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The /newstuff Chronicles #392

  • Fragport - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 3492124 bytes
    Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
    This is an update to The Ultimate DooMer's 2001 megawad with, according to the text file, co-op fixes, alignments and some minor improvements.

  • Plutonia: Revisited Community Project - Various
    Plutonia - Vanilla - Solo Play - 5180022 bytes -
    Reviewed by: duncan
    I had some qualms about taking on a Plutonia themed megawad as my first reviewing project for Doomworld in 5-6 years for several reasons, the main one being that Plutonia is far from my favourite style of Doom. Nevertheless, I have fond memories of playing through Plutonia, and the text file for the Revisited Community Project boasted good things. And I'm satisfied to be able to say that this mapset delivers, on the whole.

    It's always nice to see that in the days when Doom is fading into obscurity and only the dedicated ones of us remain in the community that decent sized projects are still being released. Straight away, the authors behind this community should be congratulated for putting in the effort that it takes to see through 32 levels.

    Inevitably, as with any community project, there is a mixed bag of maps in here; some are downright fantastic, while some others are mostly forgettable, but on the whole, none are in any way poor, and the megawad flows nicely, with very little chance for boredom. The main credit I can give to this project is that it is 100% successful in its mission to represent the style of Plutonia. It looks, feels and plays Plutonia throughout and it is thoroughly consistent. As with the original Plutonia, detail lacks in areas and gameplay is often infuriating. As expected, chaingunners and revenants wait at almost every corner to ambush you and this gets tiresome at points. Gameplay is challenging but enjoyable and UV greatly exceeds the difficulty of the original Plutonia a lot of the time.

    The mapset consists of some maps which are inspired by Plutonia and some that are direct remakes of existing Plutonia maps (these are instantly recognisable and mostly very successful in providing some decent nostalgia with an extra edge).

    If you play this on UV, like I did, you can expect to spend a great deal of time on this mapset, but it is time well worth spending. The levels are often atmospheric, particularly through decent use of Plutonia textures and well-considered lighting. Everything you'd expect from Plutonia is here, from green walls (oh yeah, LOTS of them), to vines to wade through, to insane (and often unfair) ambushes, to invisible paths. Oh, and did I say that revenants and chaingunners feature a fair bit?

    I won't go through level by level reviews as I don't have the time and you probably won't have the inclination to read it, but personal highlights for me were a well detailed map 09, a luscious lava and cliff map in level 18, and a very well made map 25. That's not to say that I didn't find plenty to enjoy in other maps; I did. Music is replaced, mostly to good effect, and, of course, a Plutonia themed Megawad wouldn't be the same without a parody of "Go 2 It" for Map 32. This one doesn't disappoint, and nor does the rest of the megawad.

    This seems like the most obvious thing to say but I could sum up the review with the sentence: "This is a megawad ideal for fans of Plutonia." No kidding. It's a testimony to the authors that this mapset completely achieves what they set out to do. If you're not much of a Plutonia fan then you may not be so impressed, but nevertheless, I am confident that there will be parts that even you will enjoy.

  • Vanguard - Paul DeBruyne (skillsaw)
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 9910540 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Snakes
    Every once in a while, a wad comes from out of nowhere and proceeds to blow the minds of the majority of the community. This year, the honor seems to fall into the hands of Paul DeBruyne, who just decided to pop in and show us a masterpiece known as Vanguard.

    I can hardly say a negative thing about a mapset like this. It perfectly combines nonlinearity, height variation, architecture, and item placement to produce one of the best gameplay experiences of the year... But hey, when one takes a page out of Scythe 2 and SOD's books, as DeBruyne did here, what can you expect?

    The best thing about the wad is that each map has its own feel and theme. Whether it be taking an old idea and rehashing it in a fresh way (Map03's arch-vile theme and Map07's spin on Dead Simple gameplay) or using orange tones to bring the palette to its full potential (the last few maps), this wad takes everything I've enjoyed in the past and throws it at me one map at a time. As a result, the standouts are only called such because they're better than what would be otherwise entirely memorable experiences.

