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The /newstuff Chronicles #370

  • BUMP - TimeOfDeath (Chris Balch)
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 180745 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Creaphis
    This creation by TimeOfDeath is probably best described as a puzzle map. All the same, it really doesn't have anything in common with other puzzle maps made for Doom, such as "Evil Eye" by Fatal, or with puzzle games in general, because the puzzle-solving toolkit you need to get through this level is never put in front of you. Instead, the tools that you'll need to get through this map are hidden in the game's source code, are discussed in forum threads, and are demonstrated in some of the better speed runs. In short, you need to know Doom, and to know it well. To get started, you must execute the titular "bump," and then cramp your hands holding down all the keys necessary for SR50 thing-running. To finish... well, you'll see.

    This map also could be described as a "training ground," however, like most of TOD's wads. Not content to be merely the best at everything, Chris Balch builds new maps - the only maps left that can challenge him - on which he may practice his skills, and thus raise them further towards some unfathomable perfection. To make his maps suitable for training, he designs them so that every maneuver must be performed multiple times in succession, without error, and because of this, "Bump" has the repetitious nature of an exercise regime. This map will test not only your skills and your knowledge of speedrun tricks, but also your patience. Thankfully, a flawless run of this level takes less than three minutes, making this map a walk in the park compared to the ungodly "Nostril Caverns."

  • RSL's Immoral Conduct Z-Patch - Richard Smith Long
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 151939 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    An update to the ZDoom version of the Immoral Conduct mod, which includes improved zombie and sniper rifle sprites. If you haven't played it before, you get different guns (including an assault rifle that's actually not a chaingun in disguise) and some new monster sprites to reflect the new weapons.

  • Zelda 3 - Eastern Temple - Mark7
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 32082 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A small map which is based on a Zelda map. I've never played it so I wouldn't know if it succeeded in emulating it or not, but the layout is blocky as you'd expect with one or two puzzles thrown in. 1994 green marble is the style (i.e. GSTONE walls with hexagonal floor) and there's little detail. The only noteworthy mention goes to the ammo balance, which is tight throughout (until the final room, which could be a first with its concept but is poorly executed). Only worth checking out if you want to compare it with the map it's based on, or if you like the style.

  • Urban Slaughter - Deimos Anomaly and Aluqah
    ZDoom Compatible - SP/Co-op - 8644397 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A concept map for ZDoom. You play a marine helping to defend a city from invading hordes. They keep spawning in until the timer runs out, then a new wave starts. Enemies start off being weak, then bigger ones come in as you advance up the waves. You have all your guns (most have altfires) to start with, as well as a radio which will periodically allow you to call a squad of marines in. Your health regenerates (but that's not a bad thing here), and the only source of ammo is backpacks dropped by dead marines.

    The map itself is hugely impressive and puts most Duke maps to shame, never mind all the Doom ones. There's loads of places to hide and explore, including various shops, alleyways, vantage points and a couple of subway stations. Its only flaw really is that the fences, road barriers etc. are made of impassable lines that you can't jump over (when 3D middle textures can be used now to prevent that).

    Moving around without getting stuck is key, as the numbers are huge and you'll eventually need to regain ammo from the marines you left fighting elsewhere. It's certainly a handful later on, and my only gripe with gameplay is that the waves are perhaps a bit too long (more waves with less mobs might have been better). It's not for everyone but worth it if you like mass carnage, city maps and tactics.

  • Savage Assassin Duel 2 - Savage Assassin members
    Skulltag - Deathmatch - 6293617 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A set of 13 duel maps from a Skulltag clan. The themes vary but remain mostly towards the modern/tech, and there's enough detail to look good without impeding the players. They might work for small FFA too, but in most cases they're small enough to ensure that you won't lose track of your opponent often. Some are based around classic gameplay, while others include Skulltag weapons and powerups. Many have a flash point somewhere to focus around.

    Overall, it's hard to judge them without proper playing time (bots don't really count :p) but they seemed OK and should provide at least some variety with the Skulltag-specific stuff plus some layouts.

  • Style Mod - wildweasel
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 12326 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A small mod that was created for a competition involving mods that only use code lumps (decorate etc.) to change gameplay. This one is based around little bfg balls ("style points") which are dropped by enemies and are used to power the altfire modes of the 6 weapons (all of which are stylish and some quite amusing too). The chainsaw has been replaced with a pair of stylish shades, and the berserk now adds quad damage for extra style. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek but cleverly-done, and should be interesting to play with too.

