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The /newstuff Chronicles #328

Finally, after weeks of reviewing inactivity, we can have another /newstuff Chronicles. I was getting a little worried. There are still some unreviewed WADs (and more will always come), so why not help us out?

  • Beautiful Weapons - Trathen Watson aka Tenement Funster
    Multiplayer - n/a - 2134369 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    Other than a really awesome titlepic, this is basically just a weapons mod. Except that this guy didn't even make the weapons - he just extracted them from Beautiful Doom and took out the bullet casings, blood effects, and other extras to make the weapons more "online friendly". So apparently this is something anyone could have done in five minutes.

    The weapons themselves are actually kind of cool. They're just the stock Doom 2 weapons, occasionally recolored, but they have more sound effects and slightly different animations - a lot smoother and cooler-looking than the originals. Very neat - nostalgic and slick at the same time.

  • mysterious house - Azamael aka Misha Kolybenko
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 135381 bytes -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    MyHo.wad can be summed up as a short and sweet little map. The author made a good attempt at detail, even though architecturally this level is very simple. The overall theme is executed well and I actually did feel the atmosphere of entering a mysterious house from the basement. That said, it's really not mysterious, just some straight up action. The gameplay was exceptionally easy, but it really doesn't matter because it was quite fun (play it on -fast for a good challenge). The final room was probably the best part, with some really nice use of height variation.

    There were a few problems with the map. Right off the bat, your first opponents are totally cramped in a somewhat annoying underground passage. There were a few other cases of enemies being at a disadvantage because of the geometry or block-monster lines. It seems as though the author is getting a little confused about the difference between detail and unnecessary numbers of lines. There were parts that could have looked better even with simpler geometry! Of course, it didn't detract from the fun of the wad.

    Secondly, as I said before, the level was extra short, with something like 70 mostly small monsters. Someone commented on /idgames that this would make a good intro level to a megawad, and I think Azamael should take their word and make this part of a set. Finally, I don't see any reason for this to be Doom in Hexen format, as no ZDoom features or scripting were used - but hey, what better way to justify it than make the forest at the end into a hub level?

    Anyway, this is definitely worth your time, considering it won't spend much of it.

  • Data Center 1.0 - Ilya Seletsky
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 456529 bytes -
    Reviewed by: MasterOfPuppets
    This is a 6 map set designed for doom2.exe, but according to the comments and reviews on the /idgames database, it does not work under its intended engine. So I played it in ZDoom. Probably will work with any limit removing port.

    The first three levels are tech bases. As you progress, you'll also move through cave-like areas and hellish castles. The detail is minimal but effective, and has a wonderful old school feeling. At some points the detail gets a little more complicated, but a nostalgic quality is always present. Map 5 does a wonderful job of setting up a creepy atmosphere, also. The first level was the only one that felt a little barren, as far as detail is concerned.

    You'll have no problems fighting your way through the first two maps. Things begin to get interesting on map three, and quickly. I enjoyed a few exciting battles here, but they were all easily won as ammo was in generous supply. Map 4 starts off with you surrounded on all sides by enemies, and you'll have to dance quite gracefully to avoid those fireballs and missiles without falling off your precarious perches. This made for some really tense and fun game play, and it didn't continue for so long that it got annoying. Map 5 and 6 are both laden with Arch-Vile ambushes, some fun, some frustrating. The climax is a cat-and-mouse style battle against a Cyberdemon, followed immediately by the toughest Icon of Sin battle I've ever waged (no, you can't just use mouse look to make it easier in this case).

    This is an awesome map set if you enjoy a challenge that isn't quite Hell Revealed / Alien Vendetta hard, or if you like maps that can still manage to capture an old school feel.

  • Gravitation Deathmatch - Roberto Fuentes, aka Frozen Prison, aka [SUR]Frozenjail
    GZDoom / Skulltag - Deathmatch - 100753 bytes
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    This a deathmatch level with a unique twist to it: it's played with low gravity (although the author says no gravity). The thing that I found kind of weird was that instead of having 3 different maps, the author basically just threw all of the DM starts in a room and then put 3 teleports into said room that lead to different arenas. This is a huge issue because you can also teleport back, which makes camping a huge problem. All it takes is for some douche bag to get his hands on one of the BFGs in the arena and head back and just sit there and gun down any of respawning players to make the map completely unplayable. The temple is the only arena that comes anywhere close to decent. The second, the cargo area, is just plain hideous. The crates aren't the right heights, so you've got some pretty bad texture alignment there. Instead of using the crate top flats on the crates, he went with the brown ceil flats. The trolley seems to have some kind of weird visual bug on the side of it too.

