3 Heures d'agonie 3 - 3ha3 Team
Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 3.24 MB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
I once took a French film class, and the first thing we watched was the gut-wrenching trial of Joan of Arc, portrayed without dialogue or color. The director had to rely on a more limited tool set than what we are used to now, but they came up with something that still has power even today. In Trois Heures d'Agonie, the mappers have limited themselves to three hours (ish) of build time for each map. The director of Joan of Arc had no choice, but these people purposely crippled their construction materials just for fun?
Well this is the third installment from the French speedmappers, and in many of the levels I found myself thinking "this must have taken more than three hours." A few of the levels are rather bare, but none looked horrible. Usually lighting contrast was most neglected in terms of visuals. Most of the maps look good with some being exceptionally shiny. The MIDIs were pretty top notch throughout, including selections from Doom 1 and Heretic that I enjoyed a lot.
So she has a sexy voice and stylish clothing, but what about her personality? 3ha3 is a really fun megawad to play. It's fast, it's easy going, most of the maps are not very long and aim for quality rather than quantity. The mappers here have done an excellent job of utilizing those three hours to pack some punch into their small maps. Creative uses of moving sectors and previously visited areas lent an unexpected and lively atmosphere to the gameplay. Instead of turning each corner to find yet another intricately detailed room that's really just a square with ten thousand border sectors, you will instead fight through interesting configurations that change in just the right way as you play. All this is done with a subtle touch in relatively short maps, so nothing feels beaten to death other than the demons under your feet.
Most of the maps are very short, but a few are longer, especially at the end. The last couple maps bump the monster counts up into the hundreds, and the final map is actually sort of a composite of three mappers' efforts and follows a more slaughter-oriented style. It's fitting as a final map however, even if it strays a bit from the rest of the WAD's style. The progression of the maps is also pretty darn good considering the lack of a binding theme. Overall, this excellent megawad won't drag you down with extensive layouts - instead it's like a buffet of delicious appetizers that have totally filled you up by the time you've eaten 32 of them. And what's more, it features a mod to the SS Nazi which makes it almost fit in as a normal Doom monster! Just what I've always dreamed of...
Back to Phobos - Serge Haikin
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 54.36 KB -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
A short, small map for E1M1. It's fun and has a very classic feel to it, although there's randomly a baron (easy to skip) and some cacodemons that are a chore to fight with just the shotgun. Detailing is simple but effective. The lighting was pretty good although a bit dark in some places. Could be a nice beginning to an episode, but doesn't stand for much on its own. The description is cute though. "You find a time machine and throw the switch." Sounds like something Doomguy WOULD do...
Snot Station - Xyzzy01
Chex Quest - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 30.4 KB -
Reviewed by: antares031
Snot Station is a single level, created by Xyzzy01. This level was designed for Chex Quest 3, which requires ZDoom to run. For your information, this level doesn't have difficulty settings.
The level itself is pretty simple and straightforward, with minimal details around this Chex Quest techbase. Ammo and health supplies are just enough to keep you alive, and monster placements are pretty challenging for the casual players. If you don't manage your ammo wisely, you'll end up with your bootspoon, while a bunch of cycloptis are trying to cover you with green slime. This level even has a boss monster, Lord Snotfolus, so this level doesn't play around. Keep in mind that there are some evil Chex Warriors, which don't technically count as monsters. So stay alert, even if the monster count shows 100% kills. Despite some difficult moments, this level can be beaten within five minutes on UV-Max, once you know how to beat it.
Snot Station is a simple, but challenging level, thanks to its ammo and monster placements. If you're not familiar with the original Chex Quest, I suggest you to play the original game before you try this level. If you enjoyed Chex Quest, then go ahead and play this level. If you beat this level first try with no foreknowledge, I guarantee that you're pretty good at Chex Quest.
Short Dance at Iris Base - Carlos Lastra
Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 50.09 KB -
Reviewed by: obake
This is a single ZDoom map set in a base. Details are nice, and there are no notable technical errors.
Like its name, this map is a dance, and a deceptively difficult one. You start only battling zombiemen, but the damage they inflict on you can easily turn into more stress during later encounters, as health pickups are few.
Saving up on shells is a must, as later encounters will pit you against multiple sergeants and even chaingunners. The map weaves in a loop, so simply running away from them is risky. It also does not use many ZDoom-specific features, but since it looks and plays nice, I do not mind.
It is a good map, though it can be frustrating due to the amount of hitscanners. Once you obtain the chaingun, it becomes less strenuous, and you can enjoy the work put into the detailing. Plus, it is short, with less than 100 monsters even on UV. Give it a whirl.
