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The /newstuff Chronicles #391

  • DOOM 2 UNLEASHED (Pcorf community project) - Various
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 9404727 bytes -
    Reviewed by: MajorRawne
    As a new mapper and a dashing young man who has revived a long-dead reviewing fetish/career, it is my privilege to (finally) bring you a review of this community effort.

    Not to engage in false suspense, Doom 2 Unleashed (D2U) is quite a good megawad packed with intense gameplay and brilliant visuals. This wad contains some of the best-looking maps I've played, and I'd say this is one of those megawads destined for lasting fame. I don't say that lightly and yes, I've read the rather disparaging comments on /idgames. So read this instead!


    This is the first megawad I've ever played that has more than the standard 32 levels. They're split into two episodes, Doom 2 Unleashed and the well-named No Hope For Peace. Speaking of which, some of the maps have terrific names: Buried Eons, Seven Dead Disciples, Unforgiven and of course Piss Factory!

    There is so much inspiring content in some of the levels that it's as if the Emperor himself (beloved by all) had a hand in their creation. The best maps in this collection represent Doom firing on all cylinders, a million light-years from some of the 1994 rubbish that the Phantom Crap Wad Uploaders are bombing us with. There's one note of caution and that's to avoid Ultra Violence if you're not at the top of your game. It gets quite nasty quite quickly on UV. It's also tough on HMP by the way. I wonder when I started expecting HMP to be the "pussies only" difficulty? Are five difficulty levels a bit much for a game like Doom? Is it possible enough to find anyone crap enough to judge whether the easiest two difficulties (which I am proud to say I've never played on) are appropriate?


    Some of the visuals in this megawad are fething amazing. (You were waiting for the F-word, admit it!) It's good to see such effort being put in to make maps detailed, interesting and varied. In fact it's accomplished with such stunning ease in so many of these maps that I wonder why people sometimes rail against detail-heavy maps. I would rate many of the maps beside Alien Vendetta, which for me always has been and probably always will be the Doom Community's flagship megawad (although the Community seems to rate Requiem and Hell Revealed as such - vive la difference!). There's no denying that Alien Vendetta, Requiem, the Hells Revealed and the Memento Moris are still the standard against which all major projects should be measured. Yes, I know I forgot to mention Eternal Doom.

    Many of the levels contain tributes to or inspiration from classic Ultimate Doom maps which is nice, but a bit weird when this is supposed to be Doom 2 Unleashed, and many of the authors seem to have the same or very similar ideas; therefore, quite a few of the earlier levels have a similar feel. Plenty of maps are swamped with weaker enemies which leads me to believe there was some sort of a race to be Map 1. This is noticeble in about half the maps from the Doom 2 Unleashed episode.

    Some of the later, hell-themed maps seem very Alien Vendetta inspired. It's nice to see my all-time favourite megawad honoured even today. I don't see many contenders for AV's crown. (Hell Revealed was epic but it looks like the inside of my colon and the monster deployment is horrible. Requiem fared better with its fancy tricks. Still it's AV that always comes out on top, visually speaking.)


    Maps 1-4 are classic-style Ultimate Doom bases with some Doom 2 influences. They all tend to play in a similar way due to giving you berserk packs with which to wade through hordes of Pink Demons, Imps and Handgunners. While this starts to feel a bit repetitive, that's a minor criticism. The maps are innovative and fun to play, and not one of them is dull to look at. Thankfully though the Tyson style fighting ends pretty much here.

    Map 5 reminded me strongly (in parts) of PSX Final Doom's first map, Attack. I never played PC FDoom so I don't know the order or content of levels from the PC version. This is where things start getting tough. I really enjoyed this despite its difficulty and this is one of the maps I keep thinking about.

    Map 6 is one of the standouts for me. It's set aboard a crashed ship which even has realistic damage (as far as is possible to achieve in Doom). I LOVE the music from this map. About 10 years ago I was playing a megawad, I can't remember which, and it has this same piece of music playing. I always wanted to hear that again and the fact that it was playing for this map just finished it off for me. I just felt that the author had put so much thought and attention into this map.

    Map 7 is another Dead Simple, surprise surprise, this one distinguishing itself from the millions of others by actually ripping the original off. The gameplay of this map started to annoy me. Sorry but I am fed up of Dead Simple clones!

