The /newstuff Chronicles #383
Classic Doom - Posted by Bloodshedder
- 27 Comments
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Temple of the Lizard Men 2 - Alando1 (Alan)
GZDoom - Solo Play - 23557548 bytes -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
The story of Temple of the Lizard Men essentially starts out "You marine, go place, kill monster." ...and then develops into "The lizard men are bad mean people and they are mistreating their hot lizard babes (as well as regular human babes, but who cares about them?) so you need to save the day *and* the chicks!"
Pre-pubescent fantasies aside*, this amateur partial conversion of Doom II was a lot of fun to play. It is still amateur though, and it shows. Custom resources were never abhorrent, but there were some resized enemies that looked weird, one MSPaint projectile (it's cute though), and questionable re-colors (notably, the berserker lizard men who were just all one color). The weapons mixed sidearm and centered sprites, which is awkward. There were some annoying "cutscenes" which were actually just text thrown on the screen...so you could run around, but not skip it. Also there were issues with deep water and land monsters getting stuck on top of it or fish appearing to swim above the surface. There are supposedly Heretic/Hexen-style items, but I only found one through the whole game. This could have been because I didn't find more than a couple of the secrets, but still, an inventory should have more than one item in the non-secret portion of the game.
BUT, the various flaws did not ruin the game. Even though the map design is very linear, the locations are still quite fun to explore and very atmospheric. Alando1 made good use of engine enhancements in this respect. The minimal detail was usually sufficient - only a few cavern halls looked really bare - and the custom textures were put to good use.
The combat is probably what stands out the most, although it wasn't 100% positive. First of all, this mod focuses heavily on melee monsters (your punch is also upgraded as well, and the chainsaw is replaced with a rather powerful knife). These monsters are all much faster than in Doom, and most of them have the ability to leap at you. In fact, some of them are so fast you'll be having DM-style strafe wars going on. Their attacks are generally much faster as well, although if so less damaging. This means the old trick of waiting until they initiate their attack frame and then dancing away does not work. I found this gameplay to be quite refreshing. The weapons were pretty cool, although it would annoyingly switch to the pistol when I had no bullets and try to reload. There's no BFG equivalent (or even plasma gun for that matter), and overall the weapons are almost equal in terms of damage output. While this can be a flaw, in this case I think it worked because they all fulfill different roles (except maybe the sniper rifle, which was underwhelming because it didn't do enough damage or go through enemies).
There's also a flashlight, and lanterns (the one and only inventory item I found). These were cool but I wish they were put to better use, i.e. with finding switches and passages in the dark. Really any dark areas were still quite navigable without the lights...I only used the lantern in one place for aiming convenience.
Apparently there is a major bug with the "Hell Revealed" difficulty, where monsters do not move. Regardless, I played on "Hard" and I was on my toes almost the whole time. Unfortunately by the last couple maps, supplies were in very short...uh...supply. I ended up save-forcing my way through several sections where I had low health and sometimes no ammo, making me resort to super knife ninja mode. The knife is quite devastating but couldn't make up for the lack of health, especially in the face of monsters that are ridiculously fast.
There were some pretty lame boss fights - the end boss is particularly lame, acting the same as one of the regular enemies with more health and damage. Also some areas might slow down your machine if it's crappy and old like mine.
To conclude, I liked it. It's definitely not classic Doom gameplay, and as people on /idgames have noted is reminiscent of stuff like Unreal and Turok. It's also riddled with amateurisms and minor bugs, but I don't think they ruined the experience. I'd give it a 29/42 on the magicsofa scale:
One in the Chamber - Captain Toenail
Skulltag - Last Man Standing - 135182 bytes -
Reviewed by: magicsofa
This is a variation on instagib where you only have one bullet and a knife. Both kill in one hit, and you get one more bullet per frag.
Since alt-fire is used for the knife, bots will waste their one bullet and then run around harmless. Turning on infinite ammo was fun but in any case...hitting someone with the knife is no easy task. The hitting frame takes too long, which doesn't seem to match Doomguy's 90mph running (resulting in melee matches where you just bump into each other...Goldeneye anyone?)
It's a cool idea, but it doesn't really work with classic Doom gameplay. Maybe if the player's speed was much slower, and you could hear each other's footsteps, it would work better. But in this case, you might as well play instagib.
