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    The /newstuff Chronicles #538


    Bloodshedder
    • Quantum Strike - Spectre01 (rileymartin)
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.97 MB - screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      Oh dear.

      I had written a scathing review of this, but the author was nice enough to message me personally and ask me to give him my honest opinion on the map. So instead of editing the review, I scrapped it entirely and started over. So, here goes.

      Quantum Strike is a set of three slaughtermaps with something most slaughtermaps don't have: sane difficulty settings. However, because I was dumb and played on UV, I kept getting my ass kicked. After many, many tries to get out of the first set of rooms in MAP01, I was about ready to give up, but then I read the text file (hurrrr), and discovered that UV was supposed to be intentionally terrible. Well, that explains everything.

      So, gameplay is exactly what people expect from a slaughtermap - a relentless barrage of hate and death. But there is something in each encounter that I haven't seen in many slaughtermaps - ways to avoid attacks. Let me demonstrate what I mean.

      MAP01 starts in a hallway with an arch-vile behind you. At the start. AT THE START. Naturally, you want to run, but you're trapped behind a door that blazes open to reveal - you guessed it - hitscanners. To the left of you is a pole made of blue skull key door textures. Guess who's going pole dancing?

      What ensues is a lot of failed attempts to beat each "wave" of enemies, using either the environment to dodge, or your weapons to stun. Every few feet you walk, you just might get owned.

      Arena-style fights are here, are way overdone, and quite honestly stress me out. My biggest issue with the Arena fights in these maps is that a lot of them use teleporting monsters, so you never, ever, ever know what to expect. Think of a minefield, but the mines move. Not to mention a section where cacodemons pour out of an area for what seems like hours.

      If you like slaughtermaps you'll enjoy this I guess, but there is something that ruins this map for me and it's not the game play, it's... well, let's take a look!
      eFkjYaL.png

      Ow, my eyes. It's a shame that this screenshot is a static image, because in reality, everything - EVERY texture is scrolling. It's garish, it's irritating, nauseating, and the ultimate in Gothic99/KDIZD-esque overkill. Boy, I never thought I'd say that in 2017. The other way I can describe the level of detail is a Victorian-era dollhouse, where the house is so detailed that looks like someone figured out how to shrink a real house.

      This doesn't just affect the visuals; it affects movement. Every little detail sticking out from the walls into the player's space makes using projectile weapons that much more dangerous.

      But hey, at least the mapper didn't booby-trap stimpacks like DV0!

      A new monster, the afrit, has been added that replaces the Commander Keen - which has wayyy too much health. The attack is also the most evil thing I've ever encountered, combining mancubus and revenant attacks. WTF AVOID.

      Here are my recommendations for the mapper:
      * Remove as much of the crazy detail as possible. Good lord, there's no reason for computer textures to scroll.
      * Implement better lighting in the fullbright areas. Why so many lamp decorations?
      * Take into the account the few moments of immobility after teleporting. There are many many times that I died simply because I couldn't move.

      This is a -complevel 9 wad, but infinite height is expected to be disabled, and freelook enabled. This could explain a lot of my frustration, because I play with mostly vanilla settings, and never thought to check that stuff.

      And yet... I couldn't stop playing the thing! This map sucks, 5/5.

      If you think you can take the sensory overload, give it a shot!
       
    • Tutorial: 9-Level Spiral (3D Stairs) - JagDogger2525
      Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 32.28 KB
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      This is an interesting tutorial level demonstrating a spiral staircase. There are a few monsters thrown in as a demonstration of what to expect with 3D floors, and a switch at the top.

      Do NOT expect software mode to work, unless you are using the experimental sofware poly renderer.

      What I found interesting about this map is how odd it feels to climb the stairs. 3D floor use like this is very rare, and I think an elevator would have done just as good of a job.

      But for some kinds of map themes, I think this would work. It just doesn't work in a tech setting for me. Would work great with a Gothic setup.
       
    • Tutorial: 3D Floor & Planes - JagDogger2525
      Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 4.66 KB
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      This is a tutorial level for a simple 3D floor and a slope. You can walk under and on top of the floor (naturally). No gameplay here, just a small room with a floating platform.

      It's nothing you haven't seen before.
       
