The /newstuff Chronicles #332

Welcome to a special Christmas edition of The /newstuff Chronicles. Except it isn't really special, because this one is pretty much just like any other. Your help is always needed.

  • Hora cero - El canalla
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 281541 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: myk
    This is a relatively recent DOOM II level (April '07, from the date stamp) named "zero hour" in Spanish, with an old-stuff feel. In some respects, the author shows some promise, but the level displays a number of problems. The texture choices are not bad for a multi-themed level, although the architecture is a bit clunky. The occasional chairs and the like don't look too good in particular, in my opinion, although they are nothing horrible. The Iron Maiden track replacing the music doesn't sound bad in there, though.

    Play suffers a bit much from the boxed-monsters syndrome. You can easily get away with gunning most of them from doorways and such without being molested. Additionally, while it clearly states that no advanced engine is required, the level does not work in Doom, Chocolate Doom, or the like because at least on switch does not function. As the text file indicates, it was only tested in ZDoom, which is a mistake if you want to make a level that works on everything.

    Too much effort was spent on recreating a architectural scenarios, compared to testing and fine-tuning to make it play well (or at all in some respects).

  • Terra - El canalla
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 492824 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Lizardcommando
    This level is pretty big. It's also very confusing to navigate. It might be due to the fact that the textures in this level feel like they were randomly placed. There's this one area near the beginning that I was stuck at for nearly 5 minutes trying to figure out where to go. It turns out one that there was a door which used that bookshelf texture. Even though this level needs ZDoom to play it (there are a few ZDoom specific features like slopes), the detailing of the map is pretty bland. It's just not that interesting to look at. Then again, I guess the fact that I got lost trying to figure out where to go most of the time kind of factors into that. There are a few new textures, but they feel really out of place. Most of them are used as billboards for the city area later in the map.

    This level throws in a couple of stealth monsters and even a bunch of Wolfenstein SS guys which seems pretty random. The new music isn't that bad, but the new player sound is unnecessary. The only thing it replaces is the player's normal death sound.

    I wouldn't recommend this map. Just skip it.

  • Caverns of Darkness patch for ZDoom - Graf Zahl (Christoph Oelckers)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 6142 bytes
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    Our beloved 2002 wad Caverns of Darkness, an excellent mysterious Boom-Compatible map set, was only made playable with an included executable which worked flawlessly on older versions of DOS. However, with newer versions of Windows such as XP and Vista, the executable can be a blunder. Graf Zahl presents us with a patch that enables the wads to run flawlessly in ZDoom and GZDoom on modern machines. Just run the .pk3 in addition to COD.wad and CODLEV.wad. If you guys hadn't given Caverns of Darkness a chance, or would like to give it another whack after 6 and a half years of its release, you should get this.

    Caverns of Darkness is hosted by Doomworld, you can download the wad here, as well as the patch on the same page at any time.

  • Overload - Blzut3
    Skulltag - CTF - 29087 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    This mod replaces CTF with a game mode called "Overload". Instead of capturing the enemy's flag, you have to destroy their obelisk, which has a good number of hit points, to score. This significantly changes the dynamics of the game so that there's more emphasis on skill rather than of speed. Instead of running in, grabbing the flag, and hauling ass back to your camp (and hoping the other team hasn't already taken your flag), you have to stay alive in the enemy's base while trying to destroy their obelisk. It's a pretty neat new way to play when other game modes get boring.

  • VOLCANO.WAD - Robert S. Whitaker
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 60059 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    One might guess from the all-caps name that this is a 1994 wad (which it is). I actually had semi-high hopes for this - reading the description in the text file brought to mind images of volcanic techbases, machinery half-eaten by molten rock, corridors twisting through miles of red-hot granite, until you finally reach the spot where the careless (now dead) miners have drilled a hole into Hell itself. That sort of thing.