    What it all adds up to in the end is an experience rarely achieved by wads. It'll undoubtedly go down as one of the best of the year. What I guess I mean to say is: it's Doom for people who like Doom.

  • Castle of Fear - ProcessingControl
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 70294 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Ralphis
    Castle of Fear is an Ultimate Doom map aimed at emulating the style of 1990s id mapper Sandy Peterson. A standalone endeavor, the map replaces E4M6 of Ultimate Doom.

    Castle of Fear is a fun attempt at a throwback to the maps from the original game, but it is not met without some pitfalls. One of the glaring issues with this map is simply the overabundance of ammunition. Having only played from a pistol start on Ultraviolence, I never once felt strapped for ammo. Rockets were especially easy to come by, allowing me to spend most of the map killing pairs of barons from a distance.

    Furthermore, looking at this map as a fellow mapper, I feel that attempting to emulate Sandy Peterson's style so closely transmits a restraint on the potential creativity that could've been achieved with this map. This, along with uninteresting monster placement (barons seem to always show up side by side in twos for instance), can make the map appear lifeless and predictable at points.

    With all of that said, the small interconnected nature of the map makes it rather enjoyable for a quick run. There will be times where you press a switch and wonder exactly what it opened; you usually won't have to spend more than a few minutes of searching to find it. Even though this map won't be up for any awards this year, I was happy that I had a chance to play it by the time I pressed the exit switch, and would recommend it to anybody that wants a romp through a decent, 90s-style custom level.

  • 2-hour base - Zoltan Schmidt "Katamori"
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 41219 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Ralphis
    Katamori's 2-hour base was, allegedly, built in two hours. If this build time is correct, it certainly shows. In spite of my cynical opening lines however, the map does a thing or two right.

    Right off the bat, you can be ruined on this map by jumping out the window to the right where there is seemingly no way back in the base. Whoops! Aside from that, monsters seem to be deaf in some areas for no apparent reason. Poor design decisions block monster projectiles and limit player movement, as seen with the multitude of dead bushes throughout the map. Additionally, large amounts of health and weaponry make this map relatively easy, even for a new player.

    Visually, the map tries to do some things right and there are signs of a new mapper at work here. For instance, the starting area doesn't look terrible, but shallow sky lights and doors that open and disappear into areas surrounded by sky come off as very amateur (because they are). The mapper can remedy these sorts of problems simply by adding more depth around these spots. Even using floors that drop rather than doors (like the outside area which releases some Cacodemons and Lost Souls) would rid the map of this perception and add an extra layer of polish. Other weaknesses in this area include pillars blocking Revenant projectiles, which makes them all but useless.

    This map is what it claims to be, a short two-hour speed mapping attempt, and it isn't too bad given that it looks to have been done by a rookie mapper. There are certainly areas that Katamori can brush up on, and I hope that some of the advice in this blurb is heeded for future releases, because I will be waiting to play them.

  • Heretic Ammo HUD - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)
    Heretic - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 2893 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
    This Heretic WAD changes the fullscreen HUD so that it shows the ammo of all weapons at once. My only problem with this is that the ammo counter is too far above the picture of the corresponding type. Other than that this seems to work fine.

  • The City of The Damned Apocalypse - Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 25619194 bytes
    Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
    Here's another updated version of a previously released WAD. This is an updated version of Tormentor667's "The City of The Damned : Apocalypse", which was first released in 2007. According to the textfile, this update includes "Widescreen fixes".

  • Herculine's Doom Upgrade - HERCULINE
    Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 16384269 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    This is a mod for ZDoom/GZDoom. It's basically all of the crazy shit from Realm667 packed into one mod, that replaces the regular Doom 2 enemies/weapons with custom enemies/weapons. It also uses the monsters/weapons randomly. Since most custom monsters are significantly more powerful than their standard Doom counterparts, the difficulty in most maps will be substantially increased. Unfortunately, there is very little done to compensate for this. From what I've found, almost every map I've tried is unplayable using this mod.

