Since there's been such a huge gap between t/nc instalments, I decided to do one myself. I was planning to review all the wads currently sitting in the /newstuff directory but, well, I got bored halfway through. I'll probably add the rest later. Probably. There also aren't screenshots so, umm, just your imagination or something I guess.
EDIT: Screenshots added by popular demand (guess no-one has an imagination)!
ZDoom - SP - 131 KB Pic1 Pic 2 Pic 3
Despite being a brand new ZDoom wad, Adios has a very oldschool look to it. The architecture and texture usage remind me of the sort of maps that were coming out in 1996, and indeed this level wouldn't have been too out of place in Memento Mori. This isn't a bad thing, however, but a good thing; I have a great deal of fondness for that era of Doom mapping. The only complaints I do have about the architecture is that it's sometimes a tad too cramped, and some of the rooms are rather boxy; a few more angled walls would improve the looks significantly.
The gameplay is relatively oldschool too, although there are a few very basic scripts (essentially just causing monsters to teleport in as soon as other monsters are dead). As mentioned in the accompanying text file it's quite a tough map, and I was surprised when the requisite cyberdemon battle proved easier than some of the earlier fights, with plenty of space and numerous crates to dodge behind. However, after defeating it I was met with a rather unpleasant surprise.
Health and ammo are reasonably well balanced, but less talented players will definitely need to take this level slow and carefully, rather than rushing in all guns blazing.
CDoom - SP - 398 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
I'll provide some basic data on this set of 16 levels, and let you decide whether it's good or bad:
- It requires a port which no-one apart from the person who made it uses.
- The first level consists of three rooms, all of which are under 1024x1024 in size. It also has 19 cyberdemons, 112 barons, and 27 arch-viles. All but one of those are in the second and third rooms.
- Almost all the other levels have cyberdemons numbering in the double digits, and most have dozens of barons and/or arch-viles.
- The second room of the first level has a door which is 280 units high, and disappears into the sky.
- There's a room in map11 which, in UV, contains 168 chaingunners.
- I'm pretty sure that not a single line in the entire set is aligned on the horizontal axis.
Elegy for them Vigil
ZDoom - SP - 1387 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
A word of warning: if you're the type of Doomer who dislikes enormous levels, hates non-linearity, and despises key hunting, then this level is not for you. For those 'explorers' amongst us, this map is a godsend: it's huge, there are multiple routes to proceed from almost every room, and it'll take you an age to track down all the keys (and when I say all, I really do mean all; this level uses both the keycards and the skull keys).
When I first started the level, it seemed I was due for Yet Another Gothic Level, albeit one whose looks were above average. However, after only a couple of rooms the theme suddenly changed into a cross between GothicDM and Doom episode 4, and only a few rooms after that I was into territory similar to the more industrial levels of Doom 2 (particularly maps 6 and 8). Some areas even have Doom episode 2 look to them.
Mixing styles like this often has the result of creating a level that looks as though the author took several unfinished maps and copy'n'pasted them together, but in this case the transitions are done so well, and the interconnectivity is so good, that the various parts generally do seem to "belong" together. Indeed, according to the text file the level is supposed to be a "tech base being turned into an outpost of hell", and that's exactly what the map reminds me of. However, I did find that neither the METAL2 nukage maze nor the ASHWALL3 caves really fit in with the rest of the map; both consist of cramped and undertailed passages, while the majority of the level is more open and much better looking.
Besides these two areas, the visuals range from good to fantastic. I particular liked the gothic/hellish hybrid areas, which very much remind me of the last couple of episodes of Paul Fleschute's megawad 'Vengeance'.
Gameplay in the level is fairly good. There are a few too many revenants for my tastes, but that's just a personal thing as they're my least favourite enemy. Ammo and health are both balanced pretty well, which is no mean feat considering the highly non-linear nature of the level. There are also some good old fashioned nasty tricks 'n' traps.
Generator of Evil
Limit Removing - SP - 645 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
Question: What happens when someone decides that Hell Revealed, Alien Vendetta, and Deus Veult didn't quite have enough monsters?
Answer: You get something like Generator of Evil.
While certainly not as OTT as Nuts wad (unlike Nuts, this is intended to be a serious level), GoE is absolutely jam packed with enemies; in UV, there's a total of 2273, and even in ITYTD there's 1816.
It all starts off with an elevator ride, during which you can see (but not fire upon) three walkways crammed full of imps (66 each), and numerous ledges packed full of more imps, revenants, hell knights, and mancubi. Proceeding up the only walkway which doesn't currently lead to a dead end, you find yourself on a platform with several megaspheres. Suddenly, a cyberdemon instantly appears before you, and two more start shooting from ledges on either side... and you've most likely still got two bloody great hordes of revenants shooting from ledges behind you. Once you deal with the immediate danger in front of you, you come across two switches, one which requires the blue key, and the other the yellow. These keys are visible on raised up platforms in the distance. Proceeding towards them, you drop down in a hole filled with demons. Maneuvering to deal with them, you cross a line that lowers a wall revealing a horde of imps and mancubi. And so it goes on...
Unless you cheat, you'll barely have the time to admire the visuals, but if you do get the chance you'll find it's a really nice looking level. GoE has definitely got that HR 'look', with the first area being the almost-traditional-for-HR huge cavern full of ledges, walkways, and platforms, and in fact it's more attractive than the typical HR level. The author has paid more attention to detail than the creators of HR, though, with some great looking architecture and cool looking lighting effects. On the whole, I'd say the visuals are on a par with Deus Vult.
This is very much a hardcore player-only level. It could be quite fun in co-op, but even then you'll need better than average skills to avoid not dying constantly.
The Corrupt Pit of Hell
Skulltag - DM - 780 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
This level = oldschool looks + oldschool gameplay + minor newschool influences.
With the exception of a few slopes, the architecture could be straight out of 1994, although it would have been one of the more attractive maps of that year; in fact, it reminds me of Deadbase, which has long been one of my favourite levels. The gameplay is also nothing to write home about; it consists of running into, out of, and around four almost identical buildings, and over a narrow 3D bridge over an extremely deep pit. The 'newschool influences' consist of speed ramps in each corner of the map, spikes at the bottom of the pit and some of the Skulltag weapons. There also two new weapons, namely the 'advanced shotgun' (Duke Nukem shotgun), and the 'quad shotgun' (Shadow Warrior minigun).
doom2.exe - SP - 49 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
I quit shortly after discovering that the level includes Keen dolls, SS nazis, and Wolfenstein textures.
doom2.exe - SP - 51 KB Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3
WTF? A halfway decent (that is, halfway to being decent) Ruba level? Okay, so there are some ugly texture alignments, far, far, *far* too much ammo, and it's way too short, but this improves upon previous Kohe levels by leaps and bounds. Who knows, perhaps one day soon Ruba will make a level worthy of receiving the prodigous 3/5. For now though, I've given this one a 2/5.
Revenge of The Kunun
doom2.exe - SP - 6 KB Pic 1
Considering this map consists almost entirely of a rocket launcher battle with a cyber demon, it's actually not too bad. The visuals are quite nice, and Ruba does actually seem to have put some thought into the fight... although that said, the cyber could do with a bit more room to move around in. If the author concentrates more on his ammo and health balancing, and on making levels that take longer than 2 minutes to defeat, he might actually come up with something most of us would enjoy.