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  • Bloodshedder

    The /newstuff Chronicles #546

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    3 Heures d'agonie 3 - 3ha3 Team
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 3.24 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    I once took a French film class, and the first thing we watched was the gut-wrenching trial of Joan of Arc, portrayed without dialogue or color. The director had to rely on a more limited tool set than what we are used to now, but they came up with something that still has power even today. In Trois Heures d'Agonie, the mappers have limited themselves to three hours (ish) of build time for each map. The director of Joan of Arc had no choice, but these people purposely crippled their construction materials just for fun?

    Well this is the third installment from the French speedmappers, and in many of the levels I found myself thinking "this must have taken more than three hours." A few of the levels are rather bare, but none looked horrible. Usually lighting contrast was most neglected in terms of visuals. Most of the maps look good with some being exceptionally shiny. The MIDIs were pretty top notch throughout, including selections from Doom 1 and Heretic that I enjoyed a lot.

    So she has a sexy voice and stylish clothing, but what about her personality? 3ha3 is a really fun megawad to play. It's fast, it's easy going, most of the maps are not very long and aim for quality rather than quantity. The mappers here have done an excellent job of utilizing those three hours to pack some punch into their small maps. Creative uses of moving sectors and previously visited areas lent an unexpected and lively atmosphere to the gameplay. Instead of turning each corner to find yet another intricately detailed room that's really just a square with ten thousand border sectors, you will instead fight through interesting configurations that change in just the right way as you play. All this is done with a subtle touch in relatively short maps, so nothing feels beaten to death other than the demons under your feet.

    Most of the maps are very short, but a few are longer, especially at the end. The last couple maps bump the monster counts up into the hundreds, and the final map is actually sort of a composite of three mappers' efforts and follows a more slaughter-oriented style. It's fitting as a final map however, even if it strays a bit from the rest of the WAD's style. The progression of the maps is also pretty darn good considering the lack of a binding theme. Overall, this excellent megawad won't drag you down with extensive layouts - instead it's like a buffet of delicious appetizers that have totally filled you up by the time you've eaten 32 of them. And what's more, it features a mod to the SS Nazi which makes it almost fit in as a normal Doom monster! Just what I've always dreamed of...

    Back to Phobos - Serge Haikin
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 54.36 KB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    A short, small map for E1M1. It's fun and has a very classic feel to it, although there's randomly a baron (easy to skip) and some cacodemons that are a chore to fight with just the shotgun. Detailing is simple but effective. The lighting was pretty good although a bit dark in some places. Could be a nice beginning to an episode, but doesn't stand for much on its own. The description is cute though. "You find a time machine and throw the switch." Sounds like something Doomguy WOULD do...

    Snot Station - Xyzzy01
    Chex Quest - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 30.4 KB -
    Reviewed by: antares031
    Snot Station is a single level, created by Xyzzy01. This level was designed for Chex Quest 3, which requires ZDoom to run. For your information, this level doesn't have difficulty settings.

    The level itself is pretty simple and straightforward, with minimal details around this Chex Quest techbase. Ammo and health supplies are just enough to keep you alive, and monster placements are pretty challenging for the casual players. If you don't manage your ammo wisely, you'll end up with your bootspoon, while a bunch of cycloptis are trying to cover you with green slime. This level even has a boss monster, Lord Snotfolus, so this level doesn't play around. Keep in mind that there are some evil Chex Warriors, which don't technically count as monsters. So stay alert, even if the monster count shows 100% kills. Despite some difficult moments, this level can be beaten within five minutes on UV-Max, once you know how to beat it.

    Snot Station is a simple, but challenging level, thanks to its ammo and monster placements. If you're not familiar with the original Chex Quest, I suggest you to play the original game before you try this level. If you enjoyed Chex Quest, then go ahead and play this level. If you beat this level first try with no foreknowledge, I guarantee that you're pretty good at Chex Quest.

    Short Dance at Iris Base - Carlos Lastra
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 50.09 KB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    This is a single ZDoom map set in a base. Details are nice, and there are no notable technical errors.

    Like its name, this map is a dance, and a deceptively difficult one. You start only battling zombiemen, but the damage they inflict on you can easily turn into more stress during later encounters, as health pickups are few.

    Saving up on shells is a must, as later encounters will pit you against multiple sergeants and even chaingunners. The map weaves in a loop, so simply running away from them is risky. It also does not use many ZDoom-specific features, but since it looks and plays nice, I do not mind.

    It is a good map, though it can be frustrating due to the amount of hitscanners. Once you obtain the chaingun, it becomes less strenuous, and you can enjoy the work put into the detailing. Plus, it is short, with less than 100 monsters even on UV. Give it a whirl.

    Torn - Robert Kruger (MarketAnarchy)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 5.51 MB -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    A humongous map with over 4000 enemies. Sounds difficult? Well, it really isn't that hard. There's a lot of helpful nooks to hide in, as well as heaps of health and ammo, allowing you to pick off the monsters one by one from a safe spot. In the end, probably the most difficult challenge of this map is mustering enough patience to whittle down the entire population over the course of a few hours. Personally, I only had enough stamina to get through the first thousand. About this point I got trapped on south-eastern stairs (a glitch?), unable to get past the green torches; it was as good an excuse as any to stop playing.

    The map is very good technically, with great visuals (including shadows baked into wall textures) and a nice, unobtrusive song — an important thing in such a long map. If you're the grinding sort of gamer, who won't mind spending hours getting kills one at a time, you can have a good time with this map.

    MAYhem 2016 (v1.2) - A buncha mother schmuckers
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 19.31 MB -
    Reviewed by: Catpho
    It's Quack time baby!

    The community staple "MAYhem" series returns for its fifth installment. As per usual, it sports some restrictions: either having a maximum thing count of 160 in a map, or having a monster count of the map number multiplied by 10. The latter theme is not really pronounced, as the project never reached 32 levels, resulting in maps getting different slots than their intended ones (MAP31 still kept its original limitation however: monster count was the map slot multiplied by 100). Another creative factor was the resource pack given. It's all Quac--I mean Quake themed, very beautiful to boot: textures from Quake I, a Quake I total conversion called "Malice", and the Quake II inspired "The Darkening E2".

    The 21 maps in Mayhem 1600 are a diverse lot. Not like community projects were known for consistency mind you, but it's especially apparent here. You could be in a Quake temple in one map, but then find yourself in a colorful train space station a few maps later. Gameplay concepts follow suit: slaughtermaps, gimmick levels, adventure romps, and run 'n' gun action all find their place here. That means, for some, it brings a whole lot of different locales to discover, but for others, a bunch of illogical transitions without any sense of a big adventure or some sort of plot.

    That being said, the set manages to maintain beautiful visuals throughout. And if we are talking about a quality Doom experience, "MAYhem 1600" has a lot of nice individual bits, mostly thanks to experienced mappers like Alfonzo, Tarnsman, Breezeep, an_mutt, and Jimmy. There's the polished and fast MAP11 "Quake Plumbing Inc", the alluring, evocative and majestic expedition through MAP14 "Ancient Den", or just the good ol' Doom guilty pleasure of MAP04 "Affinity". There are also some weirder trips through the awesome gimmick in MAP20 "The Performance", the usual eccentricity of Ribbiks's obsession with colorful death boxes filled with monsters in MAP18 "Maria", the devilishly cruel MAP08 "Lodi Eno Rebmun Si Ocin", and slaughter pieces like the nightmarish MAP09 "Blood from a Stone" and the epic MAP31 "In Death, Is Life". The misfires weren't too bad, as they had one redeeming character one way or another (expect MAP07, you can skip that). There's something for everyone, and truly shows that variety is the spice of life...

    ... but to quote forum member "Demon of The Well", it could also be "the secret sauce of death"! The difficulty level here is astounding, and the aforementioned lack of consistency also created nonexistent difficulty progression and a myriad of ways to kill the player. Death here comes in many faces: maybe you didn't control a horde correctly in a slaughtermap, maybe a weird challenge got you, or maybe just 10 incredibly well selected and well placed monsters doing great teamwork (MAP01!). UV is a very grueling journey in this set, so i advise you to chose HMP or lower if you are just fresh off IWAD UV!

    Overall, MAYhem 1600 is a solid community project thanks to a pool of talented authors on board and the beautiful variety. Quite bone-breaking, but also very satisfying to play!

    Distribution Center - Rayziik
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 3.91 MB -
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    A sprawling single map for ZDoom that includes a variety of custom monsters. Aesthetically this is reminiscent of Knee Deep in the Dead, albeit highly modernised and rife with tastefully implemented ZDoom features. Combat is polished, and the map has a smooth difficulty curve, with fights gradually escalating in difficulty and size as you progress.

    This level won the Vinesauce mapping contest, which should give some indication of the quality you can expect here.

    Fast and for Doom - JC Dorne
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 283.68 KB -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    Is it just me or are maps made by the French Doom community oddly brutal? I think of Swift Death, Tangerine Nightmare, 3 Heures d'agonie...and then my brain segues seamlessly into blunt force trauma to the head (in a nice way, of course). There's just something inherently vicious about the gameplay in maps from the French community, throwing you into the action like a dog treat into a Pomeranian's eager jaws. That isn't to say it isn't fun though, oh no: there are few feelings more satisfying than looking back over the twisted cadavers in your wake and resisting the urge to do the Conan monologue. Today we're looking at one such example.

    "Fast and for Doom" is a collection of five speedmaps brought to us by a Mr JC Dorne, he of Tangerine Nightmare and Survive in Hell fame. I'll be going through each map on pistol start and reviewing them as they stand due to the small quantity, but I doubt that victory will be handed to me on a SHAWN2 platter. So let us begin.

    MAP01: Technological
    I wasn't kidding when I said you get tossed right into the thick of things! It's a small affair at 34 monsters, but the use of space and monster arrangement makes you work to kill those 34 monsters. It's a style of mapping I dig: it's economical with the resources a mapper has to hand and, as most limitations do, it breeds creativity. It's a theme that you'll see repeat throughout the wad.

    As for the map itself, it's a compact affair that looks pretty stylish. It's obvious that the gameplay is the main focus, but I appreciate the time put in to make the map look pleasing. All in all, a good opener.

    MAP02: Open Space
    As the name suggests, this one's got a bit more room to move and dodge and the monster count is bumped up to compensate. There's a bit more of a focus on mobs with MAP02, usually as punishment for accessing stronger weapons: thankfully, the map title stretches here too as more of the map is cut away as you progress to allow egress and dodging. It even stretches to the solitary secret: yes, the extra ammo is useful, but the real prize is the utility that the newly revealed space offers you when fighting. It's a nice approach to map design, both on a gameplay and aesthetic level.

    For want of criticism, I'd say that the gameplay lessens in intensity as you go on when it should be escalating: there's an effective two-pronged attack upon grabbing the red key, but after that the map doesn't quite return to that zenith. Personally I'd have had 1 of the 2 Archies before the end warp away to keep the player on their toes, but it's not something that overly bugs me, and the subsequent dramatic reveal of the single Lost Soul at the exit gave me a good chuckle.

    MAP03: Bloodbath
    In some ways Bloodbath feels similar to the map that preceded it, complete with the architecture opening up in time with the player's progression. The similarities don't stretch to the gameplay though: swapping out low for mid-tier monsters does the combat a world of good and ups the stakes nicely. There's a bit more transformation this time around too, with the centerpiece being the way the starting room opens up near the end. I won't lie, I dug that a lot. Good stuff.

    MAP04: Plutinya
    Heh, I wonder if 40oz has a copyright on that name. As is obvious from the moment this map slides into view, this is a pint-sized piece of Plutonia. Oddly enough it actually doesn't dunk you into monster line of sight on startup like the other maps, so I wonder what's in sto-

    "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, dicks! DICKS!"

    So yeah, out of all the maps this one is definitely the craziest. You expected Plutonia, in all its Revenant and Chaingunner-drenched glory? You got it, and you got it in spades! At a guess I'd say that's why you have the moment's grace, as this is very much a map you have to approach as a puzzle more than a map. What enemies you shoot, where you go, all of these things are worth thinking over to determine the best route. The biggest threat by far is the collection of Revenants near the yellow skull, as they tend to have a decent line of sight over most of the map and will not hesitate to use it: the best tip I can give is to be aware of them at all times. The map also sets a couple of Archies loose at the end, although the impact they have is lessened somewhat by their positioning.

    In the end, it's a Hell of a rush to beat this map. The finale awaits!

    MAP05: In the Void
    The finale to Fast and for Doom has a fairly simple setup: there are 2 keys, you need 2 keys. Each key has a mini-gauntlet to soldier through and gives you a particular weapon to deal with the nasties. From a gameplay standpoint, I'm a little iffy on the fact that you can pick up both weapons before tackling each key challenge: the super shotgun makes the chaingun area somewhat trivial in my view, and forcing the player to go through a challenge with only 1 weapon might've been more challenging. Still fun though, and the little maze area was quite inspired.

    The standout part of this map for me though is definitely the end. It might not seem like much from a broken down perspective - a fight with a single Cyberdemon around a pillar - but the small arena gives the encounter a sense of urgency while the lower windows prevent splash damage from becoming a major bugbear. Again, I feel like the SSG's absence could've made this more tense: as it stands you can activate the Cyberdemon's pain state fairly easily whenever it pops its head around the corner, while the supplied plasma rifle falls by the wayside a bit. Again though, it doesn't stop being fun and it felt damn good to see that bastard go down.

    And that's yer lot! I may have had some nitpicks on the gameplay front in some places, but considering these are speedmaps I can easily forgive them, and the experience I took away from this mapset was ultimately a positive one. If you're looking for some Doom-flavoured entertainment with its fair share of teeth, I highly recommend you check this out.

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a very sporadic roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.


    The /newstuff Chronicles #545

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    Disjunction - floatRand
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 10.66 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Disjunction. Judging by the name, I first thought this might be a financial planning mod, taking Doom to its outer limits, where you have to trade caco-coins and baron-bucks until you realize your career is worthless. Or perhaps a train simulator, with the unattainable objective of not crashing and killing everyone aboard.

    It turns out neither of these fantasies are true. Today's offering from last year is a straight-forward, no BS megawad by floatRand. Let me be clear, though, when I say "no BS", I do not mean "no frustrations". The fact is, this WAD did frustrate me in a couple of ways. But it was also delightful in other ways. So we'll focus on the good first, because good things are good.

    Let's talk about the visuals. 99% of these maps are stunning, and I don't mean stunning in the sense of "I put on so much makeup today that you can't see my actual skin." floatRand has a way of making things look really nice without always using ten thousand sectors. Don't get me wrong, there are enough sectors to go around, but I really loved the overall sense of composition and purpose in the architecture of Disjunction (ironic, isn't it?). I say 99% because a tiny portion of areas looked bland, especially parts of the very first outdoor area, as well as parts of the final map which is insanely large so a bit more excusable. Many of the maps are themed heavily around one vibrant color among dark backgrounds, which I find pleasing because I'm a simple person.

    The music was awesome. Much more on techno/fantasy side, with tracks from Megaman and Jazz Jackrabbit (yay!). Metalheads might not like it. But I liked it, and I was ready to gaze at 11 beautiful maps and jam to the tunes and whatnot.

    So what about my frustrations? Well, those are found in the "whatnot". The "whatnot" being all those things you do in Doom other than look at the walls and listen to Cyber Rainforce. You know, finding keys, shooting hellspawn, et cetera. At first I was confronted by lots of monsters, and difficulty was high but since these were generally small humanoid enemies, the flow was alright. Unfortunately in these early maps the architecture does get in the way because it's way too cramped and annoying to traverse. That problem goes away once the maps themselves become bigger, but is overshadowed by a different problem: incessant use of monsters in annoying ways. For example, there are a ton of surround-traps. You enter a room, the door locks behind you, monsters surround. You go through a teleport, monsters surround. You grab a key, monsters surround. There are just way too many locked-in-a-room-full-of-monsters scenarios for my taste. Also, once you get past the first few maps, you find a lot of encounters with almost every enemy type. I felt that floatRand was placing monsters based on how cool it looked, not how it would make a good battle. Expect to find battles like: one arachnotron, one mancubus, one pain elemental, and four revenants. Also both during and after large battles you can expect two to four archviles to brighten your day.

    I don't want to make it sound like the action was never fun. At times it was cooking. Sometimes there were tricks to get around the battle, which I generally welcomed. But more often than not the pot seemed to be boiling over, and by the end you're facing giant hordes that make your BFG seem kinda weak. The epicness of the scenery gets more and more grand, but the gameplay actually grinds to a slow crawl because it just takes a long time to clear the rooms. Maybe I'm just getting old and slow. I did play on HMP so I guess I could have lowered the difficulty, but a quick look at monster counts showed only a small difference. I'd consider playing it again with some custom weapons. A minigun and a railgun would balance the game nicely, I think. Slaughter enthusiasts and masochists can fire up UV or Nightmare, but for the rest of us, expect to be severely punished.

    I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the phenomenal level design, but I know some people will be turned away by the high difficulty. If you think you're one of those pansies (I know I am!), then consider playing on super easy mode or using a mod to increase your firepower. Or play on "cooperative mode", which we all know means spawning a bot to flail about at the beginning of the level in order to give yourself infinite lives. Whatever you need to do, this is a WAD that shouldn't be ignored - it's more like a famous tourist attraction that's always busy and you just have to suck it up. On a scale from lamb to lambchop, I give this WAD a solid 7.9.

    Temple of Unholy Fire, chapter 1 (demo) - Cacodemon9000
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 8.96 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    We've all done it: or at least most of us have, and we have learned the consequences and hopefully will never repeat our mistake. Any time you write "Chapter 1" on something, you're guaranteed not to finish that thing.

