The /newstuff Chronicles #482
Classic Doom - Posted by Bloodshedder
- 12 Comments
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.
Ghosts of Pingfang - Jesse Proctor
Ultimate Doom - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 26.41 MB -
Reviewed by: Csonicgo
When I took 20th century history in high school, nothing bothered me more than Unit 731. It was basically a Japanese Auschwitz, and given that over 100,000 died from horrible "scientific" experiments performed while alive, it could be argued that it was worse. And to make matters worse, U.S. forces didn't even try the bastards for war crimes, leaving the Soviets to tie up the remaining loose ends after the States grabbed all the "intelligence".
"USA! USA! USA!"
Well now we have a WAD with Pingfang as a story line! This couldn't possibly go in a hideous direction, right? Well, if I could SEE which friggin' direction I was going, I would be able to find out!
Instead of clever use of sounds, the author decides to randomly play torture sounds as he uses HUD messages to tell me what I'm hearing. Uh, I think the screams of torture are obvious, Sunshine! Sometimes I don't need a literary device when I can simply be shown on screen.
After a few hilarious attempts at jump scares with modified Wolf3D assets and Doom 3 sound effects, I found myself in yet more hallways and tunnels. In fact, the entire first level consists of hallways, tunnels, dead bodies, weird texturing, terrible lighting, and abuse of DECORATE properties. Things that are full brightness yet look like they were pasted into a lump editor straight from MSPaint clutter areas so dark that even GZDoom software lighting mode couldn't make anything out!
And to make matters worse, the entire ZDoom menu is inside the WAD, so if you were hoping to change your GL options easily, fat chance!
I walk down the stairs of the first hallway and I am immediately attacked by flying syringes. I turn back to kill off a few weird doctor ghosts, then continue down the stairs. Then GZDoom crashes. Great!
I reload the map in ZDoom - and the map suddenly works! Weird. I still can't see shit, and now to make matters worse THERE ARE FUCKING INSTA-KILL LANDMINES IN THE PITCH BLACK HALLWAYS.
Did I mention the weapons? You can't do anything while reloading. You can't fire on a half-empty magazine, you can't fire with only a few shells in your shotgun - you're just sitting there defenseless as MSPaint scientists and soldiers attack you with assault rifles. There's a human shield mechanic that barely works, and since the enemies mysteriously become scarce after I manage to pull it off, it was largely useless.
That was E1M1. Let's guess that E1M2 is more of the same!
...It is. Oh, and there's a pixelated baby crawling to me with dynamite on it...that I can pick up! And it kills me! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?
This nonsense finally ends at E1M5, where you are trapped in a pitch black room with a modified Hitler sprite. And because of the retarded reload mechanic, he will always kill you. Always. And that is exactly the time where I deleted this WAD.
There's so much wrong with this. I had to stop playing just to relax as the frustration from long hallways and meaningless dead ends started taking its toll on my psyche. If the author was aiming to recreate the feeling of blindness, disease, and torture in a Doom wad, then he has earned his stripes, buddy!
An insult to the over 100,000 innocent Soviets, Chinese, Ainu and defectors who died in Unit 731, I order this wad back to the underworld from whence it came! BLAM THIS PIECE OF CRAP!
Assault on Castle Wolfenstein - Inner Demon Entertainment
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 373.84 KB -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
A five-level mapset of dubious quality.
The author seemingly loves putting annoying featureless mazes everywhere. In fact, MAP01 consists of nothing but one huge boring maze where you seek the red key, occasionally stopping to shoot at a single zombie, or a single imp, or even (gasp!) a demon. This is another of the mapset's recurring patterns: the author is very, very reluctant to use any of the heavier monsters, so most of the time you'll be fighting imps, hitscanners (including SS nazis) and, on a really good day, demons. (Disclaimer: I play on HMP. Maybe he was more daring on UV.)
MAP02 is a tad better gameplay-wise than MAP01, but its visuals are nothing to write home about: mostly flat, big square rooms with barely any decor. There are rooms that attempt to look like barracks, libraries etc. but it comes across as cheesy.
MAP03 may be the best one in the set, which isn't saying much. The visuals still aren't the greatest, but the battles are a little harder, and you might actually die here if you're not careful. Most annoying is the confusing marble maze with walk-through walls; I was so grateful to finally get out.
