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- Doom Core - Michael Jan Krizk (Valkiriforce)
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Reviewed by: Phobus
Doom Core is the first of Valkiriforce's two (at time of writing) 32-map megaWADs. The maps here were made during a 13 month period starting November 2009, but were put together as a complete release for July 1st 2011 and archived in September. MAP25-27 and MAP29 were also released in REJECTS.WAD, with the first 3 being cut from Reverie and MAP29 being a reject from PRCP.
Now, Valkiriforce is big fan of the mid-late 90s breed of mapper. This is shown in his work very prominently and also makes from some very interesting trivia in the text file, where he lists his inspirations and thoughts for each map in the WAD. What this means for the player is that he can expect a lot of barrels in non-linear, highly explorable environments. This also means the player will have puzzles to solve (screenshot 06 shows the "clue" in MAP14s numbered sequence puzzle, for example) and maps lean more towards the functional than aesthetic (MAP20 starts with a building sequence, shown in screenshot 08). Perhaps the most interesting part of this entire megaWAD is the variety and versatility that Krizk demonstrates in his inspired works - the mapset actually feels like it could have been made by a range of different mappers. I found myself really loving some maps and genuinely hating others as a result of this. On the plus side, his ambition of everybody having something to enjoy should be realised, and the mapset doesn't get stale halfway through.
The overall experience is loosely tied together with a story about Doom Guy being trapped in hallucinations, which (in a particularly nice touch) does actually end differently based on difficulty. If we're going into look-and-feel, then we get the same diversity as I mentioned before - some maps look dull or uninteresting (I'd point to screenshot 02, which is of MAP02) and others make nice work of the simple details to create a nice look (screenshot 03 shows a good example of this in MAP04). Presentation is pretty sweet, with a fresh TITLEPIC (screenshot 01); good choices of music for most maps; map names in the intermissions screen (although there's no DeHackEd work, meaning not in the automap); and plenty of additional textures to make things look nicer (including an unexpected guitar in MAP16).
Of course, we're really all here for the gameplay, right? Damn straight we are! I did the whole thing on UV and I'd say the difficulty is updated for modern times, even if the style of mapping is notably older. The monsters start off pretty tough, with hitscanners being a permanent thorn in my side (read: massive pain in the arse) - I actually found the difficulty to be fairly consistent throughout the entire megaWAD, with occasional "fuck you" traps as early as MAP04 and some later maps still being pretty easy (MAP23 is very heavily supplied and essentially works as an exercise in choke-point management and teleport-destination camping). One thing I could help but notice is that my playthrough took some considerable endurance, as the entire thing took me about 6 hours and 20 minutes (plus dying time), which averaged out to about 11 minutes per map. When you consider that MAP19 (which was just too damn big) took me about half an hour on its own, whilst maps like MAP15 and MAP27 were very short and sweet (even with getting the secret exit) this does start to make sense. Part of this came down to switch hunts and lengthy corridors to run, whilst other times it was hordes of monsters to kill.
As I played it all in one continuous go (using save/loads), the fact that the levels are all playable from a pistol start worked in my favour. This left me heavily stocked and free to use any gun I liked - particularly useful, as I had to use the chaingun very frequently in order to keep the hitscanners from draining my health too quickly. I did realise I was having a lot of fun being stocked up like this around MAP10, which functioned as a fast-paced frantic playground for me, as I didn't need to worry about finding weapons or ammo. Having a steady supply of rockets and cells was also a lifesaver on more than one occasion.
In conclusion (or tl;dr) I'd say I like this megaWAD. Some maps (like MAP22 - a "Living End" styled map) just really hit a sweet spot with me, even if others (like MAP28) really were quite crap. It's a well-presented and varied package that should have something for everyone. Good job Valkiriforce!
- Pallace Skorn - Callum Guy Oliver aka Phobosdeimos1
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Reviewed by: Kirby
Pallace Skorn is a standalone level for Doom 2 that provides two new monsters and one new weapon, plus several different textures and flats to keep things interesting. Despite these additions though, Pallace Skorn just falls short overall. The green imp replacements are fine and dandy but don't particularly change the gameplay too much. The new uzi-commandos are dumb because if you don't catch them right away they will obliterate you in 2 seconds.