    Map 8 is quite plain-looking in some areas due to large open rooms and corridors. The author seems to have thought of this and has included loads of areas of detail which tend to be along the side walls of otherwise barren rooms. This is a slaughtermap which will make you feel like a hero with your super shotty but there's a Revenant trap that WILL catch you out and the map just wasn't as much fun as the first 6.

    Map 9, 4Chan Servers, showcases very nice use of lighting and there's a rare city view out of the window near your starting location. I don't know much about 4Chan (I really need to brush up on my internet subcultures) and to be honest I don't care about it, they seem to be another bunch of activists who don't like privacy because they want to know all the juicy gossip about other people - presumably this is also the hidden basis for all free speech claims made by the mass media - but let's not get into that now, 4Chan is about PORN! I'm not trying to insult 4Chan users by the way, after all they hate Scientology even more than I do, this is just an observation and I'm not saying I'm right. Mind you, they did give us Rickrolling and LOLcats, so does anyone really think 4Chan has made any decent contributions to the internet? Answers on a postcard addressed to Maes and Doomguy. /Rant.

    Map 10 is a very attractive castle-style map in which you are fighting across the battlements. Ammo balance was a problem for me here, I was spending rounds like someone warned me ammo shares were about to collapse, and in general I found the gameplay to be nothing special, just rather repetitive. Pity.

    Map 11 has a secret berserk pack at the start (pardon the spoiler), giving us yet another chance to be Muhammad "I Am Hard" Bruce Lee. How many Tyson maps is this now, fething four hundred? Here we have an intricate, very detailed map with some nice outdoor sections, so this is the type of map I really like to explore. Pity there's a switch mounted strangely high up on the wall in the start room; I'm a mere Guardsman of average height, I'm not driving a fething Dreadknight you know! Yeah, I'm method acting again, at least I'm not pretending to be a furry animal-man.

    Map 12 is relatively short and sweet with some nice E1M1 tributes. This is the first time I've seen floor textures used to spell out full words. (One of the upcoming CC4 maps also uses this trick.) It's a small nuke base and is fun to rush through.

    Map 13 is very reminiscent of Doom 2's Downtown and Industrial Zone, maps I didn't like and am not hugely familiar with and which were thankfully excluded from the PSX release of Doom. I spent a while running round wondering where to go and ended up clipping around the map. This isn't my style of level and I didn't really want to play it, sorry mate.

    Map 14 follows a mansion/library theme and I found it claustrophobic, with small rooms packed with minions and roofless areas that were quite enclosed, adding to the trapped feel. I enjoyed this map and found the occasional outdoor areas with their cool grey sky to be a relief from the monotone library interior.

    Map 15 is more frantic, with the player rushing around dispatching Knights, Revenants, Mancubi and a host of minions. This is a rather ugly map as it looks like a Victorian poorhouse with all those red bricks. The wall detailing seemed like a nod to Crater from Final Doom, at least it's the same texture and not one I see very often. You get swamped with Pink Demons at one point and will probably have little ammo left to fight them off. Infighting is a must on this map.

    Map 16 is quite a large map compared to the previous fifteen. This is the first map where things become truly hellish, accomplished by the player being teleported from a creepy castle which reminded me of some of the better Ultimate Doom style custom maps into the bowels of the planet. the architecture is consistently detailed without being overbearing and this is one of my favourite types of map. It wasn't too hard either on HMP although I did die to a Revenant missile (I purely hate Revenants).

    We're back to our dimension for Map 17. This one keeps getting harder as you go on. It's one of those rarely seen but hard to forget maps where the area you're in keeps opening up to reveal new enemies, often backed up by an Arch-Vile. The map is nicely detailed with a wide open area that presents a different kind of challenge to simply being cooped up with hard to kill monsters. There's a lift which you can go up and access a "monster closet" containing an Arachnotron and you have to clip to get out of there; I'm not sure what's going on with that! I'd recommend saving often since this map could get repetitive since you have to keep doing the same thing over and over.

    Map 18 starts you off surrounded by Chaingunners, then by Arachnotrons. As you progress through the map you see a tribute to Gotcha! from Doom 2 and you encounter loads of the same types of baddie with their backs to you. While the map is reasonably detailed in places I really don't enjoy this style of playing. It's a bit like Hell Revealed without the hordes (on HMP at least).