    Well that was the case here with Cacodemon9000's map "Temple of Unholy Fire, chapter 1 (demo)". Tragically this was the last thing they uploaded to /idgames. Perhaps it was because of the scathing review by Zalewa, who is all over that s*** playing everybody's maps. Who are you anyway, Zalewa, and why do I keep having to talk about your reviews?

    Anyway, this level suffers a lot from tedious battles as well as some bland architecture. There's some modification to the bullet weapons, making them a bit more powerful, but it's basically useless against the hordes of monsters - some of which just had to be upgraded themselves. The archvile's flame attack, for example, spawns many explosions throughout the animation, which is funny because you can outrun it, but also stupid because it's out of control. That might have been cool for the boss battle (which was, astoundingly, a THIRD version of archie), not for the entire map. Add to that spectral cacodemons, mancu-serpents, and beefed up arachnotrons, and you have a little party.

    The actual geometry of the map was pretty cool in a lot of places (less cool in others when it was very long hallways), but the texturing and lighting made it mostly ugly. Since there was often no contrast, you couldn't really see the nice features until you're right on top of them. The outdoor areas were generally nice looking, and easy to traverse. Indoors however the layout is very boxy. The path you're supposed to travel does loop over itself in a nice way, but gets confusing at times, and most of the switches activate something random that you have to go find (like Hexen, but not as bad).

    There are some good ideas buried in this chapter 1 (demo), and I think Cacodemon9000 should continue mapping since Doom will never die, and neither will we IF WE JUST KEEP MAPPING. Perhaps they're mapping for another game or whatever, I just hope Zalewa's criticism didn't turn Caco9000 away from mapping entirely. Next time I would suggest posting the WAD in the forums to get feedback before uploading to /idgames, because the one-paragraph reviews are often flippant and discouraging. However, the criticism was indeed fair, and for someone looking to play a polished level, chapter 1 (demo) isn't gonna cut the mustard. On a scale of 1 to chapter 1 (demo), I give this WAD a chapter 1.

    Vertigone - Brett 'Mechadon' Harrell
    Doom 2 - Deathmatch - Skulltag - 217.52 KB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    I'm thoroughly confused by this text file. First paragraph goes something like this:

    "This is my second oldest surviving map that I still have, and my very first DM map ever. However, the gameplay and layout are pretty awful, so I wouldn't really even bother playing it. I uploaded it for nostalgia reasons, I suppose."

    Sounds normal enough right? But then:

    "(Note from Mechadon from the future!! I decided to upload this while updating some other releases in the archive. I'm really only uploading it for, uh, 'historical' reasons. You should never play this map, at least not seriously :P )"

    So Mechadon went back in time in order to warn us that instead of not really bothering with this map, we should instead never play it. Well I played it, for "historical" reasons, and it's pretty bad. Could be worse though! It could always be worse. Always. On a scale of 1 to forgotten, let's move on to the next WAD, shall we?

    Newgothic Movement 2 - Armouredblood and Archi
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 10.95 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Welcome to Newgothic - Movement 2. The first installment, released in 2010, was generally liked. So the stakes are high, your training wheels are off, the GDP must go up (forever).

    I spent my last review whining and complaining about unfair and wild monster placement. That's because I'm extremely sensitive. You can imagine my feelings when I read the description. "Slaughter. Fun Slaughter. With music. Enjoy." ...I'm going to be slaughtered to music? And I'm supposed to enjoy it? Fine.

    Some of us are aggressively against slaughter maps, and we can see why. They just filled the hallways with monsters, perfectly placed on the grid, all facing the same way. It's stupid. But you know what, it's also stupid that you can carry 100 rockets. And that's what makes Doom fun. Not the hellish landscapes, nor the goring of endless demonic flesh. It's really the insanity of your own character, the voiceless Doomguy, sliding around inside a nightmare firing rockets that move slower than himself.

    The beautiful thing about Doom is that you can enjoy it many different ways. Even though the textfile says "Difficulty settings: not implemented", they are always there for you. And in many other ways you can cheat around the true, hardcore experience. Want to save every ten seconds? Go for it. Want to play co-op, turn on infinite ammo, or skip maps? Only your pride can stop you. So I enjoyed these maps with a pleasant little Biffbot to keep the savings away.

    Aesthetically these maps were mostly awesome. Only a few of the massive areas looked bland to me, and since they would soon spill over with bodies, it kinda didn't matter. Complementing the monster counts in the thousands were ridiculous amounts of ammunition and health. Several places could be muscled through by collecting the health along the way. This (along with all my cheating) made the slaughter feel more like a party. Maybe they should be called party maps! Moving on, there are overwhelming numbers of guests at this party, and my poor bot was often being swarmed at the spawn by hungry zombies reaching for the keg. It was fun. And you deserve a bit of fun after your long day at the office.

    This megawad delivers what it promises. I have only a few small gripes - such as difficulty settings would be kinda nice (take out a few cybies plz), and a couple of map oddities such as giant but inconspicuous doors - but nothing really major. So slaughter away, my friends. On a scale of 1 to nutz.wad, I give Newgothic Movement 2 a near-perfect score of 1.6.

    Silent Hill Orphan TC - Autz (sonic_HD87)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 24.91 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    And now for something completely different! This TC uses "messy code" to turn Doom into a point-and-click adventure! Specifically, it copies Silent Hill: Orphan, an obscure mobile game. The code seemed to work fine to me; it's got inventory, dialogue, totally illogical puzzles (yes, put the candle in the pot of sludge), and even combat! However, the game is unpolished, with the creator sometimes talking to your character, saying stuff like "I was too lazy to put this in." It's still quite an accomplishment. Perhaps someone could use this engine to create a Doom point-and-click using screenshots of maps as the backgrounds. Anyway, check it out if you want to see a very obscure use of GZDoom.

    Vulkan (Episode 1) v1.2 - DavidN - @DavidXNewton
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 36.12 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Vulkan has nothing to do with Star Trek, which is a good thing. I love Doom and Star Trek separately, and I wouldn't want one to be ruined by the other. I don't remember setting anything to "stun" in Doom - do you? So anyway, DavidN has created an episode about a UAC project that accidentally drilled into hell. Your job is to get dropped off and totally abandoned, as usual, so you can dive to the bottom of the infested power station.

    I had a blast playing this WAD, which overall has a cool vibe that reminds me of Doom 1, mixed with a little Quake, and a slight nod to Descent. The environments are not caked with detail, but they are put together in a way is evocative and beautiful. Unfortunately the lightning isn't so great in places: you will encounter some bright areas that don't have enough contrast, and much worse, insane darkness in others. I was turning my gamma up to 1.4 and still finding walls with my face. Some of that was from destructible light sources, but other times it was obligatory. Was there a flashlight that I missed? Thankfully it was only a few small areas that had this problem.

    Brutal Doom is included with the package, which is awesome, but I can't be judging that portion of it. I think these maps would be a success even without it. The swarms of axe-men made me feel like I was playing Nazi Zombies at times. The bigger monsters on the other hand were less of a threat with the Brutal weapons. They just go down too easy, and weren't used in big enough numbers to be taken seriously. You'll be more worried about lightning fast pinkies.

    Some other customization added nice variety to the gameplay. You collect "vulkoins" in each map which give you a bonus to your health and armor when you get 100, and there's a few scripted events including a mechanic at the end where you have to bring cooling orbs to reactors to cool them down, which was fun and cute. And cuteness is the most important thing in any WAD. So despite some minor kinks, Vulkan has mostly atmosphere and action to offer you, and I hope DavidN is working on the next episode. On a scale from 1 to core breach, I give this mod an 8.1.

    Secretdoom: Hell's Memento 2 - Cyberdemon531
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 25.19 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    After sacrificing your soul to the depths of Hell, you wake up in a pool of blood and walk into a gateway. You find yourself in the depths of Hell once again, and you have to find your way out. Deeper, and deeper, into the depths of Hell. Once again... depths of Hell.

    You should all know Cyberdemon531 already, from their status as a "speed runner extraordinaire". I hate running, so I don't really follow that side of the community. Anyway, in this WAD you will be facing insane amounts of monsters, and you'll also have a ridiculous buffet of items both healthy and ammunitious. Starting with map05 you get enemy counts in the several-hundreds. Often you'll be free to wander a vast expanse, but some areas are very crowded. A lot of the battles were repetitive or too easy. A few moments did get interesting, such as a fun trap that cages the player, or suicide bombers swarming around a barrel. Additionally there were a ton of switches to hit, which was cool (because stuff was happening) but not executed well. What I mean is, the switch might lower a wall, revealing a room. And in the room is another switch... and another wall lowers, revealing a similar room with a switch. And on and on in the endless depths of Hell.

    And if you call the depths of Hell right now, we'll even include two additional pools of blood, and one additional gateway to Hell, totally FREE! All we need is your soul that's 1-800-DPTH for two gateways and three pools of blood to wake up in every morning!

    The design of the maps fluctuates a great deal in terms of visuals. Many of the areas are just so big, it's impossible for them to look nice. In other places there's decent geometry but poor lighting and texturing, or just extreme darkness. Some areas did look quite nice however, with the techbase and industrial areas being the best. The music was pretty good, but I think it was composed by Zagfan590 (referred to in the .txt as supplying "choice clips").

    This plays more like a speedrunning/slaughter training camp than an atmospheric adventure, and perhaps that's what you are looking for. Perhaps that's the whole point of the Secretdoom series (secret's out!). There were some nice ideas buried under the demons piled 900 high, as well as some pretty areas but also some ugly areas. Kind of like my brain. On a scale of 1 to 1-800-DPTH, your pools of blood can be delivered straight to your door!

    Good Morining Phobos - sincity2100
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 9.93 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Good Morining, Doomworld. Today's class is about an exciting and brand new experience created mostly by sincity2100. It also happens to be the last review for March 2017. Huzzah!

    This WAD has already received a number of positive reviews, so if that's enough for you, why are you wasting your time listening to me yammering away instead of playing? God knows. Anyway, Good Morning Phobos is long and beautiful. It's attractive in a non-invasive way, making it almost relaxing to behold. It appears that sincity2100 can use any clashing styles they want and still have it look amazing. It took me a moment to realize that giant lamppost was made of rock. It's not a detail-fest but with 33 maps, I don't even want that. Your eyes need a place to rest once in a while. I was impressed that all 33 were pretty consistently gorgeous, with decent gameplay to match.

    Enemy placement was where this WAD shined a little less clean. The layouts were almost always so wide-open that you'd rarely get stuck, which is nice, but can also make encounters too easy. On the other hand, most of these levels are just brimming with former humans and company. The hitscan attacks quickly turn the wide areas into death traps. So you'll spend a fair amount of time sniping dudes out with your chaingun, and as a fan of games like Ghost Recon I actually don't mind this type of gameplay. However, I can see how it discourages the run-and-gun attitude possible in classic Doom, which might feel weird in a WAD that otherwise feels kinda old-school. Welcome to post-modernism!

    In conclusion, I really liked GMP and you could too. It's got a classy surface and respectable organs. It's got great MIDIs. It's not sure if it belongs in 1996 or 2016, just like us. Next class, I want an essay about your emotional response to playing this WAD and how it might affect your relationships with your family and friends. Dismissed!

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a very sporadic roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.


    The /newstuff Chronicles #544

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    The Blood Trials - youraverageamir
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 2.82 MB -
    Reviewed by: Crawldragon
    I was initially very excited to play The Blood Trials. My previous Doom source port of choice was the now-defunct Skulltag and its successor Zandronum, but I'd heard many a tale about the advanced non-Doom-compatible features which GZDoom boasted, so when I picked up The Blood Trials and found it had been specifically designed with GZDoom in mind, well, I had to take it for a spin.

    Reading the description, I was led to believe that there were three separate paths to go through. In reality I myself could find only two, but a quick peek using a level editor did reveal that the third one branches out from the second. Each route seems to be based around a single enemy type, but I'll get on to that in a bit. The level design, though it initially piqued my interest, was ultimately disappointing, and I don't think it took full advantage of the advanced GZDoom features in the way I was hoping. I wouldn't say the map was poorly designed, just a bit lackluster, and that's without me nitpicking at the occasional misaligned or out-of-place texture. But Crawldragon, why did you look at a level editor for the other two routes instead of playing them through? Well, allow me to explain.

    The first path I initially chose to take was the labyrinth, and I normally don't like labyrinths in a first-person shooter because they involve a lot of groping around half-blind. However, on closer inspection, I noticed that the walls of the labyrinth were actually reflected on the ceiling, so you had a map of sorts, if only a limited view of it. I thought this was a clever way of getting around how god-awful mazes can be in first-person. It didn't fully help me on my first playthrough, however, because I was too busy dodging Cacodemons to fully pay attention to where I was going, and ammunition is pretty sparse in The Blood Trials. The first time I played through I hadn't seen the switch in the first room which enables access to the chaingun, so I was blasting away at Cacodemons with a shotgun. I remember naively thinking "this seems like a lot of cacodemons."

    Anyway, I got through the labyrinth relatively unscathed, whereupon I exited out into a little alcove separated from a large courtyard by a wall of vines. Incidentally this courtyard is also the first room in the second and third routes that's immediately accessible. Bizarrely, you can't shoot through the vines. Anyway, in this little alcove I found a chaingun! Yes! Now I have some firepower! And then I learned that ZDoom adds a new monster named The Enhanced Cacodemon, which ate my face off.

    You see, The Blood Trials is very difficult, but in the early stages at least I felt that the challenge was very fair. Even after learning how to acquire the chaingun from the start, I found that it was a real challenge holding on to ammunition, but for the most part I initially thought that I had all of the tools that I needed to beat the game fair and square without having to lower the difficulty setting, so I pressed on and walked straight into a room of what felt like a dozen more Cacodemons, with another Enhanced Cacodemon and a Pain Elemental thrown in just for fun. After some time I managed to fight my way through that and climb the tower into a room with an Enhanced Cacodemon and a Cracko Demon, and this Cracko Demon can fuck right off with its multiple unpredictable one-hit-kill attacks. Who puts a flying enemy in such a cramped space, anyway?

    As I said, each route in The Blood Trials seems to be based around a single enemy type, and up until the very end I don't think a single encounter on the labyrinth route wasn't just a boss rush of Cacodemons or a small number of cannon fodder former humans. Given how much damage Cacodemons can absorb, and the total lack of any plasma rifles or rocket launchers, after a while I was really struggling with getting through even small encounters without running out of ammunition. On top of that, Cracko Demons are really difficult to deal with in a cramped environment, so it was at this point, after hours of trial and error, I decided to shamelessly IDDQD my way through the rest of the level to see if it got any more varied, and with the exception of a final encounter consisting of enhanced versions of the three monster types the routes are based around it really didn't. At the end of the day, this level is just a straight up series of blatantly unbalanced monster rushes in vaguely interesting but ultimately underwhelming architecture.

    It's a shame that I can't bring myself to give The Blood Trials more than two stars, but I've gotta be honest it got really stale really fast, and for me, as much as I enjoyed the challenge of it, it really just came down to how much bullshit you're willing to put up with all at once. While the initial labyrinth encounter angered me just enough to keep playing, after a while the whole thing just devolved into a boring slog that made me want to stop playing, and really isn't that the cardinal sin of level design?

    If you want to prove that you have balls of steel, by all means give The Blood Trials a shot. If you're looking for a fun experience to mix up your WAD collection, skip it. GZDoom is capable of far better than this.

    Trigger-happy (Updated version) - pintolinh0
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 123.93 KB -
    Reviewed by: Crawldragon
    When I read the readme for Trigger-Happy, and it mentioned that Nazis were included in the level, I wasn't sure whether to be iffy about the conflicting game themes or amused at how appropriate Nazis in Hell would be. Fortunately, pintolinh0 seems to have blended the two themes rather well, with a nice choice of textures that doesn't quite make this level feel like Hell but doesn't make it look like an SS base either; it makes it look like an SS base in Hell.

    Unfortunately, as much as I liked the architecture, I didn't have much time to appreciate it, because this level comes at you fast and HARD, in all the right ways. There are monsters freaking everywhere, all cramped up in small spaces and tucked away behind teleporters and closets. It creates this massive rush, but at the same time after you've cleared a room it gives you as much time as you need to catch a breather. Even the compact map is utilized well, making enemy waves feel more pressing and urgent while also opening up over time so that the map doesn't quite feel too small to move around in.

    It's not even just that this level is challenging, either; it's also cathartic. You start off with a super shotgun absolutely wrecking shit, and then it gives you more little by little, so that by the end, if you win, it feels like such a victory.

    I was a little tempted to say that this level is a little too difficult, actually, because at one point during "part 1" of this map I was having a hard time with some Hell Knights because all I had was a shotgun and a pistol, but then after a couple of respawns I found a secret containing a plasma rifle. Fortunately this secret isn't too hard to find, especially if you know Wolfenstein, so I'm not going to deduct points for that.

    And the tension only gets amped up by the final encounter. If you're like me, by the time you get to "part 2" and everything crescendos into a last stand of sorts, you're low on health and desperate for ammunition. The level doesn't quite let up at this point, but it is very generous with ammunition, so it's fairly well-balanced and if you've got your head screwed on right you'll get there in the end. I'm not going to spoil the final encounter, because I think the best way to experience this level is to be as surprised as I was and use your head to figure out what the level designer wants you to do.

    Now, some might argue that the challenge factor to this level ultimately comes down to your ability to strafe out of the way of enemy fire while firing back, and that's true, but at the same time because there's so much going on at any given moment I can safely say that the level doesn't need to bring any more challenges than that to engage me. If you're a better Doom player than me, maybe you won't find this level quite as much of a test of skill as I did, but I can almost guarantee you'll still find it fun.