    The map itself isn't too awful. It is indeed a techbase in a volcano, though far less dramatic than I had imagined (there isn't even any lava). Visually it's very non-offensive; other than being bland there's nothing wrong with it. Of course you have your usual 1994 quirks (strangely-shaped rooms, odd texturing).

    But the gameplay is really where this level falls flat on its face. There are a couple of semi-mazes (semi-mazes because they're not too confusing) which aren't irritating. But it seems that half of the doors are the exact same texture as the walls around them, with either no clue that anything's there or a clue that you tend to overlook when exploring. A small dip in the floor? Must be a door there! A skull on a pole? Better hump that wall! Worse yet, at least two keys are behind these kinds of doors, making the map uncompletable unless you go around the whole map, trying to "use" anything that looks suspicious.

    There's also a bad case of what-the-hell-did-that-switch-do syndrome and plenty of backtracking (going down the same endless hallway ten times). You don't even have to play the whole map to finish - I hit what I thought was a random switch than ended up exiting me out of the level. At least put a sign up that says "EXIT", there's even a texture for it. I'm the kind of person who likes exploring the whole map.

    God, I'm getting pissed just thinking about this level. Don't play it, seriously.

  • 9 lives - Barnabas Burgess
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 36073 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    A mostly uninteresting map. STARTAN seems to be the flavor of the day here, with some occasional stone and nukage textures (there's even some COMPBLUE!). Level design is below average; at least not all the rooms are 128-high rectangles, though some of them are indeed patented 1994 abstract-shaped (tangent rhombuses, anyone?). Pass.

  • Cold as Hell: Special Edition - Jon "JonnyFive" Washburn
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 48220196 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
    Cold as Hell: Special Edition is an enhanced and cured of various bugs version of the original Cold as Hell of 2004. After four years CaH grew in size and requirements, and now works under GZDoom.

    It's 1954, you are American soldier, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, now assigned to a (as excepted) quiet mission in Greenland. Things start going wrong with your plane crashing, killing both pilots and leaving you alone in the middle of some silent snow-covered military base. It all starts moodily and almost mysteriously, but soon you'll encounter your first enemy...

    That moment spoils the whole thing a lot. You see, the place immediately gets packed with demons – I mean it, packed with them. And, as CaH is a hub, every first (and sometimes not only first) visit of each level will be an encounter with a bunch of demons, mostly imp variations, who throw ridiculous fireballs. Is this interesting? Unfortunately it isn't, because the monster positioning doesn't stimulate you to invent some strategy – it's just a dull slaughter. Weapons with slow (and not really animated) reloading, which is pretty cruel in addition (ammo in not-empty magazines get lost, but when they are empty reloading doesn't happen automatically), intensifies the situation. Besides, sometimes you bleed (don't know why burning fireballs actually provoke bleeding, but whatever), thus you have to use bandages periodically, which take 3 seconds to use, and you're unable to shoot. However, you won't suffer from a shortage of ammunition, there's much. I'd say too much. Even for a military base.

    In fact, all the fighting bored me so much that after some time I started cheating (usually I don't do that, you know), trying to get myself through it faster to the other part of the gameplay – there usually is another part, right? I wasn't really pleased, because it mostly consisted of searching through numerous, often almost identical rooms for keys and other stuff and periodically facing some unexpected new packs of monsters. By the way, don't hurry to kill Pain Elementals, these are not them, they just look alike.

    The situation got better when the base was temporary replaced by a more hellish environment – both gameplay and looks changed a lot there, and that was the best part.

    How it looks? Well, it looks not bad. Unfortunately, apart from all the military base theme looking not really exciting itself, the place is mostly covered with original Doom textures, which often doesn't look suitable. At first it all looks interesting, but this theme and even cool falling snow begin to bother you after some time. Again, hellish parts are better, but there isn't much of them.

    Even though it isn't the best experience, still this is a very interesting TC, so I advise you to take a look. Unless you are playing something very interesting; don't interrupt yourself then.

