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The /newstuff Chronicles #425

  • A Taste for Blood - Mattias Johansson (Waverider)
    Doom 2 - MBF - Solo Play - 6222947 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Capellan
    A Taste for Blood is a 6 map episode, designed for single play, by a single author. It requires MBF support. Difficulty settings are enabled, and the maps are designed with pistol start in mind. It can also be played continuously, which is what I did. The difficulty definitely rises as you go through levels, even carrying equipment over from one map to the next.

    The author does a good job with architecture and texturing. Flow through the levels is smooth and generally intuitive, with very few head-scratching "what do I do now?" moments. They are a little more fond of using "doors that are opened elsewhere" than I'd like, at least in the tech base levels, but that's a small thing. Some of the secrets are a little obscure, but a nice touch is that when you do find them, they are often quite a bit more substantial than just a closet with some goodies in them.

    The fights are usually well-designed, with good use of different elevations, windows, and pillars to provide dynamic combat environments. Monster selection also appears to have had some thought put into it, with good use of cacodemons and lost souls in particular. And I very rarely have nice things to say about the use of lost souls!

    We start in a tech base environment. Map01 kicks off with shotgun work against imps and troopers, but the author quickly makes it clear that this wad is paced with its 6-level length in mind. Both the weapons and monsters escalate fairly briskly, though the difficulty remains fairly straightforward, with only one truly frenetic melee.

    Map02 makes good use of interconnections to minimise back-tracking (thank you!), and steps up the challenge a little. Distant hitscanners are more frustrating than fun in one section of the map, but you do at least get the opportunity later to close in with them and vent your frustrations. The fight after grabbing the red key is probably my favourite sequence in the level.

    Map03 moves from the tech base theme to rock and brick, and definitely ups the challenge from the previous map. There are several sections where enemies will come from all directions, and it features a veritable caco-swarm at one point, which is always something I've enjoyed.

    Map04 changes up the look again, moving to a city motif. This is nicely done. Gameplay starts off pretty frantic, as plenty of monsters roam the streets, but then becomes more of a mopping up operation, with the exception of the one particularly nasty ambush.

    Map05 returns us to tech bases. In this case a somewhat damaged one. It's a great-looking environment, with a segment of subway track being the stand-out visual element. Gameplay seems a little more forgiving than maps 3 and 4, with two notable exceptions spiking the difficulty quite nicely.

    Map06 is a short and slightly underwhelming conclusion to the wad, with the main danger coming from hitscanners at range in the dark.

    Even if A Taste For Blood doesn't end with quite the crescendo it deserves, it definitely merits your attention. It features great-looking environments, good attention to design and gameplay, and a variety of challenges. Download most certainly recommended.

  • Doom Chronicles: Zodiac Base - TheNooBringeR
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Solo Play - 6588220 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Zalewa
    This WAD in a word: crap.

    The author states that the WAD requires Zandronum, but it works in ZDoom just as well. The ZDoom features are limited to some wall textures being used on flats and crouch being needed to complete the first level. That's it. There are two maps and both of them are equally bad. Imagine Wolfenstein but without any kind of detail and you'll get this WAD - a barren wasteland of sadness where random clusters of monsters are destined to infight each other for eternity. Most of the file size is taken by an MP3 tune which is used in MAP02. The tune itself is okay, but by being paired with such horrible level, it's only capable of inducing hysterical laughter of insanity.

    Minor gripes: Door tracks move or don't move at random, and some linedefs are visible on the automap by default for no apparent reason.

  • Trick or Treat Madness 2012 - Unholypimpin/Alwaysdoomed
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1560909 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Melon
    So this is pretty cute. You go around a neighbourhood smashing up MSPaint objects with your MSPaint baseball bat and stealing MSPaint candy, and then every so often some ghost enemies spawn and try to kill you. You're on a 9 minute timer to get the best score you can, but it's hard to tell what your score is because the text on the screen overlaps.

    If you manage to survive for the full time, your reward is... whatever is happening in that final screenshot.

    My favourite part is where you get to brutally murder the home owners that give you candy. Maybe the wad is trying to tell me that I WAS THE MONSTER ALL ALONG WOAH SPOOKY!

