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File Reviews posted by Erick

  1. Illusion.wad


    One month build time, now that's funny I think. Not exactly the worst thing to ever play or relevant today even, but releasing extremely low quality stuff, even as a bad joke, is just shameful.



    Before Plutonia's Go 2 It, there was Dario Casali's take on expanding Doom 2's MAP01 into a difficult and action packed level. Punisher can be seen as sort of a prototype for Go 2 It in that it was released a year before Final Doom and the map is rough around the edges to play. There are far more many monsters in Punisher than there are in Go 2 It, starting off with about 600 enemies, which is three times more than Go 2 It's initial start of about 200 enemies. It sounds like Punisher is more difficult than Go 2 It for having more enemies and a rougher layout, right? Well, actually no, Punisher is easier than Go 2 It though at the same time, Punisher has its difficulty issues that can make it annoying to play.


    In Punisher, a variety of enemies are placed together far more frequently, meaning infighting happens immediately in the areas they are in. There are some rooms where only a single enemy type is in to prevent easy infighting, but even still, you can take advantage of monster infighting far more than you would in Go 2 It. Another thing, you don't always get up close to tough monsters like the Cyberdemon so you can pretty much skip them at times, which is unlike Go 2 It as that map has you getting up close to them or at times killing them to progress.


    Despite Punisher encouraging something of a aggressive and fast playstyle like you Go 2 It and other Plutonia maps encourage, it doesn't exactly feel like you can do it as freely here. There's a ton of open space so trying to draw attention of monsters to cause some infighting yourself can be annoying to do, an Arch-Vile can hit you out in the open and Pain Elementals can be very problematic, so you might find yourself peeking in and out of cover often instead of blasting monsters away with rockets and a BFG. That's not to say you can't blast through the level if you played it multiple times much like Go 2 It, but even so, the pacing and fights here feel a bit messy.


    Punisher is not bad to play and I found it fun to play despite its gameplay problems. I found it interesting to compare this map with Go 2 It to see the differences and how much more refined an expanded Doom 2 MAP01 turned out in the end. If you're into maps with tons of monsters to kill and don't mind some odd pacing, Punisher is good to play, though it definitely shows its age.

  3. Fiendish.WAD


    There's definitely some ideas put into use here, but the result is rather sloppy. You start off with three teleporters in the first room, so going in blindly, I couldn't tell if I had to take one teleporter first or if I can complete the level in (almost) any order. To sum it up, you have to go through these teleporters in a linear order to complete the level, otherwise you'll be greeted by locked doors that serve as a reminder that you're going the wrong way. The level itself isn't overly confusing, but coming in the gauntlet room unprepared left a sour impression.


    The majority of rooms are spacious and not very pleasing to look at. You'll see big open rooms with dirt and marble textures placed throughout, and aside of the pentagram room with Spectres and an Arch-Vile at the center, the map just boils down to dull rooms and hallways you can run past through. With good use of powerups, you can get by most threats without an issue. There's some bits of carnage, but the overall gameplay feels plain.


    A little heads up, but when playing on a ZDoom port, the teleporters at the start of each area will teleport you to a random destination. That is because their lines are zero-tagged teleport actions, meaning they will teleport you to any destination placed on a zero-tagged sector. This can make the level more confusing to complete as you may end up in an area you aren't supposed to be at. When playing in vanilla, these teleporters will always teleport you to the start of the level.

  4. DOOM: War Games


    Decent 1994 WAD with some alright use of textures and nice swarm of monsters when you hit all the switches at the center part of the level. It's pretty standard as far as gameplay goes, it has a few optional areas you can go to but otherwise, it's short and linear. Compared to many other levels around the time, this isn't too bad.

  5. Illusions Of Home


    A Doom megawad that was released two weeks before Thy Flesh Consumed came in what is now known as The Ultimate Doom. The mapset contains 27 amateur levels where quantity is emphasized over quality. Aside of E1M3 and E3M3, both of which are outdoor maps with plenty of indoor areas to enter and explore, every level just consist of boxed rooms with tiring nonsense level design. Misalgined textures are prominent in every level, making the whole mapset look more unprofessional than it already is. Some walls have missing textures so you'll notice plenty of HOMs at several points. Many secrets are mandatory in order to complete many levels, and what's even worse is that some wall textures are aligned to look like a normal wall but actually aren't. There are walls you can walk through to access more secrets, but again, it's rarely clear on what you are supposed to do.