"METZ" - alternative title "METZ CATHEDRAL" - Benoit Spacher
Vanilla - Deathmatch - 361031 bytes -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
All right, today the Daimon travel agency presents for you a fancy trip in France, discovering the "Metz Cathedral", a wonderful new gothic church in the middle of a Victorian French town; please follow our guide and don't mess around in the place, our you'll pay! (or they make me pay... isn't a funny joke? Oh, sorry, please don't digress over it and let's proceed with the trip...)
This cathedral isn't so big, but looks beautiful... and maybe TOO empty. Where's the benches in this place? I have some old people here that need some rest! That's not a professional thing! Uh, what? Works of restoration? That's the reason why there's no place to sit and all that protection stuff I see everywhere? And how could I... yes, Mr. st.alfonzo, now I'm talking with these people to find a seat... and Mr. Kirby please stop touching everywhere! Are you a child or a respectable adult? I said... Oh, look! This kind guardian wants to show us the crypts, where lies a famous saint... no, Mr. alfonzo, it isn't you, please don't worry, or how could I be here chit chatting if you are... Mr. st.alfonzo! Mr. st.alfonzo, come back! I'm just joking... and... I'm sorry sir, but what is happening here? The crypt is closed for maintenance! Oh, when I talk with the administrator, he'll hear about the bad reception we've gotten visiting this place!
Turning serious, this is a beautiful medium sized map made from the same author of "Hokuto no Doom", designed for deathmatch... or at least, that is the reason why this map is made.
Because this, dear ladies and gentlemen, is a thing I haven't seen in ages in a Doom map, an "exploration" map (a level set in a historical place, using new textures, but without any monsters except on hard skills, and you just run around the place and explore it; the level set in Pisa's Piazza dei Miracoli is a perfect example of what I mean), and the texture usage of light brown marble and wooden textures reminds me of "The Unholy Trinity" and "Look Out!", so the nostalgia effect is accomplished. But some more details like the seats (it looks weird, a church without benches... almost for me) will make this place more realistic (or it could crash with the doom.exe limits?). Anyway, this place is rendered very well, I just get impressed with the light effects of the glasses near the altar room and the city sky, and this is a recommended download from me.
Rolling Boulders Resource - Captain Toenail
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 92345 bytes
Reviewed by: Kirby
This is a small resource wad for a rolling boulder, akin to the one you may have seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It includes 3 different colored rolling boulders ripped from ROTT that instantly crush anything in their path. Instructions are easy to follow for setting the boulder up and even a test map is included that showcases all of them.
My opinion? It's a neat resource that makes it easy to stick a large rolling boulder into any ZDoom map you have. If you don't have any issues with using DECORATE and ACS you can probably do this just as easily on your own, but for anyone who isn't as savvy (or just doesn't want to do the labor) this works just fine.
40oz's other birthday map - Lupinx-Kassman/Lupinx_Resurrected
Vanilla - Solo Play - 50814 bytes -
Reviewed by: Megalyth
Presented to 40oz for the joyous occasion of his "barfday", we have a quick romp of a map with new music and a new sky texture. The map is on the small side, consisting of only 2 areas, the first of which will be revisited after activating the lone switch at the far end of the map.
The map begins in a small cave which emerges into a section of canyon. Your immediate task is to pummel and chainsaw a path through a gaggle of imps and demons while working your way up a short series of ledges and blood flows to reach the teleporter at the top. Upon teleporting to the next area, the cave opens up into a second, larger canyon with a nice view of the new sky. The battles in this area play out on a set of platforms and ledges high above a pit of damaging blood. You'll need to fight your way across to the opposite platform, where the switch and its guardian await. Activating the switch will populate the map with revenants and a few mancubuses, which now stand between you and the newly accessible exit.
While not overly difficult, the map does present something of a challenge in places, using the terrain against you and pitting you against groups of enemies in potentially dangerous quarters. The map's progression is made more interesting by the unconventional availability of weaponry. There's enough ammo and health to go around, provided you aren't overly wasteful with either. The new music is a good fit, fueling the action nicely, and the sky texture compliments the canyon theme well.
The only real drawback is the size: the map is only a few small areas, and can be completed very quickly. While this map is fun for a quick blast on its own, I can't help but feel that it would fare better as part of a compilation of birthday maps.