  • MAYhem 2012 - A buncha clowns
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3397791 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Capellan
    Twelve maps, various authors. Intended to be completed within a month. How'd they do?

    Map01: A nice start. There's something slightly "off" about the look of the level, texture-wise, but in a good, creepy "can't put my finger on it" kind of way. Architecture was solid, with good variation of heights, and use of openings and windows. Nice opening fight, where monsters spill out at you from all directions. Frenetic without being unfair. Good distribution of monsters, too. Fun starter level. Thumbs up.

    Map02: Oh dear. This felt like a big step backward from the first map. Visually, it's mishmash of themes, without any discernible thread to hold them together. There was no sense of place. I'm not one who looks for "realism" in level design, but I do like to have a sense of a functional location (or if it's not functional, that that dysfunction is the result of some clear process). This felt very 1994 to me, in the sense of being a bunch of corridors and rooms that were connected up without much rhyme or reason. Gameplay was mostly OK. Nothing exceptional, but nothing super cheap. It tended to have an over-reliance on packs of a single monster type. Not a terrible map, but not one I'll remember fondly.

    Map03: Another mish-mash level, with wildly different visual styles separated by ... well, nothing, really. It just goes from one to the next without much rhyme or reason. The level's gameplay is as all over the place as the textures, with trivial encounters interspersed with far more dangerous foes, and no hints as to what's coming next. That creates some unpredictability, but also a lot of "meh" when it turns out that the next room's one of the "nothing to see here" encounters.

    Map04: Lots to like, though a few flaws too. Solid use of textures. Maps with lots of grey can look very bland, but this level mixed in enough color and highlights that this wasn't a problem. Architecture wasn't anything too fancy, but had enough detail to look good and be easy to navigate. Use of the smaller monster types was good, with the blue door courtyard being an especially fun encounter. Use of the larger enemies was less impressive, with some of them placed in ways that made them trivially easy to deal with.

    Map05: Yuck. Bland, square rooms; dull texture use; stupid gimmicks. All suck, all the time.

    Map06: I liked this a lot. It looks good, with the textures used combining well with the blocky, LEGO-esque structures used. This is a level where the use of lots of 90 degree angles is a feature, not a bug. Gameplay had good set-pieces, and it spaced them out over the level, so you always had something to do. I never felt like the level design was being cheap. Battles were tough for "fair" reasons: because there were swarms of enemies and few places where you couldn't be attacked from multiple directions.

    Map07: A tiresome and toothless slaughter map. The map features hordes of high hit point monsters, almost all incapable of seriously threatening the player, that you just have to hold the fire button down long enough for them all to be dead. The only highlight is when the designer apparently went mad, offering up a Wolfenstein section and another area of the level where the automap is a picture of a girl with a bunch of flowers (and the level actually tells you to look at the automap to make sure you'll see it). Then there's a voodoo doll auto-death level exit. Blech.

    Map08: This ugly map starts with lots of collapsing floors and crushing ceilings. This is followed by a room of arachnotrons and a cyberdemon. And that's really all there is to it. The ending utilises the map30 monster spawner, but is laughably easy, since you just lower a lift, shoot both switches from it to open the exit, and leave. So basically, it's got no monsters, and it has a bunch of deadly traps that require foreknowledge of the level not to fall into. Ugh.

    Map09: Monster closet time. Again and again and again. The entire map works on the same principal. Trigger linedef, get monsters. Repeat ad nauseum. Not my favorite style of play to begin with, and it becomes tedious here well before the level ends. If that sort of thing is up your alley, you'll like this more than I did. Architecture and texturing are solid, though either some misalignments or odd alignment choices with the latter.

    Map10: Big, sprawling caverns and base level. The central cavern is probably the toughest fight, with enemies on all sides. Easy to get hammered from behind or the sides when you're occupied with what's in front of you. Once that area's cleared out, the side caverns and constructions are less demanding. Still plenty of monsters around, but they can't get at you from so many angles, which makes it much easier to formulate a plan. This was a very good level; the difficulty was a little higher than my "sweet spot", but it was never unfair.

