Disjunction - floatRand
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 10.66 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Disjunction. Judging by the name, I first thought this might be a financial planning mod, taking Doom to its outer limits, where you have to trade caco-coins and baron-bucks until you realize your career is worthless. Or perhaps a train simulator, with the unattainable objective of not crashing and killing everyone aboard.
It turns out neither of these fantasies are true. Today's offering from last year is a straight-forward, no BS megawad by floatRand. Let me be clear, though, when I say "no BS", I do not mean "no frustrations". The fact is, this WAD did frustrate me in a couple of ways. But it was also delightful in other ways. So we'll focus on the good first, because good things are good.
Let's talk about the visuals. 99% of these maps are stunning, and I don't mean stunning in the sense of "I put on so much makeup today that you can't see my actual skin." floatRand has a way of making things look really nice without always using ten thousand sectors. Don't get me wrong, there are enough sectors to go around, but I really loved the overall sense of composition and purpose in the architecture of Disjunction (ironic, isn't it?). I say 99% because a tiny portion of areas looked bland, especially parts of the very first outdoor area, as well as parts of the final map which is insanely large so a bit more excusable. Many of the maps are themed heavily around one vibrant color among dark backgrounds, which I find pleasing because I'm a simple person.
The music was awesome. Much more on techno/fantasy side, with tracks from Megaman and Jazz Jackrabbit (yay!). Metalheads might not like it. But I liked it, and I was ready to gaze at 11 beautiful maps and jam to the tunes and whatnot.
So what about my frustrations? Well, those are found in the "whatnot". The "whatnot" being all those things you do in Doom other than look at the walls and listen to Cyber Rainforce. You know, finding keys, shooting hellspawn, et cetera. At first I was confronted by lots of monsters, and difficulty was high but since these were generally small humanoid enemies, the flow was alright. Unfortunately in these early maps the architecture does get in the way because it's way too cramped and annoying to traverse. That problem goes away once the maps themselves become bigger, but is overshadowed by a different problem: incessant use of monsters in annoying ways. For example, there are a ton of surround-traps. You enter a room, the door locks behind you, monsters surround. You go through a teleport, monsters surround. You grab a key, monsters surround. There are just way too many locked-in-a-room-full-of-monsters scenarios for my taste. Also, once you get past the first few maps, you find a lot of encounters with almost every enemy type. I felt that floatRand was placing monsters based on how cool it looked, not how it would make a good battle. Expect to find battles like: one arachnotron, one mancubus, one pain elemental, and four revenants. Also both during and after large battles you can expect two to four archviles to brighten your day.
I don't want to make it sound like the action was never fun. At times it was cooking. Sometimes there were tricks to get around the battle, which I generally welcomed. But more often than not the pot seemed to be boiling over, and by the end you're facing giant hordes that make your BFG seem kinda weak. The epicness of the scenery gets more and more grand, but the gameplay actually grinds to a slow crawl because it just takes a long time to clear the rooms. Maybe I'm just getting old and slow. I did play on HMP so I guess I could have lowered the difficulty, but a quick look at monster counts showed only a small difference. I'd consider playing it again with some custom weapons. A minigun and a railgun would balance the game nicely, I think. Slaughter enthusiasts and masochists can fire up UV or Nightmare, but for the rest of us, expect to be severely punished.
I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the phenomenal level design, but I know some people will be turned away by the high difficulty. If you think you're one of those pansies (I know I am!), then consider playing on super easy mode or using a mod to increase your firepower. Or play on "cooperative mode", which we all know means spawning a bot to flail about at the beginning of the level in order to give yourself infinite lives. Whatever you need to do, this is a WAD that shouldn't be ignored - it's more like a famous tourist attraction that's always busy and you just have to suck it up. On a scale from lamb to lambchop, I give this WAD a solid 7.9.
Temple of Unholy Fire, chapter 1 (demo) - Cacodemon9000
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 8.96 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
We've all done it: or at least most of us have, and we have learned the consequences and hopefully will never repeat our mistake. Any time you write "Chapter 1" on something, you're guaranteed not to finish that thing.
Well that was the case here with Cacodemon9000's map "Temple of Unholy Fire, chapter 1 (demo)". Tragically this was the last thing they uploaded to /idgames. Perhaps it was because of the scathing review by Zalewa, who is all over that s*** playing everybody's maps. Who are you anyway, Zalewa, and why do I keep having to talk about your reviews?
Anyway, this level suffers a lot from tedious battles as well as some bland architecture. There's some modification to the bullet weapons, making them a bit more powerful, but it's basically useless against the hordes of monsters - some of which just had to be upgraded themselves. The archvile's flame attack, for example, spawns many explosions throughout the animation, which is funny because you can outrun it, but also stupid because it's out of control. That might have been cool for the boss battle (which was, astoundingly, a THIRD version of archie), not for the entire map. Add to that spectral cacodemons, mancu-serpents, and beefed up arachnotrons, and you have a little party.
