volveré y seré millones
I've played most of the re-releases currently in /newstuff and decided to add their reviews here, since once played enough they're not that much work. This is unofficial, of course (anyone could do something like this on a whim), and you might see them reviewed later in the Chronicles. Or not, in which case I may have taken some weight off whoever finishes the next installment of the weekly feature. There are also a couple more old things not detailed below because they aren't standard maps; a Hexen wad by Adam Landefeld that makes considerable use of ACS, and an updated set of night skies by Rich Nagel (the guy behind Eternal Doom's music.)
- Palace of the Beast by Thrain Shadbolt
151KB - Doom - SP/Coop/(DM) - 1 map
Under ochroid spires - (img) - (img) - (img)
This is a medium sized DOOM map from New Zealand, released when DOOM II was an infant, with a more or less standard but relatively tidy tech/gothic cross-over theme that's enhanced in its own way by a good custom sky. There's a custom title screen as well, though you might miss it initially if you warp in, considering the level is mapped to the 5th map of the 1st episode. The map's name isn't really inappropriate, as there are a couple of sections that claerly justify it.
The level is never too challenging, as you don't really confront big amounts of enemies, and often have good vantage points from where to get at them, though some areas can be a bit more dangerous, as it's possible to be flanked or pelted from afar. There are also some mild devices and traps, including one that may remind the player of DOOM II's 6th map. DeathMatch is supported, but the design is somewhat big for that, as the author was aware. Nonetheless the author and his friends recorded a four-player AltDeath demo with monsters, but its in the version 1.666 format. You can watch it with either with Doom v1.666*, but otherwise there's no need to convert it because PrBoom supports v1.666 playback. Still, between the size of the map and the speed of the players, it's nothing extraordinary, but a curiosity.
* For some reason on my computer this version is quite unstable. In windows venetian blinds errors always occur in certain places (such as near the start of DOOM's demo1), while in DOS the system freezs in those locations. I haven't been messing much with older versions lately, though v1.1 (in DOS), v1.2 and v1.4 seem quite solid, and it's not a sound issue because -nosound doesn't make a difference, nor does -devparm help.
- Mine Shaft! by Marc A. Pelletier
42KB - Doom2 - SP - 2 maps
Fightin' and trouble is my middle name - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
Here we have a couple of DOOM II relatively short maps that were meant to start a larger set, but as we know, many once-new projects never got completed. Still, we have the two maps, and as the name implies and the intro explains, you start in a mine shaft, and that makes Map01 somewhat linear. There aren't that many monsters at first, and the challenge is brought by confined areas and awkward positioning (watch you head, for one, or it could get toasted by a Cacodemon overhead.) On the second level you leave the mine proper and start to discover where the monsters come from; you have more space here, but also get attacked by more and sometimes nastier mosters, which are occasionally eager to trap you, making a decent (though not too critical) opposition, especially if you rush through. The set makes use of small "embedded" switches, which is generally done to allow switches on any sort of wall, and which wasn't a usual practice back in early '95. Grazza did a Nightmare! demo for each of the two maps.
- 11th Hour Stauf Wad for DOOM, DOOM II and Heretic by Mitch Feldman
59/59/63KB - Doom/Doom2/Heretic - DM/(SP/Coop)- 1 map (3 versions)
The 8th Guest - (img) - (img) - (img)
A mansion styled map in three flavors (games) included in an 11th Hour CD as an easter egg and made by Virgin Interactive's quality assurance product analyst (I think my dad once had a similar job title.) The map follows the layout of the mansion in Trilobyte's games, using a teleporter to emulate two floors, and is made for DeathMatch with a somewhat compact design. The maps use only stock textures throughout, so don't expect things to look just like in the CD-ROM game, except for the general layout. Standard play is provided, which is not too challenging and a bit random, but nonlinear; The DOOM and DOOM II versions are about the same, while the Heretic variant looks best and is slightly different, but is even easier overall. I can't say too much about DeathMatch because I didn't have a chance to try the maps thus, but maybe I'll add something later if I get the opportunity.
- Never not completed episode by Vasek Havranek
63KB - Doom2 - SP/(Coop/DM) - 3 maps
Damned to incompletion - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
This isn't a re-release, though it's similar; Vasek started an episode a long way back ('96), but since he won't complete it, he's released the maps he completed. These maps generally have compact hallways, intermittent shadows and strategically placed lesser to medium monsters without too much ammo or health to spare, but enough to play well. Overall play is tight and dangerous but not discouraging, and perhaps a bit slow due to the lack of space.
The author also offers each map separately on his site, as well as some screen shots of wads apparently in development...