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The /newstuff Chronicles #433

  • Police Brutality (Weasel Presents: Terrorists!) - wildweasel et al
    Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 28052953 bytes
    Reviewed by: MaverickDeCero
    The first thing I noticed with this wad is that it requires Zdoom 2.6.1, meaning I wouldn't go through co-op with this. It sucks, too, because this wad feels perfect for co-op, maybe through HR2 or something. Let's cut my whining and get to the wad.

    The readme lists this wad as a throwback to 80's and 90's lightgun games and action movies. It certainly does that, and it does that well. The weapon sprites all look great and function beautifully, as expected from WildWeasel. One of my favorite parts of this wad is that the powerups, such as megaspheres, are now hostages that you can rescue for items, such as an upgrade to your kick or upgrades to your weapons. A nice touch, especially on the drunk that replaces the soulsphere, holding a sign saying stuff like "I'm in the wrong game" while spouting typical hobo nonsense such as "We're grilled cheese, man!" Don't think that's just to lighten up a mood, either. The whole wad is based on a goofy story. You, John SomeGuyWithAPistol have to stop a terrorist group named "Gangster Octopus," who has taken over the Silly Putty production factory demanding money for "Awesome Possum's Kickstarter" or else they will put anchovies on every single pizza order in the country for the next fiscal year. This wad had me in giggles at almost every turn, but make no mistake, this isn't a joke wad; this is one of the best wads I've ever seen from WildWeasel in a long time, and that's including Diaz - Last Hours of Purity. You've got 11 weapons, ranging from pistols to tasers, all the way to a heavy machine gun, which really made me feel like Rambo when fighting Albert Wesker in Tricks N' Traps.

    That brings me to one small downside of this wad. Some of the monsters look very pixelated, especially around the edges. While this normally wouldn't bother me, I expected a bit higher quality spriting when all of the weapons, menus, and the effects look absolutely amazing. I'm not saying it's so bad you can't tell what they are, you can certainly tell the security guard from the cowboy. There are indeed guest appearances from other games, such as Albert Wesker, Sonya Blade, and a few others I won't mention simply because I won't spoil the fun.

    The sounds are all incredibly high quality, even making me question how Weasel managed to keep the filesize down to a fantastic 28 megabytes. All in all, this wad is amazing, with my only complaint being a few dirty enemy sprites.

    Also, Marty, if you're reading this: You've got a damn good Wesker impression.

  • Realm Of Demonology - Demonologist
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 5640615 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Creaphis
    Our undead but unkillable community has such a vast glut of competent, enjoyable maps in its repertory by now that the only way left for new work to stand out is if there's something wrong with it. This is a blessing in disguise, as there are so many unique and interesting ways you can apply the basic formulas of mapping incorrectly, at least compared to the smaller set of ways that one can cram yet another techbase onto Phobos and have the player still remember anything about it five minutes after exiting.

    In MAP01 of this mod, you see stark, square environments, splashes of inscrutable "realistic" detail, and cheesy Boom effects. The first fight has you fighting hitscanners in a large arena without real cover. Another fight has you ducking behind skinny girders to try to stay out of multiple viles' lines of fire simultaneously. After that the map moves directly from set-piece to set-piece where you press the same switches to lower the same bars to go through the same teleporters each time. Yet, it's also balanced, fun, and cool. Odds are I'll still remember it ten, heck, probably even fifteen minutes from now, and that's saying something.

    Note that I only played 1 out of 6.5 maps in this project before writing this review. We've already lapsed in our journalistic integrity by letting this mod sit in the queue since March, so there's really nothing left for me to prove.

    (Run this wad with cc4-tex.wad, available here)

  • Gravis Ultrasound patches - Simon Howard (fraggle)
    N/A - Timidity support - N/A - 5308541 bytes
    Reviewed by: CorSair
    As simply stated in file, this .zip contains standard Gravis Ultrasound patches. Even if you don't want these for Doom, you might consider to use these on other games that can use GUS. Out of curiosity, I did some tests on few games that makes use of it, and it works fine, without touching the contents.

    If you are missing GUS, this is the file you should get.

  • Monochromatic Nightmare - Phendrena
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 528845 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    The basic concept behind Monochromatic Nightmare is that the entire level is textured in pure black and white. This works better than expected, though some areas are grating on the eyes (there's a striped corridor which essentially becomes one huge epilepsy warning when you run through it), and it's a bit silly to see the doors and lifts helpfully labeled "DOOR" and "LIFT". The monster placement is rather uninspired and the entire level is easy... until the end boss, which isn't fun to fight due to the limited arsenal you're given (unless, that is, you find a good weapon in a secret area).

    There are some ZDoom features used, but in a good way, like a couple of 3D structures, or scripting to make the walls taunt the player hammily. A couple of errors are present, such as all the non-unpegged doortracks, or a demon which is dormant and never wakes up. Overall, it's a somewhat interesting level, though it doesn't have much going for it apart from its unique visual design. (My completion time: 20 minutes.)

