Miasma - Thomas "tourniquet" Seifert
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 2.42 MB -
Reviewed by: Nine Inch Heels
Miasma was uploaded to the archives on December 16th, 2016. I don't feel comfortable calling it a "map", because, more than anything, Miasma is a place so alien and malicious, within a few minutes it will make you realize you are unwelcome in its presence.
In Greek mythology, a miasma is a contagious force with an independent life of its own. This wonderfully detailed and disturbingly abstract environment is dominated by the color green, yet it combines many different themes, which flow into one another seamlessly as the player peels back Miasma's many layers during exploration. This... place is huge. Oppressive open areas and treacherous tight quarters await the brave, keeping them alert at all times, and making them feel weak and fragile.
Miasma is as much a piece of art and ingenuity as it is about gameplay variety. If there was something like "the everything map", Miasma more than deserves to be considered as such. Tourniquet managed to constantly mix up the gameplay in this non-linear microcosm: from exploration to close quarters combat to slaughter, all of which is delivered with many brilliantly executed and varied nuances. No encounter feels like the previous one, adding even more to the impression that this place is looking to get rid of you by any means necessary. That's not to say the map plays unfair. On the contrary, there is a reliable solution for everything here. However, if you want to see everything this green behemoth has on offer, I suggest saving your progress occasionally during your first, or maybe even second playthrough, in particular when playing on UV difficulty. Miasma can take well over 30 minutes to finish, even for quite experienced players, and dying 20 minutes into the map to then start it all over again may be unpleasant.
Encounter design throughout the map is consistently at high quality. Nicely orchestrated small encounters with impeccable thing placement create about as much psychological pressure as the relatively large scale encounters which take place in the the deepest bowels of this festering abomination. The pacing is top notch every time; nothing ever feels boring, tedious, or uninteresting, let alone trivial.
When it comes to resources, you will be kept on a relatively short leash. Matching the visual theme of the map, players are going be limited to green armor for significant periods of time. When you get hit, it will hurt. In spite of the relatively low Archvile/Cyberdemon count when compared to other maps with roughly 1000-1500 monsters, the opposition is potentially lethal, and mistakes will get punished severely. Tourniquet is reasonably generous with firepower. You will always be given a little bit more than you might need, but never so much as to allow for an overall wasteful or careless play-style. Many encounters, especially early on, but also a bit later down the line, are designed around SSG/RL use and quick thinking paired with a good tactical approach on the player's end. As a consequence of limited resources, the creatively hidden secrets in Miasma are not only meaningful, but they also feel very rewarding to discover. Some secrets require a good eye; others can be found by way of hearing "something" happen.
Even after having played many Cacoward-winning megawads, I was more than pleasantly surprised by this astonishing masterpiece. It is one of the best Dooming experiences I have had.
Infested Outpost - Cacodemon9000
Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 1.5 MB -
Reviewed by: geo
Infested Outpost is a sea of grey, cement, dark tunnels all wrapped into a near-maddening labyrinth. It starts out enjoyable enough, a fair amount of health, ammo and challenge. Enough ammo to have you switching weapons until you find the armory. Health is abundant in key locations that you'll return to again and again.
The key here is again-and-again. Wow this is a tangled web of a complex. All three keys are used, naturally, but there are color coated switch doors as well. Green to green, yellow to yellow. I was lost and confused backtracking to the very beginning of the level to discover the room of switches that I had walked by without noticing. To unlock that bank of two switches, I had to stumble my way through a pitch black theater that was darker than any Duke Nukem theater.
Getting lost in a dark room was only the tip of the iceberg, as there is a network of dark tunnels around big rooms. These tunnels are at 45 degree angles and there are lights at select moments, but it was more of a nuisance than a moment of dread. There are chaingunners, imps and barons to fight in these close quarters with little room to strafe. Another issue with these dark tunnels is that its tough to discern one tunnel from the next without your trusty map.