    Map 19... oh dear, I don't think this map got anything right, I'm sorry. It's an intentionally overscaled map set in a canyon, and while I normally like very tall, wide open maps, I just didn't enjoy this one at all. There's a frustrating yet simple maze which reminded me of a lot of custom Ultimate Doom stinkers. I think the musician for this map must have banged his head or something, because the map is a kind of high-tempo sinister action theme with birdsong, which could be argued to suit the outdoor tone of the map but sounds ridiculous in Doom. I just found myself running around trying to climb an annoying chasm wall that I kept falling off... ugh.

    Map 20 is simply more of the same except with many, many more enemies than map 19. Again, this isn't my preferred style of gaming. It was fun to get the monsters inighting though.

    Map 21, well again it's a short map which I didn't like at all. This is a hell-themed map reminiscient of Alien Vendetta's later levels. This map forces you to run across lava with no protection (which should be banned!) with only a berserk pack - what is it with this megawad and Tyson efforts? Thankfully this map can be completed very quickly - if you live that long!

    Map 22 was quite long and seemed inspired more by old Ultimate Doom wads than Doom 2, but then again what do I know. It's like a castle or similar structure with plenty of secrets, lots of switches to find and generally ok gameply with a number of weaker hordes to mow down with the super shotgun.

    Map 23 is themed around a central lift and while it's tough and fairly cramped, the author hasn't skimped on detail.

    Map 24 is a super-detailed, Hellish castle, which seems influenced at the beginning by E1M8 and then Heck from Final Doom (again, not Doom 2). I foung the gameplay pretty obnoxious as it is easy to simply get stuck without being able to proceed and there are moments when you must expose yourself to damaging lava... I skipped this one, despite its generally stunning visuals.

    I admit I was starting to run out of patience by the time I got to map 25. Here, strangely enough, we are faced with another Heck-inspired map with elements of The Spirit World from Doom 2.

    Maps 26 and 27 are each beautiful in their own way. 26 is highly unusual, an evil kingdom floating in the void of Hell, with lots of distinctive visuals; it's a smallish map in terms of actual playing area but it's a long hike across bridges separating the distinct sections. Map 27 is more claustrophobic, being set in fiery caverns, and is very beautifully detailed.

    Map 28 starts off with an impossible-seeming fight so look around for a ledge to escape along. The map starts off very beautiful and unfortunately ends up with a relatively mundane potholing expedition.

    Map 29 is magnificently detailed for its entire duration and must have been a bitch to build. There is a slaughterfest in a courtyard which reminded me of Demonic Hordes from Alien Vendetta, then you progress into caverns which are done much better than the ones from the previous map. This was one of the more attractive maps.

    Map 30 ends with a typical wall monster battle, but until this conclusion we have one of the most original ideas I've seen. You choose which key you want to go for and step into the relevant teleporter, each of which takes you on an entirely separate adventure. When you get the key you return to the beginning, rinse and repeat. I liked that idea.

    Map 31 is the appropriately titled Night of Fail with a Nazi keep right at the start; Map 32 is called Morgue Theft, but could more accurately be entitled Corridor Attack.


    Here we get a set of eight Ultimate Doom tribute maps with Doom 2 monsters, but the Ultimate Doom soundtrack. A bit odd to include this in the Doom 2 Unleashed megawad, but since nostalgia and very sharp visuals are the general theme, they fit nicely. The visual quality of these maps does tend to vary more than the D2U main maps. I think I've dominated this /newstuff enough already, so check these maps out for some bitter nostalgic violence.


    Unusually, I liked most of the music in this megawad. To be honest midi music tends to sound like bollocks and often spoils what would be an otherwise brilliant wad, so when I found myself buzzing to nearly every track I realise the problem I have with custom tracks doesn't always lie with me, often the music people include IS crap - in midi form at least. Some of the tracks for D2U are aggressive while my favourites have an almost melancholy edge to them. I can't fault the music at all. I fething love the Midnight Train track, I could listen to it all day.


    This was quite a long review, so if you didn't bother reading it, you'll never know what your mother said to me during our date on Valentine's Day. This megawad is recommended by yours truly despite some repetition and a couple of clunkers, so get this downloaded and enjoy it. Hardcore Doomers should enjoy playing this on Ultra Violence. Thanks for making this megawad chaps, all of your effort is appreciated, even if I didn't always like the maps!