  • Target: Cebrenia - theJF
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 232864 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    Oooh, another green techbase level! Two of them! Looks like a mapping fad, since it's the second time I've played a level with this style.

    This is two large levels made by theJF and his first release; layout is nice and fluid, and you can recognize easily where to go. It's nice for a first effort, but look at the details to see if it's good.

    The first map starts in a brown canyon that leads you into a little green tech outpost; there's some sparse usage of enemies (I played it in HMP, however I found it really empty of monster count, I expected more enemies), however the simple design is well textured, and there's also some nice detailing here and there.

    The second and last map is much more complex and difficult than the first map, reminding me of Plutonia style the more you advance in the marine facility, with an infirmary, shooting gallery (with appearing zombies and imps via switch?) and other depot storage stuff; there's even some cool vanilla puzzle tricks in this map, and it is much better than map01.

    However, is still a cool little mapset, although it is too empty in enemy placement due to the large size of maps. Check it out, it's cool!

  • Soulcrusher - Alter-zero
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 105881297 bytes -
    Reviewed by: MaverickDeCero
    Soulcrusher. Just the name makes me wonder what I'm in for. Am I in for nuts.wad? Am I in for something soulcrushingly difficult?

    One thing is for sure, this zip file is huge as dinosaur balls. 117 megabytes? SURPRISE! It's from that 77 megabyte music file! Look Alter-zero, sometimes when you make projects this big, you have to assume people out there have slow internet speed.

    I mean, *I* don't, but I do know people who do have terrible internet, and I personally think that it would benefit you greatly if your wad were much smaller, and in a PK3 file preferably.

    Enough bitching! Time for the wad!

    The story could use a little work. You are Jack Darx, the brother of Francis Darx, the current manager of a high class corporation that gives cybernetic enhancements to the public and does shady testing behind closed doors. How shady? Mutant gene splicing and human testing, shady. You get reborn/cloned by Baxter, who becomes your trusty ally... through the radio.

    The communication between characters is a tad bit odd for the setting, such as no one using contractions, which sounds very odd in the futuristic setting of soulcrusher. The grammar and spelling are all perfect, though. Why am I talking about the writing or grammar, you ask? The whole wad can be translated to a book rather well. There's a whole lot of text in this. A LOT, even to the point the text becomes cutscenes that you move with the left and right keys or skip entirely with the use key.

    Let's get to the sprites and weaponry. Some weapons look nice, such as your shotgun, which fires incendiary rounds with a high explosive grenade launcher on the pump. Excessive, but sexy. Then some weapons are weird, like how your fists jitter like you're having a seizure, and then some are just plain ugly, such as your BFG Replacement taking up over half the damn screen and nearly killing you at any range. Zero, if you're reading this, tone that shit down. Splash Damage NEVER needs to be that high. I should not be able to kill myself by shooting across the room.

    They sounds are all nice, and clear. Expected, of course, because the sounds wad is 17 megabytes. Everything is crisp, and sharp, and you can tell each gun apart.

    Then, there's the bad parts. The enemy sprites are all direct rips, with a mancubus replacement literally being a rip from Freedoom, except one of his death frames is in one of his firing animations. Other enemies are ripped from other wads, such as the spiders, or the stormtrooper marine, shown in a picture.

    The textures are all stupidly high quality, to the point it's just too far. Sure, it looks nice, but with the lighting varying from Orange-Green to Green-Orange (you have all these different choices for lighting and you only use those? Come on, spice it up!) it just looks like my toilet after Indian food in certain areas, shown in a few images.

    Then there's the pixelation. Some enemies look almost like LEGOs around the edges because they all were ripped and sized to resolutions beyond safe for any human. Other than that, the rest of the wad is nice.

    It could be better, yes, but it is quite well polished in areas. For something it took 4 years to make, I'd expect compression and a pk3.

    Also, Zero, take a look at Jumpmaze for some examples on good MIDIs. Just because you CAN have MP3 or OGG doesn't mean you should. After all, who wants to be the "Aeons of Death" or "Doomguy's Warzone" of filesizes?

  • Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites (Cadaver for short) - Obsidian
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 453247 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites is set in a facility taken over by some kind of a fleshy growth. This lends the map a nice, interesting visual theme (pity about those texture misalignments...). The first half might be the hardest as you don't have ammo to spare yet (be thrifty with bullets in the beginning, and make use of barrels!). Since the author is rather stingy with health pickups as well, this makes for a satisfyingly tough, but overall balanced map. There's some great-sounding, atmospheric music too, and a Dehacked patch which allows you to gib hanging corpses (man, why wasn't this in the original Doom?).

