Holy /newstuff DoomWorld, do I have a batch for you. 7 new wads for a total of 27 new maps this week, so stop watching your leaked Doom 3 footage and ready your supershotgun (and you'll need your crossbow this week as well, hehe).
- Let Them Die 2 by Berserker79 - - Let's get this ball rollin. Let Them Die 2 is a single SP focused map replacing E2M5 of The Ultimate Doom. The author created it with the look and feel of one of the original Shores of Hell classics. It does a good job of accomplishing it's goal, Zdoom features regardless. However, more creative use of lighting would've added a bit to the atmosphere. Gameplay is slow-paced but it delivers nonetheless. Requires Zdoom.
- When the Sleeper Wakes by Alastair Montgomery - - A single deathmatch map replacing Doom 2 Map01, When the Sleeper Wakes is a unique dm battlefield riddled with weapons and powerups. Legacy features are used to their fullest to make the otherwise typical square main arena interesting and to make the big guns and powerups that much harder to get. Sleeper should house both one-on-one and 4-player FFA games easily. The wad contains a few interesting new textures and sprites to boot. Requires Doom Legacy.
- Suck a Sage by DarkWolf - - This oddly titled map is yet another Legacy deathmatch map replacing Doom 2 Map01. The layout is fairly simple from a map editor's viewpoint, however there are several interesting variations in the gameplay which couldn't be spotted from the automap. There are dubiously useful 'sniper spots' in the corners of the arena . Legacy 3Dfloors are used to create 'hiding places' in the floor which I imagine could be easily abused if there aren't a lot of people playing. Suck a Sage is probably more suitable for FFA matches than serious one-on-one contests. There's a rockin music replacement to be found as well. Requires Doom Legacy.
- Hex by Peter Rodriguez AKA Vileslay - - Running on Doom 2 Map01, Hex is merely a rerelease of a previously reviewed 'test' wad that fixes many of the obvious mapping errors. Read the original review in The /newstuff Chronicles #82.
- Dark 7 by Bryant Robinson - - Dude... duuuuuude. Dark 7 is a seven-map mini-episode replacing Doom 2 Map01-Map07, and it easily wins a place among my favorite wads. Taking place in an overtaken arctic base, Dark 7 forces you to complete a series of 'mission objectives'. Don't worry about it being too complicated or un-doomish however, completing most the objectives isn't any more complex than finding and flipping a switch. The level design is consistent throughout the episode and there's an almost Half-Lifeish atmosphere to most of the maps. The health balance is perfect, and while there's quite a bit more ammo than you'll probably need, the battles are so intense and challenging that it shouldn't bother you. The Zdoom features and scripting are used excellently and add a lot to the gameplay rather than just existing for the sake of eyecandy. Sounds from Doom 64 and Unreal are used, the texure/graphic replacements are from the Darkening and nightmare1, and there's a great new soundtrack that covers both music and background noices/voices. Aside from the rather cheesy and disappointing last map, Dark 7 is a winner in every aspect. Requires Zdoom.
- Dark 7 Mission Pack 1 by Bryant Robinson - - Did you like Dark 7? Well, it seems Bryant didn't want to waste any time in putting out a sequel. Once again replacing Doom 2 Map01-Map07, the Dark 7 "Mission Pack", while not quite as atmospheric as the first, and lacking the creative use of swimmable water among other features, is still a wonderful gameplay experience and belongs in anybody's Doom directory. The zip file includes a weapons replacement wad as well, if you're sick and tired of the same old Doom 2 guns. Requires Zdoom.
- Shadowcaster by Stephen Clark AKA The Ultimate Doomer - - I'm finishing up this great week with a nine-map episode not for Doom, or Doom 2, but for Heretic. Shadowcaster replaces all of Episode 5, but unfortunately it's not the godly mapset from heaven Heretic's cult followers have been waiting for for so long. This episode is a mixed bag, with maps that look good, maps that play good, maps that look and play good, and maps that make you froth at the mouth in frustration. The author seemed focused on making good use of some of the nagging little features that were missing from Doom: flowing water, wind sectors, flying, those mini-volcanoes, etc. Most of the time however, the attempts at creating a dangerous environment to complement the dangerous monsters are poorly executed or just annoying (ie. navigating a narrow Doom 2 Map24-esque catwalk with strong winds blasting you in the side). On the bright side, the ammo, health, and secrets are balanced excellently and there's some commendably creative puzzles as well, such as the e5m5 pod jump. If you're a Heretic fan, you're probably groping for new maps, and Shadowcaster should deliver. If you never cared much for Heretic in the first place it's safe to pass this one up.