    • Counterattack - Brett "Mechadon" Harrell
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 8.03 MB - screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: Ryath
      Mechadon's style is unmistakable: beautifully-crafted architecture, all the way from the tiny details of a light fixture up to the vaulted archways of a nightmarish cathedral that could house every single denizen of Hell. His skill is unmatched at stringing the sections of a map together in fascinating, overlapping, interwoven paths; and his maps reshape themselves as you play, opening new passages and doors and staircases in a way I've rarely seen. But unlike a lot of other mappers who create these epic, hour-long slogs, Mechadon knows precisely how to signpost and place landmarks so that it's a rare thing to get lost in his maps, at least for more than a minute or so.

      Counterattack is perfect Mechadon, and takes you on a wonderful journey through a UAC base on Earth to a Hellish gate at the edge of the universe over the course of five massive maps. (Not including two secret maps, a tiny end map you won't see in Eternity or ZDoom, and a placeholder at Map30.)

      Map01: The first map messes with your expectations by giving you the rocket launcher right away, and a huge portion of the first map consists of blowing battalions of former humans to bits with rockets and ubiquitous explosive barrels. The pistol zombies are a much bigger threat than you might expect, just from their sheer numbers. Oddly, this is the map I got turned around in the most, though I think part of that was just getting comfortable with how progression and layouts work in Mechadon maps.

      Map02: Mechadon set out to create maps that could be completed any number of different ways, and it's quite clear from here on out. In this one, for instance, you need the red skull key to get to the exit -- but you can retrieve the red skull using either the yellow keycard OR both the red and blue keycards. And if you have all three, you get grab a BFG to use in the last few arena battles. This might be my favorite map in the WAD, though it probably has the worst midi. It's hard to find music suitable for really long maps, and this one is just too repetitive.

      Map03: The other contender for best map in the bunch. I love the melding of Hell's green marble with green base textures like STARG1 and CEMENT9. Hyper-detailed CEMENT-based architecture is one of my fetishes, and this map satisfies. Things are getting significantly more subverted by Hell's influence, though gameplay-wise Map03 feels a lot like 02 -- just slightly more confusing, which is why it's not quite definitively the best map in Counterattack.

      Map04: Fire and brimstone Hell meets Doom II's city aesthetic. Map04 is one of the most beautiful maps I've ever played. You're deliberately under-supplied for the opening, which forces you count your bullets and bust out the chainsaw any time you can risk it. This time you're not just key-hunting; you're hunting for ammo and weapons too. Scavenging is great (stressful) fun, but it does make it easy to get in over your head. I had at least one death because I ran into a lock-you-in-the-room style trap against a swarm of demons and revenants with only the chainsaw and shotgun. Not too discouraging, though, since these maps are such open-ended playgrounds, and starting them over just feels like a chance to attack them from another angle.

      Map05: An entire map of arena battles. Stunning visuals, but I didn't appreciate the gameplay as much as in previous maps. The final boss monster is kind of underwhelming because it poses so little threat; because of how much room there is to move around, this map is actually significantly easier than 04 -- and it's the only map I didn't die in.

      Counterattack isn't without its flaws. It's a minor nitpick, but Mechadon's use of shadows can be a bit aggressive. Almost everything casts an extreme shadow, even some little ceiling detail twenty feet up that barely protrudes at all. It also gets very predictable when EVERY switch releases enemies. And a couple maps start to drag on by the end, especially 04.

      The WAD is pure joy, though. Each map is its own self-contained adventure full of not just gorgeous vistas, but a new, charming little detail to find every time you play it. And each playthrough unfolds differently as you discover new and unexpected routes. Mechadon is quickly becoming one of my favorite mappers. By the way, is that a sequel hook I see in the ending text? I sure hope so.
       
    • Fanta Factory - Hebridean Isle
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 1.56 MB - screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: leodoom85
      One word: ORANGE. That's all for the review, bye...

      Just kidding. This is Fanta Factory, a tech-base orange-tinted map which is really short but fun.

      The map starts with really nice orange-tinted ambience and a few monsters (first image) and the added Quake MIDI track which fits nicely. Still easy enough with the encounters by killing zombies, imps and pinkies. Ahead of you is a switch that will change the tone of the map in a sudden way (second image).

      Music stops, change of tone, music starts. And as a surprise for the outside, more zombies are waiting with a hell knight behind. Next area is the orange arena with more Fanta to drink (third image)... probably, but first, the monsters. After that you clear the first line of hellspawn and enter an arena with several small pillars and some goodies. Inside the arena is a well-hidden secret which some people may figure out and there's a plasma gun. That will help against some monsters.