MAP04 is the longest. This isn't a good thing; it's a classic example of a map overstaying its welcome. Most of your time is spent running through absurdly huge rooms with tiny amounts of enemies here and there, or trying to find your way through mazes. Most of the gameplay involves pressing switches to open doors. The switches are visually inconsistent; sometimes the switch is lit up when inactive, sometimes it's the other way round. Thankfully, at least there's no "what the hell did that do" problem, as the opened door is either very near, or you'll inevitably run into it later. Doors and switches also stand out on the automap (because of how bland everything looks) so you probably won't get stuck. Still, it gets boring, especially towards the end: press a switch, run to a door, press a switch, run to another door, etc. There are some places which had some work put into them visual-wise (like the demonic temple on screenshot 5... assuming you can see it in the dark), but towards the end you get the feeling the mapper was just piling on giant one-note locations to make the map artificially longer.
The difficulty on this level is pretty screwed up. Once again you'll be fighting only the weakest hellspawn, with the climactic battle being a duel with a single arch-vile... in a giant chamber... with plenty of room to hide. But! That only applies if you play continuous. Out of curiosity, I played this map from pistol start, and found the beginning very difficult due to there being almost no medikits, very little ammo, and lots of Nazis and chaingunners hidden in very dark corners. (Oh, did I mention the bastard trap in the form of a crusher disguised as a teleport pad?) Then the second half of the map becomes absurdly easy once you find a megasphere. (And then, almost right away, you come upon two secrets, containing a berserk pack -- even though you already found one before -- and a supercharge. And a moment later you come upon another supercharge!) The author really needs to learn how to design a properly challenging map.
MAP05 begins with an easy boss battle against a Cyberdemon (the arena in which you fight is pretty damn huge, making it trivial to dodge the rockets). And once you bring down the titanic warrior, you... have to spend twice as much time making your way through boring mazes and squaring off against single imps and zombies. What? How do you even screw up the pacing like that? Imagine if, after Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star in "Star Wars", the rest of the movie would have him hunting rats in his basement for a half-hour.
So, ultimately, this isn't a very fun mapset. MAP02 and some of MAP03 might be interesting for people who like to play Wolfenstein-style levels, and the beginning of MAP04 can appeal to people who like a challenge. MAP01 and MAP05? Trash heap.
Note: While the text file claims that the PWAD requires glBoom-Plus, in reality -- as with other releases by Inner Demon Entertainment -- it should work fine in vanilla.
The Canyon - The Architect
All Doom - ZDoom - Solo Play - 291.75 KB -
Reviewed by: Csonicgo
This is a modern marvel, folks. A real humdinger! I want you to guess how many wads are needed to play this map....You'll never guess, so why don't I show you?
W_Init: Init WADfiles.
adding zdoom.pk3, 608 lumps
adding Doom2.wad, 2919 lumps
adding PLUTONIA.WAD, 2984 lumps
adding Doom.wad, 2306 lumps
adding TNT.WAD, 3101 lumps
adding gothic99.wad, 406 lumps
adding tcanyon.wad, 12 lumps
I_Init: Setting up machine state.
Yep. It takes every single one of these wads to make this map run properly, and even then, there's a missing texture "0" somewhere.
So, what's the map like? It's just a brightly-lit canyon leading to a cave system (that looks oddly like the canyon, go figure) with sparse texture usage, stealth monsters, and not a lot of fun. There are even stairs that are too large to climb! How did the author manage to do that? How is... any of this? Why? Not to mention a "bunker" area that is almost impossible to see to play!
The gameplay is a total swinging wreck, from virtually nothing happening to hitscanners making Doomguy Swiss cheese. If that isn't bad enough, the majority of the monsters have the stealth flag, or are on ledges just far enough away to troll you with no effective way to fight back. This is compounded by the massive size of the map, which is exaggerated to the point of taking a whole minute to get from one section of the map to another. And no, I'm not saying from one END to the other, just one SECTION. Did I mention there are 300+ monsters in this, yet the size of the level makes finding each one a scavenger hunt from hell? I couldn't even find the last few monsters! I presume they didn't even exist, or were running around in the void somewhere.
