve-wrackingly intimate close-quarters combat, not to mention some puzzle elements.
To elaborate a bit on the individual levels:
OK, so I lied a tiny bit; valkiriforce starts us off in map 01 with a rather short shotgun-fest against lots of zombies and other weak enemies in a stone/water/base setting that would look perfectly at home in Reverie or Vispire. Map 03, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. It's the biggest and most complex map in the set, with so many branching paths everywhere that it's better to just give up trying to keep track, pick a random direction at each crossroads, and see where the wind takes you. Wandering through all those halls and rooms is really a lot of fun, and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you finally make it to the exterior ocean walkway that you keep getting peeks of throughout the level. Map 05 is similar, but the keys make it slightly more straightforward, dividing it up into several large, nonlinear sections that you complete in sequence. It takes place in some kind of mining complex complete with train yards and tracks, and it has a great secret involving a train and a Cyberdemon that I won't spoil. Map 08 feels more like a city (a la Peterson's "Downtown" or "Suburbs"), with lots of open spaces ringing individual buildings. It has a few too many Barons for my liking, but again, it's very explorable, and many of the monsters have free rein to wander all over the place, which keeps things interesting. Throughout all of these levels, the opposition comes in large numbers and is packed in fairly densely, making for a good challenge, but there aren't any forced arena battles that I can remember. You're always free to push forward, flee, try to lead enemies into a different area, or look for an alternate way around, whichever you prefer.
Then there's 40oz's levels. Map 02 sets the tone for what's to come. It's dark and spooky, the layout winds around in knots and repeatedly visits the same central locations from different angles, the enemies have a habit of getting in your personal space without asking, and the whole thing revolves around a spatial puzzle in which you try to raise a bridge across the main chasm. Map 04 is eerily quiet after the chaotic trials of valkiriforce's massive fortress in map 03, and you know right away that something nasty is waiting for you...somewhere. The level features several tough ambushes, some tricky Arch-Vile battles, and an elaborate, fiendish puzzle that you have to solve to get the red key. Map 06 is the most straightforward (not that it's easy): a brown-stone fortress that's strongly reminiscent of classic megawads like Requiem. Highlights include an intense battle with silhouetted Demons and Hell Knights in the dark, as well as quite a few close encounters with Revenants. Map 07 is more of the same tricky goodness, wrapping up with a series of battles against teleporting enemy waves as you navigate each portion of the final puzzle.
Ultimately, valkiriforce and 40oz *are* a bit of an odd pairing -- but so were Joshy and darkwave. That comparison is pretty apt; one of the big reasons why Absolute Dishonor is so successful is the dramatic contrast between the two styles. Every level you play is totally different from the previous one, and it makes every map feel like it delivers a totally fresh set of surprises -- something that you can't ever quite get from a one-person mapset. And when you consider that each mapper was working outside his usual comfort zone, trying something totally new, it's amazing how natural these maps feel. Absolute Dishonor is a classic transplanted into modern times, a throwback to a time long past that somehow doesn't feel derivative at all. It doesn't get any Doomier than this.
Fuzz 2016 - Bzzrak Ktazzz
Doom 2 - Deathmatch - Vanilla - 47.86 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Fuzz 2016 is a deathmatch map that doesn't have any reason to exist. Basically it's a square arena with few walls to use as cover and many super shotguns lying around. With all the good DM wads out there, you don't have any reason to download this crap.
Tritium Refinery - Subucnameth
Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 160.5 KB -
Reviewed by: gaspe
Tritium Refinery is wad with two vanilla maps. Glaring is the texturing style that you can see when you start; the textures used are limited to bricks and metal with occasional computer panels and pipes to make some details, and brown is the leading color everywhere. The gameplay wasn't really bad, and there are some nice moments like the MAP01 finale with the lowering floor, though overall all the combat takes place in flat grounds, and MAP02 gets rather boring with having to use the SSG to clean corridors with mancubuses and many other tough monsters. All in all it isn't that bad, but it turns out to be very boring and repetitive, and the generic and bland music doesn't help at all.
