Five new wads, twenty new maps, and seven more days of Doom until the next /newstuff. This week you'll frag your friends in a tech-base arena, try to escape from the claustrophobic hallways of a marble temple, stare in disgust at messy texturing gunk, and take a visit to whatever planet that shub-niggurath thing comes from. Also someone please mail me and tell me just why ZDoomGL takes screenshots in .raw format.
- The Real Crusher by Black Void - - The fun this week starts with 'The Real Crusher', a Doom 2 Map06 replacment with a good fifteen-twenty minutes of the same old 'hide, shoot, clear the room, move on' action. The stone and blood and marble suggests that the map takes place either in a cave or in Hell, I'm not exactly sure but either way it's pretty ugly. Ammo and health are balanced reasonably well but that doesn't make up for the consistently dull gameplay. Safe to pass up.
- xfire4 by Lee Szymanski - - One 'Fen Boi' brings us this in-your-face Doom 2 DM map (Map02), fitting for serious one-on-one games or 3-4 player FFA. Xfire4 sports a typical, circular arena-type design, although the doom2.exe 'instant lift' in the inner circle adds a little spice to the DM action. I disagree with the usage of the soulsphere, especially when it's so easy to grab, but I didn't find it to seriously harm the map's balance. Er, yeah, probably a nice alternative to Dwango 5 too *cough*. Worth a look.
- Crackers 'n Tea by Epyo - - As much as I want to sum up this entire wad with 'ugh', I think that'd reflect poorly on myself as a reviewer. Crackers 'n Tea is a six map wad replacing Doom 2 Map01 through Map06, each map with it's own little storyline (paragraph walkthrough of the map in the txt file). Each map is also made up of a variety of different themes (including 'palace of disgusting mancubus textures that suggest Epyo has his gamma off kilter', 'some whirlpool palace or something' and 'big wood temple with furniture on the ceiling'), and has a thumping soundtrack containing midi covers of ridiculously popular rock bands like Tool. Short maps, bad architecture (with the possible exception of Map05), terrible texturing, back to the drawing board. Oh and you'll need Zdoom for this one, but only because of a particle fountain or two and a single ledge that's too high to reach without jumping.
- The Temple by Sébastien "Darkstalker" Roy - - A very simple vanilla-compatible Doom2 map taking place in a green marble... uh, temple (which has a nice, pretty view from the outside), The Temple is a worthy play if you're disgusted by the next wad reviewed for whatever reason. The map is fairly straightforward gameplaywise; shoot your way through some hallways, flip all the right switches, get all the keys and make it out alive. The major downsides to the map is the disappointingly simple architecture past the first outdoor area and the minimal usage of lighting, both of which did loads to take away from what could've otherwise been a very atmospheric map. Check Temple out if sourceports aren't your thing.
- Project Slipgate by Bryant and Kevin Robinson - - Hey, remember Dark 7 and the Dark 7 mission pack? From the exact same mapper(s) that brought you those delightful wads comes Project Slipgate, a tasty 11 new ZDoom maps (Map01-Map05, Map12-Map16, Map18) that are very true to... uh, Quake. As a matter of fact, almost all the sounds, textures and graphics come from Quake, and the authors recommend playing this wad in ZDoomGL with the ZDGL MD2 pack to give your weapons and enemies that low-quality poorly-animated zing that the Quake models had. Hey! Don't be too afraid. Just cause it looks like Quake doesn't mean it's lost all elements of that classic Doom gameplay you all know and love... it just eh, added a few new elements in. In any event, I would hope nobody would pass this up because you need a jump key, these maps are balanced, fast paced, challenging, and save a few gross texture misalignments, some of them look damn good. Worth looking into, requires ZDoom.