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The /newstuff Chronicles #367

  • Janitor Adventure 3D (a.k.a. "Junko") (RC16) - Fizz and TOGoS
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 13298901 bytes -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    The title and text file imply a terrible joke wad. In a way, that is not true, and in a way, it's completely true. Confused yet? I am. Let me explain.

    I fired this thing up and was greeted by a slick little title screen. I started a new game and BAM - cutscene on a spaceship. Fortunately it was just stupid and boring and not very long, unlike other cutscenes which are extremely stupid and boring and long. The scenery looked pretty cool.

    The scenery turned out to be the only cool part. In fact, every cramped hallway on this ship is loaded with retarded amounts of detail. It looks nice at first but after you are running around for a while it loses the novelty. The larger parts of the ship were really nice, and there are parts where you can see outside and at the end of the level you actually see the ship (from the inside) descending through the atmosphere of a planet! This was super awesome! However, everything else SUCKED...namely, the gameplay. Apparently the authors forgot that Doom is about action. They also seemed to forget that you can't dodge hitscan attacks. Most of the time you will face...drumroll...zombiemen. You won't find any useful amount of health or ammo on this level, so the zombiemen (which fire twice now) just whittle you down and, let me tell you, it is NOT exciting. I gave myself health and ammo because I was sick of having to save after every ZOMBIEMAN - ITS A FUCKING ZOMBIEMAN, the easiest monster in the game! And I was being constantly gunned down by them! Now, I'm playing without a mouse and I suck at keyboard and it was on UV but, seriously? Not to mention there's a hell-infested part of the ship which, while looking nice, periodically spawns demons and lost souls. This was the worst part of the map, since you can't find any other source of ammo once you clean out the hitscanners (there are shotgunners too, but ironically they didn't kill me as often).

    Now, aside from the absolutely horrible gameplay, the layout was increasingly retarded. Despite the fact that it actually looks and acts like a spaceship, there is no sense to the switch hunts. For example, the yellow key is in this tiny room, but you have to flip a switch on ONE side and then get all the way to the OTHER side to get in because one door doesn't open. Thanks for nothing. The ship is littered with very clever elevators which go to multiple floors. This might be cool if there weren't like 7 of them and they only helped you get more lost.

    And that's just the first level.

    Continuing on, you jump down to this planet where you get to run around endlessly searching for orbs. There are imps stationed thousands of map units away so you can watch their pretty barrage of fireballs that seem to hang in the air without really getting anywhere. Using turbo and noclip, this map still takes too long to explore. Oh wait, that's also true of all the other maps! They all seem to have no actual battles, just enemies strewn about because Doom maps are supposed to have enemies. There are maps with inspiring titles like "Zimmer Halls with Lights" and "Tan Block Hide and Seek." There is a hub. There is a "Find Four Skulls" map which is apparently a minigame or something but, at this point I was just skipping around the maps to see what they were. And they were all generally the same: Insanely huge architecture such that it takes 20 minutes to run across the map (not to mention you won't know where you are going so you'll probably just end up at a locked door), ridiculous switch hunts (or orb hunts or whatever), and non-battles. There is competent scripting and decorate which add absolutely nothing.

    This was one of the most disappointing wads I've ever played. Fizz and TOGoS can create beautiful epic environments, but unfortunately the maps tended to be fit for a flight simulator or a massively multiplayer RPG, rather than Doom. I just don't understand. Every map had a lot of work put into it. Although, Zimmer Halls was rather bland...but it was HUGE and has lots of different areas in it. It's just that the gameplay is non-existent. Some people commenting on /idgames liked it, so I guess there are people out there who enjoy this kind of map design. Perhaps it is just my preference - I'd rather not spend hours just trying to walk around the map. I like exploration and adventure, but there's no direction to these areas, no hints as to where you are supposed to go, and often you're just wandering through empty hallways and fields. Play this if you want to spend your entire day being lost, and don't really care about tactical battles. In fact, this would probably be more enjoyable with -nomonsters.

  • Beyond the veil - negke
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 608442 bytes -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    This is a rather strange E1 techbase map. The visuals are usually nice, although the corridors inside are repetitive and there's some cut and paste that I really don't like. The layout can be confusing, and there are a lot of weird switch hunts and doors that you can't open yourself or don't open at all, but it's not impossible to figure out where to go, and the areas actually look kind of realistic.