    I think it's time to relax with a coffee, tea or beer (whatever's your poison) and enjoy this beautiful piece of music. (Don't blame me, I'm just the messenger.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JC7fyl7SzI

  • Peter Perv's Private Place - Anigav
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1050968 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Maes
    Ah...another map by that mysterious "Anigav" dude. Before, due to my inexperience, I actually bothered playing through his previous "masterpiece", Nina Dobrev start to end, only to discover that--to me, at least--it was a semi-jokewad full of the following patterns:

    • Many cyberdemons, and just enough BFG cells to kill them with exactly two shots each.
    • Massed archviles.
    • A fetish for spiraling staircases, weird secrets, backtracking and architecture transformation and backtracking.
    • Over-reliance on obligatory SR50 jumps.
    • Use of the RL as the main weapon--you hardly get any ammo for anything else.

    Those elements are back in full force also in PPPP, and then some. When I reviewed Nina Dobrev, there was a lot of virtual giving the author blowjobs on /idgames, claiming that it's a "misunderstood hardcore masterpiece made by a rocket jumping god" or somesuch. Well, I don't buy it mister. And this time, before playing it myself, I decided to do my homework and watched the demo.

    And so should you; otherwise you will miss a lot of hints on necessary secret areas and backtracking, and also to get a taste of what awaits you. It's also perhaps the easiest way to get to see the infamous porn that's hidden in this WAD. Yeah, there are some surprisingly very well converted photos of sanigav in this map.

    The demo itself is very long, lasting over 30 minutes before it finally desynced and crapped out on me, and with no indication that the ending was anywhere close. Yikes. And that was a demo obviously recorded by someone who knew every nook and cranny of the map and even the precise timing of certain events, to the point of anticipating BFG shots before monsters teleported in, which makes me wonder whether this is a TAS affair. It was disheartening to say the least, knowing that even if you do everything near-perfectly, after 30+ minutes you will still afar from done.

    Trying it myself, well, I was right. I consider myself a fan of slaughter maps, but this one gets tiring very soon because of the obligatory 2-shot BFG cyberdemon kills, the constant backtracking and the repeatedly reused architecture, which retreats, shifts and moves just to reveal more and more traps, more cyberdemons, and more archviles, plus hordes of assorted monsters (including some weird recolored pinkish cacodemons that when they die become gored dead marines).

    Speaking of BFG kills, even though you'll practically need the weapon to survive (unless you want to use rockets to kill cyberdemons one-on-one, which makes everything even more boring), it's hidden from plain view and only attainable via a SR50 jump from a window. So I don't recommend playing this on anything other than prBoom+ with auto SR50 on, unless you enjoy saving before every leap of faith. Even to get your first weapon, the SSG, you need to perform a SR50 jump, if that's any indication.

    But it seems that, unless you do everything just as shown in the demo, the map is nearly impossible to finish, first and and foremost--guess why--because of ammo management issues. While I found the health adequate, the fact that you are supposed to use the RL as the main weapon plus the BFG as a "luxury" weapon vs Cyberdemons will always keep you on the lookout for more ammo.

    Also, despite there being plentiful rockets on the map, it's possible to get caught up in a section that will force you to almost deplete your stocks. Luckily, there are some awesome cyberdemon-vs-hordes infighting chances that do help, but either way, you're apparently given just enough ammo of the precise type and you're supposed to do it like in the demo, otherwise nada.

    An interesting gimmick of the map is that mysterious island with a billboard advertising the new gay pink "INFINITE BFG!", a weapon that the pimp Doomguy from the Cybie series (or John Romero) would surely like to have in his arsenal in the quest for the ultimate bitch to make his own. Too bad that said weapon is only given to the player as a "reward" for killing all cyberdemons on the map. Grabbing it will only trigger a map-wide effect and pour in a nuts.wad-like number of monsters.

    Speaking of the architecture, other than than the obvious reasons, there are some pretty stunning architectural elements, and the overall design is really captivating and appealing. Plus, some soothing music gives a perplexingly relaxed overtone to this otherwise hectic map.

    The porn is really secondary to what is primarily a very hardcore and technical map, obviously made to showcase someone's impressive playing (or TASing) skills. I personally gave up on trying to complete it after an hour or so of gameplay and reaching the point where you grab the blue and red keys together. Not so because it's hard, but because each fight does drag on for so long, and having to fight in the same cramped places again and again loses its appeal pretty quickly, as does the repetitive nature of the archvile/cyberdemon traps. Exploiting infighting is possible, to a degree, but the time vs. ammo tradeoff is not worth it, because it's not easy to get it to be very efficient. Having watched the demo and knowing what would come up next, I estimated that it would simply take too damn long to finish it, and so called it a day.

