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The /newstuff Chronicles #452

  • For Jihad Skins - Infidel
    Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 4878370 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Green Herring
    The companion skins WAD to the previously-reviewed "For Jihad Monsters" allows you to play as five members of the WAD's counter-terrorism forces, complete with their original voice clips. RV-007, the author behind the pseudonym, claims that it was made for trolling, judging from the suggestion to "Troll it up, troll it down, troll with the sound" and dissing people who complain about the skins because "It's a fucking game, godamnit" [sic]. If that were the case, though, why not let the user play as the terrorists? Surely, the ability to play as al-Qaeda's finest would be more offensive than playing as the Western soldiers summoned to fight them. After all, it was already done with the Monsters WAD, so why not here?

    For that matter, it seems almost trivial to set up a compact skin pack with only the skin info lumps and the sprites and sound effects they need. Yet, not only do the bizarre headers make a reappearance, but of the 53 included sound effects, only seven are ever used. With the excess headers and sounds removed, the WAD goes from 7.09 megabytes to 4.71 megabytes. This means that about one third of the WAD is wasted space. For a simple skins pack, this is pathetic. The seven included sounds are themselves an exercise in unintentional hilarity: all five counter-terrorists shout "You're in the hurt locker now!" every single time they land a punch; and they all mutter "Son of a bitch!" whenever they fail to open a door, like a middle school kid who's just discovered swearing.

    Overall, you should get this one if you want to play more types of soldiers and you don't mind unintentionally silly voice clips. If you want to play terrorists like you do in the Monsters version, though, skip this one.

  • Playground - Multiplayer - MrAngryTomato
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 118434 bytes
    Reviewed by: Inkie
    A surprisingly large Deathmatch map that seems to be vanilla compatible. It was converted from a single-player map.

    The map can be divided into multiple sections, including a stone ruin area, some marble ruins, a computer room, a dark cavern, and a hellish arena.

    The main gripe with this map happens to be the flow. Several passageways and teleports are blocked off until someone happens to trigger a certain line, or press a switch. For example, the main corridor and teleport to the cavern area are closed until someone happens to spawn within that area and attempts to exit that area. The passage to the arena pops open by entering a section of the cave. There is also only one way to get to the arena.

    Another problem is that the caves are really dark. Like, can't see past your face dark. It makes that area a little bit of a pain to navigate.

    One of the trap doors lacks textures and causes the old HOM bug.

    Overall, I find it to be an interesting DM level. It can fit 8 or 10 people and still feel not very crowded. It offers a nice variety of areas, like a bunch of smaller DM maps sewn together. It has a couple problems that seem to stem from it being an old single player map, but they are rather simple problems, and the map can be salvaged. Try it out if you're a little bored.

  • Doomkid's Deathmatch! - DoomKid (Adam P.)
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Deathmatch - 1018352 bytes -
    Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
    This is a collection of 15 maps made by Doomkid. Paraphrasing that old Apogee jingle, "Doomkid means Deathmatch", the levels varying from DWANGO-styled maps, medieval dungeons, open canyon arenas, and even a "realistic" shopping center.

    As Adam noted in text file, part of the levels present in this collection are being used for the Death Match Revival project, a BIG part of this collection, although in that other project the levels have been changed much more compared to this one.

    Layout is pretty fluid and solid, although I found some problems in map14, the annoying void inescapable pit, but this doesn't really affect the fast and fluid gameplay. Items are well-placed, with some "secret" rewards for the players, and awesome trickery here and there.

    This map pack also contains brand new stuff like some new textures, the always cool Simplicity light blue palette, new midi music (mostly pop / dance), and new sound effects with some cool choices that blast you back to the 90s age of Dooming. Plus other much more questionable choices, like the DBZ super-speed in the air sounds as teleport, and a Spanish guy and a screaming woman for variant of the Doomguy's death scream (really, that doesn't work at all for me).

    Overall, this is a pretty cool selection of DM maps for every DM player out there; play it with bots or with other people, the fun is assured!

  • Escalation II: Centurion Night - James "Phobus" Cresswell
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 319898 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Zalewa
    A very pleasant and short map (about 10 minutes of play). The WAD is contained in a pretty much single outdoor area with a building located in the middle and some piers going into water. Everything but indoor areas is rather dark, so I recommend bumping your gamma up a bit; I even increased brightness on the presented screenshots. Difficulty level can give you some trouble, but I find it very well balanced and manageable. There are no shotgun weapons, which is quite uncommon, and all you're given is a plasma rifle and a chaingun. Moreover, ammo for these weapons is scarce, and it's best to conserve it by causing some infights between monsters. Also, this level is a good example on how to place spider mastermind so that it can actually be some nuisance instead of the usual laughing stock. I couldn't find any problems with this WAD, neither gameplay or design related.

  • And The Bloodshed Began - Maxime Bisiaux "Datacore" / ( Subject119 map 01,02,03,07 and 15 )
    Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2360437 bytes -
    Reviewed by: kmxexii
    This is a two-man megaWAD from two dudes from the French Doom community who made their splash, more or less, in the 3 Heures d'Agonie megaWAD. Bloodshed is a decent stab at level design, but it feels more like an extension of their 3HA maps than anything due to the prevalence of small levels with arena-based gameplay, a few of which are literally "open door, kill a bunch of monsters, hit switch in new room, repeat". There are still some kickass moments in level design, but it just felt like some of the enthusiasm in the first episode died out to a glut of filler-ish speedmaps.