    The randomness factor really ruins things. There's absolutely no guarantee what it comes up with will actually be playable, or even completable without cheats. One game you may have a decent weapon and enemies that don't kill you in one shot, and then the next you have a crappy weapon and enemies that will destroy you with whatever lame, cheap-ass custom monster bullshit they're packing. Imps can be replaced with slightly more powerful imps, or some super god-mode imp that takes a zillion hits and shoots lazors out of it's eyes or some shit. Shotgunners can be replaced with railgunners. Demons can be replaced by demons that shoot projectiles. Yay.

    If you want to play every map in Doom like it was suddenly infused with "ZDoom Syndrome Extreme Edition", this mod is for you. Everyone else will likely want to pass. It turns pretty much anything it touches into an unplayable mess.

  • Austerity - A Simplicity Tribute v2.0 - Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6180731 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Farm Fresh
    If you're a fan of Tormentor667's work, Austerity will not disappoint. If you aren't familiar, let me elaborate. What's here are three maps of a good length. Long enough to not feel cheap, but not so long that it drags on. There's some good surprises to keep you guessing at how far you are into the map as well, with plenty of ambushes to keep you on your toes. When I use the term "plenty of ambushes" I mean to say that every time you open a door, grab an important item, or revisit an area you've been through, you're going to get swamped with powerful enemies. Most times this was well done, and it's nice to go backtracking and have something to shoot at while you're at it. Later on, though, it becomes almost frustrating and predictable, especially considering the volume and power of the enemies that come out all around you.

    Playing on Hurt Me Plenty is hard enough. I'd suggest anyone who doesn't want multiple deaths and retries to play on I'm Too Young To Die; there's really that many enemies. I struggled to make it on Hurt Me Plenty, eventually resorting to cheats in the third level, as my screenshots show. That said, there's a good balance of ammo. Enough that I had to conserve shotgun shells and use the chaingun or other weapons. I'd say if you can handle that many enemies on you at once, you'll find the ammo will fit perfectly.

    The aesthetics of the map are incredible, which is expected of Tormentor's work. The screenshots highlight only some of the great set pieces that are used and detail is consistent throughout all the maps. There's some real eye-candy to be found. If you're looking for a good example of how adding a border or a window or a little bit of curve can really enhance a map, this is a good place to look. It's clever, it's high-quality, and it's hardcore enough that anyone should be able to get enjoyment out of it.

  • Mage's second deathmatch level *deaTHma2* - Matej "Mages" Zary
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 43397 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Marnetmar
    I'm new to /newstuff reviews so this probably won't be the best review, so bear with me.

    I'm suspecting that this map was originally made in the 1990's, due to the fact that level editors such as WinDEU were used. Anyway, I guess I'll start off with the bad. One of the multiplayer starts is in the middle of a fairly open area, facing a lake of sludge, opposite to an entrance that players are likely to come through. This can cause problems, because players can simply stand at that spawn point and ambush from behind.

    Another thing that annoyed me was the fact that the map had several areas with lights/supports that were sticking out from walls, and pillars in the middle of rooms for aesthetic purposes. While this might be fine in a single player map, it's a big problem in deathmatch maps because players can get stuck on them briefly. Not to mention that most of the rooms in the map are fairly small and the hallways are fairly narrow. So after analyzing the level in single player mode, I tried an offline skirmish with a few bots. Bad news. It wasn't just the weapons that were multiplayer only, EVERYTHING was flagged as multiplayer only, including decorations, most of these being a shitload of trees that the player can, once again, get stuck on. Not only that, but there were several weapons that were placed in the middle of the rooms. This is a big no-no as it causes problems when you unexpectedly run over a weapons and it automatically selects it for you when you don't want it.

    The good: The architecture and lighting was great. With some modifications, I think this would actually make a great single player map. But as a deathmatch map, it's terrible.