    The very start of the map is a little flawed though, as you have to wait for a *long* time for a wall to open, with nothing to do in the meantime but run around a small room. There are also two obviously decorative blue keys which you can nevertheless pick up, allowing you to ignore the "real" blue key pickup (and the resulting trap) later on.

    This isn't a revolutionary map, but it has some very nice parts both in the visual and the gameplay department. (My completion time: 25 minutes.)

  • HELLRUN - Adrian Smart
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 430421 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    (Note: while this map is for vanilla Doom 2, it's so big that it tends to crash the game when saving, so a limit-removing port is recommended.)

    When I loaded up this 1996 level, and the first thing I saw was Wolfenstein textures and the author's giant, unattractive signature (?) on the wall, I thought: "oh dear, this is gonna be bad."

    It wasn't.

    HELLRUN is a surprisingly great level--in both meanings of the word. This map is pretty huge (and there always seems to be a hidden nook or cranny, no matter where you go); in fact, my one criticism would be that playing it gets really confusing fairly quick, especially when you're trying to backtrack your way to a location which you originally reached through aimless wandering. (I actually had to cheat to find the red key because it was hidden in a room I'd visited eons ago and didn't even remember what was in there.) It also suffers from the "mystery switch" problem where you press a switch and it's not immediately clear what it does. There are some doors which open and some which do not, there are elevators which look just like any other metal wall, there are switches which have the colored key textures surrounding them but don't actually require keys... it gets disorienting.

    Mazelike layout aside, both the visuals and gameplay are strong here. The architecture and texturing is highly varied--though, as mentioned above, the author loves to use the blue brick wall texture from Wolfenstein, which looks rather silly. There are some new textures, but, aside from the night sky, I didn't think they were very good (especially the knife switch with the jarring yellow-red checkerboard pattern.)

    The battles (on Ultra-Violence) are really tough at times, but always fair--I had several moments where it looked as if I was stuck and had to resort to cheats, yet there always was a way out: a handy megasphere, a door which allowed me to escape the nukage pools, etc. HELLRUN will keep you on your toes as new enemies will keep appearing in the areas you've already visited. As far as I could tell, you never get a super shotgun (at least I never found it), and I never managed to come across a rocket launcher either (even though rocket ammo was plentifully provided), but there are no frustrating ammo shortage problems.

    Overall, I recommend this map for those who wish for difficult, but fair challenges, or those who love exploring sprawling maps. (My completion time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including all deaths and quickloads.)

  • Firetop Mountain version 2 - glenzinho
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 29899085 bytes -
    Reviewed by: mouldy
    I didn't play the first version of this wad; it was reviewed last year, and judging from the screenshots and review, it looks like the graphics have been overhauled and gameplay adjusted since then, but in case anyone missed it here is a recap.

    This is a single map for GZDoom, inspired by the fighting fantasy book "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain". I haven't read the book for 20-odd years, but I remember there was a mountain riddled with caves, monsters and traps, and a warlock at the end, and this map certainly lives up to those requirements. There is a spot of jumping, diving and mountaineering involved, though nothing that strays too far from traditional Doom gameplay.

    The player begins their quest in a rugged outdoor landscape that encircles the eponymous mountain. Armed only with a chainsaw, there follows some frantic resource hunting as the open terrain is liberally populated with monsters, and weapons and ammo are scattered far and wide. Also somewhere in this land lies the key to entering the mountain, so be prepared for half an hour of outdoor exploration before venturing into the domain of the warlock. This first half of the adventure is fairly chaotic and non-linear, which provides quite a nice contrast to the gloomy caverns and narrow passageways awaiting inside. The landscape is dotted with interesting features and has an organic feel to it, and the ambient music sets the mood nicely, while the central mountain is a constant reminder of your goal.

    The second stage of the journey takes you deep into the interior of the mountain, a dimly lit warren of caves and corridors, and the warlock himself, waiting patiently for your arrival. The whole journey took me over an hour and I found myself quite engrossed in the atmosphere. The detailing might be a bit spartan in places, but I found the use of lighting effects, 3D slopes and overall sense of progression make up for this. As a self contained adventure it works well; definitely worth a go I'd say.

  • DEATH FORT - Alan E Brown
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 39590 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    An easy map where you infiltrate the guts of a fort that's "heavily guarded" (yeah, right... by a single castle turret manned by incompetent hitscanners). It's a 1996 WAD with bland visuals (it's green 'n gray all the way until the end), dull architecture, and little to do.

    It all begins with a boring, filler "puzzle" where, to open up the next parts of the level, you have to simply walk across several slow-moving lifts and shove your way past torches placed in the middle of narrow ledges. Later on, there's a very infuriating location where awkwardly placed teleporters toss you all over the place.

    The only vaguely interesting part of the map are the "sewers", a nukage-filled maze; there are just barely enough radiation suits around to get out alive (you'll be thankful for the automap marking feature.)

