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The /newstuff Chronicles #432

  • WhoDunIt: The Art of Deception - Conflagrated, Theshooter7, TheMisterCat, Peanut, Zeberpal, et al.
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Deathmatch - 86866320 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Xaser
    [Ed: I'm sick of seeing this sit in the /newstuff review queue, so here's a copy and paste of the 2012 Cacowards review.]

    The three men gaze at each other in silence. Yellow's eyes dart back and forth, contemplating whether to fixate on Red or Blue. Once a party of six, only three remain, their dwindling numbers a testament to the raw fear that had been eating away at Yellow since awakening in the dusty old museum: a murderer had been walking among them. Yellow's trembling hands grip the pistol tightly as he spares a glance at the old mirror in the room, once more spying the desperation in his own eyes. A sudden burst of movement and a thundering crack later, and Red is on the ground before Yellow becomes conscious of his own actions. The murderer now lies dead at his feet. He was sure of it. All evidence had pointed to Red: the suspicious movements, the time he spent wandering alone. It had to have been Red, right? Yellow's final question was answered swiftly as he felt the icy blade of a knife piercing his back...

    That's not an excerpt from a (rather bad) mystery novel. That's a description of actual gameplay from WhoDunIt, a brilliant new gameplay mode for Zandronum (formerly Skulltag) centering around deception and paranoia. It's a simple enough concept: each round, one person is secretly declared the Murderer, and it's their job to silently kill off the other players while remaining undetected. What really makes the gameplay shine, though, is the chaos that often results from the "innocents". The beautiful film-noir-esque maps are littered with improvised weapons and the occasional firearm, as a means for innocents to defend themselves... in theory, that is. In practice, a "suspicious" act by an innocent can find him slain at the hands of his fellow non-murderers, a deed which does not go unpunished. Matches often slide in the murderer's favor in such a manner, with the evildoer himself rarely getting his hands dirty. Now, who's the real monster?

    This sort of tension is unlike anything I've ever played. I've fond memories of hiding in dark shadows on a server somewhere, huddled behind my knife, silently gazing onward as rampant paranoia claims yet another victim. It's not often you find a gameplay conversion of this scale turning out so well, even moreso in a multiplayer setting. As such, even in the face of solid CTF sets like Velocity CTF X and 32in14-12, WhoDunIt takes the crown in my eyes.

    Of course, that won't be stopping everyone from playing nothing but dwango5, but if that describes you, you may want to watch your back. There might just be somebody creeping up with a knife...

  • Sunrise Way Final Remake Redo! - Omegalore
    Doom 2 - Skulltag / Zandronum - Solo Play - 13055452 bytes
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    This is pretty much the same as Sunrise Way Final Remake, with a slightly lower monster count and less ammo. Go here if you want to read the review given to the original.

  • Kheiramire - William Huber ( [WH]-Wilou84 )
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 175821 bytes -
    Reviewed by: CorSair
    There's nothing much to say here. Single level that has the feeling of Speed of Doom.

    It looks exactly like it's from Speed of Doom. Same brown and green tint with decent architecture. Detail is quite good, with stuff like computer alcoves and a waterfall.

    For monsters, we've got quite a high number of enemies tossed in here. Mostly, they're low-tier enemies, zombies and imps, with some groups of demons, assisted by cacodemons. Nothing too bad, but I have a small gripe for weapon management: pistol and shotgun. Those two are your main weapons for this level. Rocket launcher is present in the level, but ammo is quite scarce, so make good use of it. Chaingun comes around very late in the game, so late that you don't use it.

    And the tactic to go through the level? On my part, sit down in the hallway and hold fire. Dodge a few errant fireballs, or back up if a spectre gets in biting range.

    In summary, a somewhat tough PWAD replacement level, but not really that exciting. If you like more slaughtery starts, pick it up if you want to play Speed of Doom.

  • Danne's E1 - Daniel "dannebubinga" Jakobsson
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 676644 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Before I get into reviewing the wad, I'll start by reviewing the wad's description. From experience, I understand letting go of a wad if you no longer have your heart in making it, so I'm glad he wrapped it up and released it. However, the author is seemingly pretty dismissive of his own work as well, describing it as a "boring shitfest" after having played wads like SoD and Sunder. I disagree with this sentiment. There is a niche for everything, and while many people enjoy the brutal difficulty provided by wads like Sunder, some also enjoy short and sweet rides like this mapset that adapt more easily to less-skilled players (like me).