  • The Outpost - Daniel Steinert
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 135765 bytes
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    This single level wad (which runs on Map04) is a reasonably competent single player wad. While nothing particularly fancy in terms of detailing, texturing and layout (though it is quite passable for the most part) it does a reasonably good job being difficult, but not overly so. The resistance was pretty solid through the level (though you can easily get the monsters to fight themselves) and there was enough ammo and health to go around.

    Overall, this isn't a bad wad. It looks a little on the old side but plays well enough to compensate for the most part. I'd like to see the author improve upon this work and look forward to seeing future releases.

  • Wire Brush - rf
    doom.exe - Solo Play - 91540 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
    This is a classical-styled map for e1m1 (incorrectly indicated as e2m1 in the txt). Everything is just like in our good old Doom, perhaps just a little more detailed. Architecture is interesting, the logic of the level is logical (it should be, right?), difficulty is average (can be done in a quick raid on UV, just watch your back; I did), balance is good (I could hardly resist the temptation to write 'balanced'). So, if you like classical maps, you definitely should try it.

  • The Sympathiser - Martin Howe
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 105881 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    Oh wow. A DECORATE enemy that gets in your way and tells you not to kill the demons, their parents probably didn't love them and we should try to understand them. On the surface this seems really useless, and... well, it kinda is. Underneath, the coding's more complex than you might think. The sounds are kinda fuzzy, and it would have been interesting if it randomly replaced demons so that you'd be shooting through a level, then this guy pops up and tells you to STOP THAT AT ONCE! Still, an original (and amusing) idea.

  • Spooky Woods - Terry
    Skulltag - Solo Play - 395783 bytes
    Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
    This is a stupid not scary joke-wad. Surprisingly, I have nothing to add, because there's virtually nothing inside. Oh, yeah: don't play it. Even for a laugh.

  • LIBRARY OF DOOM - Thomas Drugg
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 60122 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: myk
    This is a DOOM II level based on the Jamtland County Library in Ostersund, Sweden. The map has both outdoors and indoors sections, and visually it is generally more interesting inside, although the tall windows at the end of the library proper seen nice enough from the outside. Playability is relatively easy but chaotic, as the large areas in the library contain a good amount of monsters which may attack the player from different directions. Progress may be somewhat confusing at first, because it's not always clear what different switches found throughout the level do. On the bright side the map is not really large (just spacious), so it's not hard to learn one's way.

    It should be fun for a quick blast-through session, and worth a look particularly if you're interested in above-par older stuff, or perhaps if you live near Ostersund and have been to the library it's based on.

  • Vortex of Evil - Terry
    Skulltag - Solo Play - 6331 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    You try to flip a switch but instead get thrown off the platform and die. Don't bother.

  • DOOM 2: EVOLVED - Dave Billing
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 3217034 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    Doom 2 Evolved is, quite simply, a modern day re-creation of the first three levels of Doom 2, built from scratch and made for GZDoom.

    Although any half-decent mapper could recreate the first few levels of Doom 2 from scratch and do a respectably good job of it, it takes a very good mapper for these three maps to come out as well as they did. Everything in this wad was quite well done and detailed in the classic way you'd expect from Doom 2's first three levels.

    Each of the three maps presented here have the same basic layout as the original three maps, which gives a sense of familiarity as you play through these maps. However, each map also has something new in store as well for you, something that provides a bit of a challenge for the Doomer. This also includes many of the secrets, which either have a different way of being accessed in this wad or are removed entirely.

    The health and ammo balance is pretty much unchanged for the most part. You'll find more than enough ammo to get the job done, but health is a bit tighter due to the increase in number of enemies you fight on UV.

    Which brings me to the single downside to this wad: the "Invisible" monsters that you don't see until they attack you or are injured. In the true sense of this being a Doom remake, there would be no such thing as invisible monsters like this, and weren't part of the original Doom game (invisible monsters are also frowned upon in general by most of the Dooming population due to cheapness/annoyance/wasting ammo).

    Outside of the invisible monsters though, this is a very good wad, and I recommend you download this and give it a play. I look forward to seeing more awesome things coming from this mapper in the future.