Deliverance: ONI Facility Demo (Stripped Version) - Elric Sullivan (Fisk)
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 416.6 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
This wad contains a single level for Doom 2 that uses only Doom 1 monsters and a hybrid selection of D1/D2 textures. The title suggests that it's a demo for a larger project, but the textfile doesn't say what -- an episode, a megawad, a hub? This is apparently a "stripped" version of the map that removes music that would violate /idgames rules -- though what a level like this would be doing with MP3 music, I'm not really sure.
This level is surprisingly tough, simply because the amount of firepower you have at any given point feels weak relative to the amount of monster meat you're up against. It requires some patience to overcome all the monsters using mainly the shotgun, and the slight frustration factor pushes you to be overly aggressive in facing what feels like a weak selection of monsters, which can get you killed. I suspect this would be a great level for Tyson players, because the Berserk pack is available quite early (if you know where to go) and is by far the most powerful weapon available (unless you find some of the secrets that contain better guns, which I didn't). If you don't mind the style of gameplay, the combat is reasonably fun, and the level feels pretty explorable due to its nonlinearity. Probably the most interesting thing about this level is that it has three different exits in different parts of the map, making me wonder if the author intends to turn it into a hub.
All in all, this map doesn't put me on the edge of my seat waiting for the rest of the project to be released, but it definitely wasn't a bad way to spend 15 minutes.
Industrial Warfare - Carlos Lastra
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 175.3 KB -
Reviewed by: Ofisil
Industrial Warfare is as industrial as possible. It's a finely crafted hi-tech level with lots of good detailing all around, just don't expect any hell-invasion texture-wise, because it's all pure UAC tech-o-rama. Instead of Running From Evil it uses Demons on the Prey, which fits with the map's very balanced setup; not too wide, not too narrow, not full of enemies, not with a lack of enemies, not too long, not too short. Even in terms of difficulty it's balanced. Some snooping around is needed, but not so much that it feels like a key/switch search-a-thon, enemy placement is perfect, never too easy to kill, but also never unfair towards the player. There's not much else to say about this well-designed wad, so here's a brief summary: Industrial Warfare is a very old-school, pure Doom experience that's perfect for those seeking something fun, albeit not innovative in any way.
Water Works - mrthejoshmon
Evilution - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 121.95 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Up until now, the only mrthejoshmon level I had played was "Husk of What Once Was" from Nova 2, which I mainly remember for its enormous canyon battle in which you have to carve out space a little bit at a time while under fire from every possible angle. In Water Works, the author is working on a much smaller scale, and the tactical puzzle gameplay is traded in for basic run and gun. This level feels pretty casual for the most part -- the first two-thirds of the level are populated by moderate numbers of weak enemies in spaces that are easy to maneuver in and manage, and this section is made even easier by a pair of incredibly obvious secrets that grant a Soulsphere, the SSG and rocket launcher, and an ammo backpack. The last leg of the level presents more of a challenge, mostly because of the Revenants that suddenly start showing up in groups. Sadly, the two battles that should be the most intense and challenging are both weakened dramatically by the architectural design. The first involves a large number of Imps and zombies teleporting into the main water tunnel area, but all of those enemies appear on one side of you, and the architecture funnels them so effectively that I was able to basically stand in one spot and hold down the fire key with the shotgun until it was over. The second is the climactic penultimate battle against Revenants, Pain Elementals, and some other assorted enemies -- none of which could reach me after I triggered them, and most of which piled up pitifully against a wall in their vain attempt to do so. Between the hallway route, the ledges, and the lift that are all between you and them, you can herd them pretty much however you want. After that battle in Nova 2 that I loved so much, it was sort of sad to see the author using the layout so unimpressively.
Aside from the disappointments of those two battles, Water Works isn't a bad level at all -- just a very easy one. The visuals are nice, basically a slightly more detailed version of the Evilution aesthetic, with some interesting scenes that include a laser beam firing into the water and... turning it into blood? I'm not sure, but it looks cool. All in all, I liked this map, and I'd be willing to come back to it sometime when I'm looking for relaxation instead of a challenge.
QuakeGuy Skin - Massao
N/A - N/A - Skin Support - 172.57 KB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
A basic Quakeguy skin for Doom. I was surprised by how good it looks in game -- it looks like at least some work was done to make sure it works with the Doom palette instead of just lazily ripping it from screenshots or whatever. It comes with Quakeguy sounds, but sadly no custom HUD face, and it's a little jarring to be playing as one character and seeing another character's face. Oh well. If you want a custom skin that actually looks good, this is a pretty solid option.
