The Inquisitor III - Shadowman, Big Memka, Guest
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 48.29 MB -
Reviewed by: kmxexii
INQSTR3 fulfills the promise of Shadowman's first two iterations by giving you an epic fantasy campaign to play through along with a relatively developed statistical progression system. You won't need to play through INQSTR1 or INQSTR2 to get up to speed; the stories of both are included in the intro. The setting is some wonderful fusion of Diablo / Diablo II and Eastern Orthodox Catholocism delivered with a Russian sensibility where gunpowder is a somewhat lost art. You'll battle through the infested mountainside, a graveyard, a cathedral, crypts, mines, a castle, and the depths of Hell, not to mention the secret excursions. There are quest and dialogue systems to help direct you and flesh out the universe. They're fetch and kill, of course, but not much in the name of busywork. You also get two towns to flex them in.
There are a ton of weapons and spells. Your ability to use them is determined by your stats - STR, DEX, VIT, INT, and WIS. You roll your starting points but the rest are placed by you. INQSTR3 is really slow to start since you have to clear the majority of the first "map" using the sword but if you can stomach your way through then you'll pick up tools at a much faster rate. The monsters have more of a Diablo II feel and sort of echo the Fallen, goat men, and corrupted rogues, to name a few. New versions appear as you play through, featuring different abilities and posing tougher challenges.
As far as difficulty goes, the easier the better. Hard is at times a complete slog with the number of foes and the combat is not nearly as nuanced as Doom II's. You won't get mobbed as badly as in INQSTR2 but your enemies are numerous and belligerent. I don't believe that you'll be cheated out of XP; if I recall correctly, the XP per kill is proportionally higher the lower the difficulty with less monsters to handle. You don't get enough stat points to master every "skillset", so to speak, so I would suggest specializing since you'll miss out on being able to use the crowning perk items. I didn't have a lot of fun fighting some of the bosses (Lich, Dragon) but the big one was all right.
INQSTR3 is dripping with atmosphere. Some of it is stolen from Diablo II's soundtrack, but effects like the fog in the graveyard or the rolling mists in the Shadow Gorge are phenomenal. Places like the Cathedral may not have the most distinguished gameplay but they're amazing to visit. I also like little touches like the crows appearing and devouring the corpses of monsters. If you like action RPG adventures then you ought to at least try this one out.
Doom II: Purgatory - Corey H.
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 44.59 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
And here we are again, playing a 20 year old game, fighting a tired and sluggish horde of outdated monsters, an endless tide of WADs to play, as if stuck on a hamster wheel that's obviously made of faces, while Satan watches and yawns, it's almost like we're stuck in purgatory.
But why venture out into the real world when we can spoon feed ourselves a gratifying experience? Exactly. So fire up that source port and forget about your problems. Corey H. wants to help you by offering up a 9 level epsiode for Doom 2. And Zalewa wants to help me by writing this review on /idgames:
"Anything that uses Doom64 audio promises insanity and this WAD does not disappoint. Expect corridors long to THE EXTREME as you listen to the unplugged toilet drain pipe that is Doom64 music. Wonder and ponder why some sounds are replaced with Doom64 moans but others are not. Marvel at disgusting texturing that pays tribute to the worst level design like Dark Forces or that Bethesda Terminator games. Ambitious architecture shows author's strive for good maps, but fun is NULL. Poor, poor, poor!"ONE star. That's all Zalewa is willing to give. No thanks, you can keep your star. All I'm saying is, if you don't want to listen to the unplugged toilet drain pipe, then don't. DoomSpiel liked it. I liked it. We're all doing it man, don't you wanna unplug?
Anyway this episode is clearly not everyone's cup of tea, and it's not really structured in the classic Doom style. Corey did say in the text file that he was aiming to emulate Doom64, which I've never played (lol). The music DOES sound like a drain pipe, and there are ridiculously long corridors, sometimes with few or no monsters. This is especially true in the early moonbase maps, where you might question why you're even defending this cold and dead place, where you are completely alone among the forgotten. But if you can handle the intense loneliness, and don't forget who you are, you'll get to the hell portion of the maps, which according to DoomSpiel are "wicked tho." You won't be lonely anymore when you get the Magnum shotgun, do we need another shotgun? Yes we do, and it's going to be your friend.