  • Vile Challenge - Ruba
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 34050 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    A very short and basic map by Ruba (I had no great expectations). Rather than gun down dozens of monsters, you move through different areas to face a series of Archviles (some of which took me by surprise). The divergence from the standard killathon-formula is appreciated.

    Gameplay is somewhat easy in this regard; if you're careful you only have to fight one Archvile at a time, and ammo is abundant. Health is minimal, though you have enough for a little breathing room every battle, and a hidden megasphere comes in handy. There's a BFG at the end I never used. The map itself is actually not bad-looking. A fair amount of detailing, good height variation, and the different areas don't look bad at all.

    Though this map is average at best, Ruba has evidently put some time into it. Download perhaps as an odd curiosity, like you would with a Mock 2 level that makes sense.

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fp!!

Cold as Hell - awesome. I'm glad it's been redone to be even MORE awesome.

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I like "The Sympathiser". It's an amusing if harmless addition to the bestiary though the "attack" frame looks a bit odd.

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Yeah, I know I was rough with CaH. But that's how I feel. It was a boring wad with numerous good ideas which didn't make it not boring.

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Haha, I remember trying to play CaH when it came out, and it bringing my computer to a screeching halt... And my computer was fairly good, fot the time! I'll be sure to give it a playthrough this time around though, because I really liked the premise, and I actually have a functional machine now

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Woo, it got reviewed this week! Props

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Just too bad that the CaH review ist the initial release of the SE which indeed had some problems. The latest version plays a lot better than this one.

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GreyGhost said:

... the "attack" frame looks a bit odd.

Heh. He's meant to be "tearing his hair out" in despair at the fate of "the poor widdle demons that howwible marine is shooting at". :)

Wills said:

then this guy pops up and tells you to STOP THAT AT ONCE!

If you want them randomly placed instead of at specific locations, it's not too hard to do; put a random jump in the SPAWN state to a state that just STOPs then just scatter them around the level; e.e., something like this:

Around line 104, replace:

                // Initialise the sympathiser
                SYMP A  0 A_TakeInventory("SympathiserSound", 7)
with
                // Initialise the sympathiser
                SYMP A  0 A_Jump(128, "KillMeNow")
                SYMP A  0 A_TakeInventory("SympathiserSound", 7)
Around line 280, replace:
//              SYMP H  5 CURRENTLY UNUSED
                SYMP G  5
                Goto See
        }
with
//              SYMP H  5 CURRENTLY UNUSED
                SYMP G  5
                Goto See

        KillMeNow:
                TNT1 A 0
                Stop
        }

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Graf Zahl said:

Just too bad that the CaH review ist the initial release of the SE which indeed had some problems. The latest version plays a lot better than this one.


Yes, especially issues with the bleeding and reloading automatically that were mentioned in the review. Still, it's not for everyone and I respect that.

Still, I find this comment on the idgames reviews hilarious:

0/5 next time you make a wad, be sure that it opens. This PK3 file cannot be opened on ZDoom or ZDoom. Even worser then you first one.


Someone doesn't like to do things like "read the text files" I guess, since the latest version works fine with the latest release version of GZDoom, which it clearly states in the text file it requires. Ugh.

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Wire Brush is a big surprise. Best thing I've played in a while.

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When the hell did Ruba start making maps worth half a shit?

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dethtoll said:

When the hell did Ruba start making maps worth half a shit?



... I was thinkin' this myself.

I may have to have a look at it now.

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It's strange that I find it hard to argue against any of the points made in the CaH review - but come out with quite a different conclusion about the mod.

The comments are all fair enough from the reviewers POV. There are some things that were a frustration for me too. I also found the search for notes a bit too long, with no clear direction as to where to find them, and the level which consists of lots of very similar rooms clad in METAL* textures was confusing simply because of the way the rooms were put together - which detracted from the fun IMO.