    Overall, I can't recommend this map for casual play. Give it a go for the visuals and for the demo (a must see, hoping it doesn't crap out on you) but if you are dead-set on completing it yourself on UV, good luck, and have patience. You need lots of it, and your best chance is replicating the demo's actions 1:1.

  • Serpent: Resurrection - Weapons Mod - Stephen Clark (The Ultimate DooMer)
    Hexen - GZDoom - Solo Play - 1099007 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Some new weapons for Hexen using GZDoom. Each class gets 3 weapons each. There are also some new ammo types to go with them. The Cleric gets a staff that acts like the Dragonclaw with Tome of Power (shot explodes in smaller shots on impact), a bow and arrow that freezes enemies, and a sunrod that zaps enemies with a continuous stream of white light. The Mage gets a scarab shooter that sends exploding scarabs bouncing around, a cube thing that zaps enemies with red lightning, and a hellstaff which shoots fireballs that explode in purple blobs and turn into fire on the ground. They cause damage to any enemies that walk over them (but thankfully, not yourself). The Fighter gets a staff that shoots yellow projectiles, a claw that shoots big bombs which can also damage yourself if you use them at close range (or if they explode under you), and a staff which shoots a wave of cold which freezes enemies.

    Overall I'd say the Mage's new weapons are by far the best, with the Cleric second best and the Fighter getting the worst. But if you're looking for some new ways to blow up Ettins, you can't go wrong with this.

  • Heretic Amplified - Evil Space Tomato
    Heretic - GZDoom - Solo Play - 7122728 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Solarn
    Heretic Amplified is an ambitious project, replacing all of the vanilla Heretic weapons and adding an entire new episode with new monsters, items and textures to the game. As commenting on every aspect of this wad would take much too long, I will list my positive and negative experiences, going into more detail when necessary. With that said...

    The positive:
    • The new weapons. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and they work quite well together. My favourite is the wand replacement, a crossbow that shoots accurate and quite powerful (one shot can kill a golem) bolts, at the price of slow firing time and low ammo capacity. All of them are Tome of Power-able as well.
    • Level design in general. The maps are large but not sprawling, interconnected and have varying levels of linearity. All of them are completable from a fresh start (partly thanks to the more powerful than usual starting weapon), but the difficulty ramps up quickly and the levels are challenging even if you keep your items between them. They use some (G)ZDoom features, but not too many, and they generally enhance the experience. The level of detail is just a little higher than the original Heretic maps, but not so much that the new maps look out of place.
    • The new music. It's by Jimmy91 and fits the mood of the maps very well.
    • The new monsters. While they usually look like recolors or simple edits of vanilla monsters, they behave differently enough to justify their existence and they are used in conjunction with the originals so I never found them gratuitous.
    • There's a custom intermission screen!

    The negative:
    • Some level design mistakes, such as a door in E7M2 that can lock you outside forever, as it's one-use, but closes back. There's a few really nasty ones where dormant monsters might never wake up, blocking the way or stopping the player from progressing entirely.
    • Weird texturing. Some out-of-the-way linedefs have different wall textures than the ones around them, probably from the mapper forgetting to replace them. The alignment of textures above and below windows can sometimes be wrong as well.

    The just plain weird:
    • Brown armless Korax. Just... brown armless Korax.

    Special mention:
    • The Book of Many Things. It replaces weapon 5 and is seemingly governed by random chance. When you switch to it, it will choose one of several magical effects that you will be able to fire while it's open. Once you've opened it, it stays on the same effect even if you switch to something else, but if you don't use it for a while, you might get a different one eventually. At least as far as I can tell. Just hope that it doesn't get stuck on "teleport monster".

    In the end, Heretic Amplified has some serious problems with progression that prevent me from recommending it, but if they're ever fixed, it will be a great partial conversion and a must have for every Heretic fan.

  • Jenesis, Pt. 2: "Beyond" - James "Jimmy" Paddock
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 4075516 bytes -
    Reviewed by: phobosdeimos1
    I've got a lot to say about this megawad.

    This is the first WAD I've played by this author and I must say I'm impressed in a lot of ways. This author is not only a great WAD creator, but an excellent musician, and he incorporates his very original MIDI tracks into this WAD.

    When you play the first couple of levels, you will quickly get used to his style of mapping, which has a lot of great things about it, especially his very beautiful looking design choices and his fantastic connectivity between areas, leading to a great sense of progression on each map. The game play is also very well done, with lots of action and good fights with enough ammo and health.