Texture usage is a total joke, with none of the required textures used competently. I'm not lying when I say that maybe 20 unique textures total were used in this. Those wonderful textures required are: a blue light texture from Gothic99 that could've easily been replaced by a Doom stock blue light texture, the Egyptian murals from TNT: Evilution, some jungle textures and bricks from The Plutonia Experiment, COMP, TEKWALL, and PLANET textures from registered Doom, and whatever stone textures are left from Doom II. That is 9,417 total lumps cached, and with a guesstimate of 4KB per lump, that's 40 MB worth of lumps.
This map is disappointing from beginning to end, requiring too many resources and using little from them. Even without the resource clusterfuck, using features in a port for the sake of using them, and taking way too much time to get from place to place due to map size already puts a bad taste in the player's mouth. That the player has to stare at missing texture checkerboard for big sections of the map if he followed the TXT instructions should be enough to earn this WAD a place among one of the worst.
Return to Hadron - Matt "cannonball" Powell
Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 894.83 KB -
Reviewed by: Zalewa
Is this a fun WAD? Yes, it is. Does it have some very blatant issues? Yes, it does.
Before I start though, I'd like to mention that I believe that it's much harder to create a good WAD for Doom 1 than it is for Doom 2. The simple reasons for this are the Super Shotgun and larger monster variety. In general, regardless of which Doom we're talking about, shotgun shells are provided very generously. Thus, in Doom 2, SSG is the go-to weapon for most fights. Being as powerful as the rocket launcher, SSG ensures that the player has means to quickly dispose of monsters with high amount of hit points. I feel that some mappers who create WADs for Doom 1 often forget about this. They don't hesitate to put many cacodemons and barons, but neglect to provide ammunition for powerful weapons such as rocket launcher or plasma rifle. Such WADs also provide plenty of shotgun shells, but with no SSG the enemies are bullet sponges and all fights become a chore. Fortunately enough, Matt Powell understands this issue and "Return to Hadron" is definitely one of the best Doom 1 WADs.
Sporting visual style that seems to be somewhere between Episode 1 and Episode 2 of original Doom 1, "Return to Hadron" provides a full replacement for Episode 1, including the secret level. It took me about 2 hours to finish. The maps, when inspected under a map editor, seem to have a very simple design that isn't overflowing with enormous amounts of sectors. And yet, all maps are very detailed and very pleasurable just to look at. I'm certain that this can be attributed to perfect usage of fitting textures and ceiling flats and to lighting. This WAD excels at providing good looking outdoor areas which are perfectly accented by the green sky texture. The levels layouts are very well done. All levels are compact, which shortens the time the player needs to get from one side to another. At the same time, they never feel claustrophobic. All corridors, rooms and open areas are wide enough to safely navigate in. Good connectivity and distinctive sections on each map don't let the player get lost, even considering that layouts are non-linear and there's more than one way to get from one place to any other.
Gameplay wise the WAD can be divided into two chapters. The first one provides moderate difficulty with plenty of health and armor pickups hidden in secrets, which aren't that hard to find anyway. While relaxing, the flow doesn't really slow down and you never have to stop for any longer than you want to. It's pure action, but I'm sure it will be very easy for most players. The second chapter, starting somewhere around E1M5, starts throwing whole hordes of enemies at you. Here you get locked in certain areas and have to fight an invasion of monsters while bars that block your exit are lowering for an extended period of time. As the BFG9000 is provided only twice in the WAD, and both times in secrets that aren't easy to find, you will have to use monsters as temporary allies and provoke infights between them. There's plenty of plasma ammo and rockets, but it's still a good idea to save up on them. Seeing a sudden army of Cacodemons teleporting in is very strange, and rocket launcher becomes useful in such situations. The entire E1M6, while visually impressive, is one huge arena where all enemies attack you at once. However, the map is designed in a way that allows you to beat the map without even having to fire a single shot. Don't be mistaken though, "circle strafing" won't do here. In the end I still believe that E1M6 is the weakest map in the set.
Speaking of sudden invasions, you will quickly start noticing patterns in trap setups. You pick up a key and get punished. You go into area with a weapon and get punished. Fortunately enough, the traps are fair: even if you're seemingly surrounded, it's never difficult to find some space where you can freely navigate and dodge attacks. This is also true for those "cacodemon invasion" sections I mentioned before. It's very possible to get out of each situation, including the boss fight, without a BFG9000.
All in all, this is a great WAD with lots of action and some challenge. Give it a try.
Technical note: E1M8 uses a voodoo doll that needs to pick up a red keycard. This is at the very end. Keep this in mind when playing this WAD in Zandronum multiplayer.
