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The /newstuff Chronicles #415

  • Unity City (Version 1.4) - Henri Kähkönen
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1344872 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Adun
    Unity City is Henri Kähkönen's debut Doom wad featuring six maps in classic Doom style. Architecture and texturing are of fairly standard quality. The difficulty is quite high, with scarce amounts of health and an overabundance of hitscanners. There is some trial and error gameplay mixed in thanks to the occasional unfair trap. Some areas are optional, providing nice non-linearity to the levels for the adventurous. One thing this wad could have benefited greatly from is further play-testing. There is a key on MAP06 that only appears on UV and above, a broken monster closet, and a few bugs left over. I appreciated the fact the author composed their own music for the wad. They suited the levels well, and I found them catchy.

    As far as I know, ZDoom compatibility is only required for the custom intermissions and support for the extremely thin sectors. On MAP06, I was met with a clever little voodoo doll puzzle. Upon the violent death of yet another Romero head to a crusher, the final intermission screen left me with a little tease promising more, but alas, the adventure was at an end. Here's to hoping Kähkönen decides to pick this up again and provide the conclusion to this story. However, it seems more likely he ran out of steam.

  • Doom Fort - Andrew Loly
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - SP/DM - 53237 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Right off the bat, the description is misleading. "A deathmatch level" does not describe this monster-filled-three-keys-to-complete map very well, so let's uncover the truth.

    The first word that comes to mind when describing the map's look is "dark", but if you squint beyond the gloom, it is actually a pretty competent and clean-looking tech-base. There are some misalignments and such, but they aren't really a bother, since the map's theme coincides with the classic-style themes of the original Doom maps and pwads like Fava Beans. The map comes bundled with a starry space-sky in a separate file called STARSKY.wad, and if you choose not to load this sky, the map's default sky is the episode 4 orange sky. Either one goes well with the map's abundant use of dark lighting.

    This map features a cool non-linear layout and some interesting monster placement. Unfortunately, it pains me to say that despite these positive aspects, the map is barely playable at all. Ammo is tight in this map, especially near the beginning. Granted that you make all of the right moves early on and grab the weapons in the quickest order possible, you may still find your ammo depleted against the relatively tough opposition (and that's before an arch-vile starts reviving everything!) The cynical side of me suspects this was originally an SP map labeled as a deathmatch map just to provide an excuse for the unbalanced gameplay. Or perhaps I am being a doofus, and the monsters and three-key progression were added as an afterthought to creating a good deathmatch layout. Either way, if the author just took the time to more carefully balance the player's firepower against the opposition he faced, this could have been a great singleplayer experience. I only beat the map after much trial-and-error, and even then there were tough monsters left over that I had to run from unless I was prepared to kill them with my fists.

    As for my recommendation, I say the map may be interesting for four-player deathmatch due to its interesting layout, but I would only recommend it for singleplayer if you are some sort-of super tough survivalist player that doesn't mind getting his fists dirty.

  • Dark7: Mission Pack (The Special Edition) - Bryant (Gunrock) Robinson
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6578966 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Adun
    Dark7 Mission Pack: The Special Edition was first released in May 2002 as a sequel to Dark7. Looking back at its long history of re-releases, I had a feeling I was about to experience something refined. The name of the wad tells all: Seven dark tech base maps, further enhanced and remastered for 2012. The architecture and detailing is cool stuff with conveyor belts, slopes, and tinted lights. However, the black walls everywhere can become bland after a while. Despite being loyal and consistent to the dark tech base theme, it could have used a little bit more color.

    It is intended to be played with the cw-sin1 weapons mod. With vanilla weapons, you may end up ammo-starved. There is sufficient ammunition and health to get the job done, but make too many mistakes and you might struggle. Monster placement is varied and interesting compared to the earlier versions of the wad. The stealth monsters featured were placed well, and there weren't any unfair traps along the way. The final fight might have been over the top with four stealth Arch-viles, but the author nerfed Archies to do like 20 damage so it's not that bad. My pet peeve with the maps is that they do not seem to support pistol start (it's probably possible but I hope you like punching), and there is only one skill level.

    If you've played this before, this probably doesn't warrant another playthrough. If you haven't, I'd recommend you try it out unless custom weapon mods make you uncomfortable.

  • Prison (ZDoom Version) - Demmon Break Master
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Solo Play - 460638 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Despite being called zprison, this map uses Skulltag resources, so you'll need to play it with that.

    The map is hyper-detailed, but the texture usage is unusual. The theme mostly consists of Doom and Doom 2's default texture set, but they are mixed together into a texture stew. It reminds me of the early maps from Eviltech, but on steroids. Admittedly, this sometimes works for the map if done cleverly, but in this case it usually comes off looking a bit sloppy. There are a few ZDoom features (like monsters that bleed the right color, improved weapon sparks, and warped flats), but besides these features, this map could have easily been Boom-compatible. In fact, it once was, according to the author.