      The arena itself has three waves of monsters, one group with low-tier monsters such as zombies, imps and pinkys. The second wave is a mid-tier group with a couple of cacos and revenants. And the last wave is a pair of mancubuses. Oh, I forgot to say that every wave is summoned, some of those pillars will lower very slowly, and for the third wave you won't have any cover at all, which is a great touch and adds more challenge. You can still die in this map if you're not careful though.

      The detail of the map is quite good, but still I found some vertical misalignments, but that's not too serious. Two things though... that secret sound... haha, coming from OMD and its song, Secret, nice touch. And uh... that image that's revealed at the right when you press the secret switch... I don't know where's from.

      Overall, it's a nice map. It can fit really fine for a Map01 if it's compiled into a mapset or something. Good gameplay. Thing is, it's so short that the player will feel disappointed at the end. Maybe adding a couple of maps can be useful for more time spent in the map.

      And enjoy drinking Fanta while reading this review please!!!
       
    • Quester's Fest - Fonze
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 303.21 KB - screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: rdwpa
      Fonze has been an advocate for the rocket launcher as Doom's best weapon for some time now, and his speedmaps over the past year-plus have been a series of love notes to it, exploring a variety of surprisingly uncommon gameplay concepts. Examples include the rocket launcher–pain elemental dynamic, as well as inverted target prioritization -- pinkies are often the biggest threats and archviles can be surprisingly harmless. These maps don't really attempt to be "normal"; it's all rocket-pumping action. In Quester's Fest, as in many of Fonze's speedmaps, the rocket launcher is the only weapon you will be given ammo for. Featuring around 200 monsters spread across two set pieces, it's a very short map. The gameplay will be challenging for most, although those used to 'hardcore' sets such as Sunlust will classify it as somewhat leisurely. Difficulty settings have been provided: HMP is much like UV with extra forgiveness in the second half, but the most important thing you should know is that HNTR is an absolutely mandatory play after you're done on either HMP or UV. I won't spoil the surprise. Just try it.
       
    • Phrygia - Fonze
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 169.4 KB - screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: leodoom85
      This map was really hard at the starting point... surrounded by spiders, revenants, hell knights, barons and pinkys. I tell you, that part took me ten tries to get right (first image). It's all about learning how to progress through the map, picking up the backpack and not getting damaged much by the damaging floor and the homing projectiles (second image). That specific part is also the key for killing the revenants near you first, then dispatching the big group of revenants, spiders and hell knights in the right is necessary. Oh and be careful for pinkys that are entering the area where you are, or one of the rockets will kill you.

      After dispatching most of it, killing spiders and pinkys are a must, by rockets or infighting, then get the soulsphere, and when the area is clear, megasphere time. It's worth mentioning that after clearing that area, the map gets easier... not without killing another group of revenants, cacos, and a couple of archies (third image)... and a sneaky pain elemental that comes out of nowhere. Detail in the map was fine, simple but clean. And surprisingly, I liked the music... even if the track sounds like it's from an Egyptian-themed track.

      Definitely a really hard but fun map; strategies must be used in order to clear it.
       
    • Emergent - Benjogami
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 2.53 MB - screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif screenie.gif
      Reviewed by: leodoom85
      Emergent is a 4-map wad made by Benjogami and it's already teasing the player at the start with that "Don't Save" message in the save game options. Nice touch there, but you know where that's going. So, here's the detail of the maps.

      Map01 - There's a quiet start with a teleporter in front of you saying that this will be a nice start (first image) but... oh boy, this is deceptive, as you step into that teleporter and see the new big area (second image). You're already surrounded by hellspawn of the nastiest kind, and the cover can't be of much use here as long as you kill them ASAP. This map starts hard and ends hard and that will be a constant for the next maps, so be prepared at all times.

      I like that all maps are set in some void instead of being in some common place like Hell or Earth. That gives a clear indication that you're hopeless and alone while fighting whatever comes. The detail for this map is great, and it has some interesting ways of mixing themes... like, you have rocks, urban textures, and tech stuff mixed together.

      By the way, you need the archvile to get the soulsphere? While some players would have low health already? That's risky, unless that there's another way to get there. In any case, good and hard map.

      Map02 - Pinky start (third image)... time to punch those bastards with the berserk!!! What a way to start. You have two switches to lower some pillars and walk to the main part of the map. The map itself is interesting because you have the choice of which side of the map to go.