I personally loved this set of maps, despite all the mismatched textures and random uses of colored lighting and fog. In fact the disjointed nature of it adds to the atmosphere of chaos and secrecy. At least I thought so, and I'm totally down with the Doom64 music apparently, even if it was cheesy at times. The puzzles were generally creative but not tedious, and there were lots of secrets and moving parts. The architecture is usually large and impressive, but switches randomly between boxy and simple to more detailed. The monster count was never huge; later levels had more action partially because they were smaller. I didn't find the Unmaker or the secret level normally... both are kinda silly but they aren't needed for the success of the WAD. If you're looking for eerie exploration, light puzzling, and plenty of action to finish you off, give Purgatory a try. On a scale of 1 to Doom2.wad, this is a great episode, understand?
DOOM II: Hellscape - Chris Lutz of The Chaos Crew
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 14.1 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I always do anyway, especially when looking at /idgames. Do I really want to download this file? It says it's a recreation of id's levels... another one? Because of my scathing prejudice, I didn't really want to download Chris Lutz of The Chaos Crew's creation. But, it's next on the review list and I'm a sucker for order. Actually it is the second oldest one, but The Inquisitor III is a behemoth and I don't know what all to do with it.
So I reluctantly set foot into Doom II: Hellscape, which replaces map21-30. The stunning architecture set me at ease a little bit, and it's stark and highly detailed throughout the entire set. It starts very tough and only gets worse, as it should, but fortunately for any losers the easier difficulty settings more or less match the balancing of the original game. There were an awful lot of chaingunners and pain elementals, both of which are my least favorite enemy, and yes I do get to have two least favorites. Anyway it wasn't all bad because despite referencing id levels, these are enough of a departure to provide a fresh experience. Many parts played more like an obstacle course, and had almost a Quake vibe to them which was fun. But then I got to map29 and was constantly stuck on tiny ledges with revenants and such. I had to tell myself, "You asked for this. You deserve this."
Speaking of asking for it, map30 isn't a departure, so if for some reason you want to ride that lift over and over, have fun. It looks really nice, of course. One thing I didn't ask for is that in the earlier levels, lots of important things like switches, doors, and turning hallways were shrouded in almost complete darkness. So if you're wondering where to go, head for those black squares, although keep in mind that some of them are just walls. Other than that the gameplay is quite solid.
Normally I'd use a scale from 0 to doom2.wad, but since this is a recreation of maps from doom2.wad, I'm instead going to rate this on a scale from doom2.wad to scythe.wad, in which case I give it a 13.
Final Mission - 6XGate
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 657.37 KB -
Reviewed by: Obsidian
...I can't think of an opening spiel paragraph.
Final Mission is the second release of a fellow by the name of 6XGate: haven't played their first release, but I don't imagine that'll impact the review too much. But what caught my eye about this particular offering was the ZDoom port recommendation. That may not sound too special, but in this day and age where everyone is jumping ship to use the latest iteration of GZDoom, a wad that uses simply what ZDoom has to offer is something that can definitely pique my interest.
So we load it up and... it looks pretty good. Effort has been put into making the map look pretty decent: not so under-detailed that it feels sparse or barren, but not straining under the weight of Tormentor667's Detail Guide either. Gameplay is pretty simple from the outset as well, although I raised an eyebrow at the early SSG and random stealth monsters. Like, there's about four in the entire map tossed in for some token variety. Odd, but not worth more than a raised eyebrow.
So after some back and forth with collecting the three keycards, we activate the teleporter to visit the next area. This is where things get a bit wobbly: not metaphorical, 6XGate uses the Earthquake function a couple of times as you progress :P . The canyon area that greets you is quite nice as areas go, and it culminates in an interesting miniboss fight with an oversized Baron. No, really. There's a screenshot of the fight and that isn't a perspective shot, it's actually scaled up with a bit more health. Again, it's a bit odd, but still all in good fun.