    The gameplay is sort of fun, but really not that exciting. Despite the lack of health in certain areas, you will find this to be very easy, so I recommend playing with either -respawn or -fast. However, as I said there's not very much health most of the time, so all the hit-scanners might get annoying with fast monsters. Something to note is that the author decided that being near toxic sludge, rather than walking in it, is enough to hurt you! This was actually where I was hurt the most (there is also a big electrical room or something that hurts you, where the blue key is—watch out!) Anyway, the base seems quite deserted, because some of the time you will not find any monsters, such as at the beginning. I like this touch, but it doesn't really work when you are listening to that damn E1M1 song...you should probably change the music to something more eerie.

    Overall, this wad is mediocre. The detailing and realistic environments are cool, and also negke apparently tried to make the structures somewhat interactive, but the nice design is counteracted by several flaws. You are always flipping switches and stuff, and some of the time it's not obvious what happened, especially when what seemed to me to be a necessary switch to progress opens the windows. The monsters are usually not a threat, and there is a ton of ammo, although not so much health. Finally, the cut and pasted areas were a letdown because they weren't just symmetrical features; rather, you would enter a new area to find it looking exactly the same as some previous area. Anyway, it doesn't take long to beat and the exploration is fun, although you might need to offer yourself more of a challenge.

    P.S. There is a bug-fixed version on negke's website which fixes some things such as a crate with an unknown sector effect (some engines just crash while others treat it like a hurting sector) and a broken door. Also, there's an unfinished map on E1M4.

  • Blood, Fire, Death - Azamael (Kolybenko M.O.)
    Heretic Support - Solo Play - 471496 bytes -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    I'm not going to waste any time here: This wad is awesome.

    Yup, that's my whole review...wait, you want an explanation?

    Fine. Brought to you by Ukranian mapper Azamel, BFD is among a small but growing library of Heretic PWADs. I must say, it's a necessary addition for anyone who is interested in collecting Heretic wads. This one's best feature, in my opinion, is the architecture. It looks really beautiful save for one or two hallways, and it's BIG. As you will see in the screenshots, you get to battle in some truly immense places. This is mostly why I say it's "awesome" - it literally fills you with awe as you gaze at the impossibly epic structures towering over you.

    However, unless you're a total cheating wuss you won't be gazing for very long, because the level features several slaughter-style battles. At the beginning, ammo is very tight and you must be really precise. However once the really large battles start you will be properly stocked. I loved the abundance of time-bombs as they are actually quite useful (even after you get the Phoenix Staff). Now, despite the huge battles, the difficulty in this wad is actually not very high. This is mostly because you always have plenty of room to run around while laying into the swarms. Also, most of the battles can basically be skipped over, since there's nothing keeping you from just running past and continuing to the next area. I don't find this to be a flaw however, since the over-use of gimmicks like gates that take forever to open are pretty lame.

    In conclusion, you should definitely check this out! Even if you don't like slaughterfests, you can always play with no monsters or just run past the battles when you get tired of them. At the very least you should be appreciating the epic visuals Azamel has constructed for you. I reviewed 4colour by him a while ago, which basically sucked, and this is a huge improvement (plus he has released other stuff in-between according to the .txt, it's always good to see a mapper steadily improving).

    There is also new music by Bathory which fits the level well. Don't listen to the text file, it's not on map01, it is e1m1...also, the second level is actually just an "end sequence" of sorts. Interestingly he included a little story (story.txt) which I thought was pretty cool despite the poor translation, and it makes the ending pretty sick. Play it!

  • The power supply [Remake] - DooMknight
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1324811 bytes -
    Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
    ...Several rainforests, megatons of ink and literative figures later, it remains true for many speakers of the English language that expressions of interest cannot be positively established without the word "good" forerunning deeper analysis. Just like its sister words "nice" and "fine", "good" is a word completely bereft of meaningful substance save only for conveying to the listener a degree of positive connotation. "The soup was good". "My pants are good". "Your wife was fine."

    I mean shit, is it so much to ask for? What ever happened to speaking your mind? No mum, the chicken was dry and salty like a crying sponge, the carrots were undercooked, I had to gnaw my way though the parsnips, the rice had the consistency of gravel, the potatoes were green, my steak was bleeding all over the plate and the dog ate my salsa dip. Dinner was not fine! So on, so forth...