    Since quantity is the main focus, several levels are filled with glaring errors and other oversights, possibly as a result of poor playtesting. E1M3 has the normal exit at the start of the level, normally you're supposed to find a switch to open the door. However, you can already open it just by pressing "use" on the wall, meaning you can skip the entire level with ease. E1M6 has a zero-tagged GR door, so shooting it in vanilla Doom will cause the map to break unless you shoot it just enough times to "fix" it. E1M7 has 17 secrets, but only 16 are present on the map, and one of them can't be scored as a sector is too thin for the player to stand on. E1M8 has no map exit, not even a sector with Tag 666 despite a Cyberdemon being present (after all, this was released before The Ultimate Doom).


    Episode 2 feels like filler as several levels can be finished rather quickly and some barely have any enemies to fight. E2M3 has the same issue as E1M7 where one secret is too thin to score. E2M7 has two secrets you can't score because their surrounding lines will teleport you to another destination. There is no possible way you can teleport on top of the sectors despite there being teleport destinations on them. If you also so happen to be at the level exit, you can't leave because there is no teleporter to do so. E2M8 doesn't feature a Cyberdemon funny enough, instead you press one switch to lower a wall and cross a line to finish the episode, This goes back to what I said about episode 2 being filler.


    Episode 3 isn't much better in map quality, other than just testing your patience. E3M2 has a secret exit that will lead you to E3M9, but this will cause you to skip E3M3-E3M6. E3M4 cannot be finished as the switch that is supposed to reveal the exit has an action to close the sector, not open it. The closed sector blocking the exit doesn't have any textures, so there are plenty of HOMs. E3M7 has a red keycard that is flagged as "Multiplayer Only" (and not present on easy difficulties), meaning it is impossible to finish it on single-player without cheating.


    Overall, a mess of a megawad with nothing of interest. The abundance of boxy rooms and dull enemy encounters makes going through all 27 maps a chore, especially when some maps feel like they don't serve a purpose. Best to play a few good maps elsewhere.

  6. Hell's End V2


    Another arena map with many monster spawners, just like the original Hell's End. However, I would say this is worse as this takes longer to finish, both because of the Cyberdemons behind the switch pushing you around and because there's no monster who will kill the boss for you like in the original. Nonetheless, you just hit the switch multiple times, see monsters get stuck on each other, and finish off the boss. This map also takes the MAP04 slot in the Boom WAD of Doomworld Community Project 2013. Like before, you can skip this standalone WAD and the one in the aforementioned project.

  7. Hell's End


    An arena with numerous spawn points for monsters to swarm you, and a broken one at that. To lower the sectors with the boss head, you cross three lines to lower three separate sectors, but since two of the sectors don't completely lower, you'll have to cross two of these lines repeatedly. Not that you'll worry much, there's plenty of invulnerability powerups laying around that you don't even need to fight any monsters to finish the map. You could also get the Cyberdemons to start attacking you as soon as the sectors lower, of which their rockets can kill the boss for you and finish the map early. You can skip this one.

  8. Bloody Cheese


    If you give yourself all weapons and turn on god mode, which I did, then there might be some enjoyment. However, even for co-op play there isn't much in the way of engaging gameplay. Since there are basically no item pickups aside of weapons (one green armor and one medkit isn't much), you won't see any powerups to help you out. Initially, you'll just be blasting the Super Shotgun over and over on tough crowds, but things start to take a nosedive once Arch-Viles come in. It's annoying having to kill the same monsters repeatedly just to get a single Arch-Vile due to the cramped layout of the map, which restricts your movement with one way corridors.


    Even when you are finally able to use something like a Rocket Launcher, you get greeted with multiple Cyberdemons so the tedium only gets worse. If this were a co-op session, the average player will just die repeatedly and get frustrated on the lack of any satisfying progress. As it is, you just go pick up keys, use switches, and witness more tough monsters spawning in high numbers in not so open rooms.


