Hell's Train Station - JagDogger2525
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - GZDoom - 41.33 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
You've been dropped off at a train station, but the train is broken down. You have to fix it by pumping demons full of pellets from your shotgun, so that you can get to work on time. Just kidding... but for real, the text file says you have to save the station so that it can be "used again." To me this place looks far beyond repair. In one area the tracks just END. In another, the tracks are cemented under hundreds of tiny, immovable boxes.
Aside from that, this map is very... odd. It does have features. Such as 10 difficulty settings, which seems unnecessary, and rendered Doom 1 music, which I really like, but then the music changes often when you enter new areas, which is strange. There's some custom fx, and some silly slopes and 3D floors.
And then there's the gameplay. Well, despite all the features, the main substance of the WAD is huge open areas peppered with monsters and items. I need to talk about the difficulty settings here, because they change the game a lot. I tried "hell spawn" to start (skill 6), and found the beginning to be tiresome, so I bumped it down to "wimpy little imp" (skill 4) and found it to be pretty easy. The thing is, the skill levels seem to drastically change the placement of items (such as keys and weapons), as well as the number and types of monsters. On skill 4, the first room has some zombiemen and one imp. On skill 6, it's some imps that fire a red plasma ball. On skill 10, it's imps that fire mancuballs and take 3 shells to drop, as well as beefed up chaingunners. I wonder if JagDogger2525 ever completed the map on skill 10, because it seems impossible.
Also of note, the map is on E5M1, but the wad works with both Doom 1 and 2, and maybe has the SSG and BFG? It's a little confusing. Anyway, like I said, it's wide open most of the time and you can run by all the monsters with ease, or at least I did on skill 4. I imagine you won't be able to do that on higher difficulties because you'll be getting hitscanned to death in seconds. Seriously, skill 10 has hell knights and barons with a hitscan attack. Either that or an invisible projectile... whatever it is, it's ludicrous (causing confusion, disturbing the peace). This WAD is suffering in both gameplay and visuals, which is a little disappointing for a 30 megabyte file.
UAC First World Facility - OVERKILL_Adam
Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 1.02 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Ah, yes, I remember the first time I made a map. Actually, I don't, but I'm sure it looked nothing like UAC First World Facility.
This map by OVERKILL_Adam is fun and nostalgic. In general there seemed to be way too much health and ammo around, which didn't seem to bother me at all. In fact the only bother was remedied as soon as I found a backpack, so I could finally go pick up those extra shotguns. But despite plenty of meds, I did manage to die at the hands of some pesky chaingunners once or twice, -maybe- a baron, or whatever. Overall the challenge level is low, I'm just a reckless player.
So as the Disturbed MIDI serenades your ears, you'll gaze about at the structures that have been laid out for you - you, the helpless pawn, the lab rat strapped to a chair, with your eyelids held open by hooks, forced to "cleanse the evil hellspawn" and "save the world." Yes, that's you, and you see before you a maze of truly demented construction. To describe it would be impossible, but I'll describe it anyway. Imagine marble goat-heads abutting computer screens with wood trim. Blue carpets and metal supports. Cement and space-rock and STARTAN. Hearts, stars, and rainbows, clovers, and blue moons. You might call "zany" or "wacky" and if those words make you uncomfortable, then maybe you're too young to die.
Part of the map is based on a map from Payday, and it's pretty obvious because the styles are clashing. But really the entire map is clashing - colors, textures, enemies. It feels thrown together, but in a way that's charming and that makes it fun to explore because you never know what's coming next. Textures could have been aligned better in some places, and lighting was off-and-on (I hate myself), with some areas being flat lighting while others having stark contrast. Nothing major though - and most areas had lots of sector furniture and decorations which gave it a lived-in feel that I enjoyed. On a scale from 1 to Doom1.wad, this is a pretty solid entry into mapping by OVERKILL_Adam.