    Since the author recommended Chocolate Doom for the authentic old-school experience, I shall summarize my opinion with a chocolate-related metaphor. Trigger-Happy is like a truffle: Not a whole lot of it, but what there is is so rich and full. Sure, it might be little too intense for novices, but if you take your time to get used to it you can get into this zone where you acquire a taste for it. Five out of five, would eat a whole box of this level if I could. Check it out, even if you just play it once.

    Planisphere 2 - Perro Seco
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 741.65 KB -
    Reviewed by: kmxexii
    This was originally released back in 2012. It's essentially a scale model of some of the New York City area. You start out in New Jersey and fight your way through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as Rikers Island. The work involved must have been painstaking. There is a ton of open world to explore, and while it isn't interactive in the same way one might expect a Duke Nukem 3D city level to be, it still works as a Doom playground. Back when it was originally released, PLANISF2 showcased the "Hitscan attacks hit invisible barriers in large open areas" bug and required some additional measures to get it ready for play outside of ports that built nodes on startup, like GZDoom. Perro Seco made a pass at polishing the level, removing the latter headache as well as other quality of life improvements, but the updated version is not the one that was anonymously uploaded to the archives.

    Back to Saturn X E1: Get Out Of My Stations - Esselfortium and a lot of wonderful people
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 17.54 MB -
    Reviewed by: joepallai
    Honestly, what more needs to be said here?

    Initially released on December 10th, 2012 (why does that date sound familiar?) and finally uploaded to the archive on March 3rd, 2017 after years of exhaustive bug crushing and fine tuning, this 27 level mapset can best be described as one of the crowning achievements in Doom mapping.

    When I played it for the first time back in 2012/2013 over Christmas vacation, I was struck by how professional the art direction, music, and level design was. This could have been a commercial game release back in the day—though really it's better than that. It has nuance, and style and exciting combat with carefully hidden secrets. It oozes atmosphere and immerses you into a alternate Doom universe with its clever level designs that artfully lead the player, yet manages not to feel ham-fisted like a lesser work would.

    What makes it even more remarkable is that all of this is done within the strict limits of vanilla Doom mapping. Sure the save game overflow limit is broken every time, but honestly, all good maps break that limit. (I suppose the hub levels act as the save points for this mapset in vanilla Doom.)

    To me, what is most impressive here is that this beautifully detailed and ever expansive environment doesn't break the VPO limitations. The skill and planning to pull this off is amazing (and a little intimidating to be honest). I stopped playing and went into the editor on two occasions to see how a room was done—I simply couldn't believe I was playing a vanilla Doom level. It felt like a true 3D space to me—it's that good in its design. That is what truly impresses me here.

    The other strength that this mapset has is the combat. The combat is really engaging, coming at you from multiple sides and heights. I love how the monsters are arranged to find you and are always applying pressure to the player. Also the barrel placement is top-notch; they're almost always right there where you need them.

    Everything about "Back to Saturn X" is of the utmost quality. There's little to actually complain about that wouldn't be a personal preference. I stand by my statement that "Back to Saturn X" is one of the crowning achievements in Doom editing, if not the pinnacle.

    It simply is that good.

    Pollution - HUNdebLeonidasX
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 6.91 MB -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    A techbase mapset by HUNdebLeonidasX, with eight maps plus one secret. There's one new enemy I noticed, an electric Demon which moves faster and can rapidly shoot ball lightning.

    The first few levels don't make a very good impression, mainly because of how incredibly easy they are, even on UV. There's more than enough ammo and health, and the enemies you meet are for the most part little fries; even when you come upon something bigger, there's usually lots of room to let you run circles around them. Later the maps get slightly tougher, but not by much. The visuals certainly aren't bad; there's use of beautiful CC4 textures and eye-catching detail and all. However, due to the uninspired enemy placement and lack of any proper challenge, the levels feel very samey and dull. It's basically one pretty-looking room after another, but it feels empty and it's not working as a single memorable experience.

    However, there is one map that I did enjoy playing: the secret level, MAP09: Leftover of the Nile. Its Egyptian visual theme and architectural design (and music) are pleasant enough to stand on their own, and the gameplay, while still rather easy, feels somehow more solid.

    "Known bugs: If you find one, good for you." Well, that's nice to hear, 'coz there are quite a few bugs. The end of map04 has a stuck spiderdemon. Map05 has an event where a key is supposed to teleport to your location, but sometimes the teleport fails to work. On map06 I left the lost soul room early, and somehow locked myself out (the door at sector #815 wouldn't open all the way anymore, just a few units), making the level unwinnable without cheating. And I can't figure out map08. Maybe it's a bug or maybe I'm missing something, but I can't open up the second half of the map, no matter what I try; even after opening the map in the editor, I'm still stumped. (If this helps, I'm running ZDoom 2.8.1 with standard compatibility settings. But then, the author claims in the textfile that this was tested with ZDoom, so...)

    Withering Graves - Ryan "quakis" Rouse
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 346.97 KB -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    A short, but solid level where you explore a graveyard to put rowdy corpses back into the graves. Hope you like revenants, there's quite a couple of them. The visuals are nicely detailed and easy on the eye, and the gameplay offers quite a challenge, at least at the beginning (owing in part to tricky hitscanner crowds); once you get your hands on the chaingun, things get way more mellow. Take it for a spin if you're in the mood for a short map.

    Tlacopan - riderr3
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 257.56 KB -
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    A remake of the Plutonia map "Aztec". This map retains the theme of cramped, curved corridors connecting larger, more open spaces. This lends itself nicely to providing varied and generally entertaining combat.

    Progression is somewhat non-linear in that you can choose from a couple of routes, but ultimately everywhere must be visited in order to obtain all the necessary keys. In some instances keys are only accessible after certain sequences of switch activation and understanding how to actually get to the key, which served to slow proceedings down and create a lull between encounters.

    A Walk In Hell - Skul
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 76.79 KB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    A short and pretty cute map made by Skul for the first Vinesauce Contest held by Joel set in a bright red cavern environment with some nice details here and there and for Boom-compatible ports.

    Layout is pretty organic and the cavern looks pretty natural. The only "problem" I found is some minor texture alignment, but nothing that breaks the play experience.

    Gameplay is nicely crafted; the short monster count is composed of medium-hard enemies for harder fights, including some traps and good enemy placement. Thing placement in general is good. This map includes an external DeHackEd file that modifies the monster behavior (the barons of hell) so that when you kill them, it opens the exit door by special sector tags.

    Overall, it is a fun little map that I recommend playing!

    Running Late - A2Rob
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.18 MB -
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    A short five-map jaunt through some techbase type environments.

    Action is generally free flowing and fairly fast paced, although the odd lock-in-style trap is encountered in places. The infamous plasma marines are present in this wad, and they add extra urgency to proceedings when they appear.

    This wad has an Erik Alm/early Skillsaw vibe to it, so players who like those mappers will most likely find enjoyment here too. If you are looking for a good hour or two of solid Doom entertainment, then consider checking this out.

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a very sporadic roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

    The Inquisitor III - Shadowman, Big Memka, Guest
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 48.29 MB -
    Reviewed by: kmxexii
    INQSTR3 fulfills the promise of Shadowman's first two iterations by giving you an epic fantasy campaign to play through along with a relatively developed statistical progression system. You won't need to play through INQSTR1 or INQSTR2 to get up to speed; the stories of both are included in the intro. The setting is some wonderful fusion of Diablo / Diablo II and Eastern Orthodox Catholocism delivered with a Russian sensibility where gunpowder is a somewhat lost art. You'll battle through the infested mountainside, a graveyard, a cathedral, crypts, mines, a castle, and the depths of Hell, not to mention the secret excursions. There are quest and dialogue systems to help direct you and flesh out the universe. They're fetch and kill, of course, but not much in the name of busywork. You also get two towns to flex them in.

    There are a ton of weapons and spells. Your ability to use them is determined by your stats - STR, DEX, VIT, INT, and WIS. You roll your starting points but the rest are placed by you. INQSTR3 is really slow to start since you have to clear the majority of the first "map" using the sword but if you can stomach your way through then you'll pick up tools at a much faster rate. The monsters have more of a Diablo II feel and sort of echo the Fallen, goat men, and corrupted rogues, to name a few. New versions appear as you play through, featuring different abilities and posing tougher challenges.

    As far as difficulty goes, the easier the better. Hard is at times a complete slog with the number of foes and the combat is not nearly as nuanced as Doom II's. You won't get mobbed as badly as in INQSTR2 but your enemies are numerous and belligerent. I don't believe that you'll be cheated out of XP; if I recall correctly, the XP per kill is proportionally higher the lower the difficulty with less monsters to handle. You don't get enough stat points to master every "skillset", so to speak, so I would suggest specializing since you'll miss out on being able to use the crowning perk items. I didn't have a lot of fun fighting some of the bosses (Lich, Dragon) but the big one was all right.

    INQSTR3 is dripping with atmosphere. Some of it is stolen from Diablo II's soundtrack, but effects like the fog in the graveyard or the rolling mists in the Shadow Gorge are phenomenal. Places like the Cathedral may not have the most distinguished gameplay but they're amazing to visit. I also like little touches like the crows appearing and devouring the corpses of monsters. If you like action RPG adventures then you ought to at least try this one out.
      Doom II: Purgatory - Corey H.
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 44.59 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    And here we are again, playing a 20 year old game, fighting a tired and sluggish horde of outdated monsters, an endless tide of WADs to play, as if stuck on a hamster wheel that's obviously made of faces, while Satan watches and yawns, it's almost like we're stuck in purgatory.

    But why venture out into the real world when we can spoon feed ourselves a gratifying experience? Exactly. So fire up that source port and forget about your problems. Corey H. wants to help you by offering up a 9 level epsiode for Doom 2. And Zalewa wants to help me by writing this review on /idgames: ONE star. That's all Zalewa is willing to give. No thanks, you can keep your star. All I'm saying is, if you don't want to listen to the unplugged toilet drain pipe, then don't. DoomSpiel liked it. I liked it. We're all doing it man, don't you wanna unplug?

    Anyway this episode is clearly not everyone's cup of tea, and it's not really structured in the classic Doom style. Corey did say in the text file that he was aiming to emulate Doom64, which I've never played (lol). The music DOES sound like a drain pipe, and there are ridiculously long corridors, sometimes with few or no monsters. This is especially true in the early moonbase maps, where you might question why you're even defending this cold and dead place, where you are completely alone among the forgotten. But if you can handle the intense loneliness, and don't forget who you are, you'll get to the hell portion of the maps, which according to DoomSpiel are "wicked tho." You won't be lonely anymore when you get the Magnum shotgun, do we need another shotgun? Yes we do, and it's going to be your friend.

    I personally loved this set of maps, despite all the mismatched textures and random uses of colored lighting and fog. In fact the disjointed nature of it adds to the atmosphere of chaos and secrecy. At least I thought so, and I'm totally down with the Doom64 music apparently, even if it was cheesy at times. The puzzles were generally creative but not tedious, and there were lots of secrets and moving parts. The architecture is usually large and impressive, but switches randomly between boxy and simple to more detailed. The monster count was never huge; later levels had more action partially because they were smaller. I didn't find the Unmaker or the secret level normally... both are kinda silly but they aren't needed for the success of the WAD. If you're looking for eerie exploration, light puzzling, and plenty of action to finish you off, give Purgatory a try. On a scale of 1 to Doom2.wad, this is a great episode, understand?
      DOOM II: Hellscape - Chris Lutz of The Chaos Crew
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 14.1 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I always do anyway, especially when looking at /idgames. Do I really want to download this file? It says it's a recreation of id's levels... another one? Because of my scathing prejudice, I didn't really want to download Chris Lutz of The Chaos Crew's creation. But, it's next on the review list and I'm a sucker for order. Actually it is the second oldest one, but The Inquisitor III is a behemoth and I don't know what all to do with it.

    So I reluctantly set foot into Doom II: Hellscape, which replaces map21-30. The stunning architecture set me at ease a little bit, and it's stark and highly detailed throughout the entire set. It starts very tough and only gets worse, as it should, but fortunately for any losers the easier difficulty settings more or less match the balancing of the original game. There were an awful lot of chaingunners and pain elementals, both of which are my least favorite enemy, and yes I do get to have two least favorites. Anyway it wasn't all bad because despite referencing id levels, these are enough of a departure to provide a fresh experience. Many parts played more like an obstacle course, and had almost a Quake vibe to them which was fun. But then I got to map29 and was constantly stuck on tiny ledges with revenants and such. I had to tell myself, "You asked for this. You deserve this."

    Speaking of asking for it, map30 isn't a departure, so if for some reason you want to ride that lift over and over, have fun. It looks really nice, of course. One thing I didn't ask for is that in the earlier levels, lots of important things like switches, doors, and turning hallways were shrouded in almost complete darkness. So if you're wondering where to go, head for those black squares, although keep in mind that some of them are just walls. Other than that the gameplay is quite solid.

    Normally I'd use a scale from 0 to doom2.wad, but since this is a recreation of maps from doom2.wad, I'm instead going to rate this on a scale from doom2.wad to scythe.wad, in which case I give it a 13.
      Final Mission - 6XGate
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 657.37 KB -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    ...I can't think of an opening spiel paragraph.

    Final Mission is the second release of a fellow by the name of 6XGate: haven't played their first release, but I don't imagine that'll impact the review too much. But what caught my eye about this particular offering was the ZDoom port recommendation. That may not sound too special, but in this day and age where everyone is jumping ship to use the latest iteration of GZDoom, a wad that uses simply what ZDoom has to offer is something that can definitely pique my interest.

    So we load it up and... it looks pretty good. Effort has been put into making the map look pretty decent: not so under-detailed that it feels sparse or barren, but not straining under the weight of Tormentor667's Detail Guide either. Gameplay is pretty simple from the outset as well, although I raised an eyebrow at the early SSG and random stealth monsters. Like, there's about four in the entire map tossed in for some token variety. Odd, but not worth more than a raised eyebrow.

    So after some back and forth with collecting the three keycards, we activate the teleporter to visit the next area. This is where things get a bit wobbly: not metaphorical, 6XGate uses the Earthquake function a couple of times as you progress :P . The canyon area that greets you is quite nice as areas go, and it culminates in an interesting miniboss fight with an oversized Baron. No, really. There's a screenshot of the fight and that isn't a perspective shot, it's actually scaled up with a bit more health. Again, it's a bit odd, but still all in good fun.

    But the real wobbles come in the next area: the maze. Appearance-wise it's pretty cool, using Doom II's horizontal spine texture along the walls in a way I appreciate. The problem here is one intrinsic to the gameplay and one I'm more than familiar with: ammunition. At this point in the progression, ammunition dries up and you have to fight mob after mob of imps with your dwindling resources. Yeah, you can backtrack and grab one of the boxes of shells that the map gives you a few of at the start of the Hell-themed area, but it's stupidly unintuitive and only delays the inevitable anyway. After the maze comes a winding pathway with mid-tier enemies that you may very well not have the ammo to kill and then surprise! Another scaled-up enemy, this time a Cyberdemon. It also doesn't have its coded height tweaked, so it follows you out of the arena if you're backtracking to get the ammo you sorely need.

    And all of this culminates in an Icon fight. Yep. An Icon fight that, if you used up all of your rockets in the previous area, doesn't supply enough to kill the Icon itself. That point was where I heaved a sigh and stopped playing.

    According to the textfile this wad took three months to make, and it's evident in what I've seen, don't get me wrong. It's well put together from a technical standpoint, and for a second public release it's pretty accomplished. But always remember that the proof of the pudding is in the eating: you are crafting an experience, and anything that disrupts the experience - in this case insufficient ammunition - will be sharply picked up on by your audience. And don't fall into the trap of saying that the secrets make up for it: they're called secrets for a reason, because not everyone will find them.

    I don't want to discourage Mr (or Mrs, it's a brave new world!) 6XGate though, so I will recommend that they keep striving to improve and simply bear what I've said in mind. I really do feel like some polish could produce great things here and I'd be interested in seeing what they produce next: heck, I'll beta test if they want. Keep on trucking, my dude. :)
      Suitcase of Gor (Formerly D2Redux) - The Tarnsman of Christmas Past
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 9.87 MB -
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    This wad is an incomplete remake of the original Doom 2 maps that covers maps 1-15 and 21-26. There is also what appears to be an Ultimate Doom E4-intended map in the 32 slot.

    The maps are highly modernized versions of the originals, both in terms of aesthetic as well as gameplay. Visuals are consistent and some impressive vistas can be seen in places.

    As these are map remakes the wad basically does what it says on the tin - sometimes the source material is fairly closely observed, at other times it is interpreted more loosely - this leads to a feeling of the wad being quite a mixed bag in terms of quality and execution overall. I personally found the more liberally mapped remakes to be more entertaining and creative, and they are perhaps the best reason to try this wad out.
      Blood and Bones: A Skeleton Scorned - Jaxxoon R
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 5.94 MB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    Jaxxoon R's "Blood and Bones: A Skeleton Scorned" was made for one of the VineSauce Mapping Contests. Those outside of the loop of the VineSauce channels will find "Blood and Bones" sometimes incomprehensible, with its obscure references and nonsensical cutscenes. You start by hearing the phrase "rise from your grave", a sound clip taken from one of the home ports of Altered Beast. As you punch your way out of a coffin, the map begins.

    The theme is Egyptian, though the lighting and even the textures are a bit brighter than most pyramid levels, which is a nice change of pace. You can also jump really high.