      You have two major areas in the map. The left area has the red key (fourth image) and the right area has the blue key. Also, in the sectors where the keys are, there's a switch nearby which activates some lifts to the exit (fifth image). Did I mention that there's also two long and narrow pillars that also have the two keys, and if you pick up one key, the other is unreachable? Cool stuff.

      The gameplay itself was also hard regardless of the amount of monsters. It's completely deceiving, and the player will understand that in a painful way. There's some ammo in those acid pools that you will receive some damage to get... talk about punishment. Also, ammo management is crucial here and in the next maps... fortunately in this map you have the berserk if you want to save some precious ammo. And always be careful of archviles.

      Overall, it's a nice and hard map that's like the calm before the storm for the next map.

      Map03 - OK, OK... starting point surrounded by imps, hell knights and revenants... OK. What a chaotic entrance (sixth image) which has some ammo scattered, armor and health to use it wisely because the problems for this map begin now.

      Red key area (seventh image)... OK, where do I begin?. This section caused me a lot of problems, mainly because there's no teleporters to give the player a choice of keeping the fight. Instead, you'll suffer a slow and painful death. This is annoying. To make things a bit worse, there's four cages which can spawn random monsters... if one of them is not a pain elemental then you'll have a hard time, and also you have to worry about a couple of archies.

      Fortunately, this is the only problem that I have with this mapset, because the next section is more forgiving than the red key area. The yellow key area (eighth image) is easier than the last one; at least you have a chance of surviving the fight if you stay in the lower areas. The fight is still chaotic of course, but it's manageable.

      Overall, I have mixed feelings with this map to be honest. It started good but... the red key area is the downside of this map. At least the yellow key area raises the fun a bit and that's appreciated. The player must be alert at all times in order to survive this nasty map.

      Map04 - Adorable start (ninth image) but this map is anything but adorable. The map is composed of three main areas that are divided to the left, center and right areas.

      The left area (tenth image) was the hardest part of the map because it has two mini-areas to deal with. By the way, there are four switches scattered in the map. Press one of them and more monsters will come out. In any case, you have to deal with more hellspawn while you press those switches. I noticed that cacos are more present than the other three maps, same for the revenants and hell knights and of course... archviles. And I'm also surprised that 1 or 2 pain elementals are there... I guess that the mapper was generous on this one. OH... that soulsphere is a must to pick up.

      Right area (eleventh image) was far easier than I thought. Lots of rockets and the place itself helps tremendously against the monsters because you can run from there and have a lot of cover. Those bastards don't have a chance this time, and of course, archies are the priority to take out first.

      Going to the center area (twelfth image), you'll find cacos that will surround you at any second, plus some archies at the already mentioned left area, and worst of all, a cyberdemon acts like a turret, but this is a perfect chance to provoke some infighting (and I had the help of a spider to kill him while the cyberdemon had eyes on me, which saved me some time and ammo). Also, you'll find some pillars that must be lowered in order to get to the exit.

      You have to be careful on the exit because there's still a few monsters that can spawn, and you must kill them before getting damaged, and it's not fun if you die right before the exit, you know.

      The detail and architecture of the map is good, especially the exit. Pretty simple layout but effective and does a good job by keeping you at bay. Overall, it was a fun map and yes, still having hard difficulty and the rocket launcher will be the preferred choice.

      This wad provides a real challenge that can be a good or bad thing depending on the player's skill. It's up to you to play this set but in my opinion, you should play it and give it a try.
       

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

    Edited by Bloodshedder

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    Yikes, that screenshot in QS is certainly a sight for sour eyes.

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    Thanks for the review @Csonicgo !

    That screenshot was something I took a while back using GZDoom with a high-contrast tonemap and Bloom on. That section currently looks like:

    EE651E446C0003F9013556FD1CF1012D72D7B8B9

    In GLBoom+, which is still quite "busy" but not as intense as what's pictured above.

     

    As far as as Boom vs GZDoom stuff goes: Everything was tested primarily in GLBoom+ -complevel 9. You can also play in GZDoom with freelook and default compat for a slightly different experience, which should not break the intended design.

     

    Cheers!

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    Excellent reviews everybody! Thanks for the kind reviews rd and leo :) I'm glad you two enjoyed them; fantastic review of Counterattack too Ryath!

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