However, many of the things mentioned, I see as strengths in the WAD, um, PK3. To me, it is one of the most original and interesting mods released to date. It truly has it's own feel and atmosphere and, despite so much of it clearly being based on Doom graphics and behaviour, it almost feels like a new game. A bit like 'Nam does versus Duke 3D, if that makes sense. The game feels cold and mysterious, special effects of various types are used very, very well. The first map, once you encounter the monsters, is supposed to be a classic invasion that you can only win by escaping. You are not meant to clear out the base. In fact, I don't think that you can clear out the base. With the later versions, there is also a significant choice of the "rules" by which you get to play - reloading, bleeding, how many HP you have etc, as well as the normal options of difficulty settings. Also, I really like the, often very subtle, use of models in the mod. They integrate very well with the architecture in the levels.

IMO, CaH definitely justified its Cacoward.

Also, I don't know why, but there is something very neat about the level with the dam/water turbines that I really like. It is possibly one of may favourite maps in the mod. Like I said, I don't know why but I just find it a very satisfying map to play.

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Doom 2: Evolved looks pretty good, which is surprising. I've had a similar idea to remake or enhance Doom 2's levels in various forms over the years, but we all know how one-man megawads usually turn out. :p

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dethtoll said:

When the hell did Ruba start making maps worth half a shit?


I dunno, but Ruba can keep doing so. Please.

I actually like those wads for some reason.

</masochist>

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Snarboo said:

Doom 2: Evolved looks pretty good, which is surprising. I've had a similar idea to remake or enhance Doom 2's levels in various forms over the years, but we all know how one-man megawads usually turn out. :p


Like Scyte, TVR's Revolution, Simplicity, Twilight Zone or DSV series?

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I would like to add, making the Caverns of Darkness patch a PK3 was really stupid. PK3s work for some things, but I would have MUCH preferred the patch to be a wad file so I could just throw it in the COD.zip file and force it to run with cod. Since, you know, Zdoom can't fucking run pk3 files inside a zip file.

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I usually extract the wad file from the archive even when I don't need to. Eh, old habits.

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Scuba Steve said:

I would like to add, making the Caverns of Darkness patch a PK3 was really stupid. PK3s work for some things, but I would have MUCH preferred the patch to be a wad file so I could just throw it in the COD.zip file and force it to run with cod. Since, you know, Zdoom can't fucking run pk3 files inside a zip file.


You could always add the COD .wad to the .pk3 instead...

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As if merging 2 Zips is a problem. If you want a reason why this is a PK3: I don't use WAD managers!

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Our beloved 2002 wad Caverns of Darkness, an excellent mysterious Boom-Compatible map set, was only made playable with an included executable which worked flawlessly on older versions of DOS. However, with newer versions of Windows such as XP and Vista, the executable can be a blunder.

Think outside the box. This is the _first_ time I can play COD to its fullest (also in higher screen resolution) ever since, because, ya know, some people are Microsoft-agnostic.

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When I click the link labeled "Your help", I get a message saying I need a doomworld fourms account to particapate.

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Scuba Steve said:

I would like to add, making the Caverns of Darkness patch a PK3 was really stupid. PK3s work for some things, but I would have MUCH preferred the patch to be a wad file so I could just throw it in the COD.zip file and force it to run with cod. Since, you know, Zdoom can't fucking run pk3 files inside a zip file.


Can't you just add the cod wads into the pk3?

JohnnyRancid said:
Our beloved 2002 wad Caverns of Darkness, an excellent mysterious Boom-Compatible map set, was only made playable with an included executable which worked flawlessly on older versions of DOS.[/B]

O_o If it was Boom compatible it wouldn't have needed it's own executable.

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r_rr said:

When I click the link labeled "Your help", I get a message saying I need a doomworld fourms account to particapate.

You have to be logged into the forums in order to access the review centre - it does a cookie check.

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GreyGhost said:

You have to be logged into the forums in order to access the review centre - it does a cookie check.

And if you're using IE I think you have to lower your cookie security settings or something.

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