    You'll also notice the new, minimalist HUD, which looks good. The pistol is also different, having unlimited ammo, but only shooting straight ahead. Limitations aside, it is quite useful. The shotgun, while effective, feels incredibly odd, given that its animations are much faster. I never quite got used to it. As for the gameplay, it is fine. Encounters are fun and varied, though nothing too memorable, and there are some cool effects like deep water and sliding doors. One of the few complaints I have is lifts looking like normal walls. Different textures could have eased this confusion.

    Now for Spoiler Territory. There is a long, humorous cutscene of Doomguy meeting his real father, a scientist always wielding a fire extinguisher. He traveled through time searching for his son, in hopes to show him his invention of the world's largest teleporter, which he does. What comes through the teleporter is a reference only people who follow Vinesauce (or obscure memes) will understand: a "7 Grand Dad" version of Mario, complete with the bootleg Flintstones theme.

    The fight with Mario is the most interesting of the wad. He has a few attacks: a bouncing fireball, a ground stomp, and a charge. The latter is the hardest to avoid, and took a lot of running behind corners. I died a few times, but I eventually took him down.

    Should you play "Blood and Bones?" If you're a follower of Vinesauce, then absolutely. If not, then the level offers some unique concepts and offbeat laughs, but may not be to everyone's liking.
      Dimmed Palettes - Julian Nechaevsky
    Doom, Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, Strife - N/A - Vanilla - 48.96 KB -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    A pretty self-explanatory release: this contains tweaked palettes for Doom, Heretic, Hexen and Strife that turn down the brightness of each game a notch for a more pronounced feeling of gloom. It's a fairly subtle difference, but one that actually adds a nice melancholy touch to proceedings: check it out if you're looking for a more gloomy Dooming (or Heretic-ing or whatever) experience. For the curious, I've included a comparison screenshot taken in ZDoom to emphasize the difference.
      Trapped - Aiden (Maisth)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 136.2 KB -
    Reviewed by: Myst.Haruko
    "Trapped" is a ZDoom compatible DOOM II map made by Aiden (Maisth). Author stated that the map works better with GZDoom (which I used) than ZDoom.

    I was greeted with custom titlemap instead of traditional Doom II titlepic. Action started at the same location as the titlemap showed, it's like kind of a spoiler. I instantly noticed that there are only ZDoom features - custom sky view point/skybox (not sure for this one), transparency, slopes, and some 3D floors, as I moved forward.

    Combat is kind of newbish - I wasn't challenged enough; even the last monster wasn't able to kill me, because of cheesable combat.

    Also, I prefer to avoid having secrets inserted into things. It's better to mark secrets in areas instead of stuff like boxes of rockets. I found missing textures in the red key area, especially in the beginning of that area if you lower the floor nearby.

    Design choices were questionable; I found reflection and swimmable sectors quite unnecessary, and even more so in the last monster fight, because jumping into swimmable lava was distracting and frustrating thanks to some restricted movement. Feels like author wanted to add all advanced features into one map. Also, I wasn't a fan of impassable linedefs in some places.

    I recommend playing this wad on your own risk, expect some nitpicks and difficulties in the last fight, and I believe that author in the future will make better maps than this one.
      Moonblood - Deadwing
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 3.9 MB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    Moonblood is a 32-level megawad made by Deadwing, and it consists of several themes which will be familiar if you played the original IWADs. Without further ado, let's go.

    Episode 1, which is maps 01 to 06, has a distinctive Doom 1 feel mixed with some Doom 2 architecture, similar to E1M3 - E1M7, but with more variety for the monsters. Maps 01 to 03 has the initial kick of hitscanners, pinkys and lost souls, the weakest but annoying group of monsters. The difficulty is fairly easy but you still need to be alert because of the chaingunners. Maps 04 to 06 start to add damaging floors and some stronger enemies start to appear. Difficulty starts to increase a bit. Obviously, discovering secrets will help you quite a lot. Your trusty shotgun and chaingun will be your preferred weapons for these six initial maps.

    Episode 2, which has maps 07 to 11, has similarities with Refinery (E2M3) and other similar maps. The main feature is that the mancubus and the arachnotron are heavily used. Map 07, for example, uses a lot of mancubuses and spiders, mainly as major resistance or as an ambush. Map 08 does a nice homage to Underhalls while keeping some of the Doom 1 feel to it, and revenants are fairly used here. Map 09 contains some secrets that will help you greatly, mostly because of some acid and pain elementals. Map 10 is all about radiation, and fortunately there's a bunch of radiation suits. Map 11 is the last of the tech-base maps and has some cramped fights that can kill you if you're not careful.

    Moving on for a nice change of scenery...

    Episode 3, which features maps 12 to 15, shows a mountain-cave theme mixed with urban-hell architecture and also contains the secret levels, known as "archive maps". Map 12 has more caves and some hellish bases combined with some tech bases. Map 13 features a sort of small city and... surprise surprise, the first cyberdemon is found in that map... be sure to pick up the invulnerability sphere!!! Map 14 is a medium size map with caves, lava and progressive "hellification" with some ambushes here and there, and map 15 has some nasty traps with lots of monsters waiting to kill you, and the secret level awaits. Difficulty in this episode raises quite a bit; ambushes and damage provoked by a hazardous environment starts to be a constant.

    Map 31, Dobu Gabu's Exam (quite the name eh?) is a fun and fairly hard map with ambushes and lots of revenants, quite a lot. It also has nice detail without going overboard. The difficulty of this map is expected thanks to the slot it's using: hard, frantic, fast gameplay, and fun overall. What was totally unexpected is the ending... press switch and you die? That was a risky move which, depending on the player, may like it or not, forcing you to do a pistol start, and that takes you to the super secret level!!! Geez...

    Map 32, map 32, oh map 32... some of you may know this, some of you won't, but this slot had two versions, an older small map that featured a "survive the ordeal while the mastermind is watching you" gameplay where you needed to pass the mastermind somehow without getting killed in the process. Hard, but not a fun map. However, the newer version of map 32 fixes all of that. A map set in some ruins, hard gameplay but at least it's more fun to play unlike its counterpart, accompanied by a MIDI rendition of Botpack#9 from Unreal Tournament... great! Spiders, zombies, revenants, cacos, pain elementals, and two cybies are waiting for you to be crushed or crush them to death. Lovely map.

    Going back to the normal levels...

    Episode 4 contains maps 16 to 20 and follows almost the same theme in the last episode, where the main difference is that it features even more tech-base maps. Maps 16 and 17... this is where the real game begins; the difficulty raises some points, it has more ambushes, and it starts relying on revenants, hell knights, and also archviles. Map 18 shows another progressive "hellification" with well-placed monsters and a mastermind in a small place waiting to say hello... oh, and more agitated revenants are on the loose. Map 19 has some really nasty traps involving revs, archies and imps... and a cybie waiting to duel in an island. Map 20 starts the journey to Hell with a gateway in the end of the map along with more hellspawn. Tricky episode for sure, and now... HELL!!!

    Episode 5 is Hell, composed of maps 21 to 26, featuring hellish maps with a clear inspiration from Plutonia, you'll see that when you play it. Map 21 is like the warm-up for the incoming maps, annoying hellspawn with another cybie as a sort of turret, and some puzzle-lift that you must be quick to progress. Map 22 has one word... REVENANTS!!!... 'nuff said. Map 23 is like the big brother of Mt. Erebus (E3M6), which has big islands surrounded by lava. Map 24 has the trickiest fight of this wad, and it's a tricky map too with lots of places to go. Map 25 is a big hellish town with a gimmick fight against the teleporting cybie. You must be alert at all times or you'll eat one of his rockets. Search all the buildings and don't leave a single bastard alive. And map 26, as the name implies, is a coliseum where you must get all the keys and get out of that place alive. Be really careful of ambushes because archviles are there to burn you to death. After crossing the last resistance, you'll start the last episode.

    Episode 6, which has maps 27 to 30, mix all the previous episodes in terms of themes and architecture. Map 27 has you do something important in the map and a group of archviles is spawned in several areas, reviving all the monsters that you killed in the process...yeah, expect some infuriating events thanks to that. Map 28 does kinda the same, but instead of archies, revenants can come out along with a small varied group of monsters, and of course... keys and cyberdemons. Ah, one more thing: be careful of traps too. Map 29 is by far the most time-consuming map of the whole mapset... big map with lots of monsters and both bosses, a mastermind sniping you from afar and a couple of cybies hidden from you. All of that for some keys. And the final map. Few monsters, the last resistance, but they can't do much against you except one. Instead of being a typical Icon of Sin map, it was replaced by a special boss monster (which is a Nazi replacement). It has a LOT of attacks with powerful projectiles, and some of them have homing properties. But, some good evading skills and well placed BFG shots are enough to kill that monstrosity.

    And that's it for the mapset. Good difficulty curve, lots of ambushes and traps, nice homage or resemblance to Doom 1 and Plutonia with the Doom 2 gameplay and... oh yeah, I forgot one key detail! The music. Deadwing ALSO did the music and, honestly, I liked it a lot. If you have a soundfont saved in your Doom folder, I totally recommend you use it... configure it and you're good to go.

    Before I go, you need to know two things before you play this wad:

    - All maps have less than 200 monsters
    - Don't play this wad with randomizer mods because it'll replace the custom boss with a normal Nazi mob and, therefore, you won't finish the map.

    Well, that's all for this review. I already did a playthrough of this mapset but, after making this new review, I'll say this... Play it by all means. I had a blast playing this mapset. Thumbs up!
      The /newstuff Chronicles is a very sporadic roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

    Hell's Train Station - JagDogger2525
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - GZDoom - 41.33 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    You've been dropped off at a train station, but the train is broken down. You have to fix it by pumping demons full of pellets from your shotgun, so that you can get to work on time. Just kidding... but for real, the text file says you have to save the station so that it can be "used again." To me this place looks far beyond repair. In one area the tracks just END. In another, the tracks are cemented under hundreds of tiny, immovable boxes.

    Aside from that, this map is very... odd. It does have features. Such as 10 difficulty settings, which seems unnecessary, and rendered Doom 1 music, which I really like, but then the music changes often when you enter new areas, which is strange. There's some custom fx, and some silly slopes and 3D floors.

    And then there's the gameplay. Well, despite all the features, the main substance of the WAD is huge open areas peppered with monsters and items. I need to talk about the difficulty settings here, because they change the game a lot. I tried "hell spawn" to start (skill 6), and found the beginning to be tiresome, so I bumped it down to "wimpy little imp" (skill 4) and found it to be pretty easy. The thing is, the skill levels seem to drastically change the placement of items (such as keys and weapons), as well as the number and types of monsters. On skill 4, the first room has some zombiemen and one imp. On skill 6, it's some imps that fire a red plasma ball. On skill 10, it's imps that fire mancuballs and take 3 shells to drop, as well as beefed up chaingunners. I wonder if JagDogger2525 ever completed the map on skill 10, because it seems impossible.

    Also of note, the map is on E5M1, but the wad works with both Doom 1 and 2, and maybe has the SSG and BFG? It's a little confusing. Anyway, like I said, it's wide open most of the time and you can run by all the monsters with ease, or at least I did on skill 4. I imagine you won't be able to do that on higher difficulties because you'll be getting hitscanned to death in seconds. Seriously, skill 10 has hell knights and barons with a hitscan attack. Either that or an invisible projectile... whatever it is, it's ludicrous (causing confusion, disturbing the peace). This WAD is suffering in both gameplay and visuals, which is a little disappointing for a 30 megabyte file.

    UAC First World Facility - OVERKILL_Adam
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 1.02 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Ah, yes, I remember the first time I made a map. Actually, I don't, but I'm sure it looked nothing like UAC First World Facility.

    This map by OVERKILL_Adam is fun and nostalgic. In general there seemed to be way too much health and ammo around, which didn't seem to bother me at all. In fact the only bother was remedied as soon as I found a backpack, so I could finally go pick up those extra shotguns. But despite plenty of meds, I did manage to die at the hands of some pesky chaingunners once or twice, -maybe- a baron, or whatever. Overall the challenge level is low, I'm just a reckless player.

    So as the Disturbed MIDI serenades your ears, you'll gaze about at the structures that have been laid out for you - you, the helpless pawn, the lab rat strapped to a chair, with your eyelids held open by hooks, forced to "cleanse the evil hellspawn" and "save the world." Yes, that's you, and you see before you a maze of truly demented construction. To describe it would be impossible, but I'll describe it anyway. Imagine marble goat-heads abutting computer screens with wood trim. Blue carpets and metal supports. Cement and space-rock and STARTAN. Hearts, stars, and rainbows, clovers, and blue moons. You might call "zany" or "wacky" and if those words make you uncomfortable, then maybe you're too young to die.

    Part of the map is based on a map from Payday, and it's pretty obvious because the styles are clashing. But really the entire map is clashing - colors, textures, enemies. It feels thrown together, but in a way that's charming and that makes it fun to explore because you never know what's coming next. Textures could have been aligned better in some places, and lighting was off-and-on (I hate myself), with some areas being flat lighting while others having stark contrast. Nothing major though - and most areas had lots of sector furniture and decorations which gave it a lived-in feel that I enjoyed. On a scale from 1 to Doom1.wad, this is a pretty solid entry into mapping by OVERKILL_Adam.

    Scharfschutze Suche - D.Scratch
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 9.3 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    This offering from author D.Scratch is "a experimental wad i did in a Month" which sounds very promising. What kind of experimental? You mean like Frankenstein? Is D.Scratch really Doctor scratch? (I thought the D stood for something else.) Is this wad just a scattering of limbs torn from other maps, stitched together into a terrifying and unplayable amoeba?

    NOPE! His name is "D*** Scratch" just like you knew it was, and you already looked at all the screenshots which clearly show a beautiful and professional level, because pictures are the most important thing really, you definitely shouldn't waste your time reading Magicsofa's lunatic drivel.

    You are still reading for some reason, so now I will go on to actually describe the wad, in an effort to bore you to death. Scharfschutze Suche is a German title which at first my brain didn't really see because all I could see was "Wolfenstein", but eventually I realized it obviously means "Sucky Scarf Shooter." However, this isn't a Wolfenstein map, nor is it sucky. It does have a slight Wolf3D vibe since you have a knife, pistol, and SMG to replace the regular Doom arsenal. There's also a rifle... we'll get into that later.

    The bullets, which are not hitscans but adorable little projectiles, do massive damage. You can be taken down fast, and at times it can be really frustrating to get sniped. On the other hand, you can also knife the crap out of people and it's really fun. You also have an inventory medkit that will restore up to 100 health, which can really save the day. Your knife and pistol don't alert enemies so there is *some* stealth element to the game, although it's a little contrived. At the beginning, all of the enemies are facing away from you. Later on this isn't the case as much, but for much of the game (especially right outside the facility) you can take down each bad guy, one by one, without any alerts. Sometimes they will be standing right next to each other, screaming in pain, and nobody notices. It's not a huge problem, just made certain areas feel like they were staged, taking away from the idea that you're dropping in unexpected. With all the GZDoom features I would have liked to see some patrols! Oh well - it didn't ruin the fun overall.

    Let's get into the sniper rifle. With alt-fire you can zoom it in, and that does come in handy in a few spots. It's a little funny to be sniping in Doom but whatever, I didn't mind. What I did mind was that the damage is heavily reduced when you are not zoomed in! This makes no sense and ruined the rifle for me. Give me terrible accuracy, so that when I hipfire like an idiot the bullet goes off the planet and I die with reasonable cause. If I get a lucky hit though, the victim should be a goner. Instead the rifle is just as accurate without zoom, but it'll suddenly take two shots to kill someone instead of one. Garbage I say, GARBAGE. A few times I resorted to zooming on people in close quarters, which is really not easy on the eyes. Mostly I just used the knife and SMG, both of which are very satisfying to use.

    On to the visuals. This map is gorgeous. Unfortunately the very beginning involves a super dark area where you fall down a pit to your death. Once you get past that, everything is great except for the vents (yes, you'll have to use the crouch key in this wad, get over it) but hey, they are vents, so I'm okay with them not being pretty. In a way it made me feel more like I was in an area I'm not supposed to see. Anyway the rest of the level is packed with snazzy decorations, dope sector detail, and fantastic lighting. For an "experimental" wad, there's a fair amount of polish on the architecture. Considering the solid gameplay to match, this is a wad worth downloading. I only hope that next year, which is really this year because of how backlogged the reviews are HINT HINT please help me, there might be more Sucky Scarf Shooter levels to play!

    Distorted Memories - Derek " Count " Pierson
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 387.18 KB -
    Reviewed by: yakfak
    Distorted Memories is a replacement episode for Doom 1 that invokes some the trademark moments of the original game without turning them into clichés. Two maps are dedicated to each of the Ultimate four episodes, and their difficulty climbs accordingly.

    These levels are arranged in pleasant ways, their lines avoiding too much unnecessary symmetry, instead creating simple loops of gameplay area with plenty of devious corners for the enemies to conceal themselves away. There's plenty of secrets to find, and most of them are a touch more clever than the standard chainsaw-in-a-cupboard.

    Distorted Memories is at its best when forcing the player into slightly unsavoury game-pieces - maps four and five require Doomguy to range into slime and lava when progress seems obscured, while seven and eight punish you with short area-denial combat puzzles where you'll have to fidget away from baron attacks and desperately seek a way to stand your ground. Even the opening map asks you to scramble for a berserk kit before you can really feel safe! There's also a crazy secret level based around a single fiery arena fight.

    Most of the homages to the original levels hit home pleasingly, although you could say it's distasteful to have your map six wear the trappings of Mt. Erebus and yet be totally linear. Still, you get to shoot a lot of cacodemons out of the sky with a rocket launcher, so it's not all bad.

    This is a good level set, harder than most Doom episodes towards the end but still perfectly manageable without saves. Expert players who blaze past levels like these might attempt them with -respawn enabled. Good stuff all round!