Clear Spectres & Proper Blood - Mr. Chris
ZDoom Compatible - n/a - 2235 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
This is an add-on wad that changes two things - the transparency of spectres and the blood color of caco and baron type monsters. The transparency has been set to 92% for the spectres, and if you want your spectres to be nigh invisible so you'd have to stare at the screen for a good minute before being sure something was there, then this is for you. Otherwise I'd say they're WAY too invisible. For a reference see the screenshot (a dead spectre in the mid-ground and a live one attacking me on my left).
The blood replacement is something I've seen plenty of times before and doesn't particularly add anything new, it just changes the blood color of said monsters to match what they bleed when they die. It's very simple coding so I'm not sure I see the need in having one of these, though there is also a version that applies to SkullTag and its additional creatures as well. Suffice to say this is nothing really new, just some cheap messing around with coding put into the wad for the hell of it.
Cave-Room - ProcessingControl
Vanilla - Solo Play - 129938 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
I find it nice to play though maps that choose not to shower themselves with features and go back to the roots of mapping vanilla-style. The usual problem is authors that end up not finding a way to do it decently or tastefully. With Cave-Room you will find that this is not the case - a few nitpicks here and there but overall a testament to the fact that yes, vanilla Doom maps can still match up to your expectations.
Cave-Room is a replacement for Map02 in Doom 2. The wad is constructed to vanilla standards and feels like a cross between Underhalls and The Waste Tunnels. The right amount of detail is set to enhance the overall look of each room alike, yet maintain that original Doom 2 feel throughout. The level has a moderate difficulty and plays pretty well. My main two nitpicks had to deal with the raising and lowering of a certain platform. I didn't quite figure out how the hell I was supposed to raise and lower the thing; all I knew was that it had to do with taking a lift to a room and then coming back down after running around there for a bit to see what changed. My other nitpick was the room where you ran around - it's cut up by pillars essentially into 64x64 squares, making it a bit difficult to move quickly. Other than that I liked it, so I feel comfortable in saying this is a good wad that most anyone can enjoy, so don't hesitate to download this one if you're looking for a good single-level wad to play.
MHS Doom II - Liverwurst
Vanilla - Solo Play - 138387 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
This is a re-upload of a wad from 1996. I'll tell you right now it's a map of the author's school and it is complete shit. Not just for today's standards, even for '96's standards. There's no sense of where you're supposed to go, the texture replacements look shoddy and outright horrible, and most of the rooms are recreations of classrooms that serve as nothing more than places to waste time killing whatever monsters are in them. Do not recommend this one at all.
Oh, and in case the titlepic included with this review didn't tell you enough about the author, here's his statement (quoted word for word) on using his wad:
Yo, yo, wassup? You may NOT use this for anything, unless my prior permission is granted. I worked my anus off on this level, I don't want people to jack around with it for no real reason, so write me first if you want to use it for something and I'll get back to you with an answer. Don't sweat it, I'll probably say "yes"."
Yeah, you get what I mean.
Shards of Glass - Mr. Chris
Vanilla - Solo Play - 115569 bytes
Reviewed by: Xeros612
Shards of Glass is a Gothic themed map for Doom 2 by author Mr. Chris. It advertises itself as a "dark, gloomy castle map with fitting music", and it delivers on that aspect well enough. (Though some may dispute the castle design, given the general abstract design inherent in most Doom mods.) On to the specifics:
One new music track has been selected for this map. It's nothing remarkable or special, really, but fits the gloomy theme well enough.
It uses the Gothic DM texture pack from Realm667. As with the music, it doesn't really stand out for me at all, but still fits the overall theme of the level. The architecture takes a simpler, "gameplay over looks" stylization, with nearly every component allowing for smooth, un-prohibited movement. It does feel a bit cramped at times, but the overall difficulty of the level doesn't make this much of an issue. The only real complaint I have about this map in terms of looks is that it's very dark. I had to change my brightness and contrast a bit to see anything, though that may be more an issue with the chosen texture pack than the level design.
Tested on Ultra Violence. Jump, crouch, vertical mouselook disabled.