Scharfschutze Suche - D.Scratch
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 9.3 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
This offering from author D.Scratch is "a experimental wad i did in a Month" which sounds very promising. What kind of experimental? You mean like Frankenstein? Is D.Scratch really Doctor scratch? (I thought the D stood for something else.) Is this wad just a scattering of limbs torn from other maps, stitched together into a terrifying and unplayable amoeba?
NOPE! His name is "D*** Scratch" just like you knew it was, and you already looked at all the screenshots which clearly show a beautiful and professional level, because pictures are the most important thing really, you definitely shouldn't waste your time reading Magicsofa's lunatic drivel.
You are still reading for some reason, so now I will go on to actually describe the wad, in an effort to bore you to death. Scharfschutze Suche is a German title which at first my brain didn't really see because all I could see was "Wolfenstein", but eventually I realized it obviously means "Sucky Scarf Shooter." However, this isn't a Wolfenstein map, nor is it sucky. It does have a slight Wolf3D vibe since you have a knife, pistol, and SMG to replace the regular Doom arsenal. There's also a rifle... we'll get into that later.
The bullets, which are not hitscans but adorable little projectiles, do massive damage. You can be taken down fast, and at times it can be really frustrating to get sniped. On the other hand, you can also knife the crap out of people and it's really fun. You also have an inventory medkit that will restore up to 100 health, which can really save the day. Your knife and pistol don't alert enemies so there is *some* stealth element to the game, although it's a little contrived. At the beginning, all of the enemies are facing away from you. Later on this isn't the case as much, but for much of the game (especially right outside the facility) you can take down each bad guy, one by one, without any alerts. Sometimes they will be standing right next to each other, screaming in pain, and nobody notices. It's not a huge problem, just made certain areas feel like they were staged, taking away from the idea that you're dropping in unexpected. With all the GZDoom features I would have liked to see some patrols! Oh well - it didn't ruin the fun overall.
Let's get into the sniper rifle. With alt-fire you can zoom it in, and that does come in handy in a few spots. It's a little funny to be sniping in Doom but whatever, I didn't mind. What I did mind was that the damage is heavily reduced when you are not zoomed in! This makes no sense and ruined the rifle for me. Give me terrible accuracy, so that when I hipfire like an idiot the bullet goes off the planet and I die with reasonable cause. If I get a lucky hit though, the victim should be a goner. Instead the rifle is just as accurate without zoom, but it'll suddenly take two shots to kill someone instead of one. Garbage I say, GARBAGE. A few times I resorted to zooming on people in close quarters, which is really not easy on the eyes. Mostly I just used the knife and SMG, both of which are very satisfying to use.
On to the visuals. This map is gorgeous. Unfortunately the very beginning involves a super dark area where you fall down a pit to your death. Once you get past that, everything is great except for the vents (yes, you'll have to use the crouch key in this wad, get over it) but hey, they are vents, so I'm okay with them not being pretty. In a way it made me feel more like I was in an area I'm not supposed to see. Anyway the rest of the level is packed with snazzy decorations, dope sector detail, and fantastic lighting. For an "experimental" wad, there's a fair amount of polish on the architecture. Considering the solid gameplay to match, this is a wad worth downloading. I only hope that next year, which is really this year because of how backlogged the reviews are HINT HINT
please help me, there might be more Sucky Scarf Shooter levels to play!
Distorted Memories - Derek " Count " Pierson
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 387.18 KB -
Reviewed by: yakfak
Distorted Memories is a replacement episode for Doom 1 that invokes some the trademark moments of the original game without turning them into clichés. Two maps are dedicated to each of the Ultimate four episodes, and their difficulty climbs accordingly.
These levels are arranged in pleasant ways, their lines avoiding too much unnecessary symmetry, instead creating simple loops of gameplay area with plenty of devious corners for the enemies to conceal themselves away. There's plenty of secrets to find, and most of them are a touch more clever than the standard chainsaw-in-a-cupboard.