    The Deserted UAC Plant - Solo-Bringer
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 73.61 KB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    The story of the wad is that no one else showed up to work at the UAC. You explore a small, empty building, find three keys and exit. End of game.

    Seriously, the wad's title is absolutely accurate. There is no one else besides you at the building. No monsters, pickups (besides keys), or jumpscares. There is not even music. I have to say, the rooms themselves are functional (except the blue maze not featured on the automap). The author did a good job detailing small touches, like the outside area with all of the trees, and a singular pool of damaging nukage. I applaud them for trying something different. But I don't feel there is enough here to justify uploading to idgames.

    Temple Palace - VeeTHis
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 16.63 KB -
    Reviewed by: Liberation
    A small linear map01 replacement that will take roughly 3 or 4 minutes to complete.

    The map is lacking in general, small in design, poor texture alignment and architecture. It does have a few traps, but nothing special.

    If you're desperate for something to play, then go play Entryway again, it's still more fun than this.

    Green Inferno - AconyX
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 192.67 KB -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    A preview of a megawad scheduled to release in the next 10-20 years. The geometry here is very very simple; instead the level tries to charm you with its fancy detailing. There are tiny borders and elaborate ceiling decorations everywhere. They are not particularly original but still pleasant to look at and remind me of a style that was rather popular around ten years ago. The gameplay is relatively relaxed and for the most part allows you to set your own pace, but there are two or three traps that require quick reaction. Play this if you're in a mood for a simple five minute adventure in a typical E4 setting.

    The Joy of Mapping #3 - MANDATORY JOY - Jimmy & Various
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 7.12 MB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    This wad already gained points from the restructure of Weird Al's "Mandatory Fun" cover art. The theme of Joy of Mapping #3 is "Mandatory Joy", and joy there is. This is an overall fun speedmapping compilation, with a few hiccups here and there.

    The wad starts with two "eh" maps, but quickly evolves into really cool levels utilizing UDMF features and sharp gameplay. One of my favorites is Gutawer's "Infestation Station". It has quite a few interesting areas, including a room with a glass floor and hellish caverns.

    Looking at my notes, I found a lot of the maps (from 3-8 especially) hectic fun. Many can be ran through at fast pace, making encounters even more exciting and overwhelming. Don't worry, I made sure to get good looks at each map after I was done clearing out demons.

    The second half of the wad goes through a major difficulty spike. Maps 13 and onward can be grueling, despite being short. Often times this makes the maps even more enjoyable, but sometimes not. Maps like Alfonzo's "Slime Nook", for example, where gameplay feels terse (the level could have used a chaingun early on.)

    Going back to the first half, Polyduck's "First Map", DrPySpy's "Battle Tendency", and Kevans Evan's "Micro Computer Lab" all lack refinement. The worst level is 17, Sarais Vanu's "Midal". Film critic Mark Kermode would call it a "cluster fruitcake". Though I do like some of the structures in the map.

    But enough of the bad. Let's get to the good, which this wad has a lot of! There is the already mentioned "Infestation Station", and the four maps afterwards which are all a blast. There is RDWPA's "Library of Horrors", which lives up to its name in terms of both aesthetics and difficulty. Fonze's "Funked Up", while not my favorite gameplay wise, leaves an impression, and is short enough to be inoffensive. Zzyzx's "Embers" looks outstanding, as does the wad's closer, "Oasis" by Jimmy. "Oasis" is a perfect way to end the wad; a breather after some of the tough-as-nails maps of the second half. Plus it looks fantastic.

    The only bugs I found were in Dalvi Dandi's otherwise great "Fortress of Blood" (an imp does not teleport out), and "Embers" (there is a see through piece of floor.)

    Definitely give Joy of Mapping #3 a try!

    Bloody Rust 2 - AnonimVio, DAZZER, Flesh420, Jaws In Space, Angry Saint, Crunchynut44
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.99 MB
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    The second installment of the Bloody Rust community project arrives with six more maps, and a largely different set of mappers. This iteration also adds some custom content in the form of add-on textures and a series of Dehacked enemies.

    The extra textures go a long way in helping to establish a sense of place as well as providing a cohesive general theme to the mapset – techbases embedded in rocky, natural environments. This cohesiveness worked well with the range of maps present, with some sprawling, non-linear adventures to be found alongside more compact, straightforward layouts, ensuring variety through the mapset.

    I had mixed feelings about the effectiveness and necessity of the new enemies presented, although the new Demon variant (a nightmare-speed version that had a ranged plasma attack) provided an increased sense of urgency to encounters, which I enjoyed.

    Combat is almost exclusively incidental and simultaneously incredibly punishing at some points, thanks to moderately limited resources and the extreme firepower of the Cybruisers and Afrits present in this mapset. With that in mind, I felt that any mistakes I made would be often be quite deadly, although secret hunting felt that it was incredibly useful in offsetting that factor.

    If you like exploration in your Doom and don't mind occasionally getting your ass kicked at the same time, then check this out.

    Switcheroom: The Forgotten Maps - Various
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 734.1 KB -
    Reviewed by: yakfak
    Eighteen maps, here, the conceit being that each is a tribute to an original IWAD map dressed in the theming of another level, from an episode in which it doesn't belong.

    You'll soon notice the discomfiting illusion this creates: you know these levels well enough that the few diversions from the blueprint can be jarring. Worryingly, these changes tend to veer towards trivializing the levels - where the original E4M2 was pitiless, demanding leaps of faith and tight fighting out of a corner, its doppelgangers here under-estimate the player and short-changes them in terms of action. Ultimate Doom E4M6 is notoriously vicious from pistol- start; you can safely shoulder-barge your way to this version's exit in five minutes. If the theming of the level is getting in the way of its gameplay, then the project is largely to blame!

    The main Switcheroom project was a sweet little idea, disarmed of its naivety by the way we all have exhaustive knowledge of the original maps and rendered fairly uneventful to play in the end. Many of these extra maps follow the same pattern, but there are two more substantial levels:

    srforgot.wad E2M1 combines E4M5 with the Episode 2 theme - that's the weirdest Ultimate Doom map done up in obscure trappings. The map isn't spectacular since it doesn't stray from the blueprint except in scale and colour choices but the marriage naturally works. E2M6 is the real jewel, reconfiguring The Slough of Despair as if it appeared in the final episode and this, at last, does something new, giving the player difficulty on the Ultimate Doom higher end, the shambling horde filling out the curves and peculiarities of the map in a way the original E3M2 longs for, paired with some new and interesting secrets along the way.

    Projects like these have their parameters all wrong. Like Switcheroom, this is a set of levels concerned mainly with craftsmanship. If you wanna make a good Doom 1 map, build your own obsessions, lose the hero worship and understand that you are operating on a seam that has already been heavily mined.

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.


    ZDaemon 1.10 Released

    By Evolution, in News,

    After a very long time in the making, ZDaemon 1.10 has finally been officially released. The popular online multiplayer Doom port features more netcode improvements, as well as a massive number of bug fixes, features, and enhancements. Some of the changes from 1.09 include:
    BFG edition IWAD Support
    Server-Side Demos
    Improved demo compression
    WAD downloads directly from the server
    Commentary, Team and Spectator Modes added to Voice Chat
    UT-style double jumping
    Instant Teleporting (like quake)
    True 16:9 Widescreen Support (and better support for other screen modes)
    Super-Sampled Anti-Aliasing (single core)
    For an extensive list of changes since 1.09, see the changelog. To download, visit the official website.


    The /newstuff Chronicles #541

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    Tutorial: Music Change - JagDogger2525
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 4.77 KB
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    A little demo wad to show people how to change music, from the author of many other tutorial maps like these already in the archives. It replaces MAP35; the level itself is just a little room with an imp and a super shotgun (maybe too overpowered? Eh, who cares. It's just a demo map). Pass over the four lines in the central section of the room and the music changes at any side with a different track from the default D_RUNNIN.

    Good for knowing how to use SetMusic in ZDoom if you didn't know already.
      Tutorial: Lifts - JagDogger2525
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 5.51 KB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    Another tutorial level made by JagDogger2525 which replaces MAP37, and like the previous one, the level itself itself is a square room (this time bigger and with more hazards than "Music Change") with a super shotgun and two demons as opponents. The lift (yes, there's only a lift) in the title is a basic ZDoom lift that help you get out from a toxic blood pit that divides the room from an island with the super shotgun.

    I expected to see more lift examples, like lifts using 3D floors, but I think it's OK for learning ZDoom techniques if you are a newbie... otherwise, skip it.
      Simple Mirrored Monsters - Coldiron
    Any - N/A - ZDoom Compatible - 83.04 KB -
    Reviewed by: Spie812
    Crispy Doom is a neat little port which, along with its other features, includes some simple but cool graphical effects. One of those effect is randomly mirroring corpses, adding some variety to a bunch of dead demons. Another effect is colored blood, blue for the cacodemon and green for the hell nobles. Simple features like these are mysteriously absent from even more advanced ports.

    The idea of this mod is simple: add both of those effects to your ZDoom-compatible port of choice. What you see is what you get. It works just like it says it does. The mod includes versions for every major IWAD (meaning Heretic, Hexen, and Strife are included) and even some PWADs with custom monsters or palettes (like Ancient Aliens or Valiant).

    It's pretty neat stuff. Add it to your autoload (or something)!
      Speed Master - Russian Doom Community (see below)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 23.82 MB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    "Speed Master" is a compilation of Russian speedmaps. Quality in general is high, though select maps run into gameplay issues. More on those later.

    "Speed Master" has nice variety in themes, given the maps came from three separate mapping competitions. There are atmospheric maps, puzzle maps, and even slightly silly maps. None stand out as looking bad, though some are just OK. On the other side of the coin, there are maps that are absolutely gorgeous.

    Gameplay wise, the wad is incredibly tough. There are maps here that will overwhelm even veteran players. While there are certainly parts that are frustrating, the majority is great fun.

    The highlights, in my opinion, are:

    Map 09: Into the Core - A cool tech map that ends in an expansive, epic way.

    Maps 31 and 32 - Map 31 is strange and hypnotic, and 32 is...well, I won't spoil it. ;)

    Map 19: Demense of the Sleepless - Such a scary, hectic map, yet surprisingly not too difficult.

    Map 30: Hell Island - My favorite map of the set. An out all brouhaha that never slogs. Has an interesting boss, too.

    As for downsides to "Speed Master", there are a few clunky maps. Map 05: Safety Advice, has noticeably questionable encounters, especially in an area where you fall into tiny rooms that quickly fill up with Hell Knights.

    Map 22: Dimension Dispersion has the only game-breaking bug I found in the mapset: one of the lava pits in the red key room is inescapable and does no damage. There are also a few cases of maps not indicating where the player needs to go, and some maps could certainly use more ammo and health.

    But overall, "Speed Master" is a wad that is well worth your time.
      Clockwork 70 - Paul Corfiatis (Pcorf)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 156.75 KB -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    Another level from Paul Corfiatis, one of the most prolific authors of all time. Just like a lot of his works it somewhat suffers from the abundance of rectangular architecture, but the overall structure of the map is neat and the way it gradually unfolds is pleasant to see. Visually I really liked the use of green and red bricks; they stood out nicely in an otherwise very brown setting. However, the best thing about this wad is the custom MIDI provided. It uses a ticking clock as one of the instruments, resulting in a unique and catchy melody. It's worth playing Clockwork 70 just so that you can hear it. But keep in mind that Paul's ammo balance is strict as usual, so careful aiming and the use of chainsaw is recommended.
      JAGL2(Just Another Generic Level 2) - ShamanZT
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 100.12 KB -
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    This map is the first effort from ShamanZT and it is a simple techbase jaunt, nothing we haven't seen many times before. Ultimately the experience is as suggested in the name, it is indeed just another generic level. However, there are one or two moderately interesting traps to be found in this map.
      Low Memory - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 234.62 KB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    Low Memory is a 2-level mapset by Bzzrak which must be played in Doom 1 and... oh boy, this set is clever and deadly.

    As I said before, you start in E1M1 in Doom 1 and... what a way to start. You stand before six doors, but you must choose the correct door or you'll end up crushed (first image). Now you know that this map is NOT any map, so be prepared for traps, and don't be ashamed of using saves. You'll need them.

    After the first trial, you'll be teleported to a sort of question (choosing easy or hard) that, to me, doesn't have much relevance to the progress of the map unless I'm completely wrong. But after choosing one option, you'll be teleported back to the beginning, but this time you'll advance further.

    Then you'll reach a fleshy area after picking up a soulsphere and you'll know that it's a trap. How can you get out? Simple, look at clues like arrows, or try shooting. After you do some platforming and pick up the red key, you'll reach the next area in which you'll find some colorful architecture that acts as lifts (second image). Be careful of the cacos and imp-hitscanner turrets before proceeding.

    After crossing into the next area, you'll reach more platforming areas with shooting a switch included (third image) with a mean crusher trap. Also, if you fall, you need to reach a teleporter nearby, but fortunately there's no damaging floor. That teleporter leads you to a special area with a bunch of teleporters and their respective texture showing the area that will be revealed as long as you progress more in the map (fourth image).

    The next area can be confusing and it can potentially stop you from progressing because there are more crushers with an invulnerability sphere in a secret area, and if you're not careful, it will activate those crushers. But if you're successful, you'll find more switches, tricks and traps until you find the blue key, which will lead you to the exit.

    E1M2 is just a non-functional, weird map where you need to press use to exit. Anyway... Low Memory is not the usual map where you kill everything in sight; the map itself will try to kill you instead. Neat challenge that will test your skill and your sanity, and it's up to you players to try this map.
      RetributioN Trilogy - Fenes Octavian Romulus (DooM_RO)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 20.27 MB -
    Reviewed by: SP_FACE1
    This mapset consist of three levels. The first two are enormous maps, and the third one is a small Doom 2-like final map. I played this on Hurt Me Plenty.

    The first level is a techbase map. It was released first as a separate map to replace E2M8. Its style is reminiscent of episode 1 and episode 2 base levels with small abstract hellish areas and caves here and there. You begin your quest in a subway car which takes you to this huge base with empty halls and spacey, dimly-lit corridors. The author says in the description that the levels aim to give the player a feeling of exploration, and that's what I got right from the start. This sentiment is emphasized by the soothing and a bit eerie ambient soundtrack, which is a very good fit for the level. I don't usually pay that much attention to music, but now I did because it was such a suitable choice.

    The visual style is a bit more detailed than Doom's original techbase theme. However, the detailing varies a lot. Sometimes you come across plainly textured, fully lit, big blocky rooms that take you back to the nineties, but mostly you encounter areas with more detail. The areas near the start were less good-looking than the later parts.

    The layout is very interconnected. Especially in the beginning you can find multiple semi-secret panels that take you to a corridor which connects to the other side of the level. The level opens passages like this the more you progress.

    The pace of the level is pretty relaxed. At start you are greeted with empty areas with no monsters, and everything is suspiciously silent. Some single Demons show up after wandering for a while, but the feeling of being alone in this huge base stays with you. You'll encounter your first herd of enemies in the outside area on top of a cliff. And when you enter the cave area you'll start to get enemies in your face. The enemy fights in the beginning areas are more close combat. I usually evaded the first bigger encounters by running around them, which turned out to be a good strategy, as that way I found better positions to shoot at them.

    After you get the blue keycard and go south to the blue door area the enemies appear more from a distance, such as on top of crates or behind grilles on the walls. This area contained a lot of cannon fodder, Zombies, Sergeants and Imps. It was very soothing to kill them en masse. You still get enemies in your face too. The visual style also got better. There was more consistent detailing and the rooms got more vertical.

    The area behind the yellow door continued the same rhythm; you enter peaceful and spacious areas, sometimes enemies run after you, sometimes you get to slay them from a distance. The open area with the zigzag path and pillars over the slime presented an enjoyable fight. The walls were filled with Imps shooting at you from the distance while Cacodemons were flying in the middle and you had to run around the path throwing rockets at them while avoiding falling down to the slime.

    After the second half I started running out of ammo. This happened more than once. Well, I had a lot of plasma ammo but I had no plasma rifle. If I'm not mistaken you only get the plasma rifle after the Cyberdemon fight, which I think was not fair. There was a BFG in the level but I cannot remember now if I got it or not. However I'm sure I didn't have BFG in the Cyberdemon room. Maybe the BFG was a secret. There were 18 secrets in total. I found half. There were many secrets where you could see the item from a window and then had to figure out how to get there. Those were nice and logical puzzles.

    The fight before the exit is probably the roughest. You get a lot of Demons, Barons and a Spider Mastermind. But in the end it's not that big of an issue because you can compartmentalize them to a room and shoot them through the windows or make them fight each other.

    It took me almost an hour to finish the level even though I did not get lost. It was a pleasure to stroll through the map and admire the areas despite the small throwbacks to the nineties here and there :) I think the author succeeded very well in giving the player the feeling of exploration in the first level.

    The second map has Doom 2 styled abstract hell visuals. Actually it has almost all kinds of areas. Caves, rocky cliffs, lava, slime, organic, gothic, marble and what have you. Whereas the first map has a slower, almost wandering pace with a hauntingly soothing ambient track, the second map is more hectic, aggressive and has a metal song as soundtrack. The fights didn't always feel fun. There were too many Chaingunners at distance. The open area with the Quake's Q logo on the ground was the first time I thought "I'm gonna IDDQD if this hitscanning continues." And it sadly did, but thankfully not all the time. In general this map is much more slaughtery than the first one. Also this map is much larger than the first one and there are over a thousand monsters.