    What we have here is an episode one replacement with maps that take on the familiar theme of Romero-styled tech-bases, and though they probably do not follow Romero's mapping style 100% like many mappers have attempted, the liberties taken only help it. Knee Deep in the Dead's textures and aesthetic are solely used throughout the entire episode, but I noticed that the decor seems to become less classic-E1 and more individualized toward the later half of the episode (a welcome touch). Though the layouts sometimes seem complex, they are usually quite straightforward and quick to navigate. Most secrets are pretty easy to spot, but finding them is satisfying, since they usually serve to extend the map's layout in interesting ways rather than simply being square closets containing items. The opposition consists of Doom's E1 assortment of zombies, imps, demons, and the usual boss. However, the author manages to ramp up the challenge with this limited bestiary by both upping the monster count and providing various situations in which the monsters can ambush you (such as by heavier use of teleport traps). All in all, nice looking maps with layouts that are fun to navigate and paint red.

    The author claims that this episode was simply a way for him to learn the ropes of making maps, but I think it is a decent mapset that stands fairly well on its own. If you don't mind playing another episode one-styled mapset (and who doesn't, considering there are enough episode one bases to cover Phobos's surface area twice over), I recommend giving this wad a shot.

  • Incubator - mrthejoshmon
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 86530 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    So, here's this level made by mrthejoshmon set in a green base like in map01 or map04, but it changes after crossing a teleport; it becomes a gray base, then you kill stuff, pick up all the keys, go back to the green station and exit. Yeah, it sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, not really...

    The layout is simple, but unluckily this map is made of short cramped rooms and hallways that for the most part you face one of a billion closet traps with a revenant (a fetish for this mapper... damn, I've never seen so many revenant traps like here... is this your sign of mapping...) and some parts need to be amplified much more for a better navigation. On the other hand, there's some mood lighting and nice simple detailing here and there.

    Wait a minute... cramped rooms, few small cool detailing and moody lighting effects? Doesn't this remind you of someone's mapping style? Maybe the one who is writing this review?

    Er... forgetting my own narcissism, let's get back to the review!

    Gameplay is kind of hard in some parts (especially the bloody revenant traps!), but in some parts there's a lack of enemies, but I didn't find any ammo problems during my playing.

    In conclusion, this is a nice map that you almost play just to see it... but nothing really interesting.

  • CONFUSED.WAD - Alan E Brown
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 76183 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Confused is right. This single player map dating back to '95 is large and annoying, littered with mostly low-tiered monsters in several large sprawling mazes. The main gimmick to "confuse" the player involves multiple instances of unmarked doors, unnecessary teleport lines and redundant backtracking.

    To proceed in the map requires opening around four doors that are seemingly normal walls, and traversing four dark and cramped mazes that randomly teleport you to a previously visited section. The firefights themselves prove to be no problem - you're granted invulnerability for every larger fight. The gameplay would be fine otherwise, but the repetitive teleportation scenario ruined the experience for me.

    As with most 90s wads, the design encompasses all themes, with no clear reasons as to the logic between placing dead-end hell corridors to nukage and skulls. Texture misalignments are plentiful, but nothing groundbreaking.

    You can skip over this wad, nothing to see.

  • DOCK YARD - Alan E Brown
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 43149 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    A medium-sized map from 1996 with extremely simplistic design. The first area indeed vaguely resembles a dockyard, while the rest is just abstract rectangular rooms and long hallways with nothing interesting to look at. With so much ammo, powerups, and space given, the level provides little to no challenge for an average player. In fact, your biggest obstacle will probably be an irritating teleporter puzzle which is all about guesswork, quite frankly. Luckily it is possible to cheat by looking at the automap: the teleport lines aren't hidden there, so the solution becomes obvious. Oh well, at least you get a lot of enemies to kill here, so if you just want some mindless action, you can spend 10-15 minutes on this. That's the most positive thing I can say about DOCK YARD.

  • Hate Doors - ClumsyWizard
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 9437 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    "Hate Doors" is ClumsyWizard's second map, and is a speedmapped deathmatch wad.

    There are no redeeming qualities to this map for its purpose as a deathmatch map, even when considering the 30 minute time limit. The hallways are cramped, and there are several dead-ends. Everything's boxy and there are no height variations that help spice up the gameplay. The ceiling remains flat through the entire map, and one lone texture spans many walls with no aesthetic components.

    There's nothing you're missing here even if you're absolutely itching for new deathmatch maps. I'd recommend that the author brush up on their skills through asking for help rather than uploading their first maps. Even from their description thinking that "[the author] expects this to be lukewarm in terms of receiving by the community," it becomes pretty evident that the mapper lacks much experience with, I'd say, "mainstream" deathmatch experience.

  • Chess, Hades-style - Maciek Sakrejda (Octahedron The Unwise)
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 74589 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Chess.wad is an old wad uploaded for archival purposes, and as its name implies, imitates the layout of a chessboard. With that being said, it's a flat single room with monsters categorically placed to fill their niche in the chess hierarchy on the other side of the room. On the player's side, your allies' corpses litter the floor, with their weapons scattered about.

    I've tested it on nightmare, as intended by the text file. It's extremely difficult due to the rapid barrage put on by the row of sergeants and the spider mastermind. There's also no health, and ammo runs a bit tight. Nothing visually irks the eye, though there isn't any eye candy either.