Fort Doom - FlightPhoenix
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 151.1 KB -
Reviewed by: Averagewalrus24
Fort Doom is FlightPhoenix's first wad... and it's not awful. The wad is only one map long, and can be finished in less than seven minutes on Hurt Me Plenty. So with that said the map wasn't difficult; in fact, it felt like the map was holding my hand almost the whole way through. The map had a generous amount of ammo, so much so that even after I shot the BFG 6 or 7 times I had about 600 cells when I finished the map. Along with that, right before "difficult" fights you are given a super charge and blue armor.
Sadly almost all the rooms were rectangles or squares, and were open with maybe one or two short walls that you can't go over. Despite all the flaws I ranted about, it's not that bad of a map. There are definitely worse maps out there, so for a first map this is pretty good. Sadly this map is only average at best, so I only recommend this map if you have nothing better to do.
Infested base - Massao
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 33.57 KB -
Reviewed by: QuirkyKirk
Massao is new to mapping, and it shows. Infested base is his fourth map, though instead of showing some form of learning from his previous maps, it appears that he made them all in quick succession without waiting for criticism. Speaking of criticism, it seems he's attempting to dodge it by stating that he sucks at mapping in the text file. Truly, a recipe for success. I'll be providing a description of the most significant moments of the level in chronological order, in an attempt to help Massao become a better mapper.
The story provided is that, surprise, demons have invaded a UAC base on Earth. Guess that's where the title comes from. There's also a line about another marine being sent, before being trapped and reporting THREE cyberdemons. I haven't even started playing and I want the map to end now.
We start off, and after the very first turn, we're met with four zombiemen and a chaingunner. We haven't even clocked in a minute yet, guys, and we're fighting a chaingunner with a pistol.
After disposing of the poor enemy placement, we can draw attention to the visual design of this place. A small, cramped room with open sky, some boxes, and a computer station. To the right is a wooden hell door, with lava for the ceiling above it. I attempt to open it, and despite the lack of marking, I'm told I need a red key. I guess I have to go through the other door. I'm immediately faced with two sergeants, and there's a cacodemon in a cage. Also, to the right is an inescapable death pit. This is the first of three.
To the left is a poorly hidden secret, with... Oh goodie! A BF- Damn it. I'm teleported into the room with the cacodemon. Moving back to the main map, I run across a floor of slime with almost no safe spots on it. At one side is a lift up to a hidden super shotgun, but it's placed in a quick crusher trap. It's impossible for someone playing the map for the first time to see this coming. Another side contains a second death pit, and the last leads to a room with a Berserk pack, some lost souls and a demon.
This then heads to an indoor room where Massao gets the base texturing down great, even if the layout needs some work. I then head through a teleporter, kill a Baron, and grab the red key. I'm warped directly in front of the locked door from before, and I open it to find enough ammo to completely fill all my weapons, plus a megasphere and an invulnerability pickup. I step on the teleporter in the room and I'm brought into an arena with the three cyberdemons mentioned before. For some reason, this is marked as a secret.
Hidden behind a wall is a BFG. This time, I can actually pick it up, and I use it to quickly dispatch two of the cyberdemons. I finish the last one off with my rockets and head to the exit, where...
Is this a joke of some kind? There are at least four mancubuses in the same place, unable to attack me and simply acting as an obstruction to the exit. I slowly kill them and end the level.
Overall, not too great, but far from the worst I've played. My advice? Make more open areas, don't include inescapable pits, and convey the objective to the player a bit more.
Evergrey & Nightwish Music - Mr. Chris (AKA Glaice)
Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - MIDI Support - 344.71 KB
Reviewed by: gaspe
Evernite is a midi pack composed of songs from the Metal bands Nightwish and Evergrey. All the tracks of Doom 1 and Doom 2 are replaced, and some tracks are reused for the two soundtracks. I don't think it fits well for the IWADs, but if you like these bands in particular or you are searching for some metal tracks you have something to check out. For being MIDI compositions of metal songs, they play rather well. And yes there is also the "hamster, a dentist..." song, so go wild.
The /newstuff Chronicles #520