Since we don't have an official /newstuff reviewer yet, I figured I would toss out a double-header: two sets of reviews by two different Doomers, both of whom want to become the new /newstuff newsie! Who will survive? Which will emerge victorious? Meh, who knows. Enjoy!
- Andrew's Sounds by Andrew Locmel - This wad does not contain any maps, but it seems to replace every sound and midi with a bunch of random garbage. Various sounds include Fred Flintstone, Ren and Stimpy, animal sounds, screaming, and other atrocities. However, I'll take into the credit that the author of this is no older than 10 years, but this is really beyond my sanity limits. I did get a few laughs out of it, though.
- Doom 2 Tournament 2534 by George Locmel- A ZDoom-only wad, solely because the music is in .mod format. Apparently, you have been selected to fight in this global Doom 2 Tournament, and that all the competitors have ganged up against you. Judging by the map, it looks like the work of some person who has never touched first person shooters in his entire life and thought "HEY I CAN MAKE A MAP AND I'LL CALL IT TEH GRATEST EVAR". Butt-ugly texturing, complete lack of ceiling or floor height changes, 90 degree walls everywhere my eyes can see, and a rather huge bunch of assorted enemies in one sector make this thing one of the worst levels I've played in some time. Did I mention the music inside the wad sounds like the person was somewhat drunk and had an argument with his son to see who could make the best porn background song? I almost thought for a second that my parents were paying for cinemax again. However, the dehacked patch that is inside the wad seems to be very professional and clean, without any signs of WinXP-destroying errors.
- Realm of the Green Soul by Lexus Alyus - First off, I'd like to say that the author wouldn't know how to use Notepad even if a "Notepad for Dummies" book bit him on his ass. He somehow completly fucked the .txt file up, and even when I do look at it in Notepad with Word Wrap on, it still looks like unreadable shit. Keeping that aside, this wad is designed for ZDoom 1.23 beta 33, and you're inside a train station. His knowledge of ACS scripting is a bit limited: It's possible to bypass the intro. Even if it was meant to do that or not, it's gets rather annoying when you open the wad up first and you see a glimpse of a room then it instantly shows the start position. It isn't heavily detailed, but it looks very realistic and scary, with dark lighting and a unusable train. The ambient music which is playing in the background is intended to sound scary, and it does do a good job of it. You head off on the train tracks to find a really hard to notice gap, which leads you into a dark room with a red keycard. Yet again, his ACS scripting sucks - You can turn around, shoot and jump while the cutscene is performing, as shown in the second screenshot. After a rather easy battle (and music change, which also sounds really awesome), you have to "survive something", and unless you were the author, it would take you at least 2 minutes too work out what the hell he meant. Still, I won't go to far into detail, but his overuse of stealth enemies is scary and a real pain in the ass at the same time. Oh yeah, the boss in this level is really hard to beat too, considering you're in a room that would make you claustrophobic.
- UAC by Kara C. Rader - Apparently, this wasn't in /newstuff #96, so i'm going to review it. Like Realm of the Green Soul, the .txt file included looks like encrypted trash that is almost unreadable, but unlike RotGS, this map looks like it was constructed in 20 minutes with usage of careless copy+paste with the monsters. There's barely enough ammo, health is almost extinct, and the amount of monsters is painful. It's almost like playing one of my old wads - too many monsters, so little health. The use of gray textures almost made me vomit (and it'll happen to you, too) and the overuse of switches is unbearable. Heaps of dead ends, with one that has no way of getting back up. The doors in the second screenshot are almost impossible to get past. You have exactly 0.05 seconds to run through it, or any regular doomer will be having to waste to something like 7 minutes to get through, just to flip 3 switches. The text says that it has a "beta" MAP02, which also looks like shit, but it does have a really nice fake 3d effect. Other than that, this is a waste of time to look at, so i'll provide you with 3 screenshots that really show off how friggin horrendous it is.
- Andy's Sounds by Andrew Locmel - A music/sound only wad that replaces all sounds and music with a variety of offbeat replacements.
- DooM 2 Tournament 2354 by George Locmel - Silly wad ahoy! This wad comprises of one square room with dozens of marines wielding rapid-fire BFG's! Fortunately you have the same weapon, but all other weapons and ammo have been removed. A dehacked patch inside the wad has done this, and also replaced zombie and imp sprites with the marines. You have one hiding place, though (the start passage). The only good thing about this level is that it's actually very tough to complete and it's quite amusing to see the special effects. Offbeat sounds and a MOD music track is here also (therefore it requires ZDoom). 1337 anyone?
- Realm of the Green Soul by Lexus Alyus - Woah, this wad is cool. Set in an abandoned train station, this map is good-looking, challenging and has a cool MOD music soundtrack that really creates a great, scary atmosphere. After the nicely-done scripted intro, the wad comprises of a series of challenges, each accompanied by some cutscenes and dialogue with a green lost soul. (but don't do anything during these or the intro, as it's possible to cut the intro short) Weapons are limited and health/ammo is finely balanced, which makes the final challenge (which is innovative) and also the fight with the boss very difficult on UV. Detail is realistic throughout, with clever use of ZDoom slopes. The music changes to a faster Unreal-style techno track during the challenges, which is a really nice touch. The only potential downer on this wad is that lesser-skilled players would probably find it too tough on UV, as stealth monsters are used throughout and the challenges are pretty tough, especially the last two. Skill levels are implemented though, so all is not lost. In short, this is the best single map seen in ages, not to be missed! Requires ZDoom (v1.23 beta 33).
- UAC Entryway by Cara C. Rader - This map should have appeared in my last set of reviews, as it was released the same time as Alien 3, but it slipped my mind (my apologies). This is a large map set in a UAC techbase, and comprises of a huge series of identical square grey rooms, each with different consoles etc. in them, with one outdoor area and one cave complex as well. The detail is mostly bland, with the exception of a canteen and a nice-looking warehouse area with the longest crate in history in it. The gameplay has two sides to it - on one side, you'll enjoy blasting away tons of monsters with rapid-fire pistol, shotgun and chaingun, and on the other side, you'll be running around in circles trying to work out where to go next. There's enough ammo, but very little health, some of which is hidden among the 25 secrets. It's safe to pass on this one, but if you want to play with the rapid-fire guns, then it's worth downloading for a quick blast.