  • Doomworld Speedmapping Compilation #23 - Various (uploaded by Solarn)
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 75758 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Creaphis
    I claimed this wad for review hoping that it would be a ripe pile of shit. There's something just so satisfying about playing bad wads. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that I like about them, but they're easier to review, for one thing. Unfortunately for me, though, both levels in this speedmap compilation are actually good.

    The theme this time around was "a cave with a temple in it." Jodwin's map features a series of well-crafted fights, and has an extremely high trap density. ArmouredBlood is more cavalier in his monster placement, but there is still a satisfying challenge to be had in managing a largely free-roaming horde in an open layout. Ultimately, I prefer ArmouredBlood's contribution, as it is significantly more cavey than Jodwin's. However, the matter of which map is indeed more temple-y than the other remains to be resolved through public debate.

  • Bad Guns Revised (compatible with Beautiful Doom) - Jekyll Grim Payne
    GZDoom - n/a - 6711846 bytes -
    Reviewed by: WildWeasel
    Bad Guns Revised is an updated version of JGP's older Bad Guns mod, with numerous bug and balance fixes as well as changes to the mod that make it no longer require Beautiful Doom to be loaded (saving me a lot of hassle).

    Basically, BGR is Jekyll's realism mod. You're given various pistols, machine guns, and shotguns that all need to reload, and half of which have melee attacks (excepting the basic pistol). They seem rather well balanced, but the primary issue is aesthetics. These guns use quite old resources, with edits applied to change the glove colors among other things. The edits range quite wildly in quality, from Pretty Good (the motion blurring on the knife's swinging animation) to Mildly Iffy (the somewhat jagged-edged shotgun) to Needs Much Improvement (the rocket launcher in its entirety). Animations seem robotic on occasion, with not much attention paid to how momentum works.

    Outside of the animations, there are other issues here - the mod requires GZDoom, but really doesn't need to, as it should work quite fine in software mode (the only glitch being that the decals look terrible due to some strange inconsistency in the way the alpha channel works in software). The sniper rifle inexplicably takes shotgun shells (as long as there's already a unique ammo type being added for stuff like the Desert Eagle, why not add one more for this, then you could ration out the sniper ammo individually), and the custom HUD code only includes code for the fullscreen mode HUD, meaning users who don't like the way that works have no other option, outside of loading another WAD file over top of this.

    Bad Guns Revised goes against its name by not being particularly bad. It just needs some improvement, mainly in the graphics, animations, and minor quibbles.

  • Feelsafe - Rev.Heretic / The Heretic / Heretic
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 17018615 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A single GZDoom map, taking place in a toxin refinery that gradually mutated everyone into zombies along with the hellspawn turning up. It takes the Phobos look and gives it a bit of a modern twist with Beautiful Doom's resources (supplied with the map) and (G)ZDoom features such as slopes, 3D floors and point lights (there's also some neat breakable lamps). It also contains a new mp3 track (the author is a musician), which seems to fit the map well.

    The layout is mostly dark and tight until the neat final area, and it can confuse in a couple of places, but it's not entirely linear, and some rooms can be quite useful if cleared. Detail is good but not excessive, gameplay is quite tricky to start with, ammo is tight throughout, and rad suits will certainly help you.

    Overall, it's a decent combination of old and new which should please the majority.

  • Happy Birthday InsanityBringer - 40oz
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 65899 bytes -
    Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
    As birthday gifts go, Doom WADs are pretty good ones, and also far cheaper than bath bombs or CDs. It's just a shame that girlfriends hardly ever take to them well. We, on the other hand, love our WADs, and this one, made by 40oz for Insanity Bringer's birthday, is small but exquisite; a diamond encrusted bath bomb that smells of lilac and lavender. Or maybe not...

    Although small, the level presents a nice variety of different challenges and is never boring or wasteful in the space that is uses. The flow of the level works very well, and although being technically linear, there are enough little off shoots or places you can explore early to make the level seem believable. Adding to the immersion is the architecture which manages to toe the perfect line between the annoying and computer-explodingly intricate and the dull as ditch water slabs of blandness. With well-integrated lighting changes and painfully good detailing in certain places, it is obvious that 40oz is one of the techbase masters.