    I must say I did not find that many things to like in this map. I did not get any feeling of exploration here. The layout was confusing. It didn't feel interconnected at all. Yes, there were teleporters, but it's always hard to figure out where they take you. Also killing started to feel almost like work at times, and after an hour I was considering giving up on the map.

    The western part of the map was dedicated to getting the blue key. The eastern part was for acquiring the yellow key. And in the middle you entered the area with the red key and exit. That sounds simple but it wasn't. I got frustrated and went astray more than once. I was at a loss what the various buttons were supposed to open. It didn't help that the abstract hellish landscape of Doom 2 is not my favorite theme. I also think the styles changed too much. But there were some areas that I liked. For example, the section with organic texturing was one of the best parts in the level. Other good areas were the library and the red gothic cathedral.

    The third and last map was almost a traditional Romero's head endgame map but instead you had to push two buttons to finish it. The music choice for this map was weird. I guess in some sense it fits the level. I was pretty exhausted from the second map and I rushed the final map as fast as I could.

    The first map is without a doubt the strongest. Vast, interconnected and explorative techbase map with some nice detailing, relaxing pace, interesting fights, and great ambient music. The second map is a gigantic level with a mishmash of styles. At times it feels like your are working at Switch Hunting Incorporated instead of enjoying a game, and then you get perforated by a Chaingunner. The last map is OK but I'm not sure if it was that necessary. In fact the levels feel so different from each other that I wonder if it was a good idea to combine them into one WAD.
      SOOM - CorndogScammer
    Ultimate Doom - N/A - ZDoom Compatible - 28.42 MB
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    This is quite an interesting idea: the author of this mod made a simple music jokewad using the original Doom soundtrack, but modifying every instrument with a sample from the very start of the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth (the "some" from "somebody told me..." from that track). The result is pretty exhilarating and you have to listen to it to get the experience. The only thing that I didn't like is that there's only a Doom 1 music conversion, while I expected a Doom 2 version also... Anyway, download this and play it with other jokewad mods, surely it will be fun!
      The Cursed Hangar - Jonathan Dowland
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 293.58 KB -
    Reviewed by: Myst.Haruko
    "The Cursed Hangar" is a Boom compatible map for Doom. It was made for the Freedoom project, but it was replaced sometime around 2017, so this map was edited, fixed, and submitted to /idgames. It plays identically to vanilla Hangar. Some zombies and imps to shoot, and some switches to press. Most of them were near corners as shotgun meat. It wasn't hard to avoid projectiles or find hidden areas. Not much to say about it, besides the neat custom SFX for the imps.

    Map layout was interesting. I liked some touches, like the outside area for air transport or pools of slime. It really resembles a hangar of some sort. I actually disliked the lighting, as this is way too dark for some ports.

    Some Boom format things were used – like transparency for windows, barrels explosions with texture/floor changes at the start, or colormaps to transfer to a red colour for going down the stairs for the switch or secret.

    I noticed some misalignments and cut off textures on flats and some problems with green slime floors, and one unclosed sector in same green slime area (source ports like GZDoom say that line 2573 is unclosed).

    Anyway, this map is perfect for lunch break as it won't even take 10 minutes to beat.
      Earth Assault - Peter Hunt (Seidolon)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 317.69 KB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    Earth Assault is a three-level, short, fast-paced mapset made by Seidolon which resembles some maps in TNT. Time to review this bad boy.

    Map 01 stars, and a barrel is crucial for dispatching the first group of zombies, but there's no indication of a door to get out, which can be confusing (first image). I consider that the only downside of the map and the whole wad, so don't worry, it gets better after that.

    The next area reminded me of typical architecture found in Doom and TNT, like a mix of both (second image), and that combination is present in the rest of the maps. The monsters will make you feel surrounded, but since those monsters are low-tier mixed with a hell knight and some cacos, it won't be a problem. And nearby some secrets are there, including some armor.

    As you progress, more traps will activate, so stay alert. This map has a lot of monsters for a first map, around 150. After that, you'll reach the last part (third image) in which you will find more powerful monsters like revenants, but you can dispatch them quickly.

    Near the exit you'll find more secrets and some great goodies that will keep you in form for the next map. Great and enjoyable first map.

    Map 02... surprise... couple of imps waiting for your shotgun (fourth image). There are three ways to go at the starting point. This map starts a bit quiet but not for long, because after some minor fights and picking up the yellow key, the map will be slightly harder.

    The outside area leading to the yellow door (fifth image) is perfect for some traps. After pressing the switch leading to the exit path, a LOT of monsters, including an archvile, will appear in that big area. Some infighting will definitely help.

    The exit (sixth image) is just more monsters, but expect some barons for the last resistance. This is the map where you can get the rocket launcher if you find the secret. Short map for the size but it's still fun to play.

    Map 03 starts with a group of monsters surrounding you, including chaingunners, plus some radioactive pools and some secrets (seventh image).

    You'll find some big areas, like a hangar or something, leading to a sort of rocky maze involving more monsters at the top and more monster traps (eighth image). This is even more reminiscent of TNT than Doom 2 due to how the map is presented to you, and I like it... it feels different somehow.

    After picking up the yellow key, you'll reach a key point in the map involving more monsters, traps, an exit for which you need the blue key, a path leading to the red key, and a soulsphere (ninth image).

    Before reaching the blue exit switch, you'll need to fight more monsters, and of course, closet traps (tenth image). After activating the last switch, more teleporting mid-tier monsters will appear, but you can dispatch them quickly with the rocket launcher.

    More barons and revenants are waiting for you in the exit... not surprising as you've killed more than 300 monsters so far. This map was great in terms of fights, gameplay pace and use of monsters.

    Overall, it was a nice mapset that you can finish in one sitting. Fairly hard, not very difficult. Good aesthetic architecture and detail for the maps that, like I said, feels like a mix of Doom and TNT. Great stuff Seidolon!
      The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

    Project Uber - Darsycho
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 62.14 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Preface: This is an outdated WAD. The author just put up a newer verson on the mod thread, which includes a second player class. I realized this after doing the review, and I'm extremely lazy so you'll have to find out about the new class for yourself! Get it from http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=45173

    "Once again, hell is up to no good. They've decided to make a supercomputer thing producing all sorts of new demons, it is up to you as Captain Akimbo to put a stop to this!"

    When I read a WAD description such as this, I automatically get a strange taste in my mouth as if I'm a child claiming not to like a food before even trying it. It speaks of collecting "score," which is ironically a creation from hell that does NOT belong in Doom. The crowds of purists are gathering with pitchforks, chanting "E-1, E-1, E-1!" Torches will be set to all the multi-floored buildings, and nothing but the most pristine Doom maps will be born out of the ashes.

    Somehow, despite the world coming to an end, I managed to load up the WAD. Once I hit the main menu, I forgot about all my skepticism and gloom. I guess I'm just a sucker for a dope main menu with a legit beat, the kind that says "get ready to launch, girl." I picked Intermediate difficulty, which is unusual because normally I think I'm tough and I pick the second hardest difficulty. Later on I almost considered switching to Easy, but the shame and guilt prevented me.

    You start off with akimbo pistols, because obviously, you're Captain Akimbo, and oh yes, all of the weapons are such. When using the pistols, you can use alternate fire to shoot out a wonky projectile at the expense of health. I didn't use it ever. The pistols, on the other hand, have infinite ammo, and beserk makes them faster (and stronger I think?), and they also seem to do extra damage when you're in melee range. As such, you can use the pistols for a large part of the game. And you might be, because I found it incredibly easy to waste all of my ammo. For me double weapons apparently means quadruple trigger happy.

    The first thing you will do is collect some "bombs" and then immediately waste one of them because you have no idea what they do. Well, they turn you into some sort of lord of the shotguns for a short time, during which you are invulnerable and fire maddening amounts of SSG blasts as well as bouncing shotguns that explode! Once I wasted the three given at the start, I never had more than 1 in stock. You get more by getting points or by finding pickups, and you'll wish you saved those first three. Anyway, it's ridiculous but fun.

    I quite enjoyed the akimbo weapons, especially the plasma gun/rail gun combo. I did wish that there was a grenade launcher of some kind, but I haven't played the new class so I deserve to suffer. At first the guns seem overpowered but you quickly realize that the relentless tide of custom monsters is never going to let up. There are many variants on every Doom monster, plus a bunch of other monsters just thrown in. I guess I'm not as much of a purist as I thought because I was totally down with the wacky hordes of giant mancubuses and mini cacos. There's a little bit of light jumping and puzzling, but most of your time will be spent in bullet hell. For me this meant saving constantly, so maybe you should just play on Easy, alright pipsqueak?

    In terms of visuals, there are a lot of great locations, and most of it looks pretty awesome. However, when the style changed from sleek futuristic to hellish and psychedelic, it lost some cohesion. Some of the later areas do look amazing but it kinda felt like Captain Akimbo had caused a time rift where classic Doom 2 mapping was infesting what should be a future-goth fortress. It certainly didn't ruin the action, which is excessive.

    Speaking of excessive action, the last level is a real slog. Start in an arena, fight 4 or 5 battles, exit the arena to find... a much bigger arena encircling the first. Kill all the uber-wraiths and other riff-raff, a portal opens. Step in to find... a new level? Yup, you are now in a totally separate place that's basically its own level filled to the brim with revenants and archies. This is where I turned on the hax. I found it tedious even with God mode - finally I found the exit, which brings you to a -completely- different place, and finally, the end boss! You defeat it and... enter yet another area! Is this the end? No, it isn't! This map felt like an entire second episode was crammed into a single level. The room with the archies and revs was uninspired and overcrowded, which is unfortunate because the part right after that is stunning as well as playable. You saved those three bombs from the beginning, right?

    Overall, this mod delivers what it promises. It's a zany adventure through Darsycho's twisted mind, which apparently has time to come up with silly replacements for all the in-game messages. And if you can't handle seeing a score counter on the screen, well then you might as well throw that source port in the garbage!
      Aeon Deathmatch - Argentum, Combinebobnt, Decay, Dranzer, Dynamo, Grymmoire, HeavenWraith, IvanDobrovski, Jdagenet, Ra
    Doom 2 - Deathmatch - Zandronum - 84.57 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    Ah yes, deathmatch. A time to set aside the troubles of the world and get together with your "friends," who may or may not be simulated, to throw silly taunts around while blowing each other away. I actually sometimes wish that real people were more like the bots, who say hilarious things such as "Meet your Doom." All you get online is "GG" or perhaps, if you are lucky, "LOL"

    Anyway, here we have the appropriate number of maps, 33, in which to blast thy foes. Almost all of them look really good, with a few looking exceptionally sexy. One map did employ generous amounts of vomit green and vomit brown, which didn't tickle me in an appropriate way, but I just accepted it because let's face it, we're all here for a little taste of hell. Such as a Minecraft map where little creeper decorations are scattered all OVER the place, just silently probing your mind. Or a Chex Quest map that really blows your nose. It's all here folks. It flows like Greenwar and stings like GothicDM. It includes a track from the Unreal Tournament music, which makes me insanely happy. It's even got the BFG, which is part of a balanced breakfast. What more could you want for your kids?
      Starbase Gehenna - Abe87
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 2.28 MB -
    Reviewed by: magicsofa
    This nine level episode comes from user Abe87, who from now on I'll refer to as Honest Abe because their misc. author info reads "Nothing special."

    Overall I found this WAD to be quite enjoyable. I actually went back into the text file after finishing it, thinking there might be a backstory, because the atmosphere of the levels was quite nice (most of the time), and a lot of the locations actually felt like they had some meaning other than just a room to hold some demons. This is especially true in the first few levels, where the gameplay is pretty slow, with small enemies roaming large, sprawling hallways.

    I might have liked a -bit- more action early on - the maps felt bigger than E1 maps, but with fewer enemies. I didn't mind however because they were fun to explore. The architecture and texturing were not totally consistent (a few sparse or ugly areas) but were creative and varied, and I enjoyed the effort towards a tech-base that's being tainted by the evil seeping from the cracks. The design was usually non-linear and relied very little on copy-pasta. One commenter complained of looking at the automap too much, but I would disagree since no two areas looked quite the same. It's just that you aren't rail-shootered along and may have to backtrack once in a while. Too bad Doomguy runs so slow! Another commenter said you will take two hours to complete the WAD because the distances are so long, and they were right.

    The second half of Starbase Gehenna increases the action as well as the health items significantly. As you will see in the screenshots, at first I was running around with 5% health - and I would complete whole levels like that. Later on, the balance was much better. It still wasn't very tough on UV though, so all you nutcases with pent up feelings to blow out of a virtual shotgun barrel will need -fast or -respawn or some other masochistic nonsense to appease your dark desires. Personally I don't see a pressing need to make Doom into an E-sport, and neither does Honest Abe apparently.

    Atmosphere in the second half got a little wacky. Some places lost the vibe of having a reason to exist, which I don't think is always needed, but I'm not sure if that was Honest Abe's intention. Also there were a few bumps along the way, such as areas that were a little bit too dark, revenants with their heads cut off or stuck monsters, a couple silly traps, a random sector of deep water, elevators that are too fancy for their own good, and blood that hurts you (lol). But, none of these were rage-quit worthy. I will say that there's one particular slow door at the end that could potentially be rage inducing. I saw it coming, but I gotta be honest, Honest Abe, that was a pretty poor choice. Just say NO to slow doors.

    Well there you have it: if you're like me and think it's cute when a mapper includes a room with little compartments that you open up to reveal dead bodies or nothing at all, you will enjoy this set. E1 obsessives will find the first few levels arousing but then begin to question whether they have been living a lie when they start pummeling arachnotrons with the double-barrel... and liking it!
      Altitude - Thomas "tourniquet" Seifert
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 500.87 KB
    Reviewed by: Scotty
    Altitude is a single giant map that, impressively, is compatible with vanilla Doom 2 limits. The environment is reminiscent Doom 2's city maps but with a more modern approach to the gameplay and with Tourniquet's signature mapping style stamped all over the map.

    It is easy to draw comparison with Tourniquet's Cacoward-winning Miasma as the two maps have a similar base – giant, intricate, non linear adventures with masses of optional areas and secrets to uncover. Like Miasma, the map can be completed with only around a third of it explored. There are multiple ways to progress and approach certain areas, which creates massive amounts of replay value.

    Combat is fantastic – one minute things can be fairly sedate, the next minute the floor falls away beneath your feet and a giant fight suddenly explodes into life. I found resources to be incredibly well paced – enough to keep you on your toes and thinking about your ammo usage but not so restrictive as to choke the life out of the combat. The difficulty level is not as high as Miasma, and I believe that most players these days can cope with this on UV generally, although there are still some tricky fights.

    For whatever reason this missed out in the 2017 Cacowards, but it is absolutely must-play material in my view.
      Poison Hub - John Connolly
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 35.51 KB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    Poison Hub is a medium sized classic E1 style map with little changes (like FLAT20 as a teleport pad, similar to alpha-style Doom, and an outdoor section with ASHWALL) made by John Connolly.

    As I wrote above, the style of this map is pretty classic and follows the E1 theme pretty lousy. The layout is a puzzle-ish hub with a central and three doors that need to be unlocked via switching or keys; detailing is basic but well done. Gameplay is nice and there's some good combat sections. Overall a nice classic map to play. Check it out!
      Chainworm Kommando - Chainworm666
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 4.61 MB -
    Reviewed by: Spie812
    Chainworm Kommando is a set of 10 (+1 credits map) maps for ZDoom and ZDoom-derived ports.

    The levels are for the most part reasonably abstract, but set in realistic locations, sort of in a TNT Evilution kind of way, if that comparison makes sense. Generally speaking, the WAD starts out pretty poorly but improves as you progress, both in design and in gameplay, culminating in an awesome finale. Most of the WAD is also on the easier side, but not necessarily in a bad way.

    One recurring theme is complicated sector architecture. There is a lot of cool furniture, machinery, computers, etc. all created with numerous tiny sectors. Lots of it is pointless detail (why make a sector terminal with three switches on it if you can just use a switch texture?) but it looks cool and gives the WAD some personality.

    All maps played on UV with pistol starts.

    MAP01: really straightforward techbase, to the point of being bland. However, you get introduced to a few of the aforementioned cool sector things.

    MAP02: Another techbase, this time with a different theme. However, it's still pretty bad and suffers from some weird design choices. You know the Icon of Sin? There's a room with those head textures on a wall with an air vent leading into the brain. What?

    MAP03: Takes place in a train yard. The gameplay benefits from the open space and is easily better than the first two levels. You collect the keys and board a train to exit the level.

    MAP04: You get off the train (did I mention this WAD has continuity?) into a forest, which is amusingly but somewhat effectively made from a wall texture with trees on it. You then go about the forest exploring several wooden buildings along the way.

    MAP05: You arrive at a brick mansion, which is being subverted by hell (or something like that). I do not like this map. The themes here (brown brick and marble) clash horribly and there is cramped combat accentuated by a scarcity of ammo.

    MAP06: This one's has a graveyard/crypt theme. The marble textures here complement the theme rather than clashing with it like in MAP05. There is still some ammo scarcity (not quite to MAP05's extent) so don't be afraid to skip a fight or two.

    MAP07: Continuing through the catacombs, but with fiercer opposition. The traps here are more creative and a bit more vicious than previous maps. The red key area is really cool, but pretty pointless.

    MAP08: You teleport into a swamp of sorts, where sunbeams shine through the trees. It's really striking looking, actually. The level features nothing new in the gameplay sector, but nothing bad either.

    MAP09: This map is set in a snowy village straight out of some 90s fantasy RPG. The architecture is simple, but looks fantastic. Unfortunately, ammo starvation is back in style and there's lots of mid-tier enemies.