    The city is by far the worst though. It's pretty ugly, and to make matters worse, it's full of impassable linedefs that aren't even in positions that make sense. For instance, you might be trying to jump from one building to the little patch of land amidst the lava next to a building, and then BAM! Instead of landing on the land, you just hit some invisible wall and fall into the lava. But wait! The lava doesn't kill you instantly so you've still got a chance right? There's a staircase going from the lava to the roof top of a building. So you start going there and... There's another invisible wall blocking the stair case.

    Overall it's an interesting concept, but it's executed in such a poor and laughable way that ultimately makes it unplayable.

  • Sentai DM: Chicken Little Adventures - The secret alliance for prosperity of sentai and Tokuhatsu (tsa4posnt)
    Heretic Support - Deathmatch - 111924 bytes
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    Alright. Just a little heads up, this review might be a little biased because this is a wad made by the dreaded secret alliance for prosperity of sentai and Tokuhatsu (so secret I never even heard of them before), and they clearly stated in the text file not to fuck with them. I'll need to be extra careful with this review if I want to survive.

    I'm pretty sure this is supposed to be a jokewad. There's no way they could have been serious when they made this. The first map's nothing but a room with a hallway circling it. The second map's just a giant boxy outdoor area with a shitload of barrels laid out to make a crude maze. The 3rd and 7th maps look like the mapper just threw down some randomly shaped sectors and deleted some of them to make obstacles. The fourth map is pretty much the same as the first only smaller and without the middle room. The fifth map is a 128x128 box with a bunch of phoenix rods in it, the 6th map is nothing but 3 identical rooms with a bunch of 64 unit wide hallways connecting them, and the 8th map is just a lava filled place with barred in platforms. You can't leave your platform, so all you can really do is just try to dodge other people's projectiles and shoot back at 'em.

  • Yuggot - Shadowman
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 582177 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    This is a relatively short tech base themed map that was originally meant for the "First-Demon Contest" where someone basically made a map, and then the contestants had to make it through the level first, and with the fewest deaths. The map's fairly bright and most of the level is green, except for the outdoors area which is blue. The architecture and detail are kind of a mixed bag. There are some areas that looks pretty good, while others are just extremely bland. The layout's pretty simple. You've basically got a central hub room with a door requiring a red key, another requiring blue key, and then a plain old door along three of the sides. Go through one door, fight your way to the key, get ambushed, then go back and unlock the next door.

    The map starts off fairly easy, plenty of health, plenty of ammo, and plenty of cover. Towards the end though it does get a little harder. I only died once though, which provided me with a good laugh. I got a really nasty hit from a baron, fled to grab a medikit, then a cacodemon teleported in and knocked me into some nukage and I died just before I could get out. After you've snatched all the keys, it really starts getting hard. Ammo is suddenly as precious and rare as water in a desert, and you really need to rely on in-fighting to thin out the mobs before you start pumping rounds into the hell spawn. The only problem I really had was how short the map was. It took me about 6 minutes to finish the map.

  • Judas32 - Ismaele (Alberto Sposito)
    doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 27095 bytes -
    Reviewed by: EarthQuake
    As a fan of Judas, I decided to take some time and try out this map. It has a newschool style to it, and tends to simplify the original concept, making gameplay much more predictable. It does look pretty good, but the author seemed more interested on visuals than retaining or expanding on the original design.

    The scale seems to have shrunk a bit, giving the bottom pit a very cramped feel, which would probably give any players in that area even less of an advantage than they did in the original Judas. Also new was the ability to get to the BFG from the bottom pit. I couldn't judge the effect this would have on gameplay, but I figured it would probably balance out some of the changes a bit. Going into the old BFG chamber teleports you to the old rocket launcher lift, which isn't a lift anymore and has a BFG instead of a rocket launcher. It's also nearly impossible to jump to, since you have to dive out of a window to get to it now (which makes sense actually).

    My main peeve is the reduction of strategic possibilities. Many of the dropoffs from the upper path were turned into windows, which encloses the flow of the game. While this isn't always a bad thing, I feel that recreations of established maps should introduce new things instead of limiting existing things. This map is more of a noob-friendly version of an otherwise complex map. One of the lift traps has been removed, and the remaining one seems less effective than it previously was. Also, it seemed harder to move around, and I was more prone to getting stuck on the architecture.

    I did like the new plasma rifle area, however. It allows you to get a better glimpse of the area below, but then again, this gives the area a better advantage, with the plasma rifle having more focus than it did before.

    From a technical standpoint, the multiplayer thing flag being applied to all things threw me off at first. I hate when people do that. The teleport doesn't work in single-player as a result. A minor flaw though.

    Verdict: When you attempt to remake map that's already great, chances are you're not doing anyone any favors. Feel free to try it out, but you're probably not taking any steps forward. A great map is made by not only a mapper, but a player as well.