    However, I do feel this megawad suffers for two reasons:

    Firstly, as it is a solo-made megawad, his style will quickly become repetitive.

    Secondly, unfortunately MOST of the areas, not all however, seem to be quite room-by-room. Granted, the rooms look beautiful and all contain different bits of architecture, and they certainly could pass for a real-life techbase, but it lacks the open abstract feel of classic Doom.

    He cleverly makes you re-visit areas and slowly unravel the puzzles in each room, and that was satisfying as a player, but leaves it seeming quite linear.

    This megawad has a very "newschool" Doom II feel about it, which, without being bias isn't something I usually like but I did have a pretty fun time playing for the first few levels.

    As I mentioned before, his style is very consistent on each map meaning there aren't many surprises, and you can often predict the next piece of map. The theme is great, and he's got a perfect eye for texturing and alignment, but this doesn't fully make up for the 'room-by-room' layout that I mentioned.

    All in all I would certainly recommend it, as he's got a great style of mapping which would work great if he teamed up with a few other mappers for the next megawad, therefore keeping his style fresh.

    Also, the added graphics and occasional textures are very professional looking and flawless.

  • Spire Complex - Callum Guy Oliver aka phobosdeimos1
    Doom 2 - Embedded DEH Support - Solo Play - 632556 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    Nine maps for Doom 2. Detail level is generally low and the map layout can get quite confusing. There's a lot of pointless switch hunting and trying to find what changed on the other side of the map. The biggest problem I found with this mapset is the lack of monster variety. Even towards the end, the only bigger monster I saw was a Mancubus. There's a "Boss" which is a faster Baron. Also there's another "Boss" which is a ghost marine that fires missiles that I could not figure out how to kill. If you're going to play this mapset, I'd recommend skipping ahead to map 6, as the previous maps are too easy and made redundant since the later maps have basically the same types of monsters anyway.

  • "Eternal Shell" DOSBox Patch - Team Eternal
    N/A - N/A - N/A - 252087 bytes
    Reviewed by: Ralphis
    From the text file:

    'This archive contains an unofficial patched executable for the frontend menu utility "Eternal Shell" that was included with TeamTNT / Team Eternal's "Eternal DOOM III" to allow the shell to function properly when using DOSBox to run the game.'

    Not much to review here. If you want to play Eternal Doom III in its DOS glory on a newer operating system, thank Team Eternal, grab this zip, and have a go.

  • Temple of Damnation - Simon Dupuis
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1919481 bytes -
    Reviewed by: hardcore_gamer
    This map is a very mixed bag.

    On one hand the author claims this is his first map, which is very impressive considering how pretty and well-designed the architecture in this maps is. And on the other hand it also suffers from pretty poor monster placement, lack of ammo, and pointless new additions like a new HUD that did nothing new whatsoever as far as I could tell, and highly annoying custom monsters that were more annoying then fun.

    Let's start with the good.

    Like I said already, this map is pretty to look at. Either the author has already made some unreleased maps before with this merely being the first map he was willing to actually release, or he has a great talent when it comes to creating architecture. Either way, anyone who enjoys good looking visuals is in for a treat.

    It is thus a shame that the map isn't really that good at anything else.

    Monster placement is very unbalanced. Almost right off the bat you enter a large room which is then filled by teleporting hell knights among other monsters, and the only thing you have is a shotgun and a chaingun with some limited ammo. If you can somehow run from room to room and kill only key monsters standing in your way then you can gather enough ammo to kill all of the monsters in the area, but this is very hard and requires lots of quick saving. In any case, there is no way you can take the monsters in this level head on with just the ammo that is located in the rooms you have found so far.

    Normally this would just be bad, but the author somehow makes it even worse by also including some new custom monsters. I can understand how it can be tempting for people who are new to the Doom mapping scene to try to spice things up by adding some new monsters, but did the author have pick extremely annoying variations of the already existing Doom monsters? For example, there is a new variation of the lost soul that is basically exactly the same as the original lost soul except that it is MUCH faster and harder to hit. Really? Did anyone who played Doom and Doom 2 really ask or beg for an even MORE annoying version of that little flaming screamer? If not then why is it included? There is also an annoying version of the Caco Demon that is faster then the original and shoots lots of fireballs instead of just one. It's not as bad as the new lost soul, but it's still annoying.

    Overall, I am not sure whether this map is really bad or good. On one hand it's a really impressive first attempt at a Doom map. But on the other hand it's also just not very enjoyable because of the issues already mentioned.