Distorted Memories is at its best when forcing the player into slightly unsavoury game-pieces - maps four and five require Doomguy to range into slime and lava when progress seems obscured, while seven and eight punish you with short area-denial combat puzzles where you'll have to fidget away from baron attacks and desperately seek a way to stand your ground. Even the opening map asks you to scramble for a berserk kit before you can really feel safe! There's also a crazy secret level based around a single fiery arena fight.
Most of the homages to the original levels hit home pleasingly, although you could say it's distasteful to have your map six wear the trappings of Mt. Erebus and yet be totally linear. Still, you get to shoot a lot of cacodemons out of the sky with a rocket launcher, so it's not all bad.
This is a good level set, harder than most Doom episodes towards the end but still perfectly manageable without saves. Expert players who blaze past levels like these might attempt them with -respawn enabled. Good stuff all round!
The Deserted UAC Plant - Solo-Bringer
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 73.61 KB -
Reviewed by: obake
The story of the wad is that no one else showed up to work at the UAC. You explore a small, empty building, find three keys and exit. End of game.
Seriously, the wad's title is absolutely accurate. There is no one else besides you at the building. No monsters, pickups (besides keys), or jumpscares. There is not even music. I have to say, the rooms themselves are functional (except the blue maze not featured on the automap). The author did a good job detailing small touches, like the outside area with all of the trees, and a singular pool of damaging nukage. I applaud them for trying something different. But I don't feel there is enough here to justify uploading to idgames.
Temple Palace - VeeTHis
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 16.63 KB -
Reviewed by: Liberation
A small linear map01 replacement that will take roughly 3 or 4 minutes to complete.
The map is lacking in general, small in design, poor texture alignment and architecture. It does have a few traps, but nothing special.
If you're desperate for something to play, then go play Entryway again, it's still more fun than this.
Green Inferno - AconyX
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 192.67 KB -
Reviewed by: Memfis
A preview of a megawad scheduled to release in the next 10-20 years. The geometry here is very very simple; instead the level tries to charm you with its fancy detailing. There are tiny borders and elaborate ceiling decorations everywhere. They are not particularly original but still pleasant to look at and remind me of a style that was rather popular around ten years ago. The gameplay is relatively relaxed and for the most part allows you to set your own pace, but there are two or three traps that require quick reaction. Play this if you're in a mood for a simple five minute adventure in a typical E4 setting.
The Joy of Mapping #3 - MANDATORY JOY - Jimmy & Various
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 7.12 MB -
Reviewed by: obake
This wad already gained points from the restructure of Weird Al's "Mandatory Fun" cover art. The theme of Joy of Mapping #3 is "Mandatory Joy", and joy there is. This is an overall fun speedmapping compilation, with a few hiccups here and there.
The wad starts with two "eh" maps, but quickly evolves into really cool levels utilizing UDMF features and sharp gameplay. One of my favorites is Gutawer's "Infestation Station". It has quite a few interesting areas, including a room with a glass floor and hellish caverns.
Looking at my notes, I found a lot of the maps (from 3-8 especially) hectic fun. Many can be ran through at fast pace, making encounters even more exciting and overwhelming. Don't worry, I made sure to get good looks at each map after I was done clearing out demons.
The second half of the wad goes through a major difficulty spike. Maps 13 and onward can be grueling, despite being short. Often times this makes the maps even more enjoyable, but sometimes not. Maps like Alfonzo's "Slime Nook", for example, where gameplay feels terse (the level could have used a chaingun early on.)
Going back to the first half, Polyduck's "First Map", DrPySpy's "Battle Tendency", and Kevans Evan's "Micro Computer Lab" all lack refinement. The worst level is 17, Sarais Vanu's "Midal". Film critic Mark Kermode would call it a "cluster fruitcake". Though I do like some of the structures in the map.