But the real wobbles come in the next area: the maze. Appearance-wise it's pretty cool, using Doom II's horizontal spine texture along the walls in a way I appreciate. The problem here is one intrinsic to the gameplay and one I'm more than familiar with: ammunition. At this point in the progression, ammunition dries up and you have to fight mob after mob of imps with your dwindling resources. Yeah, you can backtrack and grab one of the boxes of shells that the map gives you a few of at the start of the Hell-themed area, but it's stupidly unintuitive and only delays the inevitable anyway. After the maze comes a winding pathway with mid-tier enemies that you may very well not have the ammo to kill and then surprise! Another scaled-up enemy, this time a Cyberdemon. It also doesn't have its coded height tweaked, so it follows you out of the arena if you're backtracking to get the ammo you sorely need.
And all of this culminates in an Icon fight. Yep. An Icon fight that, if you used up all of your rockets in the previous area, doesn't supply enough to kill the Icon itself. That point was where I heaved a sigh and stopped playing.
According to the textfile this wad took three months to make, and it's evident in what I've seen, don't get me wrong. It's well put together from a technical standpoint, and for a second public release it's pretty accomplished. But always remember that the proof of the pudding is in the eating: you are crafting an experience, and anything that disrupts the experience - in this case insufficient ammunition - will be sharply picked up on by your audience. And don't fall into the trap of saying that the secrets make up for it: they're called secrets for a reason, because not everyone will find them.
I don't want to discourage Mr (or Mrs, it's a brave new world!) 6XGate though, so I will recommend that they keep striving to improve and simply bear what I've said in mind. I really do feel like some polish could produce great things here and I'd be interested in seeing what they produce next: heck, I'll beta test if they want. Keep on trucking, my dude. :)
Suitcase of Gor (Formerly D2Redux) - The Tarnsman of Christmas Past
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 9.87 MB -
Reviewed by: Scotty
This wad is an incomplete remake of the original Doom 2 maps that covers maps 1-15 and 21-26. There is also what appears to be an Ultimate Doom E4-intended map in the 32 slot.
The maps are highly modernized versions of the originals, both in terms of aesthetic as well as gameplay. Visuals are consistent and some impressive vistas can be seen in places.
As these are map remakes the wad basically does what it says on the tin - sometimes the source material is fairly closely observed, at other times it is interpreted more loosely - this leads to a feeling of the wad being quite a mixed bag in terms of quality and execution overall. I personally found the more liberally mapped remakes to be more entertaining and creative, and they are perhaps the best reason to try this wad out.
Blood and Bones: A Skeleton Scorned - Jaxxoon R
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 5.94 MB -
Reviewed by: obake
Jaxxoon R's "Blood and Bones: A Skeleton Scorned" was made for one of the VineSauce Mapping Contests. Those outside of the loop of the VineSauce channels will find "Blood and Bones" sometimes incomprehensible, with its obscure references and nonsensical cutscenes. You start by hearing the phrase "rise from your grave", a sound clip taken from one of the home ports of Altered Beast. As you punch your way out of a coffin, the map begins.
The theme is Egyptian, though the lighting and even the textures are a bit brighter than most pyramid levels, which is a nice change of pace. You can also jump really high.
You'll also notice the new, minimalist HUD, which looks good. The pistol is also different, having unlimited ammo, but only shooting straight ahead. Limitations aside, it is quite useful. The shotgun, while effective, feels incredibly odd, given that its animations are much faster. I never quite got used to it. As for the gameplay, it is fine. Encounters are fun and varied, though nothing too memorable, and there are some cool effects like deep water and sliding doors. One of the few complaints I have is lifts looking like normal walls. Different textures could have eased this confusion.
Now for Spoiler Territory. There is a long, humorous cutscene of Doomguy meeting his real father, a scientist always wielding a fire extinguisher. He traveled through time searching for his son, in hopes to show him his invention of the world's largest teleporter, which he does. What comes through the teleporter is a reference only people who follow Vinesauce (or obscure memes) will understand: a "7 Grand Dad" version of Mario, complete with the bootleg Flintstones theme.
The fight with Mario is the most interesting of the wad. He has a few attacks: a bouncing fireball, a ground stomp, and a charge. The latter is the hardest to avoid, and took a lot of running behind corners. I died a few times, but I eventually took him down.
Should you play "Blood and Bones?" If you're a follower of Vinesauce, then absolutely. If not, then the level offers some unique concepts and offbeat laughs, but may not be to everyone's liking.