    I'd recommend passing by this one because there's nothing here to check out. The screenshot tells all.

  • aimt - pierQR
    Ultimate Doom - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 3728 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    It's a medium sized room with flat ceilings and flat walls (think completely leveled) with missing textures. For every wave, six more imps are spawned in the corners of the room, and will continue indefinitely until you suffocate from claustrophobia. An ACS switch keeps track of the wave number and monsters killed, as well as provides additional ammo per wave. It's decent for ACS practice, but there's negative skill in the mapping process, having managed to muck up the default Doom textures. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving along.

    (Disclaimer: tested with GZDoom 1.7.1 and ZDoom 2.6.0)

  • Diet Vrack AKA Happy Birthday Pavera! - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 91697 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Diet Vrack is Obsidian's present to commemorate Pavera's birthday (happy belated BTW). It's a (very) small and short techbase with only your trusty boomstick to get through.

    Diet Vrack is moderately detailed and is pleasing on the eye, and the gameplay is standard fare key retrieval, which poses no problem. Even still, I have a few minor gripes about this map, primarily that it's very dark. At default light settings, I could barely see ahead of me, so an increased gamma is necessary. The small crate room's dip is 32px tall, or just tall enough to make maneuvering a pain. If you fall in, you'll have to squeeze between the crates and either use the stairs or a small crate for leverage. Probably because it's a speedmap, the combat was mostly corner sniping with your boomstick, and it's possible to sustain very little damage and cruise through.

    Even still, Diet Vrack is a small map that's worth a playthrough to kill some (very little) time.

  • Toxic Darkness 3 - Henri Lehto
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 9694340 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    The third map in a trilogy. I haven't played the other two so there will be no comparisons or anything like that in this review, but you can check T/nC reviews of previous parts if you want: (1), (2).

    This is a medium-sized (took me 10 minutes to beat) level for GZDoom. Jumping is enabled but not intended it seems, as you can "break" one of the secrets by using it. A music track from PSX Doom and a consistent (but not the point of being repetitive) green visual theme create strong atmosphere. The skybox is weird though: it is one quarter of the space sky texture from TNT Evilution and it scrolls inappropriately fast. I don't really understand why.

    And unfortunately, the gameplay is pretty weak. The whole map is essentially a series of small and somewhat cramped rooms connected by doors. You open a door, kill everything from the entrance, proceed further and that's pretty much all that happens in this map. Occasionally Henri tries to surprise you with simple traps, but not nearly often enough to keep you excited.

    If that doesn't sound too boring for you, take a look at Toxic Darkness 3 because it surely looks nice.

  • Station2245 - Christopher Shepherd
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 62446 bytes
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Okay, this map is brought to us by Armouredblood, called Station 2245. This is what I would call a slaughter map, but there's too much slaughter, not enough map. Specifically, there's a lot of hallways and cramped areas, including a weird round structure that reminds me of the shields from StarCastle. It's amazing that Doomguy can squeeze his butt between those paths, but it is doable.

    If you play this on a port that allows rebuilding of blockmaps, you might want to have that port set up to force a BLOCKMAP rebuild. The one included is a little shoddy, and many times have I died because my shots never made contact! It's weird, because this map is so small that such a BLOCKMAP problem shouldn't occur. Armouredblood, if you tested in ZDoom... don't do it.

    This map starts on what looks like a helipad with a revenant in front of the player. I died a dozen times trying to complete this room, because the homing shots seemed to rain from above when I fell off the lift. Get too close, get punched. Not a really fun area, and that's just the start!

    I decided to play this map on ITYTD after repeated failures in the start room. Thankfully, no monsters were changed, so all this did was double my ammo pickups and some extra padding to my already weak Doomguy body, since the mega-armor is very trollishly tucked away in a storage room somewhere.

    After the first room, you get two weapons: rocket launcher and an SSG. The primary challenge from that hallway forward is to decide which weapon works for a specific situation. Not much finesse required other than revenant rocket dodging. After I nabbed the plasma rifle, though, it was all smooth sailing. If you play, just make sure to crunch the archie quickly before he resurrects more of those blasted revenants.

    Conserve your rockets, too, because you'll need them to take out some threats from below, before jumping down into any pits. You'll know where to use this later on. When in doubt, shoot over a pit and hit a wall nearby. The screams signal a snuffed trap.

    This was fun after trying it on the baby skill level. I think it's too heavy, too fast on UV, and the map itself is a little too cramped to allow for much evasive action. But it is a map. A map you should play. Seriously.

  • MPFORT - Maarten Pinxten
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 28022 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    Small techbase from 1996 that mixes fights in open areas with some more cramped scenarios where you will need good movements to avoid enemy attacks. The last room is inappropriately textured with red and green bricks for some reason, but overall the design is decent. There is nothing memorable about this map, but it should entertain you for about three minutes.

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.