But enough of the bad. Let's get to the good, which this wad has a lot of! There is the already mentioned "Infestation Station", and the four maps afterwards which are all a blast. There is RDWPA's "Library of Horrors", which lives up to its name in terms of both aesthetics and difficulty. Fonze's "Funked Up", while not my favorite gameplay wise, leaves an impression, and is short enough to be inoffensive. Zzyzx's "Embers" looks outstanding, as does the wad's closer, "Oasis" by Jimmy. "Oasis" is a perfect way to end the wad; a breather after some of the tough-as-nails maps of the second half. Plus it looks fantastic.
The only bugs I found were in Dalvi Dandi's otherwise great "Fortress of Blood" (an imp does not teleport out), and "Embers" (there is a see through piece of floor.)
Definitely give Joy of Mapping #3 a try!
Bloody Rust 2 - AnonimVio, DAZZER, Flesh420, Jaws In Space, Angry Saint, Crunchynut44
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.99 MB
Reviewed by: Scotty
The second installment of the Bloody Rust community project arrives with six more maps, and a largely different set of mappers. This iteration also adds some custom content in the form of add-on textures and a series of Dehacked enemies.
The extra textures go a long way in helping to establish a sense of place as well as providing a cohesive general theme to the mapset – techbases embedded in rocky, natural environments. This cohesiveness worked well with the range of maps present, with some sprawling, non-linear adventures to be found alongside more compact, straightforward layouts, ensuring variety through the mapset.
I had mixed feelings about the effectiveness and necessity of the new enemies presented, although the new Demon variant (a nightmare-speed version that had a ranged plasma attack) provided an increased sense of urgency to encounters, which I enjoyed.
Combat is almost exclusively incidental and simultaneously incredibly punishing at some points, thanks to moderately limited resources and the extreme firepower of the Cybruisers and Afrits present in this mapset. With that in mind, I felt that any mistakes I made would be often be quite deadly, although secret hunting felt that it was incredibly useful in offsetting that factor.
If you like exploration in your Doom and don't mind occasionally getting your ass kicked at the same time, then check this out.
Switcheroom: The Forgotten Maps - Various
Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 734.1 KB -
Reviewed by: yakfak
Eighteen maps, here, the conceit being that each is a tribute to an original IWAD map dressed in the theming of another level, from an episode in which it doesn't belong.
You'll soon notice the discomfiting illusion this creates: you know these levels well enough that the few diversions from the blueprint can be jarring. Worryingly, these changes tend to veer towards trivializing the levels - where the original E4M2 was pitiless, demanding leaps of faith and tight fighting out of a corner, its doppelgangers here under-estimate the player and short-changes them in terms of action. Ultimate Doom E4M6 is notoriously vicious from pistol- start; you can safely shoulder-barge your way to this version's exit in five minutes. If the theming of the level is getting in the way of its gameplay, then the project is largely to blame!
The main Switcheroom project was a sweet little idea, disarmed of its naivety by the way we all have exhaustive knowledge of the original maps and rendered fairly uneventful to play in the end. Many of these extra maps follow the same pattern, but there are two more substantial levels:
srforgot.wad E2M1 combines E4M5 with the Episode 2 theme - that's the weirdest Ultimate Doom map done up in obscure trappings. The map isn't spectacular since it doesn't stray from the blueprint except in scale and colour choices but the marriage naturally works. E2M6 is the real jewel, reconfiguring The Slough of Despair as if it appeared in the final episode and this, at last, does something new, giving the player difficulty on the Ultimate Doom higher end, the shambling horde filling out the curves and peculiarities of the map in a way the original E3M2 longs for, paired with some new and interesting secrets along the way.
Projects like these have their parameters all wrong. Like Switcheroom, this is a set of levels concerned mainly with craftsmanship. If you wanna make a good Doom 1 map, build your own obsessions, lose the hero worship and understand that you are operating on a seam that has already been heavily mined.
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