The gameplay isn't particularly hard for Doom veterans. New players may have some difficulty, but overall it isn't much of a challenge to most of the community. That being said, there were a few nasty traps tossed in for good measure, which provided a much needed boost in difficulty while they lasted.
Overall, I found it a short, only moderately difficult, but decent looking and fun map. Good for a quick run-through.
Happy Birthday TM512 - 40oz
Vanilla - Solo Play - 49149 bytes -
Reviewed by: st.alfonzo
Once again we're back on the birthday trail, and 40oz's latest ribbon tied blast fest is looking quite the treat. If I have ever before likened a short and sweet map to the sugary blast of a Pez dispenser (and I think I have), then this one is even shorter, even sweeter, and even feistier when handled in confined spaces: A real "Kylie Minogue" of a map.
Set in what appears to be a sort of technological bunker/outpost in dire need of renovation, the player is pitted against a sausage string of fun, bite sized encounters that are well moderated in their difficulty, if not a little "standard issue". Intelligent monster placement and itemization gives way to a strong sense of strict, controlled gameplay, and of the author really knowing his brand of Doom inside out. The style of progression is once again suitably linear (a term I hope we all understand well by now, down pat!), and although the player is given little to no choice of path by definition of the word, there is plenty of opportunity to be inventive where the combat is concerned; something which I find to be an even more desirable map trait. The music is thematically coherent, the detail is buoyant, and the decorations don't try to spear you in the side as you buzz around the various tight spaces dealing with hellspawn.
This is basically 5 minutes of your time well spent, and you'd be a flatulent dildo not to have a smack at it.
The Hatchet - Norbert Dávid a.k.a. NoneeLlama
Vanilla - Solo Play - 64849 bytes -
Reviewed by: ManCannon
Hatchet was named so by the author because the opening section is shaped like... a hatchet! It also fits the idea of the map, very short and violent.
Visually the map looks good, it uses some of the uglier interior textures from Doom 2 but still manages to look nice, and architecturally it feels nice and phat.
Although nothing spectacular, the highlight of the map is the intelligent design behind placement of monsters and items, the author spent some time putting together balanced and constant action.
I would rate the difficulty on Ultra Violence to be moderate.
Unfortunately I came across what I think are some bugs. There are some doors that just won't open, I pressed use on every frigging part of the map thinking maybe there was a hidden switch but the doors just won't open, which meant I had to use no-clip.
In the final room there is also an invisible wall surrounding some lighting and there is also a switch guarded by an Archfiend that doesn't seem to do anything.
I'm still not familiar with Doombuilder (I just recently returned to Doom) so I can't confirm if it is bugs or ineptitude on my end.
Summary: Solid little map if not for some bugs.
Castle of Combat for HERETIC, REG ONLY - Martin E. Ferris
Heretic Support - Solo Play - 120975 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
I have three words for you Martin Ferris: "Unintuitive Level Design".
This is a Heretic map replacement for E1M6 that supposedly serves as map 6 in an ongoing mapset the author is working on. The author claims this as an AD&D experiment. Well, as far as I can say for anything, this level is simply infuriating. In its entirety the level is a set of 3 mazes you have to work through before finally getting the blue key to exit the level.
Mind you, the zip file and wad title for this level (properly titles "Castle of Combat") is named AMAZING. In this case you could assume 1 of 3 things - the wad is truly amazing per its namesake, the title is a play on words being as it is a compilation of 3 mazes, or the author is full of himself and thinks his work is amazing. We may never know, but one thing is for sure - it is NOT amazing.
The first maze I trekked through for about 8 minutes before I began fuming. Martin Ferris chose to design a maze that seems fairly straightforward on the automap. Unfortunately he chose to interject impassible invisible linedefs at random spots of his choosing, making the automap just slightly more than useless. Throughout this maze there are several seemingly "secret" areas, yet only two are marked as such. The key you are supposed to get out of this maze is also hidden. Its stuck behind a secret door in one of the not-so-secret rooms, only you would have no idea it was there as there is an identical not-so-secret room you run into first which would have you believe there is no door there in the first place. But I digress - if you want to see why I'm so angry check it out for yourself.
The next two areas are two different mazes, the second one being "meh" and the third one being almost worse than the first. If you want a wad that will spend its time making you angry then go right for it. Otherwise I would stay away from this one.