    I should mention, the DeHackEd patch doesn't do much good in making the experience any better. It lowers the hit points of some monsters such as Revenants, which doesn't sound bad. Yet at the same time, it also raises the hit points of others such as Imps, which is redundant if players will just spam rockets and the likes. No amount of random map easter eggs can make this worthwhile.

  9. While better than some of author's other work, this isn't good even being a speedmap made on a phone. It's a few hallways, one key, and some tight encounter with an Arch-Vile and two Pain Elementals. Otherwise, it's bland and uninteresting.

  10. This took 5 days to make? The effort is so low that there's barely anything to enjoy here. All you do is just fight four Barons in one small square room, walls lower, you go kill some Spectres, and then you walk to some exit with a sky texture plastered on it. With the lack of anything in this map, I don't understand how there are still misaligned textures. Skip.

  11. Temple


    While it does look like a temple and is pretty dark in some areas, the map can start looking a little drab half way through. There is a cave and a lake of acid outside but for the most part, you're going through tight rectangular rooms with some tough monster encounters in some rooms. It can be a little iffy to move around when there are pillars that can block your way and hitscanners that peck your health points from ledges. It's an average level throughout, but not a bad time waster if you want to try it out.

  12. Fighting


    A short single level with some graphical changes and a new MIDI to go alongside it. Most of the map takes place indoors and it is only until the end where you can briefly go outside. You'll know where to go as you'll be guided by what switch or room will reveal more monsters, usually in packs consisting of a small variety of them. They're not the most original kind of surprises but it isn't bad necessarily. There isn't much in the way of secrets so there isn't much else to see there, otherwise good for a quick level to run through.

  13. While a lot of laughs were had with this silly weapons mod, the joke dies off pretty quick once you used all the weapons that are available, most likely through cheating as playing this legitimately isn't the most fun thing you can do. While you can go and make a bet with your friends on how far you can go in a WAD, official or not, there isn't much of a reason to continue playing this mod beyond the novelty of being a joke mod. The OP poopy toothbrush can only go so far without things getting dull.

  14. Kingdom of Death


    Combination of two WADs, Annex of Death and DEVIL.WAD, both levels taking the E3M1 and E3M2 slots respectively. Regardless if they're intended to be played separately or together, both are poor levels with equally as poor design choices.


    E3M1 is a short and basic level, there's really nothing to explore besides bumping into walls hoping which one will lead to where you need to go. In fact, the red key is hidden behind a wall that is a mandatory secret, though thankfully at least has a different texture to give you an idea. Even so, there's not much to it really.


    E3M2 is odd, you can beat it pretty quickly if you figure out that you only need two keys to finish the level, both being the red and yellow keys. The yellow key is yet another mandatory wall secret, only this time without a different texture to help you figure it out, and to tell you it's near the blue key. The blue key is only used to access a lift that takes forever to go down and go up. You have a big drop that leads to tight hallways packed with monsters, only as a means to go switch hunting. The reward for doing that is a BFG but by that point you are practically done with the map.


    Strange WAD, but nothing interesting.



    Your typical 1994 WAD with sloppy nonsensical design from start to finish. Just on the first room there is no easy indication that you can leave the room by pushing on some random part of a wall to lower a large lift, even though no texture looks any different from one another. None of the keys are required to finish the map, instead you just need to go near to some strange looking wall, cross one specific line, and the level exit is revealed.


    If you want to go out and find every monster and secret, well there isn't much to see other than weird and confusing design. One secret is unobtainable as it gets deleted from the map since its tagged with a switch that raises it and changes its texture, so only 4/5 secrets are possible to get. As it is, this WAD isn't something you want to check out.

  16. Water Works


    A visually nice level for TNT.WAD with hordes of monsters and other surprises laying around. The map is pretty difficult but with a good eye on secrets and some cautious play, it is more than doable. Health and ammo is pretty scarce in some areas but that helps make the map more tense as it encourages you to prepare on what to do next, especially when packs of Revenants and Pain Elementals close in on you. The name of the WAD may not reflect the whole map, but it's still fun to play.