    ...But then it occurred to me that, despite this having just been said, and given the right context, there's actually more than enough semantic complexity in the word "good" to sink a battleship, and you really needn't be saying anything else at all. To grant outright definition, and to swing us neatly round to the review at hand, the original Power Supply by Eye del Cul is just uninspired enough yet at the same time precise enough in its gameplay, look and feel, that to provide any word other than "good" would fall abysmally short of pinpointing just how inexorably standard (and, uh, good) the map really is. I could of course say "standard" but then I would lose out on positivity. It's a well made, solid, decent map, no more, no less. Playing it will leave you just as numb and glazed over by the end of the level as when you first started (you toffee apple you!).

    The remake by DooMknight, for better or worse, isn't all too dissimilar from the original version, but it does need a little more unravelling regardless. "Good" as a word simply doesn't cover it. What's so different about the level is less so down to the inclusion of new areas (of which there are few), but rather the "simplification" of the map, Spork style! The palette swap is the same, the music choice is consistent, and the layout, while obviously resembling primarily the map on which it's based, is also quite tidily orthogonal, detailed and linear in design. And in a good way! If you've played the original map before, then, it's certainly interesting to see how vastly the refurbishments in detail go toward improving the atmosphere and setting, although, if I must be honest (and I must!), I'm not entirely sure if a second download is in order if what you're looking for is a complete overhaul. Unless you've never played the first, in which case you might want to try it out for its great gameplay and brevity.

    Make sense? Good.

  • Marble Blood - Gillibert Raymond ak (Ramon_Demestre)
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 2749090 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Scet
    Are you a tough son of a bitch? Do you eat beef-jerky in Tabasco sauce for breakfast? Well then this is the WAD for you! We have here ten very large, very well detailed and very very hard maps.

    Seriously though, either Mr. Raymond is the greatest Doom player ever, or he doesn't playtest on UV. This reviewer, however, has entered a new level of manliness, because I was able to beat nine out of the ten maps on UV without cheating. Take that "this level is impossible" cowards on the /idgames reviews. MAP06 was the only one I couldn't beat.

    Marble Blood was obviously designed to be played on HMP. It seems that the author went on some copy-paste binge when it came time to place the UV monsters, because the monster count is sometimes double that of HMP. Placement is another problem; right from the start of many maps you are under attack. In MAP01 you start in a small room surrounded by sergeants and barons; the monsters aren't facing away from you either. Also Mr. Raymond, please stop with the hoards of cacodemons, it's just plain not fun. More ammo also would have been nice on the first three maps.

    Architecture is superb, a lot of work obviously went into these levels. It's too bad it's overshadowed by the often ridiculous difficulty. Marble Blood is a WAD that, while good, could have been great. Let this be a lesson to everyone to play test your maps in every difficulty setting they support.

  • Hitscan Massacre - lathaniel
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 44637 bytes -
    Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
    Hitscan Massacre is the same Doom we all know and love, except in Pez dispenser form: A short, sweet, sugary blast of a level that in its difficulty and theme doesn't feel too far fetched from the starport levels of Doom II. While it may undoubtedly seem off-putting for those many players who remain still terrified at the prospect of being diced into wet patty by streams of lead, I should stress that it isn't at all mass genocide in the way one may expect. On the contrary, Lathaniel's map eludes most of the hitscan mapping clichés in favour of maintaining the simple joy of mowing down zombies like pins in a bowling alley.

    Gameplay is quietly accommodating, and while the visuals aren't anything to write home about, they fall in second behind the conceptual aim of the map, which, all things done and dusted, proves to be only too successful by the time this little number has run its course.

    Cool shoes.

  • UAC Ultra (v1.2) - 40oz & Super Jamie
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2309100 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    UAC Ultra is an 12 map replacement designed for Boom-compatible engines. Though PRBoom-Plus is recommended by the authors, I ran this wad just fine in the latest version of ZDoom. This wad follows the story of a space marine charging through yet another UAC base to find out what lies beyond. What the player finds... you'll see soon enough.

    Most of the 12 maps are set in a techbase layout, though you'll see some hell themes here and there, especially in the later maps. I was quite impressed with what I saw in these maps as I fought my way through these levels. I couldn't find anything out of place through the maps, and the detailing was quite pleasing overall.