  • whitehouse.wad - Kir. Maximth P. Sholovuanoff
    Evilution - Vanilla - SP/DM - 50369 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
    This is just some shitty speedmap supposedly made in a "Transilvania" theme, but I can't see any resemblance. You can beat in a few seconds by just running to the exit, and it looks like something out of 1994 (except for the TNT textures). Don't waste your time downloading this crap.

  • Rec Facility - Jeff Scarsha (Marnetmar)
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 47828 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Ralphis
    Rec Facility is an Ultimate Doom map by Jeff "Marnetmar" Scarsha. It was created for the "Doom The Way id Did" project and replaces e1m2.

    Like most of the maps for this project, Rec Facility draws heavily from actual maps in the original Doom. This map in particular seems to draw heavy inspiration from the map it is replacing, e1m2, and the original e1m7. The fact that such inspirations are so easily seen might be a testament to the mapper's ability and attention to detail, but there are some obvious design differences and even some flaws.

    Unlike the original Doom maps, Rec Facility is fairly cramped throughout the entire map. For most of the map, significant floor height differentials are rarely seen barring the occasional lift. While these aren't necessarily bad, one problem that the map runs into is that it looks fairly similar throughout. The original Doom maps gave a serious sense of location with architectural landmarks, tall windows, and varied texturing schemes. Without these, it is easy to become disoriented early when coupled with tight corridors.

    Ammunition and health are plentiful as you would expect on the second map of an episode, or it will appear to be at first. One thing that Marnetmar has a knack for doing is throwing hordes of demons at you. These guys can drain your shotgun ammunition considerably quickly leaving you with only a pistol to defend yourself. I found four of the six secrets on my first play through but did not find a chaingun (which is ok!). Since some of these demon hordes are in secrets themselves, it isn't the worst idea to pistol through some of the earlier enemies even if you are carrying a shotgun.

    The map should take no more than six or seven minutes on the first Ultraviolent playthrough for even a player of moderate skill. Though the map certainly isn't an instant classic, it is a respectable homage to the original Doom with its own traits and worth at least a look from anybody who enjoys an easy-to-digest classic map.

  • Return To Hell - Johnny
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3886183 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Yet another Terry "Masterpiece". By now, you know the drill. You start the map, get about 5 seconds into it and are suddenly teleported into a room full of random spastic colors, moving floors and some lame "shock" sound playing at full volume. The screenshot pretty much sums it up.

  • dark caves - Gothic
    Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 221558 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    This is a short map for Heretic. It's pretty standard Heretic fare. You go into an underground cave, a mine and a randomly placed ice cave. There's a cool looking 3D bridge. There aren't many enemies, but there's a definite lack of health and items to use, so be careful. That's about it. Go for it, Heretic fans.

  • Deepest Evil - ShadesMaster
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 9882544 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Six maps for Doom 2 using GZDoom. Unfortunately, starting with map 3, they are unplayable from a pistol start. The maps are a mix of tech and hell themes. The layouts are generally very simple and flat, without much height variation or interconnectedness. They're also generally very cramped and dark. There are a few 3D platforms spicing things up a bit, but not by much. The player's speed is reduced by 45% or so, so you will have to play much more cautiously than usual and dodge enemy attacks well in advance.

    The mapset uses quite a few ZDoom custom monsters, as well as making some modifications to the original monsters. Revenants now always fire twin seeker missiles, similar to how they attack in Doom 3. Cacodemons fire a larger, slower blue blob that slightly seeks towards the player. There's also a larger black Mancubus and some weird flesh-blob-things with mouths. By far the most dangerous is the Cyber-Baron, who you are forced to fight in cramped conditions with only a shotgun early on. There's also a large number of custom weapons making an appearance, while none of them are particularly overpowered.

    Overall this is a decent, if uninspired exercise in GZDoom mapping. Play this based on how much you like custom monsters and weapons.

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.