    Stuff I really liked - that run of "Gloomy Melancholy", "Blood Caves", and "Downstroy", which drummed up a lot of early enthusiasm on my part. "Milk It" is another cool one, linear but with plenty of transparency from area to area. As for the rest, it's a mixed bag. I like some of the arena battles, namely the epic halls of "Mistake Nostalgic" and "Full Damage". It's also nice to take a new twist to an old standard with "Air Mail 4 the Archvile".

    Datacore and Subject_119 clearly have some talent that I hope they'll take time to develop. ATTB is perfectly serviceable for some good ol' demon slaughter. Well, more like imp slaughter.

  • When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary ... - Canofbacon & Calmperson
    Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - N/A - 13633 bytes -
    Reviewed by: The Green Herring
    This is a patch that turns every enemy in Doom II except for the spiderdemon, final boss, and Commander Keen into a Wolfenstein SS. That's all. It also replaces the level music with a MIDI of "The Star-Spangled Banner," but only for the first three levels. This is because, as Canofbacon admits in a secret text lump, the authors did not expect anyone to play it for more than three levels. It seems like sound advice, as the simplicity of the patch means you cannot finish MAP07s that require tags 666 and/or 667.

    The one notable thing about it is that its title, cut off in this article and the Doomworld /idgames frontend but viewable in the text file, is the full text of the United States Declaration of Independence. When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Doom community, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. And so they went for an attention-grabbing milestone by giving it the longest title for a WAD ever. Better this than belting out stereotypes, I suppose.

    Ultimately, this is little more than a worthless gameplay mod that will only last three maps before one gets bored. Skip this one.

  • Advanced Allies - 08scatman
    Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - SP/Co-op - 5229 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Yet another ally wad for Doom.

    08scatman brings us three bots to use for cooperative mode when we either have no friends around or have gotten tired of the 'Lavaland' wads on ZDaemon. This isn't exactly a plug 'n' play wad either, but it will do.

    There are two ways to utilize your allies. Either you can open up the console and type "summon doomally#" (# is 1-3) and enjoy your bots, or you can open up your desired wad with an editor and change the tags for players 2-4 to tags listed in the instructions.txt file.

    I, of course, went with the summon method as I didn't want to mess with another person's map to review this wad.

    The three marines included in this are the gray, brown, and red marine.

    After loading the game up in Zandronum, I quickly noticed that the bots didn't pick up extra items including keys, weapons, powerups, ammo, or weapons, which was much to my disappointment despite the opposite being stated in the text file, and a review on the download page did state that they would do exactly that.

    While I would find this useful for people wanting to test a wad with coop players, but afraid to release it before it's done; however, I do not see any other use for it.

    Unless you have no friends.

  • Demon Base - Martin Bazley
    Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 135826 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Demon Base!

    Demon Base is an intricately designed tech base with clever secrets, but maintains a boxy design as current with late 90s-early 2000s maps.

    Taking place on E1M6, the player starts in a bathroom stall. An immediate 180 degree turn and a standard Doom toilet is revealed. The player is greeted by two Former Humans and a box of ammo. Upon exiting the water closet, a chaingun and another box of ammo is readily picked up. The lobby of the complex is a square walkway with a courtyard of trees in the middle. A maze through the trees leads to the blue key.

    If the player is curious and attempts to go into the ladies room, which is next to the player's start, the apparent door will not open, and an easy idclip can reveal an interesting fact about the player.

    The rest of the map is a maze of secrets in plain sight, keys in interesting spot, pitfalls into nukage, and helpful secrets that pepper the level if the player is careful when falling.

    The end of the map is a short hallway with a large switch-operated door at the end of the corridor. Former Humans and a Hell Knight await the player in combat.

    One issue that I found this wad has is that ammo is borderline scarce, causing the player to rely on ammo drops from monsters, or attempting to access the many secrets within the map itself. Fists will be a common weapon if the player does not purposefully seek out the secrets to replenish ammo supplies.

    Another issue from the comments is that the yellow key is difficult to pick up due to being placed on a teleporter. Running quickly diagonally over the teleporter to pick up the yellow key seems to negate this issue.

    This map is interesting with its secret message towards the start, and its short romp. Unless people desire for a maze-like map through a tech base, download it. If you're looking for a slaughter map for your late night survival server, pass.

  • Ice Floes - Martin Bazley
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 67702 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Another map by Martin Bazley.

    Unlike the previous abstract themed maps done by this author, this one looked to be an attempt at an outdoor-themed map based in an iced lake.

    The level itself is short like the previous maps that have shown up in the queue. They can be rushed through, and this map's difficulty in monsters never rises above the Cacodemon.

    With the shelves covered in either imps or sergeants, sometimes demons, the hitscan difficulty is never really a hassle on any difficulty. First playthrough of mine was on HMP, and a second look through was on UV. It seems that out of the 68 monsters on the map, the 68th doesn't show up unless on Nightmare difficulty.

