Your Windows calendar probably tells you that I am once again late with my /newstuff reviews but if you are so computer illiterate as to take that for granted I recommend you install a more idiot-friendly operating system such as FreeDOS or possibly Redhate Lunix. And then strip naked and fling yourself down a muddy embankment. This is truly a good week for Doom players as wadsters worldwide conspire to release all their little planned projects during the exact same week in an attempt to break my E A S and D keys so that I'd have to spend next Sunday at the CompUSA getting a new keyboard instead of at home reviewing Doom wads! Oh no!
- DSV Episode 4: The Revolution: Eternity version, Legacy version by Kaiser - - Lookie, a Doom 2 megawad. Let's get the week started, shall we? DSV4 is a levelset replacing all 32 Doom 2 Maps. The backstory involves a computer virus and hell somehow, I could be wrong seeing as how I'm pretty sure I was off getting pop-tarts while the intro was running. Bah to the storyline though, the maps are absolutely great. The first 20 are base-themed, some reminiscent of early Doom 2 maps, some with a Doom 64 look and feel (appropriate considering Doom 64 sprites and textures were used frequently). The last 10 or so maps take place in an equally cool and kinda spooky Hell. DSV4 has some of the best base maps I've seen slip through /newstuff to date, with convincing detailing and lighting and connective map layouts. The difficulty on UV is moderate; the most expert of you out there won't be touched by DSV but nonetheless Kaiser did a good job of keeping the action flowing. You'd really be a fool not to check this one out. Requires Eternity or Doom Legacy (Legacy version recommended for netplay).
- Monster Base by Richard J. Sham - - This wad contains the most annoying 'pain' sound I have ever in all my years of dooming had the displeasure of hearing. With that in mind, on to the review! Monster Base is a single map of vague theme replacing Doom 2 Map01. I'll be blunt and say that the visual style of this map is pretty awful, the architecture is really rather square and boring and the texture choice seemed wacky during some parts of the map (see screenie for example. That's an awful lot of computers, a little SILVER/SHAWN may have polished it up a little). The map basically sends you on the typical three-key hunt, but Rich throws a curveball or two throughout the course of the map. Getting to each key usually requires you fight through one or more large rooms or halls flooded with monsters, sometimes hidden by remote doors or teleported in via 'teleport monsters only'. This didn't catch on with me much, although there was a maze of sorts in the second half of the map that was really challenging and fun. By far the most interesting thing about Monster Base was the unique layout, I did admire how the different sections of the map connected and worked with each other. It may sort of seem insignificant compared to the major project releases this week but Monster Base is worth checking out if you've got the time.
- Circle of Boredom by Dumb n00b - - Er well this'll be a nice easy review. Circle of Boredom is a Doom 2 Map01 replacement consisting of a medium-sized ASHWALL circle with loads of weapons and powerups, a few mancubuses, a boss spawn in the center, and an exit teleport across from the player start. Since you can finish the map in about two or three seconds by running past the mancubuses and into the exit I assume (with no help from the txt file) that the purpose of the map is to see how long you last in the arena with the constantly-spawning baddies. If that sounds remotely fun to you give Circle a go but even if you're that easily amused it's hard to take any map with an unmerged sector count of 4 seriously.
- Area_Hidden Death2 by Kyle - - You see I put this map and Circle of Boredom in the middle of the /newstuff because I assume that's the section that everyone is least interested in... I mean if I wrote a /newstuff and it had three new wads, and you only had time to download one of them, without reading the reviews or anything, you'd probably download the first or last, right? Blah. Well, the point is this wad is lame, a mess of empty STARTAN and REDWALL hallways with doors that don't reopen and trap you in little item closets, a constant 104 ceiling height, and two spider masterminds. Have fun.
- Dissolution by Bryant and Kevin Robinson - - Based on tha Robinson brothas' previous track record of rereleasing wads I'd say there's a 60% chance or thereabouts of Dissolution having come out under my nose half a year ago. This wad is really off da chizain though so I'm going to run the risk of being told that 'omg this was released back in 1976 you stupid dumb retarded stupid idiot' and review it anyway; Dissolution is a seven-map (Map01-Map07) mini-episode for Doom 2 that's meant as a side-story to their previous release 'Project Slipgate'. This wad pits you and your stylish Doom 64 weapons against six brownish-grey gothic stone castles worth of baddies (first map is an intro). The maps look so nice you can smell them and as I explored couldn't help but think about where I'd be putting all my furniture if I were to move into one of them (I also noticed some spots that would need wallpapering to cover up those nagging texture misalignments). The textures chosen in each map all work together nicely... the ambient sounds also take the atmosphere to a whole new level. Dissolution is undoubtedly a great-looking episode, where it fails is in the extremely linear map design. The gameplay feels very 'go here and do that', even for Doom. You'll also have to do quite a bit of backtracking through hallways you've already cleared to get to x door that y switch or z key opened. These little gameplay faults however I don't think took away from the overall experience and I'd wager that Dissolution is worth the download. Requires ZDoom.
- Carnage Galore III: Fury of Vuradi by Robert Eckhardt - - Jesus tapdancing christ in heaven it's a new Hexen hub. And it has a Tome of Power. New Hexen content, Tome of Power. I SAID NEW HEXEN MAPS (yes Hexen the undermodded Doom engine game with the three classes and the hub system) WITH A TOME OF POWER (yes that super-cool weapon powerup that was in Heretic but not Hexen), AND IF THAT IS NOT REASON ENOUGH FOR ME TO STOP TYPING AND FOR YOU TO HOVER YOUR MOUSE CURSOR OVER THE BLUE TEXT AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS LIST ITEM THEN YOU ARE FREE TO CLIMB INTO MY ATTIC AND REMAIN THERE WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER UNTIL I CAN DECIDE EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH YOU. If you're one of those silly gits expecting a real review, here: Carnage Galore 3 is a replacement for the entire first Hexen hub. It's made up of a series of 'town' maps connected by a Wastelands-esque outdoor hub map (the hub works sorta like Necropolis and its tombs). The maps are excellently detailed; the architechture is very beautiful and well thought-out... the town maps looked convincing in particular, and I'm glad the author chose not to try to be too realistic within the limits of the engine. The gameplay is also perfected, each map provides a constant challenge while avoiding the 'humoungous armies of evil d00ds' and the 'guard each valuable item with a remote door hiding a humoungous army of evil d00ds'. A wealth of new enemies and items were added to the mix including the loveable clinker from Heretic, the Tome of Power, and a regeneration potion... also notable are the 'marketplaces', or areas set aside in each 'town' where you can use gears er I mean coins that you collect along the way to buy much needed mana or armor (or even a new weapon or puzzle piece). The only possible downside to this wad that I can think of is the need for JHexen and the painful and slow installation process. This is the levelset Hexen fans have been craving for a long, long time. Requires JHexen.