    Map11: Pretty standard fare here. Texturing is fine, architecture is okay. Gameplay is okay, but not very exciting. The set pieces aren't as ambitious or enjoyable as those of the previous map, and there's not much flow: areas tend to be pretty discrete.

    Map12: Technically well-made map, with decent texturing and a wide variety of locations. Some good fights in the early stages of the map, with use of the terrain to make enemies challenging. After you get through the red door, however, the level basically descends into "blizzards of bad guy" territory, as hordes of critters turn up every time you make any progress. It gets pretty wearisome, to be honest. Amusingly, the last and biggest blizzard of enemies, right at the end of the level, is largely harmless.

    Mayhem12 features a wide mix of styles and quality levels, but I'd say that maps 1, 4, 6 and 10 definitely make it worth a look, while some of you will probably also enjoy map 9 a lot.

  • Every Which Way but Out - Peter Guts
    Heretic - Vanilla - Solo Play - 69379 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    A Heretic map made in 1995 and recently uploaded to the archives by Perseus. What, you're still reading? OK, so you start in a circle room with no doors. You hump all the walls, find a way out and appear in... another circle room with no doors. If you hump some more walls, you can find a bunch of lovely "puzzles", such as a maze with 130 square rooms, all connected by doors. The detail is almost non- existent, and 99% of sectors have a maximum light level of 255. It's a total disaster and not in an entertaining way. Do not play this.

  • Claustro - Rhys
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 160264 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Rhys! How's it going?

    I've been taking some... advice from other Doomworld Forums members. Their consensus is that they like my reviews, but honestly, I think I'm a little too harsh. So, if I'm going to be harsh, well, I guess I had better give reasons. I made 2 pages worth of notes on this as I played, so I would have some justifications. This may be the most thorough review I've given yet. Rhys, you're a lucky guy. I'll try to be constructive, as I see you're new to the mapping thing, but better than I am, obviously!

    We start this map set at MAP15, for secret levels. That's fine with me. What isn't is how needlessly cramped this is! Is this a 1024 map? It seems to be way too long to be one, so why did you try to cramp everything up? I can see if it's a 1024 map, as you'd need to make it cramped to stay in the constraints, but making the map hard to move around out of principle? That's weird. Because you do this, you forced yourself to "curl in" and make areas needlessly mazey. And while I'm on the subject, if you're going to make it cramped, please take the time to align textures (and not use the auto-align so much, STAR TEXTURES DON'T WORK WELL LIKE THAT.)

    And for Satan's sakes, DON'T PUNISH PLAYERS FOR SECRETS. This is one of my largest pet peeves. Players should be rewarded for their exploration, not punished with a baron scratching their backs! This kind of thing is all through this map set, and it's really cheesy. Stop doing it.

    Also, wouldn't it be better if you provided more ammo to compensate for the cramped feeling? I usually waste more ammo when I'm in a cramped area, because I don't have enough room to move to plan my shots accordingly. Your monster use is a little evil, too. Revenants' homing rockets where there is no cover? Why would anyone do this? To dare the monster to punch me? What if I have a hell knight below me that teleported in, trying to claw my feet? What then?

    The difficulty is all over the place. The parts that are supposed to be hard aren't, and vice versa. This makes for some weird situations that I have not encountered in Doom, some hilarious, some just stupid.

    The secret level is just ass: Generic marble Thunderdome. There's a pillar where the player starts, falls, and is greeted by the most overused slaughtermap buddies! Yay! The funniest part is that this level isn't even hard! Just wait until it's clear, run up the stairs, take care of the jerks on the ledge and flip the switch! Yes! It's that easy. Leave the cyberdemons alone to be trolled by the imps they can't quite hit because they're so high up on the ledges.

    MAP16 starts us off with another tech base, this time with some outdoor areas, some caverns and other goodies. Finally some variety! Sure is a lot of SHAWN here, though. This map is very small, yet somehow, I got lost in it. That shouldn't even be possible. The reason is obvious: a lot of forced backtracking. This map has it all, man. I'm bouncing my little green ass all over the walls. I do like the themes here, though, and the secrets! But, the nukage supercharge secret was just brutal. I almost lost all the health I gained getting back! There were also a few texture errors, mostly behind some grate textures and a gate. I suppose this is a ZDoom feature that didn't work in other Boom ports? I don't use ZDoom, so I didn't check.