Which brings me to the Uzi replacement for the Chaingun - WHAT THE HELL. It's an uber-fast firing Uzi that can take down a Cyberdemon without fear of retaliation and kill anything else in just one or two clicks. It eats through your ammo like there's no tomorrow, and the sheer over-powering on this weapon just makes no sense for it to be in this wad.
Not that great, level isn't special either. Avoid.
- Happy Birthday Pavera - 40oz
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Reviewed by: Kirby
I have to say at this point that it's not hard to see why 40oz is a great mapper. Aside from having released numerous works AND having touted the MotY Cacoward, the man is STILL pumping out birthday wads. Good ones at that - this one fits the bill quite perfectly if you're looking for a single level to fire up.
The level (officially titled "Happy Birthday Pavera") is a medium-large industrial themed map created in honor of KrisPavera's birthday. On first playthrough it took me about 8 minutes, but the level is easily navigable. My singular complaint stems from an area you can get stuck in - a computer-wall that drops down as a lift (go behind it, lift closes, no way out + HOM on the backside) - but otherwise this is a very nice level. Detail is appealing, gameplay is balanced (maybe a bit too much ammo, but not jarringly so). There's even a cake and birthday message included just for Pavera; what's not to like?
Great level to load up and play through - highly recommend this. Now if I can just sway 40oz into doing a belated birthday level all for me...
P.S. - It apparently took 40oz a year and a half to get this out (though only 6 hours in combined editing time), so it should be noted that October 17 is not Pavera's actual birthday. Just FYI.
- speng - JJP
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Reviewed by: Phobus
I'll be honest: I played and reviewed Speng for the name alone. The title screen and automap view (screenshot 02) follow the same vein of humour. The actual map itself is a 2 hour speedmapped job that, in the words of the author, is "terrible" and is something he intends to make up for some day. It's got no difficulty modes and plays a bit like a slaughter map (but with about 90 enemies of start-up), in that you're heavily stocked and have groups of tough enemies to kill for the most part. You have to play aggressively and push into rooms to have the ammo and guns to kill the monsters, or you'll just be underpowered and probably die. I got a few minutes of action out of it, so I don't mind the map too much, but you'll miss nothing by skipping this. The .ogg music included in the WAD for ZDoom-derived ports is worth noting though, as it's actually pretty cool.
- Chubz Missions (Episode 1) - Matthew C. (Chubzdoomer)
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Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Let's start with a question. When does writing a Doom review feel awesome? When you're typing it while listening to "Monty Gets Orchestrated" on Youtube. Ostensibly The Chubz Missions mapset is a tribute to the original maps, and with that in mind I reckon nostalgia hunters are going to like it. On the other hand, this tribute to id Software's original vision occasionally reminds me more of the first 1994 maps rather than anything id ever made. That's not a bad thing, though. I like outsize rooms holding one handgunner; it reminds me of the maps I played when I first worked out how to get custom wads working back in the day.
The first map is straightforward: go into a base full of empty rooms and get to the exit. I actually couldn't work out how to get to the exit, and I didn't bother looking in an editor because my dinner was ready. That's the first time the Spice Cottage, Sheffield, have ever delivered on time.
Fully refreshed (or perhaps, somewhat overloaded) after my curry, I found that E1M2 ramps the difficulty level considerably. E1M3 was easier and reminded me more of the map it replaces. These two maps are pretty challenging without ever getting near Hell Revealed level, and I enjoyed them.
E1M4 is an annoying nukage base where every rad suit counts if you don't know where you're going. There is some backtracking here, and you need a red key to activate a switch to get to the blue key. Why do mappers feel the need to use more keys than necessary?
What this haphazard review is trying to say is that the Chubz Missions are decent fare for lovers of old school maps. Not sure why this kind of map is still turning up almost two eons after John Romero forgot he even did the originals, but if they are all like E1M2 and E1M3 of this wad, keep 'em coming.And no, that is NOT an invitation to the Phantom Crap Wad Uploader.
- Pain Above All - Matthew C. (Chubzdoomer)
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Reviewed by: Kirby
Pain Above All is a simple level that is easy to follow through from start to finish.
This may be because there's practically nothing else to distract you.
This level presents itself as an amateur map - large, generalized spaces without much (if any) detail, spread out enemies for an easy difficulty, and a linear progression all lead to that conclusion. The secrets are a bit obvious as well, but for what it's worth my complaints stop there. Chubzdoomer is at least paying attention to his texturing, and fundamentally there isn't anything wrong with the map. There are a couple of ZDoom features used in the level (i.e. floating bookcases for a jumping puzzle), but they're simple and don't add much.
