Dying End - Lutz
As some of you know, I'm
very reserved when it comes to people thinking of half-assed ideas like "let's make a Doom level in
the style of one of the original levels" because seriously, it doesn't take a genius to come up with
a brilliant idea like that, it takes a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD. However, it doesn't take a fourteen year
old to turn a half-assed idea into a brilliant level—it takes a genius like Chris Lutz to deliver
the goods and make it entertaining to boot, otherwise you'll end up with something like a certain
entry in this year's Cacowards that Scuba is writing about.
So what makes a remake of MAP29 so appealing that it deserves to be
listed as one of the top 10 single player WADs of this year? Oh, I dunno, maybe because it's just so
damn fun to play through that it's easy to forget that it's simply a MAP29 remake when you're too busy
trying to save your own ass from the endless assault of projectiles that pretty much goes on from the
very beginning of the level. I wish that Lutz had added co-op starts to this level, which would have
been extremely trivial since it is not scripted, and there's nothing that stands out to me as being a
hindrance in co-op. Why Lutz, why did you neglect co-op?!
Die - didy
complaint I see repeated in numerous map reviews and beta tests is... make it
less linear. If that is what the community wants, then didy was
certainly listening when he created Sine Die.
What I love most about this map is just how broad and open it is.
While the majority of the two levels take place inside techbases, they are very
non-linear. You begin on a rocky cliff face and enter the enormous
complex with a wide array of directions to go. Sure you must find keys and switches, but
you can get to them from numerous ways... and I never really felt
lost. I always made my way back to locales once I had the key or had
hit the switch I needed. The layout is terrific and guides you well...
without leading you by the hand.
This says nothing of the fact the levels looks
magnificent. Textures always help add personality to a level,
something besides the stock Doom/Doom2 used so frequently. Sine Die uses them
well to create a really nice environment that is
refreshingly new, yet still comfortably Doom. Translucent bay
windows allow you to look out on the outer landscape and several creative
switches show off some extremely impressive boom effects. Like any good wad, the
difficulty ramps up as you progress... and certain paths will certainly
yield safer results for you. Sine Die has everything you want in a
wad; looks, tricks and slaughtering... what more could you ask for? Incidentally, Sine Die was a last minute change for the
Cacowards. The original wad that was supposed to be here was didy's Beluga,
which is also a great level. Unfortunately I did not learn of Sine
Die until I was writing the Cacowards and realized this was didy's finer
work. That is what happens when maps slip through /newstuff.
Deep in ZDoom - Various Artists
year I write the Cacowards, I invariably make decisions that people
dislike. This year will be no different. However, I stand by my
decisions, and those uncomfortable with them can write their own
list. Ironically, the Cacowards are the one time of the year I try not
to troll, so remove the hype, take away the bias, and I think you are left
with a good wad. I, of course, refer to Knee Deep in ZDoom.
What started as a community effort to create a ZDoom rendition of
Episode 1 turned into a massive undertaking... spending almost 3 years in
development. Projects that spend a long time in limbo begin to
develop either very high, or very low expectations... and KDiZD was no
different. When it was released, the reviews reflected that
division. If a friend, who was new to Doom, asked what maps were fun
and showcased what was possible, I would certainly
point to KDiZD as a suggestion. The maps are marginally based off
the original maps, but you would be hard pressed to find any original
architecture. Not only are the original maps revamped, there are
countless new additions to each level that extend the gameplay. Stacked
sectors, cameras, 3d bridges, dozens of new monsters, and scripted events
showcase what has been added to the aging game to keep it fresh after 14
years. Many of the levels really are a sight to behold and showcase
some very impressive effects, particularly the new additions. With
so many Doomers and so many different tastes in gameplay, it is hard to accommodate
everyone... but I believe KDiZD offers a decent experience. I will
briefly mention that KDiZD could have been a much better experience.
Forgetting hubris and drama... the team seems to have lost track of the
project's scope along the way and created a monster they could not
control. In the end, I still think it turned out to be OK, but mod makers
take heed from KDiZD: focus your project and keep a level head... your
project will be better served. Again, I stand my ground; Knee Deep
in ZDoom is one of the 10 best wads released this year.
Best Wad NOT Released
Early this year, Cyb disappeared and got a real life and met a real
girl. Rumor had it Cyb was working on a sequel to Void, Void 2.
I had a chance to play it and realized that everyone is missing out on this
not being released. So if you see Cyb, beg him to finish it so you can
play this great level.