Torn - Robert Kruger (MarketAnarchy)
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 5.51 MB -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
A humongous map with over 4000 enemies. Sounds difficult? Well, it really isn't that hard. There's a lot of helpful nooks to hide in, as well as heaps of health and ammo, allowing you to pick off the monsters one by one from a safe spot. In the end, probably the most difficult challenge of this map is mustering enough patience to whittle down the entire population over the course of a few hours. Personally, I only had enough stamina to get through the first thousand. About this point I got trapped on south-eastern stairs (a glitch?), unable to get past the green torches; it was as good an excuse as any to stop playing.
The map is very good technically, with great visuals (including shadows baked into wall textures) and a nice, unobtrusive song — an important thing in such a long map. If you're the grinding sort of gamer, who won't mind spending hours getting kills one at a time, you can have a good time with this map.
MAYhem 2016 (v1.2) - A buncha mother schmuckers
Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 19.31 MB -
Reviewed by: Catpho
It's Quack time baby!
The community staple "MAYhem" series returns for its fifth installment. As per usual, it sports some restrictions: either having a maximum thing count of 160 in a map, or having a monster count of the map number multiplied by 10. The latter theme is not really pronounced, as the project never reached 32 levels, resulting in maps getting different slots than their intended ones (MAP31 still kept its original limitation however: monster count was the map slot multiplied by 100). Another creative factor was the resource pack given. It's all Quac--I mean Quake themed, very beautiful to boot: textures from Quake I, a Quake I total conversion called "Malice", and the Quake II inspired "The Darkening E2".
The 21 maps in Mayhem 1600 are a diverse lot. Not like community projects were known for consistency mind you, but it's especially apparent here. You could be in a Quake temple in one map, but then find yourself in a colorful train space station a few maps later. Gameplay concepts follow suit: slaughtermaps, gimmick levels, adventure romps, and run 'n' gun action all find their place here. That means, for some, it brings a whole lot of different locales to discover, but for others, a bunch of illogical transitions without any sense of a big adventure or some sort of plot.
That being said, the set manages to maintain beautiful visuals throughout. And if we are talking about a quality Doom experience, "MAYhem 1600" has a lot of nice individual bits, mostly thanks to experienced mappers like Alfonzo, Tarnsman, Breezeep, an_mutt, and Jimmy. There's the polished and fast MAP11 "Quake Plumbing Inc", the alluring, evocative and majestic expedition through MAP14 "Ancient Den", or just the good ol' Doom guilty pleasure of MAP04 "Affinity". There are also some weirder trips through the awesome gimmick in MAP20 "The Performance", the usual eccentricity of Ribbiks's obsession with colorful death boxes filled with monsters in MAP18 "Maria", the devilishly cruel MAP08 "Lodi Eno Rebmun Si Ocin", and slaughter pieces like the nightmarish MAP09 "Blood from a Stone" and the epic MAP31 "In Death, Is Life". The misfires weren't too bad, as they had one redeeming character one way or another (expect MAP07, you can skip that). There's something for everyone, and truly shows that variety is the spice of life...
... but to quote forum member "Demon of The Well", it could also be "the secret sauce of death"! The difficulty level here is astounding, and the aforementioned lack of consistency also created nonexistent difficulty progression and a myriad of ways to kill the player. Death here comes in many faces: maybe you didn't control a horde correctly in a slaughtermap, maybe a weird challenge got you, or maybe just 10 incredibly well selected and well placed monsters doing great teamwork (MAP01!). UV is a very grueling journey in this set, so i advise you to chose HMP or lower if you are just fresh off IWAD UV!
Overall, MAYhem 1600 is a solid community project thanks to a pool of talented authors on board and the beautiful variety. Quite bone-breaking, but also very satisfying to play!
Distribution Center - Rayziik
Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 3.91 MB -
Reviewed by: Scotty
A sprawling single map for ZDoom that includes a variety of custom monsters. Aesthetically this is reminiscent of Knee Deep in the Dead, albeit highly modernised and rife with tastefully implemented ZDoom features. Combat is polished, and the map has a smooth difficulty curve, with fights gradually escalating in difficulty and size as you progress.
This level won the Vinesauce mapping contest, which should give some indication of the quality you can expect here.
Fast and for Doom - JC Dorne
Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 283.68 KB -
Reviewed by: Obsidian
Is it just me or are maps made by the French Doom community oddly brutal? I think of Swift Death, Tangerine Nightmare, 3 Heures d'agonie...and then my brain segues seamlessly into blunt force trauma to the head (in a nice way, of course). There's just something inherently vicious about the gameplay in maps from the French community, throwing you into the action like a dog treat into a Pomeranian's eager jaws. That isn't to say it isn't fun though, oh no: there are few feelings more satisfying than looking back over the twisted cadavers in your wake and resisting the urge to do the Conan monologue. Today we're looking at one such example.