    People who enjoy checking out other people's first mapping efforts will no doubt be highly impressed, but those who are only concerned with playing and enjoying a good Doom map may be put off by the various issues that this level suffers from.

  • Mandrill Ass Project - Aluqah
    Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 3510192 bytes -
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    A mapset for Doom 2, with 10 maps. The name sounds like it would be a jokewad, and that's about halfway correct. Some of the stuff in it is just too wacky to be even remotely considered normal. The maps don't support playing from a pistol start, so don't even bother trying to warp around unless you want to add weapons yourself with cheats. Also, warping resets the language you've selected, and it defaults to Spanish.

    Map 1 starts you out going into a computer. You run around on some hardware, chips, transistors, etc. It's been done before, so I can't really give points for that. I will, however, get pretty pissed off at the random piece of tech whatever on the ground that instantly kills you as soon as you touch it. An instant death trap just sitting there with no warning at all? Blah.

    Map 2 has you going into the "Software". So it's more like a Tron-type thing with grid walls and abstract shapes. Glowing sectors and solid colors everywhere. There's a jumping section where if you fall, you die instantly. Not cool.

    Map 3 is an outdoor city map. It's probably the most normal out of any of the maps. Not bad, except one part early on that requires you to find a non-obvious secret to proceed.

    Map 4 is .. a chocolate factory. Yeah, not only that, but it's supposed to be Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. How cute. The map even opens up with a big picture of Johnny Depp. The actual parts that are supposed to resemble Willie Wonka's factory look like total ass. The other parts are kind of generic factory/tech theme with chocolate pipes running through it.

    Map 5 is back into the software world. It's not as bad as before, more of a slaughter map this time around. Kind of boring, though.

    Map 6 is another odd one: you're on a surfboard and have to kill demons on other surfboards, then jump onto theirs before the one you're riding sinks for no particular reason. It's possible to die before the surfing part even starts if you run too fast onto the surfboard. Surf's up, dude! :P After the surfing section, there's a short island level.

    Map 7 is where things just start to get really weird. You're shrunk down and running around a dinner table with a full spread of food. Just plain bizarre.

    Map 8 is where I think the author is trying to out-do The Sky May Be. You go on an "LSD Trip" and the entire map is just fucking colors everywhere. There's enough eye-searing rainbow textures in this map to blind a blind guy. My fucking eyes.

    Map 9 is another one where you're jumping from vehicle to vehicle. This time, you're in the skies, and have to jump around a bunch of biplanes while shooting at imps and chaingunners. Needless to say, one false jump and you die. You then face off against the final boss, which I won't ruin the surprise for you .. :P

    The last map is just the ending/credits map. Overall I just can't recommend this to anyone unless they're looking for something weird/different/offbeat. The maps themselves, once you remove the crazy gimmicks, aren't that amazing. Play at your own risk!

  • Bratislava 2011 - Jodwin
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 134836 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Maes
    Ahh....Bratislava. A map by Jodwin. This oughta be fun....

    To clear up one common misconception, I do like Jodwin's maps, in my own particular way. However, it is also true that a lot of them do share some common gameplay elements and styles which I find questionable or, the very least, are not everybody's cup of tea as far as Doom maps go. That being said, Bratislava 2011 was a quite enjoyable map, if you play it VERY differently than how the author probably intended. I admit that "breaking" Jodwin maps and finding "holes" in the gameplay is a source of great delight for me, and Bratislava 2011 doesn't disappoint, in that respect ;-)

    First, the visuals and aurals. This is gonna be brief. While there are no obvious mapping errors and the architecture does have a few interesting spots here and there, this is mostly your run-of-the-mill brown stone/wood/blood Doom2-esque castle theme, 'nuff said. The new music is simply "Into Sandy's city" from MAP09. Nothing exceptional, but better than the cheesy generic arcade/anime music the beta version had :-p

    The gameplay on the other hand, does deserve somewhat longer considerations. If you want a TL;DR version of them, here it is: this map is best enjoyed as a speedmap, by using avoidance, escape, and even some deception and "snaking" techniques. There, I said it. If you want to see why I said it, read on.