    There aren't too many monsters, but there isn't very much ammo to combat them with either (at least early-on), so you will have to ignore some of the bigger and slower monsters at first. This once again led me to wonderful situations like punching a cacodemon with my bare, unberserked fists. Thankfully you do eventually get a berserk pack though, and even later plenty of ammo in one convenient stash so that you may tie up any loose-ends if you wish. I spent more time trying to figure out how to progress in the map than I did fighting monsters anyway, so it's a good indication that this map can get pretty switch-hunty. Anything I left out? Oh, there is a teleport-into-an-inescapable-crusher-fuck-you type death about halfway in that I wasn't a fan of. I think that's about it.

    Overall this is a decent map, but I would only recommend it if you don't mind (perhaps even embrace) switch hunting.

  • Invasion - DooMWaR
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 383909 bytes -
    Reviewed by: NitroactiveStudios
    Yes it's another of DooMWaR's WADs, and I had the guts to play this. It has six maps, and I'm going to tell you some of the details of each map.

    MAP01: This map was a base like map that was playable and was pretty fun to play. It had some interesting architecture and had some good monster fights. One thing that I didn't like was some of the hallways, especially the dark ones with spectres because it was ridiculous. There was also a room with a Spider Mastermind with green nukage around it, and there was also this interesting but crooked sky room with some health bonuses and the red key that was weird. The beginning room reminded me of E1M5 from Doom.

    MAP02: This is where things start to get annoying. Many of this map's monsters are the 41 imps in the outdoor room; there's also a room with a Cyberdemon with the yellow key that has an inescapable pit with lava in it. Another thing about the room is that you HAVE to fall in the pit to lower the lift with the yellow key, meaning you can't beat this map without cheating. Another part of the map that annoyed me was the balance beam room with all the cacodemons, and it was so bad that I decided to skip the balance beam by running on the nukage and taking the teleporters that would get me closer.

    MAP03: This map really pissed me off because of the low amount of medikits. There was a secret with a megasphere, but I missed it. The map had some really tough battles. Another thing that puzzled me was that the yellow key was placed in a secret area. Another thing that was bad was the room that released many pinky demons at you.

    MAP04: This map was pretty short. The map had a green slime room that had the blue key, which wasn't too interesting. One of the rooms had a pit with two Arch-viles and a medikit, and if you fall into that pit you won't be able to escape. There's also a secret place that seems unreachable without cheating. The room with the yellow key was an uninteresting hallway with many monsters in it. There's also a room with a Cyberdemon in it that also had the door to the exit switch in it.

    MAP05: The beginning room looked interesting, but when I stepped into the teleporter and made my way into the next area, I went through very uninteresting hallways with dull fights. One of the rooms had a patch of red rock that would hurt you if you stood on it. There's also a room with crates and a room with a floor that hurts you even though it looks harmless. There are also short hallways with a sky ceiling that remind me of E3M3 in Doom. I then got to a slow floor lift that reminded me of E3M1. The final area had a Cyberdemon with some Hell Knights, and you cannot leave this area once you go in it. The portal to the final stage looked interesting, and it was the most interesting part of the map.

    MAP30: Yes we jump to MAP30, our final map in this WAD. The starting room actually looks interesting, but the final boss room isn't too much. The Icon of Sin boss audio was reversed, meaning you can easily hear John Romero's secret message. The boss room is quite similar to the one in MAP30 of Doom II only with smaller lifts, different textures, a bigger arena and other stuff.

    So what do I think of this WAD overall? Well, it's nothing too good. It has some inescapable areas and some ridiculous elements. Another thing is that most of the maps are just named MAP## (the ## is the map number), except for maps 05 (named "Hell") and 30 (named "Icon of Sin" like in Doom II). The WAD also has a custom title screen, but it doesn't look like the professional ones you find in better WADs. This WAD is definitely not one of the greatest WADs I've played, but if you want to try it out, you might not like it at all.

  • Quake-zone - DooMWaR
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Deathmatch - 317606 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Welcome to this edition of /doomwarstuff! This dude has had a history of taking wads (from Eric Harris of all people), making minor modifications, and uploading them as his own. With that in mind, it's hard to believe the authenticity of anything he uploads.

    That aside, would Q-zone make a good deathmatch map? Probably not. The map basically comprises of one long zig-zaggity corridor with little height variation and crates galore. Besides a few badly placed new textures and one cute "underwater" pool, it's hardly Quake-like at all. I don't really recommend it.