    MAP17 is where it all falls apart. I have no idea what you were trying to convey here. Suburbs? Plutonia-themed map? Techbase in a mining shaft? I don't even know, and I don't care. I'm still pissed off over the fact that I'm punished for the route order I take in this map. That's such BS. Revenants everywhere, nukage that doesn't hurt you (!!!) and a blue-key object disguised as a light. I don't even remember if I pushed it. Getting destroyed in the PMITA Hell-Knight prison exit room wasn't very fun either. It took me about 6 savegame loads to make it through there. I'm sure there was some other things in here that made me angry but I already put them out of my mind. Oh, well.

    MAP18 is a hellish pretzel. You used so many ugly colors in here. Way too much red that doesn't fade well in the Doom colors, and little to no lighting. Sudden Baron at the end of the demon conga tunnel was also a dick move, too. That is another punishing secret you have thrown in.

    I'm running out of steam, here.

    After the yellow key skull teleporter (which doesn't use a teleporter flat, mind you)... OH MY GOD THE PINK. Did you look at this room in the game? It's horrible! It's hell on my eyes, so if you were going for that, you nailed it, buddy!

    There's a really easy hellknight barrage here. Just dodge in one of the long hallways in that room (make sure to take out the bonehead behind you first) and keep swinging that SSG like it ain't no thing.

    Rhys, you know what I'm about to bring up, don't you? That crusher that kills the barons? FOR NO REASON. Yes, that one. That was hilarious! If that was supposed to be a killer challenge for the player, it wasn't. The barons get stuck in the crusher immediately and die from one long, slow squoosh. You had to have noticed that in testing, right?

    And to the last BOSS ROOM! Just hit the switches and dodge cybie rockets. That's it. I didn't even take a hit. What a lame ending to a weird map set.

    Final verdict? Well, it was an experience, that's for sure. It's kinda easy, then ridiculously hard for all the wrong reasons. You have some potential though, so please, next time... just make your maps a little less cramped, please? And stop doing cheap stuff like punishing secrets and mandatory damage to complete part of the map. Your monster use needs a lot of refinement, too. I hope I didn't punch you too hard, but your maps really pissed me off! So please, don't make maps that make me mad! That's easy, right?



  • Descent into the Depths of Chaos #1 - The Chaos Brothers David Montgomery & Jim Milner
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 68228 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    A small, 43KB level.. great. Let's take a gander at the Description!

    "This is an outside Pwad, and is intended as the opening level to our remake of the "Shores of Hell" episode.

    Having survived "Knee Deep in the Dead" You find yourself in a strange, maze- like structure that is open to the sky. You Know that you have discovered the lair of Acerjak, a former human who bartered his soul (along with the human race) to the hellspawn of Demons."

    Well.. let's play!

    As I took the time to boot up the game on my dying machine, I came to the realization that the level's size either meant it was a small level, or a long windy maze that had nothing in it. Sadly, this is a large level with... nothing in it.

    You start at the centre of the maze surrounded by entrances to the spiraling mazes. Each path is blocked by 8 or so barrels, and each path is littered with health pick ups, barrels, and sometimes the occasional demon. With my selection of a path in hand, I blew up the barrels blocking it. Sadly I was taken to an empty pathway, littered with mystical armor, and the occasional health bonus yet nothing to kill.

    The level had me bored to tears looking for a suitable fight. Though you stay around the entire level armed with not much more than a pistol, or if you're lucky to find it, a chainsaw.

    The level's design is horrible, and could use a lot of improvement, and there is far too much health even for the pocket amount of fights involved.

    I recommend avoiding this like the black plague, and not downloading.. unless you have need to fill up 0.4KBs of space on your hard drive.

    In spite of the readme, there is no MAX FUN here to be found.

  • Descent into the Depths of Chaos #9 - The Chaos Brothers David Montgomery & Jim Milner
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 43533 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Another map from the Chaotic Brotherly duo!

    However, as much of an improvement it is over Descent into the Depths of Chaos #1, it is still littered with bad architecture and horrible level design.