    The dark maze towards the end could've been better with a bit more features as well. Rather than being a maze of corpses when the player got to the end, a door might've raised and revived all of the deceased imps, cacodemons, and former humans effectively creating a trap and blocking the exit.

    Having the feeling of a first attempt to outdoor mapping and nothing entirely memorable, I recommend giving this a pass, unless you have five or so minutes you need to have killed.

  • Texture showoff - Martin Bazley
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 22344 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Preliatus
    Texture Showoff is a simplistic wad designed to convey the usage of different textures in the gray/blue/red color schemes. There is nothing much to see here as the design of the map is box-y, maze-y, and calls back to the 90's era of mapping.

    At the end of the level a Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind await. They can be partially killed by in-fighting if you take the time to invoke it.

    Unless you're a fan of Martin Bazley, like myself, I think it would be safe to say this is a pass.

  • Space Base - Martin Bazley
    Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 19209 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Zalewa
    A single level in the slot of E1M5. This one sports 34 monsters and can be beaten in about 3 or 4 minutes. It actually shows some of the author's attempts to produce things like varying floor levels, traps, secrets, detail, and coherent gameplay, but it still falls short. Textures are also all over the place, and there's no consistency here. All in all, there's a huge gap between this map and the much higher quality of the original Episode 1 of Doom. Also, contrary to popular trends, this level doesn't attempt to replicate the feel of Episode 1. It's just a generic level for Doom 1 (which isn't a bad thing, I'm just stating a fact). Considering everything, I guess it's skippable, but given its short length it can actually be enjoyed as a quick blast.

  • King's Palace - Martin Bazley
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 16728 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Zalewa
    Skippable. One of the many maps by Martin Bazley that was uploaded to the /idgames repository. This one, similar to "The Light WAD", was made in 1999. It has 23 monsters and can be beaten in under 2 minutes. You start in a room filled with ammo, then progress through various other areas where you pick up some guns, and then you reach a room where all monsters are packed together. At the end there's also a boss fight with spider mastermind which dies quickly after getting shot twice from BFG. Architecture shows some basic detailing, but nevertheless is very poor overall.

  • The Light WAD - Martin Bazley
    Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 15354 bytes -
    Reviewed by: Zalewa
    A really poor map from the year 1999. 13 monsters, 2 minutes of gameplay, rectangular architecture surprisingly mixed with varying lighting levels. TXT states that this was designed by a 7-year-old and put together by "someone familiar with WAD authoring". All in all, you can skip this. It has no quality whatsoever.

    Some people might argue that some slack should be given as the designer was very young at the time. I disagree on that. Maps should be reviewed and scored basing on their quality, not on the quality and state of the tools used or of the author.

    If you want to have an additional "blast from the past" (and find more WADs), I recommend going to the web page that is also provided in the TXT.

  • Lukasxd's 512X512 Maps - Lukasxd
    Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 463136 bytes -
    Reviewed by: lupinx-Kassman
    Here we have a Doom 2 four-map minisode for what I presume to be limit-removing ports (and that limit being the ability to play XM music). The whole thing can be beaten in less than five minutes.

    The episode consists of extremely compact and thematically distinct levels with keygen music for the most part. The first level is a jungle-inspired map with green zimmer and marble overgrown with vines. The second map is a cute tiny city block with Lukas's trademark cube-cars and the narrowest set of stairs witnessed in the Doom universe. The third map is a subverted subway with mostly tech-base trimmings. Finally, the minisode comes to a close in a dark red hellish courtyard where you must turn out the "hell lamp" (some sort of fireplace looking thing) in the center. If I had to describe the aesthetic of the maps in one word, I would choose "zany". Each screenshot corresponds to a map, and by viewing one you have effectively seen at least 90% of that map's entire layout.

    This is a mapset in which difficulty levels actually change things quite a bit. Oddly on both UV and HMP, the most difficult level in the mapset appears to be the first one. Besides having a switch-hunty layout based around dropping into pits, most of the enemies consist of hitscanners that snipe you from above, and nosy cacodemons that must be fought in a cramped space. It's tough on HMP, but nearly unbeatable on UV (for me anyways). Afterwards the maps become much easier on HMP. They have fewer (albeit tougher) enemies and as much space to maneuver around them as can be given in a 512x512 layout. These three maps however also become quite thorny on UV, with revenants and arch-viles thrown into the mix. The latter three maps in the minisode are almost arena-like, though the central structure in the fourth map (that also serves as the exit) seems to have an invisible barrier surrounding it that may trip you up if you aren't expecting it. Needless to say, all four maps are a cakewalk on ITYTD, but I think it's a nice touch for less-seasoned players. Each map contains at least one secret, and they almost become necessities on higher difficulty levels.

    If you play the mapset on UV, you may be wondering where the hell the arch-vile is attacking you from in the second map. Turns out you need to find the secret to expose him (and the soulsphere he is guarding). Besides this, I believe this wad provides nice bite-sized levels with well-tuned gameplay. I say give it a go. If anything, it won't take much of your time.

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.