I'd say this map is a good base for the author to expand from. It's lacking in gameplay and detail, but at the least it doesn't fall completely flat on its face. With that in mind, this level doesn't offer much, so I wouldn't really recommend it.
But hey, at least it isn't horrible.
- All SLIGE'd Up - Various
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Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Many die-hard Doomers would rather poo their pants live on the six o'clock news than play someone else's Slige maps. It's fair to say that Doom map generators unleash abominations that look like they came from the womb of Shub-Niggurath, and are as much fun to play as a game of American football where your testicles are the ball.
Did this deter the Skulltag forum members? No, they paused for nary a second when one of their number announced, "I know! Let's build some maps that look like they came from Slige!"
While fully 99.9% of Skulltaggers then had to send their underpants to the incinerator, a small group of hardy individuals were able to actually take part in Impboy's mad dream. And so came All Sliged Up, a project which actually had more music makers than mappers, but never mind, let's get this thing loaded up and KICK SOME DEMON ARSE!
Map 1 – Radioactive Refinery (Impboy): I admit I was expecting a festering turd of a map. What I got instead was something that could have been excellent had it not been completely linear and totally cramped. The monster placement is King ReoL's wet dream come true. Towards the end of the map it almost becomes a joke: there's a switch hunt section, which I am totally fine with since it's obvious where the switches are, but the calibre of monster leaps from minion to master, and you're forced to fight (or evade) a Baron, Pain Elemental, and Mancubus. You can obviously get them to infight, but there isn't much room to evade a Mancubus attack – and have you ever tried to get a Pain Elemental and a Mancubus to infight? It's a fascinating thing. Anyway, the map looks like Impboy spent ages on it, the lighting is excellent, the detail is superb, and I enjoyed the music. It seems to be a remix of something I've heard before (I'm not good with music), so with some tweaking to add to the frustrated natural "flow" of the map, this could be something really exciting.
Map 2 – Subterranean Labs (Jimmy): Now here we have a Slige map that looks like no Slige map I've ever seen. The amount of effort that went into this one goes beyond even Impboy's sterling work for the first map. I really liked the music too. This is a much wider map with tons of room to manoeuvre. There are plenty of Knights, Revenants, and Cacodemons providing heavy support for a seemingly endless stream of minions. You get a cool subterranean view at the start, and you even manage to get out into the fiery caverns as you progress through the maze. Kudos for the fork lift truck. This map is pretty relentless on UV, so make sure to remember where the medikits are.
Map 3 – Square Town (Daimon): Another interesting-looking map incorporating varied themes. Daimon put his creative spirit to work when he rebuilt this map from scratch and created a fairly challenging base which is slowly being corrupted by the powers of Hell. I've seen the "city with a gaping lava chasm" before in a couple of much older maps, but it is performed well here. The music for this map is heavier as befits the wad's change to a more aggressive tone.
Map 4 – Pits O'Fire (Dragonfly): Wow. This is my kind of map. There are elements of Ultimate Doom E4 and some visuals reminiscent of the awesome Alien Vendetta castle maps, particularly Nemesis, one of AV's notable highlights. This map feels quite short compared to the previous three, but I enjoyed every moment of it. There are a couple of moderately tough fights but nothing an average Doomer can't handle. A really, really impressive effort. Bonus points for the Imp locked in a wooden chamber with claw marks all over the walls – one of the few attempts I've ever seen to make it look like a Doom monster was interacting with its environment. Again the music was worth a listen and suited the map quite well.
Map 5 – Tormented Skull (Impboy): Nice map name! Here we have the second level built by the leader of a project that is increasingly winning my respect and putting a smile on my face. Unfortunately, despite consistently strong visuals and Impboy's attention to detail, it is hard to shake the knowledge that this map was not laid out by a human being. Impboy has once again done his best with a Slige map, and of all the map authors he is the most consistent with the spirit of the project; but no matter what an awesome map name or how moody the music, a fun map doesn't consist of opening a door into a cramped corridor and mowing down a ton of enemies who are simply all standing there in ranks (and who therefore all end up infighting anyway). More thoughtful monster placement and less cramped rooms would have made this more enjoyable. Impboy's maps are tougher than the others, and he really knows how to make a map look good.