    MAP10: And you are sent straight to Hell for easily the most difficult and awesome map of the set. The use of lighting and textures makes the level look awesome. The level even includes a weird trippy sequence visiting previous maps of the set and even maps from other games, all completely taken over by Hell. It's a wild, crazy ride, and without any doubt is the highlight of the set.

    Overall, after a pretty rough beginning, this is a decent mapset with good-looking and well thought-out levels.
      Underground Presence - youraverageamir
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 203.91 KB -
    Reviewed by: obake
    I played through all six maps of Underground Presence pistol start.

    Map01: A cavern-base. Can be plowed through with minimal effort once you know the route, which is not a bad thing for an opening map. The rooms are incredibly basic, with novice mistakes immediately apparent (non-lower unpegged door tracks, etc.) The central area of the map, with nukage oozing down a set of stairs in a sort of canyon, is not a bad setup. I also found the secret behind the nukage fall nifty.

    Map02: Another cavernous map, though more segmented. Includes spiraling staircases of rock and dirt, a lava room with imps behind cages, and even a library area. A mish-mash, but inoffensive.

    Map03: This is where things get annoying. The map begins with an odd setup, where you must let a pair of Cacodemons die in order to open one of two doors. Either door lead to frustration, as much of the map is thin hallways that get filled with bullet-sponge enemies like Pinkies and Spectres, or powerhouses like Knights and Barons. You better conserve health, because the map is confusing and likes to lead you into nukage pits, even if they are not necessary to progress. The only part I liked was releasing a friendly Cacodemon from its cell, and letting it fight other enemies.

    Map04: The task here is to avoid a Cyberdemon on a central platform until you can activate a crusher. Though the architecture is still very minimal, the map works. The non-Cyber related combat, which consists of random assortments of enemies, is also fun to plow through. Bonus for providing the first Super Shotgun in the wad.

    Map05: The most random yet. This map is a hodgepodge of ideas, few of which are successful. Enemies appear at random, sometimes in incredibly confined areas. Not as frustrating as Map 03, but not much fun, either. Contains a (possible) homage to Dead Simple.

    Map06: Another boss map. This time it is battling a Cyber atop a platform, while Boss Cubes get in the way. The first time I tried it, it was intolerable, as in the middle of the arena are two inescapable lava pits, making movement in an already tricky situation all the more limited. I failed over and over.

    I took a break. Next time I loaded the map, I simply stayed a modest distance away, letting the Cubes spawn monsters behind me. This time I beat the Cyber with minimal effort, having only to strafe slightly to avoid his rockets (which would hit the spawned monsters behind and spark infighting.) Not a bad concept, but execution is (again) very minimal. The only secret in the map is a tiny room with a few rockets, which is unnecessary as rocket boxes are ample in the final area.

    Overall, this wad is not good. There are nuggets of potential, but much of it is bogged down by basic design, with sometimes annoying gameplay. While it is probably better played continuous, even then, the lack of health and very rudimentary design would still get in the way.

    I hope this review is not too harsh. The author has good ideas, they just need to take more time utilizing them properly, and tweaking gameplay in their maps.
      Infested Water - Worm318
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 396.25 KB -
    Reviewed by: Myst.Haruko
    This short map is intended for ZDoom compatible ports, and I played it on medium and hard skill settings. Gameplay related things first as usual. Both skills can spawn a hell knight and a baron of hell in the start, but with good infighting and taking the quick shortcut, everything becomes easier. Also, in the start, the player can get the chainsaw, so with some risk, fighting with more dangerous monsters is possible.

    On both sides of the locked doors there are spider demons, so quick reaction is required before they melt the player. Traveling further from the starting point, combat becomes easier by a bit. I liked one trap after pressing one switch – it lowers the floor and leaves a nukage pool with some platforms.

    I don't know if this more a design flaw or gameplay flaw, but it's easy to miss a switch which reveals teleporters and leads into another part the of map. It doesn't count as secret and it can lead to frustration if the player tries to do a UV-max run for the first time. The other part of the map contains a traditional switch trap and the super shotgun.

    The large and secret parts of map are mostly base themed, and the smaller part I would say is more spiritual/hell themed (judging by the colour red and some moving 3D floor usage and open space). Ahead is a small arena with an interesting fight and a megasphere in one of the small islands. Be extremely careful not to fall into the void...

    Now about visual side of this map. The player can expect some crampiness in corridors, a small throwback to the Doom II map 02 starting area (heavily modified, so nobody could reject it). As I mentioned before, the author used 3D floors, slopes and other ZDoom mapping related things. Besides those things, some areas could use more details and light.

    As the author stated, it was his experiment with some ideas, so, I recommend trying this map, a not so detailed and fun map to kill boredom.
      The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

    A.W - AndyNicka
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 171.46 KB -
    Reviewed by: bzzrak
    Why look at this.

    A newbie's first mapset.

    Betcha it sucks, heh.


    A.W. is a 6-map set released in January '17 by the anonymous AndyNicka, intended for vanilla. So far this has been his only release, which is kind of a shame, as it, rather unexpectedly, mostly kicks a$$.

    Generally it looks and feels like it came straight out of a time machine from '96 or so. But in the best, best possible way. If AW hit /idgames straight away instead of lying in the time machine for two decades, I'm sure that today it would be one of those "hidden gem" WADs that every one of us came across while experimenting with the "Random file" button. Do modern kids even remember what that thing was?? Ah, memories.

    Um, I got carried away a bit.

    I played A.W. with Crispy Doom 4.0, HMP difficulty, continuous, no saves. Time-wise it will consume an hour, maybe two if you're even more oblivious than me.

    The levels are mostly a mix of wood, stone and marble themes, which looks very 90s. But just like in every decent and not-so-decent 90s WAD, you'll occasionally encounter an environment that sticks out, like hell or craaaates. It all looks quite comfy and warm, even if crude. The detail is not really as plentiful as it could've been; actually it's quite scarce, but it fits the spirit of the set, so it's cool. You won't notice it anyway, if you're at least a little like myself.

    The author makes a lot of use of mid-textures, particularly the grate ones. Moreover, most of the time those grates separate the player from groups of monsters and may visually obscure them as well. Not just ugly, but also annoying.

    Andy seems to be fine with the technical side of things. The levels worked properly in Crispy Doom, which deserves respect.

    (Some switches do need to be pressed a few times in order to fully work though, unless you're using a particular PrBoom+ or ZDoom compatibility option.) Also a few minor cosmetic glitches can be found throughout the set, but that's not really that important, is it?

    Now, about the gameplay. (I played on HMP skill level, for the record.)

    The combat with monsters is quite easy. The author (thankfully!) doesn't overload his maps with annoying and stupid traps that, in this day and age, seem to be the very essence of mapping.

    However, it's the maps' design that enhances the monsters' threat level and also works as a danger on its own.

    Other than the so-classic-that-it's-repulsive "Spectres in the dark" cliché (which is present on several maps, mostly on MAP03), there are also things like monsters on lifts, or teleports, or even just big height differences that make the monster invisible for you, but not vice versa. Surprisingly, it never felt too cheap to me.

    Along with all that, Andy makes a LOT of use of teleports. It's quite confusing to be honest, but, taking the overall small size of the levels into account, the confusion doesn't last too long.

    Oh, by the way, the effect of most switches is NOT immediately visible, as all the badassiest mappers advise you to do. But you'll figure it out relatively quickly (unless you're really dumb keklolXD).

    MAP01 -- generic wood+marble combination. The combat is very relaxed. Looks very pleasant, nothing too annoying. Can be completed in two minutes.
    MAP02 -- SKIP THIS PIECE OF (insert favourite word) IF YOU VALUE YOUR SANITY. Just don't. Trust me.
    MAP03 -- a wooden base, where you get treated to a tiny, but cute outdoor area. However, the bulk of the level relies on darkness as the main challenge, and you'll spend a good part of the time wandering around a maze which is also, coincidentally, quite dark. Oh, and it's got Spectres. Be sure to use the automap and your weapons (to light up the path), find the light-amp goggles, and then you should be fine. A quite strange level.
    MAP04 -- a long, confusing level. Looks like a blend of MAP01 and 03, but is also a biiiiit threatening. Furthermore, there's a lot of rooms here that look very, very similar, like, you are in a room or corridor or something, and there are monsters shooting at you from behind some grates. Not a bad level, but kind of meh.
    MAP05 -- a small level that mostly focuses on a teleport puzzle (bleh) and a bit of crate platforming (bleh). I'd say this is a decent, but forgettable level.
    MAP06 -- an amazing finish to AW. A skilful combination of several themes. The first part is some sort of industrial-ish place, with bricks and wood planks and all that. Also there's an... underground computer lab, I guess? Then you get outside, into a small and quite cute chunk of outdoorsiness. Around this part you get the red key, and I'll tell you this, beware, you might die a lot there. That is followed by a big, enormous, grandiose, beautiful green/gray marble area. From here you'll reach some sort of yuck indoor fetid rocky tunnels or something, the blue key is here somewhere. Somehow (I don't remember the exact process) you obtain the yellow key as well and proceed to... THE BIG NASTY MEAN BOSS FIGHT OH MY GOD I'M SO SCARED SOMEBODY CALL MOMMY PLEASE!!!

    Just kidding. Even I didn't find the Cyberdemon and a handful of other punks too hard.

    One more spoiler is that there's an Invulnerability sphere behind the Cyberdemon, which you are free2grab.

    There's a bit more of fighting after that, but you should be fine. And That's All Folks, AW has exhausted its supply of... itself, I guess? I really don't think out my smart phrases as much as I should.

    Overall, A.W. is a great 90s-styled mapset; I'm sure any nostalgic oldschooler would shed at least a lonely manly tear playing this delight of a WAD. And the rest of us can still have a bit of fun here.

    ...what does A.W. mean anyway?

    NAM Ally Green Beret Items ACS Enter Script - Huey Greenhorn
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 5.43 MB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    This is a little patch for ZDoom that gives you a team of four helpful bots, and they will help you while playing. When they die, they give you a nice weapon (a chaingun most of the time) with some ammo, and a new health kit that works like the Duke Nukem 3D medikit item. The guys are pretty helpful, but the only bug I found is that their weaponry is a little overpowered (maybe on hard/slaughter maps), and they don't fall down ledges. This last one is the worst problem for me, since seeing how this thing works I've put one bot in action at the start of map01; it worked pretty efficiently, but when I jumped down the ledge I expected the bot to follow, but it remained in its place, what a good soldier. I had to use another one to have another support through the map.

    Overall, a nice and helpful mod, you can always check it out.

    Planisphere - Perro Seco
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 726.4 KB -
    Reviewed by: Not Jabba
    Planisphere is one of those overlooked gems. The level dates back to around 2011 (or at least that's when I first played it), but it never got an /idgames upload until this year, and it was probably vastly overshadowed at the time of its initial release by the emergence of mappers like skillsaw and valkiriforce. This map also has practically nothing to do with Planisphere 2, which some long-time forumgoers may remember as that map that recreates all of New York City and lags like crazy. Planisphere 1 is just a nice medium-sized classic city map in a more conventional Doom 2 style.

    The map is pretty open and laid-back, and it's mostly fun for the sense of exploration and all of the creative ideas that are packed into it. It's well detailed in the style of TVR! or Kama Sutra, with sector objects and signs of damage all over the place -- flipped cars, street lights, trains where you walk through every car and kill zombies, and all that other good stuff. Personally, I can never get too much of it.

    According to the story, you've been traveling by train, and then suddenly the apocalypse happens. The train grinds to a halt next to a missile launch facility, and it's up to you to keep the demons from using the missiles against humankind. The first half is just hunting around the city, but the second half is where it gets really interesting. You enter the demons' portal and end up in a far-future post-apocalyptic version of the world that includes a canyon full of demons, a creepy and seemingly empty techbase, and a vast toxic sea where nukage pours down from the sky. After all of this, you return to the city, clear the guards out from around the missiles, and find your way to the exit. You also have the option of hunting down an army of SS Nazis that are hiding out in a fairly large secret area in the city -- which I think works pretty well and doesn't feel out of place, since it's a secret and they're not just thrown in as regular enemies. All in all, the map has tons of interesting ideas and great storytelling, and it always feels like it's giving you something worth seeing.

    Planisphere was a very good level for its time, and I think it has aged pretty well; it has a distinct classic feel, but it remains very fun to play.

    JNNHangar - joshthenesnerd
    Ultimate Doom - Single Player - Vanilla - 119.63 KB -
    Reviewed by: Memfis
    The readme of this wad contains probably the most passionate credits section ever written. I could almost feel it clouding my judgment while playing. Then again, why not? We should be nice to newcomers after all. That's right: JNNHangar is yet another first time effort uploaded to the archives, and I have to say it is one of the better ones in the "genre". Sure, it doesn't have a coherent theme, the monster placement is rather basic, and the texture alignment could use more work. But there is a lot of variety, constant action, and some pretty cool surprises to keep you entertained. It's just a nice and chill map you can play without worrying about your health too much. Not convinced yet? Just open the readme...

    MDK Skies Pack - Bzzrak Ktazzz
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 514.98 KB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    This is a little graphic wad made by bzzrak with a little demo wad including six new (huge) skies from the game MDK, and they all look pretty good. If you're looking for a good sky for your own levels, take a chance at this!

    Deathtrap - sKydran
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 59.46 KB -
    Reviewed by: Walter confetti
    This is a level for Doom 2 made by sKydran (how to pronounce your nickname? Sky dran? S. Kydran?) and works with ZDoom and derivative ports (I played this on Zandronum).

    According to the text file, the map replaces MAP01 (to be more precise, only one new level without any hint of the map slot) so imagine my surprise when I didn't find it in any of the classic slots the first time i played this wad and neither in other alternative slot. Tried MAP33, MAP34, MAP35, even MAP00. Nothing. At first I started to think this level was broke, so I checked it out with SLADE3 and... check the first screenshot, but it is a pretty weird choice for a map slot and it will surprise you like me, maybe.

    Anyway, the level itself is pretty nice, with some cool detailing here and there and a solid theme of a techbase beginning map for some megawad or map pack of sorts, and the gameplay follows the starter map concept, with an easy/medium difficulty and some simple puzzles after the red key door section for spicing up play. Beat the level and you beat the game. Yeah, is one of those kinds of maps.

    I expected something harder for a map called "Deathtrap", but it was pleasant to play, overall. Take a chance at playing this map, I'm expecting maybe a mapset with more stuff from this author in the future!

    Arena Boss Fights - Aiden (Maisth)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 43.8 KB -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    Before you ask: yes, I picked this wad simply because it had the words "boss fights" in the title. I love boss fights: there's something magical about pitting your wits and skill against an entity specifically designed to test your mettle. I love the atmosphere that comes with boss fights, I love the gimmicks they can sometimes indulge in - you get the picture. I could waffle about bosses all day, but that's not what I'm here for.

    So, what does arena_bf.wad have to offer in the way of bosses? To be honest, not a whole lot: the wad consists of one level with three encounters modeled after the boss battles from the original Doom. And how do they measure up? Welllll... let me count the ways:

    - The baron fight is a (somewhat toothless) tango on some walkways above lava. Seeing as the wad gives you the SSG off the bat to take care of the Barons (yeah, this wad is for Doom II for some reason) they become somewhat trivial to take down in short order and the experience suffers as a result. I love the SSG as much as the next Doom marine, but I have to admit that the shotgun/chaingun combo against the Barons in the original hit the balance of difficulty in taking the bruisers down. Well, unless you found the rocket launcher, but I digress.

    - The Cyberdemon fight consists of ol' Cyb on a raised platform and a plasma rifle that you can use to effortlessly shave off most of his health. Considering the threat of the original tussle was the Cyberdemon's mobility, this does effectively handicap one of its greatest assets.

    - Finally, the SM fight has you hiding behind pillars in the corners of the arena and popping your head around to fire off rockets. It isn't terribly exciting, all told. :/

    On the plus side, there's just enough ammo to get the job done and the wad doesn't drag its heels too much. The author states that this was something made on the fly to unwind, and at the end of the day it's basically inoffensive: I don't really recommend it, but I don't hate it either. That's all I have to say on it, honestly.


    Impact - greendingbat
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 23.22 KB -
    Reviewed by: Obsidian
    First of all, I feel like I should mention that I initially thought the username of the guy who made this wad was greedingbat. I have no idea why, it makes no sense.

    Ahem. Impact is a single-level wad for Doom II that (according to the textfile at least) was made with the express intention of feeling like an intro map. A noble aspiration to be sure, and to the map's credit it does have that feel somewhat: it does its best to invoke that MAP01 feel with the texturing scheme and length. I actually caught myself thinking of D2TWID's MAP01 at one point, so there's definitely something here that works. I wouldn't say it completely succeeds in its venture though: the map itself feels a bit too linear for my blood, and the short map length is rather in-advisably used to introduce the Shotgunner, Demon and chaingun in fairly short order. Bearing in mind that these elements aren't introduced in Doom II until MAP02 and MAP03, having all of them introduced so quickly makes the map feel shorter than it is and actively does it a disservice. This ain't Pistol Panic darling, you're well within your right to take it slow.

    Gripes aside though, impact.wad is pretty decent and accomplishes what it set out to do for the most part: perhaps you could make the case that it'd be better utilized in a mapset of similar maps, but it's still a decent (if short) romp. By the looks of things this is the mapper's first map too, so I'd say this is a decently promising start, and it'll be nice to see where they go from here. Would I recommend you download it? If you're looking for something simple and short to unwind, then go for it. Just make sure you aren't allergic to D_RUNNIN.

    Sinful Outpost - Paul Corfiatis (Pcorf)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Limit Removing - 284.24 KB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    Sinful Outpost is a standalone map made by our friend, Paul Corfiatis, involving some hellish architecture combined with a nice sky and more traps... of course. Without further ado, let's go!