    However, this is a review, and as such I am expected to criticize as well as heap praise on the level, and I'm afraid this criticism sits like a steaming dog turd on a freshly baked pie. After playing so well almost the whole way through, I found a serious imbalance of ammo at the very, very end: Just meters away from the exit door and with only 8 bullets left an archvile appeared and began resurrecting the imps I had slaughtered earlier. "No matter" I thought, "I shall simply peg it around him, leap through the exit door and be on my way before he can so much as tweak my nipples." I ran to the exit door, spraying my remaining bullets into him as a leaving gift, to find a baron wedged into the tiny exit chamber. Needless to say I was not just killed, but obliterated. This is not fun game play.

    After working my way through so much truly superb level design to be greeted with this was plainly irritating, and is unfortunately what has really stuck in my mind about the level. That's not saying it's a bad level, it just has a disappointing ending, like catching herpes after sex with Keira Knightley. By all means play through; you may find ways to be far more economical with your ammunition than I was; you will probably even enjoy it. Just don't come crying to me if it gives you an STI.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: In the interest of not being sued; I would like to point out that I do not believe, or am not in any way trying to spread a rumour, that Keira Knightly has herpes, or, in fact, any common or garden STI or STD. Megan Fox, on the other hand...

  • Citadel of mental abstraction: a Chris Wright Tribute? - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 235359 bytes -
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is a single map done in tribute the Chris Wright's mapping. It has plenty of random texturing, monster, and thing placement. While not quite as random as Chris's maps themselves, the gameplay still isn't much fun, and actually quite easy. The architecture is also very basic, although it does look a little better than most real Chris Wright levels do. In summary, I think that the Chris Wright style of randomness could be carried out in a more enjoyable way, but this map isn't very enjoyable and I wouldn't recommend playing it.

  • fubdm 2 - fub
    doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 25817 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    A small DM map comprising of a tech bit, a wooden bit, an outdoor stone/metal bit, and an outdoor rocky bit. Weapon placement also seems just as random in places, e.g. an SSG on a platform that teleports you to the BFG, in a room containing a plasma gun and a cell pack. It's mostly open with a couple of bottlenecks, and detail is mostly minimal, save for the green passage. It might amuse for a while, but luck will play a part in the scoreboard.

  • Knee Deep in the Vuvuzelas - Catoptromancy
    Boom Compatible - n/a - 3234 bytes
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    In a tribute to the World Cup, someone went and replaced the chainsaw with a little plastic horn that makes a distinct "BBZZZZZZZZ" sound. If you don't know what a Vuvuzela is, Google it or watch any World Cup match. This hastily-made jokewad has no doubt stirred up quite a bit of news in the world of gaming... In case you haven't heard, this wad inspired a now-famous viral video on Youtube.

    So if you've ever wanted to take on the denizens of Hell brandishing a shiny plastic vuvuzela, your wish has been granted. I would say the nostalgic sound and weapon is great for about 5 minutes, where you'll either: A) go deaf from the constant sound, B) quit playing this wad because the vuvuzela annoys you that much, or C) be so completely amused by this weapon you'll think it's the most awesome thing ever. There's really not much else I can say about this wad here.

    Mockaward contender, or most annoying wad ever made? You decide.

  • DungeonmaniA - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
    Heretic Support - Solo Play - 2010649 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This level is fatally flawed. You start out in a sector too short to move in, and you are permanently trapped with no way out. I tried with all ports and this problem occurs in all of them. This is a perfect example of why maps need to be playtested.

  • Khorne's Demise - Bill Turner III
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 293503 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This is a level from 1994/1995. It's not a very good one either. The architecture is rather boxy except for some tunnels that are still very bare. There are a few trademarked "mid-90s realism attempts" but they do little to alleviate the ugliness. Gameplay is boring, with no exciting fights and even some Wolfenstein SS used, which is big no-no in my book. At least the map is short, so I didn't waste a whole lot of time on it. But I didn't take a screenshot, and it's not worth my time to capture one given the map's sub-par quality. Skip this one.

  • The Low Road - Project Dark Fox
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 86164 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Remiel
    One level. Not interesting. Fits in MAP01 and has no customized music. RUNAnd that's the problem. Plain single levels tend to be boring to read about; there are no interesting things to mention or replacements of content, only varied and interesting ways to say "okay so uh there's a theme, this happens, you collect this weapon and then gun all these men and then well that's kind of it".

    Here, green marble, tan bricks and red rock come together to form the not entirely warm-coloured trinity of map architecture. Short and easy on all difficulties, the bestiary is generally tactically arranged to present the minimum possible threat, and enough ammo is provided to kick the map's arse however many times the player wants, alongside most of the health required to tank it at the same time.