  • Tier - DooMWaR
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 117642 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Gasp! "WEAPONS' SOUNDS AND SPRITES THAT I MADE! SO GIVE A CREDIT" This could only mean that this map is by a member of the original Duke Nukem 3D graphic design team! It's an honor and a privilege to be reviewing a map by... wait a minute, this is another upload by that Columbine fan again. Uggghhh.

    So, the map. Well its a reinterpretation of Eric Harris's killer.wad, but it's at least better than many of the uploader's previous entrées. For example, this map features some basic height variation and a somewhat interconnected layout, even if this is only because the map consists of random small structures thrown into an otherwise big and empty square. It's okay, but I still would probably skip it for something else. View the screenshot and you can take in the entire map.

  • Phobos - DooMWaR
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Deathmatch - 92462 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Adun
    Another deathmatch map from DooMWaR. At least it looks better than Nazi Soccer and Tennis. This map wouldn't run in ZDaemon or PrBoom for some reason. Way too much open space. Bizarre sky. Boring layout. Zero effort mapping, of course.

  • The Adventures of Super Chicken and Wondeer! - XutaWoo
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 4050067 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Adun
    Ever wonder what it would be like to play Doom as a hilariously overpowered chicken? Thanks to XutaWoo, now you finally can. As Super Chicken, you are incredibly short but that doesn't stop you from being a death dealing engine of mass destruction wreaking havoc on those invading bastards from hell and sending them back to the darkest armpits of the earth they crawled out from.

    Monitors a la Sonic the Hedgehog spawn in place of weapons containing a random effect or special ability with limited ammunition accessed with alternate fire. These range from anything between breathing fire to shooting giant laser beams, in other words, completely ridiculous, over the top and fucking awesome. Don't believe me? Try out the Invulnerability power-up. With jumping enabled, Super Chicken is amazingly mobile, able to reach great heights and slowly descend allowing him to leap great distances.

    While weaponless, Super Chicken is only armed with his beak which deals approximately the same amount of damage as a berserk fist. A berserk Super Chicken is another story. The minor flaws? Super Chicken can not make use of dropped weapons from former humans or ammunition so weapon spawns are all the help you are going to get. In maps with a shortage of weapon spawns, such as Plutonia MAP11, you'll end up having to peck your way through the latter half without a weapon.

    Worth a try.

  • XJS - Ofisil
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 85502 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    So, after a long time of not writing anything for the /newstuff reviews, here I come again with this map made by Ofisil, some guy (or girl, or some kind of superior artificial intelligence born from the massive depths of the KGB labs) who reviewed my map "Nutty Shells" in the last /newstuff Chronicles. So I thought to give him/her/it the favor back by reviewing this map, simply called XJS, which stands for... Xenomorphs on Jamaican Sands? Who knows...

    Apart from the jokes, this map presents a new cool title picture, as you see in the first shot, and the level itself is a gloomy and dark hell-themed map, maybe with some dull structures but not that bad, and there is also some really cool detailing in the map! This level reminded me of a mash-up with map28 of Doom 2 and map12 of Plutonia Experiment, due to avoiding the archviles. Also, it could be better if you did something like in map12 of Plutonia, where viles are in the beginning of the level caged in the start room, and then unleashed into the maze. The level is enough difficult but beatable; at the red skull key room I was out of ammo and I had to fist the damn barons. I think also that I just had 1 or 2 invulnerability spheres instead of 4 at the end of the corridors after that red skull door. Also, I didn't get the rocket launcher secret in the white room; some hint could be better and make people feel less disoriented when you get it.

    Anyway, nice little challenging map Ofisil, good job!

  • Survive In Hell Public Release 2 - JC
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 4092235 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    SIHPR2 is a 30 + 3 level slaughter-style Megawad for Doom 2. I usually don't play slaughter maps. While they ARE fun to play, there is little replay value and the gameplay is quite repetitive. I gave this a try though and enjoyed it a lot, although it too has the typical flaws of slaughter gameplay.

    Design-wise, it's a big pile of various themes, without any cohesion between levels, none of them worth looking at for more than a couple of seconds, although nothing looks bad. The music themes are meh. Some custom tunes, some taken from various video games, good but forgettable, and a bit out of place with Doom's atmosphere. Gameplay-wise, all maps are the typical slaughter levels, where you have plenty of ammo to battle against large groups of tough enemies. Usually most mappers create large arenas where you run around BFG-ing everything while strafing. Here, however, the authors were smart enough to create a more varied collection of maps. Most levels have a hub-like design where you start in a main area from where you can move to some smaller, secondary areas that lead to the needed keys, and upon picking up a key, a lot of monsters will appear in the central area. Other levels will put you in a very small area where you'll have to confront a lot of teleporting baddies, and others are just straight lines where you move from battle to battle.