Simple as Cheese - Mr. Chris
Vanilla - Solo Play - 26716 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
Simple as Cheese is the title for Mr. Chris' E2M1 replacement. It is another creation by him that replaces a starting level in one of the original Doom episodes. According to a comment on the /idgames page this was also apparently intended for the "Doom The Way iD Did", which would make perfect sense(though only Mr. Chris can verify). As Mr. Chris followed the design of E1M1 with his Hangar remake he once again remains faithful by sticking to the design of E2M1 for this replacement. It's very simple, doesn't quite have the same charm as the original E2M1 (I would say due to some missing hellish elements), but if you don't mind spending a few minutes to play an original-styled level then it certainly won't kill you to give this a brief playthrough.
Deimos Immaculated - Nicolas Monti
Vanilla - Solo Play - 137043 bytes -
Reviewed by: Kirby
Deimos Immaculated is a map intended to follow the design elements of Episode 2, in this case without the hellish influence - just the techbase design (hence the title "Deimos Immaculated"). It is a replacement for E2M9 and the author claims that it is doable from pistol start.
Let me just start by saying this level totals 775 monsters. Yeah, that many. The number might not make a huge difference to some but attempting this level from pistol start is no easy feat. Whilst you make your way through it is easy to see that Nicolas kept true to his word and created a level in the footsteps of E2 minus any hellish influence. If you are a fan of the oldschool maps this would be one to look at.
The gameplay on the other hand made me want to bang my head on the monitor. As mentioned earlier it is no easy feat to attempt this level from a pistol start - so much so that I played this level for 18 minutes and finally had enough when I died at a trap you can't avoid in order to get the red key. I didn't even get halfway through the map - it is THAT hard. Ammo is placed sparsely throughout the map which means you will be relying A LOT on the chainsaw. It is in fact impossible to complete this level from pistol start without using the chainsaw. If you choose to attempt this level and are not a masochist or a big fan of huge monster fights with small amounts of ammo you'll most likely end up like me - consistently grinding your teeth until they are stumps and then even more until you start digging into your own gumline.
Fear of the Dark/Blood of the Earth - Encryptic
ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 130377 bytes -
Reviewed by: ManCannon
Note: My reviews are going to be aimed more towards the authors and mappers in general to try and point out what I think are good things to focus on.
Fear of the Dark and Blood of the Earth are the first maps from author Encryptic and are definitely a good creative start. Both levels were created with focused thought (rather than just random areas tied together) and while nothing amazing they show solid potential for any future releases.
Unfortunately I can only properly review Blood of the Earth as it looks like the player is given the wrong spawn location in Fear of the Dark (which is sad because it is an interesting map).
Blood of the Earth is a decent looking map with decent dark lighting; it keeps a constant theme of Blood and Earth textures which is a nice way to tie into the title. There are no identical areas, as each room or passage is individual and poses fairly unique challenges.
I don't know if this was intentional or by accident but it's a nice idea: instead of the player falling into a kill trance the map keeps the user awake because each little area will have a different kind of engagement.
The challenge based combat is what stood out from these maps to me. I don't want to make it sound too fancy but the idea and basic execution is definitely there and creates a different pacing. There are no hallways filled with shotgun fodder (sergeants, humans etc). Instead there are trap-like situations where the player is given little time to react and deal with strong demons. This does however mean that difficulty can spike until you figure out the best way to deal with each situation, so it's something to consider as a mapper as you risk just frustrating players who forget to save.
So Fear of the Dark, I am pretty sure that the player is given the wrong starting location. In the Readme file the author states that the maps should be playable from a pistol start, however FotD places you in a location that leads to very strong demons that cannot really be dealt with, there are ammo drops around the place like shotgun shells but no shotgun to be found.
Even using IDDQD to clear the area you find yourself stuck as there are no keys to be found or doors that lead to anywhere. Using NOCLIP I found what I think is meant to be the starting area (there's a shotgun and some starting gear similar to his first map) and the level progression seems to make sense from this location.
It looks like it features the same type of combat ideas as the first map and visually it looks quite nice even though it uses the more boring interior location/textures.
Summary: Intelligent design ideas, unique pacing, decent texturing and lighting, varied architecture makes maps more interesting, second map appears to have wrong start location :( (I apologize if this is error on my part as the map does look well made.)