    I rather enjoyed the pace of the maps as well. On UV I found the difficulty to be reasonably tough overall... at least until you get to Map 11, which throws some HR-style difficulty at you. This might be a little unfair for the casual player, especially in the HR area damages your health unless you're wearing a rad suit (I would have done without the damaging floor in this area). I found enough ammo laying around to get the job done, and was never an issue as I fought through the maps.

    Overall, this wad is rather solid and can be enjoyed by almost any style of Doom player. I would recommend this wad to anyone looking for a good wad featuring solid techbase designs.

  • Tigger's Respite - Chris Wright
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 15907 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    All right, this time I want to review another abstract map from the unstoppable Chris Wright. This time is just an abstract room around an earth-shaped island, gameplay is barely easy.

    Whatever, a tiny enjoyable map, not so hardcore like other works from the same author, like calisas or similar maps, but a good way to waste 5 minutes of your time in your coffee break.

  • Hemifax - Chris Wright
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 5090 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Joshy
    28 Monsters. 5 Sectors. 3 Rooms. 0 Fun.

    I'll present a theory of my own: What is the definition of fun in the context of Doom? A sense of euphoria triggered by unique and sound creativity. Such creativity are well designed layouts/monster placements/gameplay scenarios with real effort put into the imagination of the surroundings as a means to immerse the player into a decent environment. Such immersions are said triggers of euphoria. Excellent technical mapping is not a requirement. Knee-deep in the Dead was more than good enough to achieve this immersion.

    Let's apply this idea of immersion to a non-Dooming context. For instance, the Matrix film. The programmed dream world was sufficiently designed to keep all the human slaves, encapsulated within pods, asleep. This "stable sleeping" is a result of immersion. The dream was not too perfect and not too imperfect enough to encourage immersion into the environment (I am referring to a specific spectrum of immersion, not the kind of immersion that comes from discourses with intricate descriptions/imageries of very abstract worlds/environment/concepts or whatnot which does encourage immersion); in other words, you'd pinch yourself if it was too good or unreal to be true. No power would be provided if the slaves woke up. Power is important (if you're an ugly bald pro-capitalist businessman whose values are seriously fucked up, yes, but also since I'm trying to use this example without capitalist implications, just think power as a necessity/driving force of running a machine). You need power to have any good use of a machine. Power and euphoria, because of immersion, are vital for running machines and enjoying a Doom map, respectively. So basically, the immersion of the map is a good way of gauging its enjoyment potential. Apologies if I'm too vague and/or preachy, but I do hope it's immersive enough for the concept of immersion to be grasped and its relevance to Doom maps.

    This map has no immersion at all. Its number on the immersion Richter scale cannot even compare to a kitten's fart. The only enjoyment I got from this map was trying to justify how bad this map is. Nothing more needs to be said.

  • Bronkodoom - Bronko
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 901576 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Scet
    Five somewhat amateurish maps for Doom 2 that were made several years ago. Right away I knew this was going to suck when I saw the bad texturing and Wolfenstein Nazis mixed with Doom. Monster placement is also awful; the author seems to love hit-scan enemies. For the first few maps almost every enemy is a zombie type or Nazi. It also doesn't help that health and armor are pretty much non-existent. Things get better around MAP04, we're almost at "standard Doom map" quality here. Then, however, on MAP05 you're greeted by a monster spawner right at the start, and monsters can spawn pretty much anywhere on the map. It doesn't help that there's next to no ammo either.

    Overall I'd skip this bunch, there's nothing really special here, and even if there was, the Wolfenstein crap just ruins it.

  • Friendly Cooperatives 2 - Alando1 (Alan)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 4855863 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is an updated version of Friendly Cooperatives, a mod that generates bots in single player. Basically, Friendly Cooperatives is a mod useful for simulating co-op play in order to play co-op wads without multiple players. If you already have the original Friendly Cooperatives, you should still download this if you're interested, as it contains multiple upgrades and new features.

  • Gibbage - Melon
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3067 bytes
    Reviewed by: Philnemba
    An interesting mod that forces you to only use the rocket launcher, but in an interesting twist all projectile type monsters can also shoot rockets, making monster infighting hilariously funny. In addition to that, all zombies and SS Nazis drop rocket ammunition to keep you from losing ammo.

    BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!

    Armor now absorbs 99% of damage, which makes it more or less challenging than it already is. However, there is a downside to this mod: you can't use your fist (and because of that the berserk packs are replace by the Soul Spheres, so I guess you could also call it a good thing). This mod is recommend for anybody who loves to constantly use the rocket launcher a lot, although I wouldn't recommend playing this on Slaughter wads like Hell Revealed 2 or Deus Vult.

  • Unloved - Paul Schneider
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 42916273 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    Unloved is a 5 map hub-based wad designed for GZDoom. If I had to pick a single word to describe this wad, I would say atmospheric. If I had a few more words, I'd add in dark, kinda creepy, and somewhat cramped too. And what can the player expect to find? A lot of damn good stuff here.

    The premise of the wad is that you wake up in bed alone, but you quickly get the sense that you're not. As I fought my way through the five maps, I always felt a solid sense of progression, and that it was hard to really get lost for too long. You'll need to do some backtracking to access new areas of the five maps once you obtain the corresponding keys, but this didn't bother me too much, as usually the new areas were reasonably accessible from the main hub.

    The detail in these 5 maps is top-notch. I couldn't find anything that really looked out of place in any of the areas I went. The lighting was simply fantastically done too. For the most part it's pretty dark but overall you can see where you need to go (but not necessarily where the monsters are hiding). Also, many places are pretty cramped, making maneuverability an issue (and when you come to a wide open space, don't expect it to remain that way long as it will soon be filled with monsters). But the atmosphere created by the lighting and the detail is really the icing on the cake.

    The difficulty of the mapset might annoy some players, though. The first two-thirds of the playthrough isn't too bad; most players might get hung up on a few places (mostly in the key locations, expect a good fight)... but reaching the concluding parts of the wad, it goes from from difficult to HR-style slaughterfest. I thought the ammo placement was well done for the most part, aside from the first main map I had to chainsaw a lot of small enemies. Other than that, I got what I needed to deal with what was coming ahead. I could have also done with a bit more health placed around the maps too... too often was I running around F6ing every 20 seconds or so because I had <25 health left. If you're not a fan of HR or difficult wads, you'll definitely want to knock down the difficulty a notch or two.

    Also, a fair few new monsters make their appearance, as well as a few old friends from the monster resource pack (and some baddies that were borrowed from either Hexen or Heretic). First one I saw was a chainsaw zombie that wasn't too tough unless in packs. I saw a souped-up version of a Mancubus (looked like a zombie to me) that was mostly in places where I could easily neutralize it. And a new spin on an old, familiar boss (I won't spoil the surprise, but good luck beating it).

    Overall, Unloved could win a Cacoward simply for the way it looks and feels. Seriously, no amount of screenshots could do these levels justice. If you don't believe me, download this wad and wander through these maps with -nomonsters turned on; you'll likely be rather impressed—I know I was. Unloved may be the title of the wad, but I think that the Doomworld community will really love what they find inside, even if you're not a fan of the action or the difficulty.

  • Doom 2 French Version (doom2f.wad) binary patch - Simon Howard
    doom2.exe - n/a - 284850 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This file converts the original v1.8 of Doom II to the French version. If that sounds interesting, have at it. [Ed: for more information, see this thread: On the trail of DOOM2F.WAD]

  • Chowquin - Chris Wright
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 27095 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    I'm tempted to let these two lines of the text file speak for themselves:

    Author: Chris Wright
    Description: Two open areas populated with an assortment of motherfuckers. Kind of like Canada and the US.

    Needless to say, that's exactly what you get. Virtually no detail, no height variation, dull brown textures against a brown sky. The first area is a curvy outdoor corridor, the second area is a random maze. The whole thing felt utterly pointless; in fact, this is one of Chris's worst maps, although it's clear by now he's not even trying in the slightest. Taking a screenshot of this garbage would be a waste of time. Needless to say, avoid at all costs.

Does this /newstuff Chronicles suck? Does your wise ass think you can write better reviews than these jerkoffs? Then get over to the /newstuff Review Center and help out. I know you must have a Doomworld Forums account because you like griping about every edition in the comment thread, but if you don't, you need to get one to submit reviews.