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The /newstuff Chronicles #349

  • MEGA5 - Mr.Rocket
    Limit Removing - Deathmatch - 666290 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    I'm not all too familiar with Mr. Rocket's work, but there are 3 deathmatch maps in this wad. First thing I wanna get off my chest is I could have done without the sound fx. Aside from that these maps are really good. The layouts are easy to maneuver in and very memorable. I'm particularly fond of how smooth and curvy a lot of the walls were in some of the maps, as I, as a mapper, am a sucker to using the grid at all times, while the first map appears to use the grid for only minor things like light fixtures and crates.

    There is a lot of height variation and large stair sets for some fun battles. The layouts are really good, and for all the cool architecture there aren't many noticeably unaligned textures either. Supposedly this is a demo for a deathmatch megawad to come. I'd definitely keep a lookout for this if deathmatch is your thing.

  • Chill - Nautilus
    Limit Removing - Deathmatch - 180467 bytes -
    Reviewed by: myk
    Chill is a set of four classic-styled 1-on-1 deathmatch levels for a limit removing engine by Nautilus. The WAD uses a MAPINFO lump for the skies but the levels don't really use any ZDoom features (and even include exits), so you can run it on nearly anything (the second level has critical issues in vanilla.) You might want to tweak the WAD a bit with XWE if you run them on something without MAPINFO support, if you care to see the intended skies, as we did (we used PrBoom under Doom compatibility).

    The first level (Map01) is a simple but nice looking small tech base area with an outer courtyard surrounded by green slime. It offers a traditional circular layout, with a passage connecting the two halls that lead outside. This central passage also has a window to each side, making hunting each other in the small confines more interesting. I liked this level, especially because of how the weapon placement fits in with the layout (this is made explicit in the text file as a focus in the level designs.) You tend to get secondary weapons when you spawn, and there's a plasma gun which requires a switch and a bump that'll remind you of the plasma grab in the original Map01. The SSG is placed in the middle of one of the halls. As it can be accessed from either side, it may prompt a brief face-off between the players as they approach it. Its music is rather mild, which brings the WAD's title to mind. It's not my favorite type of track for a DM level, but it did sound right as I was watching our recording in order to write this, while I had my coffee, milk and croissants for breakfast.

    The second level (Map02) is a stonier, less traditional layout which consists of three areas, roughly speaking. The middle area, which is a wide ramp from an exit area to a teleporter that takes you to a BFG, gives you a relative view of the other areas. The upper area, in the middle, is a taller central structure that contains the plasma gun and some view of the middle level. Reaching it is possible with a tricky jump from the highest part of the middle area (sr50 will certainly do the job.) The lower area is a depression between the other two areas. This level didn't seem as fun as the first one because, while the concept seems interesting, we often found ourselves distanced, especially when one of the players made his way to the lower area, due to the level of height variation and lack of visibility between the areas. Maybe it would work better with jumping and free look enabled, as that would make the jump easier (thus quicker) and would give more visibility. That, however, it's very classic, which the maps aim to be. The music here is also a chill-out track, but I found it somewhat obnoxious.

    The third level (Map03) is a rougher layout consisting of two general sections. One is a larger (roughly) tech-base themed area with a generally low ceiling, and the other a partly flooded concrete section that sticks toward the middle of the first section. This is more fun than the level preceding it because the weapon placement and the design push the players into more confrontational duels. You're either poised toward your opponent, who is near the other end, or in his proximity. The generally rough layout that makes use of moderate height variations reminded me of some of Toke's layout experiments, and, like his, this one delivers action. Unlike the other three levels, this one uses the sky from Knee Deep in the Dead, which matches with the outer concrete area. We also find a mild music track here, reminding us again of the WAD's name.

    The last level (Map04) is the smallest of the bunch. It's made up of an upper room overlooking a grassy courtyard that has a structure in the middle, holding a BFG. Another upper area on the other side of the courtyard, reachable with a lift, allows one to jump to the BFG. The size of the level means you'll be constantly facing your opponent, although the height variation and the central BFG structure do offer some cover. The BFG should be pretty effective here, although reaching it is tricky as it seems to require an sr50 jump from an odd position, which I was unable to manage during play but succeeded at a few times while testing separately. With less classic settings allowing jumping, the BFG should be much easier to get. The music follows the same theme as in the other levels.

    Overall, worth a try if you like classic 1-on-1 action. We found maps 1 and 3 to be the most fun of the bunch, and map 2 to be somewhat unsatisfying in practice.