    The map has enough ammo and weapons to suit up to 10 fellow Doomguys, and enough unmarked doors to resort the squad to play a round of deathmatch.


    (Reveal with IDDT that the map is far too big, and again feels like a first map.)

  • Compound-087-B - g0ustoff
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 14340267 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Melon
    Things got off to a bad start when the text file didn't say what port this was for. I tried to load it in PrBoom+ but it turns out it's a ZDoom wad.

    When you start a new game, you're in a dark room with a megasphere nearby, and a voice over a radio speaks to you. You run around some big, dark, empty rooms and ultimately find a key next to three teleporters. Two of them send you back to the start and one of them ends the level.

    That's it.

    I even opened up the wad in SLADE to see if I was missing something. Turns out the level has a DECORATE stealth demon that can insta-kill you, walks slowly and through walls, and whose health is a 1 followed by about 94 zeros. I lost count.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • The Core - zrrion the insect
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 3584977 bytes -
    Reviewed by: mouldy
    This is a single map for GZDoom, and consists of a romp through a highly detailed tech-base and surrounding caverns, with some hellish undertones creeping in for good measure. Its an enjoyable blast; gameplay is nothing ground breaking perhaps - you explore, you kill, you press switches, walls open and monsters attack. At its heart, it's a fairly simple and linear progression, with layers of lavish detailing adding a superficial complexity that sometimes made my brain hurt. But despite stubbing my virtual toes on excessive amounts of floor details, there is also some lovely scenery on the way. Difficulty is not too hard, despite there only being UV and NM settings. Worth a go if you don't mind spending a few megabytes on a single map.

  • The Sadistic Enclave - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 140697 bytes -
    Reviewed by: ReX
    Let me start by saying that this level will demand patience from even the likes of Job ["...through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)]. Surviving the start area is very challenging, and could be frustrating. I had to try more than 15 times to get out of the trap, and when I managed, I was down to 20% health. What's worse is that playing the game at a lower skill level won't make any difference. There are some health potions in the trap, but barely enough to balance out the damage. Once you venture outside and duck to find cover, things start getting just a little better. (Although, facing a revenant with just 30% health and only a shotgun in the cramped confines of the library was no picnic.)

    There is a chronic shortage of health at the beginning. Things get a little better after the library, and if you manage to find the berserk in a secret area that has an obvious clue, you'll get a much needed adrenaline boost. Ammo is tight at first, but becomes easier to score in the latter half of the game. I managed to exit the level fairly well stocked, despite there being negligible opportunities to encourage infighting. There are some nice fights and traps, such as the one at the super shotgun, at the blue key, and the nasty surprise behind the red key door. Otherwise, during the first half of the level you'll find yourself sniping and taking pot-shots as you try to minimize the damage you sustain and scrounge for that next cache of ammo. Generally, however, there is a decent balance of weaponry and ammo vs. the opposition against which you are pitted.

    The level design and architecture are quite competent, although I wasn't overly fond of the occasionally cramped quarters within which I was allowed to maneuver. Texture choices are well done, with barely noticeable texture misalignments. The blinking skin tunnel with the archvile was fairly atmospheric, but the suspense did not translate into an explosion of action as I'd expected. The level features clever vanilla Doom tricks, such as the hidden sunken floor, the enemies in plain sight hidden behind "invisible" walls, and "swinging" doors (at the exit). A couple of the secrets are relatively easy to find, and the other two are diabolical.

    Just a couple of minor issues to point out: first, the text file says, "Should run with the original Doom II wad, but hasn't been tested." With a name like "The Sadistic Enclave.wad", the wad will not be recognized by doom2.exe (or chocolate-doom.exe), as it is not in an 8-character alpha-numeric format. Renaming it to, say, enclave.wad will fix the problem. Additionally, unless you use a limit-removing port, the level will crash with VPO errors right in the start room. Second, the text file indicates that a DECORATE lump is present, and: "The DECORATE lump won't work in ports that don't support it". In fact, there's only a MAPINFO lump (not a DECORATE lump), which is ignored in doom2.exe (or chocolate-doom.exe).