Dimmed Palettes - Julian Nechaevsky
Doom, Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, Strife - N/A - Vanilla - 48.96 KB -
Reviewed by: Obsidian
A pretty self-explanatory release: this contains tweaked palettes for Doom, Heretic, Hexen and Strife that turn down the brightness of each game a notch for a more pronounced feeling of gloom. It's a fairly subtle difference, but one that actually adds a nice melancholy touch to proceedings: check it out if you're looking for a more gloomy Dooming (or Heretic-ing or whatever) experience. For the curious, I've included a comparison screenshot taken in ZDoom to emphasize the difference.
Trapped - Aiden (Maisth)
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 136.2 KB -
Reviewed by: Myst.Haruko
"Trapped" is a ZDoom compatible DOOM II map made by Aiden (Maisth). Author stated that the map works better with GZDoom (which I used) than ZDoom.
I was greeted with custom titlemap instead of traditional Doom II titlepic. Action started at the same location as the titlemap showed, it's like kind of a spoiler. I instantly noticed that there are only ZDoom features - custom sky view point/skybox (not sure for this one), transparency, slopes, and some 3D floors, as I moved forward.
Combat is kind of newbish - I wasn't challenged enough; even the last monster wasn't able to kill me, because of cheesable combat.
Also, I prefer to avoid having secrets inserted into things. It's better to mark secrets in areas instead of stuff like boxes of rockets. I found missing textures in the red key area, especially in the beginning of that area if you lower the floor nearby.
Design choices were questionable; I found reflection and swimmable sectors quite unnecessary, and even more so in the last monster fight, because jumping into swimmable lava was distracting and frustrating thanks to some restricted movement. Feels like author wanted to add all advanced features into one map. Also, I wasn't a fan of impassable linedefs in some places.
I recommend playing this wad on your own risk, expect some nitpicks and difficulties in the last fight, and I believe that author in the future will make better maps than this one.
Moonblood - Deadwing
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 3.9 MB -
Reviewed by: leodoom85
Moonblood is a 32-level megawad made by Deadwing, and it consists of several themes which will be familiar if you played the original IWADs. Without further ado, let's go.
Episode 1, which is maps 01 to 06, has a distinctive Doom 1 feel mixed with some Doom 2 architecture, similar to E1M3 - E1M7, but with more variety for the monsters. Maps 01 to 03 has the initial kick of hitscanners, pinkys and lost souls, the weakest but annoying group of monsters. The difficulty is fairly easy but you still need to be alert because of the chaingunners. Maps 04 to 06 start to add damaging floors and some stronger enemies start to appear. Difficulty starts to increase a bit. Obviously, discovering secrets will help you quite a lot. Your trusty shotgun and chaingun will be your preferred weapons for these six initial maps.
Episode 2, which has maps 07 to 11, has similarities with Refinery (E2M3) and other similar maps. The main feature is that the mancubus and the arachnotron are heavily used. Map 07, for example, uses a lot of mancubuses and spiders, mainly as major resistance or as an ambush. Map 08 does a nice homage to Underhalls while keeping some of the Doom 1 feel to it, and revenants are fairly used here. Map 09 contains some secrets that will help you greatly, mostly because of some acid and pain elementals. Map 10 is all about radiation, and fortunately there's a bunch of radiation suits. Map 11 is the last of the tech-base maps and has some cramped fights that can kill you if you're not careful.
Moving on for a nice change of scenery...
Episode 3, which features maps 12 to 15, shows a mountain-cave theme mixed with urban-hell architecture and also contains the secret levels, known as "archive maps". Map 12 has more caves and some hellish bases combined with some tech bases. Map 13 features a sort of small city and... surprise surprise, the first cyberdemon is found in that map... be sure to pick up the invulnerability sphere!!! Map 14 is a medium size map with caves, lava and progressive "hellification" with some ambushes here and there, and map 15 has some nasty traps with lots of monsters waiting to kill you, and the secret level awaits. Difficulty in this episode raises quite a bit; ambushes and damage provoked by a hazardous environment starts to be a constant.