Joe-Ilya's Birthday night - Various
Doom 2 - Multiple - Solo Play - 3.3 MB -
Reviewed by: Csonicgo
If there's one Doom community tradition that has baffled me, it's the birthday map. Any Doomer, if he asks the right people, can get a personalized birthday speed map made for him in 24 hours. Personally, I'm waiting on the inevitable marriage proposal megawad.
These birthday maps are for Joe-Ilya. Yes. Even Joe gets a birthday map. So how many did he get? Twelve! And they play as expected from most speed maps - wide areas, short sized maps, simple maps to breeze through, right? Well, maybe, if you're lucky. Some of these maps suffer from lack of flow, causing many a player to get stuck in a corner while imps scratch him to death.
But speed maps also let mappers throw out the gimmicks, such as Map07: Party Hard, one of the more fun maps in this pack. The idea is to cause a massive infight in each of the two rooms. This is well done, albeit impossible near the end due to the fact that the archviles can target you across the room, where they are shielded from damage by hordes of lower level monsters.
So let me get the bad out of the way: the majority of these maps, in an effort for the mapper to save time, turn into slaughter-style "arena" maps really quickly. If you don't like that style of play, then a lot of these maps will take a lot of savescumming to beat. If you use a weapons mod that gives you an advantage, it might be less of a slog. Also, the maps are ugly. Moreso than usual when it comes to speedmaps, and the dark sky doesn't help matters.
The best map out of the set? Map10. If you play any of the maps, play that one. The pacing is great, the map isn't rushed, and it gives a great challenge. In fact, just play that one and leave the others alone.
ESPECIALLY MAP12. WE DO NOT PLAY MAP12. WE DO NOT MENTION MAP12. IT DOES NOT EXIST. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
One Year Closer To Death - Jacek "JudgeDeadd" Dobrzyniecki
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 27.46 KB -
Reviewed by: scifista42
A speedmap made by JudgeDeadd for Rayzik's birthday back in November 2013. Rayzik has received multiple birthday maps, and he actually compiled them into a single wad which can be found in his birthday map request thread, but the compilation was never submitted to /idgames, and a year and a half later, JudgeDeadd decided to archive at least his own map.
It's a short map, canyon + hellish themed, that looks good and plays good too. The gameplay is straightforward, but fun: first you must snipe hitscanners across an abyss while avoiding Spider Mastermind's fire - easy. Then you jump into a dark pit with pillars and fight some Arachnotrons with an SSG - moderately difficult. Then you ride a lift up to the other side of the first abyss, blast the Mastermind with BFG, and take down some Cacodemons - easy. Then you unlock a door and jump into a pit with Spectres and three Archviles that you must kill before proceeding to the exit - actually hard, because it's unsafe to try to bypass them.
So, a fun way to kill three minutes of your time.
Cleimos 2 (repackaged edition) - Rand and Steven Phares
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 4.58 MB -
Reviewed by: Csonicgo
Even for a megawad like Cleimos 2, the second megawad in a series from 1995 known for its puzzle solving as much as its Doom gameplay, you never heard much about it. Turns out it was a matter of packaging - Cleimos 2 was created in the era of floppy disk distribution between colleagues and coworkers, and not so much downloaded and installed from the Internet, even though it came from there. The reality was that compressed files were still a novelty and not a standard in the PC world, and if you had PKZIP or a clone, it wasn't always the case that the program had "disk spanning". Here is the explanation from TheGreenHerring:
The original version uploaded to /idgames was a pair of ZIP files, cleim20a.zip and cleim20b.zip, each containing half of the megawad and each of which were small enough to fit on a 3½-inch floppy disk. Once both ZIPs were extracted, the user would then have to use a batch file using DOS' (and Windows') "copy /b" command to combine both halves of the WAD to create the full megawad.
Gross. Thankfully we have progressed since the days of sneakernet and floppy disk distribution. However, I still enjoy playing classic megawads, especially those with puzzles like this one. Some may find them overly frustrating (I know I did back in the day) so here is my advice: use headphones, and turn the music down a bit. Check your automap for moving sectors and triggers, and, if you're trapped, there's usually a hidden door somewhere.
Oh, and these maps aren't made to be played from pistol start. I learned that the hard way. You can, but you don't want to.