    Just so you don't think you'll have it easy, the map sets the mood right from the start: no nice and ready weapon pickup right in front you, at least on UV. You gotta expose yourself to a small pack of imps, two mancs, an arachnotron, and some zombies to even earn the right to your first--and main, for quite a while--weapon: the good old Shotgun. Right behind of where you start, behind impassable bars, lies a SSG, just to mock you. Dream on, soldier. You have to EARN the right to use that SSG. Take a look at that desperate, ouchfacing Doomguy trying to desperately reach for the SSG, crying blood while he is being cornholed by unspeakable abominations of Hell from behind. Yeah. That's how you'll feel too, if you approach this map with the wrong mindset.

    Jodwin as a mapper does have a tendency to treat the SSG as a "premium" weapon only to be given to the player after he's gone through some more or less long "tribulations" with the normal shotty, something which, to the hardcore SSG guru, will make the difficulty level suddenly appear at least a couple of notches up, since now you can forget 2-hit kills on revenants, arachnotrons etc. and dealing with any mid-tier monster is now a tedious and dangerous affair.

    Also, forget anything about chainsaws or berserker packs in this map, although TBQH there wouldn't be much use for them. Ammo in general is manageable, unless you try going for 100% kills and clearing every room ASAP. This, I don't recommend, unless you're willing to trade in the necessary ammo, time and patience. Like it or not, you are simply not given the firepower to go through hordes of mid-tier monsters like a breeze (unless you want to expend your supply of rockets very prematurely), so a "brute force" approach won't work. If you really have to, wait until you get the SSG at least, and backtrack whenever you have unfinished business, as you will have access to a backpack and more ammo by then.

    Quite unusually for a Jodwin map, you're afforded relatively frequent armor bonuses, even being given a Green Armor right at the beginning, no strings attached. Even health is surprisingly adequate, at least if you don't insist on picking long fights. Right after the beginning you will have to fight your way into what I call the "library building", where you'll be greeted by a host of chaingunners and spectres. This gives you access to a Chaingun, but go easy on it, for the ammo for it will be scarce, at least at this phase.

    Soon after that fight, you will be able to gain access to a Rocket Launcher, which is, interestingly, the most powerful weapon you will be allowed to use on this map. It is also, in my opinion, more suited to how this map should be played: hit (hardly), grab/activate whatever you need to and run away from trouble ASAP. A very good reason for doing this is that, especially at first without the SSG, killing hordes of knights, revenants and arachnotrons with the shotgun is neither fun, nor easy. You simply don't have the firepower to dispatch them quickly with the least amount of trouble possible, HR-style.

    In fact, I preferred running away from most early heavy fights instead of painstakingly trying to kill HR-like swarms of mid-tier monsters with the shotty. And also to save on rockets, which made passing the next parts of the map a breeze, and almost made me forget that I also have hitscan weapons in my arsenal. By the way, be careful when you finally get the red key and complete the red door fight: it's possible to get trapped if you return to that area and go through the door after the fight is over and the bars are raised, since the door is not openable from the inside and the bars will prevent you from going round.

    In the second half of the map (after you get the SSG), the tone changes somewhat, and you will have to face, among others, two Cyberdemons and what I like to call a "garden" full of Pain Elementals. Luckily, it's easy to create distractions and just beat it from those fights by exploiting infighting and door work. Speaking of which, when you finally reach the semi-final yellow door open area fight, don't just rush in.

    It's possible, with careful hit and run tactics, to set most events off and yet manage to return behind the safety of the yellow door, effectively disrupting the fights. Take a look at that Doomguy rudely closing the door on the faces of those angry, sweaty, nasty monsters, with an indifference only matched by that of G.W. Bush for an Iraqi's life ;-) I personally got a kick out of this fight, by opening and closing the yellow door in the face of the angry mob just a few units away from me, while they died under their own firepower. Call me a lazy snaker, but I didn't quite dig the idea of rushing in there, without cover, and with a RL as my most powerful weapon.

    After doing that and letting the hordes of Barons, Mancs, Arachnotrons and even another Cyberdemon duke it out among themselves, it's literally a walk in the park to hit 2-3 switches and run for the final yellow door, ignoring the two last nasty archies. Even with that amount of "snaking", I still got 80% kills and 100% items (well, 100% secrets too, but that's because there weren't any to begin with, not marked ones at least).

    All in all, it was an enjoyable map, just for the sake of playing it UNLIKE Jodwin would have probably wanted it ;-) If you treat it as a straight "assault" map, then it can get pretty frustrating for several reasons. If you treat it as a speedmap instead and try snaking your way out of fights, then it's a whole other story, thanks to the open architecture and large spaces. Recommended.

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