  • Temple of the Lizardmen - Alando1 (Alan)
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 13266156 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Seven maps for Doom 2, using GZDoom. This is a themed jungle/ruins mapset, with all custom monsters and weapons used. It works surprisingly well. It's fun to play and feels very well balanced. Maps are even playable from a pistol start, which is great. Maps 1-3 and 5 are regular maps, while Map 4 is an on-rails shooter segment in a helicopter, Map 6 is a boss fight, and Map 7 is an epilogue map (no monsters to fight). The maps are well designed and aren't overly detailed, but fill their roles well. The only sore spot is Map 4 - it's a bit annoying. Definitely a recommended mapset for GZDoom fans.

  • Dominion of Madess - Brett "Mechadon" Harrell
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 177291 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    So here lies the Dominion of Madess. Not sure what the difference is between this and the Dominion of Madness, but that's a bit irrelevant, I guess.

    This is a hell fortress themed map, with lots of red. The layout and architecture are very nicely done, with lots of interconnected areas and interesting design.

    The biggest problem with this map, though, is that it's just too easy. You get a ton of ammo and nothing to use it on. Halfway through the map the monsters just stop showing up for awhile, and the finale is just boring. There's a half-hearted attempt to liven things up with some arch-viles towards the end, but they're easily dispatched. I finished the map with almost full ammo in every slot.

    Playing this map left me with a serious case of Doom-related blue balls. I so wanted there to be tons of enemies for me to waste the copious amounts of ammo I was given, but in the end I was let down.

  • facility.zip - Flesh
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 350884 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    A Doom 2 map using ZDoom. It's a pretty generic techbase. Nice detail and layout, but it's pretty easy overall. Worth playing, but don't expect anything amazing. A bit too much backtracking towards the end. Wish I could find more to say, but it really is just a totally generic techbase.

  • VEGA_1.WAD - Connor Sadler
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 64528 bytes -
    Reviewed by: printz
    This is a 1994 level uploaded later, but not necessarily a bad one. Like many of its age, it suffers from a bit of faulty design, such as inescapable areas, and there's also tutti-frutti. Otherwise, it has a nonlinear progression, allowing you to go different ways from the start, and come back later. The opposition was varied and fun, including doors opening or monsters teleporting. There's a stage later on where it becomes a switch hunt, but executed correctly, without mandatory secrets to discover or stuff shutting forever. All in all, a nice '94 level with lots of monsters to perforate. Go get it, but mind the odd dead-end trap.

  • PCDOOM.WAD - Steve Baldwin
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 85173 bytes -
    Reviewed by: printz
    This is a 1994 wad. It appears to be the prequel to One Park Avenue DOOM II Level, as it has similar layout, that of an office floor. But unlike its successor, it plays quite poorly. The number of monsters is unremarkable, and most of the gameplay will revolve around looking for the first key in all the rooms and desks, then opening more doors with more weak opposition, then finding the unexpected exit.

    Better try the Doom 2 version linked above.

  • Long Days - Alexander "Eternal" S. (aka Deadall)
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2657037 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    8,888 monsters. That's about all you need to know to find out if you'll enjoy this map or not. It is literally a giant arena full of monsters, and it's even worse than nuts.wad since they are almost all in the same place, instead of two rooms.

    Even killing all the monsters with God mode on felt like a chore (IDFA, hold down BFG fire, repeat). I can imagine playing it without God mode is just a series of running from one invulnerability sphere and huge pile of ammo to the next, so it's just about the same thing. If you know where all the stuff is, you live. If you don't, you'll die almost instantly. I love planning out my routes in a map editor before I even try and play it! SO MUCH FUN!

    If you love slaughter maps, this is the most ridiculous and overblown one yet. Everyone else should stay far away from this mess.

    Also, I apparently triggered some "You cheated" message that displays a large texture saying "LAMER SUXX!". I'm so sorry for putting on God mode and cheating on a map with almost 9000 monsters. It will haunt me for the rest of my days.

    It also has some random MP3 music, some random song from 1985. Does it fit in with the map? Not really.

    Best excerpt from the readme: "It's easy to play and fun." Uh. No.

  • Daleks - Captain Toenail
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 208692 bytes
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    A decorate monster yay! This wad features five new monsters, though essentially they are all the same besides their color. I'm not familiar with Doctor Who (at all) but this monster is a little moving R2D2 robot looking thing that has a giant railgun for a face. It also yells out things like "ANNHILATE" "DESTROY" and "EXTERMINATE" in a cute little robotic voice.

    It utilizes someone's old shitty Doctor Who player sprites made a long time ago. While I respect the act of digging up useless things in the past and making them into gold, this isn't a monster I typically like. It's kinda outta place for a game like Doom, unless you use it in a wad that's not like Doom. The monster has a pretty dangerous weapon, which isn't near impossible to dodge, but hard if you have to deal with it as long as you do. That meaning it has more health than a hell baron (but not as much as a Cyberdemon) which is kinda weird given how puny and makeshift it looks.