Oh but it's tough to navigate even with a map, because these tunnels have ladders that work as silent teleporters to different sections of the map. So there was no clear cut way to find a route via the map when looking at the tunnels. This would be fine if you didn't have to back track through them so often. I got the blue key and it was next to a switch that required a yellow key, which meant I'd have to trek through the tunnels another time. What I failed to mention is the fact that blue key needs to be used on a blue key switch somewhere else in the tunnels.
Outside these menacing tunnels are big storage rooms where a lot of the action happens. In each of these large warehouses is a slew of imps, barons, and chaingunners. As we all know the chaingunners can snipe you from across a room with no real sense of where it's coming from. To the level's credit there is always cover, just know where you're getting shot from.
To make things both more detailed and frustrating, there were half doors. Doors that were stuck half open, so you could see beneath them, but they never open. So when looking at a map to see oh there's a red door I haven't gone in; the trick was these doors are jammed half open and can't be opened even if at times you could still get to the other side.
Another detriment is just how grey it is. I could still tell one room from the next, and a lot of rooms had good detail and interesting concepts, but it's still a lot of grey on grey punctuated with blue fabrics in the occasional living quarters and boxes... lots of boxes. Speaking of boxes, this is a vanilla DOOM 2 WAD so there's no jump. The red key requires some intense accuracy running off a box and landing on another, but only after taking a long route up a bunch of crates and over two other gaps. After ten tries, I gave up, cheated and jumped. I should also specify that this WAD was meant to use the embedded DeHackEd file, so perhaps that would have given me some sort of run ability not native to the vanilla version.
On the good side of the map, it feels like it could be a real outpost. There are barracks, a morgue, the movie theater and so on. There are a few moments it felt like the map design was inspired both by Duke as I mentioned before, but also a bit like Doom 3 with large trafficking tunnels that have walkways and stairs on both sides.
If you're someone that likes intense puzzles, this is for you, but as I went further into the rabbit hole, it only ended in anguish.
DAR's DOOM Marathon - Davester2296, uploaded by Mr. Chris
Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - OGG Support - 212.54 MB
Reviewed by: geo
How do you review an entire recreation of both Doom and Doom 2's soundtracks? You play both games back to back... or you just listen to each level using cheats to skip map to map. Both soundtracks are great and it's tough to disagree with a pack that has two game soundtrack replacements in it.
The first soundtrack is more metal with a nice balance of synthetic without deviating from the original songs too much. Who would have imagined a soundtrack covering metal songs would get covered by metal? The guitars are bigger and more pronounced, but other things are more subtle and menacing. There is also a good deal of variety to make each song different from what could have been a strict metal recreation. Half the songs are metal with walls of guitars, while the other half is more creative to stand out.
To buffer the intense metal of the first album, there are synthetic symphonies, creepy, and dare I say other-worldly songs. Some things begin more sedate and harmonic before punching you in the face with guitars.
There is definitely a contrast between the first and second game soundtracks as if different instruments were used. The drums and guitars both sound different and there is less use of synthetic sound. The second game sounds far more mellow and symphonic compared to the big metal of the first. The guitar riffs sound more subdued than skull crushing. Maybe that's just how it always was, less intense than the original game.
If you need a fresh pack of the familiar chords and beats to blow holes in monsters, this is your pack.
Doom Project Version 1.1 - Guy M. Babin
Doom/Doom 2 - N/A - OGG Support - 161.78 MB
Reviewed by: geo
This is Doom Project Version 1.1, but what is it? Could it be remaking Doom 1? Could it be someone's first level? No... It's a techno and/or dance music pack that replaces the music of Knee Deep in the Dead inspired from Unreal Tournament 3. Would you have ever guessed that from the title? Nope.
The bottom line of this or any music replacement soundtrack isn't how good or bad it is, but does it fit the game? In this case, that's a big no. Perhaps I've been brainwashed over two decades into thinking Doom is about metal, guitars, and ambience rather than synthetic beats. The only song that comes close to fitting in tone is E1M4, as it has a good, consistent beat from start to finish.