For a small review of this map set - it's full of puzzles. When it's not destroying your brain, it's treating it with nostalgic map design, including a homage to shareware Doom's most notable areas all in one location.
Yes, this is a 1995 WAD. There will be some things that have not aged well. However, it's not in terms of map quality, it's more of taste, so you might find the whole thing a blast. However, it's easy to see why this was so hyped, because in all seriousness, this megawad delivers in terms of content.
Yet Another Claustrophobia Styled Boss - Nambona890
Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 4.21 MB -
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
As the title suggest, this is a short boss arena map made by Nambona890, a guy much more known for his Terrywads, but luckily this map isn't associated with that kind of stuff.
You start in this preparation room (I really liked that fireblu detailing in the wall!) with tons of guns; in this section I had game slowdown from the hanged corpse. Then after you take the teleport, you fight a dark cyberdemon, with a faster shooting range and some scripted bullet inferno attack. Beat this guy and you'll beat the game. Literally.
Layout is simple but kinda of functional. Tf there were some columns in the map to avoid the cyberdemon attack it would be way better for me, but it's an OK map, take a play at it!
Crossfired - Bartekmil
Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 49.07 KB -
Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
The author's first map, a short one. It doesn't have any blatant errors (apart from some texture misalignments), and even has some creative traps. Still, the visuals are very bare, and lighting is used sparsely. There are some new textures which look just plain cheesy, and there's an unfittingly jolly MIDI tune. The map is vanilla compatible (tested on Chocolate Doom), but some minor visual errors appear; clearly it should have been tested in something other than just ZDoom.
I think the map is a bit too undercooked to really stand on its own. It might be better if the author asked for feedback on the forums and worked on the map a little more before releasing it.
The Dime Birthday Level Collection - Various
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1.92 MB -
Reviewed by: scifista42
Exactly what it says on the tin. 12 maps by 12 different authors who made these maps for Dime's birthday in May/June 2015, compiled into a single wad by The Green Herring. Dime himself made a request for birthday maps, and he came up with the following requirements:
1. Boom CL-9
2. No green or blue armor.
3. Maximum 75 monsters
4. In the style of Scythe map 22-24 gameplay
5. Must be a BFG, but only a maximum of 200 cells in the map INCLUDING BFG pickup.
The 4th rule was misinterpreted by half of the mappers, thinking that Dime wanted them to also imitate Scythe's REDROCK theme and overall style, while he actually only meant the gameplay (hectic challenge in a compact layout).
Map specific notes:
MAP01 by AD_79: Stylish and exciting map. Reminiscent of Scythe-style hell, except being green instead of red. Challenging and fun.
MAP02 by Alfonzo: Much smaller than MAP01. Uses an unique and impressive texture set by jmickle66666666. Nice architecture. Challenging and fun too.
MAP03 by ArmouredBlood: Scythe hell-styled slaughtermap. Uses Plasma Marines and Afrits from Scythe 2. Random deaths are more likely to happen on this map than the other ones, otherwise fun, and challenging for sure.
MAP04 by Matt Tropiano: Plutonia styled texturing. Simple but good layout and progression. Challenging and fun.
MAP05 by cannonball: Dark canyon-themed map in cannonball's typical modern mapping style. Challenging and fun.
MAP06 by dobu gabu maru: Full of stylish curved details. Impressive design and detail. Very challenging and fun too.
MAP07 by purist: Fully red-themed with minimum brown put into it. Good layout. Challenging and fun.
MAP08 by joe-ilya: Joe's standard basically linear but (anyway) crazily disorganized design, this time full of red, and just wait until you hear the ridiculously fast-paced music. If you don't mind this (I didn't), the map is fun and somewhat challenging.
MAP09 by Pinchy: Large scaled and open. Not as challenging as other maps. Well designed and fun anyway.
MAP10 by Marcaek: Uses another unique texture set by jmickle66666666. Nicely designed, challenging and fun. Finding weapons is part of the challenge.
MAP11 by Breezeep: The theme is clearly a Valiant ripoff. Level design and gameplay are very good, though.
MAP32 by MD922: Small gimmicky map. Quite ugly and uses D_RUNNIN as music. But basic fun is there.
All in all, these maps are mostly more than well playable! They don't provide anything special that you haven't seen elsewhere (except MAP02's and MAP10's texture packs), but I found them worth checking out anyway.