Map 6 – Temple of Demons (Dragonfly): Dragonfly and Impboy were the only mappers to submit more than one map to this project. I am sort of gutted I've already reached the last one, although I have been playing and writing for about 2 hours now. Here we have the kind of map that is so brown it detracts from the sheer detail. As its name suggests, this temple is packed with Pinkies who want nothing more than to eat your face. I found a hidden backpack in the same room as a backpack that was just sitting in the open. There's a somewhat harsh fight near the end with two Arch-Viles and I died just outside the last room... gutted.
To sum up for those chronic attention deficit people who have to skip large blocks of text because it hurts their poor little eyes (or they can't read), you should definitely download this wad. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to volunteer for a project like this (after I finally get my other maps made). As for the music, what can I say? I liked every track in the wad. That's quite rare. Even the title and intermission pics were cool. A real treat for Doom fans and nothing like the monstrosity I thought it would be... in fact they'd be better off ditching all reference to Slige.
Screenshot Note: Despite the extremely high visual quality of the maps, I found it difficult to get good screenshots due to the cramped environment. The underground cavern shot was taken from outside the start room and this area cannot be reached without cheating.
- Rustik - c64fun
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Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
Everybody knows that most 1994 wads suck.
Not only do they suck, but they really fucking suck badly.
Fortunately, Rustik is an exception.
In the textfile the author says that it was not only made in 1994, but also in a week! And while this wad isn't anything special by today's standards, compared to other 1994 wads it's gold. Most of the walls use those nice Doom 2 stone textures, which despite being misaligned most of the time, make the level look pretty good. The gameplay is simple; for the most part you're killing weak Doom 1 enemies, but a few chaingunners and revenants make appearances. It's pretty easy, so lesser skilled Doomers shouldn't have any problems. Probably the map's biggest flaw is that there are a few parts where you hit a switch without any indication of what it does, but it's on the smaller side so this isn't really as big a problem as it could've been. You should definitely play this if you want some nice good ol' mindless action!
- Frontier Settlements: Distress! - Chris Hansen
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Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Hello to all and welcome to another /newstuff review! Today I'll start to show you this beautiful map from Chris Hansen, an old guard mapper, who together with Paul Corfiatis, Virgil "The Doom Poet", and Ismaele, became my source of inspiration for re-making maps back in 2005.
OK, after this brief introduction I'll begin to explain the map: this is a medium sized map set in a good old Phobos UAC station, obviously screwed up from the invasion of the demons/aliens/whatever they are. The map is pretty nice, using a clean neo-classic layout like the other maps from this author, and I like this style a lot, actually!
Gameplay is a little bit hard for my taste, and it isn't heavily linked to the original game (there's a pair a cacos in a hidden room after you go in the southwest section of the nukage blue key pit, and another one in the yellow key computer room), and makes this battle a little bit intense, and the usage of a few tricky puzzles makes this level more challenging.
The only thing that I don't really get is the bridge that reaches the "island" in the second nukage room behind the BK door; I couldn't find the switch that raises that damn floor, and I used the IDCLIP cheat to reach that place.
Besides that, it is a great classic-style map. Download it now!
- TerrorGate - Loki
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Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Oh dear. After the excellent All Sliged Up, I have the misfortune of reviewing this annoying wad. It's tough to go from playing a highly professional mapset to something that is old and needs some work. To give you an idea of its age, this was made with WadEd. It seems to have been designed to bring any semblance of play to a crashing halt. If you want to know how it feels like to drive a truck through a brick wall in the name of entertainment you can either: 1. Ask Jeremy Clarkson, who actually did it, or 2. Try finding your way from one room to another in this map.
There are a couple of decent visuals. I'm not sold on the pillars in the starting room, but they certainly make an impression. The outside canyon area is okay and there are a couple of attempts at building attractive rooms, though these attempts generally fall flat. There is an old fashioned feel to the map design and gameplay. You have to hunt for a switch to get out of the first room, not a fantastic way to make a first impression, and later on you have to shoot a wall with a pentacle on it to open some bars. I only figured that out by chaingun-blasting the walls in frustration. It's not obvious how to progress from room to room, it's generally a pain in the bum, and even when you enter a new room it's usually so horrible-looking you wish you hadn't got there.