  • JonnyFive's weatherFX - Jon Washburn
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 125264 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Deeforce
    It's raining and snowing in the resource wad of Jon Washburn, the creator of "Cold As Hell". He shows how to make rain and snow in ZDoom with 2 demo levels and he explains how to use this weatherFX wad in your wad, but you need the basic knowledge of ACS and decorate editing to understand this tutorial (there is a pdf data file included describing how to use weatherFX).

    All in all a nice tutorial, but nothing for noobs.

  • Rivers Of Death - Hannes Müller (Deeforce)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1069824 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Wills
    This is one of those "KILL 'EM ALL" monsterfests, though you probably wouldn't guess it from the first ten minutes of the map (a mostly canyon-and-techbase-themed area). You start by blasting some imps, then move through some large, mostly empty corridors and rooms. After a relatively dull first few areas, you suddenly come across a large network of rooms all connected by balconies and a central courtyard packed full of monsters - imps, zombies, mancubuses, revenants, cybies and archviles, the whole works. About 99% of the map's 900-ish monsters are here, and there's not much space to move around. This part of the map is much more entertaining. I'm not much of a kill-fest kind of guy, but I was certainly kept on my toes. Not bad at all; aside from bland visuals, a worthy download.

  • ASSMUNCH.WAD - Ben Morris
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 54736 bytes
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    This is a single player map from 1994, and although its name sounds like the name of a jokewad, its actually a pretty good wad considering how old it is. The thing I really liked was just how brutal the map was. First of all, there's the traps. I'm not just talking about the simple flip a switch, open a monster closet, kill the monsters kind of trap either. I'm talking about the pick up a key and start moving your ass before the floor you were just standing on lowers you into an extremely small room filled with hanging corpses and a crap load of barons kind of trap, which are exactly the kinds of traps I like.

    As for looks, for a 1994 map, this really isn't half bad. There's some fairly nice architecture here. Gameplay wise, the maps tough but enjoyable. Like I said, this map seems to be more about traps than throwing hundreds of monsters at you. You really need good reflexes and some quick thinking if you want to make it through without dying. A lot of these traps will quickly seal your doom if you get careless, but there's always a good sense of satisfaction once you successfully escape one.

  • The Castle - Jake
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 109990 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    This is Jake's first released map, and I've got to say, he's doing a good job so far. The storyline is fairly simple. Some guy's castle was invaded by demons and he has hired you to clean them out, and that's basically the goal of the map too. While the architecture is fairly boxy for the most part and the detail pretty low, the layout is pretty good. There are numerous secrets spread out through the level. Some are easy to find, others are somewhat difficult. There are a couple of secrets that aren't listed, such as the author's first DECORATE (if you get killed by it you must really suck) enemy. There's also a little bit of simple ACS to allow some interaction with various objects. For example, pushing use at one of the sinks in the level will display a message saying "Your hands aren't dirty... yet". It's pretty simple stuff but it's still kind of amusing.

    As far as difficulty goes, for the most part this'll be a cake walk for an experienced player, but there are parts that'll keep you on your feet. There really isn't much variety in the way of monsters either. For the most part, you'll be fighting shotgunners, chaingunners, pinky demons, cacodemons, barons of hell, mancubi, and hell knights. This was kinda disappointing when it came time for the final battle in the courtyard, because it would have been the perfect place to put a handful of revenants, arachnotrons, and archviles. Nonetheless, this is a pretty fun wad and it's definitely worth checking out.

  • 32 Inch Nails - Alexander "Eternal" S. (aka Deadall)
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 3020497 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    To quote the premise of this mapset from the textfile: "All the levels are built in grid with the 32x32 dimensions. It means all vertexes lay on knots of a grid 32 in editor, but this rule does not extend on things. New textures and flats were not allowed."

    The result is seven levels for any limit removing port (I used the latest version of ZDoom for this review). This includes a new chaingun sprites, a few rearranged firing sounds, monster recoloration of the pain elemental, and a couple new monsters, one of which is the boss of Map 6.

    Onto the levels themselves: Most of the maps aren't the best when it comes to choice of walls and texturing, which you can only see most of the time by turning the lights on, as the vast majority of this wad is dark enough so that you don't see most of it; this theme recurs in maps 1-4. The balance of health, ammo, and difficulty balance was overall quite reasonable.

    Map 5 changes drastically to a hell theme and a Hell Revealed-style level; this map reminded me of Map2 of the original Deus Vult as it felt similar in style in the main area, where it's a massive level with lots of monsters (about 2000 on UV) with no definitive path to follow. You could easily run around for twenty minutes or more blasting monsters and make no real level progress. I eventually figured the puzzle out.

    Map 6 is fairly short and sort-of a puzzle level, but at the end contains a very tough boss. Map 7 seems kind of thrown in as a short romp through a techbase, destroy the reacor and get out; not particularly hard.

    Overall, this group of levels is pretty good, and is certainly worth a playthrough. If you don't care for HR levels though, you can always skip Map 5 or turn god mode on.