  17. The Waterworks


    A 1995 WAD for Doom 2 according to the file timestamp, and there are definitely a lot of 1995 quirks. Missing textures that are pretty easy to spot, like a "lift" where the red key is, some confusing level design, and one moment where you can't finish the level because a Cacodemon would permanently close the door you need to enter to complete the level. Perhaps the oddest, although kind of funny, thing about this WAD is how most of the secrets are just small sectors you just need to stand on, and you'll quickly know what they are with the help of the automap (Those 17 secrets don't seem daunting anymore). You can play a lot worse when it comes to old levels, but The Waterworks isn't something that stands out from the bunch.

  18. Demonastery


    Architecturally solid level with loads of detail right from the start to the end of it. While it is a big level, it never feels too confusing to navigate so the interconnected level design flows well. You get the Super Shotgun and Rocket Launcher early on so you never feel unprepared for what you'll be facing, although a good chunk of them are mid-tiers ones like Revenants and Mancubi. There are small arenas as you go for the keys, and personally I kind of like how they differ from the monastery as instead of exploring for secrets and going from place to place, you stay in one room against some tougher monsters like the Barons. The final arena is packed with detail and a nice challenge, assuming you don't pick up or use the BFG anyways. Health can be a bit scarce though if you don't rush things out or have ill-timed shots the map is pretty fair.


    Excellent single-map, lots of little setpieces to keep things interesting.

  19. Fun map that captures a nice TNT-ish feel with plenty of weird yet also nice looking rooms, groups of hitscanners and demons to blast through, and a sense of adventure to it. Taking the MAP14 slot, you would see the episode 2 skybox of TNT: Evilution and listen to the track "Cold Subtleness", both creating a nice atmosphere to the map. Worth checking out!

  20. Termination


    A pretty straightforward map to run through, packing in tons of enemies in rooms both big and small. Most of the monsters you'll be killing are E1 monsters such as Zombiemen and Imps, so while there isn't much in monster variety, there are plenty of ways to get them to fight each other which I like. It might be better to try and get as many monsters to start attacking at the same time since once you get the Chaingun, not even the groups of Spectres are much of a threat. Overall though, the map is still fun to blast through if you just want to kill tons of monsters in packs.

  21. Doom City


    Solid map from 1995, visually neat and atmosphere helps the setting thrive here. Plenty of exploration and places to go around, the custom textures make some rooms stand out from others. Worth checking this WAD out even after all these years, it still holds up well.

  22. Requiem


    Played through GZDoom V3.7.0 on Ultra-Violence in a continuous playthrough, how does "the last great megawad", Requiem, hold up today? Sadly, not really that great. I never really played much of the megawad then and playing it again now reminds me as to why that is. Requiem is an odd megawad to have the title it was given, as when comparing it to other 90s classics like Hell Revealed and Eternal Doom, the WAD is unpolished and boring even. For every upside, there are one or two downsides that drags down the experience, and it's a shame because when the levels are good, they do still hold up and stand out from the bunch.


    To get this out of the way, the music is pretty good, a lot of tracks fit well in the levels they play in and they do help provide atmosphere in some of the better looking levels. Some of my favorite tracks are "Under Death" (MAP08 and MAP30), "Last Resort" (MAP15), and "The Everlasting Negative" (MAP21). Some tracks may not hit as good as others and some do get reused, but otherwise the music is one of the best aspects of the WAD and I don't know what reason you can have to not use the separate music WAD file.


    While Hell Revealed may have aged in its gameplay, you can still play it from start to finish without running into too many issues. Requiem however, you can find yourself getting stuck sometimes, you can't get 100% secrets on all maps due to some mapping oversights, and some maps are filler and not always the good kind. Some maps have deathmatch arenas separate from the main map with items not flagged as multiplayer only, so you will never get 100% items on them (assuming you care anyways). No matter the length, some levels are just not interesting. You have your typical MAP07, short levels that end faster before you start enjoying them, and map tricks that can't really save levels that are really just boring to put it simply. I found myself snoozing on maps like MAP11 and MAP16 and just feel like playing something else. Finishing the levels out of obligation left a kind of "nothing" taste on me, and it certainly doesn't help when for a second I thought I was playing a SLIGE level (MAP18 start rooms)! There are surprises in some levels like the Arch-Vile ghost bug on MAP23 and numerous uses of fake 3D bridges, but not a lot happens for the most part, if that makes sense.