    It's a nice start for sure (first image) with some imps and zombies shooting you from afar, but you can easily dispatch them with some well-placed bullets. When you advance, you see the soulsphere, the BFG (secret areas), and some nice green armor that will save you. Surprisingly, the blood pool doesn't hurt, which is great.

    The keys are always followed by some traps, and this map is no exception. When picking up the blue skull, cacos will appear along with some minor resistance. Fortunately, some secrets are easy to spot (like the soulsphere and the berserk with some medkits in the next area). There's an SSG and more enemies to kill before the next main area.

    I like that the map lets you see the next areas, showing the interconnection and allowing some planning by the player (second image). And be sure of it, because once you pick up the yellow skull, a big group of monsters will spawn including a pain elemental.

    The next areas are like the calm before the storm (third image) because the fights serve as a sort of climax before reaching the red key area and then going to the red door after that. The encounters are well-paced for those areas, including an acid pool and more traps. Very important thing here... don't forget to discover more secrets, which come in handy.

    The last area is where the map gets even more entertaining to play (fourth image), where you see some revenants and monsters that work as turrets in each side and the exit right in front of you. The architecture in that area is effective for trying to keeping you at bay. I was surprised when that archie spawned suddenly before reaching the exit... that bastard. You know the bad part of this? I picked up both the BFG and the megasphere after I killed all of the monsters... sigh...

    Overall, it's a great and solid map that it's fairly difficult and enjoyable. I ended up getting 100% for everything because the secrets are not hard to find. Great job Paul.

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.


    The /newstuff Chronicles #538

    By Bloodshedder, in News,

    Quantum Strike - Spectre01 (rileymartin)
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 1.97 MB -
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    Oh dear.

    I had written a scathing review of this, but the author was nice enough to message me personally and ask me to give him my honest opinion on the map. So instead of editing the review, I scrapped it entirely and started over. So, here goes.

    Quantum Strike is a set of three slaughtermaps with something most slaughtermaps don't have: sane difficulty settings. However, because I was dumb and played on UV, I kept getting my ass kicked. After many, many tries to get out of the first set of rooms in MAP01, I was about ready to give up, but then I read the text file (hurrrr), and discovered that UV was supposed to be intentionally terrible. Well, that explains everything.

    So, gameplay is exactly what people expect from a slaughtermap - a relentless barrage of hate and death. But there is something in each encounter that I haven't seen in many slaughtermaps - ways to avoid attacks. Let me demonstrate what I mean.

    MAP01 starts in a hallway with an arch-vile behind you. At the start. AT THE START. Naturally, you want to run, but you're trapped behind a door that blazes open to reveal - you guessed it - hitscanners. To the left of you is a pole made of blue skull key door textures. Guess who's going pole dancing?

    What ensues is a lot of failed attempts to beat each "wave" of enemies, using either the environment to dodge, or your weapons to stun. Every few feet you walk, you just might get owned.

    Arena-style fights are here, are way overdone, and quite honestly stress me out. My biggest issue with the Arena fights in these maps is that a lot of them use teleporting monsters, so you never, ever, ever know what to expect. Think of a minefield, but the mines move. Not to mention a section where cacodemons pour out of an area for what seems like hours.

    If you like slaughtermaps you'll enjoy this I guess, but there is something that ruins this map for me and it's not the game play, it's... well, let's take a look!

    Ow, my eyes. It's a shame that this screenshot is a static image, because in reality, everything - EVERY texture is scrolling. It's garish, it's irritating, nauseating, and the ultimate in Gothic99/KDIZD-esque overkill. Boy, I never thought I'd say that in 2017. The other way I can describe the level of detail is a Victorian-era dollhouse, where the house is so detailed that looks like someone figured out how to shrink a real house.

    This doesn't just affect the visuals; it affects movement. Every little detail sticking out from the walls into the player's space makes using projectile weapons that much more dangerous.

    But hey, at least the mapper didn't booby-trap stimpacks like DV0!

    A new monster, the afrit, has been added that replaces the Commander Keen - which has wayyy too much health. The attack is also the most evil thing I've ever encountered, combining mancubus and revenant attacks. WTF AVOID.

    Here are my recommendations for the mapper:
    * Remove as much of the crazy detail as possible. Good lord, there's no reason for computer textures to scroll.
    * Implement better lighting in the fullbright areas. Why so many lamp decorations?
    * Take into the account the few moments of immobility after teleporting. There are many many times that I died simply because I couldn't move.

    This is a -complevel 9 wad, but infinite height is expected to be disabled, and freelook enabled. This could explain a lot of my frustration, because I play with mostly vanilla settings, and never thought to check that stuff.

    And yet... I couldn't stop playing the thing! This map sucks, 5/5.

    If you think you can take the sensory overload, give it a shot!
      Tutorial: 9-Level Spiral (3D Stairs) - JagDogger2525
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 32.28 KB
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    This is an interesting tutorial level demonstrating a spiral staircase. There are a few monsters thrown in as a demonstration of what to expect with 3D floors, and a switch at the top.

    Do NOT expect software mode to work, unless you are using the experimental sofware poly renderer.

    What I found interesting about this map is how odd it feels to climb the stairs. 3D floor use like this is very rare, and I think an elevator would have done just as good of a job.

    But for some kinds of map themes, I think this would work. It just doesn't work in a tech setting for me. Would work great with a Gothic setup.
      Tutorial: 3D Floor & Planes - JagDogger2525
    Doom 2 - Single Player - GZDoom - 4.66 KB
    Reviewed by: Csonicgo
    This is a tutorial level for a simple 3D floor and a slope. You can walk under and on top of the floor (naturally). No gameplay here, just a small room with a floating platform.

    It's nothing you haven't seen before.
      Counterattack - Brett "Mechadon" Harrell
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 8.03 MB -
    Reviewed by: Ryath
    Mechadon's style is unmistakable: beautifully-crafted architecture, all the way from the tiny details of a light fixture up to the vaulted archways of a nightmarish cathedral that could house every single denizen of Hell. His skill is unmatched at stringing the sections of a map together in fascinating, overlapping, interwoven paths; and his maps reshape themselves as you play, opening new passages and doors and staircases in a way I've rarely seen. But unlike a lot of other mappers who create these epic, hour-long slogs, Mechadon knows precisely how to signpost and place landmarks so that it's a rare thing to get lost in his maps, at least for more than a minute or so.

    Counterattack is perfect Mechadon, and takes you on a wonderful journey through a UAC base on Earth to a Hellish gate at the edge of the universe over the course of five massive maps. (Not including two secret maps, a tiny end map you won't see in Eternity or ZDoom, and a placeholder at Map30.)

    Map01: The first map messes with your expectations by giving you the rocket launcher right away, and a huge portion of the first map consists of blowing battalions of former humans to bits with rockets and ubiquitous explosive barrels. The pistol zombies are a much bigger threat than you might expect, just from their sheer numbers. Oddly, this is the map I got turned around in the most, though I think part of that was just getting comfortable with how progression and layouts work in Mechadon maps.

    Map02: Mechadon set out to create maps that could be completed any number of different ways, and it's quite clear from here on out. In this one, for instance, you need the red skull key to get to the exit -- but you can retrieve the red skull using either the yellow keycard OR both the red and blue keycards. And if you have all three, you get grab a BFG to use in the last few arena battles. This might be my favorite map in the WAD, though it probably has the worst midi. It's hard to find music suitable for really long maps, and this one is just too repetitive.

    Map03: The other contender for best map in the bunch. I love the melding of Hell's green marble with green base textures like STARG1 and CEMENT9. Hyper-detailed CEMENT-based architecture is one of my fetishes, and this map satisfies. Things are getting significantly more subverted by Hell's influence, though gameplay-wise Map03 feels a lot like 02 -- just slightly more confusing, which is why it's not quite definitively the best map in Counterattack.

    Map04: Fire and brimstone Hell meets Doom II's city aesthetic. Map04 is one of the most beautiful maps I've ever played. You're deliberately under-supplied for the opening, which forces you count your bullets and bust out the chainsaw any time you can risk it. This time you're not just key-hunting; you're hunting for ammo and weapons too. Scavenging is great (stressful) fun, but it does make it easy to get in over your head. I had at least one death because I ran into a lock-you-in-the-room style trap against a swarm of demons and revenants with only the chainsaw and shotgun. Not too discouraging, though, since these maps are such open-ended playgrounds, and starting them over just feels like a chance to attack them from another angle.

    Map05: An entire map of arena battles. Stunning visuals, but I didn't appreciate the gameplay as much as in previous maps. The final boss monster is kind of underwhelming because it poses so little threat; because of how much room there is to move around, this map is actually significantly easier than 04 -- and it's the only map I didn't die in.

    Counterattack isn't without its flaws. It's a minor nitpick, but Mechadon's use of shadows can be a bit aggressive. Almost everything casts an extreme shadow, even some little ceiling detail twenty feet up that barely protrudes at all. It also gets very predictable when EVERY switch releases enemies. And a couple maps start to drag on by the end, especially 04.

    The WAD is pure joy, though. Each map is its own self-contained adventure full of not just gorgeous vistas, but a new, charming little detail to find every time you play it. And each playthrough unfolds differently as you discover new and unexpected routes. Mechadon is quickly becoming one of my favorite mappers. By the way, is that a sequel hook I see in the ending text? I sure hope so.
      Fanta Factory - Hebridean Isle
    Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 1.56 MB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    One word: ORANGE. That's all for the review, bye...

    Just kidding. This is Fanta Factory, a tech-base orange-tinted map which is really short but fun.

    The map starts with really nice orange-tinted ambience and a few monsters (first image) and the added Quake MIDI track which fits nicely. Still easy enough with the encounters by killing zombies, imps and pinkies. Ahead of you is a switch that will change the tone of the map in a sudden way (second image).

    Music stops, change of tone, music starts. And as a surprise for the outside, more zombies are waiting with a hell knight behind. Next area is the orange arena with more Fanta to drink (third image)... probably, but first, the monsters. After that you clear the first line of hellspawn and enter an arena with several small pillars and some goodies. Inside the arena is a well-hidden secret which some people may figure out and there's a plasma gun. That will help against some monsters.

    The arena itself has three waves of monsters, one group with low-tier monsters such as zombies, imps and pinkys. The second wave is a mid-tier group with a couple of cacos and revenants. And the last wave is a pair of mancubuses. Oh, I forgot to say that every wave is summoned, some of those pillars will lower very slowly, and for the third wave you won't have any cover at all, which is a great touch and adds more challenge. You can still die in this map if you're not careful though.

    The detail of the map is quite good, but still I found some vertical misalignments, but that's not too serious. Two things though... that secret sound... haha, coming from OMD and its song, Secret, nice touch. And uh... that image that's revealed at the right when you press the secret switch... I don't know where's from.

    Overall, it's a nice map. It can fit really fine for a Map01 if it's compiled into a mapset or something. Good gameplay. Thing is, it's so short that the player will feel disappointed at the end. Maybe adding a couple of maps can be useful for more time spent in the map.

    And enjoy drinking Fanta while reading this review please!!!
      Quester's Fest - Fonze
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 303.21 KB -
    Reviewed by: rdwpa
    Fonze has been an advocate for the rocket launcher as Doom's best weapon for some time now, and his speedmaps over the past year-plus have been a series of love notes to it, exploring a variety of surprisingly uncommon gameplay concepts. Examples include the rocket launcher–pain elemental dynamic, as well as inverted target prioritization -- pinkies are often the biggest threats and archviles can be surprisingly harmless. These maps don't really attempt to be "normal"; it's all rocket-pumping action. In Quester's Fest, as in many of Fonze's speedmaps, the rocket launcher is the only weapon you will be given ammo for. Featuring around 200 monsters spread across two set pieces, it's a very short map. The gameplay will be challenging for most, although those used to 'hardcore' sets such as Sunlust will classify it as somewhat leisurely. Difficulty settings have been provided: HMP is much like UV with extra forgiveness in the second half, but the most important thing you should know is that HNTR is an absolutely mandatory play after you're done on either HMP or UV. I won't spoil the surprise. Just try it.
      Phrygia - Fonze
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 169.4 KB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    This map was really hard at the starting point... surrounded by spiders, revenants, hell knights, barons and pinkys. I tell you, that part took me ten tries to get right (first image). It's all about learning how to progress through the map, picking up the backpack and not getting damaged much by the damaging floor and the homing projectiles (second image). That specific part is also the key for killing the revenants near you first, then dispatching the big group of revenants, spiders and hell knights in the right is necessary. Oh and be careful for pinkys that are entering the area where you are, or one of the rockets will kill you.

    After dispatching most of it, killing spiders and pinkys are a must, by rockets or infighting, then get the soulsphere, and when the area is clear, megasphere time. It's worth mentioning that after clearing that area, the map gets easier... not without killing another group of revenants, cacos, and a couple of archies (third image)... and a sneaky pain elemental that comes out of nowhere. Detail in the map was fine, simple but clean. And surprisingly, I liked the music... even if the track sounds like it's from an Egyptian-themed track.

    Definitely a really hard but fun map; strategies must be used in order to clear it.
      Emergent - Benjogami
    Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 2.53 MB -
    Reviewed by: leodoom85
    Emergent is a 4-map wad made by Benjogami and it's already teasing the player at the start with that "Don't Save" message in the save game options. Nice touch there, but you know where that's going. So, here's the detail of the maps.

    Map01 - There's a quiet start with a teleporter in front of you saying that this will be a nice start (first image) but... oh boy, this is deceptive, as you step into that teleporter and see the new big area (second image). You're already surrounded by hellspawn of the nastiest kind, and the cover can't be of much use here as long as you kill them ASAP. This map starts hard and ends hard and that will be a constant for the next maps, so be prepared at all times.

    I like that all maps are set in some void instead of being in some common place like Hell or Earth. That gives a clear indication that you're hopeless and alone while fighting whatever comes. The detail for this map is great, and it has some interesting ways of mixing themes... like, you have rocks, urban textures, and tech stuff mixed together.

    By the way, you need the archvile to get the soulsphere? While some players would have low health already? That's risky, unless that there's another way to get there. In any case, good and hard map.

    Map02 - Pinky start (third image)... time to punch those bastards with the berserk!!! What a way to start. You have two switches to lower some pillars and walk to the main part of the map. The map itself is interesting because you have the choice of which side of the map to go.

    You have two major areas in the map. The left area has the red key (fourth image) and the right area has the blue key. Also, in the sectors where the keys are, there's a switch nearby which activates some lifts to the exit (fifth image). Did I mention that there's also two long and narrow pillars that also have the two keys, and if you pick up one key, the other is unreachable? Cool stuff.

    The gameplay itself was also hard regardless of the amount of monsters. It's completely deceiving, and the player will understand that in a painful way. There's some ammo in those acid pools that you will receive some damage to get... talk about punishment. Also, ammo management is crucial here and in the next maps... fortunately in this map you have the berserk if you want to save some precious ammo. And always be careful of archviles.

    Overall, it's a nice and hard map that's like the calm before the storm for the next map.

    Map03 - OK, OK... starting point surrounded by imps, hell knights and revenants... OK. What a chaotic entrance (sixth image) which has some ammo scattered, armor and health to use it wisely because the problems for this map begin now.

    Red key area (seventh image)... OK, where do I begin?. This section caused me a lot of problems, mainly because there's no teleporters to give the player a choice of keeping the fight. Instead, you'll suffer a slow and painful death. This is annoying. To make things a bit worse, there's four cages which can spawn random monsters... if one of them is not a pain elemental then you'll have a hard time, and also you have to worry about a couple of archies.

    Fortunately, this is the only problem that I have with this mapset, because the next section is more forgiving than the red key area. The yellow key area (eighth image) is easier than the last one; at least you have a chance of surviving the fight if you stay in the lower areas. The fight is still chaotic of course, but it's manageable.

    Overall, I have mixed feelings with this map to be honest. It started good but... the red key area is the downside of this map. At least the yellow key area raises the fun a bit and that's appreciated. The player must be alert at all times in order to survive this nasty map.

    Map04 - Adorable start (ninth image) but this map is anything but adorable. The map is composed of three main areas that are divided to the left, center and right areas.

    The left area (tenth image) was the hardest part of the map because it has two mini-areas to deal with. By the way, there are four switches scattered in the map. Press one of them and more monsters will come out. In any case, you have to deal with more hellspawn while you press those switches. I noticed that cacos are more present than the other three maps, same for the revenants and hell knights and of course... archviles. And I'm also surprised that 1 or 2 pain elementals are there... I guess that the mapper was generous on this one. OH... that soulsphere is a must to pick up.

    Right area (eleventh image) was far easier than I thought. Lots of rockets and the place itself helps tremendously against the monsters because you can run from there and have a lot of cover. Those bastards don't have a chance this time, and of course, archies are the priority to take out first.

    Going to the center area (twelfth image), you'll find cacos that will surround you at any second, plus some archies at the already mentioned left area, and worst of all, a cyberdemon acts like a turret, but this is a perfect chance to provoke some infighting (and I had the help of a spider to kill him while the cyberdemon had eyes on me, which saved me some time and ammo). Also, you'll find some pillars that must be lowered in order to get to the exit.

    You have to be careful on the exit because there's still a few monsters that can spawn, and you must kill them before getting damaged, and it's not fun if you die right before the exit, you know.

    The detail and architecture of the map is good, especially the exit. Pretty simple layout but effective and does a good job by keeping you at bay. Overall, it was a fun map and yes, still having hard difficulty and the rocket launcher will be the preferred choice.

    This wad provides a real challenge that can be a good or bad thing depending on the player's skill. It's up to you to play this set but in my opinion, you should play it and give it a try.
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