"Fast and for Doom" is a collection of five speedmaps brought to us by a Mr JC Dorne, he of Tangerine Nightmare and Survive in Hell fame. I'll be going through each map on pistol start and reviewing them as they stand due to the small quantity, but I doubt that victory will be handed to me on a SHAWN2 platter. So let us begin.
I wasn't kidding when I said you get tossed right into the thick of things! It's a small affair at 34 monsters, but the use of space and monster arrangement makes you work to kill those 34 monsters. It's a style of mapping I dig: it's economical with the resources a mapper has to hand and, as most limitations do, it breeds creativity. It's a theme that you'll see repeat throughout the wad.
As for the map itself, it's a compact affair that looks pretty stylish. It's obvious that the gameplay is the main focus, but I appreciate the time put in to make the map look pleasing. All in all, a good opener.
MAP02: Open Space
As the name suggests, this one's got a bit more room to move and dodge and the monster count is bumped up to compensate. There's a bit more of a focus on mobs with MAP02, usually as punishment for accessing stronger weapons: thankfully, the map title stretches here too as more of the map is cut away as you progress to allow egress and dodging. It even stretches to the solitary secret: yes, the extra ammo is useful, but the real prize is the utility that the newly revealed space offers you when fighting. It's a nice approach to map design, both on a gameplay and aesthetic level.
For want of criticism, I'd say that the gameplay lessens in intensity as you go on when it should be escalating: there's an effective two-pronged attack upon grabbing the red key, but after that the map doesn't quite return to that zenith. Personally I'd have had 1 of the 2 Archies before the end warp away to keep the player on their toes, but it's not something that overly bugs me, and the subsequent dramatic reveal of the single Lost Soul at the exit gave me a good chuckle.
In some ways Bloodbath feels similar to the map that preceded it, complete with the architecture opening up in time with the player's progression. The similarities don't stretch to the gameplay though: swapping out low for mid-tier monsters does the combat a world of good and ups the stakes nicely. There's a bit more transformation this time around too, with the centerpiece being the way the starting room opens up near the end. I won't lie, I dug that a lot. Good stuff.
Heh, I wonder if 40oz has a copyright on that name. As is obvious from the moment this map slides into view, this is a pint-sized piece of Plutonia. Oddly enough it actually doesn't dunk you into monster line of sight on startup like the other maps, so I wonder what's in sto-
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, dicks! DICKS!"
So yeah, out of all the maps this one is definitely the craziest. You expected Plutonia, in all its Revenant and Chaingunner-drenched glory? You got it, and you got it in spades! At a guess I'd say that's why you have the moment's grace, as this is very much a map you have to approach as a puzzle more than a map. What enemies you shoot, where you go, all of these things are worth thinking over to determine the best route. The biggest threat by far is the collection of Revenants near the yellow skull, as they tend to have a decent line of sight over most of the map and will not hesitate to use it: the best tip I can give is to be aware of them at all times. The map also sets a couple of Archies loose at the end, although the impact they have is lessened somewhat by their positioning.
In the end, it's a Hell of a rush to beat this map. The finale awaits!
MAP05: In the Void
The finale to Fast and for Doom has a fairly simple setup: there are 2 keys, you need 2 keys. Each key has a mini-gauntlet to soldier through and gives you a particular weapon to deal with the nasties. From a gameplay standpoint, I'm a little iffy on the fact that you can pick up both weapons before tackling each key challenge: the super shotgun makes the chaingun area somewhat trivial in my view, and forcing the player to go through a challenge with only 1 weapon might've been more challenging. Still fun though, and the little maze area was quite inspired.
The standout part of this map for me though is definitely the end. It might not seem like much from a broken down perspective - a fight with a single Cyberdemon around a pillar - but the small arena gives the encounter a sense of urgency while the lower windows prevent splash damage from becoming a major bugbear. Again, I feel like the SSG's absence could've made this more tense: as it stands you can activate the Cyberdemon's pain state fairly easily whenever it pops its head around the corner, while the supplied plasma rifle falls by the wayside a bit. Again though, it doesn't stop being fun and it felt damn good to see that bastard go down.
And that's yer lot! I may have had some nitpicks on the gameplay front in some places, but considering these are speedmaps I can easily forgive them, and the experience I took away from this mapset was ultimately a positive one. If you're looking for some Doom-flavoured entertainment with its fair share of teeth, I highly recommend you check this out.
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