    Some of the level design just feels needlessly annoying. MAP06 and MAP08 are the two maps that come to mind for me, and being on the first episode, they can leave an odd impression in what the remainder of the WAD will be like. MAP06 has this one room where some metal bars will lower and you have to wait for them to raise again so you can access the switch you need to press to continue the level. Of course, you can skip that since the switch you need to press is way above your head so you just press the use key where the switch is and there you go. The wait isn't necessary since by then you killed all the monsters around you, making the whole room wait pointless. MAP08 has those slow elevators when you get into the caves, especially near the end of the level where you have to wait around 30 seconds just to reach the exit switch. Wouldn't it be better to just have some stairs or making them lifts instead, it doesn't bring any immersion to the level, and when replaying this level you'll start to really dislike these elevators.


    Secrets mostly consist of similar looking walls that you press use on or shoot at, and when I say similar I mean walls that don't look any different to surrounding ones. Sometimes what you think is a secret is not actually one and might even be required to finish the level (MAP15 as an example), and sometimes what you think isn't a secret is actually one. There are times where secrets don't have you guessing on walls, but they are uncommon. Sometimes I have to look inside a map with a map editor just to know how to finish a level (again, MAP15) since some maps don't do a usual switch hunt as you may think, and that's just not fun. There's also a lack of ammo on some maps, especially early on. Sometimes you may have plenty of bullets, other times you are down to your fists to survive.


    Overall, Requiem is not a bad WAD, but among the 90s classics, it aged poorly and the lack of polish made some maps a chore or stop you from progressing in unexpected ways. There are maps I liked a lot, such as MAP05, MAP17, and MAP27, but having to play some "meh" levels on the way got me uninterested in finishing it. The "last great megawad" could have been much more, but instead it's more average than anything else. Might be good to play out of curiosity or playing some specific levels, but not much else.

  23. Novert


    If you ever want to play Doom on DOSBox, particularly through the Steam or GOG releases, this is a must have. Say goodbye to moving forward when you don't want to!

  24. Completed on GZDoom 3.6.0 on Ultra-Violence in a continuous playthrough. Solid set of levels that are visually great and just as great to play. The first episode is an excellent revision of the original Doom II levels with some added challenge, secrets that are more than just secret walls, and familiar areas given a fresh new look. In these levels you'll see the level themes are intact, so something like MAP07 would still have segments similar to its IWAD counterpart. However, what makes this episode so enjoyable is the creative layouts with new music and textures to help make each level feel new again. The new music for the first episode is also nice.


    The real highlight of this WAD are the Hell levels, which make up the last three levels of the WAD, not counting the actual last level which I won't spoil. The Hell levels are big, open, and are fairly difficult, showcasing the WAD's greatest strengths and makes you want to reach the end sooner or later. Being original levels themselves, their layouts standout the most in the WAD and the scale here is just amazing. MAP13 is probably my favorite level in the WAD, there are many traps, stunning atmosphere, and encounters that leave surprises at every corner. I would play the WAD again just to go to the Hell levels, they are that great to me.


    The WAD also has sound effects for weapons and monsters, some sounding more punchy and others just not that great. Personally I am okay with these, just not a big fan of them. Sprite changes to the monsters are mainly just recolors of the monsters, so Imps are more brown and Arachnotrons shoot red plasma instead. Again, not much of a gameplay changer, though you may or may not like them.


    Overall, Flashback to Hell is a great WAD with a solid first episode and even better Hell levels, so you get both a stellar revision of the first episode of Doom 2 and original Hell levels that open things up. Not all levels are great, MAP14 has a cruddy boss fight that seems to be done out of obligation more than anything. Other maps that fell a bit flat to me were MAP03, but otherwise, it's a good experience throughout.

  25. A nice way to play Doom 2 and Final Doom in this time of year. Some textures and jingles are a bit unfitting, but otherwise, everything sets a good festive mood. I really like seeing the monsters wearing Christmas hats and some other bits, though a shame not all of them get any noticeable changes. Overall, it's pretty fun to go through the official IWADs with this compilation!


    A heads up, the D_DEAD MUS file (MAP10) is bugged and would just not loop, so once it plays the rest is silent.