I got trapped in a lava-filled room with a switch that opens some door somewhere, I don't know, I stopped caring long before that point. I ended up dying in that room. A pitiful, pointless end to a map that is, well, bleurgh. The only terror involved in playing this wad is checking the state of your underwear afterwards. Yes, I hated the shoot-the-pentacle part so much I soiled myself with fury.
- E1M11-11-11: Travel on the 11th dimension - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
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Reviewed by: Phobus
A three hour speed map made to celebrate one of those "once every hundred years" dates. The map is surprisingly big for the time taken, although with only 33 monsters on UV it's quite easy to overcome. Thematically, Daimon has blended together all three of the original episodes' styling and textures, with a touch of additional detail. Gameplay takes a few unexpected twists and turns through what originally feels like a linear layout, culminating in a somewhat bizarre puzzle at the end. Both secrets seem mandatory for completion, but that's not an issue as you'll end up walking through them as you're led through the path anyway.
All in all, it's nothing special. If you've got a few minutes to spare (or more if you fancy watching the 4 demos it comes with) you won't regret playing it, but there's plenty of better small maps to spend time with.
- Tech Fork - Fuzzyfireball
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Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
Oh well, in this /newstuff it looks like I encounter a lot of E1 maps, since this "Tech Fork" (seriously, what a kind of title is that?) is set in the so-familiar brown techbases of Phobos. This level is placed in E1M2 and it's also the first released map by the author, but now let's write a little more about this level.
The map isn't bad for a first effort; it actually has some neo-classic style in it, and the layout choice is simple but effective. It reminds me a little of the original E1M2 in the entrance room, but I can live with it. Detail is nice, but some stuff like making walls on crushers and door tracks lower unpegged would make it look much better, but overall this is nice as a layout choice.
Gameplay is a little bit randomized, since you can find medium strength monsters like shotgunners and demons all over the base, but when you reach the room you see in the third shot, you find yourself fighting against eight barons (in HMP skill); maybe changing them to a weaker monster (like cacos) could be better for me, as it is too hard the way it is!
Anyway, nice map, if you're looking for a challenging map you've got it! (Unless you're searching for slaughermaps with billions of demonic hordes to fight...)
- Hornet - Michael Chmielecki
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Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Just another unplayable, unbelievably bad wad that should never have been uploaded. We've got all the tricks: a Cyberdemon, Spiderdemon, an entire sector that turns into a crusher, confusing teleporters, and no apparent exit. Why do people insist on uploading crap like this? It seems like trolling to me, and whoever uploaded it will be laughing at all those who will rush to defend this as worthy and necessary of being uploaded just because it's an old Doom wad. Using that logic, shouldn't Yugo turn up at every world car show with banners declaring the benefits of owning their vehicles? Yeah, they're cheap and nasty, horribly outdated, anyone who could afford something else would go with that something else, and nobody in their right mind would want to be on the same continent as one, but they're still a car. Let's put them up front next to the Aston Martins. Even if the company goes bust and disappears forever, let's keep bringing them to the show. Yeah. Yeah!
- better run trought the jungle - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
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Reviewed by: Kirby
This is an older speedmap released by Walter Confalonieri created in the span of roughly 4 hours. Even though it was released earlier it hadn't made its way to /idgames for an upload, hence why it has shown up now.
It's nothing much to be honest. A simple map with green fields and outdoor spaces, plus an abandoned science camp to explore (and let's not forget the demonic temple). You make your way around finding the red and blue keys to the resistance of only a few monsters. Square architecture and little detail seem to rule the theme of this one as well, making for a slightly more than uninteresting map.
There is a different midi for this one, apparently called the Cannibal Holocaust theme. I have no idea where it's from, but it's rather slow and kinda dreary, which doesn't do much for this wad anyhow.
- Forgotten Nirvana - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
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Reviewed by: Processingcontrol
Now here's a fun level. It's a speedmap, and as you'd expect for one it isn't that detailed, but here the nice texture combinations used prevent it from looking ugly. However, the best aspect of the map is the gameplay, which like I said is fun as hell. Monsters placement is near-perfect, with the exception of a Spider Demon that's pretty much harmless if you shoot it from the right spot. The difficulty is moderately challenging on UV; I'd say it's about the same level as Plutonia. Veteran Doomers shouldn't have that much trouble, but I'd recommend newer players to turn the difficulty down. Overall I definitely recommend this one.