The actual geometry of the map was pretty cool in a lot of places (less cool in others when it was very long hallways), but the texturing and lighting made it mostly ugly. Since there was often no contrast, you couldn't really see the nice features until you're right on top of them. The outdoor areas were generally nice looking, and easy to traverse. Indoors however the layout is very boxy. The path you're supposed to travel does loop over itself in a nice way, but gets confusing at times, and most of the switches activate something random that you have to go find (like Hexen, but not as bad).
There are some good ideas buried in this chapter 1 (demo), and I think Cacodemon9000 should continue mapping since Doom will never die, and neither will we IF WE JUST KEEP MAPPING. Perhaps they're mapping for another game or whatever, I just hope Zalewa's criticism didn't turn Caco9000 away from mapping entirely. Next time I would suggest posting the WAD in the forums to get feedback before uploading to /idgames, because the one-paragraph reviews are often flippant and discouraging. However, the criticism was indeed fair, and for someone looking to play a polished level, chapter 1 (demo) isn't gonna cut the mustard. On a scale of 1 to chapter 1 (demo), I give this WAD a chapter 1.
Vertigone - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
Doom 2 - Deathmatch - Skulltag - 217.52 KB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
I'm thoroughly confused by this text file. First paragraph goes something like this:
"This is my second oldest surviving map that I still have, and my very first DM map ever. However, the gameplay and layout are pretty awful, so I wouldn't really even bother playing it. I uploaded it for nostalgia reasons, I suppose."
Sounds normal enough right? But then:
"(Note from Mechadon from the future!! I decided to upload this while updating some other releases in the archive. I'm really only uploading it for, uh, 'historical' reasons. You should never play this map, at least not seriously :P )"
So Mechadon went back in time in order to warn us that instead of not really bothering with this map, we should instead never play it. Well I played it, for "historical" reasons, and it's pretty bad. Could be worse though! It could always be worse. Always. On a scale of 1 to forgotten, let's move on to the next WAD, shall we?
Newgothic Movement 2 - Armouredblood and Archi
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 10.95 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Welcome to Newgothic - Movement 2. The first installment, released in 2010, was generally liked. So the stakes are high, your training wheels are off, the GDP must go up (forever).
I spent my last review whining and complaining about unfair and wild monster placement. That's because I'm extremely sensitive. You can imagine my feelings when I read the description. "Slaughter. Fun Slaughter. With music. Enjoy." ...I'm going to be slaughtered to music? And I'm supposed to enjoy it? Fine.
Some of us are aggressively against slaughter maps, and we can see why. They just filled the hallways with monsters, perfectly placed on the grid, all facing the same way. It's stupid. But you know what, it's also stupid that you can carry 100 rockets. And that's what makes Doom fun. Not the hellish landscapes, nor the goring of endless demonic flesh. It's really the insanity of your own character, the voiceless Doomguy, sliding around inside a nightmare firing rockets that move slower than himself.
The beautiful thing about Doom is that you can enjoy it many different ways. Even though the textfile says "Difficulty settings: not implemented", they are always there for you. And in many other ways you can cheat around the true, hardcore experience. Want to save every ten seconds? Go for it. Want to play co-op, turn on infinite ammo, or skip maps? Only your pride can stop you. So I enjoyed these maps with a pleasant little Biffbot to keep the savings away.
Aesthetically these maps were mostly awesome. Only a few of the massive areas looked bland to me, and since they would soon spill over with bodies, it kinda didn't matter. Complementing the monster counts in the thousands were ridiculous amounts of ammunition and health. Several places could be muscled through by collecting the health along the way. This (along with all my cheating) made the slaughter feel more like a party. Maybe they should be called party maps! Moving on, there are overwhelming numbers of guests at this party, and my poor bot was often being swarmed at the spawn by hungry zombies reaching for the keg. It was fun. And you deserve a bit of fun after your long day at the office.
This megawad delivers what it promises. I have only a few small gripes - such as difficulty settings would be kinda nice (take out a few cybies plz), and a couple of map oddities such as giant but inconspicuous doors - but nothing really major. So slaughter away, my friends. On a scale of 1 to nutz.wad, I give Newgothic Movement 2 a near-perfect score of 1.6.
Silent Hill Orphan TC - Autz (sonic_HD87)
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 24.91 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
And now for something completely different! This TC uses "messy code" to turn Doom into a point-and-click adventure! Specifically, it copies Silent Hill: Orphan, an obscure mobile game. The code seemed to work fine to me; it's got inventory, dialogue, totally illogical puzzles (yes, put the candle in the pot of sludge), and even combat! However, the game is unpolished, with the creator sometimes talking to your character, saying stuff like "I was too lazy to put this in." It's still quite an accomplishment. Perhaps someone could use this engine to create a Doom point-and-click using screenshots of maps as the backgrounds. Anyway, check it out if you want to see a very obscure use of GZDoom.
Vulkan (Episode 1) v1.2 - DavidN - @DavidXNewton
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 36.12 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Vulkan has nothing to do with Star Trek, which is a good thing. I love Doom and Star Trek separately, and I wouldn't want one to be ruined by the other. I don't remember setting anything to "stun" in Doom - do you? So anyway, DavidN has created an episode about a UAC project that accidentally drilled into hell. Your job is to get dropped off and totally abandoned, as usual, so you can dive to the bottom of the infested power station.