    First, the good: Most levels are quite entertaining and will give you some nicely thought challenges. Maps are even better when you play them at pistol start and 10 times better for coop play. Also, while all maps are full of baddies, unlike most slaughter maps, all enemy groups have the right "size" so that you won't have to battle against 1000 Demons and die from boredom. The bad: Like all Slaughter Megawads, the repetitive gameplay will put you to sleep after playing 10 or so levels. Secondly, I don't have anything against custom monsters, but the ones used here are more style than substance since they don't really add to the gameplay, since most of them are just differently colored versions of the originals with more HP. The final flaw: After some levels, you'll realise that the authors have run out of ideas, giving you a lot of déjà vu.

  • The Doom Universe's Total Randomness Community Project - The Doom Universe
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3075235 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Ofisil
    This Wad with the exceptionally long name that I won't write because of sheer boredom (although I've just written an exceptionally long and boring intro), is as a collection of 7 maps from various authors that were unfinished/long forgotten, now polished and completed. Since they aren't connected in any way, I've played all of them from pistol start. Here we go!

    Green Nightmare: Probably the simplest, smallest and most boring of them all. A small and linear level decorated with green marble walls, a couple of toxic ponds and some enemies scattered around. Skip.

    Lis: Another small one that has that amateur kind of look. Linear and a TAD harder, but still nothing special about it. Aim, shoot, pick key, open door, level completed!

    1994 Castle: A large but simple castle, with a Cyberdemon in a central tower, a lot of Imps in the surrounding walls, and some other baddies running around the place. Each corner has a switch that will help you get the needed keys. Ammo is sufficient, and since there is plenty of space to move around, it all gets too easy. At the end we have a somewhat hard Cyberdemon battle in a very narrow place, but he won't trouble you much.

    Emoticon Symphony: A small grey-stone-and-water map, with a series of far more challenging battles and traps than the ones in the previous Maps, but still nothing really exciting. I liked the dual Spider Mastermind battle, but I was extremely annoyed with the final battle where you are confined in a narrow room against a Cyberdemon, but also forced to take a partial invisibility. Once again, a level that you can forget about the moment you've finished it.

    Submerged Hallways: This must be the most Doom-like map of them all. Pick the keys in a linear fashion and reach the end, killing baddies along the way. Opposition is fairly simple, with unexciting traps and ambushes and plenty of space to move around.

    Land Of Confusion: According to the few "quick" reviews, this is the best map in this Wad. I hate to be the nitpicker (once again), but I'll disagree. This level is a gargantuan (and dark) series of ambushes where more than 1500 enemies and 30 (!!!) secrets await you with each key/switch/weapon/door leading to another small team of enemies' appearance. The problem with this concept? It gets really boring too soon, especially since there isn't anything special about all those traps. As I've said, key collected, wall lowered, enemies appeared, rinse-repeat.

    The Keeper Of Nightmares: This final level is an Icon Of Sin-style map that looks very good, with an emphasis on black stone textures, along with some wonderful new textures, like, for example, a great nightmarish baby picture (Necronomicon?), or the magnificent H. R. Giger image used instead of the typical “Sin” wall. Finally, an ambient music theme, that fits like a glove with the look of the map. What about the gameplay? Upon "waking up" the boss, you must enter 3 dangerous areas in order to press some switches and open the "mouth" of the beast in order to enter it and finish the level.

  • Ghost House - Royce Lambert
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 153097 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Krispy
    Ghost House is a 1-level deathmatch map for Doom 2. The description says it's also intended for single player use, but as there are no monsters and the exit is easily reached, I wouldn't recommend this. The music for some reason plays on MAP01, but the level that he replaced is MAP10. Some sounds are replaced. The house itself consists of a grand entrance, a couple of short hallways, a library, and a maze area in the back. Misaligned textures galore. Very small, but lots and lots of decorations put up around it (hanging corpses, candles, etc.), just kind of surrounding the whole house. As far as gameplay goes, single player is crap and deathmatch is slightly better. This 90's wad is likely a beginner's wad as well.

  • Chaos - doomaniac
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 8870239 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    Two short maps based around a wooden house theme. There is a nice blue sky, some interior sprites, and a new boss to fight. Both maps are a little cramped, and map01 is very dark in places, but they look pretty good for my taste, and the architecture isn't that bad. Gameplay is simple and straightforward. Overall, not the worst way to spend 10-15 minutes.

  • ClubEpic - g0ustoff
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 10152901 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Club Epic does not stand up to its name. For a 10MB wad, one would come to expect more than a 9.9MB song and a 0.1MB map. Club Epic is a typical beginner's wad set on introducing a dance club. There are random marines roaming around a giant room with flashing lights, a deep pool and random coloured lighting. That's all there is to it: a song that was stolen, and a lackadaisical effort at creating a night club.

    Avoid and save yourself the 10MB on your bandwidth.

Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.