    Truly, the only genuine danger is Running From Evil causing someone to take his own life before he can reach the end.

    On the bright side, it looks functional and clean, like a 2000-ish map, and does its job of providing an easy few minutes of stress relief for the comfortably-paced. While the cyberdemon twins at level's end can surprise someone falling asleep, waking up or just playing on ITYTD/HNTR where they're curiously still there, granted care a player can slip around them, do the switch sequence in their chamber, and be in the exit teleporter before anyone realizes they're probably fighting, player included. Hurrah!

  • 3 Entradas - The Nightmare
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 50053 bytes -
    Reviewed by: PhilibusMo
    From the reviews on /idgames, I expected this to be a bland, occasionally frustrating and uninteresting WAD. I was not disappointed. Despite not actually being a bad wad, it was by no means enjoyable. If "The Nightmare" realistically wants to use this map as the first map of his megawad, then he needs to take a serious look at it and redesign or just completely remove certain areas and features. Easily the worst part was a room with five or six teleporters in it, all but one of which lead to an insta-kill crusher trap. These sorts of trial and death puzzles are not in the least bit fun. Very few if anyone actually enjoys the prospect of random luck deciding if you are going to be instantly killed or not, like a macabre version of "Deal or No Deal".

    The next worst area was a large and quite ugly outside area, populated entirely by shotgun guys. This will cause an amount of déjà vu for anyone (and this'll be most of you) that have played E1M2. Unfortunately this area is mandatory to enter if you want to progress; however, the entrance to it looks like a not particularly well hidden secret. Don't do this; if you need to go somewhere, please make it reasonably obvious.

    Another couple of problems are some very poor use of monster block lines, making the monsters almost harmless at times and completely stuck at others, and a BFG in the exit room after you have killed every single monster. Just why?

    There were some nice elements to the level. The section where you are ambushed by many imps and spectres and need to run for it could be very entertaining with a little tweaking, and it's nice to see someone using classic style raising stairs. It brings back the good memories.

    Overall this isn't a bad attempt for what is the author's first mapping attempt, or at least the first one to have made it onto /idgames, so I hope he doesn't read this and become hugely put off from doing any more mapping, as he shows potential.

  • Spartan Kick - Captain Toenail
    ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 225086 bytes
    Reviewed by: MegaDoomer
    This wad replaces the first with a weapon that, when activated, causes the player to scream "This is Sparta!" (which comes from the movie 300) and then kick with his foot (and a shoe on it) showing on the screen. The kick kills any monster it hits (even bosses) immediately. Obviously considering that, this isn't a serious wad, but I found it enjoyable for a quick laugh and watching a Cyberdemon die in a single kick. If this sounds funny to you, give it a try.

  • Hexen: Scourge of Viscerus - Matt Tropiano
    ZDoom - Solo Play - 1288312 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Ultimate DooMer
    Wow, a Hexen hub...probably only the 4th one to be released since the turn of the century. Seven maps reside here, in a typical star topology/layout/pattern with a map before and after too. The theming is a mixed bag, with some maps having new ones despite Hexen's limited texture set and with others copying default themes a bit too closely for comfort. Detail is simple but not too bare in most places, all looking fairly 96-ish with the odd slope and non-magical fake 3D floor thrown in.

    Gameplay has its ups and downs too - the back end of the first map is pretty unfriendly for non-mages (two rooms in particular), but after that it's not an issue. There's plenty to kill, and you'll never run out of health/ammo/items, but it's not particularly challenging until you get to the new bosses - one for each branch map. These have a variety of attacks and will keep you on your toes, as will Viscerus himself later on (who thankfully isn't just another Heresiarch). The Korax fight at the end is a disappointing anti-climax though, despite the neat arena.

    Overall it's a decent effort; its classic style fits in nicely with the 90's hubs but with a sprinkling of ZDoom to prevent things from being a bit too boring come boss time. It is more for the nostalgia hunters though, but having said that I think that most if not all of Hexen's starving fans will want to try it.

  • Power-Uped - Alando1 (Alan)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 638388 bytes
    Reviewed by: Philnemba
    This ZDoom wad replaces all powerups (as in Soulshere, partial invisibility, invulnerability, berserk pack and megasphere) with randomly spawned powerups from realm667.com and Skulltag along with the original powerups. All of them have new shiny sparkle effects that make an odd humming sound. While this wad doesn't impress me due to the borrowed resources, it might be fun for some people who like to spice up their Doom experience.

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.