I had a blast playing this WAD, which overall has a cool vibe that reminds me of Doom 1, mixed with a little Quake, and a slight nod to Descent. The environments are not caked with detail, but they are put together in a way is evocative and beautiful. Unfortunately the lightning isn't so great in places: you will encounter some bright areas that don't have enough contrast, and much worse, insane darkness in others. I was turning my gamma up to 1.4 and still finding walls with my face. Some of that was from destructible light sources, but other times it was obligatory. Was there a flashlight that I missed? Thankfully it was only a few small areas that had this problem.
Brutal Doom is included with the package, which is awesome, but I can't be judging that portion of it. I think these maps would be a success even without it. The swarms of axe-men made me feel like I was playing Nazi Zombies at times. The bigger monsters on the other hand were less of a threat with the Brutal weapons. They just go down too easy, and weren't used in big enough numbers to be taken seriously. You'll be more worried about lightning fast pinkies.
Some other customization added nice variety to the gameplay. You collect "vulkoins" in each map which give you a bonus to your health and armor when you get 100, and there's a few scripted events including a mechanic at the end where you have to bring cooling orbs to reactors to cool them down, which was fun and cute. And cuteness is the most important thing in any WAD. So despite some minor kinks, Vulkan has mostly atmosphere and action to offer you, and I hope DavidN is working on the next episode. On a scale from 1 to core breach, I give this mod an 8.1.
Secretdoom: Hell's Memento 2 - Cyberdemon531
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 25.19 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
After sacrificing your soul to the depths of Hell, you wake up in a pool of blood and walk into a gateway. You find yourself in the depths of Hell once again, and you have to find your way out. Deeper, and deeper, into the depths of Hell. Once again... depths of Hell.
You should all know Cyberdemon531 already, from their status as a "speed runner extraordinaire". I hate running, so I don't really follow that side of the community. Anyway, in this WAD you will be facing insane amounts of monsters, and you'll also have a ridiculous buffet of items both healthy and ammunitious. Starting with map05 you get enemy counts in the several-hundreds. Often you'll be free to wander a vast expanse, but some areas are very crowded. A lot of the battles were repetitive or too easy. A few moments did get interesting, such as a fun trap that cages the player, or suicide bombers swarming around a barrel. Additionally there were a ton of switches to hit, which was cool (because stuff was happening) but not executed well. What I mean is, the switch might lower a wall, revealing a room. And in the room is another switch... and another wall lowers, revealing a similar room with a switch. And on and on in the endless depths of Hell.
And if you call the depths of Hell right now, we'll even include two additional pools of blood, and one additional gateway to Hell, totally FREE! All we need is your soul that's 1-800-DPTH for two gateways and three pools of blood to wake up in every morning!
The design of the maps fluctuates a great deal in terms of visuals. Many of the areas are just so big, it's impossible for them to look nice. In other places there's decent geometry but poor lighting and texturing, or just extreme darkness. Some areas did look quite nice however, with the techbase and industrial areas being the best. The music was pretty good, but I think it was composed by Zagfan590 (referred to in the .txt as supplying "choice clips").
This plays more like a speedrunning/slaughter training camp than an atmospheric adventure, and perhaps that's what you are looking for. Perhaps that's the whole point of the Secretdoom series (secret's out!). There were some nice ideas buried under the demons piled 900 high, as well as some pretty areas but also some ugly areas. Kind of like my brain. On a scale of 1 to 1-800-DPTH, your pools of blood can be delivered straight to your door!
Good Morining Phobos - sincity2100
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 9.93 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
Good Morining, Doomworld. Today's class is about an exciting and brand new experience created mostly by sincity2100. It also happens to be the last review for March 2017. Huzzah!
This WAD has already received a number of positive reviews, so if that's enough for you, why are you wasting your time listening to me yammering away instead of playing? God knows. Anyway, Good Morning Phobos is long and beautiful. It's attractive in a non-invasive way, making it almost relaxing to behold. It appears that sincity2100 can use any clashing styles they want and still have it look amazing. It took me a moment to realize that giant lamppost was made of rock. It's not a detail-fest but with 33 maps, I don't even want that. Your eyes need a place to rest once in a while. I was impressed that all 33 were pretty consistently gorgeous, with decent gameplay to match.
Enemy placement was where this WAD shined a little less clean. The layouts were almost always so wide-open that you'd rarely get stuck, which is nice, but can also make encounters too easy. On the other hand, most of these levels are just brimming with former humans and company. The hitscan attacks quickly turn the wide areas into death traps. So you'll spend a fair amount of time sniping dudes out with your chaingun, and as a fan of games like Ghost Recon I actually don't mind this type of gameplay. However, I can see how it discourages the run-and-gun attitude possible in classic Doom, which might feel weird in a WAD that otherwise feels kinda old-school. Welcome to post-modernism!
In conclusion, I really liked GMP and you could too. It's got a classy surface and respectable organs. It's got great MIDIs. It's not sure if it belongs in 1996 or 2016, just like us. Next class, I want an essay about your emotional response to playing this WAD and how it might affect your relationships with your family and friends. Dismissed!
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.