    This has the potential to be a challenging and enjoyable map for those that can make it through the first couple of areas. Give it a whirl.

  • The Damned - Mr. Chris & collaborators
    Ultimate Doom - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 111014 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Note: This map was originally submitted to DTWID under the name "Dark Passage", and was a collaboration between Mr. Chris, Marnetmar, and the late PhobosDeimos1. It's included in DTWID-LE as E2M7, as well (with a few minor bug fixes). Somehow, Mr. Chris forgot he was working with the most prolific DTWID contributors. Now that that's out of the way, let us begin!

    This PWAD is a mish-mash. Most collabs can be, but this one is really awkward. It's meant to be an E2M6 replacement, but I found a lot of hints of other levels in here, even E1M2's "Lifts to nowhere" and Deimos Anomaly's flesh floors with UAC Computer terminals. Needless to say, the texturing, gameplay, and flow are a mixed bag.

    There are parts of this map that seem to serve no purpose but to make the map as non-linear as possible. This is fun, I guess, but it also can be a beginner's trap. There are some spots that one might not visit, that the player can be absolutely boned if he didn't visit them first. On my first playthrough, I completely missed the chaingun, which made the map really, really tedious. Thankfully, there's a Plasma Gun hidden near it.

    This map seems to suffer from "lack of communication". That is, the map's authors probably didn't collaborate much at all on this, just did work and passed it around. Because of this, the map is like Frankenstein's monster: a group of map themes and ideas hastily sewn together with some horrible transition areas to make it seem as if it were one piece.

    If you want to know my real opinion on this map: It's really forgettable. I liked some of the ideas, such as red carpet from hellish areas transitioning to blue carpet from places not quite "demonized" yet, but there were many other maps in DTWID that resembled this map in some shape or form, so it's no wonder it was ripped out.

  • Frozen Time - Alexander "Eternal" S.
    Doom 2 - OpenGL, ZDoom extended nodes, hi-res texture, tall patch support - Solo Play - 5305990 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Phobus
    Well, it's been a while, but as soon as Eternal announced this was released, I knew I just had to come back to /newstuff reviewing. Not because I feel I'm in any way an authority on his works mind, but just because all of his projects bring a lot to talk about.

    So, now it's finally hit the queue, here we are: Frozen Time! As you can probably tell by the fact that I took 17 screenshots, presentation is absolutely incredible. The new TITLEPIC and INTERPIC (frozent17.png) look very nice, but the real treat for the eyes is the bulk of the map itself. Everything from the 5th screenshot to the 15th that I took is from the large castle, seemingly suspended in the air between a few icy peaks. This is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful maps to ever exist for Doom.

    These looks come at a price though. Firstly, your choice of ports is limited by the need to be OpenGL (for the hi-res textures) and be able to handle the extend ZDoom nodes. Secondly, there is an awful lot for your PC to render. I've got a top-end i5 from about 3-4 years ago and the graphics card to go with it, but even I experienced a bit of chugging (running GZDoom with no dynamic lights or brightmaps) when taking screenshot 05. The thing is, I think this is unnecessary. A gigantic number of SEGS are caught up in tiny little grids of linedefs that make up the fake 3D bridges (see frozent10.png), pretty much all of which can be seen from there. Eternal could have easily restricted the port to GZDoom, used actual 3D bridges and actually have made the map more accessible within the Doom community. Alternately, he could have made the grids less compact or done a small number of other things, all of which would have served to make the map easier to run, with minimal cost. Still, I won't dwell on it any longer, as I could still play the map and from pretty much any other position it was all fine for me.

    ...A fact of which I'm very glad, too! The start is pretty slow and quite linear, giving you a shotgun and quickly stocking you up before presenting you with a plasma gun and sending you through some caves. It all looks nice and it serves to gently ease you into the fact you're playing an Eternal map and therefore have some altered graphics, sound replacements (the Doom 3 plasma gun sound is always a welcome alternative to the original, so I'm glad that was there) and will have to think a bit to progress. Once you're out into the open, you can be very exposed to attack from all sides and end up in a prolonged guerrilla battle with all of the hitscanners, imps and the rarer bigger foes who are perched everywhere and hidden in every nook, cranny and behind every pillar. This gives you a chance to collect together your other weapons, explore the place (taking in the fantastic views) and get a handle on what you need to do.