Map 31, Dobu Gabu's Exam (quite the name eh?) is a fun and fairly hard map with ambushes and lots of revenants, quite a lot. It also has nice detail without going overboard. The difficulty of this map is expected thanks to the slot it's using: hard, frantic, fast gameplay, and fun overall. What was totally unexpected is the ending... press switch and you die? That was a risky move which, depending on the player, may like it or not, forcing you to do a pistol start, and that takes you to the super secret level!!! Geez...
Map 32, map 32, oh map 32... some of you may know this, some of you won't, but this slot had two versions, an older small map that featured a "survive the ordeal while the mastermind is watching you" gameplay where you needed to pass the mastermind somehow without getting killed in the process. Hard, but not a fun map. However, the newer version of map 32 fixes all of that. A map set in some ruins, hard gameplay but at least it's more fun to play unlike its counterpart, accompanied by a MIDI rendition of Botpack#9 from Unreal Tournament... great! Spiders, zombies, revenants, cacos, pain elementals, and two cybies are waiting for you to be crushed or crush them to death. Lovely map.
Going back to the normal levels...
Episode 4 contains maps 16 to 20 and follows almost the same theme in the last episode, where the main difference is that it features even more tech-base maps. Maps 16 and 17... this is where the real game begins; the difficulty raises some points, it has more ambushes, and it starts relying on revenants, hell knights, and also archviles. Map 18 shows another progressive "hellification" with well-placed monsters and a mastermind in a small place waiting to say hello... oh, and more agitated revenants are on the loose. Map 19 has some really nasty traps involving revs, archies and imps... and a cybie waiting to duel in an island. Map 20 starts the journey to Hell with a gateway in the end of the map along with more hellspawn. Tricky episode for sure, and now... HELL!!!
Episode 5 is Hell, composed of maps 21 to 26, featuring hellish maps with a clear inspiration from Plutonia, you'll see that when you play it. Map 21 is like the warm-up for the incoming maps, annoying hellspawn with another cybie as a sort of turret, and some puzzle-lift that you must be quick to progress. Map 22 has one word... REVENANTS!!!... 'nuff said. Map 23 is like the big brother of Mt. Erebus (E3M6), which has big islands surrounded by lava. Map 24 has the trickiest fight of this wad, and it's a tricky map too with lots of places to go. Map 25 is a big hellish town with a gimmick fight against the teleporting cybie. You must be alert at all times or you'll eat one of his rockets. Search all the buildings and don't leave a single bastard alive. And map 26, as the name implies, is a coliseum where you must get all the keys and get out of that place alive. Be really careful of ambushes because archviles are there to burn you to death. After crossing the last resistance, you'll start the last episode.
Episode 6, which has maps 27 to 30, mix all the previous episodes in terms of themes and architecture. Map 27 has you do something important in the map and a group of archviles is spawned in several areas, reviving all the monsters that you killed in the process...yeah, expect some infuriating events thanks to that. Map 28 does kinda the same, but instead of archies, revenants can come out along with a small varied group of monsters, and of course... keys and cyberdemons. Ah, one more thing: be careful of traps too. Map 29 is by far the most time-consuming map of the whole mapset... big map with lots of monsters and both bosses, a mastermind sniping you from afar and a couple of cybies hidden from you. All of that for some keys. And the final map. Few monsters, the last resistance, but they can't do much against you except one. Instead of being a typical Icon of Sin map, it was replaced by a special boss monster (which is a Nazi replacement). It has a LOT of attacks with powerful projectiles, and some of them have homing properties. But, some good evading skills and well placed BFG shots are enough to kill that monstrosity.
And that's it for the mapset. Good difficulty curve, lots of ambushes and traps, nice homage or resemblance to Doom 1 and Plutonia with the Doom 2 gameplay and... oh yeah, I forgot one key detail! The music. Deadwing ALSO did the music and, honestly, I liked it a lot. If you have a soundfont saved in your Doom folder, I totally recommend you use it... configure it and you're good to go.
Before I go, you need to know two things before you play this wad:
- All maps have less than 200 monsters
- Don't play this wad with randomizer mods because it'll replace the custom boss with a normal Nazi mob and, therefore, you won't finish the map.
Well, that's all for this review. I already did a playthrough of this mapset but, after making this new review, I'll say this... Play it by all means. I had a blast playing this mapset. Thumbs up!
The /newstuff Chronicles is a very sporadic 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