    It's got a pretty cool looking beam attack, and when it kills you it causes your player sprite to flash black and white like being shocked in a cartoon show before you drop to your knees and die. The only thing that sucks about the beam attack is it doesn't look as good if you aren't standing at the same height level as the monster. Put it at the top of a flight of stairs and the beam is all broken up vertically-wise. Also the death sequence is pretty cool too. A neat little explosion and a bit of debris bouncing around really makes you feel like you achieved something once its dead. Although its actual death sprite left behind is kinda big.

    It's a cool little monster though and a good piece of decorate work. Props to Captain Toenail for his contribution.

  • Hunter Skins - Captain Toenail, IcyTux
    Skulltag - n/a - 592073 bytes
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Two skins for SkullTag. It's a modified version of the Cleric and Mage players from Hexen. They look much darker/blacker and now fire guns instead of magic. They look pretty well done. That's about it.

  • The Academy - Xaechireon
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 96799 bytes -
    Reviewed by: printz
    Interesting, this is a wad designed with TNT.WAD in mind, having textures from that IWAD. As for gameplay, it starts out quite rough, with a few edgy player-unfriendly encounters near the start, but it becomes fair afterwards. It's also one of the few levels with virtually no shotgun usage, and possibly no chaingun either, making for some extreme weapon choice between pistol and energy. This wad really concentrates on plasma and pistols.

    It has one problem though: there's a lift next to a door. Under Boom mode, the lift line blocks the door line, making that unresponsive, and the player unable to escape. Also, worth mentioning that the area at the bottom of the lift is also overpopulated with dangerous monsters.

    Anyway, if you like using prolonged plasma pressure and also sniping with the pistol (or chaingun...) to save ammo, get this wad. Mind that mapping error though.

  • Intensity - Chris Wright
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 9876 bytes -
    Reviewed by: printz
    This is a flat level, with architecture similar to Doom 2 MAP21 "Nirvana". However, it's smaller: just a bunch of rooms with monsters emerging as you go ahead. If you like short tense actions, then you may not hate this wad, but afterwards it can be scrapped, since that's basically it. Good tough challenge, though.

  • Deadline - Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 222370 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Do0minat0r
    3 maps for Doom I/Ultimate Doom, replacing E1M1-E1M3. The first two maps seem to be made quasi-Knee Deep style; they have that style of architecture, but the design and monster placement is different from the general E1 style. The third map is definitely in the hellish style of architecture. In general, these maps are nothing special, but nothing to avoid either. They are mostly medium in size, and have reasonable difficulty, design, and architecture overall. So here are my level by level comments, mainly regarding difficulty and gameplay:

    I played all three maps on Hurt Me Plenty from a pistol start, and I found the first map to not be very difficult, but it isn't ridiculously easy either; plenty of ammo is provided, but you can't afford to just waste health for the most part. The second map is a bit short on ammo, but you should be OK as long as you don't waste any. At first, I dismissed the third map as being impossibly tight on ammo; when I first played it, I at first had enough ammo, but shortly after picking up the yellow key, I ran way short on ammo when trying to clear out the main room again. So I played it again, and realized a whole horde of monsters in the room before that key are intended to be crushed to death; however, you must shoot a switch and enter an area tagged as a secret to have that happen, which I found a bit unfair, but it wasn't that hard to find. After that, I continued playing and found out that I had enough ammo, and enjoyed what was left of the map; and as mentioned above, it is a good switch to the hellish style of architecture.

    Overall, I would say that these maps are nothing great, but they aren't bad by any means, maybe even above average, and are worth playing through as long as you aren't already hooked into something better. Just be careful on how much ammo you use on the later maps and be sure to crush the monsters on the third map and you should be fine.

  • KDiZD: Special Edition - Saruman
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1031708 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Edward850
    No words can describe how pointless this is. Its a map that has a BFG and the word "zdoom" written all over the floor.

    Yes, that's it. Apparently Saruman doesn't understand the difference between humor and garbage, or he intentionally likes wasting his own time.

    Don't download.

  • Bath of Hate - Chris Wright
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 48681 bytes -
    Reviewed by: printz
    A vanilla Doom 2 map of moderate effort, with a minimalistic flat layout that resembles the Doom 2 maps made by id, especially the ones by Sandy Petersen. The level of difficulty is not insane, but the gunfight is enjoyable, with large monsters to be disposed of. However, this map could use more height variation, as it felt generally straightforward and Wolfenstein-like two-dimensional.

    If you're looking for Doom 2 nostalgia, but don't mind the flatness, try this one.

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