    It is essentially a switch hunt, but due to the exploration and action involved and if you have a bit of luck like I did in guessing which things are important to go after first (hint: blue skull) you really don't mind. You get some heavier (and obvious) arena battles, there's 10 secrets to find (I managed 6) and the opposition gets pretty stiff by the end, where your finale is an ominously chiming clock and some sort of voodoo doll scripting (judging by the way I arbitrarily lost a bit of health and picked up items, it involves crushers and barrels) before you get a pretty obvious and quite fitting end to it all. I'm pretty sure there's meant to be at least two Cyberdemons in the end fight on Ultra-Violence, but due to some sort of glitch (I probably blocked the landing pad) I only had to fight the one.

    Continuing on with the theme of flaws and issues, the only real cosmetic one I noticed was that the HUD doesn't reflect the ammo types you're carrying at all. Game play-wise, obviously my prior mentions of switch hunts and heavy usage of hitscanners will turn some of you off, but I feel like I have to point out the use of Arch-Viles in the larger, open areas as a real bother. Whilst you do tend to have some slim cover, there is always some additional threat to poke you out from behind the switch or pole that you were using as shelter. Even worse, you get two of them with a horde of chaingunners teleporting in for backup nearer the end of the sequence out in the open, which (if you've not found the hidden invisibility) can only be a nightmare scenario. The use of height variation in game play is a bit questionable too, as you get the odd chaingunner on a very high perch nailing you mercilessly. Even with mouselook in GZDoom being uncapped, the vertical angles I seemed to need to be checking felt a bit ridiculous at points. After the first main bridge is a particularly bothersome example, as there's a small band of shotgunners and a chaingunner way below you down some steep stairs, so if you were using auto-aim and no mouselook, you'll really want infinite heights off or that's you probably walled in.

    Once again, Eternal has given me something I could write a lengthy essay on (some of you probably haven't made it this far through my review already!) and I'm very glad of that. Yeah, I do have some complaints, but the overall impression is that this is an astounding map that manages to be properly jaw- dropping to look at and play pretty well to boot. If you are fortunate enough to be able to run this well enough, definitely give it a go, as this is probably one for the history books, combining the looks of Eternal's earlier Gravity with the game play he pulls off well in a range of his other maps.

    Before you pick up your jaw from looking at those screen shots, you may want to protect it and leave it in place. He (or rather the computer that we know as Eternal) produced this in a mere 3 weeks, according to the text file!

  • Dubai - Didy
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1079312 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    So, since Mr. Walt the reviewer here was in Dubai for holidays, why don't I play Dubai at my home return? (Well, it passed a few days from my comeback...) Maybe it's cool and huge like the famous city (it's a huge town, really, according to the Italian standards of a big town)?

    Cool is cool, but this is a short and sweet map made by Didy, set in the usual abandoned human base torn by demons, +1 since I always loved this mapping style!

    Detail is very well done, and in some parts the level is scary (I'm talking about the blinking red computer room, sort of E1M7 reminiscences here for some reason), the layout is fluid, but you will get easily lost here, so watch out!

    Gameplay is hard but not so extremely ridiculous hard like some slaughtermaps around here; there's new textures from CC4 (I think) and a new weird monster: a meat thing hung on the walls of the final canyon (why didn't Didy add some meat stuff around this room--although it could clash with the main theme of brown and green base of the level, it could make more sense)...

    A cool short wad, recommended!

  • COOLDM2.WAD - Unknown
    Doom/Doom 2 - Vanilla - N/A - 352591 bytes
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Cooldm2, or Cooldoom2, is a sound replacement wad from 1995. Needless to say, this is not cool, nor does it make Doom more Doomy. A range of sounds comes from Beavis and Butt-head. A few sounds sounded like they came from Star Trek, or other movies that I haven't seen, or vaguely remember. This is just another horrible sound compilation that is a waste of space. Then again, who worries about KILOBYTES in this day and age?

    Verdict: pass on this old piece of trash, unless you want to have the sergeants say "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

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.