In fact I think video game music has to hook you in within the first few chords for it to affect you, otherwise it turns into bland and run of the mill. The songs have nothing to grab my attention, and maybe that's the genre as a whole. Even if well done, this pack might as well have just been taxi cabs honking in traffic and I would have felt the same. Maybe the music just never energized me the same way the original soundtrack did in its humble midi form.
It may have fit Doom better if it had been inspired by the game rather than Unreal Tournament 3. By that logic, there needs to be more Mega Man inspired music in Doom. Most people agree that Mega Man has some of the greatest video game music of all time, but "does it fit the blood soaked halls and zombie bellows of Doom?"
Maybe if you're into the music's genre you'll appreciate it more than I did, but after 35 minutes of hearing it, I will never listen to it again.
Shovelware Adventure! - Doomkid (Doomkid92 on steam)
Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 2.28 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
Shovelware Adventure is a throwback to the early days of Doom, when you could get away with raking up a bunch of other people's random crap levels and throwing them onto a CD to sell commercially. It doesn't actually play like a shovelware map, fortunately. Instead, it's more about having a cheesy retro feel and a very simple but high-quality design. The detailing is pretty spartan and I don't think there are any custom textures, but there's plenty of fun new content to help keep it interesting, mostly in terms of monsters and decorations. Besides the recolors and reskins, some of the new monsters include a spectral Imp and a plasma-shooting zombie with Duke sunglasses. These sorts of monsters don't create new gameplay, but they do contribute to the overall sense of variety and light-hearted fun, so I think they serve this map well. Two monsters that I do think add something new to the game are a tougher Imp with a faster double fireball attack and a zombie that fires homing missiles. Both of them take more damage than you expect and are unlikely to flinch, but their seeming weakness makes it very tempting to get cocky and face them out in the open with the assumption that you can stun-lock them or kill them very quickly, exposing you to some pretty dangerous attacks. There's also a nice custom music track that fits well with the retro feel of the map.
The level is very large and very open for exploration; it includes three keycards, but you don't even need all of them to win, and they're mostly used for opening up more optional areas where you can get better equipment. I never got tired of running around trying to find everything. Enemies are packed in pretty densely, but since most of them are weak, the map isn't too hard, as long as you can survive the occasional packs of hitscanners. I love this sort of gameplay, where there are tons of mostly low-tier monsters, so you're always mowing something down. The finale is a challenge, throwing you into the middle of an monster spawner battle and forcing you to clear a Spider Mastermind and a Cyberdemon out of the way before you can get into position to destroy the source (not too hard or annoying as far as IoS fights go, but it did catch me by surprise). Shovelware Adventure might be too quirky for some players, but I highly recommend it.
Superfast Mapping: Domination Edition - Combinebobnt, Argentum, Dranzer, [IFOC]75, Razgriz/Strangle, Gustavo6046
Doom 2 - Domination - Zandronum - 15.79 MB -
Reviewed by: Decay
Domination is a team game mode that Zandronum features. The aim of the game is earning points by "owning" a sector for extended periods of time. A player "owns" a sector for their team by walking over a line that recognizes their team colour and then assigns the sector to the team. Very few map packs have been made for this mode.
CombinebobNT led this project after authoring Superfast DM, CTF, and Duel. None of these wads get played and are of dubious quality, and you would think after two wads you would give it up, but Bobby doesn't take hints very well.
This wad is an example of a horrendous philosophy of "Doom players play anything with enough people." I don't think quality control existed in this project. The floors are quite bumpy all over the place, particularly in high traffic areas, even more specifically many of the domination points themselves. It's not really a great idea. Some areas are too tight where they shouldn't be, and others are way too open where they could probably stand for some more cover. Many recurring problems in this set could be fixed with testing, but I feel like nobody cared because SPEED MAPS. Many of maps have a good flow, if you were running around in single player that is. The maps feature 3-D floors in general game play use instead of decoration, and fit in really well, adding a good vertical dimension to the maps, boosting general movement flow. There are only a few real dead-end feeling spots in maps or areas that require excessive run-around.