    There's barely any challenge to be found here at all; the author is too generous with weaponry, and the level layout usually makes it trivial to avoid enemy attacks. Not recommended. (My time on this map was 20 minutes.)

  • Five Minutes of Hell - Linkrulezall
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 239483 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Cacatou
    I was initially attracted to the name 5minhell. Must be a short level to blast through after dinner. I was right. The map's length is reminiscent of some of the middle maps of Scythe. The map is a single player map despite being in the Deathmatch folder at /idgames, and is intended for ZDoom. I feel that the author could easily have made the level in vanilla. For instance, the only ZDoom features that I could spot were deep water effects and stealth monsters.

    Now on to the actual map: it's a pretty good short map without any real interesting battles or architecture, which is understandable given it is the author's first release. There are a few minor texture misalignments and HOMs, but the author mentions these in the text file, and this is only nit-picking. The secrets in the map in my opinion were not too well thought-out. For instance, jumping is needed to reach the first secret, which is an unnecessary soulsphere. The remaining secrets include one of the battles with more potential: a one-on-one battle with an archvile. Unfortunately by then you are stocked with over 200 cells and lots of rockets.

    The lack of traps is an issue, as the plasma gun and its accompanying 200+ cells lead to an ambush of a few spectres. The yellow key room already leads one to anticipate a trap, and most of the ambushing monsters (demons and imps) fail to teleport in. This leads to a lame battle with roughly ten monsters. The end of the map provides the best battle as you enter an area where a cyberdemon on a central plinth protects the last key, and he is flanked by hell knights on foot and four barons on similar mounted platforms. The difficulty in this battle is also negated due to the fact that making the monsters infight is ridiculously easy. Only a few revenants then remain and finished.

    The map suffers from a lack of balancing and is far too easy, especially with the secrets. The use of stealth cacodemons is pretty useless due to the fact that they often attack far too quickly to have a successful ambush. The traps need reworking, and despite music being advertised, it seems to be just one note continuously playing, which hardly constitutes music. The author says that the map is coop-compatible, which it isn't, as the red key is missing and the map cannot be completed. Also, a lot of ammo and monsters are missing, as are some teleport destinations.

    If you're looking for a fun romp without dying too much, play the map, but if tougher maps are to your taste then play with –fast monsters which gives new life into this map. Otherwise you can always play Slaughterfest 2012. Whoops.

  • Door to Chthon - Nabernizer
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 36939 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    An attempt to adapt the Quake level E1M6 for Doom II. But Doom ain't Quake, and many areas which looked good in that game look bad in this one (especially since, for obvious reasons, some of the areas needed to have their layout redesigned).

    This was likely meant to be just proof-of-concept as opposed to an actual level, seeing as the exit door and the key to open it are both right next to where you start. (In the original Quake, you needed to find a switch to bring up a bridge to get across the instakill lava, but here you can just waltz up and grab the key.)

    Feel free to check this map out if the concept seems interesting, but neither its looks nor its gameplay are anything special. (My completion time: 5 minutes.)

  • Simple Challenge #01! - William Clark
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 26184 bytes -
    Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
    Oh dear me.

    This 1996 "map", "designed" by William Clark, has one main feature: "bad". Ignoring the texturing mishaps, HOMs everywhere, cluster of door textures, lack of any coherent train of mapping thought, and just about everything else, you grab the blue key, squeeze past knife-sharp walls, past the poor cacodemon lodged into the wall, and grab the BFG.

    Open the next door and you'll get smacked in the face with a beehive of spectres. Threat? Nope. Fun? Nope. Gracefully plié across the room and down the next corridor. Press the switch, and... it's over? Yes. Need I say more? No.

  • Illusion.wad - Gloyd Garder
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 38465 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    A lame attempt at a jokewad where the basic gimmick is that every level is intentionally crappy and filled with giant HOMs. Forget illusio-pits, this is a freakin' illusio-universe! For added "fun", music has been replaced by a chaos of random notes.

    Simply put, don't waste your time playing this. (Also, be warned that map03 features strobing lights--epilepsy warning!)

  • The Dude's adventures: Part I "House invasion" - ZeDude70
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 4835 bytes -
    Reviewed by: JudgeDeadd
    According to the text file, this map is about defending the Dude's house from an infernal invasion. This "Dude" guy sure has exotic tastes; I don't know about you, but *I* wouldn't want to live in a house which consists of a series of featureless square rooms, with some of the wallpaper peeled away to reveal gigantic HOMs underneath. This architectural travesty is filled with idiotically placed monsters, including a poor lonely Nazi SS and a horde of cyberdemons which is impossible to get past.

    I'm pretty sure this is a troll wad, as even a beginner mapper should have been able to tell that the level is completely ridiculous. It's a short map, but don't bother playing it--it's not even unintentionally funny.

Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.