I feel like these maps would play better in straightforward DM. In many instances spawns are so close to the domination points, you don't have much opportunity to defend it in any reasonably sized game. It's a constant barrage of death with a little bit of "walk over the sector lines" thrown in. Bob will read this and say to me "Decay that's the point" or "That's a good thing!" but approximately not one of these people enjoyed the maps, so perhaps that's saying something. Even for public play the disorganization reaches disastrous levels, particularly in maps that look the same everywhere. The point names are lazily thrown in with no creativity (hallmark of a speedpack?), leaving some people maybe wondering where exactly the top, middle, and bottom points are.
The maps are mostly clean, coherent, and smooth on the walls, which usually translates into reasonable maps visually, but instead many maps suffer from being overly plain and boring. Some of the map themes come straight out of AeonDM (made by some of the same authors) but look like low-budget, D-grade movie versions of them. The wad, suitably for speedmaps, looks like a ZDaemon hand-me-down for Zandronum from the mid 2000s.
I never see this wad randomly played, and there is good reason for that. The unfortunate bit is there isn't much I can compare it to for domination; I can only judge it on how it played out. The closeness of spawns to domination points, some unclear paths, BFG placements that really are unnecessary, and lack of smooth play really kills most of the maps in the pack. But I'm pretty sure domination doesn't have to be this bad. I chalk up the problems in this wad to poor leadership and no real care given to the maps or game mode, and as a result we get another subpar speedmap pack nobody will play more than once, but perhaps more tragically lost potential for a hardly-played game mode. The philosophy of "people play anything" needs to be ding-dong-ditched, because this isn't 1995 anymore; it's 2017 and people play next to nothing, so making subpar maps isn't an option.
Mogor's Winter - Shadowman
Doom 2 - Single Player - PrBoom+ - 6.05 MB -
Reviewed by: Not Jabba
If the name Mogor sounds weirdly familiar to you, you may be remembering it from Whitemare 1, where Mogor appears in one of the secret levels as a cartoonish boss monster that shoots streams of Cacodemon balls. Other than that, I have no idea what kind of backstory there is to this character. Apparently he isn't really dead though, because he's come back to steal New Year's, and you can only stop him by beating this 11-level mapset.
The style of these maps is fairly typical of Shadowman and some of the other mappers who have participated in various Russian community projects. The levels mostly take place in snow-covered cities with gritty texturing, and there are realistic houses and shops with realistic boxiness and lots of pictures hanging up on the walls, faucets in the kitchens, and so on. The mapset sometimes gets kind of jokewadish (particularly in the music selections, some of which are really annoying), but it's not a jokewad. You get the sense that Shadowman just made these maps for the fun of it and wasn't trying too hard to impress anyone.
If you can look past some of the flaws that show up early on and give a bad impression, Mogor's Winter is a pretty solid set of maps -- at least, if you enjoy these sorts of city maps where it's mostly about exploring every corner and fighting from room to room. The maps build up slowly with a strong sense of progression, and the SSG and plasma rifle (along with most of the powerful monsters) show up pretty late. The steady straightforwardness of the combat and the rambling, mazey nature of many of the levels reminded me of '90s dungeon crawlers and Doom wannabe FPS games, but fortunately I have a lot of nostalgia for stuff like that. My favorite level was map 04, which takes place in a big mansion with a hedge maze surrounding it; it has some interesting puzzly stuff and is the best example of that dungeon crawler style. Maps 06 and 09 also stand out in that they're more like conventional Doom maps, with larger combat spaces and more fluid layouts that emphasize gameplay. You also get to play the obligatory moving train level somewhere in there.
You do get to fight Mogor again at the end, and this time he's basically a glorified Arch-Vile with sprites ripped from the final boss of Blood. Maybe he got a makeover after the last time you killed him. Like the rest of the story, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but whatever.
With all the epic mapsets that get released these days, it's easy to forget that stuff like Mogor's Winter can still be fun in its way -- although for some people, it may not be. I got annoyed with the switch hunting at times and turned off the music in a few maps, but otherwise I got some decent enjoyment out of it. Recommended mainly for nostalgia Doomers and people who are looking for casual mapsets.
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